UK Anime Network, UK Anime News, Reviews and Articles
UK Anime Network - Toy Box Reviews
Galaxy Trucker (Boardgame)
Bryony Stibbons
Author: Bryony Stibbons

A life-long board game addict, but anime newbe, Bryony is greadually getting hooked!

Galaxy Trucker (Boardgame)


Theme

You are working for ‘Corporation Incorporated’ (not the most imaginative title, I must say), which is an inter-planetary construction company. They need their building components transporting to the far reaches of the galaxy, but profits will suffer if they pay for shipping. A visionary on the board of the company has come up with a plan to maximise profits though:

You are charged with building a space ship with the components that need transporting and manning the ship for your journey. As you make your way across the galaxy you will face challenges that may affect your ship, but you also have the opportunity to make money by picking up other cargo as you go. There is also a bonus in it for you if you make it to your destination in a timely fashion, but there are penalties for component’s that don’t make the trip.

Set Up

This is a review, so won’t contain full instructions on how to set up the game or rules for play, but here are the basics:

Each player gets game boards showing grids for you to build your space ships on. You will use one side at a time as your space ship grows in size for each of three rounds. In-between the players (equal distance from all for fairness) you will have a pile of face-down component tiles along with a timer and placement tokens.

Off to one side you have the ‘Flight Board’ and face down ‘Adventure cards’ that will dictate what challenges, obstacles and potential rewards you will come across on you journey. These have to be set up before the ship building process because players are allowed, within the rules, to look at the cards and see what lies ahead, during the build process.

Game Play

The game consists of three rounds of two parts. Each round your ship gets bigger, and here is a good time to give you a top tip: Don’t forget to turn/swop your board for the next size up at the start of each round. I have found it happens quite often that someone ends up with a ship too small at the end of the build process, meaning you all have to start over. Here is how the two parts of the round pan out:

Part 1: Build your ship.

  • At the start, all component tiles are face down, so you have to work through them to find the ones you want.
  • Before you start, make sure all players understand how component connections work (see the rules).
  • Ensure you are all agreed on how to take components, as you are only supposed to consider one tile at a time and either use it on your ship or put it back in the pile, but face up. I have found that the best process, for fairness, is for players to do this stage of the process using one hand only.
  • It is key to make sure your ship has:
    • Engines at the back – otherwise you won’t go anywhere.
    • Guns at the front (or sides and back if desperate) – to fend of attack.
    • A crew – to fly the ship and action missions.
    • Cargo space – to hold precious cargo that gains you points at the end.
    • Although these parts are key, there are several other components you need to consider as well as general connectors.
    • First person to finish their ship earns first place on the Flight Board and so on.
    • Finally, you get the chance to inspect your opponents’ ships for errors – any parts not correctly connected are removed from your ship, so be careful!

Part 2: Journey across the galaxy!

  • Before setting off for your journey, you add your crew, any alien passengers and batteries (required for powering some components).
  • Adventure cards are then turned to show what happens to the ships through the journey – each round there are more cards, and obstacles faced become more challenging!
  • The person in first place is always first to face a challenge and gets first dibs on any rewards, but places can change, as claiming a reward takes time so results in you moving backwards, potentially behind your components. This causes players to leapfrog each other continually throughout the game.
  • Hopefully you will make it through all the cards and reach your destination. However, you may not make it, as sometime you lose all your crew or engines to damage and are unable to continue – hilarious when it happens to your opponents, distressing when it happens to you!
  • If you make it to the end, you can sell any cargo you have gained and may get a bonus for getting there ahead of your competitors. However, there are also deductions for any damage suffered on the way.

At the end of the three rounds, it is the person that has earned the most money through their exploits that is declared the winner, however if you’ve made it through journeys with all your ships in tact you should consider it a win regardless!

Tactics

Here are a few tactical points to think about:

  • You have two holding spots for pieces that you don’t currently want to add, but you want to save to add to your ship later. Make use of these spaces. Anything with connectors on all four sides is worth grabbing, in order to make a more stable ship!
  • Be really careful that your connections are correct and your pieces connect on as many sides as possible, otherwise you can end up losing half your ship in one blow!
  • Don’t build cabins next to each other, as one card contains a disease which will kill off crew in connected quarters.
  • Finishing your ship first and getting into first place for the journey is a good move! However, don’t do this at the expense of building a stable ship and getting all of the component’s you need.
  • Balance is key – you need a bit of everything, except shields and aliens are beneficial, but not crucial.
  • Looking at the adventure cards during the build phase costs time and could leave you in last place. However, the further through the rounds you get, the more beneficial it can be to take that time, as you will be able to ensure you will be able to select the best components for the type of journey you are going to have e.g. If you will face lots of pirates, you need lots of guns, but if picking up lots of cargo you need lots of cargo holds.

Longevity

This game has loads of scope for playing over and over, as every time your ships come out differently and your adventure provides different challenges. I have had many hours of fun out of it already and haven’t even delved into the vast array of expansions on offer yet.

The Verdict

Although the games set up and rules are fairly complex, the game is easy to get to grips with, especially if you are playing with an already experienced player who can lead the way, and if not the rules are well laid out and give you everything you need to know. I love this game as an adult and experienced gamer, but kids from age about 10 upwards would be able to get to grips with it too, given a little support on the card set up and rules making this a great game for families too.

The pieces and boards are all of good quality, however the shape and size of the battery pieces is a little frustrating.

There is only one negative to this game and that is the fact that it is weighted strongly in the favour of experienced players. This is because the more you play, the more used you get to the ship building phase and what components make the most stable ships – and more importantly you learn what you definitely shouldn’t do whilst building. So, my advice is to get this game to play with a particular group and all learn it together!

For the same reason, I would advise against getting the ‘app’ version on the game. I found that getting hooked on this made me so much of an expert that I had a huge advantage against anyone I played with and took the fun out of it somewhat. However, apparently some components of the expansion packs can be used to help level the playing field between experienced and new players, so that’s definitely something for me to look into next!

Prices vary hugely on this item, but I found it on a site called Zatu games for £26.27 which is a great price (we have no affiliations with said site, so research the company and shipping price thoroughly before making a purchase).

This is a brilliant game and I would highly recommend it! Good luck on your journeys!

9
Absolutely love this game! Well worth a purchase!
Gallery
COMMENT AND DISCUSS
blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Reviews:

posted by Bryony Stibbons on 19 Aug 2018
posted by Bryony Stibbons on 05 Aug 2018
posted by Bryony Stibbons on 29 Jun 2018
posted by Tom Watson on 26 Jun 2018
posted by Dawffyd on 06 Jun 2018
posted by Bryony Stibbons on 28 May 2018
posted by Bryony Stibbons on 20 May 2018
posted by Dawffyd on 14 May 2018