Star Trek Panic Review

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Star Trek Panic is a game by Justin De Witt, published by USAopoly. It is for 1-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of one of the crew members of the Starship Enterprise as they work together to complete a 5 year mission. They will have to fend off enemy threats of every kind and encounter diverse alien species. If they are able to keep the ship intact through the series of missions, they will be declared the winners.

To begin, the board is placed in the center of the play area. The model of the Enterprise should be assembled and placed into the base per the assembly instructions, along with the shield pieces. The base with the ship is then placed in the center of the board with the front of the ship facing sectors 1 and 6. One of each of the Tholian, Romulan Battle Cruiser and Klingon Cruiser threat tokens are set aside. These 3 tokens are then randomly placed in long range sectors 1, 3 and 5 with their highest defense ratings facing the ship. The remaining threat tokens are placed into the bag. Players choose or are randomly assigned one of the character role cards which is then placed in front of the player. The Enterprise cards are shuffled together. A set number of cards are then dealt to each player based on the number of players. The deck is then placed face down near the board. The Mission cards are shuffled and placed near the game board along with the Mission Timer card. The first Mission card is drawn. The Mission parameters are read aloud to determine if there are any additional setup parameters that need to be accomplished first. The Mission objectives are then read aloud. This determines what is required to complete the mission. If this is the first time playing the game, the Distress Signal and Outpost Defense missions are chosen instead as a quick 2 mission tutorial game. The die, tokens and indicators are placed within reach of all players. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

On a player’s turn, they will perform a series of 7 phases in order; draw Enterprise cards, reveal new mission, trade a card, Play cards and maneuver, check mission status, threats move and fire and draw 2 new threats. The first phase is to draw Enterprise cards. The player begins by drawing up to their starting hand size. There are 3 different types of cards; hit cards, resource cards and other cards. Hit cards are used to attack threats on the board by dealing 1 damage in the sector that the card references if it is a phaser or 2 points of damage if it’s a photon torpedo. Only 1 enemy can be damaged per card. Resource cards are used to repair either the shields, hull or if used together, both. The other cards are used to perform various actions. Some cards provide division credits which may be used to count for achieving certain mission objectives. This will be discussed in more detail a bit later.

The second phase is to reveal the new mission. If the current mission has yet to be completed, then the player simply moves on to the third phase. Completing missions is the main objective to winning the game. Each mission card has parameters on how to set up the mission, as well as special rules that must be adhered to. It also tells if there is a time limit which is tracked via the mission timer card. It also details any special tokens that are used during play. The card also details the objective to completing the mission as well as the reward that players will receive one completed. If the mission was completed on the previous turn, then a new mission card is drawn and it’s parameters and setup are read aloud.

The next phase is to trade a card. This phase is completely optional. It simply allows the active player to trade a card from their hand with that of another players to more efficiently prepare themselves and their fellow players for any threats that they are facing aboard the Enterprise.
The fourth phase is to play cards and maneuver. In this phase the player plays cards from their hand to attack threats, repair or rebuild shields and hull damage, or to defend the Enterprise and complete missions. Earlier I mentioned the Hit cards. What I didn’t mention was that each time a threat is damaged, it’s defense value is reduced by rotating the token clockwise to the next lowest number. Once it’s reduced to zero, it is removed from the board and placed in the threat discard pile. Sometimes a mission requires certain cards to be committed to the mission in order to complete it, such as using a card for it’s division credits which I mentioned earlier. These cards are placed by the mission card and are not placed in the discard pile. During the next phase, if the mission has been completed or failed, then these cards will be discarded.

