Now you can join them. You will gain access to prefabricated spaceship components cleverly made from sewer pipes. Can you build a space ship durable enough to weather storms of meteors? Armed enough to defend against pirates? Big enough to carry a large crew and valuable cargo? Fast enough to get there first?
Of course you can. Become a Galaxy Trucker. It's loads of fun.
Galaxy Trucker is a light, fun space adventure game for 2-4 players. Each player is building a spaceship and then travelling across space, hoping to pick up cargo along the way to sell at the destination, and hoping that the ship makes it there, preferably with as much of the ship intact as possible! The winner is the player who has the most money at the end, with money made by selling cargo, arriving at the destination and having the most aesthetically pleasing ship on arrival.
The game comes in a medium sized box which has plenty of room for everything inside. Each player has a board which is used to build their ship on and these are of thick stock, as is the central board which is used to keep track of all player’s relative position on the journey. The tiles used as ship parts are also thick stock and are very good quality, as are the cardboard chits used for money. The cards are also excellent with cartoony artwork and easy to read symbols. The plastic pieces used for the ships, astronauts and aliens are also cartoony in fashion and perfectly fuse the amusing theme with functionality. Also included are some small bead-like counters for use as power pellets and these also fit the theme perfectly, but are quite small so be careful you don’t lose any! Finally, there is an egg timer for use in the ship-building phase of the game.
The rulebook is a very nice colour booklet. They are written in a way that introduces the game very well to new players, with an amusing, almost conversational tone, so that players can easily start playing the basic rules without having to read everything. This is great for the first time you read through but I have found that it can make it slightly more difficult to find a specific rule when going back afterwards, as bits are spread throughout the rulebook.
The game is played over three separate journeys through space, with each journey split into two phases: Firstly players build their ships and secondly they go on the actual journey and try to reach the destination.
In phase one the players each take the appropriate ship board and a central cabin tile of their colour (with the ships getting progressively larger on each journey). The tiles of ship parts are all put face down into the centre of the table, within reach of all the players. The appropriate cards for the journey are shuffled and randomly split into three piles (on the first journey each pile has two ‘1’ cards in it), which will be accessible to all players during the building phase. When all players are ready the egg timer is flipped and all players start building their ships. Players can only use one hand to build and must take a tile back onto their board before flipping it and then deciding whether to keep it. Unwanted tiles are placed face up back on the table and any player may then pick it up to use it. Tiles placed on the ship are then set and cannot be removed or changed. Once a player has placed at least one tile they may look at one of the face down piles of cards for the journey to get a sneak peak at what will be coming up. They may look at all three piles if they wish but must return them to the same spot. The ship building continues and once the egg timer has run out any player may then flip it over again. On journey one the building ends once the timer has run through twice; on journey two it ends when it has run through three times; and on journey three once it has run through four times. When a player is finished they must say so and can then take one of the remaining markers to indicate where in the convoy they will start, relative to the other players. If the timer runs out before all players are finished then they must stop building immediately and take one of the remaining order markers. All players then check each other’s ships to make sure there aren’t any illegal placements. If so the offending tiles are placed in the damage pile for that player and will need to be paid for later.
In phase two the player with the 1st order marker is the leader of the convoy. Players place their ship markers onto the appropriate space on the main board. The leader takes the cards from the three piles and shuffles in a fourth pile. This is to add an unknown element to the journey for all players. In journey one this means that there will be a total of eight ‘1’ cards shuffled to make the journey – the three piles of two that were available for viewing during the building phase and a fourth pile of two. The leader then flips the top card and encounters it. This continues with all the cards in the journey being encountered, with the possibility of players being destroyed, forced to return home, picking up cargo, etc. Once the final card has been encountered any remaining players reach the destination and rewards are given out for the order in which players arrive, the player with the ship that has the fewest connectors sticking out into space, and also for cargo that was picked up on route. Players also have to pay for any damage they received on the way, meaning that sometimes a player may end up with nothing.
These two phases are then played again twice more and the winner is the player with the most money after the three journeys.
Review of gameplay:
The game is quite simple once all the different ship components and cards are explained. When building it’s a case of picking up a tile and deciding whether to place it or not. The time pressure can make it more fun or more stressful depending on your sense of humour. Once into the journey each card is usually encountered by all players and so the game involves everyone almost all of the time. You sometimes have decisions to make about how to encounter the cards and how to maximise your money at the end of the journey but there’s not too much thinking involved. In the first game any beginners will often rush the ship building and then watch as their ship disintegrates on the way, but this just means that lessons are learned ready for the next time and you will be eager to try your hand at building again to improve.
This game is hilarious! The mad rush to build is often spent cursing yourself or your opponents as they take the piece you need or you realise that you’ve made a complete goof in your build. Try flipping the timer early to watch your opponents panic! When it comes to the actual journey I find it much more amusing if the bad things do start to get through and destroy parts of your ship. Some of the best games have involved situations where a player builds badly, loses most of their ship and is left with just one crew cabin and a laser or two, desperately trying to make it through to the end without being obliterated. It’s almost disappointing if you make it to the end with no damage and a ship full of cargo. In fact I would go so far as to say that I think the egg timer should be automatically flipped each time it runs out, rather than waiting for someone to choose to flip it. That way there is much more time pressure and even experienced players may build terrible ships that are much more amusing to fly!
I highly recommend this game for pretty much any type of gamer as it’s easy enough for relative non-gamers and amusing enough that gamers will want to play it again and again. If you like the manic fun of Roborally in particular then this is the game for you.