Updated: Nov 20, 2019
Richard Borg’s ‘Command & Colours’ system has become something of a standard for battle-themed board games. It was first introduced in 2000 in the American Civil War game Battle Cry and it has since been adapted and used in a host of other notable titles, including Memoir ’44 (Days of Wonder), Battlelore (FFG) and The Great War (PSC Games). With Red Alert, Borg takes the ‘Command & Colours’ system out into the depths of space in an epic game of conflict between competing fleets of ships.
Red Alert was previewed by PSC at the 2018 UK Games Expo where it attracted a lot of attention, not least because of its epic scale. Like its more Earth-bound predecessors, the game is played on a hex map but the space map for Red Alert is huge; commensurate with the boundless expanse of space. Just bear in mind, you’ll need to make some space to play this game! But it wasn’t just the scale that had jaws dropping, it was the plethora of starship minis. The game as launched this week on Kickstarter will come with two competing fleets, each comprising 46 starships of various types. In addition to their flagship, players will be deploying squadrons of cruisers, fighters, battleships and destroyers.
If you’ve played any of the previous ‘Command & Colours’ games then you’ll be up and running with Red Alert pretty much straight out of the box. That said, although Red Alert makes use of a tried and tested system, it isn't just more of the same. The game introduces several unique elements that take it a step beyond the basics of Memoir ’44. As you’d expect, Red Alert is card driven, using command cards and with combat cards complementing the custom dice in affecting tactics and the flow of battle. Once players have assimilated the basics by playing the introductory scenarios, they will also play using Task Force cards that set up equally matched pre-constructed fleets.
Red Alert plays of course as a two-player game but it also lends itself to play as a team game with two opposing teams of three players. Command cards always specify which wing they apply to (left, right or centre), so, when playing with six, the three players on a team each take command of one of the wings.
Red Alert looks set to become a classic game of interstellar strategy and tactics. It’s just launched now on Kickstarter...