AlexChurchill received for Christmas the BoardGame of StarCraft. It's a big-box game of galactic domination with lots of planets to conquer and miniature pieces of most of the units from StarCraft. It's in the vein of TwilightImperium, but apparently only takes 3-4 hours to play.
Based on Alex's reading of the rules, it really is an adaptation of the rules, units and technologies of StarCraft into Board- and CardGame form. So a familiarity with StarCraft will definitely help; but it's by no means necessary.
I suspect that at least the first game will take longer than the typical GamesEvening would support, once you factor in at least half an hour to explain the rules (it's got a 40-page rulebook). So it would make sense to arrange an afternoon or evening to play it, at AlexChurchill's house.
Organisation for the first game folded to Revision 24 and prior.
The BGG forum has most of the rules clarifications you could ever want. In particular:
 For the special victory conditions which require "control" of an area: You control an area if you have a base or units in it. This is not the same as having the card - you can control areas you don't have the card for (if you have units on a planet where you don't have a base), and you can have the card for areas you don't control (since you get the cards for neutral areas if you have the only base on that planet, but you don't control those areas).
Thoughts after playing
We played it. It took six hours to explain the rules and play, though one and a half hours of that were explaining the rules. It's possible that with fewer players it might just fit into a GamesEvening. We're not sure. It was, however, fun. Edwin (Zerg Overmind) won from SoylentWhite (Zerg Kerrigan), followed by the two Protoss factions and then the two Terran ones. The Zerg players did seem to hit on a fairly effective strategy straight off, though as Edwin says his was mostly not being attacked. GreenOpal and Vitenka with the Protoss factions both managed to recover from poor starts - V with galactic placement and GO because of being killed by Alex. Neither of AC and SF thought they'd played very effectively with the Terran factions, though at least SF wasn't sure what else to do (other than not forgetting to build a transport to take me to where I was invading, that was kind of a mistake). I (SF) think the game is at least reasonably balanced, though it might be harder to work out what to do with some factions than others. There is less of an advantage given to attackers than the rules make it look like, because there are lots of cards that improve the defenses. --SF
Vitenkan Thoughts: The board is a lot more crowded than you might think. Defence is strange - bases are very hard to take in a single attack, but anywhere else is fairly vulnerable. Technology progression - You won't get pinnacle units in each area. Choose and stick to it. It suffers fro "Last turn, boom" even more than many games. The starting position is muo important. As is the 'special' victory condition, which actually becomes "You have to have met this to have a chance, of those that have - who has most victory points?" Event cards are good. The event card that lets you play more than one event? Fantastic.
I also think the game's probably fairly balanced. There is a lot riding on the initial setup. Some technologies seem better than others, unsurprisingly; many didn't get tried out, since Queens, Scouts and Arbiters were the only air units built, and none of the Arbiter technologies got used. I'm eager to see Science Vessels and High Templar in action in particular. --AlexChurchill
SoylentWhite-ian thoughts: I'm actually inclined to respectfully disagree with both of you. I do not believe it is particularly well balanced. The pieces of the 3 sides certainly appear to be, but I do feel there are significant imbalances in the special win conditions for each side, and as Vitenka points out above, once the number of players get above -I don't know, two?-, you *need* to have completed your win conditions to stand a chance of winning. To expand (as far as I can remember, feel free to point out mistakes that may prove my thoughts wrong): 1) Control 3 command point-boosting territories (Zerg). Relatively easy. Like Vitenka said, bases are relatively easy to defend, so if you manage to build bases on 3 sites, you're in a very strong position, especially once anti-air turrets are built. 2) Own 3 bases (zerg). Even easier than the above, as they don't have to be on command points, but they should be to stand a chance of winning the tie-breaker, so basically the same. 3) Control more territory than any other player (Protoss). Given that everyone wants control of territory, this basically boils down to 'play better than everyone else', but you *have* to keep your troops spread thin in order to actually have control, which means they are pathetically vulnerable. 4) Ensure no-one else wins (Protoss). This one's weird, but again, in a large game where a special victory is near-certain, basically boils down to 'On last turn, prevent as many people as possible from going, and use only research orders, to maximise the chance of 2 'The end draws near' cards being drawn. Your position matters only so far as to how many people you can block. 5) Control 2 entire planets (terran). Fairly easy (as long as it's made clear to begin with what 'control' means), especially if you can grab one of the two-territory planets and get an anti-air module. The only problem is it's quite vulnerable to last-turn spoilage. If you can avoid that, it's no problem. 6) Control X crystal or gas resource territories (terran). Great. Similar to the 'control command points' objective, only if you're focusing on your special objective, you won't get the command points you need to win the tie-breaker, so to win, it's basically something like 'Control 3 whole planets', noticably harder than the above. Final notes: 1) they might actually be conquest points, rather than command points. Can't remember. 2) Like I said, I could well be mis-remembering the conditions and they are better balanced than I recall. Aside from that, thoughts? --SoylentWhite
No, I think that's about right. I'm strongly tempted to suggest removing the special victory conditions altogether. Though that might make early command points even harder to defeat. The end draws near anyway, so it wouldn't make the game take longer. --Vitenka
Had a thought today, and I like it enough to throw it out here for comment:
Remove all the current special victories, then split the 6 sides into two groups: I'm a bit rusty on the universe, but say Kerrigan, Mensk and Tassadar as -let's say- 'Aggressors'. Overmind, Raynor and the other guy are 'Builders'. All aggressors have the special victory condition of 'Raze X (3?) enemy bases at the usual special victory determination phase', while all builders have the special victory condition 'Control Y (3?) friendly bases at the usual special victory determination phase'. The agressor's victory is harder to achieve, but once done is done, while the builders can accomplish theirs relatively easily, but is very vulnerable to last-turn spoilage. With the right numbers, that should be noticably more balanced than the current situation. What do people think? --SoylentWhite
Arranging future games
Nooooooo. I can't make either of those. Anyone prepared to consider the 31st? --NeilRoques
Well, I think it's quite likely there'll be another game at a later stage, perhaps the 31st or some point in February; and we're already threatening to have 7 people turn up (which is definitely more than the game will take). So I'll email you when the next one's being organised, and pre-emptively register you as interested for that date :) --AC
Ah, the 31st is the prerelease of the next Magic set, and I'm away Feb 7th-8th. Feb 1st, 14th, 15th, or 21st, perhaps. --AC
It occurs that a two-player game between people who know the rules would probably fit into rather less than two hours, so I'd be up for doing that at GamesEvening once or twice. And I'd also be up for scheduling another couple of larger games - probably 4 players, because I think the 6-player game is a bit too big and long. --AlexChurchill Humm. Someone has put together a 'light' variant, to run faster. I don't think it's worth trying (it changes far too much, losing most of the game's interesting features - no order stacks, dice for combat) - but it does have one salvageable idea. It changes the "Who do I pass the order token to". This means that you don't spend most (or all) of a game with the player to your left able to trump your stacks, you get interlaced turns of revenge. Might be worth trying? --Vitenka
Unexpected Rules Interactions
Oh, you'll love this one. Player A on a planet with air defence base. Player B also on planet. Player C on adjacent planet. Player B attacks the base, from the same planet, and wins. Moves in all his surviving troops. Player C curses, loudly, since he now cannot attack player B, whose forces are sheltering beneath the enemy air defence. At end of turn the base explodes. But until then, B is safe.