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StarCraft: The Board Game
 
 
 
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StarCraft: The Board Game


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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 180-240 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): Kevin Wilson

Manufacturer(s): Fantasy Flight Games

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Product Description

Three powerful alien races battle for control of the galaxy. Whether you choose to lead the versatile Terran, mysterious Protoss, or voracious Zerg, in StarCraft: The Board Game you'll command an army like no other in the universe!

Once again, Fantasy Flight Games brings one of the world's best-loved computer games to your tabletop. Players take control of the Protoss, Terran, or Zerg and battle across multiple worlds. True to the StarCraft legacy, each of the three races features a unique and distinctive play style, and the inclusion of two distinct factions for each race allows for up to six players to compete for galactic dominance at a time.

With over 180 plastic figures and dozens of unit types, StarCraft: The Board Game features an innovative modular board of varying sizes which guarantees a new experience each and every game. An exciting card driven combat system allows players to modify and upgrade their faction with a wealth of powerful technologies. Players can unleash a Zergling rush, use powerful Protoss shields to halt an enemy invasion, or even send cloaked Ghosts out to guide nuclear missiles to their target.

Product Awards

The Dice Tower Awards
Best Game Artwork, 2007

Product Information

Contents:

  • 1 rulebook
  • 180 plastic figures
  • 2 sets of Terran figures
  • 2 sets of Zerg figures
  • 2 sets of Protoss figures
  • 15 normal navigation routes
  • 12 z-axis navigation routes
  • 1 conquest point track
  • 6 conquest point markers
  • 6 Faction Sheets
  • 6 reference sheets
  • 1 first player token
  • 36 standard order tokens (6 per faction)
  • 18 special order tokens (3 per faction)
  • 36 base tokens (6 per faction)
  • 90 worker tokens (15 per faction)
  • 42 transport tokens (7 per faction)
  • 40 building tokens
  • 38 module tokens
  • 12 starting planet tokens
  • 20 depletion tokens
  • 26 Resource cards
  • 108 Combat cards (18 per faction)
  • 126 Technology cards
  • 70 Event cards

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 3.7 in 3 reviews


 
 
 
 
 
Yeah, it's good.
November 06, 2007

StarCraft: the Board Game (Fantasy Flight Games, 2007 - Corey Konieczka and Christian Petersen) probably had to deliver more than any other board game created in the past several years. The main reason for this was simply that the video game of StarCraft is one of the most popular games of all time, and this obviously contributed to the excitement. As a person who was obsessed with the video game at one point, I also have seen the StarCraft craze just sweep throughout South Korea like none other. When I first opened up the package containing the game, I could almost feel the excitement of the group of teenagers watching, even though many of them rarely, if ever play board games.

But board gamers often have bad experiences with games based on popular licenses, as some of them are simply a poor game cashing in on a fad. But I had higher hopes for Fantasy Flight, as they have been on fire for the past couple of years, producing many tremendous games. StarCraft was certainly different than what I had expected, but I can say with confidence that it's a very well designed game, rewarding quick aggressive play, and bearing a good deal of resemblance to its namesake. It's not a carbon copy of the computer game; and indeed, I don't think that would even be a worthwhile goal; but it does manage to simulate the back and forth of the wars between the Brood (alien insectoid creatures), Protoss (hi-tech aliens) and Terrans (humans). But lets take a closer look at some of the features of the game.

  1. Components: This is another entry in the Fantasy Flight big box series, and I mean BIG. While this gigantic box is probably a little larger than it needs to be, the components do certainly fill it out. There are a ton of components, with a lot of cardboard counters, cards and plastic pieces. I have to tell you these plastic pieces are some of the best molds that I've ever seen. In six different colors, they are large and simply amazing, easy to handle and place on the board. The flying creatures are all premounted on clear plastic bases, although a few of mine broke off in shipment (easily glued back together). These ships are slightly fragile to store but stand up to gameplay well. StarCraft is certainly a game that must be put into plastic bags - and large ones are needed for the plastic pieces - since there are so many. All the artwork - both on the box, cards, and tokens - is identical to the game, so the theme certainly comes through. The cards are of good quality, and setup is a lot faster than one might think.

  2. Video Game: StarCraft was originally a video game, and I imagine that quite a few of the fans are going to pick the board game version up. The themes and feel of the games are similar, but I don't think you'll find duplication here. Folks familiar with the video game will certainly have an advantage, as many of the special abilities of the units in the game are implemented into the board game system, but the game itself has some differences. For one, the board game is based on a galactic scale, in which players are attacking regions on different planets, attempting to control as much of the galaxy as they can. This may disappoint some who are looking for tactical battle, but I feel that the board game manages to have a feel of that in a way, while also showing the bigger picture. Frankly, I'm glad they didn't just give us Warcraft: the Board Game, part 2, but instead took it in a different direction. The game doesn't actually feel as epic as a universe conquering game, but it manages to feel bigger than a simple skirmish.

