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StarCraft: The Board Game

StarCraft: The Board Game
Year Published
Fantasy Flight Games

Including a total of 180 plastic figures and dozens of unit types,Starcraft: The Board Game features an innovative modular board of varying sizes which guarantees a new experience each and every game. An exciting card driven combat system allows players to modify and upgrade their faction with a wealth of powerful technologies. Players can unleash a Zergling rush, use powerful Protoss shields to halt an enemy invasion, or even send cloaked Ghosts out to guide nuclear missiles to their target.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

This is a gonzo version of the later, more manageable (and maybe better) Forbidden Stars. The order system creates all kinds of good moments and strategy, but I don't know that it's quite... thematic?

User reviews

6 reviews

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1 star
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Power Overwhelming!
(Updated: August 07, 2008)
Just wow. There are so many different unit types and technologies and stuff, it's nearly overwhelming. You could do or build something different every game for quite a few games and still learn about the way different units interact and how well some units/technologies are in different situations. (though it seems that archons, battlecruisers, and ultralisks are the way to go most of the time)

The order placement part of the game is cool, though it is probably the most difficult rule for people to grasp at first. It lets people see where people are doing things at the start of the turn, but they don't know what they're doing or when they are doing them. You can even mess up other people's plans by placing your orders on other people's. Also, the way you spend resources is simple and intuitive and is great because it doesn't require bookkeeping. On the other hand, managing all your little worker tokens is annoying and can get "fiddly".

At first, I felt that you drew way too many combat cards during the game, but after a couple plays I saw that that isn't true at all; I only had a ton of combat cards when I was researching and not fighting. The rest of the time, you'll be attacking people and getting attacked and lose your Ultralisk because you don't have a matching card or stuff like that. The combat cards do a great job at emulating your armies' health levels.

Unfortunately, all players need to be paying attention and trying to prevent everyone else from winning for the game to be tense and exciting to the end. The only thing I don't like about the game is the way the special victories can end it in a spectacularly anticlimactic fashion sometimes.

One of the most fun things about the game is all the times you can quote the units from the PC game. I love having a chance to say "I'm about to drop the hammer, and dispense some indiscriminate justice!" to someone without getting a funny look. One more good thing about the game is that it feels and plays like an epic "monster game", but you can fit it into a few hours. Also, the minis simply rock; they have got to be the most awesome board game components I own.
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Great game
This is the best execution of a video game license in a board game I've seen so far. It reflects the nature of the video game without trying to mirror the gameplay.

The order system is really cool and allows for some great plays and the card combat system is really great, giving players more control over their battles than just dice.

The production quality is also amazing proving once again that FFG is awesome.
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Too bad Starcraft 2 is coming out...
...because I think this game could have made a bigger impact among Starcraft PC gamers if it had had more of a chance to "get known" before the SC2 hype really started.

But to actually review the game - blarknob is right when he says that FFG did a great job of simulating PC Starcraft without forcing players to become human computers. It's funny - when I first got this game and laid it out on the floor of my room I thought "This is it?" Coming from Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition, the board felt "claustrophobic" to me as well - twelve planets maximum? Connected by these piddly little space-bridges (that actually don't fit very well with the planet tiles)? But after a few plays, I realized that it has to be that way, because Starcraft itself is claustrophobic. You've got your base, your enemy's base, and just a bare strip of map in between them in the PC version, and there's a good reason for that: you're supposed to ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK until your opponent is destroyed. It's a focusing tactic on the part of the developer - unlike TI3, Starcraft is not about gaining "galactic dominance" through (sometimes excessively) arbitrary displays of power. Starcraft is about killing.

I follow professional Starcraft, and there are few better marks of a player's finesse than when he can force his opponent to resign in the first five minutes (I exaggerate, but only slightly). So when a game of SC:tBG ends before a single player has built a flying unit (which has happened all but one of the times I've played) it is with that analogy to PC Starcraft that I want to defend it. But it's a very weak defense, and pretty much accounts for the 5-instead-of-6 rating. I agree with everyone else on this forum who seems to feel cheated out of a longer (but by no means TOO long) game by special victory conditions. Of course, a 6-player game of SC:tBG where the only way to win is to wipe out everyone else would be taking things too far in the other direction, and it's the kind of gaming that I think FFG tries very hard to avoid. Nevertheless, I'd love to be able to get the kind of satisfaction that the PC version offers when your opponent types "gg." Of course, there is likely an easy in-house fix, but I doubt it will be as simple as removing special victory conditions - they seem to have been intended as a kind of balancing factor. I guess I'll have to experiment with them in the future.
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Strong Game
Great feel of the PC game and tons of tense fun. Great production value and once you make it though the sometimes confusing order placement, you can really rock and roll!
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Not Quite a Winner
Starcraft kind of left me cold. First up, it's got incredible production values, some of the nicest minis you're going to find in any game of this type, period.

But it never feels "galactic". It feels claustrophobic, in a bad way. The order activation system is kinda neat, but it seems to cause you to move at the speed of molasses.

Really, it suffers the crime of being far, far too short. You just don't have time to do much of the cool stuff in the game before whoops, hey, someone's met their secret victory condition.

The combat sounds great in theory but the card-based system again left me a little cold. Give me some freakin' dice, baby!

I'd play this again--and enjoy it--but I'm not rushing out to buy this one.
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