I spent the afternoon with my friends Paul and Mandy today. Paul has a bunch of starter decks for the old Star Trek Collectable Card Game and one of them was out. I was curious, took a look, and since we had time he tried to teach me how to play. In the two games we played (myself, him and this guy Ben?) we saw a The Next Generation deck, a Romulan deck, a Klingon deck and a Deep Space 9 deck.
Its kind of interesting, actually. First off, unlike Magic, you're not trying to kill off the other players - you're trying to be the first to reach x-many points. Now, you want to slow down the other players, but your goal isn't to kill them! Not as I understand things, anyhow.
You get 5 mission/destination cards. 1 is your "home," the other 4 are places to go and do things (ie, they have missions and a point value for "mission accomplished"). You get 7-points to do things with. Drawing a card is one point per card, playing a card will depend on its value. You need a ship to get places, and a minimum amount of crew to run it. Once you've got a ship, crew and (you hope) enough crew to do a mission, you go to a mission/destination and try to do the mission.
A mission will usually have a list of required skills to do whatever it is; you might need people with skills in physics, science, geology, etc. There's usually a numerical total to beat, also, like your total crew needs to exceed 36 cunning or something (all characters/crewmembers have 3 attributes on their card for this).
Where other players come into play is they can try to throw dilemmas your way - things to slow you down or stop you. Its usually "have this or face the consequences." You can "stop" members from participating in the mission, so they can't accomplish their goal, or possibly even kill members. Usually the first condition is one that if you can meet you beat the dilemma, no problem. Generally, if you fail that, so you go to the second condition that if you meet it, you get a penalty of some sort. If you fail that, then there's final thing that's the worst possible outcome.
Dilemmas that are beaten by the player doing the mission are out of the game and can't be resused. Ones that aren't beaten return to the other player.
The challenge is to pick dilemmas that will neutralize the other player's ability to do the mission BUT you don't think they can beat. You want to be selective about the ones you pick for maximum effect, certainly. But you don't want to use so many that you run out, too (ie, wasted effort/overkil).
Its kind of neat, actually. Your crew is your biggest resource, so when the other player gets to choose which one is stopped is really ACK.
I'm debating maybe seeing if I can find some starter decks myself (the game is out of print, though), and keep them for some gaming later on. Of course, this has me curious about the Babylon 5 CCG, since that one was well thought of, could have multiple winners, etc. I thought it was rather fun, and would certainly play it again, opportunity permitting.