  3. Board: The game board is built by the players to show a group of planets that are all attached to each other through various spaceways. A two-dimensional board is built, and then extra extension pieces are added to different planets to show that they are also adjacent - even if they are on opposite sides of the table. This gives a simulation of three-dimensional space and is really an amazing way of doing so in a simple, elegant way. This ties the whole board together and keeps players on their toes, knowing that they can be attacked from many different directions. There is no "Australia" strategy here, and building an impenetrable area isn't something that is going to help players. Players can build transports to connect from planet to planet; and the game has an "island hopping" strategy feel, as armies move back and forth amongst the galaxy.

  4. Rules: The rulebook is a whopping forty-five page monster, with tons of color illustrations and examples. The gigantic rulebook may scare away some, but it's not nearly as complex as it first seems. It's still a bit of a mammoth undertaking to read the rules initially, and the rules certainly need to be learned thoroughly before playing; but I didn't find myself referencing it as much as I thought during the games we played. The rules are written in a clear way; and other than one whopping error (for the purple Zerg player's victory conditions), I haven't felt the need for a FAQ yet. Teaching the game takes about twenty minutes for me, although it helps to have people who are at least somewhat familiar with the computer game.

  5. Factions: There are three factions in the game, the Zerg, Protoss, and Terran. Each is represented by two different colors, so that up to six players can play at one time. The factions have quite a few distinctions between them that give the game a nice asymmetrical feel to it; although each of the two pairings of race are very similar, having only minor differences: starting setup and victory conditions. The Zerg are the weakest initially, but can build faster than the other units, and manage to stay alive due to easy cloaking abilities. The Terrans have the coolest technology (at least in my opinion) and are sort of a middle ground between the Zerg and Protoss. The Protoss are powerhouses, and have the strongest units but must pay dearly for them. The models are different looking, and I can't tell at this stage if any race seems to have an advantage over the other; they seem fairly balanced.

  6. Technology: I'm a sucker for technology in games, as it's neat to see how it improves the different players, allowing them to go in different tangents strategy-wise. In StarCraft technology is critical, as it allows players to buy cards that go in their attack decks, making their decks more diverse and more powerful. Games aren't long enough to get more than half the technologies in play, so players have to choose carefully. I do have to point out that this may be the biggest weakness of the game. There are so many technologies with different effects and units that have different abilities, that a new player will likely be overwhelmed at the massive options. StarCraft is certainly a learning game, and it will take several plays before a player really understands each of the races. The game itself is fairly simple - the technology and units are what adds the complexity. New players can play competently but will likely feel like they've made many mistakes after their first playing, simply because they didn't comprehend just how the technologies and units complemented each other. Some of the units seem fairly weak but with upgraded technologies can help a player manage to survive and even win different battles.

  7. Orders: StarCraft takes place over several rounds, each comprised of players placing and executing orders. The game is actually simple in this regard, with only three different types of orders (build, mobilize, and research). What StarCraft has done is add a unique system that requires players to do a good bit of forward planning. Players are placing four orders each turn and may place them on any planet on the board. If a player places an order on a planet where another order is already placed, the new order is put on top of the older order(s), forming a stack. During the execution phase, on a player's turn, they may play one of the orders on top of any of the order stacks. This has a couple of interesting effects. First, players need to place their orders in such a way that the ones they want to do first are placed last. Also, a player can hold another player's orders hostage (at least for a couple of turns) if they refuse to play the order on top of them. Now, this can't be abused too much, as players who have all their orders covered at least get to draw an event card, and players eventually have to play all four orders; but it makes one think before blindly throwing out orders. And multiple times I've seen players gnash their teeth because they played the mobilize order BEFORE moving, or vice versa. Sometimes the order phase can take a while because people are computing in their heads what orders will be played when, and wondering if an opponent is planning on striking them, and how to deal with it. It's probably the most innovative part of the game. A player can upgrade their bases to use "special" orders, which are simply upgraded versions of the standard orders. This allows for more diversification, while keeping things simple.

  8. Attack!: Most games, from Axis and Allies and Risk to Twilight Imperium, often have a viable strategy in "turtling", the practice of building a defense and sitting there. When multiple players do this, the player who attacks is often at a severe disadvantage. StarCraft, on the other hand, encourages attacking, allowing players to constantly be jumping down each other's throats. A territory may have at max four units (many even less than that), while the attackers may bring in two more units than this maximum. The attacker also decides which units fight each other - and this is enough to encourage constant assaults on opponent's positions. One player described the game as having the feel of a knife fight, with players constantly lunging at each other, building up, and lunging again. Defensive measures can still be taken, but no player will ever feel completely safe from assault; and a player who is almost defeated can still build up a little and make some successful attacks. There is no such thing as a weak enemy in this game.

