Gaming day again! What are we playing today? Errr... Battleship? Seriously? Ehm... Partly right, partly wrong. This game is also made by Hasbro, but it is not just 'Battleship' played in space (though the name suggests so). It is more a kind of 'Battlestar Galactica meets Firefly'.
|Once you see the ships, you'll know what I'm talking about|
My friend Pablo, resident game discoverer of this blog (i.e., the guy who I play any new game with) recently purchased this one at a ridiculous price over an internet retailer (I mean even a quarter of its original value). So what else could we do but play it at once? I even broke my 'only painted minis' rule!
|In outer space no one can hear you play|
Each player leads a fleet (the game allows up to four players). Each turn you have some 'Energy' points you need to run wisely, as they will determine your strategy. Deploying a ship will consume energy, as well as activating a ship or squadron each turn; so, even receiving new energy points each turn, you can easily find yourself depleted!
|Deploying and moving a capital ship consumes a lot of energy!|
Each ship or squadron has particular gear/pilot skillls which can be enhanced by using strategy cards you will be drawing from the deck at the beginning of your turn.
|Human ships remind me of BSG, but the other side is just the Reavers from Firefly!|
|Some ships can carry fighter squadrons, being able to deploy them in front of you!|
You may be asking what are those blue markers on the bases. Those are shield markers. Each ship has a determined number of shield points as well as hull points. When attacked, the shields can be destroyed (you take the blue markers apart) and when you have no shields, the ship will begin to receive real damage (you put on red markers).
How is the shooting phase resolved? Using dice; this is when you remember you are playing Battleship: When shooting, you roll 2D8, one with numbers, other with letters. You use them to determine the coordinates where your shoot really aims:
|A 1, missed. D 4, hit. You know how this works|
Random? Well, yes, obviously. But it really works fine as an abstraction. This is a boardgame, not an strategic wargame. Keep that in mind and you will have fun. Specially when you (or your rival) miserably fail turn after turn! :D
Movement is obviously important. Not as important as in other similar games (I'm currently thinking of Battlefleet Gothic), but it counts for sure, as constant movement can determine wether you are or not in range or allow you to deploy fighter squadrons at will.
|You can think having that Behemoth behind you is bad enough...|
|...but things always can turn into worst!|
|Pew! Pew! Shields down! Hull breach!|
There are some special features too. Special places on the board where you can purchase gear, recover shields, a warp portal that allows ships to materialize anywhere else... Or even just floating asteroids that can make things... more interesting.
We had quite a large board, but we absurdly engaged all our ships in a devastating melee in a small space:
|Forget about tactics, this is just about carnage and survival. And beer|
Fighter squadrons proved themselves as quite effective weapons.
|Ship down. Add FX at will|
This was quite a battle:
|So it looks like everything is decided...?|
But then strategy cards make everything shake!
My rival had set a Boarding card on my capital ship a couple of turns ago, so now he tried to hijack her! He had to roll 1D8. 1-7 meant three damage points to the hull. An 8... and he would take command of her! He got a 4, so BLAST!
|My poor ship exploded rom the inside|
Suddenly things were much more even than a few minutes ago! We used our respective next turns to get the reinforcements we had not put on the board (because of lack of energy!)
|I brought my tiny Frigate...|
|But the enemy deployed their capital ship!|
|So... a new melee|
All the ships were severely hit.
|Less and less blue markers, more and more red ones|
|One ship less on one side, another one about to get destroyed...|
|This pic would be better with photoshop laser beams, shield effects and explosions|
By now we had forgotten about any tactics and were just engaged in some kind of XVI century battle, raging cannons from our galleons hitting hard the adversary.
|Only red markers everywhere|
My ships focused all fire on my enemy's capital ship.
|Until she was finally taken down|
|The same with the last remaining ship|
So victory! Phew!
The game is quite fun and quick to play. Rules are also quite easily apprehended, no mistery at all. It is not a tactical naval wargame (as I told earlier, not a Battlefleet Gothic at all), but a board game to enjoy with little effort. Absolutely great. Oh, by the way, it even brings a comic in!
Maybe it is a little bit expensive at its regular price, but as my friend got it through a really nice offer, it is more than enjoyable!
I still have tons of minis ahead, but I have already said him that I need to paint those tiny ships!