Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 1-6
Amount of time to play: 60 min
Age requirements: 10+
Set-up time: 5 min
In Star Trek Panic you take on the role of a crew member from the original series. You must complete missions while keeping the Enterprise in one piece to win.
Star Trek Panic is a close relative of Castle Panic. It is not a clone but does share some similarities to this fantasy-themed, tower defense board game.
It uses the same map divided into six sections that are further divided into three depths and the same mechanic of using the cards to hit. The enemy ships are even triangular and turn based on the amount of damage they have taken. If you’d like more details on the original game you can read my review and overview here. The rest of this post is going to focus on the new things Star Trek Panic introduces to thee system.
The first thing you’ll notice is the large 3-D version of the Enterprise. You have to put it together, but once built it can be stored in the box that way. It has a six-sided base with slots to insert plastic shields.
Turns follow the same flow except that in addition to playing cards you can rotate or move the ship once on your turn. When you choose to rotate the ship you can do so by one arc in either direction. And when you move the ship all enemy tokens in the front two arcs move one ring closer to the ship.
During setup you get a Character role card. These let you play Kirk, Spock and the rest of the gang. Each character has a unique special power you can use once on your turn. For example, Sulu can maneuver the ship twice instead of just once.
Enemies enter in a similar way to the ones in Castle Panic but some ships are cloaked. This means they cannot shoot you or vice versa. They will move closer to the Enterprise cloaking and uncloaking every other turn to shoot it. If an enemy ship is in short range and the section of the ship it is attacking has no shield they become boarders. Boarders inflict their defense value on the hull of the ship.
Another thing that is kind of different is the damage you receive. You start the game with shields on each side of your ship. Each shield can sustain two damage until it is removed. Any further damage to that section of the ship damages the hull. Each section of the hull can take two damage until it is destroyed. Once three sections of the hull are destroyed you can no longer maneuver or move the ship. And additional damage to a destroyed hull section forces players to remove cards from the top of the draw pile. These cards are removed from the game not placed in the discard pile. If the deck of cards is depleted you lose the game.
Your win condition is to complete five missions. Missions have a number of turns they must be completed in and use actual original series shows for their content. Some missions will require you to commit certain types of cards to them in order to complete them.
Star Trek Panic does a good job of keeping with the basic mechanics of the series while adding enough different things to make it stand out. The missions come right from episodes of the show which is a nice touch.
The components for this game are really nice. The 3-D Enterprise looks great and the cards and graphics are reminiscent of the show. The chits are thick and durable too. The rules are easy to follow but you’ll probably want them close by for the first couple of plays.
The maneuver mechanic and how you can move the ship is well done. I like how it can help you alter the game state. It gives you more control over which enemies you are engaging and where you are being attacked.
I am a fan of the original series and it is cool to see how the missions and role cards incorporate the Star Trek theme into this game. The cloaking and uncloaking enemies are also reminiscent of the series where all of the sudden an enemy appears and you have to deal with it.
The game is more fiddly than Castle Panic. You need to keep track of more damage and getting the counters on and off the Enterprise (especially the shield damage) can be annoying. In general it is just more complex than the original.
If you like Castle Panic and are a fan of Star Trek the original series, you should give Star Trek Panic a try. Or if your game group is full of trekkies you might want to bring it along one night.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 3 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 3 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6