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Star Trek: Five-Year Mission

November 8th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Who’s ready to boldly go?  I thought so…after all, who can resist the feeling of raising shields and exploring the unknown with the iconic characters we all know and love?  “Star Trek: Five-Year Mission” does exactly that, tasking players with cooperatively getting through a multitude of events (called alerts) we’ve seen in the various episodes on television.  Get through enough alerts before the Enterprise explodes and you win the game, though failing enough to plunge the Alpha Quadrant into darkness is indeed a real possibility.  Will you choose characters from “The Original Series” or “Next Generation” (yes, you can play as either) and more importantly, will you succeed where they did?

 

Star Trek: Five-Year Mission

Star Trek: Five-Year Mission – 3-7 Players*, Ages 10+, Average Play Time = 45 Minutes

 

*While the rulebook doesn’t mention this, you CAN play solo or with two players…though you have to control multiple characters at once making your experience slightly more complicated.

Components

The game includes 112 Alert Cards, 7 Crew Boards, 1 Enterprise Condition Board, 1 Enterprise Condition Marker, 1 Sand Timer, and 35 Six-Sided Dice (14 Blue, 7 Yellow, and 14 Red).

Setup & Gameplay

Firstly, players will choose which era to play as (TOS or TNG), flip the boards to the appropriate side, and take the alert cards of the other era out of the game (those that list both can stay in).  Players choose one character and receive one yellow, two blue, and two red dice (it’s recommended that players include a Captain and Doctor to make the game easier). Each alert deck is shuffled separately, with the “To Boldly Go” card placed under the blue alert deck.  In a 3-4 Player game, add 1 blue, red, and yellow die to the dice pool on the Enterprise condition board, otherwise nothing is placed there except for the damage marker (which is placed on the start space).  The Captain goes first with play proceeding clockwise.

A player observes five phases on their turn:

1. Draw a new alert card – The player draws a card from one of the three decks.  The colors they can choose from depends on what color the damage marker sits.  If the marker is on a blue space, then the player can choose any of the three decks.  If it’s on yellow, then they can only choose to draw from the yellow or red decks, and etc.  Persistent effects are observed.  If more than three alerts of a color are laid out, then the oldest immediately fails and is placed into the fail pile.  Five fails and the game ends in a loss for all players.

2. Replenish Dice – If the player has less than five dice on their board (split between their injury and action spaces), then they may take from the pool until they have five.

3. Roll Dice – The player rolls the dice taken during replenishment and any dice they want in their action space.  Dice in the injury space are not rolled.  The results are placed in the action space.

4. Place Dice – The player may assign dice in their action space to alert cards and/or use them for special abilities.  You can also repair the Enterprise in this manner.  Completed alert cards with a Starfleet insignia on them go in the victory points pile.  Completed alert cards with special one-time use abilities are placed in front of the active player.  Completed alert cards without either are discarded into that color’s discard pile.

5. End Turn – Any unused dice stay in the player’s action space and play moves clockwise.

A player may skip steps 2-4 to heal themselves by taking one die from the injury space and placing it into the dice pool.  If the damage marker goes off the last space, the Enterprise is destroyed and the game ends.  If players manage to satisfy the victory condition (depends on the difficulty level, but usually involves completing a number of alerts with the Starfleet insignia on them), they’ll win the game!

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.

 

Star Trek: Five-Year Mission

 

The Review

First and foremost, I bought this game because I’m a huge Star Trek fan.  Luckily, you don’t have to be a Star Trek fan in order to enjoy this game.  You could slap a Lord of the Rings or Star Wars theme onto this and it would function just as well.  The gameplay mechanics are that sound. Speaking of which, I enjoyed the resource management aspect of the game as this forces players to coordinate and go after a few alert cards at a time.  “Star Trek: Five-Year Mission” is like “Roll For It!” in that regard in that you have a limited number of dice to assign across multiple cards.  I also found this game to be reminiscent of “Elder Sign” in that you’re rolling dice to resolve cards as quickly as possible, lest they pile up and result in a fail condition (only three alerts per color can be present at a time or they begin failing automatically).

The minimum player count of three is recommended, but not necessary to play the game.  You can play solo or with two players IF you’re willing to be creative as the manual does not list any variants. In the case of two players, I found that if each player controlled two people (each of which has their own dice), then you’ll be fine.  You could also try sharing a third crew member.  The game can easily be modded to suit your play style so if you wanted to make it easier, you could ignore the timed alerts and/or add more dice to the starting dice pool.  Just be forewarned that it’s harder to manage multiple character boards at once than it is for each player to be responsible for their own.  If you’re able to juggle multiple boards in other games you might play, then this won’t be a problem.

Just to quickly sum this up for you, “Star Trek: Five-Year Mission” most certainly has all the makings of a great cooperative game.  The character’s abilities and the ability to take dice from a central pool will keep all involved engaged, even when it’s not their turn.  The fact that you can easily switch from The Original Series to The Next Generation from game to game is a nice touch. It’s a shame that the developers couldn’t include some solo/two player variants, because the 3-7 player limit may turn some off as soon as they look at the box.  Luckily, we’re smart enough to use our imaginations, assuming you’re not the immovably rigid type and HAS to play exactly as the rule book states.  That would be a shame, as this is one five-year mission that you won’t want to miss.

Final Verdict: 8/10

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