Sunday, August 18, 2013

GUNSHIP: FIRST STRIKE... a quick and dirty review.

I got GUNSHIP: FIRST STRIKE for my birthday, and it's loads of starship battling fun that's easy on your pocket book. In this game, you are the commander of a starship carrier group that has just joined battle with an enemy carrier group. You trade fire with up to 3 other opponents' carrier groups using cards, dice, and ship boards. The object is to destroy your opponents' "Assault Carriers" before they destroy yours.

While the mechanics and cards are simple enough that i was able to easily teach my 6 and 7 year old sons how to play, there are enough subtle strategic nuances, action sequences, and suspenseful moments to make it a romp for adults. As  parts started blowing off of everyone's gunships, my 6 and 7 year olds weren't the only ones acting like they had ants in their pants. Gunship is a game where, with a little luck, it's possible to lose every battle but still win the war if you exploit the right opening at the right moment. This was evidenced during a 2-on-2 when little Mikey ultimately sacrificed his Gunship (the "Hero" unit in this game) to make a glorious kitchen sink attack of "thruster bombs" and torpedoes on our Assault Carrier that so badly damaged it, that it was dead in 2 turns.

There rules are modular enough that there are rules variants, including campaign play, as described on the game's site, escapepodgames.com)  and still more variants you can make up yourself. After only playing the game twice, I was able to create a 2-on-1 variant that was extremely fun.

Reviewer's advice: this game is a must buy for sci-fi fans and gamers, young and old, that have a fetish for ship-to-ship combat.