Star Trek Settlers of Catan Board Game
by Molly Muppet
Trekkies, stop playing 3D chess with Spock and boldly settle where no settler has gone before with Star Trek Settlers of Catan instead.
First came Settlers of Catan, a game that let players compete to build cities, settlements and roads on the island of Catan - with lots of bickering and diplomacy, a lot of skill and a bit of luck. This German game won OH YEAH ALL THE AWARDS and that's because it was brilliant.
And because it was brilliant, everyone rushed out to get all the expansion sets and other bits and bobs, and now we have Settlers of Catan in Space - the Star Trek years. It's not an expansion - it's the same game, with a few changes and a new theme, so you can play it on its own without needing the original game. So did Mayfair Games do a nice job of mixing the characters, stories and elements of Star Trek into this game, or should we clad the game in a red shirt before we beam down to the next highly dangerous planet?
Personally, as a fan of both Star Trek and Settlers, I think the theme worked. For one thing, the art quality of the game is really, really good. The plastic ship pieces are all modelled on the Enterprise and come in a nice choice of colours. The hexes showing the planets have a great palette and come on nice thick glossy carboard (but, you know, not too glossy, because that can look cheap). Best of all, the artwork on all the cards relates to Star Trek images and the artists have doen a really, really nice job of depicting both well-known and more niche characters in the Star Trek universe.
For gameplay, this game is pretty much the same as Settlers of Catan from what I could see - you find resources, you fight with your friends trade and then you build your Empire. There's a small twist, though, with the brand-new concept of support cards - these support cards feature characters from Star Trek who help you with their special abilities. It took a little time to read through the cards to figure out which character did what, but I thought the support cards were a nice addition which I definitely think added to replayability, especially for someone who's already familiar with Settlers of Catan and knows it back-asswards.
Our 4 player games all lasted about an hour and a half, maybe slightly over, but you can also play with three players. Handy for when one of your regular gaming posse can't make it.