This week’s F.O.M.O. pick was a very tough one — there are two games ending in the next 7 days that look very enjoyable, with unique gameplay that I’d love to get to try. In the end, I picked the title that appeals most to my engine-building preferences. [Sorry, Runika and the Six-sided Spellbooks]
My pick of the week is Space Race from boardcubator, designed by Jan Soukal and Michal Mikeš.
Now, I will admit right off the bat — I don’t fully understand Space Race yet and would need some more time reading through the rulebook (and just playing the game, I think) to fully get it — so, I’m speaking from the inferences and feelings I get from the campaign and playthrough videos.
The heart of Space Race appears to be: while playing a card game, you are getting the chance to “re-live” the latter-half of the 20th century through the focus of the international space race. Everyone will start in the 1950’s and the goal will be to progress further (on into the 60’s, 70’s, and beyond) than your opponents.
Each player will pick a faction (NASA, Roscosmos, ESA, and Private Sector) which comes with its own control cards — that faction’s variable player power. As a player gets cards into his agency, these control cards will determine what engine-string gets triggered.
From my own personal game experience, this reminds me a bit of Race for the Galaxy, where your cards may have a variety of abilities, but you may only be able to trigger 1 certain type during a round.
So, what’s the point of this engine? One option for achieving space race advancement is to complete projects. There are 5 projects in the base game, which are based on true events. Every round, a project will become available, and last for 3 rounds — so if you aim to complete it, you better stay focused. The last project will come ‘on-line’ during round 5 and complete at the end of round 7 — these 7 rounds represent the 7 decades of play (from 1950-2020).
You will also achieve progress through Stage Output, which is the numbers listed on the cards in your hand. In the Propaganda example above, the control card is yellow (Propaganda). Thus, the yellow attributes on the cards in the agency (to the right) are triggered. Besides the abilities on those cards, each card also has a yellow value of 1, thus the player would earn 2 points this round from Stage Output.
The third method of advancement is to dominate breakthroughs. If you look at the game board picture above, breakthroughs occur in the section with the circles. This section represents ways in which space agencies can take the space race to a new level: in areas such as ‘Reaching for the Stars’, ‘Man in Space’, ‘Planet Exploration’, and the ‘Search for Extraterrestrial Life’. In this area of the board, you will get to send out your Astronaut Meeples — yes…ASTRONAUT MEEPLES!!
Last, players also move forward by building a powerful laboratory.
There is plenty happening in Space Race and it looks like the challenge will be to pick a strategy, a focus or two, and implement the appropriate engine utilizing your Control cards and agency to make each round as productive as possible, while keeping an eye out for the opportunities available in future rounds.
Besides the intriguing gameplay, there is something about the art style of Space Race that really works for me. The blueprint graphic design invokes the feeling of creation and building-something-important. Furthermore, the artwork on the cards does a beautiful job of taking players back to the time of the Cold War.
I also appreciate the effort put into Space Race to utilize historically-accurate events and figures, generating the expectation that players will learn about the space program, whether you like it or not 😉
Anybody else itching to back this game? What is your favorite space-themed game?
For more board game info to appease your appetite, follow me on Twitter @boardgamecrock1