Review – Star Trek SceneIt? DVD Trivia Game March 12, 2009by John Tenuto , Filed under: Games,Review , trackback
It has been nearly a decade since the last Star Trek board game ("Star Trek: Trivia Game" by Mattel). Now, board games return with Mattel and ScreenLife’s "Scene It? Star Trek Edition." TrekMovie has played this game and has a full review with images and DVD screen caps below.
Star Trek SceneIt?
There are many nice game play features of the "Scene It? Star Trek Edition," especially that the board game "transforms" and allows for either a quick game (about 15 minutes) or a traditional game (about 40 minutes). Also, there is a "Party Play" feature which is great either for solo play or play with larger groups. The feature plays one puzzle or scene with questions after another on the DVD without using the remote or game board.
There are two editions of Star Trek Scene It? available: Standard and Deluxe. While game play is the same, there are differences between the two in packaging and items.
The standard edition features a cool box with the five captains featured. Its game pieces of the starships are plastic and its dice are small. The deluxe edition features two tins, one with the captains, and the other with the starships. Also, the deluxe edition has more question cards, and its dice are bigger. The starship game pieces are metalized instead of plastic.
How to Play
"Scene It? Star Trek Edition" is a hybrid DVD and board game based on trivia questions from all six television shows (animated show is included) and the 10 feature films. Players roll two dice (one that tells you how far to move your game piece and one that tells you what kind of question you are going to have to answer). If you get a trivia card question, you will have to either answer a green "United Federation of Planets" question (about aliens, ships, planets, etc.), a red "Stardate" question (events), or a yellow IDIC question (the popular culture world of Star Trek). If you get a DVD question, you will either have to answer a "My Play" question by yourself or a "All Play" question where players compete to get the answer first and take control of the game.
One of the best features of the game play is the variety of questions that are asked on the DVD. Sometimes players must answer trivia questions based on scenes from films or episodes. Other times there are very challenging word jumbles that must be deciphered. There are "scanning" questions where images of favorite characters are distorted which players must properly identify. Also, there are places, events, or names hidden behind Klingon script which are revealed letter by letter and must be guessed. One of the most fun and challenging questions is an almost "Password" like set of clues which help players identify characters from the shows. When players select the DVD, the game travels around the bridge of the Enterprise D until it stops at a station. At the stations are various types of questions to answer. What is nice is that some questions require almost no previous knowledge of Star Trek so that nonfans could play, and there are some challenges for serious fans.
Star Trek SceneIt? DVD Game menu
Here is a list of the types of DVD questions (with a couple of screencaps below):
- Who Am I? — This question involves providing four clues and players guessing the character, alien, planet or object described. This is best for serious fans
- Energize — Players must guess which character has been removed from the photo from episodes or movies. Both casual and serious fans could answer these questions.
- Sensor Readings — Players are shown a very distorted image of a ship which eventually clears. Players need to guess which starship, which is a challenge for casual or nonfans.
- Finish the Line — Players experience a scene from an episode or feature film. They are given a choice of possible next lines spoken by a character and must guess the proper answer. This is best for serious fans, although casual or nonfans could guess!
- Mind Meld — The names of characters are jumbled and constantly change with players trying to guess the answer. This is challenge for all kinds of players
- Spatial Anomaly — Players are shown a distorted image of a character which must be guessed. The characters are usually well known, though difficult to guess because of the distortion, and this makes this a good question for all kinds of players.
- Questions based on scenes — Players experience a scene from a movie or television episode. There will be a question based on the scene or from the episode or feature film. If the question is from the scene, then all players could answer. If the question if from the episode, but not the scene, this is best for serious fans.
- First Contact — Players must guess from a pixelized picture the alien group. This best for serious and casual fans.
- Captain’s Log — Players hear a captain’s log played and must guess the episode or feature film. This is challenging for all kinds of players.
- What’s Missing? — The players must guess which item should be featured. This is challenging for nonfans, yet easier for serious or casual fans.
- Coded Transmission — The player is shown a coded transmission featuring a word from Star Trek lore. This is best for serious fans.
Can you ‘spot’ what is missing?
Who Am I?
Winning involves answering "Final Frontier" questions first before opponents take control of the game again.
