Mag*Blast

Pachoooom! Direct Hit!

The dreadnought Ares has been destroyed, leaving the starboard side of the Lords of Kalgon’s capital ship vulnerable. Fortunately, a scout ship moves swiftly enough to fire a retaliating blast to the Freep’s fighter carrier Vengarr. Blam blam! The noble, yet cute, Freep’s scoff at such a puny attack, maneuvering their fleet to unleash an all out attack against the wrinkly-foreheaded warriors. Pew! Chooka Chooka! Kazow! Within moments, a cataclysmic battle has ended, the card deck reshuffled, and new fleets laid out on the table.

These epic battles are staples of classic space operas, and Fantasy Flight has captured them in Mag*Blast. Part of FFG’s Silverline Games, Mag*Blast is packaged in a small rectangular box, the standard for Silverline games, and it contains three decks of cards. The game has very simple and intuitive mechanics, and since it only takes a few moments to play it gives players something to do while a longer game is setting up.

The go-to artist for goofy games, John Kovalic, handles the art on the third edition of Mag*Blast. His art is charming as always, but fans of Munchkin may feel a little burnt out seeing him on yet another humorous card game. But I felt Kovalic is appropriate for the game because of Mag*Blast’s innovative and silly targeting system. Make a silly noise or you miss. No dice, no comparison of numbers, just a silly laser noise. Or rocket noises. Whatever you want really. It is a really fun mechanic, but I would advise having the right crowd with the right mood to play effectively. People can get a little peeved when you tell them they missed because they forgot to say “pew pew.”

The game is a good choice for larger groups of gamers (the box claims 2-8 players), but free-for-alls of more than two players are a bad idea. Because of how damage stacks on undefended parts of your capital ship it’s too easy for players to gang up on each other. Ideally, you will want to play Mag*Blast in two teams. Another issue I have is that the game can feel too short, and there always seems to be a sense of “how did that happen to me?” when you lose. The rules are fair, but the pace of the game is very fast.

In another comparison to Munchkin, Mag*Blast is a game that you will love at first, but you are not likely to return to it after your first few plays. Some of the mechanics are clunky and it isn’t especially deep. Yet, it is inexpensive enough that those few plays don’t feel like a waste, and it’s nice to have in your closet when you need to entertain younger kids. If you like space battles, silly rules, and quick fun, Mag*Blast is a game I highly recommend.

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