At Gen Con 2011, I signed up to run events for the first time. I submitted two events. One was an RPG using Two-Fisted Tales. It went really well. The other was a miniatures game using Tombstones n' Tumbleweeds. I put a lot of time into planning, creating, and assembling everything for this event. I was really excited when the game sold out with in a couple of hours of the event registration opening up. However, come the day of the event no one showed up. The table I was assigned was also a bit off the beaten path, so it was not in a good position to pick some people up. After waiting, for over half an hour I gave up. A little bummed by this and with a lot of extra time on my hands now, I wondered into the consignment area of the auction hall. I decided as a "poor me" consolation prize, my goal was going to be the best game I could for the least amount of money that I knew nothing about. In the end I went with Star Fleet Missions for $3. All I knew about it was it was a Star Trek game by the same people who made Star Fleet Battles. The back of the box really sold me on the game: "Star Fleet Missions is a fast paced exciting card game in which you command a squadron of starships. . . You can negotiate treaties, raid enemy planets, fight desperate space battles. . . Shuffle the cards and Take Command!" So was this a hidden gem or a game that would have been better left on the shelf?
In the game each player is dealt five cards. Each card is a starship from one several races including the Federation, Klingons, Gorn, Tholians, Romunlans, and Orion Pirates. These starships have ratings in various areas such as combat, marines, diplomacy, science, cargo, and maybe one more I am forgetting. A mission card will be flipped over that gives a small story (Romulans in the neutral zone, natural disaster threatens colony, space dragon, etc). Each mission card will also tell what kind of rating is used to complete the mission. Each player plays a card at the same time, highest number in the required rating wins. If there is a tie a second card is played. Occasionally, a mission requires two different ratings or has a stipulation that a certain race can not participate on the mission. Whoever played the highest rating, gets the mission card, everyone draws back up to five cards, and new mission comes into play. Once all of the mission cards have been drawn the game ends. Which ever player has collected the most mission cards wins.
The Game We Played
I could write an elaborate session report about all of the crazy space adventures the mission cards described in detail, but after I read the first card out loud my wife just kept demanding I tell what ability was needed to play. At one time, we tied in cargo like four times. Other than we just played our best card in the given ability, see who got luckiest, drew another card and kept going. We only played with the 30 of the mission cards. Two of them happened to be worth two cards, and my wife won those. She also won the game with a final score of 18 to 14.
My Rating: 2 (do not care for)
My Thoughts: I really do not feel like I can properly rate this game, because it feels like it should be a kids game. The disproportional amount of thematic flair with the lowest common denominator mechanics is kind of a weird mix.
Her Rating: 1 (do not want to play again)
Her Thoughts: Giving it a "1" is being generous. It is silly.
Combined Rating: 3
It turns out there was a reason this game was $3. It is fine though, the process of looking for a hidden gem and finding this game was worth the price of the game. Given that this game has virtually zero trade value, I think that I would rather keep it than send it to Goodwill. I am convinced that it can make a good (but geeky) kids game, and in a few years when our son is older I intend to find out if I am right.