Game Length: 60 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 2-4 players who want unique, frantic game where they could end up losing it all!
Galaxy Trucker is a real-time game of spaceship construction designed by Vlaada Chvátil. Players will be tasked with building a spaceship able to survive the trials ahead of it, using square tiles that may be placed as quickly as the players can manage. However, building the ship is only the beginning – players will then need to race their completed ships, picking up valuable cargo, enduring meteor showers and fighting off pirates. If you don’t design your ship well enough, you could end up skating into port with just a single crew cabin, praying for survival – if you get to port at all!
Like many of Vlaada’s games, Galaxy Trucker is a very front-loaded game, with a wide range of rules that need to be learned before the first play session. Fortunately, the game starts off light, with players only needing to build a fairly small ship and facing only slightly threatening obstacles. Over the course of the game, the size of the ships and damage dealt by the obstacles will steadily increase, and by the end the players should have a firm understanding of the rules, and (ideally) be keen to play another round!
Much of Galaxy Trucker’s appeal is in the chaotic and unique ship construction phase. The rule book lists all the components you can add to the ship, such as lasers, rockets, batteries, crew pods and cargo containers, then helpfully adds ‘You want as many of this component as possible!’ after each one. You’ll be scrambling to build your ship as quickly as possible from the available tiles, and competing against your opponents to grab the best tiles and to finish building first, because the player who finishes first gets first pick for any of the cards revealed during the flight. But be careful not to make any mistakes – any parts that don’t fit are removed before the flight starts.
During the Flight portion of the game, your ship will start to take a battering, which could well cause parts to fall off. If a lost component would cause your ship to be split into two or more separate parts, you’ll have to choose which part to discard entirely! In Galaxy Trucker, players will frequently lose large portions of their ships to the roll of the dice, and you have to be willing to accept that all your best laid plans will fall apart in your hands – but that’s all part of the fun!
Galaxy Trucker has its critics, however. Some feel that there is little agency to be had during the flight portion which takes up most of the play time. Others will not enjoy the frantic real-time component, instead preferring games where they can take their time.
Either way, the game is unique and well worth a try – if you find it to be to your taste, there are expansions to be picked up too, which add new ships, components, threats and handicap systems so new players can dip their toes into the game while veterans are flying by the seat of their pants in the same game. Galaxy Trucker comes highly recommended to players wanting a frantic game where you’ll need to think quick, and could end up losing it all!