Space Base - Dastardly Review #118
Space Base was created by John D Clair and published by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) in 2018.
Space Base is a dual engine building game. Your cards are split between an On Base engine and an Exploring engine.
Space Base can be explained to a newbie in 5 minutes and then you are playing. Our 11 year old granddaughter learned it in those 5 minutes and in her next game she was explaining and teaching others. Yet there are also multiple strategies that can all produce a win. Do you build for long odds and huge payoffs or bank on high frequency, lower payouts? Or a mix? When do you switch from revenue to victory points? Go for benefits now or buy weapons that need to be charged for later use? Lots of decisions. Lots of fun.
Build a set of engines that are the first to generate 40 Victory Points and you win.
The box and insert are solid and well designed as you would expect from AEG. The colors and art of the play boards and cards are bright and accent play rather than distract.
- 5 sets of base starter cards
- 5 player Base mats
- Level 1, 2 and 3 card sets
- End game Victory Point card sets
- 2 dice
- Blue (Victory Points), Yellow (gold), Green (revenue) and Clear (weapon charges) cubes
- A whole bunch of fun
Game setup is easy - set out a grid of 6 cards from Level 1, 2 and 3. Also make a line of all of the single use end game Victory Point cards (yellow).
Each player picks a set of base starter cards and places them on their base's corresponding dice value. The bottom three lines track the player's gold, revenue and Victory Points.
Each card has four areas:
- Top left is the gold cost of the card
- Top right is the slot/die roll of the card
- Blue is the On Base engine value/action
- Red is the Exploring .value/action
The cool ship art and name are just that...cool. They aren't used by the game.
Each player builds two engines: On Base and Exploring.
The On Base cards occupy the 12 slots on the Base. Their actions/values are in the blue are of the card. They are triggered by the active player.
When a player buys a card it replaces the On Base card currently in that number slot. The card that had been in that slot moves to the Exploring engine. This is done by flipping the card so the red space is now at the top and sliding the card under the top of the base above the corresponding slot so just the red area shows. These Exploring cards are triggered by your opponents dice rolls when they are the active player. You can have an unlimited number of cards in each Exploring slot.
So...what does this all mean? The active player rolls 2 dice and chooses to use the dice individually and score two On Base blue areas or use their total and score one On Base blue area. At the same time the active player's opponents are deciding whether to use that roll separately or to combine the dice to score their red Exploring cards. Lot of concurrent activity and no boredom! The active player then can use gold to buy another card which goes into an On Base slot and flip the replaced card to become another exploring card.
The dice shift to the next player and that person becomes the active player and rolls. Now they are scoring the blue areas while their opponents score the red areas.
Oh...and some cards require that they be charged by a prior roll and then their weapon can be used at anytime!
Play continues until a player reaches 40 Victory Points.
I don't normally like dice games and am not huge fan of engine building games but I love Space Base. Everything just works and works quickly with many possible strategies. We have played Space Base ten times in the last week and each game felt different.
The Good: Favorite game of the year so far. Great replayability. Easy to teach. Loads of fun.
The Bad: I need to go buy the expansion!
The Dastardly: OK. Take a look at this setup. My wife focused on buying cards for the 7 slot. Risky! Then we rolled a bunch of 7s. Did she slip in some loaded craps dice???