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David Scolari
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Recently I had the chance to play Victory Point Games' Star Borders: Humanity with my friend:
Ethan Heck
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He has posted a nicely summarized session report of our two games and I now want to flesh out his session report with a review of the overall game.

First, as usual, VPG components are functional, pretty, and concise.

Furthermore, the rules (only 4 pages) are well written, clear, and concise.

The concept of the game is that two players represent two "empires" in the galaxy and are fighting each other in some backwater corner of the galaxy.

Gameplay is very simple with players getting an action phase where they can buy cards to gain special advantages, move ships, requisition more ships, and repair ships. Then there is combat phase for ships to duke it out over planets and then a housekeeping phase where the player places control markers and collects resources known as Logistics Points.

Gameplay is thus very simple and very easy to learn, but how fun is it?

I admit I was a tad bit skeptical. At first impression (without playing) this game seemed like a dice game in the same vein as Risk.I mean comon I said to myself, Risk has more pages of instructions but really is not that great of game. How can this game be any better. Despite this feeling, I decided to give it a shot. To say that I was totally wrong would be a vast understatement. This game blew me away!

You see, the game would be like Risk if it were not for two things A) the differences between the two sides and B) The Logistics POints

First the differences between the two sides. There are two sides in Star Borders: Humanity, the Alliance, and the Imperium. The Imperium side has stronger ships while the Alliance has weaker ships. However, this is balanced by the fact that the Alliance has more ships and these ships are generally faster than Imperium ships. This creates for a very interesting interactions. If the Imperium ships stick together, they are almost unstoppable; however, if they stick together, they will have gaps in their "lines" Thus, the Alliance with their more and faster ships can generally exploit these gaps as the maps are designed so that are no choke points. One of the best parts about the game then is the process of trying to exploit your opponents weaknesses. If I attack now, my stronger ships have a good chance of wiping out his weaker ships, but that will leave gaps and my opponent could cause a serious ruckus if he commits ships to that gap. Or, I could send my ships around his main fleet and try to get at his bases in the rear, but if my opponent falls back or leaves a small contingent in one area and takes his fleet to counter these flank attacks my weaker ships will be wiped out. These are just some of thoughts that will go through ones mind as one is playing this game.

So the second thing that makes this game awesome is the use of Logistics Points (LPs) LPs are used for everything from buying cards, to moving ships, to getting more ships, and repairing other ships. One will find that one never has enough LPs to do all that one wants. Thus,one will be faced with the decision of where to prioritize their LPs. Does one use LPs for movement to try and gain more resources and gain a positional advantage on the enemy at the cost of not getting powerful cards or replacing those ships you just lost? The LPs add a second layer of depth to the game.

So in sum, SB:H is a easy game to learn, but hard to master and absolutely wonderful!
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Lance McMillan
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Thanks for the positive review; glad you enjoyed the game.

Keep watching the VPG website for the first expansion, 'StarBorders: Aliens,' which will add two new distinctly different (and fully compatible with the 'Humanity' set) races to the game. The idea is to keep the game system simple overall, but increase the depth and replayability of the game.

- Lance McMillan
designer, "StarBorders: Humanity"
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Joshua Gottesman
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I really think one of the critical differences is the 9 LP limit for the Alliance and 6 LP limit for the Imperium. Not only do they have fewer ships, they aren't able to move as far in a pinch. If the Imperium buys a card at the beginning of a turn, its options are very limited. Requesting new ships takes 1/6 or more of their available LP, getting 1 new ship is at least 1/3 of their LP, while for the Alliance it may only be 22%. It gives the Alliance a lot of strategic flexibility. Unfortunately, if the Imperium can bring the Alliance fleet to battle, its generally going to be in trouble.
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Steve Carey
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David, from the looks of things recently you've become a raving fan of VPG - welcome to the club.
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David Scolari
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Steve Carey wrote:
David, from the looks of things recently you've become a raving fan of VPG - welcome to the club. :)


I swear it is not an addiction! I can stop at anytime. Oooo, hey look, Astra Titanus.....
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David Scolari
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Joshuaaaaaa wrote:
I really think one of the critical differences is the 9 LP limit for the Alliance and 6 LP limit for the Imperium. Not only do they have fewer ships, they aren't able to move as far in a pinch. If the Imperium buys a card at the beginning of a turn, its options are very limited. Requesting new ships takes 1/6 or more of their available LP, getting 1 new ship is at least 1/3 of their LP, while for the Alliance it may only be 22%. It gives the Alliance a lot of strategic flexibility. Unfortunately, if the Imperium can bring the Alliance fleet to battle, its generally going to be in trouble.


I would somewhat agree. Yes the Alliance can in theory do more things, but they also have more ships so I think it balances out somewhat.
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Ethan McKinney
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WindowsMEXP wrote:
Thus, the Alliance with their more and faster ships can generally exploit these gaps as the maps are designed so that are no choke points.


This isn't quite true. There are double choke points at the entrance to each side's home board, which has pluses and minuses. It's hard for your enemy to get onto your home board, but if they push you back onto it, it's hard for you to get back out of it. This actually benefit the Empire more because of their excellent slugging match performance. (A double choke point mean that everything necks down to a single system, which then connects to a single system, and then things branch out from there.)

The asteroid fields provide another sort of choke point because they stop movement for the turn. Anchoring a flank on a asteroid field doesn't make it invulnerable, but it does give you a turn to respond the movement (well, depending on initiative rolls ...).
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Alan Emrich
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Star Borders is like Ogres - it has layers
Well, you'll find lots of nuances in each scenario, particularly as twisted by the appearance of a timely card or two, the initiative shifting, and sudden death endings. It's doesn't pay to dawdle too much, that's for sure.

If any of you would care to design your own scenarios and/or new maps, we'd really be interested in seeing more out there. The stuff in HUMANITY is sort of a "rainbow sherbet" sampling of the larger flavors to come in this series. But it certainly includes the tools for you guys to design your own "mission pack."

Alan Emrich
Developer, Star Borders: Humanity
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