Game Buzz: Sentient Flip Ships

Today, I want to give overviews of a couple of games coming soon from Renegade Games.  We’ll start with

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Sentient is a game designed by J. Alex Kevern, the same guy who made World’s Fair 1893.  In the game, players will be choosing sentient robots, plugging them in, and trying to attract investors to your company.  It’s a dice-manipulation game for 2-4 players that takes about an hour to play.

Sentient comes with 60 cards, 20 dice, 16 Agent pawns, 20 Assistant pawns, 15 Investor tokens, 81 VP chips, 8 turn order markers, 9 player board sections, and a turn order board.  Each player gets 4 Agents, 5 Assistants, 2 turn order markers, and 5 dice (one die of each color).  You also get two player boards – one left side and one right, with the right showing your starting Investor.  Turn order is determined randomly by stacking one turn order marker from each player, and the top player going first.

image by BGG user Maggibot

At the beginning of each of the three rounds, four new Bot cards will be drawn and placed face up.  An investor token will be placed between each, and at both ends of the line.  Each player rolls their five dice.

Turn order is determined by a stack of markers, which is randomly determined at the beginning of the game.  On your turn, you either procure a Bot, or pass/discard Bots.  To procure a Bot, you must first place an Agent above the card you want to add to your network.  You may also place Assistants to help influence the investors.  The card you take will be replaced from the deck.

Once you’ve placed an Agent and taken your card, you plug it into your network by placing it between two of your dice.  There are four different slots, and each will be filled during the round.  Once you’ve plugged in, you calibrate your dice, increasing or decreasing their value based on the card you placed.

Once per round, you may choose to not take a Bot and instead place your turn marker on the turn order track, stacking on top of any that are already there.  You’ll discard any remaining Bots if you have at least one Agent left, and your turn ends.

Once all players have placed their four Agents and claimed their cards, the round ends.  Then it’s time to score – there are five different types of Bots, and each scores a little differently:

  1. Information Bots will score two points if one of the adjacent dice matches the number on the card, and seven if both do.
  2. Transport Bots score based on the relationship between the two dice (greater than, equal).
  3. Industry Bots score for different combinations of odd and even dice.
  4. Military Bots score based on the difference or sum of the dice.
  5. Service Bots score based on the value of the dice.

After scoring, you’ll earn investors.  Each Agent and Assistant is worth one influence, and the highest combined influence around the investor wins (ties are broken by Agents, then turn order).  Any remaining Bots and investors are removed, and the previous round’s turn order markers are removed.  After the third round, the player with the most points wins.

image by BGG user bkunes

This looks like a pretty appealing game to me.  It’s got that whole futuristic vibe with the Bots, but there’s some significant thinkiness going on with trying to decide how best to plug them in.  There’s a little bit of a bidding system going on with the Agent and Assistant placements, as well as this cool mechanism of putting stuff between other stuff.  This is definitely one I want to try sometime.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Flip Ships is a game designed by Kane Klenko, the same guy who made FUSE and Flatline.  It’s another sci-fi game from Renegade, though this one is a cooperative dexterity experience.  1-4 players are trying to defend the planet from invasion, trying to take down the mothership before it’s too late.

Flip Ships comes with 28 ship discs, 12 Pilot cards, 60 Enemy cards, 1 Targeting Computer card, 1 Docking Bay tile, 5 Enemy Mothership pieces, 6 double-sided Battle Zone tiles, 1 City Health marker, 1 Mothership health marker, 1 turn order marker, and 1 Launch Pad (with stickers).  You’ll set up the Battle Zone based on the number of players, and deal one Pilot card per player from each deck (1-2-3) to the right of the BZ.  Each payer takes the ships of a color and places them on corresponding pilot cards.  Take two of your Level 1 ships and put them on the table just above your Level 3 ships – these are your active ships.  You’ll make an Enemy deck based on the number of players you have and your difficulty level.  From this deck, you’ll seal out two rows of five next to the top of the Battle Zone.  The City Health marker is set at 20 (or less if playing at higher difficulty level), and the Mothership between 2-12 (again, depending on number of players and difficulty).

image by BGG user bkunes

Each round of play has four phases.  In the FLIP SHIPS phase, players will do just that – flip their ships.  In turn order, players will take turns putting their ships on the edge of the table (or launch pad) so they are partially hanging off, then flipping them.  Your goal is to hit the Enemy ships, or the Mothership.

Once you have flipped all of your active ships (and before the next player goes), you move into the RESOLVE ATTACKS phase.  If your ship landed on an Enemy ship, remove the Enemy ship from the game (unless it is shielded, in which case your ship remains until it is destroyed or the resolution phase ends).  If your ship landed in the Mothership, move the Mothership health marker down one.

Once all players have resolved attacks, you move on to the ENEMY MARCHES phase.  Here, Enemy ships move towards the atmosphere.  If they reach the atmosphere, they do damage, reducing your City Health by an indicated number.  These Enemies are then reshuffled into the Enemy deck to be dealt with again later.

In the CLEAN UP phase, retrieve all of your ships.  If your City Health dipped below certain points, you can begin taking new ships.  Each ship level gives you a new special power.  The back two rows are refilled with Enemies, and a new start player begins the next round.  The game continues until you have destroyed all Enemies and brought the Mothership health down to zero.  This means you win.  If your health hits zero, or you fail to destroy the Mothership in a Final Assault, you lose.

image by BGG user Jimmydm90 (Mothership)

I definitely get a Space Invaders vibe from this game, and I believe that is the point.  It’s a dexterity game, which means there is very little strategy and a lot of physical skill/luck involved.  It seems like a pretty fun game, and quite difficult.  I wouldn’t expect anything less from Kane Klenko.  So this is another I’m interested in trying out sometime.

That will do it for today.  Thanks for reading!






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