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Star Trek Deck Building Game: The Original Series» Forums » Rules

Subject: Game wasn't enjoyable rss

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Cliff Homewood
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Tried playing this the weekend with an experienced deckbuilder, but time and again or card after card we were hitting problems not explained by the rules. We lasted about an hour and then gave up as we weren't enjoying it with continuous questions and no answers.

So first hand, didn't have enough XP to do anything, what else is there to do? Used spocks ability to do a second search but still the minimum card value was 6 (forgot about the basic cards on this first turn). So as I couldn't see anything to do thoguht would try an explore.

First card battle card, great, this sounded the most complicated part! So we worked it out that you both put out a single card compare speed stat, and then a second, compare speed again (we assumed cards played face up after a while deliberating and reading rule book - also what was the start power of ship I thought it was 20 but established was 8 from the battle part of book). The card said the first stat to compare was experience, now I had spock who has x - for experience (this confused me but was told it wouldn't count for battles). We played 2 speed cards and then attack and then comparing stats in order of card, I was beaten. He had gone first in the game and upgraded a card so had one better card than me!

Hopefully we played that correctly, then second turn I was considering buying a card, but wasn't sure on its ability. When you have two sentences on the card is the second sentence only conditional on passing the first sentence or is it independent? He didn't know and said he was tired of playing a game we wasn't enjoying and so we stopped.

My question is one that often comes up in games is there a rule of thumb when it comes to two sentences or does it vary from game to game whether you can apply the second sentence when you do not pass the conditions of the first? I said surely its conditional because if they put the sentences the other way around their wouldnt have been a problem but he doubted they looked into it that deeply (considering how bad the rule book is he's probably right).
 
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Roy Stephens
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Sorry the game didn't go well for you... while the rulebook does leave a bit to be desired, I really do enjoy the game.

Which card is this quote referring to?

Quote:
second turn I was considering buying a card, but wasn't sure on its ability. When you have two sentences on the card is the second sentence only conditional on passing the first sentence or is it independent?
 
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Jeff Dunford
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whats your game wrote:
Tried playing this the weekend with an experienced deckbuilder, but time and again or card after card we were hitting problems not explained by the rules. We lasted about an hour and then gave up as we weren't enjoying it with continuous questions and no answers.


That's too bad. There are some confusing rules that aren't well addressed in the rule book - it's worse in the Next Generation base game (first edition), but most rules are corrected or at least more well-written in TOS version.

whats your game wrote:
So first hand, didn't have enough XP to do anything, what else is there to do? Used spocks ability to do a second search but still the minimum card value was 6 (forgot about the basic cards on this first turn). So as I couldn't see anything to do thoguht would try an explore.


First turns are often spent acquiring basic cards. Similar to buying Silver in Dominion, and buying basic currency in other deck building games. Exploring when you have a weak hand is probably a bad idea. But I'm curious how you had Spock on the first turn.

whats your game wrote:
First card battle card, great, this sounded the most complicated part! So we worked it out that you both put out a single card compare speed stat, and then a second, compare speed again (we assumed cards played face up after a while deliberating and reading rule book - also what was the start power of ship I thought it was 20 but established was 8 from the battle part of book). The card said the first stat to compare was experience, now I had spock who has x - for experience (this confused me but was told it wouldn't count for battles). We played 2 speed cards and then attack and then comparing stats in order of card, I was beaten. He had gone first in the game and upgraded a card so had one better card than me!


I think the rule book covers this well. You alternate playing cards to your bridge, then compare values (usually Speed, Attack, sometimes Diplomacy; damage is absorbed by Shields, then applied to Hull) after you've each decided not to play any more cards to your bridge.

whats your game wrote:
Hopefully we played that correctly, then second turn I was considering buying a card, but wasn't sure on its ability. When you have two sentences on the card is the second sentence only conditional on passing the first sentence or is it independent? He didn't know and said he was tired of playing a game we wasn't enjoying and so we stopped.

