The Jaded Gamer

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Star Truck

Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
Lincolnshire
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"She said the same thing about waffles."
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Microbadge: Offline from The Geek for a while
Retrospective 4: Galaxy Trucker
How obtained: Cash

Quote:
So my plan from here is to talk about virtually every game I've ever owned. I'm not going to slap the word "review" on those posts, because it'll be a completely subjective recollection of my experiences with each game, rather than a judgement on its merits or qualities from anything other than a personal history perspective.
Board Game: Galaxy Trucker


This is one of those play it once and want it immediately games. I can't remember who taught me it but they did a fantastic job and we had a massive laugh watching our hard earned building blocks float off into space.

They must have done a VERY good job explaining it because the front loading for this game is crazy. If you don't know what any of the bits mean or - crucially - where they are allowed to go, your ship is going to fall apart on the launchpad.

While ripping illegally placed bits off someone's ship is hilarious if they're usually a good player and have had a brainfart, it's far from encouraging for a new player - so, as well as explaining what the most crucial systems do (I usually leave out the aliens for ship 1 with new players to save effort), you have to run through rules for placing engines, turrets and batteries AS WELL as simply telling them which connections are legal with which other ones.

Board Game: Galaxy Trucker

This image is by user "lukaszkuch"

It's a tough sell for even the most hardened gamer, I reckon.

That being said, I have a quarter century of plays for this game so it must have been loads of fun right? Well, yeah!

One of the most memorable moments of teaching my mum, for example, was when she built her ship and walked off (I think she was cooking - cos I am a really good son who insists his own mother multitasks) and we autopiloted her ship through the meteors and such.

Well... I say "through" but really it was "into". Her luck was such that when she returned at the next build phase (number 3 I believe) she had only two components left - an engine and a cockpit. I think she had one little astronaut left. "What happened?" she asked, crestfallen.

We giggled. My brother's ship had blown up entirely and even that wasn't half as funny as her combination of fascination and disappointment as we explained, captain's log style, how everything had gone so very wrong.

AUTOPILOT

The fact that we were able to autopilot her through the trip could be a criticism. It's a building game with a very weird scoring mechanism - not a space flying game. Decisions are pretty obvious, when you get to make any at all.

This doesn't really change in the first big expansion. at least, not if you aren't being VERY generous. I've not played with the second expansion (and don' play enough to warrant checking it out anyway)

Do I mind about that? No. I like the speed building, even when I screw it up and lose the whole saucer section of the notorious "Enterprise" configuration - and enjoy it enough to allow the occasional streaky game to pass without being too annoyed.

And there is an element of cruelty in the game. It is merciless!

Even the most secure looking ship can have its weaknesses. You may have stuck a bunch of armour plating and shields on your windscreen and be bristling with lasers, but taking a meteor up the jacksie on the first round can make things look very different.

This is particularly if it took out the single crucial bit of structure and half your ship is floating into a black hole as a result of rolling the wrong number.

There is a temptation to view a loss or victory as unfairly earned. I don't think that's very good as criticisms go, however, since the unfairness is fairly well applied to all players - I prefer the term "cruel".

Board Game: Galaxy Trucker

Image is by user "Artax"

CONCLUSION

It's been too long since I dug this out. I guess the teaching is a pain in the arse for me and I've done it at least six or seven times. I'm pretty sure I can remember the rules today - and BGG says I've not played it since four years ago, when tyhe game irritated one player so much he became extremely ill and had to bow out (or was already ill, I forget) - certainly the front cover of my rulebook got stuck to the table of the pub and lost half its printing. Sad times.

I like the game and this is probably why I haven't got rid of it despite the long time since I last played it. Every time I spot it on the shelf I think, "I like galaxy Trucker - I should play it more".

So... I like Galaxy Trucker. I should play it more.
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