Dec 18, 2013

[Games] Star Trek Catan


Tobie surprised me with a rather early Christmas gift in the form of ordering the Star Trek Catan board game. We had already been playing Settlers of Catan for some time now with our friends, but once I had watched the Tabletop playthrough of the game, I knew we just had to get a copy of this game. At the time we had never spotted a set in local stores but by the time it arrived on a slow boat from California, it seems that Hobbes & Landes started stocking the game in earnest.

He also bought a copy of the Federation Space expansion, but we have yet to try it at this time. So for today's review,well focus on the base game set itself and all of it's Star Trek goodness.


Star Trek Catan is a essentially a reskinned version of the original Settlers of Catan game using the characters of the original Star Trek series. Little has changed between the original game and this one except for the addition of Support Cards that add new abilities that change the way you play. This is a standalone a game that does not require the original Settlers of Catan set to play.

First, let's talk about common ground. The core rules of the game are all Settlers of Catan through and through. This means that 3-4 players can get together and try to earn the most victory points by building achieving certain objectives. Each player starts with two outposts (settlements in the original game) and two supply ships (instead of roads). From there everyone tries to gather resources, namely dilithium, trilithium, oxygen, and water, in order to be able to build more outposts and supply vessels or to upgrade outposts into starbases (instead of cities).

When you roll for resources, getting a result of 7 will still mean bad things for the players as the Klingon Battlecruiser (which appears to be a Klingon D7 standing in for the Robber from Settlers), which forces players to lose resources one way or another.

But it's the Support cards (as derived from the Helpers of Catan add-on for the original game) that really change the game. There are 10 Support cards to choose from as the game progresses and each give you unique abilities. For example, Spock allows you to take any resource of your choice provided that you did not collect any resources with the latest die roll. Kirk allows you to ignore the effects of the Klingon Battlecruiser when a 7 comes up or you can draw a resource card if you were not going to be affected originally. Each player will always have a Support card ready for use but since you can have only one at a time, your cards will definitely change. And the extra powers afforded by these characters goes a long way towards advancing your victory plans.

The game opted for plastic figures to represent the various starships and outposts as opposed to the wood figures that have become rather iconic over the years. But this does not diminish the game in any way as the plastic figures are rather fun to play with and it isn't uncommon for players to create little dioramas with their figures when it's not their turn. I just wish the colors made a bit more sense given their command gold is a little more orange and such.

Plus there's also the wish that they had included different ship types per color to represent other Federation species or something. I would totally go for a fleet of Tholian vessels - not that they're all that friendly as characters on the show though.

The addition of the Support Cards really helps elevate this gaming experience to a new level and it's a shame that the developers have not bothered to invest the time in creating a 5-6 player expansion for this game. I don't see what's holding them back given the core rules of this game are still derived from the original Catan with few additions.

Overall, Star Trek Catan is a great reskin of the game for Star Trek fans and way for existing Settlers of Catan fans to try out the game with the involvement of the Helpers of Catan Support cards - something that has been predominantly limited to German editions of the game only until very recently. As a whole the game still gets a solid 5 Klingon Battlecruisers stealing all of your dilithium out of a possible 5.


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