By Kieron Gillen on May 31st, 2010 at 8:18 pm.
RPS Rule for the day: if it doesn’t have hexes, I’m not posting it. MasterBoo comment-threader sent us a very polite mail about Star Relic a couple of week backs. In fact, so polite and self-deprecating that I presumed it would be rubbish and didn’t check it out until this weekend. But it’s not rubbish! It’s nifty. It’s basically a simple two-player strategy game which you can play online here and I’ll explain it properly below…
Well, I’m mainly explaining it because there’s no video. Two player hex based game. Campaign mode against AI, single battles and hot-seat. You have a warp-gate. They have a warp-gate. The aim of the game is to create ships, and ANNIHILATE THEIR CURSED WARP-GATE while protecting your beautiful warpgate of pretty and shiny. There’s asteroids in the way, plus the strategic important areas like healing planets and resource-giving planets (Not really names, clearly). A ship by a healing planet with gain a health-point, and having a ship beside the resource-area will give you an extra energy. The main questions are whether it’s better to save for the more expensive, bigger ships, or spam out the small-useless ones. Also, each of the alien races have different ship, altering the tactics. For example, humans have a missile-frigate which allows you to fire around corners, as long as there’s a route to the target. One of the aliens have a big old area-effect frigate, which hits everything adjacent to an area – in other words, best to spread out the guns. The campaign mode slowly introduces you to each ship type, while adding a little upgrading between missions, allowing you to personalise your fleets.
In other words, it’s a really simple tactical wargame. The twist is what elevates it. At the end of the turn, the hexes rotate around the central planet. So ships towards the centre will whip around swiftly, while those towards the periphery take a more stately route. In other words, you have to keep at least one eye on not just your positioning – but how the positioning its going to alter. This probably sounds more complicated to you than it actually is, so I suggest you go give it a try. It’s certainly a fun example of how a very traditional board-game design can be given a twist which would only really be feasible when implemented in a videogame format.