Marius Stein
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76133 Karlsruhe
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Hey everyone,

first of all: I've not played the game yet... Nor read the rules :) However, I'm pretty keen on getting this game but there seems to be some down side - telling by the "negative" comments on the game at BGG:

#1 The playing time is too long for what the game offers you. Speaking of "what the game offers you" is the next aspect:
#2 The mini-games are different when it comes to the enjoyment of the game. Because every player seems to play the same role all the time it means that the game can become pretty boring pretty easily for certain roles (which is being made worse by aspect #1). Any way, they are just mini-games and even though you're additionally playing a meta-game it still doesn't sound pretty interesting to me doing the same (small) stuff over and over again (especially while having aspect #1 in mind :)).

These are the main aspects which kept me from purchasing this game yet. Any ideas on improving the game play in order to avoid these two drawbacks?

Or is there something wrong with what I've been thinking about the game, without any experience in it, so far?
 
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Brian
United States
Nassau County
New York
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Nothing wrong with thoughtful deliberation about choosing which games to purchase.

#1 The game can be a little long. Depending on the group, it can be quicker or longer. Once people know the flow of the game it gets quicker. In addition, it also depends on having someone to make sure that the flow of the game continues. However, part of the reason the game takes a while is because there can be a lot of talk about what to do. As a result, I don't mind that the game takes a long time. You don't feel like you're idle because are waiting for someone with analysis paralysis.

#2 Are you aware of the shift-change damage cards? In my experience once people are settled into the role, they can be hesitant to change. I assume this is because they feel they've developed some proficiency and want to be effective.
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Patrick Dettmar
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Ontario
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I understand your points, but I don't think they really take away from the game that much...

#1 with the timer going, even if the game goes long, it never feels long. there is always this sense of urgency to get something done, and it doesn't really seem to drag

#2 the game has a built in "shift change" so that you will have to change stations at some point (or multiple times) in a game, so you are not ALWAYS doing the same thing. additionally, the mini game may be the same, but your objective may change due to the situation. engineering may have to concentrate on getting more power to certain people, helm may have to change speed or direction based on obstacles, enemies and objective, shields will have to react to what helm is doing, and ect. there are some roles that are always the same (sensors, jump, tractor beam), but every station (in my opinion) is fun.

plus, the core breach REALLY amps up the excitement and makes each station a lot more difficult

I think these drawbacks are very minor, and I would definitely recommend you get it



Moeper wrote:
Hey everyone,

first of all: I've not played the game yet... Nor read the rules However, I'm pretty keen on getting this game but there seems to be some down side - telling by the "negative" comments on the game at BGG:

#1 The playing time is too long for what the game offers you. Speaking of "what the game offers you" is the next aspect:
#2 The mini-games are different when it comes to the enjoyment of the game. Because every player seems to play the same role all the time it means that the game can become pretty boring pretty easily for certain roles (which is being made worse by aspect #1). Any way, they are just mini-games and even though you're additionally playing a meta-game it still doesn't sound pretty interesting to me doing the same (small) stuff over and over again (especially while having aspect #1 in mind ).

These are the main aspects which kept me from purchasing this game yet. Any ideas on improving the game play in order to avoid these two drawbacks?

Or is there something wrong with what I've been thinking about the game, without any experience in it, so far?
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Patrick Dettmar
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I always volunteer for shift change, I think its really fun to change stuff around and get to do as many stations as possible

lankyb wrote:
Nothing wrong with thoughtful deliberation about choosing which games to purchase.

#1 The game can be a little long. Depending on the group, it can be quicker or longer. Once people know the flow of the game it gets quicker. In addition, it also depends on having someone to make sure that the flow of the game continues. However, part of the reason the game takes a while is because there can be a lot of talk about what to do. As a result, I don't mind that the game takes a long time. You don't feel like you're idle because are waiting for someone with analysis paralysis.

#2 Are you away of the shift-change damage cards? In my experience once people are settled into the role, they can be hesitant to change. I assume this is because they feel they've developed some proficiency and want to be effective.
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Matt Smith
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Troy
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These issues are very much group dependent. The mini games are just a means to an end, not the focus of the game. The focus of the game is on the group strategizing, and trying to align the results of your mini games to achieve the group strategy.

Some players want to stick with their starting station throughout the game, while others want to try different mini games in one play session. If you get the game, I suggest asking the players their preference, then either include or exclude the Shift Change cards from the damage decks, based on their preference. Once players get a chance to try several mini games, the Shift Change cards can be included with little risk of reducing the player's enjoyment.

The game can run long, so I suggest starting with the tutorial missions provided here on BGG.
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Mike C
United States
Chelmsford
Massachusetts
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We regularly bring new players into Space Cadets and it's been enlightening to see the different reactions.

I think for a lot of serious gamers and non-gamers, Space Cadets is likely to completely disappoint them. The mini-games don't hold the serious gamer's attention because they're just too simple. Well, of course they are.

There's not a lot of satisfaction in the act of drawing a shape out of a bag. However, there is huge satisfaction in landing the super-lock that is a key element in saving your life and the lives of your crew.

I believe the key to making the game fun is to have role-players around the table.

There are turns when weapons are powered down, or we shift all of the remaining power from our crippled engines to helm. When you're role-playing, it's a dramatic moment as your starship tries to limp into the nebula. If you're not, then it's a turn when your weapons, shields and other officers did absolutely nothing.

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Jonatan Kilhamn
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Be strict on timed communication!
We've played it maybe five times now, and we're rapidly shortening our playtime as our style settles. The important thing is the untimed sections. Don't speak during them! Be completely strict: no discussing the current game at all! Asking what's for lunch, asking how much energy did I get again, asking whether I should place these cards face up or face down cause I can never remember, all that's fine. But the three minutes to discuss what to actually do are up, so it's up to you. You didn't get clear on what to target as sensors? Never reached a group decision on whether to speed up or slow down? Don't know if it's best to play it safe with regular torpedoes or go for more puzzles with seeker missiles? It's your decision now, and the others can complain later.

We found that allowing any sort of discussion during the untimed phases was bad for the game and the playtime. The "preparing stations" step is pretty natural: it comes directly after the timed discussion step, so I guess most players will stop talking when it ends. But try to keep this up for the resolution phase and the enemy move phase as well! When damage hits and Damage Control rolls a 5 or 6, everyone looks at the captain in silence, hoping that he'll pick the right side. When the enemies move, don't discuss that shit! It's the captain's responsibility to lure them to the right side of the rift. If you want to influence him, you should have done so during the last timed step.

We allow any discussion between any players during any timed phase. This is natural for "discussion" and "action", but it's pretty fun to use the 30 seconds meant for torpedo flicking to tell the captain what he must absolutely remember when it comes to activating enemies.

Finally, the jump drive has a timed portion followed by the decisions of which card to take and whether to blink (and where), which are untimed. We play it so that if you didn't tell the JDO where to blink before the timer runs out, it's their decision, and theirs alone. I have several times started the discussion phase with "okay, so I think you shouldn't have blinked there, because now..." This also really makes you feel like a team when people actually do what you think is the best course, without your having to tell them!

Those of you who have played Space Alert know the feeling when you want to tell someone your great idea but just have to wait until you're allowed, and what if someone does something stupid before you have time to tell them? I usually stop mid-sentence whenever any timed phase ends. It's "communication system down" whenever the timer isn't running.
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Andriy Drozdyuk
Canada
Fredericton
New Brunswick
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Damn, that's excellent advice. I was wandering what the point of 3 minutes was if we can talk during the resolution phases ... or so it seemed!

Any other tips on time management and keeping things interesting?
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