#oneaday Day 141: StarCraft: The Board Game (Part 1)

[I’m away for the weekend so am away from comic-making tools. I could use Windows Paint, but I’m not going to. So there.]

We tried StarCraft: The Board Game for the first time tonight. My brother got it for me for my birthday back in April and I know he has been quite curious to hear about it, and I’ve been pretty interested to see how it plays, too.

Tonight, we spent a little while going through the basic rules and figuring out how everything works, but didn’t play a complete game. As is our norm for starting a brand new game — especially a complex one — it took us quite a while to get through even a single turn, so we decided it would probably make sense to treat tonight’s session as a learning experience, then have a proper game of it tomorrow.

As with many games, the rules initially seem quite complex but once you get them figured out, it’s fairly straightforward. Turns are split into three phases — planning, execution and regrouping. Planning involves every player assigning orders to the game’s planets, and these orders can either be “mobilise” (move units either between areas on one planet or from one planet to another, assuming you’ve built a transport covering the necessary navigation lanes first), “build” (build stuff, be this new bases, units, workers or upgrades) or “research” (acquire new tech and/or provide yourself with additional options should combat become a possibility). Execution involves taking it in turns to make these orders happen — but the order in which the, err, orders were laid down on the board is important here, as it’s possible for players’ orders to “obstruct” each other at times. Finally, regrouping involves “cleaning up” everything, making sure everyone has the right resources, and so on. Then you repeat. In theory, it’s relatively simple. In practice, there are a lot of variables to consider.

For starters, there’s combat. Combat is resolved through the use of cards which display two different attack and health values, along with a picture of one or more units. If the unit you’re using matches the one on the card you’re using, you use the higher attack and health values. If it doesn’t, you use the lower ones. Then there’s all manner of special abilities along with technologies that reinforce and upgrade your units to be more badass. It’ll take a while to figure out all the possibilities, but it looks like there’s lots of potential for strategic play with enough randomness to keep things interesting. Which is nice.

Anyway. It’s about 2:20am right now so I should get some sleep. We’ll be trying a full game tomorrow, so I’ll report back on how that goes tomorrow evening.

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Pete Davison

Southampton-based music teacher, writer and enthusiast of Japanese popular culture.

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