Saturday, May 23, 2009

Something(s) old, Something new (Galaxy Trucker, Conspiracy x2, Through the Desert x2)

Galaxy Trucker

We played our second session of Galaxy Trucker this week. I can't explain why, but it wasn't my night for ship building. My first ship was actually decent, except for the complete lack of batteries. The third had almost no crew. On the flip side, the others were building very good ships for the most part (Kozure had an unfortunate first round due to a misunderstanding of the building rules...). Shemp managed to do much better than the last place finish he managed last time. In fact, he won!

Luch came to the realization that he has been building his ships wrong since the beginning. He was placing pieces anywhere on his board, rather than growing out from the initial cockpit piece! He HAS been doing quite well, finishing 2nd in both our games, if I'm not mistaken. Let's see if this rules clarification has an impact on his standings for game three...

Unfortunately, there were no spectacular ship destructions. For the most part, our ships survived mostly intact. The winner was determined by the player who could take advantage of the most abandoned space stations and survive the most slavers. Very few meteors, this time.

Galaxy Trucker has turned out to be a very fun game. It certainly has a novelty factor, but the puzzle-like ship building aspect is very enjoyable and the actual space flight is entertaining enough to work. I was really afraid the group would dislike it after our experience with Space Alert (a similar "gimmick" game by the same designer), but it looks like they like it. Shemp declared that it was "a million times better than Space Alert", so that's pretty good. Probably.

(I still like Space Alert, but I seem to be the only one. Galaxy Trucker is clearly the better game, however)


It's been 3 1/2 years since we last played this game, which is in and of itself a game I've been dragging around with me for nearly 30 years. Something felt a little off as we played this time. The crossing and double crossing was rather limited, and the frequent "near wins" that characterized our earlier games didn't occur. Typically, the briefcase makes it to within one space of a number of players before anyone actually succeeds in bringing it home. This time, however, the briefcase easily came back to England (me) due to a tactical error on the other player's parts (Shemp though Kozure would stop me, Kozure thought Shemp would). In the second, Luch managed to put his money on the two characters that turned out to be pivotal and became impossible to stop.

I like the game, but it certainly seemed to lack something this time. Will it take another 4 years to see if it gets better or worse? We'll see.

Through the Desert

It's also been a while since we've played this one. Through the Desert is unfortunately not a very "sexy" game, in the sense that it doesn't jump out at you and compel you to play. It doesn't have a particularly compelling theme, it has no particularly clever mechanics, the bits aren't over the top. It definitely feels like it's from an earlier era, where games could be simpler and still get noticed.

Still, I'm really happy we got it to the table. I'm reminded of how much I enjoy playing it! The gameplay is so clean that all that is left is a very fast moving series of difficult decisions. I'm not sure that there is another game that epitomizes the "I have so many things I want to do, but so few actions to do them with" feeling as well as Through the Desert. I don't recall who won the games, but I had a great time playing.

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