Everybody loves space. I mean, honestly, who hasn’t dreamed of piloting their own space ship across the galaxy only to have it be blasted to bits while picking up some radioactive cargo? Galaxy Trucker by Czech Games Edition can offer you the utter bliss and destruction that you oh-so-crave.
Each player is…you guessed it, a galaxy trucker employed by the one and only Corporation Incorporated. Corporation Inc. provides players with various components to build their ship, all connected by sewer pipes. Your goal? Build a ship as fast as possible with the most guns, thrusters, spaceman cabins, batteries, shields, aliens and more. Then, pick up cargo, navigate through asteroid fields, fend off pirates and make it to the finish line with your ship maybe-kind-of intact.
One game of Galaxy Trucker is made up of three rounds. Each round plays exactly the same, but uses different ship boards. You start out with a rather tiny ship and graduate all the way to a class 3 behemoth. With each round you’ll be able to add more guns, more thrusters and more cargo!
The first phase of the game is really where the meat of Galaxy Trucker happens. You get to build your very own spaceship. All of the pieces start face down in the center of the table, and you are only allowed to use one hand to pick up pieces and flip them once they are over your board. This makes sure that each player can only really be looking at one piece at a time at a similar pace to everyone else.
There are several different types of components that you can add to your ship when building, each with a different purpose. We also played with The Big Expansion which added several more components to play with.
Guns allow you to fend off pirates and other baddies, thrusters allow you to zoom past other players in Open Space (thus getting you the fast delivery bonus at the end of the round), batteries are used to power more advanced components, shields help deter meteoroids and laser fire, storage containers help you carry cargo, and red storage containers help you carry precious radioactive money-making goods, cabins hold spacemen, and life support systems allow you to recruit aliens to man your guns or thrusters.
In case you didn’t catch that: you can recruit friggin’ aliens to give your ship boosts! The expansion add Blue aliens which have a different power-up for each player.
When a player looks at a piece they have three options: save it for later, attach it to their ship, or put it back on the table face up so other players can see it (and pick it up if they want). It becomes a mad race of players looking for that one piece that will fit perfectly on their ship and close off any open sewer pipes.
And in the meanwhile, the sand timer trickles down. Is your ship more complete than everyone else’s and you notice the timer is out? Move it to the next of four 90 second stages. If your ship has openings everywhere and not enough guns when the last 90 second round ends, too bad! Your ship will probably get blown to pieces in a fiery pirate death match.
Players start off the mission in the order that they finished their spaceships. If you finished first, you get to flip over the first Adventure Card. That means you could get first dibs on which planet to stop on to pick up goods, or you could get shot at by pirates first.
Many Adventure Cards will allow you to spend “flight days” to do things, like pick up cargo. This means that your position will actually change throughout the adventure. You could be first, but then take 5 days to pick up radioactive cargo, and now you’re third.
This adds a little decision making to the otherwise dull-ish adventure phase. 1st player just used 5 flight days, do I want to stop and pick up cargo too? Or do I want to have 1st place next adventure?
You’ll also get hit by asteroids and lasers from all sides, potentially breaking apart your ship into multiple pieces (and you have to choose which piece to keep). During one game, we had a player literally get his ship cracked in two, he lost 11 pieces and had to not only lose a lot of cargo and batteries, but also pay back Corporation Incorporated at the end of the round for the damage.
My Final Thoughts
Galaxy Trucker is a great game if you concentrate on what it is good at. The adventures are fun, but we definitely enjoyed building our ships more. Sometimes we even play without the time limit so we can build bigger, cooler, more perfect ships. I’m sure this isn’t how the game was meant to be played, but it’s fun for us!
There was an element of “Oh fuck, an asteroid field and I just used the last of my batteries…” during the adventures, and I enjoyed nothing more than watching my brothers ship disintegrate. For some reason he doesn’t put many guns on his ship to stop larger asteroids.
One of the better things about the game was the ability to change difficulty for players. Want the game to be easier? Don’t play with a time limit. Want the game to be harder? Play with the included IIIA spaceships. The first expansion also comes with IA and IIA spaceships to make the first two rounds harder if need be.
We played both 3 and 4 player games, so I’m not quite sure how it will hold up when the wife and I play alone, but it’s hit the table multiple times in the past two weeks, so we’re happy with it! And while I was writing this review my brother texted me, “when are we playing Galaxy Trucker again?”