This review is possible due to the gift of a review copy, QWERTY and Spock.
Many licensed tie-in games merely slap the name onto the box and make it vaguely themed. However, Star Trek Panic! by Fireside Games delivers more than just their Castle Panic! game with a sci-fi twist.
The Enterprise model is wonderfully sturdy and makes me want to play with it like a toy. It is hands down, the most striking part of the game, which the players certainly do not want to get destroyed by Klingons, Romulans and other threats. The threats and missions are great fun, especially for those familiar with the series. Much like Castle Panic! the threats keep coming and it will take all the players to bring the Enterprise through the adventures.
The character cards are well balanced. This isn’t going to end up in a fight where everyone wants to play Kirk. Each of the other crew members have unique features that allow them to contribute meaningfully to the game. If you play with kids, the way I did, this means no one is left with a less than good character. All the missions will give all the characters a chance to take center stage.
Speaking of missions, in addition to being under constant onslaught from the Federation’s enemies, players must solve missions taken straight from episodes of the original series. They vary in type and what’s needed to solve each mission adding to the sense of panic if one is especially difficult.
The first time this was played, we did misinterpret the rules and kept adding the enemies back into the bag after defeating them. Despite unintentionally making it more difficult, it was still fun and I’d suggest this house rule for those who have played it a few times and gone through all the missions.
I would love to see an expansion that includes more missions, perhaps taking from the movies as well. I would love it if there was also an expansion option that included the Enterprise-D in model form and a Next Generation set of cards to use with the board.
This game is a great collaborative game that will get lots of play in families and with Star Trek fans. It’s…fascinating.