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Subject: My Likes FAR outstrip my Dislikes. rss

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Russell Ray

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10 Things I Like
1. The gameplay. Being in command of a fleet of starships is very exciting. Just as much as exploring the unknown. This game plays so fluidly, despite the rulebook seeming a little wonky.

2. Win conditions are based on VPs (victory points). These VPs can be as little as 6 or as much as 38. There are several ways to gain victory points in the game, such as: destroying enemy ships, doing missions (which are fairly varied), building starbases, and completing encounters.

3. The detailed ships: There are a total of 17 unique ships. I really like that it isn’t just 2 or 3 ships per side that are duplicates. You get to play with some amazing and iconic ships from the Star Trek universe: The Enterprise, The Enterprise-E, The Rotaran, The Defiant, The Voyager, etc. Although not painted, the molds look very impressive, and give you a chance to paint them yourself. My copy had one ship broken from its base. I contacted Wizkids and a replacement arrived a few weeks later.

4. 2-4 players. This game shines as a two player game, and doesn't disappoint as a four player. The factions are fairly evenly balanced. Klingons will find themselves focusing on combat, while Starfleet will be doing Science and Influence missions; however there are a decent mix of missions for each faction.

5. Tokens come pre-punched. You won’t have to worry about ruining tokens while punching them out of ten pieces of cardboard. All of that harrowing work is done for you.

6. Replayability. There are several randomized things in this game: Mission deck, Command deck, Location deck, Encounters deck, and Ships. It can make for a completely different game each time played.

7. Thematic. One of my favorite thing about board games, is being able to put together a story based on a play. Exploring a new sector of the galaxy with Captain Jean-Luc Picard in command of the USS Defiant, only to get caught by a Klingon strike force while exploring a worm hole makes for a great story. Game play is so varied, that you can create a ton of different stories through gameplay. This game screams theme.

8. Modular Gameboard: This sells me on SO many games. It ups the replayability of a game by a huge amount. Anytime a game involves the tile flipping for exploration mechanic, I’m on board. Throwing down 27 tiles face down and then exploring them, hoping not to get caught by that blackhole or find a planet that requires more influence to be asserted before building is a great way to create suspense. Not to mention the fact that if you get tired of the 5x5 layout, you can create any that suits you and your opponent/teammates. Want to create a quadrant with a hole in the center? Done. What about placing a wormhole in the center, and having it lead to another small set of tiles? Done. The map is yours to control.
9. Wonderful randomness. This ties in with the modular gameboard but it’s worth mentioning on its own. Another element of random is the order in which you draft your ships in the beginning. Also random encounters which have a wide variety of effects. Your duty, as the Captain of your faction’s fleet is to mitigate that randomness and turn the tide in your favor. I love it.

10. Quick Setup. Although there are quite a few pieces, this game sets up in no time at all. I can get a full 2 player game ready to go in less than 5 minutes.

5 Things I Don’t Like
1. Components are SUPER thin: The texture of the cards is agreeable, but the thickness is absolutely not. I can work with the thickness of the Mission and Command cards (even though they bend easy, and make shuffling precarious). This is probably the single biggest complaint from any reviewer.

2. I’m not crazy about some of the graphic choices on the cards. This is a very minor issue, but being a long time Star Trek fan, I’m sure better screencaps, and quotes could have been used.

3. Rulebook layout: Simply chaotic. I've played a lot of Fantasy Flight games with over complicated rulebooks. The rulebook for Fleet Captains isn't complicated, I just think it's organized incorrectly.

4. No Captain Sisko! Now, this isn't a serious dislike, just a shock. Benjamin Lafayette Sisko was Starfleet’s greatest combat officer. To have the Defiant and not Sisko is crazy!

5. The combat system. On your turn you may expend an action to take a shot at an enemy with one or more ships (the more ships = the more actions required.) You will take your ships combined weapons value + card played + 1d6 vs their ship’s shield value + card played + 1d6. If the attacker's total exceeds the defenders total, it is considered a hit and the defender's ship goes down one power level. If the amount exceeded is double or triple the defender's total that ship takes two or three hits respectively. After that shot, the defender must wait until his turn to pay an action to take a shot. I’m not 100% what I don’t like about this system, only that it’s not my favorite, and I feel it could have been done a little better.


On The Fence:
Clix bases: I really like the concept. The problem is in the execution. This is probably the second largest complaint among reviewers. I'm going to tell you how to fix it. It sounds crazy, but put one hand on the upper part of the dial. That hand will be positioned over the ship. The second hand will grab the bottom of the dial. Turn. Many people shave pieces down inside the dials, and they may have severe faulty ones. I think the largest problem is that people have their fingers on both sides of the dial when turning; even if they think they do not. On all of my ships the problem of non-turning bases was solved with simple hand positioning. However I do wish they were a bit easier to manipulate.
The Box. While I appreciate it greatly when a gaming company puts thought into the organization of their box; I think this one fell short. The ship holders are dull edged. On one hand they are slightly difficult to get out, which makes you feel that you’ll break them on extraction. On the other, if they were looser, it seems that they would fall out during transit and break that way. The box in general fits all components perfect, but leaves almost no room for expansions without some serious work.

All together, I really love this game. My dislikes are mostly minor ones, and are far outshined by my likes. I’m always trying to get it to the table, and the fact that it does so well as a 2 player game means I can get it there must more frequently than some of my other favorites. Star Trek Fleet Captains is best for diehard Star Trek fans, and for those who loves strategy and/or modular board games.
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C. Rexford
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Nice and concise review of what shines, or doesn't in this game. I have and really enjoy this better than any other Star Trek themed game I have played.