  9. Victory: When I first read the special victory conditions for one of the races, I was amazed at how easy it seemed to complete. But then I realized that all of the races' special victories seemed just as simple to complete. And this is really a good thing, in my opinion. Gridlock is not going to occur in this game, as players will constantly be worrying about their opponents while trying to hold onto their own holdings. Rarely will a game be won by points (fifteen in most cases), I think - rather the player who manages to complete their goal while foiling the opponents will come away with the victory. Yet the point victory is there to encourage players to control territories with point values, adding another edge and threat to the game. There is also the possibility of player elimination, although that takes a bit of effort, and I'm not even sure a player can eliminate all competitors in a game with three or more players.

  10. Players and Time: The game actually is an enjoyable affair with only two players and can likely be done in an hour and a half. But the two-player game was not nearly as enjoyable as the larger games, if only because of the larger universe and multiplayer dynamic. A large game can take around three hours, perhaps less when players get experienced. However, it is a game that can have a longer length, although it's not an epic experience. The game includes an inbuilt mechanic amongst the event cards that will end the game at some point, and players know this. A player can attempt to draw a game out a bit by drawing fewer event cards; but opponents can draw more, speeding it up. Either way, the game does NOT drag, and sometimes even feels like it ends a bit early. Players should be advised that the game comes to an end with a bang - perhaps before a player feels that he's ready. So be quick!

  11. Battles: There are no dice involved in the game. Instead, battles are handled by combat cards. Players can improve the cards that they may draw by buying technologies, and cards are more beneficial to more powerful units. Combat is on a unit-against-unit basis and is very quick and easy. There are multiple pages in the rulebook about fighting; but once I explained it to new players, people picked it up quite easily. There is the possibility that a small unit can take out a behemoth; but it's rare, and with good play it won't happen too often. While this type of combat surely isn't like any combat I've seen in other games, it's simple; and I enjoyed it quite a bit. You get a big rush when you finally get a Carrier or Ultralisk onto the table, and the fact that some units can only attack air/land help cause players to get a good spread of units on the table.

  12. Building: One of my favorite parts of games like this one is the building factor. You get to start from scratch and slowly use buildings and technologies to get the units you want. Building here is fairly quick; you can get almost any unit you desire within a few turns, although you probably won't get them all. But one nice thing that StarCraft has incorporated and will likely be implemented in future games is the resource gathering style. Instead of collecting tokens, players place their workers on planets to show that resources have been taken. This is a nice evolution of this mechanic; and it keeps everything organized, feeling oddly similar to the video game.

  13. Relationships: This game has often been compared with Nexus Ops, because they both are science fiction battles with multiple units. They do indeed have a similar feel, although Nexus Ops is much simpler and faster. StarCraft also has a similar feel to Fantasy Flight's other space game Twilight Imperium, which is much larger and has the feel of a grand space opera. StarCraft seems to fall exactly in the middle. It's playable without centering a whole day around it (unlike Twilight Imperium) but has more meat and strategies than Nexus Ops. Don't get me wrong - I love all three games, and they all have a place in my collection. But StarCraft allows me to play a "big" game without taking up a huge chunk of my life.

I enjoy StarCraft; it's a good, massive game without becoming too huge. There is certainly a learning curve for new players, and it promises a lot of replayability with various paths and strategies. I enjoy the fact that the game pushes towards aggressive behavior and keeps everything moving quickly. Downtime can become a factor when one player decides to take their time building or researching technology; but after a few plays, I think things will flow smoothly. I'm not sure how diehard computer game fans will react to the game, but it does carry the theme of StarCraft well. As a strategy war game, it's a neat one and will have high appeal; thanks to tremendous components, tight rules, and clear victory conditions.

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"
www.thedicetower.com

 
 
 
 
 
by Crusnikian Dreadknoght
Starcraft Board game.
May 21, 2007

This game is quite fun, I helped to test this game in the making and I had quite a bit of fun although, I thought the 'Nuclear Strike' was a bit too good... and the 'Zergling Rush' Also was a bit too good. As with the 'Marines Stim Pack ability'... I hope this helped all whom wish to buy this game. ^_^

 
 
 
 
 
Good, not great
February 27, 2008

My friend and I picked up this game, being tired of actually playing various computer games. Being a big board game fan, i told him we should get a copy of Starcraft: The board game. After opening the box, I was excited to see the wonderful miniatures, and high quality pieces that made up the game. After cracking open the rulebook, and with a few practice runs with my friend, we quickly had the swing of the game, even though the rulebook is large. After a few games, my friend and I quickly came to the realization that we were not big fans of the combat system. It's not a poor system, just I believe there should be more cards. The resource management, and the need for extra planets for additional resources were amazingly implemented, which is an integral part of playing starcraft. All in all, a good game, but definitely not great.

In short, great pieces (though as I've heard before, a few of the flight bases were broke, and easily fixable), awesome resource management system, with a combat system that leaves some to be desired. So all in all, try if you can, before you buy the game.

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