My question is one that often comes up in games is there a rule of thumb when it comes to two sentences or does it vary from game to game whether you can apply the second sentence when you do not pass the conditions of the first? I said surely its conditional because if they put the sentences the other way around their wouldnt have been a problem but he doubted they looked into it that deeply (considering how bad the rule book is he's probably right).


Usually sentences in the same paragraph go together, so if the first doesn't apply, the second sentence of the same paragraph probably doesn't apply either (but if it was a separate paragraph, it might be an unrelated ability). It might depend on context, though. It would be helpful to know what the card was (or sentences were).
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Jeff Sonas
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I was also confused at first about how I could possibly manage to buy any of those cards out there. Then I realized that was the point of the additional basic cards (Ensign, Lieutenant, Commander) - if you can't even manage to afford any of the special cards in Starbase then maybe you can at least buy a Lieutenant for 3. And it is important to use Memory Alpha each time through to upgrade your Ensign to a Lieutenant, or Lieutenant to a Commander. Plus if you can manage to complete a Mission then often there are upgrades as your reward (either because of the Mission or because you played a Lieutenant to your bridge), or sometimes direct +XP you can buy with.

My son and I had the same experience - very first card we ever turned over was a battle - and that wasn't much fun. So for a while I just excluded all the cards having to do with battles or affecting opponents or flagship damage.

The first couple of times we played, we mistakenly thought that it was a card's Cost that could be used toward purchases, not the card's +XP - that makes a big difference! Maybe that's how you got Spock? Also, it wouldn't necessarily be the case that just because your opponent had upgraded once previously, they had a better hand out there, because you only deal out 5 cards of your 10+ cards each time.

After getting familiar with the mechanics of how card play (and upgrades) work, I really think this is a fun game.
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Jeff Sonas
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In general the game author has stated (elsewhere on this forum) that if two sentences are present, they are independently applied. Only in the case of an effect like "You may draw 2 cards. If you do, gain 1 Ensign" would one of them potentially not apply, since there is that "if you do" clause in there.
 
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Cliff Homewood
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Thanks, to clarify my spock card was the tricorder with a picture of spock, sorry about that.

WIll open the game up and go through the cards on here for clarity before playing again, at mo at work so game not available.

Thanks again for all your replies, would like to try again as I have bought it, but its got to be enjoyable for the other person otherwise I'm going to burn any chance of playing it with anyone!
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Roy Stephens
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Bascially, what you want to do on the first few turns is acquire some generic red/blue/gold shirts. Look at your draft missions to see what you need to accomplish them. Buy cards that will help you complete at least one of the draft missions, preferably the one with the most beneficial reward. After that, you should be built toward being able to complete your second draft and/or explore the space deck itself.
 
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Eddy del Rio
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whats your game wrote:
Thanks, to clarify my spock card was the tricorder with a picture of spock, sorry about that.

WIll open the game up and go through the cards on here for clarity before playing again, at mo at work so game not available.

Thanks again for all your replies, would like to try again as I have bought it, but its got to be enjoyable for the other person otherwise I'm going to burn any chance of playing it with anyone!

I just bought it too, so keep the questions and explanations beaming up!
 
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Jeff Sonas
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For me the breakthrough came after I figured out how to play it solitaire. This let me get comfortable with the game mechanics which are at times a little hard to understand. I think this would avoid the snowballing effect you saw, where you both started feeling grumpy about the game and you eventually stopped playing.

To play solitaire, I just set aside all of the cards that talked about opponents, as well as all of the cards that talked about flagship damage (or battles), and this allowed me to just play solo, trying to fulfill the missions (and get better cards) using the Speed, Attack, Diplomacy, +XP, and rewards from successful missions. Then after you get comfortable zipping through the turns, maybe it would go more smoothly with another player since you could answer questions confidently. Although honestly, playing cooperatively against the Borg (from the Next Generation set) is super-entertaining whether you do it with two players or as a solitaire version.

