Tag Archives: stccg

Game Stuff And KickStarter

We picked up a secondhand Blokus a while ago, turned out there were 3 yellow pieces missing.  A householder picked up another secondhand Blokus, only missing one piece (a blue one). Turns out the game was released in two different sizes… the blue piece from the first set is adequate in the second, not perfect. We played twice (me, Oldest, and my parents-in-law – I won twice, both times close. Oldest was sad at losing the first game, and not really much happier about coming second in the second game.

We’re aiming to have a game night soon, and I a game I Kickstarted showed up in the mail, a few days ago. I still have some Kickstarted games I’ve not tried yet.

I got into KickStarter because of a game I already play. I’ve mentioned the old Star Trek CCG that I’ve been into since 1995 at the latest (it started 1994). After a while, the game got rather complicated, and the company started with a Second Edition (with backwards-compatible cards that further complicated First Edition). One of the former 2e designers, Michael Keller, posted on the boards that he was trying to publish a board game he’d designed.

The game was City Hall. It failed when Keller tried to self-publish it through KickStarter. I actually missed it that first time round. The second time round, a game publishing company tried to Kickstart it, and I umped in on that, but it didn’t meet its funding goal either, but the publisher assumed some of the responsibility for that, and they promised to try one more time.

That one more time, City Hall was paired with another Keller game, Captains of Industry.

City Hall has a political theme, which has made it a bit difficult to get people interested in. What I liked about it (conceptually, I’m still trying to get someone to play it with me), is managing a bunch of different kinds of resources (money, influence, popularity and so on), and carefully using them: spending some of one to get some of another, strategically building to benefit yourself but to try not to benefit your opponents too much, and being in competition for particular roles, and trying hard to get one, or look like you’re trying hard to get one but really trying to get someone else to take it instead.

Captains Of Industry also has resource management and building, and looks a few shades more complicated. The theme is industrial rather than political. The difficulty with getting people to play this one, is that there is rather a lot that you need to take in all at once. I think once you’ve been through it a time or two, it’ll be as straightforward as something like Power Grid, it’s just a bit daunting.

The ones that just arrived are Bomb Squad and Bomb Squad Academy. Bomb Squad, you have a limited time to program a robot to go into a building, defuse bombs and rescue hostages (and sometimes unlock doors along the way). You can’t see the cards you have to program the robot with, and have to rely on hints from other players. Reports are that the game is very immersive and intense.

Bomb Squad Academy got thrown in on the same Kickstarter, a similarly-themed game, but with different gameplay. More a card game, you are trying to defuse bombs, but you can hinder other players, and cutting the wrong wire will bring you closer to a big bang.

We opened all these games this evening, and looked through the pieces and enough of the rules to get a feel of what the games were about. There were (positive) comments about the quality of the components.

We also opened one other game I Kickstarted, but this time one I’ve actually played (once). Doom And Bloom Survival! was developed by a husband-and-wife team Doc Bones and Nurse Amy, of the Doom And Bloom podcast (they guested on The Survival Podcast a few times, and Jack promoted their Kickstarter attempt for this game over there, which is how I heard about it).

In the center of the board is a city, and you have to escape, scout some settlements around, pick up a certain amount of food, weapons, fuel, medical supplies and survivors, and return to the city to pick up your family and take them to your final destination settlement. But you can be attacked by bandits or encounter random events, that can set you back. If I recall correctly, the latter could also help you. And you may need to expend food, fuel or weapons for various reasons, and some of it is balancing between getting all that you need, and getting ahead in the game.

My mother-in-law, who was looking through the games with me, thought she might like to try this one. Better brush up on the rules (for all of them really, just in case).

Than there’s always other options. Dominion is a good one…

New Set Day! And STCCG Brief History

I’ve collected and played the Star Trek: Customizable Card Game since 1994, or possibly 1995. The first cards I got had the 1994 copyright date. Initially, the company that made it, Decipher, branded it as The Next Generation, as they only had the rights to that show at the time. A bit later on, they got the rights to the other TV shows, and the movies.

Adding lots of cards over a long time does tend to make a game convoluted. Some rules changed from the original rulebook, and a long Glossary came into being to help clarify what some cards do, and/or their interactions with other cards. After several years, the game got a bit complicated even for Decipher, and they started afresh with a Second Edition (2e). They made some cards that were backwards-compatible, which were initially well-screened, but then later on some crazy ones slipped through, which were either too powerful, or did absolutely nothing, in 1e.

Decipher ran into financial trouble, and lost their licenses (they had a Star Wars game or two, and a Lord Of the Rings game). Decipher passed on the use of the 1e and 2e mechanics to a players’ group called The Continuing Committee. I think they did something similar with the Star Wars game, but I never really got into that.

The CC started with an emphasis on 2e, but slowly worked their way into 1e, starting with making printable versions of useful cards, before branching out into making new cards.

After a few sets, the CC made a big splash with a set called The Next Generation. One of the problems they had encountered was that the power level of the game had increased over the years, but returning players were much more likely to have cards from the first three sets (Premiere, Alternate Universe, and Q-Continuum, often abbreviated to PAQ), which is really a very different game to that of any stage after, even beginning with the following set, First Contact.

They actually did a very good job with different ways of making old cards useful (and not just as backing for new cards). They also made The Next Generation a starting point for a new format, Block, which is an excellent environment for introducing new players. There’s a limited card pool, which makes it easier to learn, then you can throw in more cards later.

The first three Block sets concentrated on The Next Generation, establishing as a powerful faction in the game, despite their below-average general card power.

In the game, Voyager cards were distinct by being generally stuck in the Delta Quadrant (and being somewhat ahead of the power curve of anyone else), and Original Series, Original Series movies, and Enterprise were distinct by being from different time periods. TNG and DS9 weren’t so distinct.

The second three Block sets concentrated on Deep Space Nine. Game mechanics were given to TNG and DS9, in the first 6 Block sets, to make them playable as distinct factions (of course, you have the ability to not use them, and have a deck crossing over as many shows as you like).

It’s release day for the first of the next group of Block sets. This group focuses on the Mirror Universe. This first set, Crossover, concentrates on its appearances in DS9. There are 5 DS9 episodes featuring the Mirror Universe, and the two factions (the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance and the Terran Rebellion) are already represented in the game (the Terran faction usually mixed with the Terran Empire from the TOS episode Mirror, Mirror). This set capitalises on the DS9-only mechanic (so the Terrans don’t get too crazy good), and even gives each faction multiple ways to play (basically with or without Mirror Terok Nor).

The next set is intended to focus on TOS, and the third set in the block is intended to feature the Mirror Universe as it featured in Enterprise. This last is not distinct in the game yet, though there are some Backwards-Compatible cards from those episodes.

If you’re interested in picking up a somewhat intricate game, with many possible interactions, check out this unofficial rulebook (on which is based the forthcoming official rulebook).

If you’re still interested after that, check out this page for any PDF that has “starter” as part of its name. If you find someone to play it with, it’s probably best to play two starters from the same block (they’re colour-coded). And you can browse and post on the forums, particularly the Gameplay (1e) board, if you have questions or need help. The people on there are happy to help. And sometimes even experienced players have questions about old cards, so don’t worry about asking questions.