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Wilson Yeo
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Mag-Blast 3rd Edition

by Wilson Yeo

Take the Battle of Endor from Star Wars: Episode VI or the Battle of Wolf 359 from Star Trek: The Next Generation, add in some silly sound effects and you’ll get Mag-Blast 3rd Edition, a relatively quick, zany card game of space warfare.

Mag-Blast is a game for 2 to 8 players, finishes quickly at approximately 20 minutes and is suitable for players aged 10 and above. Players take the role of various belligerent alien races that, having reached the pinnacle of civilisation, proceed to take out their growing pains on their neighbours.

The aim of Mag-Blast is to be the last space-man standing, leaving all opponents as heaps of radioactive dust and burning debris.

Players randomly select 1 flagship out of the 10 available, each representing an alien race with a special ability. Protecting this flagship is of utmost importance because once it’s destroyed, its owner is out of the game. Special abilities include drawing cards when opponents’ ships are destroyed or transferring damage sustained to another player a limited amount of times during the game.

Each player is then dealt 6 ships, 4 of which are chosen to be placed into the 4 zones surrounding the player’s flagship. Throughout the game, players may build more ships by trading in cards with the appropriate group of resource symbols.

5 cards are then dealt to each player as their starting hand. These cards form the meat of the game, allowing players to blast each other and perform special actions like capturing enemy ships, taking evasive action or calling for reinforcements.

Players then take their turns in order.

1. Discard Phase – The player discards unwanted cards. This phase is skipped in the first round.

2. Replenishment Phase - The player draws enough cards to refill their hands to 5 cards. Players with more than 5 cards in hand are not allowed to draw extra cards. This phase is also skipped during the first round.

3. Reinforcement Phase – The player may trade in cards with resource symbols (star, diamond or circle), 3 of the same or 1 of each type, to build a new ship.

4. Movement Phase – The player may move the ships surrounding the flagship for as many zones as the ship’s speed rating. It is important to leave a zone with at least one protecting ship as opponents can only attack the flagship through an empty zone.

5. Attack Phase – The player proceeds to attack his opponents, using blasts, fighters and bombers to deal damage to enemy ships, zone to zone. The highlight of this phase is the player, through the game’s Make A Silly Noise Or Miss! Blast Targeting System, must remember to make a sound effect (like “BZzat!”, “Pow!”, or “ZZzit!”) or have their blasts cancelled!

Ships are destroyed when they sustain damage equal to their hull strength. When there is only one flagship left remaining in the game, its owner wins the game.

The new edition of Mag-Blast has been updated by the game’s designers Christian T. Petersen and Anders M. Petersen of Fantasy Flight Games from previous editions and features better balance among the different racial flagships. You’ll not get stuck with a race that has a near-useless special ability this time.

Other changes include a new ship type- the gunship that can fire all 3 blast types- and more special action cards which allow players extra variety in strategy.

The cards are cut from sturdy, textured stock, slightly stiffer than common poker cards and all have a slight gloss finish that looks fantastic and keeps them from wearing out too quickly. The storage box is well built and fits comfortably into a backpack without taking up too much space.

All the cards feature new zany comic art, which replaces the darker, more realistic sci-fi style of the previous editions’ graphics. The artwork is done by John Kovalic, famed for creating online web-comic Dork Tower. The cards add the right atmosphere of silliness and hilarity to the game with the players making silly noises in an effort to KO their opponents’ ships. The comical ships also pay homage to and parody iconic ships like the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey from Star Trek or the Star Destroyer from Star Wars.

Mag-Blast is a fast, chaotic game where luck is primary because of the frequent card draws. Often, a bad hand of cards can lead to your opponents easily destroying your entire fleet early in the game. However, strategic use and retention of cards will help you stay in the game for a longer period. Using your race’s special ability at the right time will also help keep your fleets alive under enemy fire.

The game also serves very well as a filler game in between long drawn, mentally exhausting games because of its short length and easy-to-grasp rules.

As long as players don’t take themselves too seriously and are good enough sports to make silly shooting noises, Mag-Blast can be, well, a blast. The game can be made even better if players are able to play-act the various races they draw, adding to the general merriment.

For a shorter-length game that is fun and relieves you from excessive brain usage, you can’t go very wrong with Mag-Blast.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Genre: Card Game
Play Length: 20 minutes
Number of Players: 2 - 8
Official Site: Mag-Blast 3rd Edition

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