After my wife and I put our son to sleep, she let me run off to my FLGS, which is all of five minutes from my house, and me and a few exhasuted Warhammer 40k players sat down to try out my copy of Starcraft.
(They were exhausted as they'd just finished up an 18 player 'Ard Boyz tourney, not becuase they'd been LARPing Warhammer 40k or something... although... anyway, I digress)
We broke it out and started setting it up. Now, I'd read the rules several times but hadn't gotten around yet to bagging up the armies. That was a mistake--this game takes a long time to separate out into the six armies, so something learned for next time.
I explained the rules to everyone (several times, as we had three different people playing Jim Raynor's faction within about fifteen mintues of setup and rules explanation). Fortunately, two of the guys playing had read the rules themselves from somebody else's copy, although they'd never played either. The galaxy setup left me feeling pretty confident. I was closest to the two least agressive players in the game (having played other games with them before) and I felt confident I could redirect the other Zerg player away from me towards Raynor's Terrans, who was linked to him via a Z axis gate. Everyone had a pretty good grasp and then we started playing.
I was the Green Zerg (can't remember what the faction name is), the other two guys who'd played before were the Orange Protoss and Queen of Blades Zerg, while three new guys were the Red Terrans, Raynor's Terrans, and the Yellow Protoss.
The game started off with me rapidly expanding, just like I like to do with the Zerg in the PC game. Everyone else sort of ho-hummed around for a bit, researching tech and building things like it was space Sim City.
I far outstripped everyone with four conquest points gained my first turn and there had been no combat.
The next turn, everything began in earnest.
The Queen of Blades Zerg player took it to the Blue Terrans and almost wiped out their base, coming within one marine of wiping them out. The other players, being 40k guys, declared that he was most definitely a member of whichever chapter of Space Marines they like the best was, and there was a brief digression into whether he was armed with a mecha-melter or heavy bolter or what.
The end of my previous turn had netted me the Scout event card, which I'd used to place some Zerglings on the Red Terrans home planet--these Zerglings now ate some marines and then later in the turn I linked the Z gates on one of the planets I expanded to my first turn to Red's home planet in preparation for my invasion.
The Red player, for his part, messed up his orders but still managed to expand to another planet, unwisely pissing off the Yellow Protoss player who had his sights set on it.
The Orange Protoss player quietly expanded to another planet, building modules and technology in preparation for a massive building blitz later. He was sitting pretty, becuase while he didn't have many conquest points, he was closest to both other Terran players, who had their hands full dealing with the Zerg.
I took five conquest points that turn, and everyone else only got one or two. However, I was short on resource prodcuing territories, because of my haste for conquest points. This would be an issue later.
The next turn saw more combat between me and Red, another abortive invasion onto the Blue Terran planet by the Purple Zerg, and some brief skirmishes between Yellow Protoss and Red as the Protoss kicked Red off their planet.
I was feeling pretty good, as I still held five more conquest tokens, and while my attack on Red Terrans didn't go quite as well as planned (damn human Stimpacks!), I was ready to reinforce with another Ultralisk next turn and finish off Red. Even with the Queen of Blades chirping on about my large number of conquest points, I wasn't worried. Sure, the massive jugggernaut that was the Orange Protoss was close by, but he couldn't reach me anwyay, and my other planet nearest the Purple Zerg was also fairly safe, as the Queen of Blades was focused on Blue.
I can't remember everyone's event cards but the Orange Protoss and Queen of Blades players both played the Navigation Error event cards--bad news for me. The net effect was to link my staging world for my attacks on Red's homeworld instead to the evil Orange Protoss, whilst simultaneously cutting off my stranded Ultralisk on Red's homeworld from any support. Also, the Queen of Blades connected his homeworld with my other planet, preparing for a massive invasion.
The next turn was brutal. Despite my attempts to build, the Orange Protoss wiped out the Zerg infestation on my staging planet and prepared themselves for an attack on my homeworld. The Queen of Blades, fortunately, screwed up his order placement and forgot to build a transport, giving my other planet a brief reprieve. Red pushed back my invasion off his planet and Blue Terran and Yellow Protoss had a huge throwdown over a backwater territory in which clever cardplay and unit selection by Blue resulted in some dead Zealots and some happy Wraith pilots.
At this point, sadly, Will, the store owner announced that it was time to pack up so he could close on time (it was now 2345). We reluctantly packed it all up with my claiming the victory because:
"Its my game and I'm ahead in conquest points. I don't care if y'all would have wiped me out next turn. And you wouldn't have, anyway."
Queen of Blades and Orange Protoss both swore I'd be dead next turn, despite my protestations that I'd get a build in before they came crashing through to my remaing planets, but agreeing to call it a victory for me anyway.
Overall, I really liked this game. Someone on here described it as a greatest hits from Fantasy Flight, incorporating lots of good elements from their other games. I agree--I love the orders system cribbed from A Game of Thrones, I like the theme and feel, and changing galaxy setup from TI:3 (the changing Z gates even harkens back to good ole' Buck Rogers from Milton Bradley).
In fact, while I like TI:3, I think Starcraft may take it's place--while Starcraft isn't quite as deep, it forces players into combat, where in our games of TI:3, turtling seems to be the favored tactic.
The feel of Starcraft is fast and brutal, and while there's a lot of rules, the rules, for the most part, make sense, and once you play a round or two, everything is pretty intuitive.
I'm looking forward to playing it again, and everyone who played agreed I should bring it back and, as one player said "This thing really feels like Starcraft--it isn't just some wargame with a Starcraft skin on it."
High praise, and true.
I bought starcraft when it was released by FFG a couple years ago. It is still my favorite game. The expansion adds a lot of interesting tactics to the game without ruining the original. Give it a try!
Yeah. I wasn't interested in this at all when it came out, but then got a chance to play a game of it. Went out the next day and bought it at full retail
And yes, Brood War is very good. Not quite as much of a "fix pack" as Shattered Empire was for TI3, but pretty important nonetheless. Adds a ton of good stuff that makes the game better.
I also got Starcraft some weeks ago, and damn, it's brutal. Figures are pretty nice, and the board being made of planets put by players is cool too.
Also, the most important thing for me, as already mentioned, is that it really feels like the pc games, which mostly all the SC:TbG players must have tried before.
High action and fast combat game too, as you don't need to wait a lot of turns (actually, none) to wipe out other players army (or yours ).