Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Captain is Dead and Star Trek: Expeditions: Star Trek themed game night

My friend Jeff, Jim and I sat down today to play two cooperative Star Trek themed games. The first is the relatively obscure The Captain is Dead, by The Game Crafter, LLC.

Jeff bought it from someone who Kickstarted it.

The game is very inspired by Star Trek.. In fact, I would say it's more like an homage to the franchise.

The premise is the Captain has been killed, there is a hostile Alien ship off the port bow, and the warp core (sorry, the "jump core,") is offline. You and the rest of the crew have to get the engines back up to skeddadle out of there. In game terms, if the ship's shields drop to zero before the engines are repaired, the players lose. The Aliens board the ship here and there and are more like obstacles to getting things repaired.

There's the usual sections of the ship that are very Trekish.. The bridge, engineering, sick bay, etc. .

You got classic Trek devices as well to play with.. I like how the devices pictured in the cards look like what you would see in the original series with the big bulky bright buttons..

There are yellow, orange and red alert cards that generally signify when different parts of the ship break down and players rush back and forth, with the aliens in the way, to repair them.

In this alert card for instance, an irrational fear grips the crew...

 and in this example, there are injuries in the Science Lab..

Sometimes, the alert cards also signify when anomalies, like increased gravity in this example, show up in the best tradition of Trek, to confound the players..

Combat in the game is abstract. The Aliens are automatically killed when a player takes an action to do so when in the same room..
We kept calling them Klingons, but they actually looked crystalline in nature like the Tholians.

In terms of ship combat, it is abstracted out as well. Torpedo hits are automatic on the enemy ship off the bow when the right cards in the armory are played...

The crux of the game is not combat, but having the right skills of your characters at the right time.. Skills are represented by colour coded cards. You must have the right type and minimum amount of cards to fix a ship's part..

You could tell Jeff was a fantasy guy as he kept calling the green science card, which has a laboratory beaker symbol on it, as a "potion" card. He also kept saying "healing the shields" instead of repairing the shields. 

There were six sections ( teleporter, computer core, internal sensors, external sensors, torpedo room, and comm) that would often break down..

You would have to flip them over to red to indicate offline when that happens. We found the teleporter handy to beam around in the ship and a pain when it needed to be fixed.

Some tongue in cheek stuff, but not too much, such as this card, Grow the Beard, which is clearly a wink to Will Riker.

In game 1, I played the medical officer, and in game 2, the Admiral and the Weapons Officer. (I'm guessing the Admiral was a guest on board).

Each character has different skills that help with the skill cards countied to meet thresholds for success. My doctor for instance, had 1 medical and 1 science. Thus if I needed to heal someone and needed 2 medical, all I would need was just one blue medical card to make it.

I wanted to play the Hologram, but never got it in both games.

We got killed in game 1 as we were just playing one character only, especially when we got to Orange Alert. Our shields dropped to zero despite not fixing the engines very much..

In game 2, with two characters each, it was a bit easier and we won..

We had the season 2 expansion, but held off playing it until next time.

All in all, I liked the game.

We continued on with WizKid's Star Trek: Expeditions.. I was not happy with the faces of the actors on the rebooted Trek, Star Trek purist that I am, being on the cover and in the game, but I soldiered on..

The minis were on heroclix bases, which I always found kiddie a bit, but acceptable. The paintjobs were okay, though we had a good laugh on the paintjob of Kirk. He only had one eye painted and he looked like Popeye.

However, the Klingon ship and the Enterprise were nicely painted for clickies.. Maybe it was the decals on the Enterprise..

Anyways, the premise of the game is that the Federation is trying to woo a planet to join the UFP and has to fight some ecological disaster on the planet, fight rebels, and woo the inhabitants diplomatically from the Klingons, all at the same time.

You beam up and down from the Enterprises, accomplishing quest-like tasks. Depending on how well you did, it will influence the subsequent choice of the next task..

The tasks are not all combat and much in line with Trek..

Some examples..

The quests/tasks are colour-coded to yellow, blue and red as you can see above. Your character's ability in those 3 colours are at the bottom of the their heroclix dial, which constantly change as they take damage..

You get help in making your roll with reroll cards, crew cards, etc and such..

Of course, you pick up classic Star Trek artifacts on the planet that help along the way..

The Klingon ship is more like a nuisance, pounding on the Enterprise which is outgunned in this game, forcing us to go further and further back in the orbit track. Negative numbers eat away at the Victory points at the end of the game..

We came close to losing, but we finally accomplished all the quests in the game..

However, our win was just 19 points, which is the lowest scoring band.. We were congratulated and then sent on our next mission.

This game too is very Trekish and dripping with the franchise theme. I liked it also.

Thumbs up on a good gaming day.


  1. The Star Trek miniature ships here look very detailed and nice.