StelCon: Infinity designed by Russ Rupe is a space battle board game published by Conquest Gaming, LLC pits Marshal’s of interstellar fleets against each other while trying to colonize regions of space nearby in other galaxies to grow your dominance and propagate your species.
Stelcon:Infinity (hereafter SI) is a light strategy game that plays 2-6 players at around 30-45 minutes per player. A six-player game is kept shorter by having three teams of two players execute their turns simultaneously. The list price is $79.95.
The game comes with 6 map boards, 6 star docks separated into three sections, 222 punch out pieces, 115 conquest cards (each unique), 50 sector cards (each unique) 3 dice and rule book.
While choosing from six races which each have their own strengths to explore the galaxy with all the players taking their game board and making a circle (the boards are properly angled to allow this) to connect their sectors. Each race has its own strength so players need to read their board carefully. Each player starts with a hand of 5 cards dealt out from the sector cards. All 50-sector cards must be gone through before the conquest cards come into play. You also start with a double squad MOD and 1 fuel crystal on your home world.
Turn order is as follows: 1. Star dock, Fuel check and Building. 2. Show all moves. 3. Combat, Scouting and Exploration. 4. Draw up to hand limit.
Each turn a player has many options. They can bring in ships, MODs such as scout ships; engines or fuel crystals (money) or they can play cards from their hand if able. You can do as much during your turn as your resources such as fuel crystals or cards allow. To start your turn, you count up your fuel crystals and subtract the cost of what you have in play i.e., a ship may cost three fuel crystals for one and five for another. After subtracting the cost what ever is left over is what you can now bring into the game such as scout ships or MODS to enhance your ships or sectors. Then you may play cards, which enhance your sectors, hurt other players or help in combat. Some cards are playable on your turn only, other anytime and others only on certain types of other cards. This has a “Munchkin” flavor to it but due to the cards uniqueness it offers lots of replay value.
Home worlds, ships and outposts can hold one MOD each. MODs can be guns, engines, fuel crystals and squads. Guns give +1 firepower and cannot be scuttled later. Engines give +1 movement and cannot be scuttled. Production MODs (fuel crystals) can be built on the home worlds or outposts but not ships and cannot be scuttled. Squads are MODs that can be built only at the home world either in a MOD slot or on a ship. Squads give +1 firepower but cannot attack alone. They must be in a MOD slot or be destroyed at the end of your turn. They can also move 2 moves per turn but again must be in a slot at the end of the turn.
Players can jump to other players sectors via jump lanes and conquer their sectors. Whatever cards are played on those sectors maybe taken over by the attacking players and then those cards abilities now stand in favor of the conquering race, certain cards can also neutralize this as well.
Combat is simply resolved by counting the number of guns on each sector and/or ship plus any MODs and totaled up against each other. Then cards can be played to either enhance your total or hinder the other player and then you roll a d6 and the highest score wins. The losing player is forced to retreat squads if able and ships are scuttled back to the player’s shipyard. Damaged ships can be brought back into play by paying a fuel crystal cost per turn to move them through the repair process.
During your turn you can have combat, scouting or exploration. Combat is obvious and scouting can be done when a player moves into an empty sector. Sectors that haven’t been scouted or explored yet have a militia you must combat and is represented by the number of guns printed on the game board. Once the player has won the combat they must explore the sector.
Ways to win:
The first person to conquer an opponent’s home world is the victor.
The Victory Point Variant: You get one victory point for every battle you win against an opponent. You get one victory point for every sector you control at the beginning of your turn that is on an opponents map. You get 5 victory points if you conquer an opposing players home world. The first player to 8 victory points wins in any combination of the above-mentioned victory point scenarios.
The 2-player variant: Using 4 player maps, opponents sit directly across from each other. The T-Sectors will connect the opponents via the wormholes.
The 6-player variant: 3 teams of 2 with team mates sitting across from each other and taking turns simultaneously. You win if you conquer an opponent’s home world or if using the Victory Point variant the points are shared.
The game components are well done and the artwork is good. The slots in which the MODs fit might take a bit of work at first but don’t seem to get to loose after many game plays so that shouldn’t be an issue. My only gripes here would be need to buy two different size card sleeves for one game that already is a bit up there in price and the rule book could be a bit better as to one of the victory conditions.
Now granted I didn’t cover everything here, it’s much deeper than I wrote so please check it out before making a decision based on this review. SI is most definitely a fun game with just the right amount of light playability and tension. It is a social game that has just enough strategy to keep it fun and “gamers” entertained and feeling like there was enough depth to the game to make it worth their time. It has a ton of replay value as all the cards are unique and the 6 different races having their own strengths. It’s easy to learn, fun to play and easy to teach.
If you are into space themed games but want a version that isn’t as heavy as Twilight Imperium Third Edition then Stelcon: Infinity may be for you. It’s a great way to scratch that space itch when you can’t get the big dogs to the table.
I give it 8 out of 10 stars with the caveat it’s a light strategy game but great fun! [rating=8]
This game is Club Fantasci Certified!
Note: A copy was not provided for review.
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