The Captain Is Dead by Thunderbox Entertainment - First Thoughts


Developer : Thunderbox Entertainment  Publisher: 
Thunderbox Entertainment
Release date: 1st February 2021

The Captain Is Dead is now available on Steam and I've been lucky enough to be able to have some hands on time with it ahead of its release - which has caused me some major anxiety (in a good way).

Based on the game board, The Captain Is Dead is an interstellar game about surviving an alien attack where - you've guessed it - your captain is dead, so now it's up to you to command your crew to save the day! The aim of the game is to fight off aliens, fix your broken equipment and escape to safety, all while more aliens board your ship, more equipment breaks and aliens try to shoot your shields to 0% causing you to blow up - Game over.

The original tabletop version is a co-op turn based strategy game for two to seven players where the game board is split up into sections of the ship - the essence of which Thunderbox Entertainment captured well in the game's infamous psychedelic way.


From opening the game, I was greeted with some of the best drum & bass I've heard in a while, it's something Pendulum fans would be well at home with. I sat there for a good few minutes taking in the tunes and the bright and vibrant colours shoved in my face - and I loved it.

The Tutorial

So, first things first - the tutorial. Having only played the tabletop version once or twice in the past, I needed to brush up on my alien killing skills. The tutorial explains how everything 'IS BAD' and how to avoid, fix or kill such things, it goes on to explain the many ways you can use your limited number of 'actions' per turn, how to acquire, trade and use skills to fix things like the shields, comms, teleporters, etc. and what happens if you don't fix such things. The tutorial also explains the special abilities of each crewmate under your command. Whilst the tutorial was insightful with controlling crewmates, I didn't feel like it told me how to actually play the game - so, there was just one thing for it - wing my first game

No, no, it did not end well. I learnt more winging games than I did in the tutorial, like the saying goes, 'better learn how to run before you can walk', or something like that. The animations are nice, the game style is beautiful, the voice acting, of which includes Elias Toufexis (Adam Jensen - Deus Ex) is excellent and funny - the gameplay in general is pretty smooth.

A few games later, I managed to win my first game - to my girlfriends dismay when 'YES, FINALLY!!' was hurled at her from across the room, but beating the 'survival chance of 1 in 100' shown on the difficulty select screen made her death stare worthwhile. Careful holding down the left mouse button when viewing the options on the left of your screen though, as sometimes I've found myself moving the mouse into the centre of the screen, leaving the left mouse button go, and using my precious action points to unnecessarily move my crewmate to a room.

The Captain Is Dead Multiplayer

Playing The Captain Is Dead co-op is an option on Steam through Steam Link, making those hard decisions easier to make with some deliberation with a real life crewmate. I am yet to try out the co-op as all 3 of my friends (I have more, I swear) have been busy. However, it will be played on my stream soon, maybe you should come along and watch, maybe even drop a follow - (shameless plug there).


The crew at Thunderbox Entertainment has done a good job at bringing what made The Captain Is Dead so good on the table-top, even better on your desktop, making veteran players proud. They have captured how beautiful the game looks, how silly the game is and how amazing it feels to win against diminishing odds, smashed them together and made the game even more gorgeous and exciting - something the team should be very proud of.  The game isn't easy, but just like its tabletop counterpart, it's not meant to be. All in all, if you haven't bought The Captain Is Dead yet, then the steam store is your next stop after this.

If you've tried this game - or the original board game - then let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


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