Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fleet Admiral - Game Review

I recently picked up a copy of Fleet Admiral (published by Castle Games) at my FLGS.  I hadn't heard of it prior to seeing it at the game store and the artwork on the box drew my attention.  I read the description on the back and decided it was worth giving it a try.

The game is not affiliated with any particular intellectual property, but to me, it has a strong resemblance to Star Trek.  In addition, the game play involves you attempting to complete a mission on your turn and the games conclusion comes from solving a galactic crisis.  Doesn't that sound a lot like Star Trek.  Maybe not...

The artwork is interesting.  It is very basic.  I know some people are turned off by the style, but I think it works.

Component Quality
The game components are of reasonable quality.  There are 4 player boards.  Each of a different race.  The cards (which are the main component of the game) aren't as thick as they could be.  Many people will want to sleeve the cards, but they are square, so it will cost a little to get the sleeves for the.  No penny sleeves for this game.  The tokens included in the game are nice and thick.  There is a single die in the game as well.

Game Play
I will start by saying the game is pretty abstract.

On your turn you roll the die to see what kind of mission you are going to be going on.  There is an equipment deck and a crew deck.  Once you decide which mission you have, you will draw a card from that deck.  Each card has a symbol or symbols on the top.  If you have matching symbols on your ship, you have accomplished that portion of the mission; if not, you fail and pass the die to the next player.  If you succeed, you have a choice... do you want to stop or do you want to press your luck and try for another card.  If you fail any portion of the mission, you lose all the cards flipped this turn.  You have some opportunities to get help from other players, but then they get to choose a card to take for themselves.

The die has a symbol for each of the decks as well a pass and fail symbol.  These allow you to succeed at a mission even if you don't have the correct equipment and crew, or to fail and end your turn immediately.

As you get new equipment and more and better crew, you can upgrade your ship.  Once you get to a level 3 ship, a galactic crisis starts.  As more players get to level 3 ships the crisis escalates.  Not to worry though, when you succeed at missions, you can discard your rewards and work to solve the crisis.  The first player to 10 crisis points is the winner, but be warned if the crisis gets to far out of hand the everyone loses.  (This happens when more than 4 times the number of players is exposed.)

Overall Thoughts
I've played several games so far and have yet to win, but I want to try again and again because I am sure I can solve the galactic crisis next time.

The game plays fairly quickly, with each player's turn taking less than a minute.  The more players and the longer the game is, but it feels quick and there isn't much down-time between turns.

There is quite a bit of luck involved with the game, but since it plays fairly quickly, I'm not that worried about it.

If you are looking for a quick playing sci-fi themed game this might be a good one to pick up.  I've enjoyed it so far and look forward to playing it again.

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