Collectible card games are as popular as they've ever been.
Whether it's Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon, cards are being
bought by the hundreds. Even the Star Trek universe is
represented via this new fade in a game called Star Trek:
Conquest. So it comes as no surprise that much like Microprose did
with Magic: The Gathering, Activision is bringing the sci-fi card
game to the PC with Star Trek: Conquest Online.
The PC games Magic: The Gathering and Star Trek: Conquest
Online share a lot in common. For starters, both are online
versions of their card game equivalents. Both titles allow you to
play against relatively predictable computer opponents, or online
against opponents from anywhere around the world. The main
difference, and a large one at that, between the two games is that
Star Trek: Conquest Online makes you pay, in a big way. When
Magic: The Gathering was released a few years back, it contained
a large number of the collectible cards. It contained several of the
sets that were currently available at that moment, allowing you to
create decks that included cards you might have never seen
before. Star Trek: Conquest Online, on the other hand, simply
comes with a starter pack.
Like one would do with the collectible card game, you must
actually purchase booster packs in order to improve your deck.
Let me explain further. When you purchase Star Trek: Conquest
Online, you'll receive the CD and an access code to get your
online starter pack of virtual cards/pieces. If you wish to increase
your collection of cards, you'll have to spend more money for each
new pack of 50 cards you wish to receive. The result is a game that
can become extremely expensive if you desire to become a
dominant online player. Of course, nobody is forcing you to
purchase more than the starter pack, but playing online will
become a challenge and players will be at a disadvantage if all
they have in their possession is the starter pack.
Star Trek: Conquest Online works the same way the card game
does. For those who have never encountered the game, here is a
quick rundown of how the game plays out. Star Trek: Conquest
Online is a battle, between two opponents, for neutral planets.
Each player takes on the role of a Q and begins with a home
system. The two home systems are separated from one another by
a neutral system, which consists of one or more planets.
Controlling a planet gives you control points, which are used to
play cards during each turn. The more planets you control, the
more points you obtain. The more points you have in your
possession, the more you can do each turn with your cards. In
order to gain control of a planet, you must beam down characters
with influence points to the planet's surface. If your opponent
already controls the planet in question, you can seize the planet
by beaming down much more influential characters or by using
combat characters to destroy your enemy.
The object of the game is to be the person with the most planets in
their control at the end of twenty turns. You can also win the game
by gaining ten Q points, which are awarded each turn in certain
instances. The game can end even quicker if you manage to
capture the planet containing your opponent's Q and hold onto
that planet for a single turn. There are a wide variety of cards
available at your disposal including character and ship cards,
character and ship bonuses, and penalty cards to name a few.
Much like any collectible card, the variety of the game is based on
each of the opponent's decks. The more cards you have in
possession, the more variety you can create for yourself. Turns are
made up of five phases and include such actions as deploying
pieces, combat and movement. Finally, like its collectible card
game partner, you can also trade cards with your friends while
Did all of that make sense? To someone who has never played the
game, I would think not. Much like Magic: The Gathering, it's
extremely difficult to describe the game more than a simple
outline of what happens. An 80-page manual accompanies Star
Trek: Conquest Online and if you've never played the card game
before, you'll want to go over each and every one of those pages.
The interface, to a beginner, can be a little intimidating but once
you get into the game, the presentation is actually quite good. The
sights and sounds of the game are perfect for what Star Trek:
Conquest Online recreates, which is of course its card game
equivalent. How about those who are already familiar with Star
Trek: Conquest, the card game. Is the PC counterpart worth
Recommending Star Trek: Conquest Online is not an easy thing to
do. While you can play against computer opponents on your own
time, they can become incredible predictable. Star Trek: Conquest
Online was meant to be played online against opponents from
around the world, not as a single player game. What this means
though is that you'll undoubtedly have to purchase booster packs
in order to compete with such players. If you already own the card
game and have a number of players you can war with, I don't see
why you would want to purchase the PC version just so you can
buy all those booster packs all over again. If, however, you don't
have a clique that you can play the card game with and you want
to find some players to fight, Star Trek: Conquest Online does offer
the platform to do so. It's a tough call really, but in the end Star
Trek: Conquest Online gets a greedy thumbs down.