Poor captain. He’s dead.
But what can you expect after a surprise attack from a bunch of nasty aliens?
That’s pretty much the setup for The Captain Is Dead. You’re under attack, and those aliens are not holding back. Turn after turn, they’ll damage systems, send in ships, and teleport invaders in attempts to completely disable your ship, quash resistance, and take you as prisoners.
Together you’ll have to frantically try and keep your ship systems alive while charging up the jump engines so you can escape to safety. But it’s not going to be easy.
TCID is one of those frantic games where there’s far too much to do and far too little time to do it. You’ve got to stave off all these short term problems, like broken systems and armored alien soldiers, but that takes actions away from the engines. The longer you take to charge the engines, the more problems come at you.
In a clever and painful twist, basically everything bad that happens on your ship has a direct effect on your gameplay. If your teleporter goes down, it’s harder to move around the ship. If your weapons system breaks, you can’t fire torpedoes. The more enemy ships flying around you, the faster your shields drop.
In order to save your ship, you’ll need to use skill cards, which come in four varieties. You use these cards to perform various tasks, each of which require a certain number of actions and spending a certain set of skill cards. You can collect these cards from the cargo bay or CPU core, or trade them among players.
And while the Captain is dead, you’ve still got the crew. Each player has not only a unique ability, but a set of skill icons that can be used in place of skill cards, meaning you’ll spend less time running around collecting cards if you send people to where they’re most equipped to handle. Still, you’re going to have to wear more than one hat if you want to get out alive.
As for difficulty? Well, we played on easier-than-novice for a shortened demo, and we still got crushed by the aliens in a few short turns. I believe there were some added threats (again to keep the demo short) but there’s definitely a learning curve. It’s a bright, colorful game with a huge variety of roles to challenge players to take new approaches each time they play, not to mention a huge number of systems to play with on the board itself. This game is drenched in theme, and it might be the fully cooperative space catastrophe game you’ve been looking for!