Another aspect of this phase is maneuvering the Enterprise. The player is allowed to move the Enterprise once during this phase. This is completely optional and up to the player. However some threat statuses and mission parameters will make it where maneuvering is not allowed. The Enterprise is allowed to be maneuvered a couple of different ways. It can be rotated 1 facing either clockwise or counter clockwise. It can also be moved forward. Of course, this movement is shown by simply moving all the tokens in the 2 front facings 1 sector closer to the Enterprise. Only tokens in these 2 sectors are moved. It should be noted that if the Enterprise is moved forward and there are enemy ships in short range and the ship has shields on that side, the threats do not board the ship. However if there are no shields then the threats become Boarders. When a threat becomes a boarder, it’s defense rating is applied to the hull section it’s facing in the form of damage. If the section of the hull already has a destroyed indicator on it, then the damage is resolved by removing cards permanently from the draw deck equal to the damage. However the player can play a Security Team card to reduce the damage done by boarders. These cards reduce the damage dealt by 1. Other players can also play these cards to reduce the damage, even though it’s not their turn. It should also be noted that there are certain occasions when the Enterprise in not allowed to be maneuvered. Those times are when 3 or more sections of the hull have been destroyed, when stated as a mission parameter and when a Tholian ship is in short range. When any of these happen, a no maneuver token is placed on the Enterprise as a reminder.

The next phase is to check mission status. In this phase, the player checks to see if all of the mission requirements have been completed on the mission card. If not, then play continues with the same mission parameters and objectives. If the mission has a time limit, then the timer marker is moved down by 1. If the timer reaches zero, then the mission is a failure and no credit is earned for it. Failed missions are placed at the bottom of the mission card deck, while any cards committed to the mission are placed in the discard pile. Mission tokens used in the mission are returned to the mission token pile. However, if the mission has been completed, players are then able to claim the rewards listed on the mission card. Mission tokens are returned to the pile. Cards committed to the mission are placed in the discard pile and the mission card is set aside. A marker is place on the completed missions area of the board to indicate the success.

The sixth phase is that threats move and fire. In this phase, the various threats on the board will move one sector closer to the Enterprise and fire simultaneously. Each threat will deal 1 damage to that particular facing of the Enterprise. Damage is first dealt to a shield, if one is present. If there is no shield then damage is applied to the hull. Each section can take up to 2 damage before it is destroyed. If a shield is destroyed, any remaining damage in that particular sector is ignored for that turn. There are indicator tokens to show that a shield has been damaged, a hull has been damaged or a hull section has been destroyed. These are placed on the appropriate space. A damaged shield however is simply removed from that section.

The final phase is to draw 2 new threats. In this turn, the player pulls 2 new threat tokens from the bag and places them on the board one at a time. The die is rolled to determine what sector the token is place in. It is placed in the long range sector with it’s highest defense value facing the Enterprise. Some tokens do not go on the board, instead they are effects that are resolved immediately.

The game continues until the players complete 5 missions. At this time, the players will no longer draw new threat tokens or reveal any new missions. Those phases will be completely skipped. Players need only to destroy any remaining threats still remaining on the board. Once this is done, the players have won the game. If however, all 6 hull sections of the Enterprise have been destroyed, the game ends and the players have been defeated.

It should be noted that there are several special threat tokens that behave a bit differently than other tokens. Those tokens include cloaking ships, the Romulan Bird of Prey, comets, Tholians and the starbase. I’m not really going to go into detail about these. Just know that there are a few rule changes when dealing with these particular tokens.

