Category: Boardgame

02/08/08

Permalink 04:22:50 pm, Categories: Boardgame, 1053 words   English (US)

Starcraft

Cross posted at boardgamegeek


Overview

I was kind of septical when I first heard about this game, but being a big fan of fantasy flight games, I've decided to give it a try. I've also been a fan of the original video game.
So, after five games, always with three players, I can say I am really surprised about the game and I intend to play on a regular basis.
But, for the moment, let's see why ...

Product overview
- Game pieces : There are nice (not gorgeous) but some are physically broken. This is due to the way they are done and stocked into the box. In my opinion, this is unbelievable, given the price it is being sold and the quality it is aiming at. Also, the box is kind of dump !!! There is no way you can use it to stock back the pieces. Then again, unbelievable. It seems to be a general problem with some of FFG products (tide of iron, for instance), but what I don't understand is that games like a game of throne has a perfect box to put back the pieces.
- The rulebook : very badly done. Then again, it seems to be a general problem with FFG. This rulebook is built à la Arkham horror. So, good luck reading it !!!

In general, this product is of good quality, but franckly, some details really leave an unfinished touch to it. It doesn't prevent me from enjoying the game, but I tend to be discouraged each time I open the box to play (how can this be so badly done ???).

Game setup

I really, but really prefer games with short setup. Starcraft is kind of a different beast to me. Setup seems long, but once you get to know how to play a little, you soon realise you don't need all the elements of the setup. The way we came to play it, setup is very short : about fifteen minutes, with people getting pieces along the course of play, depending on their strategy.

Game mechanic
Game turns are basically divided into three steps, described here :
Planning
For those of you familiar with a game of throne, you'll find back some common mechanic : orders are putted facedown on the board. But, there are major, and very interesting differences :
- Players only put four orders, which restricts a lot what you plan to do (for instance, if you fight a lot, you won't build or research).
- Mobilise (or figth/march) orders are not placed on the starting location of the troops but at the destination. You want to attack an ennemy ? He'll know it for sure ...
- A single territory can have more than one order placed on it. Orders are played from the top to the bottom. And this is a mess !!! Very interesting mechanic here that really depends on whom is the first player (first guy to put an order on a location : the last order who will be played for that location). Many surprises (and mistakes at first) comes from this. For me, that's the core and more interesting part of the game.
Executing
Orders are executed. I won't go into details, but mention things I like or hate.
- Research tree : I was afraid of a tree that would look like civilisation ; a very big tree that every players will go thru. But this is quite simple in starcraft : you won't buy all the tech, that's for sure. You can even play without buying any tech. I think this is very nice and that allows more different kind of play.
- Buildings : then again, I was afraid !!! But like the tech tree, every player will need to focus on some strategy, some buildings he wants to build. Also, since players can play multiple build orders, it is very interesting (well, you won't do much other things that turn) because, then again, it allows more room for different strategies.
- Combat system : skirmish based combat. Individual figures oppose each other and for each "skirmish", players display a card (hidden). Most people like this, but I'm not a big fan ; too much luck involved. But, is it fun ? You bet it is fun !!!
- Resource gathering : very respectful of the video game. You'll need those "peasants" to gather the ressources ... but, if you build them, you might turn out to be slower on other things. Also, you can lose those units.
Regrouping
Essentially, the last part of the game. My comments :
- Special victory conditions : each faction has a unique special victory condition, which will greatly influences the way the game is played. Each and every game I played was won thru a special victory condition. Well, some people don't like this, but I do, and a lot.

Play overview

Here's what I think of the type of games starcraft generates :
- The spirit of the video game is very respected. But ... from a PvP point of view, not a campaign one. That means, games are fast, very fast ; and each player will use one or two elements of strategy. Forget about seeing all types of units. The game won't last that long.
- Each race is quite different to play and needs a different approach toward the strategy. Then again, quite respectful of the video game.
- Luck is an element, not a major one, but still ... From your starting planets to your combat cards, some elements of luck are involved. I normally don't like this, but the games are so quick that I can easily live with it !!
- Replay value : great, if not awesome. Different races, different planets and starting positions. Also, the games are so fast that many are needed to try many strategies.

Final words
Well, so far, I've only played three players games, but I'm really ready to play games with more players. I would especially like to this a six players game with three teams (one per race).

Overall, I'd say this is a very nice game and I'm very glad about that purchase. Most concepts of this game are not new ones, but they are used in a very efficient way that generates very quick games. So far, we've been playing two games by evening, which is quite nice and less involving then games like agot.

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Vous m'excuserez, mais je n'ai pas l'intention de traduire les articles de cette catégorie ... Désolé.

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