SNAP Review – Star Trek Super Skill Pinball
This week we’re going to take a look at one of our favorite TV series in a new board game
“Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra?”
Yes, but no. It’s going to get confusing.
“Shaka, when the walls fell.”
You need to stop.
This is a SNAP Review for Star Trek Super Skill Pinball.
“Temba, his arms wide!”
Star Trek: Super Skill Pinball is “The final frontier of roll-and-write pinball by Geoff Engelstein” – and published by WizKids.
Up to four people can play out of the box. It’s best for ages 12 and up; maybe because most kids don’t love Star Trek, but mostly because a game takes at least 45 minutes.
The art here is a mashup, but the kind that you’d expect to see on a pinball table, so it works.
There’s a combination of pixelated screenshots from classic Star Trek and The Next Generation, there’s illustrations that look like they might be from a coffee-table book, and animated characters lifted right from the recent Lower Decks series. (Which is the best Star Trek on television, I’m telling you.)
All of this is layered with pinball staples like flippers, bumpers, drop targets, and illustrated indicator lights.
It really feels like a pinball table when you combine a “backglass” and a “table” board.
And the dice are sparkly, like a starfield!
Star Trek Super Skill Pinball uses the same mechanics as the original Super Skill Pinball. (Imagine that!)
You’ll physically move a ball token around on the table board. You choose one of two dice values to mark off a box each turn; that’s the box that your ball “hits”.
Every turn your ball has to move down unless it bounces off a bumper (that lets it stay “where it is” in the same zone). When your ball reaches the bottom of the table, try to get it onto one of the available slots for the red or yellow flipper, so you can shoot it back up into the table and hit targets in the matching color.
Earn points and bonuses as you hit different features and try to rack up your score on the backglass.
You might even activate multi-ball, or use a skill-shot, or try to “nudge” the dice result to hit a better target. (Don’t tilt!)
You usually get three balls (or three rounds) – when the third one is gone, the game is over. Try for a new high score!
Star Trek Pinball has four unique tables:
Starfleet Academy is a good introduction to Super Skill Pinball. It’s pretty a straightforward table, except for the Kobayashi Maru targets, which have to be hit in order to get their bonuses – and somehow you have to roll a 7 to hit the final target?!?
The Trouble with Tribbles table makes you take tribbles when doubles are rolled or when you hit certain features. Track tribbles on the backglass, along with your points. Collect up to 14 tribbles to score big.. but if you end up with more than 17 tribbles, you’ll start losing boxes in your Flipper Zone.
However, you can remove tribbles – or send them to your opponents with the transporter! (Rude!)
The Lower Decks table is wacky – the “gravity generators” are broken, so the main board keeps flipping orientation! You only get a single ball in this game, so you’re going to try very hard not to lose it. You can recruit crewmembers from the Cerritos to help you, and there’s also a set of PRO-MOT-ION targets that will double your entire score when you fill them – which you can do multiple times!
Finally, there’s the Borg Attack table. Use the first two rounds of normal pinball to unlock ships, photon torpedos, and shields. Then in the third round, you move to play on the backglass itself, bouncing the ball back and forth between the ships you’ve unlocked and the Borg cube, Brick-Breaker style.
[Anitra] I played and enjoyed the original Super Skill Pinball. But after I played it a few times, I didn’t come back to it. The generic pinball tables just weren’t that interesting. So I was really excited when I first heard there was going to be a Star Trek version a year ago, because I am definitely a Trekkie.
I expected it to still feel kind of long and still play best as a solo game, just like the original.
[Andrew] I totally agree about the theming making a huge difference here. I also agree about it being best as a solo experience, but.. Well. Here’s my surprise:
Two of these boards are hilarious. I didn’t expect this at all, but the wackiness of Lower Decks and the gravity (and if you’ve watched the show, all the references you make) are pretty funny, especially if you’re working through something on your own board and you hear “Oh! The gravity has flipped the board!”.
Also, constant tribble references. Constant.
[Anitra] All of the tables here are really well themed. They keep me coming back to play again and again, because they really capture some of my favorite moments from the franchise.
The Borg Attack and Lower Decks tables are surprisingly original. They do things you could never do with a physical pinball table – but they still feel very much like you’re playing pinball.
Most of the tables are pretty much a solo experience. So I love that The Trouble with Tribbles lets you mess up other players’ plans! It finally gives me a reason to play this game in a group, and not just by myself.
Do we recommend Star Trek: Super Skill Pinball?
If you like pinball and you like Star Trek, then I’d highly recommend this game. It’s going to run you 40 minutes to an hour, but you’ll find yourself trying to get just the right number of tribbles, or recruit Boimler for an awesome promotion.
[Andrew] Even with the great theming, there were certainly times when the game did run long. I had a few plays where I was about three-quarters of the way through, and I was like “I’m done, I don’t need to play any more.”
What are we going to rate this?
I think we’re going to give it 4 phasers out of 5.
And that’s Star Trek: Super Skill Pinball in a SNAP!
The Family Gamers received a copy of Star Trek: Super Skill Pinball from WizKids for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Star Trek Super Skill Pinball
Age Range: 12+ (younger kids probably won’t be interested)
Number of Players: 1-4
Playtime: 45+ minutes