Flagship: Prometheus Unchained
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For centuries, the Heisenberg Dynasty has protected the great expansion of the human race. But the hand of the Dynasty has grown oppressive to the colonists of New Atlantis. Led by the charismatic Matthew Freeman, these peaceful farmers and researchers refuse to leave their homes despite the mighty warships encircling their world.
Deep beneath the ocean floor of New Atlantis a startling discovery has been made: ancient ships, constructed of living light. This mysterious alien technology could give the colonists a chance to fight back against the Dynasty, something few have dared to do.
FLAGSHIP is an expandable card game. It includes everything two, three, or four players need to play. Flagship also includes deck construction rules for expert level commanders.
Each player selects a Flagship, Commander and fleet of escort ships. Ships rip into each other with Guided, Direct and Boarding attacks in an attempt to destroy the enemy fleet. The first player to destroy the enemy Flagship wins!
I have used this game to introduce some adult friends to GMT and their broader line of games. That said, it has been successful. This game is colorful, easy but not simple. There is variety of choices, how to build ones fleet, where to allocate resources and when to go all out or just sit back. The game has many nuances that become clearer with multiple playings. No game plays the same way twice. AND GMT will support this game with stand alone expansions making more choices unavoidable.
I'm reprinting my review of Flagship: Coyote Stands because 1) both games are identical in game play and have the same plusses, and 2) you really need to get both sets to fully explore the Flagship universe.
Flagship: Prometheus Unchained is one of the two games in the Flagship series by GMT Games. The full description of the game is layed out nicely in the other reviews so I won't rehash it here. What you get is a quick, easy, space vaporizing game with just the right nuances to keep you trying for more. The basic 20-points-to-pick-your-side scenerio provides for many games of tweaking-your-lineup to find those killer combinations. But you can't have just one because each nation (as represented by one of the two decks in the game) rely on different tactics, so one killer lineup against one nation will crash and burn against another. This game will provide a lot of quick aggravating fun, especially with kids who love blasting their parents. For the full effect you also need to get the Coyote Stands set as well to be able to spend countless hours tweaking the variations.
Flagship is a CCG-type game in that it shares familiar mechanics with that genre, but it's expandable rather than collectible. That is you buy complete modules instead of a bunch of boosters. I like that. It puts the focus on playing the game well, instead of on how much money you can spend to build the killer deck. The game has a lot of subtle decisions that players must make, and each race has its own strengths and weaknesses. The Dynasty has great crew members but relatively weak ships, so you've got to try to survive long enough to get your crew in place. The Freeman Followers one particularly good ship (Prometheus) and tend to have more command points which allows them better targeting. Loads of fun, and you can mix and match from both modules currently available.
As claimed by the publisher, Flagship is easy to learn. I taught a few friends to play in 5 minutes and they were soon turning my flagship into so much debris. While there is only one way to win, to destroy your enemy's flagship, there are a variety of strategies available to accomplish this, even without deck construction. With deck construction (and with another wave of expansions coming out soon) the possibilities are constrained only by your imagination. It's this and the tense gameplay (Do I use these command points to strengthen my fleet with crew cards, or should I use them to focus attacks for a knock-out blow this turn? Or maybe I should keep them and this defense card to thwart his attack?) that keep me and my friends coming back for more.
I am a huge fan of the Flagship series. the idea of a non-CCG is a huge plus for me. I stopped playing Magic when it became a bottomless money pit. Flagship will have expansions but they will be playable by themselves and the initial releases are a blast to play.
The game itself can be taught in about 15 minutes and once a player gets going they will pick up the system pretty quickly.
Others have detailed how the game plays and the pros and cons to it. One thing that has been said is that the dice given aren't sufficent to play if you choose a large force of smaller ships.
To help fix that problem there is a player aid at:
There you will find counter sheets that you can print out and mount on cardboard that give you enough counters for damage markers.
Give this game and it's sister Coyote Stands a try. If you are a fan of sci-fi space fighting this is one of the best games out there.
This is one of the first two releases in the Flagship universe, the other being Flagship: Coyote Stands.
The game itself is easy to learn, fun to play, and unique every time. In this game you play one of two races, either the Heisenberg Dynasty, the human empire that has ruled the galaxy with an iron fist, or the Freeman's Followers, a break-away group determined to make their own way in the galaxy.
The battle itself seems simple at first glace, you have X number of points (often 20, but 10 and 15 point battles work well for some small fast action) to select your fleet. You must have one flagship and one commander plus any other supporting ships you can afford. But the different combinations and option make each game unique and exciting.
While Flagship is an expendable card game with future releases coming soon, it is NOT a collectible card game, so you won't have any endless hunts for that super rare card to make the 'prefect' deck. With the future releases coming the number of options for your fleets will continue to grow. The welcome addition of bases with the next modules will also add new dimensions with each battle.
I borrowed a copy of this from a friend, and on reading the rules it showed a lot of promise: non-collectible (so no downtime constructing a deck), variable powers for each side, very clear rules, beautiful artwork . . . but it really didn't click for me. That's a pity, because I really wanted it to.
In this nominally two-player game, each side represents a fleet in conflict with the opponent. Each side has one mothership (the flagship) which must be defended at all costs, and various supporting ships. Line them up, and shoot at your opponent until there's nothing but chunks of metal in space. It's the stuff of grand space operas.
Flagship has two initial releases (the other is called Coyote Stands); of the two, this one feels more 'normal' in that the ships, by and large, just stand back from each other and shoot it out. The Freeman's Followers deck appears to be high on anti-weapon defences while the Heisenberg Dynasty deck plays heavy on hull armour. The different powers do seem to be balanced pretty well, though I didn't try them against the decks from the Coyote Stands box (the idea is that any one of the four factions can fight any other one, a cunning ploy to make you buy both sets).
I think the problem I found with the game was that there was nothing to do but attack each turn (or hold back on attacking to improve or repair your ships). The continual chipping away at opponents' ships probably makes for realistic space battles, but there's little variety in the gameplay, making the game a bit of a yawner for me.
Now, I'm prepared to admit that the problem is me, not the game; Flagship will probably appeal more to the miniatures and wargaming market than the family-gaming crowd to which I belong. I also still hold out some hope that later expansions (rumoured to be playable in their own right without owning their predecessors) will make the game more interesting by providing alternate paths to victory than the current military one. The fact that I'm holding out hope still is probably an indicator that the game idea still has allure, even if in the final analysis it didn't succeed for me.