This game does a great job of making you feel like you’re in Star Trek.
Theme and What is it?
Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship T’Pol. Its ongoing mission to research scientific anomalies found inside Federation Space. To advance our understanding of the Universe. To help us find the truth.
Star Trek adventures is a pen and paper Role Play Game that takes place in the Star Trek universe designed by Gene Roddenberry. It uses a unique dice system to allow you to play in this universe. With a Game Master and a crew of players you can set out to explore the stars in any era you desire.
Star Trek Adventures is similar to most RPG’s in that you’ll need a Game Master and one or more players to have a game. The core book comes with enough information to set the game in the era of Enterprise, the original series, or Next Generation. You’ll play the crew of a Star Ship going on missions, interacting with other races, dealing with diplomatic problems, and engaging in combat both face to face and ship to ship. The rules adjust to the type of adventures you want to have from thoughtful to combat or a mix in the middle.
The game uses a dice pool system to determine success in the game. When making a skill check you’ll add an Attribute and Discipline to determine your target number; you’ll need to roll this or less. The Game Master will tell you how many successes you need, usually between 1 and 5 but it can go higher in certain circumstances.
Your dice pool begins with two 20 sided dice. You can purchase more by spending momentum, purchasing threat, or using determination. Momentum is a group resource that the players generate and spend through dice rolls. Threat is a GM resource that is generated by players and used to complicate matters. Determination is a resource held by individual players and is gained through role play opportunities.
Once you’ve built your pool you’ll roll your dice and attempt to roll equal to or under your target number. Characters have Focuses that may come into play. If you do then any dice that rolls equal to or less than your discipline counts as 2 successes. If you roll a 1 regardless of focuses it counts as 2 successes. A roll of 20 causes a complication.
If you roll equal to the number of successes called out by the GM then you succeed at the action. Extra success add momentum to your crew’s pool that can be spent later on. Otherwise you fail at the roll.
Combat functions on a floating initiative system. Your crew will go first. This will allow one of the players to take a turn. After they’re done they can spend a momentum to allow another crew member to go. Then the other side takes their turn. The GM can spend threat to allow multiple enemies to take turns in a row. Regardless of available points no more than 2 members of a side can go back to back. This prevents one side from spending points to overwhelm the other.
Star Ship combat works much the same way with each crew position having individual actions they can take to help the ship do better over the course of the round. These can range from the helm taking evasive maneuvers, the engineer boosting shields, or the captain giving bonuses or extra actions.
The game also allows for players to take other positions on the ship as necessary. It assumes that every character is a capable person. After all they did all graduate Star Fleet Academy and have spent years in the service. There’s never a point where someone can’t do something based on their career path. It may be harder for them but the Doctor can attempt to repair the engines while the helms man can take a shot at identifying a new species with a tri-corder. You’ve all had some experience and training with this.
My first contact with this game was through the web series Shield of Tomorrow on Twitch from Geek & Sundry. Watching them tell an interesting Trek story and make the mechanics look fun and engaging made me excited to see the game in its full scope. Going through the rules I had some trepidation and wasn’t sure how easy it would be in practice but was able to work it out.
Game Build Quality
It’s a book. It’s a good quality hard bound book. I will say, I’m not a fan of how the game is organized and listed in the table of contents. They did a very good job of keeping the entire book in the style of a Star Fleet text. Which is fine, but it makes looking things up quickly a bit tricky.
The art is great. It all has a very real Star Trek feel to it that evokes the universe and setting. You can spot the different eras represent in all of the pictures and everything fits nicely.
This game focuses more on story telling than mechanics. While it’s possible, and likely that you’ll need to roll dice in most sessions, it’s also possible to run a game where someone never rolls a single dice.
Age Range & Weight
I love this game. I’m a huge fan of Star Trek. I grew up watching the Original Series on Saturdays and after school. I’ve known the adventures of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy for so very long. I watched Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager when they were on the air. I even really liked Enterprise. Getting to play in this universe is such a child hood dream of mine.
This game does a great job of making you feel like you’re in Star Trek. It focuses on your character and the story you are telling with them. You are encouraged to work together and solve problems as a group.
The mechanics are solid. I love the dice system in this game. I think its best if used by giving the players easy challenges early on. A challenge with a target of 1 or 0 necessary successes is something to try for early session. You want to roll, because it can help you build momentum for later in the game when the harder challenges come along. As a GM or player it’s important to remember this since a 0 target number might result in glossing over the roll. You need these early rolls to flesh out the story and prepare the crew for later on. Additionally, they could roll a twenty and get a complication.
Complications, values, and focuses are fun mechanics but they rely on the players and GM’s being able to think on their feet. While I find that this can be initially intimidating for some players, with a little practice and preparation it’s pretty easy to get into the swing of this.
One of the things the game has that I didn’t go into in my mechanics overview is a system to emulate scientific experimentation. The system takes a little getting used to and the first time I did it I needed to work through it very slowly to make sure we were getting it right. However, with a bit of trial and error it’s become a more intuitive system.
I would say that the biggest drawback to this game is the style of the game gets in the way sometimes. The layout of the book gets difficult to use and some things are hard to look up. I had to spend a long time trying to find the rules for some star ship traits. The table of contents lists things in a very Star Fleet fashion which is very in character for the universe but doesn’t make looking things up very easy.
The Core book gives you enough information to run a game in the eras of the original series, Next Generation, and Enterprise. There’s not a lot of information on Discovery and nothing on Picard, but I assume there will be source books eventually.
That said the base book gives you enough information to run a solid game. I will recommend getting the GM screen for several of the hand outs and charts it has since some of the information is difficult to look up in the book. You may also want a set of the official D6 for the game. While they have a chart that breaks down what numbers and sides are on the dice for use with standard D6, it’s nice to have the printed dice.
Overall, it’s a great game and I had tons of fun. I recommend it to anyone who loves Star Trek and wants to play a game in that universe.
I will recommend you try before you buy and for that there is a free quick start adventure on Drive-Thru RPG that is linked below. Give it a shot and see what you think.
Until next time, you are, and always will be, my friend. Be Well.
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