Over the Easter weekend some family was visiting and I got to break out my Starcraft box and play my first game of StarCraft the Boardgame. For the three of us it was all our first time playing, so definitely a learning game. I had to produce a twelve-sided die to randomize who would be first player. Chance smiled on me and I won. After a muddled setup the breakdown was this:
myself playing the Overmind (Zerg) green w/ my home base on Bekhar Ro (sp?)
my brother Mark playing Arcturus Mengsk (Terran) Red w/ his home base on Chau Sara
my father playing Tassadar (Protoss) yellow w/ his home base on Pridewater.
The layout of the planets reminded me somewhat of a short snake. If I stretched the snake out from one end to other the planets would go in this order; Bekhar Ro, Vyktor V, Becker, Chau Sara, Antiga Prime, & Pridewater. We had two playable Z-axis connections connecting Bekhar Ro & Vyktor V to Pridewater (I’ve probably horribly misspelled all the planets).
In the first turn we all expanded. I mobilized forces to Vyktor V and built a base. Mark moved to Becker and built a base. My father moved to Antigua Prime but had not planted a build order. Instead he amassed more Zealots, workers, and added a transport on the Z-axis to Bekhar Ro. I responded by building my own transport along the same line. We all did some cheap tech so we each had at least one event card to play (my dad had accumulated two). In playing event cards, I was able to build an anti-air support module at a discounted price (very handy) and my father moved the connection between Beckhar Ro and Pridewater to be between Beckar Ro and Antigua Prime.
In the next turn my dad and I got to fighting. He assaulted 3 of my Zerglings on Beckhar Ro with 3 of his Templars. My anti-air support module kept him from jumping on my base. Interestingly all units were slain in the battle, so a defender victory. I had used the major values of my Zergling cards and he had committed to a battle where he only had minor values to play. In retaliation, after a quick build, I sent at strike force to claim the conquest point on Antigua Prime, I easily overwhelmed his one Zealot. At last he built a base on one of the other territories of the planet. While Dad and I were duking it out, Mark built and tech’ed up. He also added a transport to threaten Vyktor V. During event play I got an additional transport and responded in kind. Now I was playing a two-front war.
Then it was Mark’s turn to get punchy with me. Again, my anti-air support module limited the invasion access of my planet. Mark struck first with a mix of ground forces against 4 zerglings. Amazingly enough all of our units survived. Sadly for Mark, the stacking limit of what was left behind on Becker, had him trashing two marines. My counter attack wiped out all the ground forces on one of his zones. I mistakenly did not retreat my excess Zerglings and instead discarded them (whoops). I now had a beachhead on both Antigua Prime and Becker. My dad spent this time replenishing his Protoss army and tech’ing up. He did not strike at me.
Moving into the mid game, the costs of waging war on two fronts became excessive. My father regained his turf on Antigua Prime and I fought him back and forth on Beckhar Ro nearly every turn. In a desperate move I force mined my own mineral resources (partially depleting them) to keep up. This would be proven as a mistake later in the game. Mark and I traded blows on Becker, my infestation proved stronger (and luckier) than either of us thought possible. I also force mined the minerals on Becker, eventually to complete exhaustion, when it was obvious I would lose the turf.
One major set back in the mid game was an event card played by my father that completely exhausted two partially depleted resource cards. Yikes! On the other hand a mistake by Mark allowed one burrowing Zergling to move from the minerals territory on Becker to the undefended gas territory on the planet. Nyah nyah! An attack on two Reavers positioned on Antigua Prime was utterly repulsed. I lost all ground units committed to the battle and my mutalisks fluttered back home despondent.
The end game came quickly upon us. A number of research actions and discarded actions had moved through the event deck at a good clip. At the start of the end game it was only my beachhead on Becker that was keeping Mark from meeting his special victory requirement. Additionally I was tied with my Dad for territories controlled, preventing him from claiming Tassadar’s special victory. I was in the lead with normal victory points but with an enemy base on Antigua Prime and Becker, I would be unable to plant a third base until I had destroyed the enemy. With my minerals shortage, I was having a rough enough time fending off the Terrans and the Protoss.
I gambled on threatening Pridewater by building a transport on the connecting Z-axis navigation point with Vyktor V. My father responded by turtling up Pridewater by drawing forces from Antigua Prime. An event card had given me unexpected reinforcements on Becker, a Guardian and a scourge. I had hoped those forces would hold one more turn.
Unfortunately, I had overestimated the guardian’s defensive value. Mark sent in a mob of Goliaths armed with ‘flawless attack plan.’ My flyers were incinerated in the sky before they knew what hit them. Adding insult to injury, a mistake in the orders I laid out kept me from striking back at Becker. Mark won with his special victory condition, complete control of two planets. What a stinker!
Again this was definitely a learning game for all involved. During the course of the game we had messed up the play of event cards, dealing of combat cards at setup, and a handful of retreats. Other lessons that were learned included the following:
* Only attack with units that you have the major combat cards in hand for. Relying on minor card values is a sure recipe for disaster.
* Don’t force mine on turf that you solidly expect to hold for the length of the game.
* Never underestimate your enemy.
If I had to play the game over again, I probably would have pushed more against my dad on Antigua Prime instead of turning my attention to Mark. This may not have changed a thing or perhaps made the situation worse for me. Annoyingly Mark and my Dad never traded blows. My Dad didn’t even build a transport threatening an assault on the Terrans, though Mark did have a transport connecting Chau Sara to Antigua Prime (he just never had to use it). My thinking is that if I had followed up by overwhelming Antigua Prime, I would have been able to handle any gains Mark had made on Vyktor V. That and Antigua Prime simply has more resources than Becker.
Definitely Starcraft the Boardgame is a game that I would want to play again. Total playtime for us was five hours (not bad for a game where you’re muddling through the rules). I anticipate that the next time I play that the game speed will be quicker. We all agreed that more players would probably have made the game more interesting.