Star Trek Adventures is an RPG produced by Modiphius Entertainment. I love Star Trek. I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and have been a huge fan for as long as I can remember. So a new, fresh Star Trek RPG is something that I’ve been wanting ever since I discovered the hobby.
Star Trek Adventures uses some mechanisms that I’ve never encountered before. In this game, players usually roll 2d20 (2 twenty-sided dice) whenever an action’s success is in question. Rather than trying to roll high, as in Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder, the players are trying to roll below the combination of a discipline and focus. For instance, Security + Hand Phasers. You’re trying to get successes, and each die that rolls below the target number counts as a success, and each die that rolls a 1 counts as 2 successes. If you meet the threshold of success, you complete the action. Otherwise, you may complete the action with some unintended consequences, or you fail the action.
Other than that, and the strange names for attributes (disciplines) and skills (focuses) there’s nothing really revolutionary about Star Trek Adventures. It’s a fun game, and some small mechanisms are surprising. And to top it off, it’s a Star Trek RPG.
My First Playthrough
I got to play Star Trek Adventures for the first time during SaltCon 2018. I’d already read through (almost) the entire core book. During the adventure we played, we were stranded on a world with ancient Iconian structures. While we tried to get off the planet, we had to scout, negotiate with Klingons, and overcome mind-controlled masses of people.
The most memorable aspect of the entire experience was the person playing the captain. Robert got the premade character Captain Francisco Martinez. He decided to make the character the most over-blown parody of Antonio Banderas I have ever seen. Anytime we would approach someone, Robert would sit up and say “I am Captain Francisco Martinez…” and follow it up with some over-the-top suggestion. Combined with superb luck with the dice, Robert was able to overcome almost every obstacle with the captain’s Latino flair and personal confidence.
In one instance, he approached a mind-controlled Vulcan who was refusing to flee from a collapsing structure. To convince the Vulcan, he said… Yes. He said “I am Captain Francisco Martinez, you must come with us.” Dice clattered on the table-top. The Vulcan’s only response was “You make a logical point.” Then the crazy guy just walked onto the transporter pad.
The strength of the captain’s personality also allowed the other players at the table to shape the story around the captain’s actions. For instance, when a beam of light showed up, one of the players suggested something along the lines of, “Hey captain, there’s a spotlight just for you!” There were other lighthearted moments of banter and it was a really great time.
The powerful personality of this character, as well as the incredible luck Robert had during that session overshadowed almost everything else at the table. Even so, I don’t think that any of us who played during that session would have changed a moment. After all, who could possibly not want Captain Francisco Martinez at the table?
Star Trek Adventures’ Best Points
Star Trek Adventures has one positive point that, for me, overrides any and all negatives. It’s Star Trek. If you’re a trekkie, then this is a game you’ve got to try. The mechanisms may not be to your liking, but you really have to try it. Not only is this game all about Star Trek, it does well at being a Star Trek RPG. It’s got enough narrative focus to allow for games centered around any of the themes you see in an episode of Star Trek. If you want to explore, be a diplomat, fight a war, or engineer your way out of a problem, you can.
The mechanisms of the game don’t get in the way, and they’re not super complicated. The fact that this game uses life-path character creation is nice, as it allows players to come up with a refined concept along the way. It also helps players to get to know their character a little better.
As with all RPGs, one of the best things about Star Trek Adventures is the people. When you have someone like Robert at the table you know you’re going to have a lot of fun. This game allows players to become heroes and perform feats that you might see in Star Trek. It’s awesome.
Star Trek Adventures’ Worst Points
Star Trek Adventures is great. It’s got issues with editing though. I ordered the core book, and my friend Thomas ordered the Borg Cube (more on that in Expansions & Extras). They look great, and the quality is right up there with the best RPGs I’ve seen. The issues appeared when I opened the PDF and actually started to read. At first it seemed that almost no editing was actually done on the book. Instead, the Modiphius team opened up a forum for typos and relied on the community to do the first couple rounds of editing before it printed and shipped the books.
I’m not talking about nit-picky errors. I’m talking about a sentence ending with “ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff”. Then when the print book and materials finally arrived, although the most egregious issues with the rulebooks were solved, the materials that came with the Borg Cube clearly had not been edited. For instance, all of the rule reference guides said “Rules Summery”. I know that it’s a homophone (words that sound alike, but are spelled differently) and that those can be confusing to some people. But that’s what an editor is for!
I know that this seems overly critical to some of you, but it is one of the most obnoxious things I have ever encountered in an RPG. At least we can now make fun of the game anytime we talk about it and say, “I know the rules are summery, but I sure prefer wintery or autumnal rules.”
Expansions & Extras
Star Trek Adventures follows the same pattern many games have adopted. It’s called additional content. Not only does Modiphius offer additional guidebooks, it offers miniatures, map tiles, dice, and more. I’m not complaining about the extra offerings. I really like having the option of purchasing a bunch of Romulan or Borg miniatures to use in my Star Trek campaign. It simply makes the game more expensive.
One of the most tempting offerings that Modiphius released was the Borg Cube. I am a huge fan of the Borg. I think they’re the most terrifying villains in all of Star Trek. The chance to get a Star Trek RPG in a box shaped and designed like a Borg Cube was almost more than I could handle. Only through the kind reinforcement offered by my wife did I resist the urge to buy this goody.
Luckily for me, my friend Thomas bought it instead. I got to see, first hand, the glory that was the Borg Cube. It is awesome. It is expensive, and I still want one eventually. Even with the typos.
Buy Star Trek Adventures
If you like Star Trek, you need to get this. Truly. You can pick up copies on Amazon, through DriveThruRPG, or on Modiphius’ site.
Buy on DriveThruRPG
Buy on Amazon
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