Yesterday, Seth and I picked up the game Star Trek Expeditions at our local graphic novels, comic books, and games store, Modern Myths. While I am not their main audience as I don't read a lot of comics or play Dungeons and Dragons, I have to say that I love that store. Why? It's so clean and organized! As a result, I like to support their local business.
As a plus, they have store copies of games. This allowed me to check out what was included in Star Trek Expeditions. A true Trekker, I had to have it!
The game is from Wizkids/NECA, who recently acquired the Star Trek license. As far as I know, Expeditions is their first Star Trek title. It is based in the Star Trek relaunch universe of the new J.J. Abrams film that came out most recently. Their second, Star Trek Fleet Captains, is due out later this month. (It looks awesome and is already on my Amazon.com wishlist!)
The game is of good quality. As you can see below, the box is well organized -- there is a spot for everything.
The game contains miniatures of Kirk, Spock (my choice to play!), Bones, and Uhura. There are also miniatures of the Enterprise and a Klingon battle cruiser.
The minis are called HeroClix and contain dials in the base that allow you to keep track of how your character / ship is doing, as both ships and characters can take damage. The miniatures are quite good looking. My only complaint is that the glue on the Klingon battle cruiser was not very strong and the ship detached from its base on the first play through. Some double sided tape fixed that, but I would caution players to hold the figures exclusively from the base.
Game play is cooperative -- it's you and the other players (1 - 4, although their should be an expansion pack out next month that allows for up to five) against the game. There are three difficulties. You play out a story that is much like a Star Trek episode. You've arrived at a planet at the invitation of the leaders but when you arrive you find them less than thrilled to see you, plus it seems there was a mystery ship recently in orbit.
You then investigate what's happening on the planet. This is done by beaming down and investigating the surface. You get a number of actions per turn in role playing / strategy game style.
The goal of the game is to tackle all the problems / challenges happening on the planet while also fighting off the Klingon ship attaching you in orbit. You have a set number of stardates in order to complete your mission. If you run out of days or if the Enterprise is destroyed by the Klingons you lose the game.
Standard game play is designed to take around an hour. On our first play through, Seth and I probably spent around two hours playing. We played on the easiest setting, as recommended for the first time, and found it quite challenging enough for the first play through.
The game does involve some attention to detail to play. The rules are somewhat comprehensive, and I would recommend all players reading them before commencing game play. You have to strategize with your teammates to succeed and make sure that you're utilizing all your skills. This means that an understanding of the rules is imperative for everyone. The game is turn-based with each player playing one (or more characters). During your turn you can make a number of actions which help you fight off the Klingon ship and also advance you missions. There are three sets of areas of mission, and you must complete them all to win. The higher the value of points you obtain while completing the missions the better the outcome. All mission actions are taken by a roll of the dice. Player attributes, teammates, and the other cards a player holds in his hand (such as additional nameless crewmen and bonuses) adds to the number of the dice roll to help win each part of the mission.
While Seth and I did win the game, it was certainly a challenge and touch and go there for a while. We had to take a break for dinner and when we did the situation seemed pretty dire. (It didn't help that we'd been rolling very poorly.) After dinner and a mental break, we were able to come back to the game with renewed vigor and won -- quite exciting. There was only one stardate left as we completed the final part of the three-track mission.
Our score was moderate, fine for our first play through. I definitely see us playing again, perhaps with multiple characters next time instead of one each, as the characters all have special individual abilities. A great time. I definitely recommend it to any Star Trek fan!