Starcraft: The Board Game

This is one of those love it or hate it types of games. There is not much middle ground. When most gamers first learn about SCBG, their first reaction is, “How would that even work?” Truth be told, I thought the same thing. The idea of taking a Real-Time Strategy computer game and making it into a turn-based board game seems crazy. It’s like making the Mona Lisa into a sculpture, it just doesn’t seem to be its intended form.

Regardless, there is much to be said about this game. First off, you can’t look past its sheer size. Check this out:

It’s about twice as big as Settlers of Catan. And that’s just on the outside. Inside, there are nearly 1,000 gorgeous components to this game. The setup alone can easily take 30 minutes. That isn’t necessarily bad, though; it’s not a hard game, it’s a complex game, if that makes sense.

In regards to pieces, they are simply beautiful. Standard Fantasy Flight goodness. Six colors, two factions of each race, each containing several dozen pieces, along with many tokens, chits, and cards. (Surprisingly, SCBG is a diceless game…) The pure number of items makes the game look extremely intimidating, but, especially if they have at least some knowledge of the computer game version, players will find it less intense than it appears.

It’s difficult to effectively explain the turn sequence, but each turn consists of three phases: the Planning Phase, in which players map out their actions for the turn, the Execution Phase, where players strategically employ planned actions, and the Regrouping Phase, in which players resolve the turn and prepare for the coming turn. The game can be won in three ways:

1) [Least common] Be the first to 15 Victory Points. These points are gained by controlling certain territories on given planets.

2) [More or less common, depending on number of players] Eliminate all other players.

3) [Most common] Achieve your faction’s Special Victory Condition. This could be a variety of different objectives, each relatively difficult to accomplish.

A standard game of SCBG can take anywhere between one and four hours, depending on the number of players and their own experience with the Starcraft universe.

Similarly to my earlier review of Roller Coaster Tycoon: The Board Game, part of the fun of this game is the inevitably poor player imitation of character voices from the video game.

“WE REQUIRE MORE MINERALS.”

I have found SCBG to be challenging and fun. There is certainly a lot to think about and the game can be quite mentally exhausting, but it is very well-made. I wouldn’t recommend it for inexperienced gamers, especially if they’ve never played Starcraft the video game.

SCBG can run you a lot of money, often around $70 or more. If you’re a die-hard Starcraft fan, you most likely already have it, so I don’t need to tell you to buy it. However, if you don’t already own it, I would recommend against buying it new. $70 is a lot of money. This game is good, but it’s not very family friendly. Unless your circle of gamers enjoy heavy duty galactic action, think twice before buying Starcraft: The Board Game.

Good game, if you’re playing with the right people. Just be sure you have plenty of Red Bull handy.

Overall rating: C+

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