Friday, January 1, 2010

Galaxy Trucker

So with a name like Galaxy Trucker the game has to be good right? I'm just going to get this out of the way early. I REALLY like this game. It's probably the most unique game that I've ever played. It's got a speed element, some good strategy, fantastic components, and everyones spaceships can get blown to pieces by asteroids. What's not to like?

Most of time learning a game can be kind of a pain in the butt. Digging through rules and trying to figure out the game mechanics can be a confusing and frustrating experience. Galaxy Trucker on the other hand has one of the best rule books I have ever read. All throughout the rule book there's flavor text that adds to the theme of the game and the rules flow very well. It was actually fun reading and learning the game. The rules also recommend playing through the game as you read the rules the first time. The rule book explains just enough to start playing, but not too much to get you confused. I usually read through the rule book once or twice before I play, so it was nice to just jump in and start.

For an overview of the game here's the flavor text from the start of the rules: "Corporation Incorporated is an interplanetary construction firm that builds sewer systems and low-income housing on the less-developed planets of the Galaxy. For years, Corp Inc. has tottered on the brink of bankruptcy: transporting building materials to the edge of the Galaxy, where the need for their services is greatest, is a risky business.

The company was saved by a few visionaries on the board of directors. Instead of shipping materials to the Periphery, they reasoned, why no build the materials into the spacecraft and let them ship themselves? Furthermore, why hire pilots if there are nut-cases who will do it for free?

That's where you come in. Just sign the contract, and you gain unrestricted access to a Corp Inc. warehouse. Build your own spaceship from the available prefabricated components, and fly to the Periphery. Of course, you may have to eat a loss, but any profits you make along the way are yours to keep, and Corporation Incorporated will pay you a bonus for quick delivery.

It's possible that you will end up with an insurmountable debt and finish your days panhandling on the streets of Deneb III, but if Lady Luck should smile upon you, you just might find yourself among the 10 billion richest people in the Galaxy!"

So when I opened Galaxy Trucker for the first time I was amazed with how much stuff was in the box. You get a ton of tiles representing all of the ship components used to make your spaceship. You also get money (cosmic credits), aliens, humans in spacesuits to man you spaceship, small green battery pieces that look exactly like tic-tacs, a pair of dice, a bunch of boards to build your spaceships on, wooden goods cubes, and I'm sure some other stuff I'm forgetting.

The game is played over three rounds. For each round there are two phases. In the first phase you get to build your spaceships. All of the building tiles are placed in the middle of the table face down. These tiles represent the warehouse you use to build your ship. The boldest player says "GO!", and the round begins. Everyone playing then simultaneously takes a tile from the supply, turns it over and decides if they want to add the tile to their spaceship. All players have a starting cockpit on their ship and the tiles they draw must connect to the cockpit, or another tile they have previously placed. All of the tiles also have connectors. In order to legally place a tile the connectors on the tiles must match up. The types of building components you can can build your ship with consist of: cabins for your crew, guns, E-batteries (the E stands for enormous), alien life support systems, engines, goods containers, and shields. There are other rules for placing the tiles that I won't go into, but when playing you need to make sure you follow the rules or there are penalties. Oh, and did I mention that you are being timed? Depending on what round you are in is how much time you get to build your ship. Ships built in later rounds are bigger, so you get more time. If you run out of time before your ship is finished you have to fly an incomplete ship, which probably isn't the best thing to do.

Now you get to fly your ship! The game comes with three decks of cards that represent your flight to the Periphery. Depending on the round you have a certain amount of cards that are randomly put in the flight deck. The later rounds have more cards so your flight is longer. The person who finished their ship first is the leader and gets to draw the first card. The cards represent things you encounter during your journey, such as meteoric swarms, epidemics, sabotage, Pirates, Slavers, Planets, combat zones, and other things that can be either good or bad. Depending on how well you build your ship is how it will hold up during the flight, or how many goods and cosmic credits you will get. After all of the cards have been drawn, the flight is over and the rounds' scoring begins. The person who arrived to the final destination first gets bonus points, as well as the person who has the prettiest ship, which basically means the ship who took the least amount of damage. This goes on for three rounds, and the person with the most cosmic credits after three rounds is the winner.

Galaxy Trucker is one of those games that is just as much fun to lose as it is to win. There is something strangely satisfying about seeing your ship blown to pieces by meteors or a pirate invasion. I played a game with my wife and brother in law and nobody made it to the end in the third round. We were all taken hostage! The game was still a blast, and I wanted to play again. The only downfall to the game that I can see is the price. It's one of the more expensive games I own, but with everything you get in the game it makes sense. I still think it's a good value for the amount of enjoyment you get. So if you're looking for a great game with a sci-fi theme this one would definitely do the trick. Thanks for reading and happy gaming!


  1. This is a game I'd definately have to try before buying, but I am SO intrigued! I think my dad and brother would have a blast!

  2. I agree with the try before you buy. I know who has a copy. :) We'll have to get together and play.