Friday, June 9, 2017

Resistance Is Possible...Even Likely

A Borg Cube is on its way to Earth, and the citizens of the Federation have very mixed feelings...

It is time to address the 800 lbs. Mugato in the room ladies, and gentlemen.

Modiphius Entertainment's Star Trek Adventures Role Playing Game, the first official Star Trek RPG since Decipher's, is available for pre-order. Some of the books for the game will be out as PDFs in just a few weeks according to company founder Chris Birch. 

Among the items available is a limited Collector's Edition Box Set resembling a Borg Cube. This set is listed at 395 British pounds. That's $510 American dollar. Five hundred, and ten dollars. That's...a lot.

The set will contain quite a lot of material, some of it exclusive to the set. The core book cover art is limited edition, the box contains a beautiful, Borg themed Gamemaster Screen, and it has a complete set of all the dice, a set of game tokens, all the miniatures, and everything else the game will consist of when it hits the stores. I believe there is also an Alpha and Beta Quadrant poster map, and some Adventure Tiles (although I am not sure what those are for).

If you feel that's still too much money to spend on a new game as much as you'd like to (because, you know, it is), there is a slightly smaller bundle that was announced just yesterday (in response to fans, and potential customers expressing the opinion that the price of the Collector's Edition Borg Cube Box Set is too high). This alternative Borg Drone Bundle contains everything the Collector's Set does except for the miniatures, their are fewer dice, and none of the Federation Symbol and Red Alert tokens. Do you need these for play? Well...yes...but you could certainly substitute something else. 

This game will be expensive. There is no tip-toeing around that. Very expensive. The basic core book alone is going to be about $60 bucks. Sixty dollars. If I were to purchase that, and the first two or three supplements in physical book form (each estimated at $40 based on the first adventure collection book 'These Are The Voyages') - Great Bird of the Galaxy! That'd have to be around $140! That is simply too much money for me. I can't justify that kind of spending. 

In addition, I've playtested the game and its only OK. Not great. It isn't a bad game, but it's not for me. Like many games it has a fine core mechanic and then it over burdens it with unnecessary subsystems that complicate things with little benefit that I can see. The subsystems are also (personally) aesthetically bothersome. It's like a simple dish, fine on it's own, buried in garnish and sauces. It becomes not just unneeded, but also unappetizing. 

Lastly, I've been gaming in the Star Trek universe since 1982 with FASA. This game doesn't surpass that game, nor Last Unicorn's ICON System, which I feel is the best Star Trek game ever made. If what you are offering isn't better than what I am already using, why switch?

In the end, I plan on getting a physical copy of the core rulebook for my collection, and possibly the upcoming Command, Sciences, and Operations Division books on PDF for ideas and source material. Beyond that...I just can't see myself getting into it.

What's your opinion?

Barking Alien


  1. Your description of the rules system matches exactly my impressions of it. It's a shame, since I am quite interested not only in Star Trek Adventures, but also in Infinity and Mutant Chronicles 3e, which share the same system

  2. (I should have said that I have only read through the Quickstarter rules of Infinity and MC, not played the game)

  3. Agreed, it's just TOO much. I like the box and the fiddly bits (dice, minis). But FASA and Far Trek are great games (haven't played Unicorn yet) and so other than getting it on discount, I think I'll skip it.

    Which is SAD. Skipping a brand new Trek RPG? [Sad trombone]

    1. I share your pain my friend.

      It is almost unconscionable to think that I would not buy every last item put out for a Star Trek RPG, but at this stage in my life I just can't. I don't have that level of disposable income.

      As I noted, on top of that it's a game I am unlikely to play when I could just as easily use the LUG, or FASA versions. Both great games, I love them, and I own every product they put out.

      I just don't have sufficient reason to invest in this new game, and that sort of sucks.

    2. That's a growing problem as we venture forward though isn't it? We like to see new games but so many of them are either rehashes of older games or just bad designs, like someone who wrote them didn't do any research before.

      In this case it sounded like an interesting system but like you I find it buried in pointless detail and sub-systems. I can play old school AD&D because I was there when it was one of the only games in town. I like Shadowrun despite some of the mechanics because I learned to play it when it was new. I am fairly intolerant of this kind of thing in new games because we should know better by now. 5th edition D&D is doing pretty well in large part because it cleared away a lot of this kind of stuff.

      FASA Trek had some quirks but it made sense at the time/ LUG Trek is excellent, almost minimalist, design for speed of play. Decipher Trek backtracked a bit but is still decently playable. This 2d20 system is far more bogged down in special cases than even that game was.

      An alternate expression of how I feel about it: This Trek is to LUG Trek as FFG Star Wars is to d6 Star Wars.

      It's a potentially interesting system seemingly aimed at actual playability that gets too caught up in the chrome.

    3. "This Trek is to LUG Trek as FFG Star Wars is to d6 Star Wars."

      Wow. I couldn't have said it better myself.

    4. Not a coincidence - both game systems are designed by the same guy

  4. I feel very much the same as you. The prices are prohibitive and the game itself is just okay. It feels like they took the perfect Fate wheel and re-designed it square.
    Most disappointing for me, however are the covers. Both the standard and limited edition rule book covers are incredibly dull and uninspiring. The standard looks like a half page interior illustration for the start of a chapter not a cover illustration. The Limited edition one is just a closeup of the Enterpise D dish which is just flat and grey. It's surprising given the quality of interior art I've seen so far and also the high quality bar on Modiphius's other lines.
    I'll probably do the same as you; Buy the standard rule book in physical form (well, my name is in the back as a playtester) and then get the department and Alpha Quadrant sourcebooks and possibly the adventure book in PDF and staggered over a period of time so it doesn't sting too much.

    1. I too was a bit bothered by the underwhelming covers.

      The interior art is so cool, there's tons of photos from the various shows, and films you could have used...why so bleh?