Galaxy Trucker - Dastardly Review #105
We ‘found’ Galaxy Trucker in the CGE play hall at Gen Con 2018. Nick ran our session and did a great job of keeping it light, quick and fun. We greatly enjoyed Galaxy Trucker...enough that we bought the base game, The Big Expansion, Another Big Expansion, the Missions Expansion, more ship maps and a paperback book. They threw in a cool
Galaxy Trucker bag.
I was excited to get home and see how the rest of the family reacted to Galaxy Trucker. And could I do as good as job as Nick introducing the game and running a play session??
A bit of Background
Galaxy Trucker was designed by Vlaada Chvatil and released by Czech Games Edition (CGE) in 2007. A stream of expansions followed. Vlaada is also the designer for the mega hit series Codenames.
In Galaxy Trucker each player is...a Galaxy Trucker! The game is played in two phases: Phase 1 is building your ship from a pile of components and then Phase 2 is a race through the galaxy to try to earn money by collecting resources, salvaging abandoned ships, defeating pirates and slavers, ducking meteors and returning with the prettiest ship. Oh...and you get a big bonus for being quick also!
Inside the Box
The box lists game play at 60 minutes for 2-4 players and ages +10. We found that all to be true. Our 10 year old grandson picked up the game with ease. The game is played in three rounds. Each round feels like a mini-game so if you are short on time just play one or two rounds. Also the rule book suggests phasing in some of the rules through the rounds of your first game - a great idea to get up and playing quickly
The components of the game are stunning in their simplicity and quality. The chits for the ship components are really cool and easy to understand. Battery charges are represented by little translucent green Tic Tacs. Spacers are cute custom miniatures although my grandkids thought they looked like two legged elephants or deformed cats (weird kids). The boards are thick and well made. The task cards are bright and easy to understand. Just an extremely well made game.
The first phase of the game is rummaging through a pile of salvaged spaceship components and placing them on your ship. All of the components have to fit together using three different types of connectors on the pieces.
The components are engines, lasers, shields, storage, life support, batteries, storage for radioactive resources and some very useful connector junctions. Oh and some of the lasers and engines are more powerful and require those glowing, green Tic Tac battery charges to power up as do the shields.
Building your ship is pure fun. There is no right or wrong. Just a weird looking result.
The rest of the game is a series of races through the galaxy. One of the unique things about Galaxy Trucker is the play board - it is an oval race track. This compact board intensifies the feeling of being in a race...the ships are in a constant advance/drop back struggle.
Each turn a card is turned over and the Truckers find out what they are facing: meteors, slavers, planets to explore, abandoned ships or pirates. Typically the Trucker that is in the front of the pack gets to make some key decisions. Lots of variety. Lots of decisions. And pieces being blown off of your ship by pirate lasers or meteors that get through your defenses. If those pieces contained valuable trade resources or spacers...too bad!
After each round, resources are sold, prizes awarded for position on the galaxy race track and a bonus given for the prettiest ship. The Truckers also have to pay for the damage their ship received. The winner at the end of the game is the Trucker that made the most money.
My geeky friends and I enjoyed the game at Gen Con. The really cool thing is that my 10 and 13 year old grandkids loved Galaxy Trucker even more. They understood the game play in less than 15 minutes (using the staged rule introduction as suggested in the rule book really helps). They gave Galaxy Truckers their highest rating which is “Can We Play It Again?”.
Also it is fun discovering a game that is 10 years old and enjoying it so much.
Ohh...forgot to mention the aliens...don’t worry they don’t burst from your stomach!
The Good: Love the galaxy racetrack and the cute little spacers.
The Bad: Big bad meteors!
The Dastardly: The glowing green Tic Tacs!