Wednesday , June 19 2024

RPG Game Review: ‘Star Trek Adventures: Captain’s Log’ from Modiphius

Modiphius Entertainment’s Star Trek Adventures brought new life to the classic universe, with even a special edition for the Lower Decks series. Now Star Trek Adventures: Captain’s Log Solo Roleplaying Game engages players in a tabletop roleplaying game with streamlined gameplay and abundant background material.

The full Star Trek Adventures game requires a narrator and rigorous gameplay, so for players who want to venture out alone or with a ragtag crew, Captain’s Log is the next generation of roleplaying.

Make It So

Captain’s Log uses trimmed-down mechanics to maximize gameplay so players don’t have to worry much about the nitty-gritty. The goal is storytelling, which fits perfectly in an IP that has existed as television, movies, novels, and comics for decades.

Other tabletop Star Trek roleplaying games have involved intricate statistical systems, but Captain’s Log focuses on the character aspect, with character sheets. Players will spend most of their time working on backgrounds and values for their characters. There are points allocated for different Attributes, including Control, Daring, and Insight, as well as Disciplines like Command, Engineering, and Security. But these are meant to drive the story.

Whenever a player comes into an uncertain situation, they make a single roll against their own skills. For example, a player might add their Fitness and Security for a classic double-fisted punch, and to succeed must roll under that number. The higher the numbers, the easier the success; the lower the numbers, the more likely the failure. After the roll, the story keeps going. The system does not even include hit points, instead detailing injuries that could affect the plot.

With its simplified rolling, much of the flow of the game comes from story structure. Players may design their own missions or roll for a Mission Profile using matrices and tables to determine themes, locations, complications, and an inciting incident. From there, the game’s mission is played out on the model of a story with scenes answering each story question, acts with bigger twists, and rising tension until the explosive conclusion. Along the way, further tables help randomize the mission, but the adventure is wholly up to the player.

Across the Universe

In addition to its rules system, Captain’s Log presents a solid background into the Star Trek world. Even if a player had never seen a Star Trek anything before, the first few chapters give a thorough explanation of the universe in its various time periods, from humanity’s first steps into the stars to the violent wars with Klingons and the Dominion to the darker days of the 32nd Century.

Just the same, seasoned veteran Trekkers will likely learn something new, especially in the chapters on protocols and procedures within Starfleet. The Captain’s Log book also dedicates plenty of space to different kinds of ships in the eras of Star Trek, since, as Gene Roddenberry said, “The ship is not just a vehicle.” No one knows that better than a captain.

Maximum Flexibility

While Captain’s Log is designed primarily for a player to have a Starfleet captain as the primary character, the game proves to be endlessly versatile. Players can design their characters with flexibility not only in their species or background but in what rank they hold, or even if they are in Starfleet at all. Missions can be dangerous deep-space explorations, diplomacy on a Starbase, or slice-of-life adventures with recurring secondary characters for plenty of laughs. With its slim set of rules, the game can be readily adapted to include multiple players in shared storytelling or even to have one player as the traditional narrator. Rules even translate characters between Captain’s Log and the Star Trek Adventures game for special cameos at the gaming table.

Star Trek Adventures: Captain’s Log Solo Roleplaying Game proves that there’s plenty of space in the galaxy, and we can play however we want in it.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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