Reviews written by doubleozaphod
...because I think this game could have made a bigger impact among Starcraft PC gamers if it had had more of a chance to "get known" before the SC2 hype really started.
But to actually review the game - blarknob is right when he says that FFG did a great job of simulating PC Starcraft without forcing players to become human computers. It's funny - when I first got this game and laid it out on the floor of my room I thought "This is it?" Coming from Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition, the board felt "claustrophobic" to me as well - twelve planets maximum? Connected by these piddly little space-bridges (that actually don't fit very well with the planet tiles)? But after a few plays, I realized that it has to be that way, because Starcraft itself is claustrophobic. You've got your base, your enemy's base, and just a bare strip of map in between them in the PC version, and there's a good reason for that: you're supposed to ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK until your opponent is destroyed. It's a focusing tactic on the part of the developer - unlike TI3, Starcraft is not about gaining "galactic dominance" through (sometimes excessively) arbitrary displays of power. Starcraft is about killing.
I follow professional Starcraft, and there are few better marks of a player's finesse than when he can force his opponent to resign in the first five minutes (I exaggerate, but only slightly). So when a game of SC:tBG ends before a single player has built a flying unit (which has happened all but one of the times I've played) it is with that analogy to PC Starcraft that I want to defend it. But it's a very weak defense, and pretty much accounts for the 5-instead-of-6 rating. I agree with everyone else on this forum who seems to feel cheated out of a longer (but by no means TOO long) game by special victory conditions. Of course, a 6-player game of SC:tBG where the only way to win is to wipe out everyone else would be taking things too far in the other direction, and it's the kind of gaming that I think FFG tries very hard to avoid. Nevertheless, I'd love to be able to get the kind of satisfaction that the PC version offers when your opponent types "gg." Of course, there is likely an easy in-house fix, but I doubt it will be as simple as removing special victory conditions - they seem to have been intended as a kind of balancing factor. I guess I'll have to experiment with them in the future.