I played this game quite a bit in my youth...well...quite a bit being rather open to interpretation. I played it, got bored, and played it some more. I wasn't all that thrilled with it at the time, and some of it was probably due to the game itself rather boring me, but also due to the same thing some would say I suffer from today. I can be somewhat fascinated by bits, and this game has cheap parts. That said, that's also a good thing since if one wants to play the game, everything one needs to play this is here on the Geek (I know, I checked the files to make sure the rules and the player sheets actually matched the game, and were complete enough to play, and you can draw or make your own ships and astroid parts from the pictures if you so desire, you can probably even have better parts than what came with the game!). So, If after reading my review you have a great desire to play this game, then go out and either find a used copy, OR if you want higher quality parts, or perhaps cheaper copies, you could make your own (and since I believe it's no longer in print, probably no one is going to get angry with me making that suggestion).
The game scores the following.
Materials - 1
Rules Presentation - 3
Gameplay - 6
Personal Tilt - 5
Replayability - 7
Useability - 4
Final Score - 4.2
Okay, so it looks like the game will score somewhat below average here, but that's no reason to despair, for one who really wants to play the LAST starfighter, or at least pretend to be on the ships, this could be a good game to play.
Materials - This is NOT a game you give a young kid. In fact, most games like this are not games you should entrust anywhere around young kids. I was a young kid when I got this game, and this game went through disaster after disaster. I got it for a birthday present. I suppose they thought I would be fascinated with it, and I was...for a little while. This could have been an expensive game, or it may have been dirt cheap, I don't know, but as a kid I treated it as dirt cheap. It was made out of flimsy cardboard, and hence I didn't value it that much. For me at that time, if it was made out of that material, when other games such as Risk (yes, I know...Risk) had a nice board and plastic parts, then this game of cardboard must be worth a LOT less. Now days, whilst I still judge a material portion of a game upon how durable it is and integration of parts (hence the low score of this game) I also realize a very expensive game may not be based upon the materials used, but upon time to research, write, playtest, and of course create a game. There are far more areas upon what makes a game great or not, or valuable or not (but note, as of writing this review, I DO have an AT microbadge, which should tell you something), so this is only a portion of the review.
In order to play this game again, I had to create my own portions (which actually isn't that hard, you could do it, if you create it quickly and little care, in all of about 5 to 10 minutes...though it could take you a LOT longer if you want to make a higher quality game and have the spaces be a little bit more neat than scribbled squares that correlate to the spaces of the game, the hardest part is going to be reading the turn difficulties in order to transfer them to the cards or alternatively, you could use that an easy turn is about a 4, a harder turn about a 6, and a round the corner turn an 8 to 10, but it's your call if you are making the game).
The game itself did not survive my youth. By the time I was getting ready for High School, it was long destroyed by the vat of youthful excursions. Even the astroids had gone to that area where long outcast game parts go when abandoned.
I now regret it, as I have gotten into boardgaming with a passion. OH had I realized then what I realize now, I would have kept the gamebox in pristine condition, with the parts all carefully stored and packaged, for careful removal and play when I desired to play the Last Starfighter. Unfortunately that time is long gone, and the game lays in waste in some distant portion of the galaxy...hopefully Xur has not continued his rise to galactic domination in the meantime.
So, to put it bluntly, the materials of the game with which the game ships with are not that great. IN fact, rather terrible.
I give it a 1.
Rules Presentation - You can read these on the site. They are here for your reconstruction if you wish to download them. They are not the most fabulous rules presentation ever, and rather drear to read through. This is a difficult part to grade, since I know exactly how to play and what I'm doing, it's harder to say whether it's just because I know what I'm doing, that they are easy to understand or not. I can see some areas where it may be confusing to some, but overall it gets the job done. The rules themselves were not written on a great presentation however, and also were cheaply made (perhaps to compliment the rest of the materials the game came with). Overall, I was not impressed with the rules Presentation.
It scores a 3.
Gameplay - Well, here the scores should rise a little, and this should be a thing to note that not all games should be based upon materials or rules presentations, but upon how much fun they are, and how they play out. Okay...maybe not every time, since this game play doesn't really excel. Basically, You set up an astroid, enter it, circle around the tunnels and atttempt to shoot each other up. The last one surviving is the "Last Star Fighter."
This game actually is derived from the movie (Yes, this game is one of those MOVIE games) in which Alex is in an astroid and must do battle against some other ships which has followed him in. It's a small portion of the movie. If I now had this game, and easy access to the other games, I would have been excited to find out that there were other Last StarFighter games, which perhaps deal more with outerspace combat. I never played them, but I think they are bound to be more exciting (or I hope so).
However, I'm letting a little personal bias into this, which is reserved for the next section, so instead of that, I will instead write more on the actual gameplay.
The gameplay is clever, in that except for maneuvers and combat, the game is not really chanced based. Each player choose the speed their ship goes, by using a die to show how fast or slow they are moving. They then also can choose what direction they are moving through the tunnels. Turns can have difficulty ratings, which are dealt with through a players handling, which they use on a table to determine what they need to roll on two dice in order to make a turn.
