Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2-4
Amount of time to play: 60 min
Age requirements: 10+
Set-up time: 10 min
In Galaxy Trucker you must bring goods to distant planets in return for money. But before you rocket into space you must first build your ship. Once built, your ship will begin a trip filled with smugglers, pirates or even abandoned ships to take over. Can you arrive at your destination safely and make more money than your competitors?
Galaxy Trucker is divided into two phases. In the first phase you must build your space ship. Each player gets a board with the same outline of a ship. The ship is made up of squares that are the size of the tiles used to build your ship. You start with your ship’s cabin and must build out the rest of the ship from there. You may only use one hand while building and must make sure you use the proper connections between tiles. There are single, double and universal connectors which connect tiles with guns, engines, cabins, battery cells and storage units.
Once the first player finishes their ship they flip a timer. When the timer is out all players must stop building their ships. Once all payers are done building their ships you check the other players’ ship for accuracy. If you or someone else has placed a connection wrong then a piece of the ship is removed. For some added pressure (besides the timer) finishing order matters. The player who finishes starts the second phase in the lead.
I will explain event cards below but the key to building a ship is knowing what you will encounter on your flight. While building your ship some (but not all) of the event cards for the upcoming flight will be in three separate piles. You may take time while building to look through one pile at a time for as long as you like. That being said this will take time and you must balance being prepared with the time pressures I mentioned above.
After checking the ships you then fill the cabins with spacemen and the batteries with cells. You are ready to begin your journey. This second phase of the game represents your trip and all the events that happen to you on the way.
The first player flips over one card from the event deck. Once that event is resolved the next card is flipped over until there are no more cards in the event deck pile. At which point the game is over.
The event deck contains smugglers and pirates that attack your ship, meteors that might strike your ship and other things you must deal with (or can profit from) on your flight. You must spend time dealing with the event cards which in game terms means you move back on the board.
After all the event cards are dealt with you have finished your flight. Just for finishing you get some money, but finishing order matters and you get a bit more for finishing before other players.
You then trade in any goods you picked up in the way and subtract money for any pieces of your ship you lost.
There are three rounds in the game consisting of one flight each round. Your ship gets bigger each round and your flights are longer. The game ends after the third round and the player with the most cash wins.
Galaxy Trucker is a fun game and I really like the uniqueness of it. What I think is unique is the ship building phase of the game. Having to build your ship to survive the event cards and try to finish before everyone else is great fun. I think this is the best aspect of the game and is thoroughly enjoyable.
The flights can seems a little long but it is still a ton of fun watching the ship you built just hanging together (or falling apart). Galaxy Trucker is a bit complex but after one or two flights most anyone can have the game figured out. And even the first couple games when you need to look through the rules you’ll enjoy them. The rules are easy to follow written and have flavor text that even makes them funny at times.
I think Galaxy Trucker is a great game to fill a unique hole in many collections. The “speed” ship building mechanic is fun, exciting and pressure-filled. It is definitely worth the trip.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 3 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 3 out of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6