Flagship Review

The latest game that I tried out at my local game store was Flagship.

In Flagship, each player takes on the role of an inter-galactic super power that is skirmishing in a space battle. To start with, each player will get a certain number of points to pick their fleet, which must include a flagship and a commander, but then can hold any number of other ships (up to the point total). From there, the players will be able to take turns in which they maneuver and attack the other player's ships until one of the flagships has been destroyed (at which point the player who still has a flagship will be victorious in a 2-player game, and in a bigger game the player who has the most points from destroying ships will be victorious).

Flagship was an interesting game to play. One of the interesting things about it is the different types of attacking that are allowed. There are direct fire attacks, boarding attacks, and guided attacks. Each attack works slightly differently, and each race will be better at some attacks over others. This allows each player to try to maneuver their ships to be able to take advantage of their better fighting abilities and minimize those of their opponent. Another facet of these different kinds of attacks is that the counter-attack cards to be risky to try to use. If you hold on to the wrong kind of counter-attack, then you will have wasted a card in your hand, and you will not be able to counter their attack because they attacked with direct fire instead of a guided attack, or something similar.

The biggest pro of Flagship was that it could be played using scenarios and different races. The rulebook laid out several different scenarios that players could use.  An example is where one race is out-manned significantly but the other side gets to surprise attack them to get significant advantages in the first few rounds. This scenario based combat and the mix of races could keep the game from being as repetitive and could keep people who enjoyed the game interested for longer.

The first con that I saw while playing Flagship was that ships other than your flagship seemed trivial in many situations. For the most part, since your flagship will always be alive (unless you have lost), you will put all of your crew members on your flagship - thus preventing them from dying. However, when this happens, there is no way to get rid of crew members. Everyone is just able to stack as many as they want on their flagship, and thus the other ships become inconsequential as their attack values will not be strong enough without crew members to deal damage to the opponent's flagship (and thus cannot help the player win). I think it would have been better had there been ways to destroy crew - perhaps with boarding attacks, for example, and if there had been more ways of allowing smaller ships to damage the flagship. 

The next problem that I had with Flagship was that the fun of the game did not last overly long. I played through one game and enjoyed it, but during the second game (with slightly bigger fleets to start with) the game seemed to drag on more.  It seemed to me that the game was designed to be fairly fast paced, and so anything beyond a small skirmish became somewhat dry.

Overall, I give Flagship a 6.5/10. I have never played a spaceship battle game that worked out quite like this one, but Flagship didn't seem to be able to handle anything beyond a small skirmish to me. I think I would rather play Mag Blast if I were looking for a game of this type, unless you are really drawn to the scenario based combat.

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