For me the hardest part was understanding about the +1 explore and the +1 mission explore. When you flip a mission/event, some of them are events which must be resolved immediately to either failure or success, whereas others are missions that give you back an explore so you can satisfy them if you like. So you start your turn with 1 explore, and then use up that explore to turn over a mission/event, and if it is a mission then typically it grants you +1 explore or +1 mission explore as part of the flip effect. If it is +1 explore, then you have gotten back your explore, and can use it (immediately or later in the turn) either to satisfy a face-up mission, or to flip another mission/event card. Whereas if it says +1 mission explore, you still have gotten your explore ability back, but you cannot use it to flip over a new one - you can only use it to satisfy a face-up mission.

So theoretically you could zoom through flipping several missions in a row over, as long as they each gave you +1 explore, but as soon as you get an event or a +1 mission explore, you won't be flipping over any more this turn (the exception is if you play Diplomatic Negotiations to your bridge). Also you can only have two of these cards face up at one time, so if you get a third one then you have to put an existing one to the bottom of the deck.

The other thing that took some getting used to is that you deal five cards to your "hand", but the only way you can use card effects is when they are on your "bridge". So for instance if you have your five-card hand, and then play a card that lets you discard as many cards as you want from your hand and then draw the same number of cards from your deck, you can only discard/draw up to four cards, since you just played one of them to your bridge, leaving only four cards in your hand. Cards played to your bridge (or still in your hand at the end) don't go to the discard pile until the end of your turn.

And when you buy a new card from starbase, or when you upgrade one of your characters using Memory Alpha or the Lieutenant special effect (when you satisfy a mission), that new card always goes straight into your discard pile, so it will take a while until you get it into your hand on another turn, unless you play a card that can transport a card straight from discard into your hand.

There are still some things that I find confusing about whether you have to use a card effect right away, or can wait a bit (such as the 9-cost Kirk or Gary Seven)

Good luck - I hope you have success playing the game again in some fashion!
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Jacob N
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I had a lot of similar problems and frustrations at first ... but the key is to stick with it. Trying it solitaire is a good suggestion, too. The first time I played it was a complete cluster ... but with each time it made more sense and got easier (and a lot more fun). The play videos on youtube, conversations here, and the FAQs sheet helped me to really peg it down. I'm glad I put in the effort because it's a hell of a fun game. Once you get really crafty with your XP and explores and all that, you can do a lot just in one turn.

Now I just wish I could get my gaming group to play it again. There were privy one of the early disastrous games, and they haven't wanted to go back to it again.
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Cliff Homewood
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Looked at the TNG listing, from that discovered there's a load of youtube videos teaching you how to play.
 
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David Zelasco
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whats your game wrote:
Looked at the TNG listing, from that discovered there's a load of youtube videos teaching you how to play.


I may have to view those and the FAQ in order to give the game another chance.
 
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hockeyjedi wrote:
the rulebook does leave a bit to be desired

Understatement of the century.

The rule book is by far the worst I have ever seen in any board game. A while ago I compiled a FAQ with answers from the designer to common questions. But you should expect many doubts to pop up during game play.

The game itself is fun, specially if you like TOS, but demands a larger upfront investment than most other deck builders in the market. Until you get to know the Starbase deck well, the game will drag. It is unpolished and unbalanced, but has a charm of its own. My group loves it.

Be advised that some cards are totally broken in a two player game, e.g. Federation Spock and Terran Empire McCoy.
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Brian Franzman
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I just tried to learn the game this weekend, and really had a hard time finding what I wanted in the rule book. Seemed to me like the first half of the book didn't really teach much beyond the card layout, then the second half of the book was just jumbled. What a mess.
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Roy Stephens
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Bokrug wrote:
I just tried to learn the game this weekend, and really had a hard time finding what I wanted in the rule book. Seemed to me like the first half of the book didn't really teach much beyond the card layout, then the second half of the book was just jumbled. What a mess.


I wish I could demo the game for everyone... there really is a truly fun game in there, hidden behind the shoddy rulebook.

You know? I have been wanting to do a video for a game for a while, but haven't been able to decide which one... this might be the one to go with!


In the meantime, Brian, were there any particular questions/issues you were puzzled on? I'd be happy to try to help.
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