Updated: Dec 21, 2022
Star Trek Fleet Captains has a lot of enthusiasts. That’s not surprising given the great look and feel of the game. There was much delight when WizKids announced they’d be bringing out expansions to bring additional races and factions into the game.
Unsurprisingly, the Romulans were the first new faction to appear. The Romulan expansion offered a fleet of Romulan ships and a matching set of Command cards to mirror those of the Federation and Klingons in the base set. The Romulans weren’t merely more of the same, however. This expansion introduced a new type of mission: Espionage, and an alternative ship card for the Federation and one for the Klingons to also give them the capacity to undertake Espionage missions. In keeping with their character traits in the Star Trek TV series, though, espionage and sabotage are the Romulans’ strongest suits. The expansion introduced the notion that crew members could be assigned to an opponent’s ship. They contribute to the stats of the ship they are on but they have special abilities that can only be triggered by the player who controls the saboteur.
The components seem to suggest that the publishers mainly expect the Romulans to be used as an alternative opponent to the Klingons in a two-person game against the Federation but the rules include set-up and guidance for a three-player game involving all three factions. The expansion also introduced a couple of rule modifcations, most notably affecting the cloaking actions that could be taken by ships with that capability.
More than a year passed before Wizkids published the next expansion: the Dominion. When combined with both the core set and the Romulan expansion, this made it possible to play with four factions, although Wizkids counselled against that – warning that it could mean excessive downtime (they recommended their original team game instead).
The Dominion expansion drew on the lore from Star Trek Deep Space 9 and provided a fleet of 12 ships and related Command cards representing the shapeshifting Founders, their Vorta and Jem Hadar, and their allies the Cardassians and the Breen. The shapeshifters represented a refinement of the saboteur mechanic that had been introduced in the Romulan expansion but otherwise this set closely mirrored its Romulan predecessor. It seemed as though Wizkids had run out of steam: several of the cards (including the entire mission deck) merely duplicated those in the Romulan expansion.
Sadly, there has been nothing from Wizkids since to build on the Star Trek Fleet Captains universe. It would have been good to have seen a Ferengi faction tackling missions geared towards profit and most fans would have eagerly snapped up a Borg expansion, introducing an opponent bent on assimilating the opposition. It seems unlikely now that official versions of these will ever appear, although fans whose patience has been exhausted have devised their own.
It’s a pity the publishers haven’t give this game more support; it still has great potential for further development. If you see copies for sale, note that the Romulan and Dominion expansions do both need the core game. Note also that Wizkids have deservedly come in for some stick over their quality control. There have been many complaints of people opening up their copy to find ships are broken, and if you look carefully at the Board's Eye View photo, you’ll see that two of the Dominion ships are missing the bottom half of their dials (the part with all the stats on it). That’s how they were when I opened the box. To give Wizkids their due though, they swiftly sent replacements once I’d filled in their online claim forms.
(Review by Selwyn Ward)