As you stated, a common complaint is the click-base on the ships. We just dont use the click-bases. We have the ship cards in a sleeve, and we glide a paper clip along the sleeve to indicate where the ships current stats are. This saves us any fretting over 'breaking' the ships.

We don't store the ships back in the box either for the reasons you gave...risk of breaking them trying to ply them in and out of the mold...so we store the ships in a separate container. (one of those little 3-drawer sets from rubbermaid work well for storing these and other components subject to breakage).

Nice review and good to see this game is still getting positive attention!


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Andy Leber
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Wow, quick to set up? That is my number one DISLIKE about the game, even over components. Heck, sometimes it feels like it takes as long to set up as it does to play. Granted, I don't get it to the table often, and I find the more I play a game the more efficient I get.

But even if I played weekly, I could see myself getting the setup from "horrendous"down to "quite involved". Sorting all of those tokens, arranging your cloak tokens in front of you etc, choosing and setting up the decks you'll use, and drafting a fleet? (Granted the ship draft can be considered gameplay). I don't see how anyone can set this up in 5 minutes.

I suppose I could further separate some tokens into more baggies, but I'm not sure having 100 baggies would be all that quick either. (I do sepearate many tokens though. They aren't ALL in one bag. That would be madness).
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Russell Ray

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Holmes108 wrote:
Wow, quick to set up? That is my number one DISLIKE about the game, even over components. Heck, sometimes it feels like it takes as long to set up as it does to play. Granted, I don't get it to the table often, and I find the more I play a game the more efficient I get.

But even if I played weekly, I could see myself getting the setup from "horrendous"down to "quite involved". Sorting all of those tokens, arranging your cloak tokens in front of you etc, choosing and setting up the decks you'll use, and drafting a fleet? (Granted the ship draft can be considered gameplay). I don't see how anyone can set this up in 5 minutes.

I suppose I could further separate some tokens into more baggies, but I'm not sure having 100 baggies would be all that quick either. (I do sepearate many tokens though. They aren't ALL in one bag. That would be madness).


Maybe I'm comparing it to games like War of the Ring, in this aspect. When compared against a set up like that, Fleet Captains is a breeze.

We keep three baggies, one for Federation specific tokens (cloak, action), one for Klingon specific tokens, and one for everything else. We dump out the everything else bag on the table when we play. This is based on the fact that in the several games I've played, I've scarcely used the system tokens; because of that we just leave them in one large pile until we need them.

The decks are easy as long as you have a reference. There is a good sheet in the files sections that tells you the strengths of each deck. Once you've drafted your fleet (which I do indeed consider part of gameplay) and realize what missions you'll be playing. You do a quick consult of the sheet and pick appropriate decks. (this I also consider part of gameplay)

Easy, easy!
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Andy Leber
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rusray wrote:

We keep three baggies, one for Federation specific tokens (cloak, action), one for Klingon specific tokens, and one for everything else. We dump out the everything else bag on the table when we play. This is based on the fact that in the several games I've played, I've scarcely used the system tokens; because of that we just leave them in one large pile until we need them.


Yeah, I've always been very anal about separating all of the misc tokens into types, but you're right. It's probably relatively unnecessary, with most being able to be found relatively quickly when you need them.

Edit: Would be even easier if the system modifier tokens had a little more logic to them as far as the front/backs
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Russell Ray

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Holmes108 wrote:
Edit: Would be even easier if the system modifier tokens had a little more logic to them as far as the front/backs


100% Agree. Honestly it infuriates me to flip over tokens and find seemingly random things on back, haha!
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Slade
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Holmes108 wrote:
Wow, quick to set up? That is my number one DISLIKE about the game, even over components. Heck, sometimes it feels like it takes as long to set up as it does to play. Granted, I don't get it to the table often, and I find the more I play a game the more efficient I get.

But even if I played weekly, I could see myself getting the setup from "horrendous"down to "quite involved". Sorting all of those tokens, arranging your cloak tokens in front of you etc, choosing and setting up the decks you'll use, and drafting a fleet? (Granted the ship draft can be considered gameplay). I don't see how anyone can set this up in 5 minutes.

I suppose I could further separate some tokens into more baggies, but I'm not sure having 100 baggies would be all that quick either. (I do sepearate many tokens though. They aren't ALL in one bag. That would be madness).


I played 2 player last night. setup took less than 10 minutes. heres how:

1 - buy an art box. about 5 bucks at any art supply store. I put the chits in their different locations and still have 3 spaces left for when the dominion expansion is out. this cuts play time by a drastic amount as well because you don't have to search that baggie for anything you might need

2 - setup the board. 1 minute tops.

3 - consoles and mission decks out. give each a quick shuffle. 1 minute

4 - encounter deck. shuffled and placed to the side

5 - now, this is a house rule. but I feel it improves setup and gameplay - dont seperate the command decks. give each player his whole deck. shuffle it up and put the whole damn stack in front of you. it works and iys awesome. really cuts back on setup time as well. draw the first 4 cards off the top

6 - draft your fleet and take your missions!
 
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Andy Leber
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I've thought about mixing the command decks. There nothing really logistically wrong with it. I mean cards within a deck don't really interact specifically with each other. I guess there's a strategic element of crafting a deck that will compliment your missions/ships. But I'll have to give it a try.
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