Yesterday, after some fits and starts the family played deck building games for most of the day. We played Marvel, which I will write about soon enough, more DC, and yes even gave Star Trek Deck Building by Bandai game a second try. The second time was much much better. After thinking and talking about our first game there were two issues that we had; pacing being the first and the length of time during which nothing seemed to happen was the other. The second issue was, to us, directly related to the first issue.
When we set-up the game this time we took a cue from the Marvel and DC deck building games, which have a large amount of low-cost cards ensuring that at least one or two cards can be bought on the first turn of the game. This meant that we laid out our Starbase area with cards that cost 5 or less. An interesting thing was that it took a while to do this because many of the cards cost 6 or more. *
Once we got our modified game set-up, we started playing and right off the bat we noticed an immediate change. The pace of the game picked up and we never had a period of seven or eight turns in a row, like the first game, where nothing could be done by any player. Just starting with 9 cards that cost 5 or less dramatically made a difference. With a good opening hand everyone was able to pick up a card from the starbase and if not, set themselves up to pick up on the next turn. As the game progressed the starbase got filled with expensive cards. Some got purchased, some got discarded, but no one starred at the cards and grumbled “can’t do anything.”
When the space deck, which is where the missions are, came into play having an earlier start than the last game made a difference. Early missions didn’t get done any faster, but instead of a mission sitting undone forever or one mission after another getting put into play to replace another, after about the fourth turn every other mission was getting done.
Our second game was a run away, but that was because Barb got a mission card that required her to sit out for two turns, but on that third turn get a huge bonus. Unfortunately, the mission was mandatory and came at the exact wrong time in the game. If this mission had shown up early on or during the middle of the game she probably would have been set-up to win. However at the end of the game those two turns were two turns that I was allowed my pick of the starbase and was racking up points by completing missions without any competition.
So our recommendation is that instead of drawing nine random cards to start your starbase that you make sure that your starbase starts with cards that cost 5 or less. Cards that cost more are reshuffled back into the starbase draw deck and no other changes are made to the game. Next time we play we will be trying one of the scenarios. If my boy has his way…the borg.
* While I doubt the designers will ever read this, something all of us wondered is why the low-cost cards were often much more useful than the high cost cards. Good example was a 4 cost Ferengi that I got that allowed me to upgrade him with any Ferengi that cost 8 or less. The high cost Ferengi generally had better stats, but either no ability or an ability that was of limited use. Another good example ‘Tasha Yar and Worf have the same ability, but Worf cost 2 points more.