I don’t know about you guys, but after reminding myself to back the HEX Collectible Card Game, I’ve been kinda dying for a card game to get into. I’ve never played one before – no, I couldn’t even fall in with the Magic: The Gathering nerds in high school – and I feel I’m overdue. With Star Trek on my mind, it makes sense that this new Star Trek: Rivals CCG would be a good, first stab for me. While it won’t win me over in the mid- to long-term, it’s a decent enough distraction, even when it sails into MOMCOT territory.
Rivals is easy to get into. Your playfield is a 3×3 grid and each of your cards has a number on each edge. Playing in a turn-based IGOUGO manner, each card you or your opponent places (by the way, this is exclusively online) can override a neighboring card, which can then override another card, etc., until you run into numbers that outmatch you. There’ll be a lot of tumbling dominos here, so you’ll need to implement some strategy to stay on top even in final moves as a single card can wipe out your entire stake in the game with a single cascade. Your best way to play – and I’m not sure why Rivals doesn’t make this easier – is to start a bunch of games at once. Like Checkers, you can play a move and just wait for the next one to come in whenever, which you’ll probably have to do, anyway. The game’s well-produced and looks great, so there was no skimping on production values. All of the cards are filled in with Abrams-verse Trek characters, many of which are represented by publicity photos because you probably never saw them in the movies.
With your winnings, you’ll buy new cards to build your deck. But, of course, you’ll be reminded on a regular basis that you can whip out that good ol’ credit card and buy a bunch of currency to get the cards you really want. Speaking of currency, this game has three kinds of them and I couldn’t quite understand the delineation Credits and Gold-Pressed Latinum are virtually identical while Federation Points let you buy more card packs for random cards. You can use the other currencies to buy the cards on demand, of which there are a hundred-plus, and I found that worked better than hoping I get decent ones to fill in my strategy holes with.
Rivals is pleasant in that it’s easy to play and the IAP stuff doesn’t bother much, but it might be too easy to hold your attention (or mine) for long.