Star Trek: The Game
Like “Trivial Pursuit”? Like “Star Trek”? Perhaps you should take a gander at “Star Trek: The Game”, which was published back in the early 1990’s. I had a copy as a kid, but I was admittedly more interested in firing phasers than I was answering some quote unquote “silly” trivia questions. Last night (1/3/14), I pulled this game out of mothballs to see if it was actually any good. I’d tell you to buckle your seatbelts and prepare for warp speed, but those of us who watch “Star Trek” know that the former seems to have been cut from the budget.
Game Board – The board consists of a number of spaces (called light years), with planets at the four corners and a Federation starbase in the center.
Trivia Cards – There are a total of five trivia card decks: warp one thru warp four and a docking deck. The trivia questions are easy at warp one but get progressively harder.
Status Consoles & Tokens – Status consoles have a total of nine token slots, designed to hold the five ship system tokens (two warp engines, one impulse engine, one force field, and one phaser) and four planet citation tokens as they are earned.
Awards of Valor Tokens – Players will earn these tokens for performing heroic acts (towing a ship back to starbase) and can spend them to repair ship systems as needed.
Players Spheres & Die – Players will be moving their player pieces (spheres) around the board using the die.
Setup & Gameplay
Each player will receive a status console and one of each ship system type (except for the two warp engines, which are in different colors). They’ll also pick a sphere and place it at the starbase as their starting location. The starting player is determined via a die roll (highest goes first). The object of this game is to visit all four planets (marked by yellow spaces), gain their citations by answering trivia questions correctly, and return to starbase. The first person to do so, wins the game.
On a player’s turn, they’ll roll the die and move that many spaces. At the end of their movement, they’ll draw a trivia card from one of the five decks. The appropriate deck to use can be summed up as follows:
1) If moving from starbase to your first planet, use the warp one deck.
2) If moving from your first planet to the second planet, use the warp two deck.
3) If moving from your second planet to your third planet, use the warp three deck.
4) If moving from your third planet to your fourth planet, use the warp four deck.
5) If moving from your fourth planet to starbase, use the docking deck.
If a player answers the trivia question correctly at the end of their turn, they get to roll and move again. It’s possible to keep moving in this fashion so as long as the player gets the questions correct.
There’s a few other things to note, but they are very minor. I’ll opt to end the gameplay summary here and cover some of it in the review.
Dammit Jim, I might not be a game developer, but I’m fairly certain that I could crap out a better game than this. Where do I begin!?
Let’s start with the board itself. While there are areas dedicated to Klingon and Romulan space, there are absolutely no reasons to go through them. It would be one thing if the planets you were tasked with getting to were inside these zones, but they’re not. Not only does going through their spaces dock your movement action by half, but some of these spaces are dangerous. I honestly don’t see why the developers even bothered adding these zones at all. Other spaces also restrict and change movement rules (forcing players to go a particular way, etc.), but again, they can be avoided.
Ship systems act like “lives” moreso than individual entities. There’s no penalty for losing the force field (which SHOULD be “shield” by the way) or the phaser systems, as there is no player combat. If the player loses all three movement systems (two warp and one impulse), the ship is stranded. This doesn’t make sense to me, as warp is used to travel between solar systems/galaxies and impulse is used to travel within a solar system. This might sound like a nerd moment, but they are certainly not one in the same and should not be treated as such. There’s no movement penalty in this game for having only impulse left…why? Oh, and the rules say that certain trivia cards cause the loss of ship systems, but I personally found one reference to this out of the one hundred cards I scanned. There are spaces on the board that cause system loss, but again, they can be avoided.
On a positive note, the trivia cards are plentiful, ranging from somewhat easy to near impossible to answer (unless you have a photographic memory). The art on the card fronts are straight screen grabs, with each trivia card back containing six questions (one for each number of the die roll). In all honesty, this is where the heart of the game lies. The board and everything else seemed more like an afterthought. To make the game easier for other players, one could simply stick to the warp one deck throughout the entire game…at least the game is flexible enough to accommodate for house rules. The trivia cards are this game’s only saving grace and the only reason I haven’t listed this game on eBay yet. Even the box insert was a pitiful attempt, as it did nothing to hold the trivia cards in place once the box was closed.
When it comes down to it, “Star Trek: The Game” doesn’t go where no man has gone before…it barely leaves its zip code. So many things about this game simply don’t make sense, making me wonder if the designers had even watched any of the episodes. If you’re a “Trek-a-holic” like myself, do you and your family a favor: pass the trivia cards around the table or living room and simply have fun trying to answer the questions. Those not well versed in the “Trek” universe can stick to the warp one cards while the more experienced can up the ante with a higher warp deck. The rest of the components should just simply be used for spare parts, as none of it really conforms with the “Trek” we all know and love.
Final Verdict: 2/10