Review: Star Trek Catan – combining two legends into one
Build houses and build villages, that will eventually become cities. Cultivate the fields, mow the meadows and watch the mountains beyond the river. All this inseparably belongs to the lives of the farmer. But if you invite him aboard a spaceship, you give him a phazer and tell him to take care of building a space dock, will he still be the same farmer? Probably not. He becomes an astronaut and explorer, who may even go where no one has gone before.
For the second time, two worlds are intertwining in the designer’s cradle of Klaus Teuber. Last time it was Game of Thrones environment, that allowed tall ice wall to grow up on Catan continent. This time, spacecraft will float over Catan and Captain Kirk cannot be missed on the captain’s bridge. Somebody might perceive it as crazy and riding on backs of two big brands, but let’s keep the score a few paragraphs away. Meanwhile, it should be mentioned, that the game is published under Catan Studio logo and comes in the distribution of Esdevium Games.
Inside the box with Enterprise ship on the lid (and a small village full of frightened folks), we find a game board comprised of a lot of components – especially a cardboard frame, whose inside will be filled with nineteen hexagonal plates representing the planets. These will produce different raw materials for players to use. For this purpose, each planet receives a digit token. Only the Klingon spacecraft will wait in the empty center piece for its chance to strike. Divisions between the planets are ready for the construction of space paths and bases. That’s the whole territory of Federation.
Each player chooses a color and gets a complete set of fifteen ships, four outposts and five starbases. They will be ready before the first game in transparent and elegant stands. Two vessels and the same number of bases will then be used by every participant to form his starting positions in orbit of some of the planets. A set of support cards will create an offer next to the board and one of them will be selected by each player. Shuffled development cards will also create a deck and players will receive their first start revenue from their sector.
Players then alternate as we already know from the classic Settlers of Catan. This means, that everything starts with a pair of dice, whose sum determines one or more planets, that will yield a gathering for the current round. Each player, whose base is in orbit of this planet, earns the income in the form of cards of adequate resources.
For these accumulated raw materials, players can expand their empire and gradually increate their presence in orbits. In doing so, the opponents‘ tracks must not cross. Buildings consist of paths represented by space crafts, outposts and stellar stations.
In addition, players can also use one of their development cards in their turn to activate abilities. It can provide them with victory points, but also the ability to influence the situation on the map. In addition, opponents can also use their support card. This card then returns to the middle and player has to choose another one.
The game continues with additional revenue and construction up to the moment, when one player as a result of the construction (space station is worth two points), connecting the planets with ships (the longest uninterrupted route) and playing cards accumulates ten victory points. He can then immediately celebrate victory.
You may have learned from the description of the rules, that Star Trek Catan does not overflow with new ideas. In fact, it is only disguised Settlers of Catan, which has brought us great disappointment. We were spoiled by the great Game of Thrones Catan game. Those basic Catan rules no longer are as great and unique as they were fifteen years ago, when the game first entered the market. And its simply not enough to recycle, you have to bring something new.
The most significant change is the character cards referred to here as support. They give players abilities available throughout the game. These tiny asymmetric elements are eventually quite pronounced and really affect the game. Thanks to this, the game is better, than the basic box.
Players can choose their identity and plan ahead. In addition, these cards have two sides, A and B, and it is up to the player to use them both, or to return the card immediately after using one effect. He can always take a new one for it, which opens up enough possibilities.
But these are not the only interesting cards. Other players also have the opportunity to deal with the unpredictable roll of dice. These are the biggest criticism of opponents of Catan games, because you can only count on the probability. But in reality, it is never certain, when and which raw material incomes will flow into your treasury and that makes the whole result a bit on the water in terms of tactical control.
The game is not slow. The production phase applies to everyone, so you’re just waiting to play the action. In addition, before it can occur, players can try to trade with each other. This phase is very loose and is based only on the negotiating skills of the individual participants. Sometimes it is possible to get really good exchange rate, it depends only on rivals and how bad they need some resources.
One hour will suffice for battles in lower numbers. The game is then better in four, where positional combat and emphasis on trading stand out, but you also have to be avare of raising the playing limit to 80 minutes. The second good news, of course, is the theme. Thanks to the great processing, both graphic and especially the miniatures, the feeling of this sci-fi classic is transferred to the players.
Star Trek Catan is still Catan with all the trimmings. For the opponents of the mechanism, it offers nothing substantially different to distinguish the game (apart from the theme). As a result, there is nothing in any form, that was not here before in some expansion of basic Settlers of Catan. And yet the theme and a lot of characters differentiate it, so game can really find some buyers. Maybe even among those, who never tested the base game. Star Trek Catan is nothing special, but it is exactly, what made the classic boxing classic. So in the end, its up to you.
Review: Star Trek Catan – combining two legends into one
Star Trek Catan is an interesting attempt to combine two classics, but nothing unique came from it. In fact, the game is exactly the same and differs only in asymmetric support cards. Players can change the game gradually and find some of the favorite characters of the universe on them. Of course, the game is random, because the dice are still deciding on the receipt of raw materials, but it still remains fun (though relatively repetitive) matter. Star Trek Catan is for collectors, but also for those, who do not own any box from this world and prefer sci-fi setting.