Review: Star Trek Five-Year Mission – your home is on Enterprise
Missions in space are no vacation for one weekend. It’s a job, that you must make sacrifice for months and years. Each reconnaissance flight to borders of the known world entails not only danger, but also uncertainty. One year may become five and planned return can only be a memory over shattered wreckage of a vessel on some forgotten orbit. This is not a task for cowards.
And that is, why they invited us in the first place. We are disposable. We will make company to one of two famous Enterprise captains, who met in the faith of least likely events. We join them in the board game journey Star Trek: Five-Year Mission, published by Mayfair Games and created by David E. Whitcher (Nitro Dice, Tahiti). Its box bears stamp of the year 2015. Game is distributed by Esdevium Games.
Player will see immediately on the lid, how both crews first met and you can encounter them using number of interesting components. First in line is a double-sided game board, which depicts one ship on each side – USS Enterprise NCC-1701 or NCC-1701-D, depending on what crew you want to grapple the danger with. Each side contains six colorful dots and symbols of the dice values to repair.
Slightly smaller boards are then devoted to individual heroes. There are seven and they are also reversible, with crew coming from different timelines. Each table has unique features (common for both sides) described in words as well as two boxes for dice: actions and injuries. Now these dice are the main ingredient you get in the box and the only means to full escalation of fighting for salvation. There is a total of thirty-five of them in three colors – most of them is blue and red (14 pieces of each) and seven yellow.
Overall impression is completed with hourglass, one Enterprise damage token and above all, 112 cards of alarm. They are divided into three levels – blue, yellow and red. It brings damage for player’s spaceship, but after solving them, players can also receive benefits. They are all filled with images from movies / series.
At the very beginning of the game, players must agree on the difficulty, they would like to confront. According to this, they determine their objective, ie the number of points, which must be achieved at different levels of alarms. Second decision immediately follows and choice, whether players will stand against enemies alongside captain Kirk or Picard. Corresponding is placed in the middle of the table and decorate it with one damage token on the leftmost space. Vessel is headed out of home port shiny and undamaged for now.
Then players split crew boards and choose a role or randomly draw from all the characters in the menu. Each hero then gets five dice – two red, two blue and one yellow – and places them next to his board. The remaining dice begin their journey on the side of the pile. Now, they have to only divide the cards into three types and remove cards specific for the second crew. Blue package contains also one „To boldly go“ card, which must be set aside and placed first into the game (beneath blue package).
And journey begins. Each player has four tasks during his turn. Everything begins by the least pleasant thing: revealing new alarm card. Choice is free from any of three decks. Player puts new card into the apropriate column, where it will remain until players have dealt with it. Sometimes, players have to battle the card, other times it will obstruct them for a longer period of time (such cards carry mischief to the crew right at this moment of turn). And there are cards with an immediate effect. It always depends on the type of card.
Then, a player may replenish dice, if they have fewer than five. Then they roll all of them (even those in action box may be picked up) and move them with new values to action area on their board. Now these dice can then be deployed any way on active alarms and dealt with. Dice must correspond to both color and value of the box, where its played (sometimes dice can have value higher or lower, sometimes more dice have to be placed simultaneously).
If player managed to cover last box on the card, it can be set aside. But it will enter scoring, only if it has icon in the upper left corner of the card. Other cards (without this icon) go directly on the discard pile and used dice back into stock and not into player possession.
Some events may injure crew members. That player must move dice from action box to wound area and will thus have smaller number of dice to use in upcoming cards. Dice on injuries box are counted together to the total number of five. That is, why it is good to always have doctor in crew, who can treat it more effectively. But heroes can also heal themself (by one dice), if they pass.
Problems, however, are cards remaining unresolved for longer time. In moment, when fourth card should be added to one alarm color, the lowest unsolved in the order is moved to shame pile. In case players should receive fifth such card, game ends with a defeat.
Other attacks will be directed to the ship. It was built to last, but players may use red dice to repair it. This damage is also another way players can lose, if their ship takes too much damage and is destroyed. Victory await heroes, if they meet point target in all color ranges. In this case, ship has weathered its dangers and fulfilled the mission.
Star Trek: Five-Year Mission is a cooperative dice game with your favorite sci-fi theme. But it is simply a theme slapped on this game, that could easily be about dangers of coffee cultivation. It ranks in the relatively unoccupied category, but it currently does not diminish its qualities. These can surprise you, because this new game certainly belongs to quality family entertainment, although it ranks among simpler ones in the whole cooperation genre.
Players get dice values and must deal with it. Their way is paved with a series of random events, that can be attacks on their lives. With a wide range of cards, fight for survival is very variable and interesting.
Game then has not so much interesting choices, which are often obvious, but the main choice is column, from which to uncover next event card. Cards gain quickly in numbers on all positions, but players must pay attention to all of them and time their actions well. If number of problems outgrows their head, they may soon meet with an unpleasant „GAME OVER“ message.
And yet, when we talked about simple use of colors and numbers without any thinking, later in the game, that’s not quite true – heroes must choose between use dice for defense or repair. But more important is deciding between several cards all threatening players. Here, it is honestly necessary to cooperate, because only like that can players extend their survival. Nice is also injury mechanic, that players are missing some dice and thus tying their hands in their endeavor.
Game is fast, because individual turns are not refrained by anything. In addition, all participants are getting involved and monitor fate of their common ship. And although there is minimum of three players printed on the box, it only depends on whether you are willing to control multiple characters. Then the game works well in two. Game time is usually very similar (and depends on the difficulty) and reaches some 45 minutes.
Star Trek: Five-Year Mission raises no enthusiasm, when you first see it. Graphic processing is thoroughly mediocre, including illustrations taken from movie screen. But then, you start to play and understand, that strength of this game lies not in the graphics, beautiful dice or miniatures. This one brings the fun and gameplay, which should be own to all co-operative games. Star Trek: Five-Year Mission manages its mission to entertain us.
Review: Star Trek Five-Year Mission – your home is on Enterprise
Star Trek: Five-Year Mission is good cooperative game, that is best suited for families, less demanding players .. or trekkies. They all enjoy it despite quite average processing. Overall experience provides not exactly a good first impression and pleasantly uses dice for survival in space. And there you get aboard the Enterprise and rush into enemy territory. It can be easy to lose, but players can choose from six levels of difficulty. Yet, this is hilarious family fun. Star Trek: Five-Year Mission would be a game, which we would perpahps take on such a long journey..