My good buddy Ted Cheatham had called and said he found a handful of
games on discount at a local hobby store. One of them was Rüdiger
Dorn's latest, Space Walk, which was released by Ravensburger. I knew
very little about the game, but for $10, I figured it was worth a shot.
Ted brought the game to me while we were in Nashville for Gulf Games.
Sadly, I didn't have the opportunity to play, but my wife and daughter
did and they both seemed to enjoy it. So, I was optimistic.
After reading the rules, the game actually sounded dull. So, it was
with some trepidation that I brought it to the table. I was joined by
Willerd, Josh, Jim and Dave. To my pleasant surprise (my second such
surprise this evening!), the game was quite good! It had a nasty side
which appealed to the group and it didn't bog down with
over-analyzation, as I feared it might.
The game rules are extremely simple. The board depicts 18 planets in
the solar system, along with three black holes, all set in a circular
pattern around the edges. There is also an inner track, which is only
used when playing with two players. Carefully examining the artwork on
the board will reveal a host of sci-fi and other characters, including
the Starship Enterprise, Sky Lab, Millenium Falcon and even the
Titanic! The board rests atop the component tray, so as space ships
fall through the black holes, they actually fall into the tray. A game
that picks itself up as you play!
Each player begins the game with 9 spaceships on the board, three each
of three different sizes. These ships are molded plastic and, although
not stunningly beautiful, are nevertheless functional. Initially, no
two ships of the same size may occupy the same planet. Once all ships
are placed onto the board, play begins.
A player's turn is quite simple: he selects one planet where he has at
least one ship and moves ALL of the ships located on that planet,
whether the ships are his or owned by opponents. Large ships move first,
followed by medium ships and finally small ships. The first ship moves
1 space, the next one moves 2 spaces, the third ship moves 3 spaces and
so on until all ships on that planet have moved. This may likely result
in one of the ships landing on a black hole, which quickly sucks up the
piece, removing it from the game. A tragedy ... but only if it was one
of your ships! As mentioned, the game is quite nasty as you gleefully
move your opponents ships into the void of the black holes.
Carefully selecting the planets to activate and maneuvering your ships
so they are best protected are the keys to the game. However, you
usually cannot protect all of your ships and some will eventually be
absorbed by the black holes. As the game progresses, it is not uncommon
for you to be in the detestable position of moving one of your own ships
into a black hole. Not a pleasant occurrence!
Play continues in this fashion until one player has lost all of his
ships to the void. Each player then tallies the value of his surviving
4 points for large ships
3 points for medium ships
1 point for small ships
The player with the greatest value of ships remaining wins. It's that
simple. Yet, the ease of play and the nastiness involved is what makes
this game work. No, it will never be a classic, but it does seem to be
a game which can be enjoyed by both adults and children. In this
spirit, it's a keeper.
We all took great glee in dumping opponents ships into the black holes,
while at the same time doing our best to protect our own ships.
Eventually, with Willerd, Dave and I struggling to keep our last ships
alive, it became clear that Josh or Jim would emerge victorious. Dave's
last ship was absorbed by a black hole, ending the game and giving Jim a
Finals: Jim 8, Josh 7, Willerd 3, Greg 3, Dave - out
Ratings: Josh 7, Jim 6.5, Willerd 6, Greg 5.5, Dave 5.5