Game winning ‘Final Frontier’ questions are not easy
Star Trek SceneIt? Captures Star Trek Themes
Sometimes games that are themed around a popular culture item like Star Trek fail to take advantage of the characters or ideas from the show or feature films in the game itself. This is not at all a problem with "Scene It? Star Trek Edition" which has many fun Star Trek features. That this is a Star Trek is never forgotten in this game, and all the versions of Star Trek are nicely represented. For example, if two or more players answer a "All Play" question at the same time, a Romulan Warbird must be destroyed utilizing the DVD’s tie-breaker feature. The playing pieces are the Defiant, the Enterprise, the Enterprise D, and Voyager (although it would have been nice to include the option of playing as the NX-01 for Enterprise fans). The entire game has a LCARs feel to it, and especially enjoyable are the starting mini music video and the montage that is played when a player wins (there is a perfect use of a scene from "Generations" during this victory celebration!). Even Star Trek fans themselves are included as some of the questions were written by fans and they are given credit on the trivia cards.
Special notice must be made of Mattel and ScreenLife’s decision to utilize Judi Durand as the voice of the computer in the game. An accomplished voice actress, Durand has played voices in such films as Lilo & Stitch, yet Star Trek fans know her as the voice of the Cardassian computers on DS9 and the voice of spacedock in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. She was also the voice of the Federation computers in many of the Star Trek video games. Durand’s voice is uncannily like Majel Barrett’s distinctive voice, so much so that it wasn’t until I engaged the credits of the game that I realized it wasn’t Majel. While no one can replace Majel, Durand’s voice work is amazingly familiar and commendable.
There is something very comforting to what might be called a "Franchise Fan" like myself to see the visage of all five captains on the Scene It? game box. I enjoy all versions of Star Trek and have never gotten into the debate of which is better. While certainly criticizable, my opinion has always been that Trek is Trek, and I have enjoyed them all. Many fans enjoy more than one version of Star Trek, and this game is perfect for anyone who enjoys DS9 and TNG, or which ever combination because all versions are represented nicely.
Star Trek SceneIt? Works for all audiences
There are many potential audiences for this game. How might different audiences experience the game?
THE SERIOUS FAN (seen all the Trek there is, knows all the Trek there is)
For the serious fan who knows it all, there are plenty of challenging and fun questions here. No matter how much you know Star Trek and its characters, puzzlers like the word jumble are going to be a challenge. There are questions on the cards of varying difficulties, so there will be plenty of new information to learn.
THE CASUAL FAN (seen most versions of Trek, knows most of the main characters)
Many of the same reasons why serious fans can enjoy the game are also reasons why the casual fan can enjoy the game. Questions have varying difficulties, and DVD questions such as the "scanning" (identify the character) or word jumble require only a passing familiarity with the show. Casual fans will not feel lost or at a disadvantage in this game.
THE NON FAN (or those who have yet to see the light)
Non fan spouses or friends can also enjoy the game because of its fun playability. My son is 6 years old and although a fan, he was able to answer questions without years of indoctrination to Star Trek. Plus, many of the DVD questions featuring scenes are self-contained questions, meaning the question is based on the scene players have just experienced, and therefore no knowledge of Star Trek is required at all. In fact, non fans have many more questions to answer here than say a non-sport fan does in answering the sport category of Trivial Pursuit.
(NOTE: 10 minute promo video available on Comcast OnDemand)
In conclusion, this is arguably the best Star Trek trivia and board game ever. It has a nice techno component appropriate to Star Trek, it features carefully thought of Star Trek designs, great questions and fun challenges. It is a perfect gift for Trekkie family or friends and is reasonably priced. Mattel and ScreenLife have an excellent product here, one that brings family and friends together,whatever their affection for Star Trek. You should definitely see "Scene It? Star Trek Edition."
As a summary, here are the number of stars (from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best) for each feature of the game.
- Game Board Design: 5 (great feature of being able to play fast or traditional game)
- Dice: 2 (would have been nice to Trekify the dice)
- Game Pieces: 4 (would have been nice to include the NX-01 as an option)
Box: 5 (excellent design featuring all five captains)
- Instructions: 5 (both the written and DVD instructions are great, especially the DVD instructions which feels like you are being educated by the Enterprise computer)
- DVD Questions: 5 (excellent and varied questions)
- Card Questions: 5 (good mix of challenging and less challenging questions for various players)
- Music: 4 (game does utilize music from Star Trek, although the music while the DVD is idle should have been a Trek theme and isn’t)
- Playability: 5 (excellent for all kinds of players)
Star Trek SceneIt? is available now at Toys R Us and other retailers. You can also order it online:
Play the demo
An online demo is available at the SceneIt site.