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Battlestations - Board Game Box Shot


| Published: 2004
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Simultaneous Ship to Ship Combat and Boarding Action simulator with light role-playing.

You and your friends each play the role of a crew member on a starship that faces whatever grief the referee throws at you. You'll blast enemies, pull outrageous maneuvers, unlock the secrets of alien cultures, and crank the last bit of juice out of an overtaxed engine while trying not to get yourself, your crew, or your starship blown to bits in the process.

Battlestations allows players to operate a star ship acting as the crew. Players can be a Marine, Pilot, Scientist or Engineer. They move about the ship drawing power from the engines and putting it into guns, shields and helm. They can fire missiles and cannons at enemy ships. The ship can be maneuvered through asteroid filled battlefields. Scanning for information and using electric counter measures are all part of the action.

Fight from a distance or close in and conduct boarding actions. Recreate major space battles, or challenge players by forcing them to fight off a pirate incursion with pistols and rifles.

User Reviews (2)

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Guardian Angel
Baron / Baroness
Miniature Painter
28 of 30 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Blast off to Adventure!”

Battlestations is, bar none, my favorite game ever!

I was introduced to the game in 2004 by Jeff Siadek (the publisher) at a Strategicon in Los Angeles. I played it for the whole convention, and by the end of the show I had purchased my own copy and was teaching others how to play!

The game is played on two scales; shipboard and space. Players move their ship around in space on a large scale ‘space map’ while moving their characters about on board their vessel to perform various necessary actions, such as steering the ship, firing the weapons, scanning enemy vessels, etc.

The referee does the same for the enemy ship(s) and crew(s), albeit in a simplified fashion.

Scenarios range from simple stand up fights to bug hunts to voyages of scientific discovery to rescue missions.

Each character has a unique class (Pilot, Marine, Engineer, Scientist) and has differing abilities. Alien races add to the mix, as do various types of ships which can be flown. Characters gain experience with each mission and become more skilled with successive play sessions, and missions scale easily based on overall crew capabilities. And there is a wide variety of special abilities which players can choose from each time their character advances a level (or rank as it is called in the game). And, of course, cool gear to buy and use!

The true joy of Battlestations comes from each of the players dashing madly about his ship trying to get things done; engines need to be coaxed into generating more power, targeting locks need to be achieved on enemy vessels, weapons need to be fired, damage needs to be repaired, etc. Sometimes the order in which these things happen is important, so the order in which players take their actions is fluid from round to round.

Each game takes 2-3 hours and is best with 4 players and referee.

Well worth checking out!

PS – Jeff and the crew are working on a 2nd Edition. Keep your eyes peeled for it!

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United Kingdom
Professional Reviewer
Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Book Lover
42 of 46 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Roleplaying Starship Combat!”

Most space combat games have ships going blaster-to-blaster with each other. Battlestations does that, and also does a lot more. A hybrid between the board and roleplaying game, in Battlestations players create characters that man a single vessel. They control her helm, shoot her weapons, operate Teleporters, Tractor beams, and scanners for Targeting Locks and ECM, but when the ship is boarded or damaged, can leave their stations and rush to repel the invaders or repair the ship. All the while, the ship zooms through space!

Battlestations comes richly appointed. Besides the 112-page rulebook, the box contains 48 Starship Modules; eight hex maps with either a reference Play Aid or a Ship Control Card on the reverse; plus a profusion of counters and markers. All of which comes in thick die cut cardboard and in vibrant full colour. Only the game’s character stand-ups let the components down, being small and light. The rulebook is very well written, easy to understand, and its cartoon illustrations match Battlestations’ space opera-like frantic feel. The strong roleplaying element requires one player to be the referee.

Starships are comprised of Modules, each 3½-inch square and marked with a five-by-five square grid. They come in ten types: Cannon, Engine, Helm, Hull Stabiliser, Hyperdrive, Life Support, Missile Bay, Science Bay, Teleporter, and Tractor beam, each performing one or more functions. In battle live crew or bots man them, and without them a Module cannot function. Starship design is standardised using the same Modules, but laid out differently by the game’s six races. For example, a Scout has a Cannon, Helm, Hyperdrive, Life Support, Missile Bay, and three Engine Modules, and if a U.R.E.F. (Universal Republic Expeditionary Force) vessel, has a Science Bay. Several designs are given, from the humble scout to the powerful dreadnought, plus outposts, shuttles, and freighters.

Characters are simply defined by race, profession, and skills. There are six races and five broad skills (Athletics, Combat, Engineering, Piloting, and Science), one of which is a character’s profession and determines a character’s role aboard ship. An Engineer allocates power, carries out upgrades and repairs, while a Pilot will fly the ship. A character also has a Luck stat, spent on dice re-rolls, and special abilities, one from his race and another from the long list included. Optional rules add psionics.

Battlestations’ mechanics are simple. Roll two dice, add the appropriate skill to beat a target number. Luck, a character’s Profession, and some special abilities allow re-rolls. Personal combat is kept simple and deadly, two Blaster hits or knife wounds will kill most starting characters. The U.R.E.F. keeps a back-up clone should a character die.

Battlestations is played in missions, with two dozen included in the rulebook. Each begins with the players’ ship, initially a Scout, warping in, and upgrades conducted on personnel equipment, ship’s bots, or Modules. After a mission, players can repair, improve and even upgrade their ship, revive dead crew, and gain experience to improve their characters.

A mission is played out in rounds, divided into phases. A round starts with Power Generation and allocation by the Engineer. Then over the six phases, this Power is expended. By the Pilot to manoeuvre the ship and keep it from going Out of Control, the Marine to fire the cannon, the Scientist to maintain the shields, and so on. A mission becomes frantic if the ship is damaged or boarded, as characters rush to deal with the damage or boarders. Most Modules can be used once per round, and are easy to damage. While Shields reduce damage, damage increases the likelihood of ships exploding, missiles in particular.

Battlestations includes a setting, sketched out in two pages. This is the Universal Republic, which directs the U.R.E.F. to keep the peace and admit new cultures to the Republic. The timeline suggests a brewing civil war over continued Human cultural and political imperialism.

Battlestations has a Star Trek-like feel, but is definitely space opera. Its slick design gives lots of in-game options, plus the missions provide hours of play, with expansions promised. Above all, Battlestations is frantic and fun to play, combat is perilous, but offset by a high luck factor. All eased by clear simple design and fine components.


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