The object is to shoot down the other starfighters in the tunnels. This can be represented by a Starfighter (old and new version), or Xurian fighters (or I suppose the Armada fighters). Ironically, I don't recall there being more than one starfighter in the movie, but apparantly in the game there can be more starfighters if both players want to play a Star Figther (and then if there are more players than that, they will have to play the bad guys...though it doesn't matter because the starfighters will STILL have to shoot each other down to win the game).
If you fail at making a corner, you will take damage. Take enough damage eventually, and you'll BLOW UP! (okay, not so exciting really, just had to throw that in there though...maybe you'll wake up from falling asleep in the middle of the review now).
If you manage not to blow up from failing to make a turn, then you hopefully can get on the tail of another starfighter, manage your speed well enough, to be able to shoot at them (which is the other portion of chance and luck in the game, you have to roll 2d6 here as well to get over a set number) and kill them. If you do it head on, beware, they get to fire right back at you!
Finally, of course, you could always just collide with another starship and BLOW UP! (Okay, did it again...but then...that's the most exciting portion of this game is to BLOW UP! I have to convey that somehow).
The gameplay isn't all that bad to tell the truth. It is rather simple, but it is enough to be somewhat of a mini wargame of science fiction...in an odd sort of way. Or at least a star fighter warship type war game of science fiction, or some sort of other odd thing.
I found it incredibly boring at portions, as it could be if people don't actually want to fight. Or if one doesn't want to get caught by the other guy (which invariably you don't, because you want to shoot the other guy instead).
The game is more of a maneuver game than really combat, as you maneuver through the tunnels in order to get a clear shot on the other people in there.
Not a bad game in gameplay.
It scores a 6.
Personal Tilt - This is one of those games that REQUIRE imagination in order to play. If you do not have imagination, it turns into a simple move the game piece type of game, where you only have one gamepiece to move. So, if you are imagination defunct, it would probably behoove you to find another game which has a lot more parts for a strategic type game, OR something with a more abstract and complex rules or strategy then this one.
If you HAVE a lot of imagination, this game could be right up your alley.
When I got this game I loved all things Star Wars, I loved Star Ships, and I loved Space battles. I even loved the last Star Fighter movie (and just about any cheesy space ship movie in the vein of a Star Wars rip off, and TV shows such as Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica, and the rest of that type of thing). I oozed imagination, and that's the only way I think I got through this game so much. It was great to imagine that I was the Last Starfighter zooming through the tunnels. Unfortunately, my friends were not quite as fascinated by these things and after many arm twistings and wrestlings on what we were to play, this game fell by the wayside to be played solo on rainy Sunday afternoons when I was exiled to the room for punishment on what is bound to have been endless escapades of fantastic adventure and intruigue against the evil overlords of doom...er...parents.
However, even I got easily bored, and after a game or two, couldn't stand any more of it that day (though it's time would come at yet another Saturday of exile). The only real enjoyment I think I got out of it was the imagination aspect, the game itself was boring.
I think my parents must have thought I would enjoy it or something, seeing what I was into. Hopefully they didn't spend an arm or leg on it, as I expressed above, due to the parts I didn't value it as an expensive item. (Now my Star Wars stuff, that lasted a long time, long enough to finally be packed up in boxes which probably could be sold to collectors, but instead to their horror, I'll probably get them to let my kids play with them instead...
So, overall, it's nostalgia that keeps me to have a soft part in the heart for this game, otherwise...it's not so much of a game that I actually enjoy playing for the sake of the game itself.
It scores a 5.
Replayability - Well, it comes with different astroid portions which can be placed in different positions each time you play. That adds a lot to it's replayability, and with the different choices of players of where to go, if one actually enjoys this game they could have quite a bit of replayability with it. On the other hand, if they don't (which this should go without saying, but I think there may be enough that may enjoy seeing how it goes one time for nostalgia's sake...of the movie that is), then it will have a terrible replay value. Overall, it scores above average due to a changing board for each play through, and variations that players can use (inclusive of the ability to create their own starfighter, which can change an entire aspect of gameplay each time).
It scores a 7.
Useability - Well, for starters this game can be played with 2 players...and can be played with more than that even. That's a plus. On the downside, whether they'll actually want to play this or not is another thing. This game is more for a certain niche of player ( one that I may have almost met, but probably was too young to be a part of when I got it) and otherwise, may not be a perfect fit for a game night. I think it could be useful for those who are curious, or want a nice easy game to fill up some time for one or two plays. After that, I think they may lose interest or not have any use. Some may see it and decide right out that they don't want to try. It's a hard gamble on how useful it may actually be for a game night. It can be played by multiple players, the thing is whether all those players will actually want to give this game a try, or rather try the most recent Euro or other game. If you make your own game, part of this can be raised to a higher score by making the parts look more appealing. The drab grey and brown, as well as small amount of chits and parts, make it so this game isn't all that visually appealing. However, once you can convince them to play, they may enjoy it more than they may first think they would.
It scores a 4.
Overall, this game is something that appeals to nostalgia. Even for the time period when the game was released, there were far more interesting and better games that came out. However, for those with a vivid imagination, a love for the movie The Last Starfighter, or maybe just star fighter combat in general, they should enjoy this game, even if they don't love it.
It's final score is a 4.2
(For reference, link to explanation of my game ratings http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/2426690#2426690 )
- Last edited Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:13 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:23 am
Thank you for the write up!