Mag Blast has been a favorite of mine for 15 years. From Fantasy Flight Games, it is billed as “a card game of screaming space battles.” I can attest to the “screaming” part from players finding their flagship suddenly vaporized by a Catastrophic Damage card.
Mag Blast is set in the same “universe” as the strategy game Twilight Imperium using the same races and settings. In Mag Blast, players start with a fleet of 4 ships protecting a flagship. The fleet/flagship has 4 sides or quadrants that can be both fired from and protected. When you fire from one of your non-flagship ships (flagships can’t shoot; they can only die) it fires at a ship in the same quadrant on your enemy. For example, a ship on the “front” can hit another player’s “front” ships only. You can add more reinforcements and have multiple ships positioned in each quadrant. If the target quadrant is empty, damage hits the flagship and, at eight damage, it blows up and the player is eliminated. The game is a free-for-all with all players able to target any other player. Firing is done by playing a “blast” card on one of your ships and selecting the target. Blasts come in three damage ratings: laser cannon (1), beam cannon (3) and Mag Blast (5) and they can only be fired by ships capable of firing its type. Ships can only fire one blast of any type per turn. Ships come in various classes (frigate, destroyer, scout, dreadnought, etc.) and can handle one, two, or all three types of blast or, in the case of a carrier, no blast cards can be used. A carrier uses special “squadron” cards, fighter or bomber, that do not do permanent damage, but can finish off a ship or, in the case of fighters, intercept other squadron cards and destroy them. There are, of course, cards that give extra abilities or “break” rules such as the “one blast” or “same quadrant” rules.
CJ and I played the Second Edition version of Mag Blast for Day 2 of “The Challenge.” This edition gives the quadrants colors: red, green, yellow, and blue. It also added “races” to the game that give each player a unique special ability. Abilities include stealing ships or cards, repairing damage, etc. With only two of us there were no “gang ups” that can happen in bigger games. In 5-6 players, since anyone can hit anyone else, I’ve seen players never get to play before being vaporized. (I think a range rule a la Bang! would limit that.)
CJ had the ability to twice during the game steal a ship of mine if he is able to do damage to it and then follow it up with a Direct Hit card. (DH cards normally let you fire an extra time from the same ship or tag on cards like Boarding Party for stealing a ship or Catastrophic Damage to destroy a target instantly. CJ’s ability did not need the second Boarding Party combo card.) He, of course, did this twice and got two of my ships. My ability was to get an extra card in my hand each turn, up from 5 to 6, and I thought with his power limited and me getting 20% more cards to use the whole game, I had this in hand.
Guess what happened. Yup, it went as well for me as D&D Attack Wing did on Day 1. I did wear his defenses down and tag his flagship for a couple of damage. I even had an unheard of 5 Fighter cards, it’s usually 1 to 3 on average, and I could fly them to any quadrant and blast away most any ship. It did not save me. CJ punched through one of my quadrants, hit my flagship, and followed up with the Direct Hit/Catastrophic Damage combo. Boom. Subatomic particles. The picture below that my wife, Connie, took shows the moment of his victory.
I see there is a Third Edition out which adds more aspects and has a more comical art style. I’m not sure I like the comical art, but I’d like to try it once. But, I highly recommend Second Edition Mag Blast for quick, multi-player space mayhem!