Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gunship First Striking

Lots of good, quality components make up the game...

It has been a while since I first mentioned Gunship: First Strike! here on the blog. Frankly, I was hoping for a whole lot of hands-on time with this game and it just never seemed to happen. Gunship wasn't the only neglected thing around these parts, but neglected it became nonetheless. We remedied that last week however and got some time in finally.

With almost a thousand backers on the Gunship Kickstarter project you can guarantee this one has some staying power. Also, since there's only a couple of days left I thought I would post here and let you know if you've been on the fence with this one, that "yes" it is worth picking up.

Shown here, Oz's ship is getting pretty banged up!

It's a space battle, between you and the enemy, a classic "red versus blue". It's not just the one Gunship however, you've got your huge carrier as well as fighter squadrons. The first thing I thought of was how cool it would be to proxy actual starship models into the game. This wouldn't work for the iconic gunship itself for reasons I'll detail below, but it would be awesome to have some fighters out there as well as a huge carrier ship.

The Gunship is your main weapon in this battle, and the template you use on the table is also where you track what types of armament you have on board as well as where your structural damage is. Your wing weapons, which I thought was cool, are not only interchangeable but the wings themselves can be blown off!

The turn boils down to a few elements but picking the right one and the right strategy is a fluid affair that changes all game long. Do you want to make a run on the enemy's carrier? Maybe you intend to thin the ranks out of fighters? Perhaps you've got it in for the enemy gunship and you're on a collision course with it? Lots of options to think of and that's not even taking the enemy's actions into account.

Your fighter squadron strength is determined by how many are still in action. As they take hits, your squads lose their effectiveness. Your fighters can run point defense for your carrier, escort the gunship, go off on their own strafing runs, and more. They're not going to last the entire game however if you're doing your job right. As a note to parity, Oz's fighters were destroyed completely within a turn of my own being destroyed, so balance is definitely there.

The whole point is to take out the enemy carrier. Oz beat me to the punch, destroying mine first but I had his down to just a few [hit] points when mine broke up and burned up in the atmosphere.

Even though it was out first time, the rules were concise and easy to pick up. Sure, we had to look some things up along the way, but these are the kind of things you only need to learn once and then you've "got it". The gameplay itself was fast and fun, alternating initiatives is a nice touch and keeps everyone on their toes. The theme meshes well with the game itself and you do get the sense of being at the helm of a few elements of a massive space force hell-bent on destroying the enemy ships. Overall? It's a fun game, and cool that it's being produced on a 'garage-level' by someone like the rest of us.

Three days left on Kickstarter, check it out, you may find yourself at the helm of your own Gunship before you know it!

EDIT: I didn't mention this, I guess I should have! I plopped down my support for the project and opted for the economical "Hangar Crew" which guarantees a copy of the game. However, since Gunship: First Strike! has really taken off, over half a dozen stretch goals have been "unlocked", so for your entry level order you get the basic game, but you also get A LOT more add-ons under the hood.


  1. It's an awesome looking game. I know my group is looking at this one!

    1. It was fun for sure, and it now offers four player play (two teams of two players each)! They've been pretty successful, see my comments to Fran below.

  2. Sounds great, all it needs is boarding actions or does it already have this?

    1. No boarding actions I know of, but honestly this thing is just getting started so anything is possible. It's been so successful on Kickstarter that they've hit so stretch goals it's crazy. It's like buying Catan and getting ALL of the expansions as a free bonus.

  3. Looks cool. I might get this now that I'm headed back toward a board game opponent.

    1. Honestly, for forty bucks it's kinda hard to pass up, especially with all the extras now thrown in.