I finally had the chance to play Galaxy Trucker a couple of evenings ago, and it was everything and a bag of chips. (Do people still say that?)
Anyway, Galaxy Trucker is like getting two great games in one really cool, well designed package. Designed by Vlaada Chvatil and published by Czech Games, Galaxy Trucker is half speed puzzle and half press your luck style destruction derby. It’s not an inexpensive game, but it’s certainly worth the hefty price tag for all of the space destruction joy you get within this beautiful game.
The first half of the game is spent building your ship. The component tiles are in a pile out in the center of the table, and you have a limited amount of time to build your ship before the time runs out. You want to get enough guns to defend yourself, enough engines to make it through space, crew quarters and storage pods to house your little aliens and collect any goods you might find along the way. The only problem is that the compartment tiles have one, two, or three connectors that you must line up just right to make everything fit. If you make a sloppy ship, you will pay for it later, believe me.
A well designed ship is essential for your survival in the second half of the game. If you don’t have enough guns, you can’t fight the pirates or shoot the meteors. If you don’t have enough engines, you might end up dead in space. If you don’t have enough cargo space, then you can’t collect the large amounts of space booty available on some of the planets you visit, and those who know me well, know how much I like large amounts of booty. If you don’t have enough battery units, then you can’t power most of your valuable systems, and if you don’t have enough crew quarters then you might end up with a really pretty ship with nobody to pilot it.
Once your ship is built, then you spend the next part of the round watching it get blown apart by meteors, raided by smugglers, attacked by pirates, and numerous other exciting disastrous events. I know this doesn’t necessarily sound like a lot of fun, but it’s seriously a laugh riot. Your only strategy at this point is whether to stay on course or return home with what’s left of your ship and crew for points equal to half your cargo.
Most of the major damage comes from meteors. Some meteors can be destroyed with your laser cannons, if they can’t be deflected or destroyed then you will have to remove a component tile from your ship. If that part of your ship was the only thing connecting other parts to the ship’s core, well you can kiss a huge part of your ship goodbye.
The winner is usually the player who can not only survive, but can arrive at the final destination before the others.