Galaxy Trucker – Review

Type: Euro with a Race feature

Time to play: < 1.5 hr (Teaching: 15 minutes)

Best played with: 4 players 

Galaxy Trucker was one of those games I had heard a lot about before I played – it seems to be incredibly popular for a game that’s ranked 115 on Board Game Geek. However, I can completely see why those who like it, love it. The relative small size of the game, and old style small rule book should not deceive – this is a game with lots of replay-ability and that can provide hours of fun.

The game is split into three rounds – each round is functionally the same except that the ship you build gets bigger and the challenges you face are harder / greater in number. In each round you have a fixed amount of the time at the start to dive through the tiles like hunting through a space version of Scrapheap Challenge to build your own ship. It’s not that simple either because you need some of almost every type of tile and yet the connectors and the ability to only place pieces which already connect to your ship makes the building frantic for all players. New players might feel overwhelmed, but the more times you play the more intuitive the system feels. Plus the game doesn’t punish (or reward) small vehicles that much and so new players will tend to make it through ok – it’s not one of those games where you feel out played by the mechanics.

So you have filtered through the piles of cannons, engines, batteries and the other assortment of tiles – you even figured out the ratio of batteries to double tiles that you need – then what happens?! This is the best part of the game; you pull out a series of cards which tell the tale of the journey your ships all go on. In mechanical terms this is just a series of short challenge notices – most people scores / if you have enough cannons you don’t suffer damage… But it’s also a great story telling tool where you meet pirates and drive through hazardous asteroid belts. Oh and asteroid belts are frustrating but when the dice rolls and you work out what part of your ship it hit, if you can block it or what damage that did, then you really get the most from the game.

So you can score points in this game for gaining goods, defeating nasty space pirates, building a “well built” ship and for racing back to base first! All these different mechanics really effect the types of ships you will build, but whatever you go for there is a great satisfaction in making it back. Then you total up the points and see who is winning – as you do have two more rounds after the first time!

Each new round has more adventure cards, which you play more of, and a bigger ship for you to build. So each round is likely worth more than the last. If your a Great British Bake off fan then this is somewhat equivalent to doing well in the first round but failing the technical challenge – you still have time to recoup it all in the showstopper.

So, what’s wrong with the game? Well I am not sure I understand the strategy with the aliens and whilst I like the three different ship-shapes that are provided I feel like the base game could offer more variety. If it feels like I am being “picky” it’s because it’s genuinely hard to flaw this game. It’s quick, it’s fun and it will make you compete whilst enjoying the challenge of getting round the board. It’s like having an engine builder where you are just proud you made a good show of it. If there is one major flaw to the game is that it’s truly over within the starting egg timer – the rest, relatively speaking, plays itself out.

You could really enjoy this game if you … are just about anyone. I think this is a good gateway game, may be even an introductory game.

Last notes:

  • If you like reasonably fast games, with a light theme and a challenge just to score points then you should definitely pick up a copy of this
  • If you can’t stand real time dashes or just want a solid 4 hr war game then perhaps you wouldn’t pick this out of the cupboard as often.
  • If you win at this game you will have chosen a good strategy and built well. If you lost, perhaps the dice really fell hard against you, or perhaps you need to work on your shipbuilding.

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