The Game of the Month series highlights one of the many games in our libraries at Ravenwood Castle and the Malted Meeple. We will briefly describe the game, how to play it, and why we like it. The Game of the Month is written by the Meeple’s Head Game Master – and former Ravenwood Innkeeper – Karington Hess.
Picture this: it’s the last few minutes of everyone’s favorite sci-fi TV show. Except everything seems to be going horribly wrong! Shields are down, the Jump Core is offline, multiple systems are failing, hostile aliens are attacking, and worst of all, no one knows what to do because The Captain Is Dead!
April’s game of the Month, The Captain Is Dead, was donated to our library by our friends at Alderac Entertainment Group. In The Captain is Dead, players must frantically work together to repair critical systems, research strange anomalies, fend off hostile alien attacks, and repair the Jump Core! The goal of the game is to repair and engage the Jump Core. The players will need to make the best use of their characters’ unique strengths if they are to win the day. If they are unable to engage the Jump Core in time, they will all share their captain’s fate!
To begin an “episode” of The Captain Is Dead the board is placed within easy reach of all players. This board represents your ship, and is the only thing preventing you from suffering a cold, silent death in the vacuum of space. Next, place the System Cards on their designated systems with “Online” face up. Then, the Yellow, Orange, and Red Alert decks are shuffled separately and placed on top of one another to form the Alert Deck. The first two cards are placed face up on the External Sensors space. Shuffle the Skill Deck and give each player five cards, then place three face up on the Internal Sensors space. Place the Torpedoes, Battle Plans, and Status Bars on their designated locations and place the Hostile Aliens near the board. Each player chooses which role they wish to play and places their pawn in the room with the corresponding color. Finally, draw the first five Alerts and apply their effects as the situation begins to turn desperate.
In order to turn things around, the players will need to act fast, as time is against them. They will need to work with their fellow players and make the best use of their characters’ special abilities. During their turn, each player will be able to perform a certain number of actions as denoted on their Role Card. They can use actions to move about the ship, fight aliens, repair and use systems, and use tools. Whenever a player activates or repairs a system, they will often be called upon to spend skills and must discard a number of skill cards equal to the number indicated. Each role offers a unique combination of skill discounts. For each skill discount, the player spends one less skill card to complete the task. Each role also has a special ability that helps them save the ship! At the end of their turn, the player draws the next card from the Alert Deck and applies its effects. This may cause damage to the ship, cause the ships systems to go offline, or even cause total destruction!
The Captain Is Dead is a fantastic blend of strategic gameplay and a fun, familiar sci-fi theme. One of the many things I love about the game is its replay value; with eighteen different roles for players to explore, each game is sure to be a unique experience. The gameplay is very frantic as players are constantly trying to make the best use of their resources and abilities. All the players must work together if they have any hope of surviving the day!
Be sure to check out The Captain Is Dead next time you visit!