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Subject: Star Trek Expeditions rss

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Trey Stone
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I love Star Trek. It is my first and still one of my greatest fandom loves. I seek good games which can capture the essence of Star Trek, that being adventure, exploration, wonder and a sense of teamwork. There have been many games dealing with the Trek Universe, but few have captured all of these elements. The adventure games from West End were great, but they are out of print and can be hard to get. Star Fleet Battles is a GREAT wargame, but even though it is a terrific military simulation in the Trek Universe, that is only a small part of what Star Trek deals with.

Now, there's Star Trek Expeditions. And I'm just going to say, I was doubtful from the get go. I'm not a big Renier Knizia fan, as his games tend to be mathy and dry for me. The components for Lord Of the Rings were wonderful, but it took a grand quest and turned it into an exercise in mathematics. I never was immersed into the Quest of the One Ring and the knife's edge upon which Middle Earth stood. But I love Star Trek, and what I read about the game made me curious, what with the crew of the good ship Enterprise responding to a crisis on a planet seeking Federation membership and finding Klingon shenanigans. And structurally, that's what you get, along with beautiful components and production values.

But then, there's the execution. When crew beam down to a planet, it's just a matter of adding up numbers to accomplish a mission. And it FEELS that way. The mechanics don't create a feel, they feel just like the dry mathematical mechanics they are. They don't immerse. Space combat is especially such. It is way too abstract and absent in tactical options, and is just about mathematical reality. Initially, the Klingon ship has the edge on the Enterprise. But if she can hang in there and damage the Klingon ship enough, she can defeat it. And unless we were playing wrong, crewmembers on board the ship don't even seem to effect the space engagement.

Too abstract, too mathy, no immersive enough. We aren't playing the adventure, we are engaging in an exercise in calculation. And it feels like it.

I gave it a 6.0 overall. Visually appealing, noble effort, better that LOTR...but still not Trek enough.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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I almost think it lacks in the visual department too. Minis aside, the planet is rather plain and boring (kind of like the game). I really wonder about the replayability too, since all the missions are the same. The only real variances are where they are located and how many crew members you have at the time of the mission...

-shnar
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Erin Sparks
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We enjoyed the game but I can certainly see the included mission getting old fast. However, it seems that it wouldn't be too hard for fans to make more.
 
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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I agree with your assessment of the ST:Expeditions game, but completely disagree with this...

tstone wrote:
The components for Lord Of the Rings were wonderful, but it took a grand quest and turned it into an exercise in mathematics.


The LOTR co-op game is an "exercise in mathematics?" How? If there's any criticism of that game I'd agree with, it's that it's somewhat abstract (but even then, the theme is there in a lot of ways). There is nothing remotely like in ST:E, where you're adding a bunch of +2's and Clix numbers till the cows come home for every mission resolution. And I wouldn't have necessarily minded that in ST:E if it worked into the flow of the game, but you're right, that's what it feels like... adding numbers.

I still love LOTR and think it holds up well and gives a great amount of tension and drama, especially as it gets into Mordor (if you make it that far) and in particular with the Battlefields expansion. ST:E was disappointing, though.
 
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Trey Stone
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Playing LOTR felt like an exercise in addition and subtraction, rather than the hobbits on the fellowship trying to reach Mount Doom. Yes, just about any game you can mention has math in it's mechanics, not the issue. For me, do the mechanics combined together create a "feel" that lends to being wrapped up in the story, the epic being spun before you?

Or do they feel like math?

It's a subjective thing, but STE and LOTR by Knizia feel like dry exercises in math trying to be an adventure game.
 
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Wes
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I don't remember a lot of mathematics in LOTR. There's hand management and you play cards on a track. So if you mean 1+1+1+1+1+...=100 then yeah there's addition, but I think it was more card play and risk management with some tough choices such as when you need to move a certain track to avoid a timed event and put your character at risk.

Star Trek has a tedious amount of addition with numbers printed on game pieces, board elements, and cards. That doesn't stir any images of LOTR to me. In fact, I think if LOTR wasn't designed by Knizia, no one would be comparing the two.
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Trey Stone
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TheSquatch wrote:

Star Trek has a tedious amount of addition with numbers printed on game pieces, board elements, and cards. That doesn't stir any images of LOTR to me. In fact, I think if LOTR wasn't designed by Knizia, no one would be comparing the two.


Probably not. Because, procedurally, they aren't much alike. But both of them come across as dry exercises and not an adventure. Knizia is the common denominator. He's a designer whose strengths aren't well matched to good adventure games, IMO.
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Sean Shaw
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I'm a big star trek fan and I'd have to disagree with the review (still thumbed it though). I think it is one of the first games to actually capture the spirit of Star Trek. Sure, a lot of it is analytical, but you see that in the episodes as well. It's the cooperative nature (hey, I need the doctor over here, Uhura, I need you to tackle that...etc) that really makes it feel like Star Trek.
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Wes
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Yeah. That I can see. He doesn't bug me as a designer the way he seems to bother other people. I end up supplying myself with a lot of the drama and theme as a fan of the media. If you dropped someone who had never read nor watched the LOTR series or Star Trek in front of the games, they wouldn't be able to give an account of what they were about after playing them.
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Bill Eldard
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GreyLord wrote:
I'm a big star trek fan and I'd have to disagree with the review (still thumbed it though). I think it is one of the first games to actually capture the spirit of Star Trek. Sure, a lot of it is analytical, but you see that in the episodes as well. It's the cooperative nature (hey, I need the doctor over here, Uhura, I need you to tackle that...etc) that really makes it feel like Star Trek.


At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I've played the game a few times, and I think for the broader audience it is appealing to, it does an excellent job of capturing the essence of Trek missions.

You assemble the optimum mix of crew skills and devices available, add a die roll, and compare. It takes team work and decisions, and there is an element of racing against the clock. You may win or you may lose; I've done both..

Star Trek shows and movies work similarly, except that the crew always accomplishes mission within the alotted time (1 Terra hour for shows; 2+ if it's a movie), and they always win.

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Trey Stone
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I am proud to say that in the first game I played, I and my gaming buddy did succeed in accomplishing the mission, though not too high a score, playing at the highest level. We even kakked the Klingon ship. We even went on the attack.
 
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