ecipher, creators of the Star Trek, Star Wars, Young Jedi and even Austin Powers collectible card games, came up with their newest game almost by accident. As Decipher prepared its groundbreaking new Trouble with Tribbles expansion for the Star Trek CCG, inspiration struck. It occurred to the designers that their new Tribbles card type could, with one or two minor cosmetic alterations, be the basis for a separate game of its own. And so the Tribbles Customizable Card Game was born.
Tribbles is a trick-taking game that uses the Tribble cards--and only the Tribble cards--from the Trouble with Tribbles expansion (the first set released under Decipher's new licensing agreement, which granted them the rights to make games based on the original series). Players are free to construct decks built from these "regular" Tribbles (which come in amounts of 1, 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000 and 100,000), but the easiest way to learn the game is by picking up the boxed edition.
The cards in this boxed set differ slightly from their expansion counterparts--Trek CCG game text is replaced by flavorful Star Trek trivia, for example--and come packed in four theme decks.
Each theme deck plays off the special icons unique to the Tribble cards, such as "Discard," "Clone" and "Poison." Players attempt to deplete their own Tribble decks while preventing opponents from doing the same. After each round of play, whichever player went out first counts up the Tribble cards played and adds that amount to his or her total score. The winner is the player with the most points after five rounds of play.
What seems to be the Tribble?
Game play is as enjoyable as it is deceptively simple. Players breed Tribbles by going around the table, building on the current "colony" of Tribbles. 10 Tribbles "breed" from 1 Tribble, 100 Tribbles breed from 10 Tribbles and so on. The Tribble icons on each card help block opponents from playing cards (by reversing the direction of play, for example, to keep a particular player from playing a card) or help the players themselves keep breeding Tribbles. The variety of tactics is flexible, but nowhere near the level of complication seen in the original Trek CCG. That means this is a game that fans of the original game can play with family members or friends who may not be up for a full-fledged CCG.
There's very little trouble with these Tribbles, although they're not all soothing vibes and purring tones. Collectors are given no extras with this set, for although the cards in the boxed game are unique, they are not randomized from box to box (not that they necessarily should be).
Considering that the game is designed for two to four players, it really doesn't play very well with two--one side inevitably goes out early, and if each player is using one of the preconstructed decks from the boxed set, the remaining rounds of play are moot. The simplicity of the game may also turn off fans of the original game, although those same fans should try a few rounds before dismissing the Tribbles CCG out of hand. Players don't have to be Star Trek fans to enjoy the addictively fun Tribbles CCG. Tribbles are really quite fascinating little critters.