GIFT GUIDE: Star Trek Deck Building Game

Image courtesy of Bandai

Over the next few weeks, Hollywood Soapbox will feature some great toys, DVDs, games and Christmas goodies for our FIRST-ANNUAL HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE. Stay tuned.

If you’re a fellow Trekker and wondering what to put on your Christmas list this year, consider the brand-new Star Trek Deck Building Game from Bandai. It’s complicated and takes some patience, but for those die-hard fans who are willing to put in the time and effort, the game is an enormously rewarding experience.

Caution to purists: This is not The Original Series. The game focuses on Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and company, but after you start building your starship, all memories of Kirk, Spock and Bones are quickly forgotten.

There is a wide variety of cards in the game, including Character Cards, Starbase Cards, Space Deck Starships, Klingon Civil War Space Deck Cards and more. Each card intricately displays a bevy of useful information. Colorful borders tip off participants immediately on what type of card they are holding. A picture of a ship or character takes center stage with helpful information on what you can do with the card and trivia from the television series.

For example, the character card for Kargan identifies him as a male Klingon captain. A picture of his ribbed forehead is accompanied by a memorable quote: “Let them charge into their destruction!”

Similarly, Nibor is identified as a male Ferengi. His quote: “I do not trust you…”

These little additions to each card make the Deck Building Game both informative and nostalgic. Fans of TNG will love to re-experience each episode and character, from Picard down to guest-acting spots.

The motive of the game is to gather 400 mission points, and to achieve that goal you need to collect and discard cards strategically. It’s difficult to win, and the game time can go on for a long time. But the rewards are plentiful.

Cards battle against one another. Borgs invade; Klingons begin a civil war. Just about every military facet of the series is represented in the card deck.

No matter how fast or slow you pick up the game, make sure you hold on to the technical manual. These directions are invaluable and downright necessary for new players. Every feature of the game is defined, from card layout to space deck setup. Do your homework before beginning; it will make the game more enjoyable and easier to understand.

If you were one of the lucky attendees at the annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas this year, you had a rare chance to sit down at the Bandai booth and learn the game from experts. For all others players, just take each direction one point at a time. It can seem overwhelming, but it all makes sense and eventually proves helpful.

One of the great positives of Bandai’s creation is that players don’t need to know an ounce of Trekker knowledge to enjoy. Sure, it helps out and adds an extra bit of flavor to the proceedings, but it’s unnecessary. All you need is some skill and a whole lot of luck. At the end of the day, there is much that can be gained by playing your cards correctly, but there is more to be gained by simply overturning helpful cards.

If you enjoy playing this Next Generation game, check out the Next Phase Edition, featuring new characters and maneuvers, in January 2012.

The game has a retail price of $39.99 and features 300 cards and five 20-sided dice. Alex Bykov is credited with the game’s design, while Cloud 88 Design handled the graphics. The deck-building scenarios were developed by James Takenaka, Justin Kho, Anh Duc Do, Tylar Allinder and Yuya Toyomaru.

This Christmas, ask Santa to boldly go where no one has gone before.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com
  • Click here for more information. Hollywood Soapbox received a reviewer’s copy of the game. This does not affect our independent voice.

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

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