By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on February 22, 2017
"Is the universe truly shrinking? Or are your enemies simply multiplying? Everywhere your command ship goes, trouble isn't far behind. If it's not the Brotherhood of Peace getting in your way, it's the Overseers of Kalgon blasting your dreadnoughts to pieces. Diplomacy has failed. It's time to prepare the fleet, launch the fighters, and prepare for screaming good time!"
No, this is not the intro to a brand new Star Wars movie; it is the premise of a very cool card game called Mag Blast: the game of screaming space battles! Mag Blast is a space themed card game that puts players in the gravity enhancing boots of one of the galaxy's best and bravest space captains. Players will gat the chance to control their fleet and annihilate their enemies one by one. Or, if they're unlucky, get basted to spacedust themselves...
The First edition of the game was released waaaaay back in 1998 and was designed to keep 2 to 6 people amused for about 60 minutes. "How", I hear you ask? Well, by letting them do what humanity does best: destroy each other... not literally, mind you, but in-game. Each player receives a command ship at the start of the game. These command ships are tied to interstellar races who each have their own unique abilities. These abilities can be used at certain points in the game to tip the odds in the favor of the player currently playing as that specific race.
Of course, a fleet that only encompasses one measly ship is actually not a fleet at all, so every player also receives four smaller ships to wage war with. The player places these ships around their command ship. Each side of their command ship is color coded (yellow, red, green and blue) and can contain up to three ships at any given time. The more ships you have around your command vessel, the stronger you are when it comes to galactic war! You see, every ship in the game has a certain rating printed on the card. This rating simply shows you how much damage another player must inflict on said ship to destroy it.
So, how do we actually fire at ships? Good question! And, incidentally, the most fun part of the game! Every turn, you can draw cards that represent the types of weapons in the game: Laser blasts, Beam blasts and Mag blasts. Each of these types of weapons is tied to a certain type of ship. Simply put; you can't fire every type of weapon from every type of ship, so plan ahead if you want to make an impact at all.
Another rule about shooting says that you can only hit ships that are in the same quadrant as the ship you are firing from. So if you decide to fire a Mag blast from a battle ship that is currently in the red quadrant of your command vessel, you can only hit enemy vessels that are also in the red quadrant of their respective command ships. If the chosen quadrant is empty, you can fire your blast directly at the command vessel itself, inflicting damage and maybe even destroying it. When you destroy an opponent's command vessel, he or she is instantly turned into space dust and is, as one might expect, out of the game. If only one player is left, the game is over and the victor is crowned "ruler of the galaxy"
Next to three types of blasts, a player can also draw cards with other units on them, for instance: a small attack force of fighters, a repair bay or even a direct hit. Especially this last one is a very handy card to have. It basically enables you to fire twice from the same ship at the same enemy, creating a potentially devastating effect! Please not, however, that you must first successfully hit an enemy to be able to play a direct hit card... so make sure you don't miss!
Wait a darn minute! What do you mean "miss"? How can you miss? Well, actually, that is quite simple. If your opponent has an action card that somehow cancels the effect of your blast, you miss. Also, and this is very important, if you fail to make the appropriate sound effect when firing your weapon, you automatically miss! Hey, it's not called "the game of screaming space battles" for nothing, you know! Yes, dear readers; every time you fire your weapon, you will have to make a sound effect to accompany the blast you are firing! How cool is that?! And, mind you, do not try to get away with whispering or feeble effects! No sir, you will have to really put your back or, in this case, your throat into it and make your fellow players believe you mean business!
However you look at it, Mag Blast is a very cool game to play with a couple of friends. You will most definitely be enjoying yourselves for hours on end, firing away at enemies and screaming at the top of your lungs! A 2nd and 3rd edition of the game were released in 2002 and 2004, respectively. These editions did not change the basis of the game, but did add some new races and other cool items, as well as shaving about forty minutes off of the playing time per round, making for a much more fast-paced game. The 3rd edition is the most significant when it comes to a change of look for the game. This edition features the comic art of Stan Kovalic and gives the game a much more loose and fun feel! I still like the first edition, though. It was enormous amounts of fun 19 years ago and remains to be so till this very day! So, if you haven't played Mag Blast yet, do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy. I can personally guarantee that you be screaming your head off and having fun in no time flat!
Fantasy Flight Games
Published: 1998 (1st edition), 2002 (2nd edition), 2006 (3rd edition)
Designer: Christian T. Petersen, Anders M. Petersen
Players: 2 - 6 players, ages 10 & up
Playtime: approx. 60 minutes (1st edition, approx. 20 minutes (2nd & 3rd edition)