RISK: Star Trek 50th Anniversary
Star Trek is a mainstay in science fiction, combining phaser-blasting action with analytical thinking and diplomacy. To this day, it feels very different from most other science fiction fare that can only scratch the surface of Star Trek’s influence on both pop culture and modern thinking. So of course, it had to have a RISK board game that takes the Enterprise to the table top.
As a RISK board game adaptation, RISK: Star Trek 50th Anniversary is quite the ambitious project. It mashes up all the different major Star Trek series to pay tribute to its ongoing legacy, especially now that there are three new films that takes place in an alternate Star Trek universe starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. As far as it working as a strategy board game, it doesn’t do too badly at all.
It’s also unique since you won’t find this version of RISK online anywhere. Many online RISK game websites have unique maps and rules, but the RISK Star Trek game is solely made as an official RISK board game, mainly because of the strict copyrights the Star Trek franchise holds.
What is RISK: Star Trek 50th Anniversary?
RISK: Star Trek 50th Anniversary is a game designed for 2 to 5 players, making it good for either one-on-one play between two captains or a grand free-for-all. Whether you’re a fan of the Original Series, the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, or Enterprise, you’ll enjoy playing this RISK game.
The game takes place in a clashing of universes perpetrated by Q for his own amusement. He pits all five captains of Starfleet—Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and Archer—against each other to see who is the best of them all. That’s certainly something you can expect from Q. Perhaps it’s for the best as it’s not just for Q’s amusement, but for players as well as it’s not every day when all five known Starfleet captains are put in one place to duke it out.
Each player gets to choose a captain and get a ship, complete with an away team to accomplish missions. They can combat against opponents or find ways around insurmountable odds through 3 different modes of play based on the Classic RISK game rules. If you are looking to do what you’ve seen in the television series or the movies, then you may find this game to be as close as you can get to being a Starfleet captain.
Rules for Playing RISK Star Trek 50th Anniversary
The Final Frontier is the main mode to play RISK Star Trek 50th Anniversary, which is playable for 2 to 5 players. The winner is whoever is the first to complete 3 quests, thus pleasing Q and making you the best captain of Starfleet, at least for that particular game. Choosing a captain comes by rolling a die, wherein the highest roller picks first. Turns are taken according to order of TV appearance, so Kirk always goes first, followed by Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and finally Archer.
Players then get a Captain’s Log, as well as 4 Crew Cards and their ships. The Crew Cards are then placed on the Captain’s Log and Location Cards are shuffled and flipped over according to what’s on the chart:
• 14 cards if there are 3 players
• 13 cards if there are 4 players
• 12 cards if there are 5 players
Two Alien Lifeforms are then placed on each revealed location before those revealed cards are reshuffled back.
A die is rolled once again, and the highest roller then chooses where in the Alpha Quadrant one end of the wormhole is placed, then the lowest roller chooses where it ends in the Beta Quadrant. Q’s Quest Cards are then shuffled and 6 are drawn, which shall serve as active quests in the game. As mentioned, the player who first completes 3 of them becomes the winner of the game.
There are 5 main phases in each turn. First is the resolving of the top Q-Vent Card. During the beginning of the game, Q-Vent Cards are shuffled and put on the game board. Second phase is reinforcing ships as needed, then the third phase involves expansion and invasion of locations. Upon completing that combat phase, you may then maneuver your ships in the fourth phase, and then you draw a card—Location Card or Q’s Quest Card—in your fifth phase before end of turn.
For those who want to play RISK Star Trek in something other than the Final Frontier mode, they can go for the Exploration mode. It’s closer to Classic Risk game in that it’s more about controlling all 26 map locations, or maybe less if you wish for shorter games. It still plays similar to Final Frontier with how phases of play go, but there are no objectives and taking over territory is more of a priority.
RISK: Star Trek 50th Anniversary Gameplay Experience
The concept behind the game is sound and something that fans would enjoy, so it was certainly a good thing that it was given form through RISK Star Trek 50th Anniversary. As a celebratory game for both the franchise and for Star Trek fans everywhere, it gives opportunities for new fans to learn more about the franchise and older fans to enjoy their fandom through a board game.
The materials are not that bad either. Out of the box, the game pieces are sturdy and well-molded, the cards are fairly thick and well-printed, and the boxes seem robust enough to endure years of use. The overall package makes for good value for money, either as a board game that gets played regularly or as merely a part of either Star Trek memorabilia or a RISK board game collection.
It plays well enough as a RISK game, making use of the ruleset to fairly good effect. Being able to pit the five major Starfleet captains against each other in a strategic setting is something that most Star Trek fans would always debate about, and having it in a game is a treat, especially for such an occasion. This game isn’t just about who wins, but also about immersion, so role-playing is a welcome addition to enhance the experience.
Due to this specific way of choosing captains, there is both sentiment and strategy in picking a captain, whether you just want to be Sisko because he is awesome or Archer because you want to go last or Kirk because you want to go first. Maybe you want to set the pace of the game with Kirk or you don’t want to go first in order to make decisions based on the actions of players who go before you.
If you are into Star Trek, you may find this form of RISK gameplay to be pretty fun as it involves a lot of the decision-making that the franchise is known for. Being made a Starfleet captain imbues a sense of both power and responsibility that makes for a more immersive experience. That gameplay and thematic depth is what gives this game the mostly positive reviews it has garnered since its release.
RISK Star Trek 50th Anniversary is a collector’s item, but it’s also a solid playing RISK game above all else. Don’t mistake its name and exterior as only good for shelves, as it also plays pretty well. There should be nothing wrong with taking it out and actually playing it as you may be surprised with how well it works as a Star Trek board game. You may even think that RISK was meant for Star Trek to begin with, which is a nice surprise.