Weaselpants Redshirts Deluxe Edition Board Game
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- Ages 12 and up
- For 2 to 7 players
- Playable in about 30 minutes
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In Redshirts - which is based on a television franchise never to be named for legal reasons - players take on the role of Starship Captains, with a random assortment of Redshirts, which are junior level crewmen. The goal of the game is to be the first player to eliminate all of his own Redshirts. Each player has a hand of cards that allows him to assign missions, issue equipment, travel to exotic locations, or use temporary abilities. Players frequently wind up with more cards than they can hold, which forces them to make strategic decisions about how to proceed. Each Redshirt has its own combination of abilities and powers, and the players must find a way to match their crew up against missions where they cannot succeed. Other players "help" by offering the doomed Redshirt additional aid in an attempt to keep it alive.
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The only place Redshirts really falls apart is the instruction. It is poorly written and could use a good amount of organization. It is especially apparent when there is a section of the manual dedicated to clarification of previously described rules and actions and those clarifications still need clarification. After reading the manual several times and watching a demonstration video posted by the game's creator, my wife and I decided to simply 'wing it' and play the game even though it still wasn't clear how some parts of the game were to function and flow. It is sad to know that the rules included in the deluxe edition are a revised set that supposedly have 'cleared up' a number of issues that the original rules were failed at.
Overall the game is entertaining once you get beyond the terrible writing of the game rules. It seems that the rules are sharing the spirit of the game and you, the player, are the embodiment of the redshirt, given insufficient information to understand and complete your mission (the game).
Second, the card design (logistics not aesthetic) is poorly laid out. In favor of putting a big picture on the card, the card text instructions are separated allowing the interpretation that several options are possible when in fact all the text on certain cards is all one instruction. This might seem like a minor problem, however it could be avoided by placing all same option text together as is done on other cards in the game. Low marks for design continuity. Additionally, there are cards that have plenty of room to finish the text instruction but don't like Mission cards that say "Draw one..." WHAT??? It means a card and NOT another Redshirt, but you have to read this in the instruction. Lazy, and deliberately unhelpful.
THIRD, Conceptually, some of the card types have awkward usage. Location cards may be played 'whenever apparently' (not explicitly stated as only on your turn), even when in the middle of a mission (awkward usage conceptually). Admittedly, I specifically have a problem with this and I don't believe it is a universal problem with others, I just feel the card type is conceptually awkward, not mechanically.
FOURTH, don't got to the FAQ for help, It's a joke (literally I think), unless you want to know where to buy it!!
The concept is good, and the established universe will ensure a decent return (it did with me), but getting bogged down in playing the game will DRAMATICALLY affect the overall enjoyment (but with respect to other reviews, it won't necessarily extinguish it). PLAY SOMEONE ELSE'S FIRST AND DON'T BUY UNTIL YOU DO!!!!! Unfortunately, the game feels like the creators were so excited about the concept, they were blinded when exercising objectivity.
Rather than one player propelling themselves to victory, with nobody else ever having a chance to stop them, this game allows players to succeed, but keeps everyone on an even keel, ensuring that the battle is fair up until the last minute.
It doesn't have as much versatility as Munchkin, though, and the rules are very different between the Redshirts, and Redshirts Deluxe Edition. Redshirts is more of a balanced game, where the players ahead are inhibited from winning, making the game more balanced, whereas Redshirts Deluxe keeps everyone even, regardless of how much power they actually have.