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COMPONENTS
Wow! What can I say about this game? It’s a beautiful looking game. To begin with there’s this really great looking ship model that is assembled out of cardboard and placed onto this nice big base as well as these heavy duty plastic shields that are placed around it. It’s amazing looking and really puts you into the theme of the game really quickly, just by looking at it. There are various tokens that show damage and destruction to the different sectors of the ship and shields that just add more thematic feel and look to the game. There are threat tokens that are pulled from this nice little bag. Each one has a great image of a ship or other encounter from the Star Trek universe. There’s the nice looking game board that looks like deep space with all the great feel of the theme. The character cards are beautiful and contain characters from the original series including Captain Kirk, Spock and the rest. Also beautiful looking are all the Enterprise cards that will be how you’ll interact with the game. The graphic designs on these are great. I really love all the different cards and how they add to the theme. The Mission cards are large and are very detailed. There should be no problems reading these and understanding how each mission works. There are nice little tokens that show when a mission has been successful. There are handy reference cards that detail out the different phases of the game. There’s a great looking blue die for all the times you’ll have to place out threats on the board. There are also clear plastic indicators that are placed on the mission cards. Heck, there’s just a lot of really great looking pieces to this game. Seriously, I could spend all day just going over how nice everything is here. Needless to say, the quality in this game is outstanding. I’m very impressed and love how beautiful this game looks and feels.
10 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is quite nice as well. There are lots of pictures and examples throughout the book. There are several pages detailing out what each piece is and what it does. There’s a page that can be used as a reference sheet as well. It details out the overview of the game. I kind of wish this had been placed on the back cover, but I’m not complaining. I’m just happy it’s there. Each phase of the game is covered in great detail to where there should be no problems understanding how to play the game. There’s tons of reference material here with lots of examples explaining how each piece and part works. As I mentioned in the rules explanation of this review, there are also a couple of pages that explain in detail all the different special threat tokens and how they work. All in all, I found nothing to be difficult or hard to understand. I know it seems like there’s a lot of material to keep up with and that it might be difficult to learn, but that’s not the case. Once you’ve read through the rulebook, those reference cards or the overview page would be pretty much all you’ll need. It’s really that simple. In any event, the book looks great and does a good job at conveying the rules. I’m pleased.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is an amazing game. It has to be my favorite of all the Panic games. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge fan of Star Trek though. This game just seems to have a lot more going for it than the others in my opinion. The missions, special threat tokens and ability to maneuver the ship just add on entirely new aspects to what was already a good game in Castle Panic. I love how each mission changes up what you’ll be trying to do during the game and how the game will interact with you as well. Using your character’s special ability is of course vitally important to winning the game. Don’t forget to use it when you can. It really comes in handy. For me, I find that you will be highly prioritizing what threats you need to deal with first and how to get rid of them before they become a problem. Of course completing those missions must also be a part of your decision process, especially if there’s a time limit involved. In any case, fans of the Star Trek genre as well as any of the other Panic games like Castle Panic and the rest, should absolutely love this game. I really like all the added features that separate this game from the others and find that that extra level of complexity really excites and thrills me. For me, I love the game and look forward to many more missions aboard the Enterprise.
10 out of 10

OVERALL
Star Trek Panic is a tower defense style game set in the Star Trek universe. The game can be a bit long apart from the tutorial game. Most game sessions can last around 2 hours. It really depends on how good or bad you are at the game and also how lucky you are. I will say though that even though it’s long, it’s extremely fun and well worth playing. The artwork and design of the game simply drips with theme. I love that the Enterprise is this huge cardboard model that sits right in the middle of the board. It’s amazing looking and the game is full of lots of great quality pieces like that. This is a great co-operative as well as solo game. I’ve played both and found that they’re both great fun. I do tend to like playing it with more people a bit more, however the solo game is still very solid and fun. For me though I find that the more crew that I have the more like the show the game feels. To me, that really adds a lot more enjoyment to the game. Fans of the Star Trek genre, or any of the other Panic games should absolutely love this one. It adds lots of different aspects to the original game that keeps it from feeling too much of the same. If you have any of the other games, you’ll not feel like you’ve got just a repackaged version of whatever Panic game you already have. The missions add so much more to the game than just what you’ve come to expect in these games. I absolutely love the game and found it to be extremely satisfying and highly replayable. With so many different missions, there’s tons of stuff to play through. I love this game and plan to keep it in my collection for a very long time. I’ve only got one last thing to say. Beam me up.
10 out of 10

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For more information and this and other great games, please check out USAopoly at their site.

http://www.usaopoly.com/

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About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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