Erik Miller
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The Romulan expansion is the first expansion for Star Trek Fleet Captains. It adds, quite shockingly, the Romulan’s as a playable race to the game. Masters of intrigue, stealth, and confusion, the Romulan’s enter the fight ready to mess around with your opponents to help you win the game. Costing $60 and coming with 12 romulan ships/their cards, 100 command cards, an updated mission deck console, 10 location tiles, 10 encounters, 25 espionage missions, a new type, 2 new starship cards (1 Klingon, 1 Federation) with the new mission type on them, and a bevy of tokens to let you run the Romulan’s in the game, is this expansion worth it or is it better off being left in the shadows?


Here’s a picture of everything you get thanks to Yugblad





Not the best image, but you get the gist. Now, before we dive into what’s new and a discussion about the Romulans, let’s talk about COMPONENTS! Again…..



Wizkids did (and didn’t) learn some lessons from their base game of Fleet Captains. Here’s the one thing they did learn- how to store ships properly! If anything, a little TOO properly, since some of these are a bit tight. I’ve snapped the warp nacelle off one of the Enterprise-era Bird of Preys getting it out of the box… UGH.


Anyways, here’s a pic thanks to esed





But YAY for them not getting loose and running all over the place. That’s a perk. After I snapped off my nacelle I decided that this wasn’t working, hucked the plastic, and put them into a box lined with cloth instead. Anyways, it is better vs. the base game, and I didn’t have any issues with it besides the fact that I am ham fisted. There still have been a few issues with ships coming loose during shipping though.


Now, for the lessons that Wizkids didn’t learn- Their location tiles are still the same, flimsy material that we have earlier. Now, I understand that you don’t want to all of a sudden drop in some massive cardboard tiles, or something, but it just frustrates me that a $100 had such bad location tiles, and that this continues. Still, the problem is solved by laminating! Secondly, they didn’t change the thickness of their command/encounter/mission cards, so yay for that too. I’d hope they could at least make the command cards thicker, but no such luck. For me, this game is an auto penny sleeve game to keep the cards safe. I wasn’t expecting them to fix this, but it would have been nice to maybe make everything thicker, and sell an upgrade pack or something for the base game.


Finally, for a new issue- in their quest to keep everything in the game snug, they went a wee bit too far, and made the location tiles a bit too snug. Mine (and other players) came with the cards a bit bowed. Still, putting some heavy books on them overnight and then laminating the cards fixed that problem. It’s just frustrating that they didn’t do some more quality control here and make it so they fit, but weren’t too small.

There is nothing game breaking or like AHH DON’T GET THIS IN THE COMPONENTS, but I just wanted to bring up these issues.



WHAT’S NEW BESIDES THE ROMULANS

There are new location tiles and encounters. Nothing crazy here, but always nice for more variety. I don’t mind any of them one bit.


New Mission Type- Espionage. These are purple backed missions, and usually involve making having you get next to an enemy’s home sheet and make a test, or make some sort of test at a place with an enemy installation, or have X amount of cloak tokens on the board, etc, and most of these are secret. These are GREAT missions for the Romulans to have. They work well with them, and add some extra intrigue to the board. Now you want to hunt down the Romulan cloak tokens to see where their ships are and to mess around with them. However, this expansion also includes a new card for the U.S.S. Excelsior and the I.K.S. Kronos One with the espionage mission on them. These versions of the ship suck for the Federation, and are meh for the Klingons. Nothing works better for the Federation than to draw “have 8 cloak tokens on the map” as a mission. Woot Defiant and their one echo! Yeah, that’s an instant fail. They work a bit better for the Klingons, but still feel off- neither the Federation or the Klingons are great as espionage. If they introduced some new command decks for these factions as well (Section 31 for the Feds, and Klingon Intelligence for the Klingons) that may help a bit, but for now I just leave these alternate versions in the box since they just clog up your mission deck. They have the same stats, size, and abilities, just have a slightly different mission list.


New Action- Transmission Interference. You made spend an action to make an opposed sensor test against an opponent’s ship. That ship gets +1 to its result for each point of movement you are apart. IE, if I am in an adjacent system with a size 4, it would take me 5 movement to get to you (4 to cross the system and 1 to move into the system), so you get +5. If we are in the same system, no bonus. Additionally, you cannot spend engine points to make this smaller (so say I have 7 movement points, I cannot spend them to shorten the distance). Anyways, make an opposed sensors test. If you pass, you get to pick any opponent’s mission and make them discard it, drawing a replacement from their mission deck. Any secret missions are kept facedown. If your opponent doesn’t have any missions left in their deck, you pick what deck they draw the new mission from. I have mixed feelings about this action. It’s great to slow someone down, or to mess around with them if they are about to complete a mission they have spent turns doing, but it also makes the game longer. We don’t use this very often, but it can be used to great effect. Just watch out- once this starts, it’s like a cascade effect that will trigger and instead of going to war with each other, you’ll suddenly find yourself losing missions like crazy. This is great when you need it, but it also makes the game longer, so I am meh on it.


New ability- Emergency Cloaking. My favorite ability in the game, hands down. When moving, you can spend 5 movement points to immediately cloak. You cannot have an engines rating of less than 5 to use this, and you can’t use it to create a sensor echo, but holy action saving for the cloaking ships! This is used ALL the time, and suddenly the map will fill with echoes and cloak tokens. This is great, and makes the game really interesting. Just watch out if you are the Federation- you will suddenly find yourself surrounded by tokens now. GAH. This is a huge addition to the game, and is amazing.


