Star Trek Panic is a twist on the very famous Castle Panic board game. There are several new elements introduced to the game that makes it a fantastic play. I, Mr. Sulu, played this game for a few hours with my friends, Chekov, Mr. Spock and Lt. Uhura. It is very similar to the original Castle Panic game. In each turn, a dice is rolled to find where on the 6 different panel boards the enemy (from a bag of enemies) starts off. The enemies move closer to the centre each move, and when they reach the centre, lots of damage is done. Each enemy has a number on them for their “hit points” and cards can either be used to attack in the three range rings with different damages in different areas, or help to keep the castle, in this case Enterprise, safe.
There are several changes in this game that makes it play like an entirely new game.
There are characters for players to play as now. Each character is a member of the original series crew and has different abilities. From Mr. Scott repairing shields and hull (the new walls and castle) to Mr. Sulu as the helmsman who can make the ship turn twice in a turn rather than once (That’s right, you can rotate the ship so that incoming attacks hit shields that are still up rather than instantly damaging the ship once they go down). They all have unique abilities that can be used to help the crew and ship survive to the end of the game. Playable characters are Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, Lt. Uhura, Mr. Scott, Mr. Sulu, Chekov and Ensign Rikki (not really, he died on the beige planet on Stardate 241935.6)
As I mentioned in the part about the characters, the castle and stone walls have been replaced. The castle itself is now the Enterprise. When the Enterprise takes damage there are “damage tiles” that get placed over the top of the ship’s cardboard model. There are two points of damage the hull can take, the first is a “blast tile” and the second is the “destroyed overlay”. The walls have been replaced with shields. The shields can take two points of damage as well, the first puts a “shield bash” tile onto the shield. The second hit drops the shield, removing it from the board and allowing damage to get through to the hull. The Enterprise can also move and turn. If the port shield drops you can turn the ship so that another section of the ship (hopefully shielded) can face the enemy. It can also move “forward” to bring any enemies or goals that are in front of the Enterprise to move closer, however the ship can only turn or move forward, not both. Enough damage to the Enterprise means that it can’t move or turn anymore, you know, because the engines are no longer attached. There are two types of fatal damage in the game – when a section is destroyed, and when a destroyed section is hit again. When this happens a card from the draw pile is removed from play. The ship is destroyed after every section has been destroyed (6 in total) or you’ve taken enough damage to run out of cards.
The enemies from the bag work differently from those in Castle Panic. They still are drawn from the bag at the end of each turn and a dice is rolled deciding its starting location on the board. However, in Star Trek Panic, every round the enemy ships move they open fire and damage the shields or hull of the ship, unless they cloak first or are destroyed before they can move. When they are defeated the enemies are returned to the bag to be used again (as finishing the game requires you to complete missions rather than beating every enemy in the bag). When the enemies are “at the gates” or can’t move in any more they send in boarding parties that deal damage equal to however many points are on the tile, unless you have security cards to play to fend them off (redshirts are actually useful in this game, not very Trek-like I know, but shhh). There are boss ships just like the boss monsters in Castle Panic that have special abilities that must be played out before continuing on to the next player. There is also a Starbase in the enemies bag that can get placed on the board but doesn’t move. This is one instance where the Enterprise moving mechanic gets used. The crew needs to maneuver the ship towards the Starbase in order to use it to repair hull or shields.
As I mentioned in the Enemies portion there are now missions to complete in game. Each mission (drawn from mission cards) have certain criteria required to complete the mission, including the number of turns in which you need to complete the mission. Some missions require the Enterprise to move to a certain location, others need a certain number of cards for science, medical, command or engineering. Once the 5 (or 10, but seeing as we blew up just trying to get 4 done we avoided doing the 10?) missions are completed successfully, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve won the game.
Level of Enjoyment:
Really good! I really enjoyed playing this version of Castle Panic. It was similar enough to be recognisable and different enough to make it an entirely new game. The different mission cards give the game great replay value. Making everyone jolt in their seat in the same direction when the Enterprise gets hit makes it a lot of fun too. Playing as the different characters also makes the game interesting and adds to the replay value as well. My friends and I had lots of fun playing this and look forward to playing this again. I just hope that if they make expansions to the game they’ll add other ships and characters from the different series, from The NX-01 Enterprise and her crew to Voyager and hers (Shotgun playing Janeway).
7 Photon Torpedoes out of 10.
Initial thoughts after first play-through by the people who took part in playing it:
*Chris* Pretty easy to pick up if you’ve played Castle Panic, but has enough new stuff that it doesn’t just feel like a re-skin.
*Chris* Very characterful. I mean, it’s got the frickin’ Enterprise in the middle of the board! Klingons off the starboard bow! Shields down! Explosions! The crew and mission cards add extra flavour, especially if you’re familiar with the OST series.
*Chris* Manoeuvring rules really add to the feeling that you are flying the Enterprise through space, while adding just enough complexity of choice. Eg: do we rotate to face shields towards a threat, or do we advance towards our objective?
*Lauren* The model was awesome.
*Lauren* It was slightly harder than castle panic and the character abilities were pretty awesome.
*Meghan* I think it’s great that it [The Enterprise] can stay assembled in the box.
*Meghan* Having never played before (no other versions of panic either) it was reasonably easy to pick up with a bit of guidance.
*Meghan* A+ Would play again!
*Chris* The random nature of the Panic series does mean you can get totally screwed over by chance, which is thematically at odds with the OST series. Drawing “The Naked Now” mission when the Enterprise is already heavily damaged was bad news. Our crew became totally useless and just got space-drunk while the Enterprise burned.
*Chris* The rules should suggest a standard crew. Do not draw randomly, which is one of the suggested options. “Five Year Mission” has a set sequence of crew allocation that I feel STP would benefit from.
*Lauren* The ship model was great but some of the damage bits fit a bit too tight so they might get damaged.