Star Trek: The Next Generation Interactive VCR Board Game – A Klingon Challenge…
…or just “A Klingon Challenge” is one of those Atmosfear style video based games from the 1990s. A Klingon Challenge was released in 1993 and is for 3-6 players aged 8 years upwards.
With the brilliant Star Trek Picard debuting this week it seemed a fitting time to drag “A Klingon Challenge” out for an airing.
For those unfamiliar with Atmosfear then it’s basically a board game accompanied by a VHS cassette that runs alongside the game. The video moves the story along by having a host character at the forefront of the story. The host manipulates the gameplay with obstacles thrown in player’s paths and challenges issued for the player to overcome.
What’s it about then?
In A Klingon Challenge the host is the Klingon, Kavok, played by Robert O’Reilly O’Reilly is the chap who played Gowron in TNG and DS9. Kavok believes the treaty between the Klingon Empire and the Federation has weakened the Klingon Empire and, furthermore, intends to do something about it.
Maintenance of a damaged computer core has left the Enterprise D docked at Starbase 74. Low-level malfunctions are occurring throughout the Enterprise (providing obstacles during the gameplay). Captain Jean-Luc Picard has granted shore leave to all Enterprise personnel while maintenance is carried out by a Starbase engineering team. Consequently the only people onboard are said Starbase engineering team. The players take on the roles of this engineering team.
Once the crew are out the way,
Gowron Kavok steals the Enterprise with the intent of using it to attack Qo’noS, the Klingon homeworld, in order to start a war between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. It is the task of the players to stop Kavok before he can reach the Klingon homeworld and start a war. Oh, did I mention that the video acts as a timer? No, well you’ve got a time limit based on the video runtime.
Inside the box are a plethora of parts. First of all there’s the VHS cassette, then transparent plastic force fields, Bij cards, bridge cards, Holodeck cards, player pieces and stands, isolinear chips, and more.
The game board is based on the layout of the Enterprise D with the player traversing the various corridors and passageways therein. Each player takes a rank card at the start of the game to determine their in-game rank. The ranks (alphabetically) are Cadet, Chief, Commander, Engineer, Ensign and Lieutenant.
Kavok has taken control of the Enterprise and sealed himself on the bridge therefore communicating with players via the Enterprise viewscreens.
The video runs continuously with Kavok throwing down obstacles such as force fields and jammed turbolifts, slowing your progress as a result.
Help or hindrance can come your way via the various cards. Amongst the cards are: –
- Computer Cards which give players access to rooms, or abilities and tasks which can only be achieved at specific clock times.
- Holodeck Access Cards which provide consultation with holographic versions of senior Enterprise crew members.
- Bij (the Klingon word for punishment) cards which can hinder you with obstacles such as having your holodeck programs deleted. Bij can backfire, to the player’s benefit, on Kavok if low-level malfunctions occur.
The game instructions state the object of the game as follows: –
- To gain access to all five levels of the main computer (by collecting isolinear chips and attaching them to your Tricorder).
- To get a Phaser from Security.
- To successfully crawl down a Jefferies tube and attempt to win the game by gaining control of the U.S.S. Enterprise
At a speed of warp 9, it will take the U.S.S. Enterprise 60 minutes to reach the Klingon home world. You must accomplish your mission before the clock on the videotape reaches 00:00. If you succeed, you will save the Starship and the lives of your fellow crew members. If you fail, stop playing the board game and watch the videotape to see, hear and feel your fate!
The higher, the fewer. No, wait! The more, the merrier
The game definitely seems like more fun with more people.
Due to VHS players not being so common now-a-days, you may not have the equipment to play the cassette. For that reason I transferred mine to DVD a few years back. I also converted the video to an iPhone compatible MP4 to use on my phone.
The full video is on Youtube if you have the game but no way to play the cassette.
“Munky” is a computer engineer with over 20 years experience. He has worked in both public and private sectors, mostly in the education sector, specialising in operating systems and mobile technology. He has carried out work for IBM, RM, Carillion, Capita, Click and Birmingham Metropolitan College as well as running his own I.T. Services business. He is a retro gaming enthusiast, especially when it comes to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. He is a parent, a grandparent, and a bit of a child at heart.