The Captain is Dead Gameplay Preview – Boardgame Inspired Roguelike

Developed and published by Thunderbox Entertainment – January 31, 2021 (PC)
*MSRP: $19.99 –

The Captain is Dead is the video game translation of the original board game of the same name. The game feels very much like a turn based rogue like and quite a difficult one at that.

The main goal of the game is to get your jump core to 100%, much easier said than done.

The game’s premise is that you and your fellow teammates are lost in space on a damaged space ship, which happens to be under attack by tentacled aliens. The game’s one win scenario is repairing your ship’s jump core to one hundred percent so you can jump to safety.

An event is played every round, and they are all quite detrimental to your quest of repairing the ship.

This is much more difficult than it sounds, as after every round, an event is played. The event is always bad news for you and your crew and includes things such as aliens boarding your ship, certain sections being damaged, and shields taking fire. When twelve or more aliens board the ship or when your shields reach zero, the game is lost.

The Engineer has two permanent engineering parts and spends one less action point on repairing the jump core, making her indispensable for every run.

The game does provide you with some tools to aid you in your quest to repair the jump core. Before starting the game, you can pick four crewmates to man the ship for that run. Each crewmate has different abilities, total number of inventory slots, and total ability points. For example, the engineer has two permanent engineering components and repair actions take one less action point. This is incredibly handy for repairing the jump drive as it takes five engineering components to repair ten percent of its total health. The Cyborg is unaffected by anomalies, which means they can complete tasks even with negative status effects in play and so forth.

The game is quite difficult, as is often the case with most rogue likes. There is a learning curve and winning a round will feel satisfying.

Overall, The Captain is Dead is a pretty solid rogue like with some flaws. The core game play loop is excellent and requires a lot of carefully planned management of your units, items, and positioning and the ability to strategize and turn around game ending situations. One minor complaint is that for such a tactical, turn based game where much thought is required, it throws a lot of unnecessary visual and audio cues at you, serving as an unneeded distraction. The game is also quite difficult so I would highly suggest starting off on the easiest difficulty. Once you get your feet wet, the game does open up and it is much easier to understand what moves are necessary to achieve victory.

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