It hurts so good.
I just finished a "quick" solo "first mission" playthrough of Star Trek :Frontiers. I know I messed some rules up but.... What can you say. Here are my first thoughts in no particular order.
This thing is so fiddly and complex. But I find that enjoyable in this context. But trying to wring good stuff out of my deck is so fun, even though it gives me a headache in a good way.
This thing is brilliant. At first blush, based on gameplay alone, I'd give it a a 9 or 10 out of ten. There are so many things that are so satisfying, the feeling of leveling up, the slow burn of your deck, the cool story beats that come through. Speaking of story......
The theme is essentially pasted on. And there are moments of thematic disconnect, for instance you can have Picard decimate a random innocent planet, and sometimes it makes gameplay sense for him to do that. But, at the same time they're are moments where the ship is in a battle and you pull off a brilliant win in spite of the odds. Basically, if you are winning to hold the Star Trek theme a little loosely a good story does emerge though it may not be star trek canon.
Components are not great. They aren't bad they would even have been really good 15 years ago. But they just aren't great.
Art also lacks. All the art is movie stills. I wish they would have done what FFG does with their Star Wars games and gotten some good original art for it. I am suspicious that the Star Trek franchise might not allow original art, because I have never seen anything other than movies stills in any star trek themed boards game. But it is worse than that. The crew card art is sorta fuzzy, I know these shows were shot decades ago, but, come on. Also, the general color palate is quite dark. I know space is dark but I do prefer what Ian O'Toole did with space in Black Angel.
Iconography : I don't feel like it will be too hard to get the hang of it. But there are a lot of small icons, and they can make a big difference on gameplay.
Rulebook(s) I feel are generally ok.they could be really good if they included an index.
Final thoughts from my first impression. I loved my first game. I can easily see this becoming my favorite solo experience, maybe even favorite game. I think with a little bit of experience I can get a solo session whipped out in 90 minutes or so, in other words, perfect for my son's Sunday afternoon naps. But, I do think there is a steep learning curve. And I would find it difficult to recommend wholesale. I would not say that this is a game that everyone needs too play. But for me, it is great.
Disclaimer. These are my first impressions. I'll try and let ya'll know more after I have more time with it. Also, I will link to a review below that I feel has a lot of good points.