New Crew- Saboteur. Found only in the Romulan decks, these are fun crew. Here’s a picture of one thanks to Grelvis




When you play a Saboteur crew, you put it on an opponent’s ship. You don’t have to be in the same location, the ship can be cloaked, etc. Just put a scan token on it to mark that the crew is really yours. You can only assign one Saboteur per ship, and the person who controls the ship can beam the Saboteur around their fleet like it was their crew (and you can kidnap them too). Most Saboteur’s give some sort of bonus to the ship they are assigned to, but the controlling player can, at the time specified on the card, discard the crew for their effect. For instance, you can discard Mirok, the crew in the picture, at any time to make a power adjustment for the ship he is assigned to. The options here are endless- you can make them have weak shields to take them out, or no weapons if they are attacking you, or no engines so they can’t run or they fail an encounter, etc. There are all sorts of abilities on the Saboteur crew, and they are a lot of fun. Some Saboteur’s don’t have the espionage keyword on them, like Mirok does. If a crew doesn’t have that keyword, then only the player who has that crew on their ship can use the ability. For instance, there is a Saboteur crewmember named Ruwon. When he is on your ship, your ship cannot place or remove control tokens. As an influence action, you can remove any 3 of your control tokens from play (and you have to have 3 to remove) to discard him. Vicious! I really enjoy the Saboteur crew, and they make the game a lot more interesting. Now you can have a blast messing around with your opponents. The only rule with them is that Saboteur’s go last in the action order, so if someone plays an interrupt, and then you decide to discard an interrupter Saboteur, your Saboteur resolves last. This is a great addition to the game and really shows how the Romulans work. I love it.


New VP rule- The first starbase each player builds is worth 2 VP instead of one, and the first time you destroy a ship from each opponent(s) it is worth 2 VP instead of 1. Great ways to speed up the game and to encourage you to engage in combat and installation building more!


3-Player Rules- The game now includes a map for 3 players and a brief list of how turn order works. Nothing major, just wanted to mention it.


The ROMULANS:

Ok, so the Romulans are the masters of intrigue and secrecy. How does this work in the game? Their ships are more fragile, but they have some interesting bonuses. Their command decks work mainly around the espionage ability/cloak tokens/discard cards from your hand to deal damage, but they are the masters of trickery. All in all, they are an interesting race to play- They do combat, but not as well as the Klingons. They spy amazingly, and their focus is usually on doing their espionage missions for points, and running a few combat and/or science missions to get the remaining points. Rarely do you see the Romulans expanding across the map using influence, and most of the times all you really see of the Romulan fleet are cloak tokens and sensor echoes running across the map.


Here are a couple of pictures of Romulan ships and their cards thanks to rusray







Their fleet consists of Enterprise-era Bird of Preys as their weak ships, Scouts and Science vessels as their 2-3 size ships, D’deridex class warbirds as their 4-5 size ships, and the Valdore from Star Trek Nemesis as their size 6 ship. It’s an interesting fleet, focused mostly on speed, cloaking, and combat, but their scouts/science vessels have impressive sensors. All in all, the Romulan fleet lets you kind of plug whatever secondary way to score points in that you want- if you have a couple science vessels, go for science missions. If you are running 2 D’deridex classes, go for combat. I like the Romulans, they are a great addition to the game, but their biggest problem (and I think the biggest problem of the Romulans in any game) is that they run on stealth and secrecy. They run on a long term game plan, running various cons, infiltrating an enemy society, attacking their far-flung outpost, striking ships in secret, etc, and making the society collapse from the inside before their vessels appear and they take over a planet. This is extremely hard to translate into a board game, especially one like this that takes 2 hours to play, and they struggle. Still, in the hands of a solid player, the Romulans are a force to be reckoned with. I just wouldn’t drop them into the lap of a novice player.



FINAL THOUGHTS:

I really like the Romulan expansion. It adds an amazing new ability to the game with Emergency Cloaking, the Romulans are a solid race, if a small bit weaker vs. the Federation and the Klingons. They can still definitely win the game, it just takes some more skill to do so. I wish the expansion cost $50 instead of $60- I am getting half the ships in the base game, half the command cards, a lot less of tiles/tokens/encounter/mission cards, and I have to pay 3/5 the cost of the base game instead of half, or even $40. It’s a bit overpriced when you look at it that way, but it’s still a solid expansion to pick up. The Romulans bring a lot to the game, and if you enjoy Fleet Captains, I highly encourage buying this and bringing them to your table. They provide an alternative way to win the game, they are fun to play and fun to play against, and you never quite know what they are up to. All in all, this makes an interesting dynamic in the game, and they provide a lot of interesting twists to the game that are incredibly interesting to see. I enjoy this expansion, and recommend picking it up if you enjoy the base game. The Romulans are really interesting to play, and fun to play against.


Check out my other reviews at Reviews by Mil05006
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Jo Bartok
Germany
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Interaction leads to Immersion.
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Immersion leads to Fun.
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I just wish they had one with the borg...
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Paul Lodge
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Great review; just wish we could actually buy either of the expansions here in the U.K.!
 
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Aaron Mesnar
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Great review! I agree with the post below wish we had Borg expansion!
 
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