My review on the WIP thread followed by Chris's reply.
The game is huge in size. It is kind of fun like sitting at the consul of a real space ship. But it takes up a ton of space. 13 cards for the different parts of the ship could be replaced by a title and three boxes for setting underneath. And you could use a cube to track which of the three states. So Laser could have three boxes with full/damaged/offline under it with a cube on full to start the game.
The power manipulation is pretty cool. Most of the time I alternated between powering the scanners for long range scans so I could stack the deck and then bringing weapons online for shooting. I always locked on target before shooting. I could not really find in the rules what to do when you successfully shoot a pirate. Do you remove the card from the game? There is a money symbol in the lower right corner. Do I get this money? Maybe I missed this section. There is like 3 pages on the pirates shooting you and almost nothing on you shooting the pirates.
This is fine as a solitary game as is. But the rules allow for alternate rules for 2 player games. I'd love to see what 2 players with this whole dashboard set up and fight each other would look like. Maybe both players have their own set of pirate factions they use against each other and then swoop in with their main ship for the kill.
The graphics throughout the game are awesome. I love the pirate cards and crew cards.
The variable crew is awesome. I could see a lot of replay value out of changing the crew.
Maybe there could be more stuff in the pirate deck than just pirates. Instead of getting a technology upgrade at a certain location on the map, it could be a card drawn instead. A card could be a station where repairs could be done or crew could be changed out. This would be a move toward something like Galaxy Trucker with the deck of encounters. But it would mix up the game from being a string of just pirates.
Hello Gene, thanks for your feedback, greatly appreciated!
I'm really pleased you enjoyed the feel of the game - capturing the impression you are in command of a spaceship is exactly what I wanted in the game. I hear what you're saying about the size - I did actually have a version at my office that was played on an A4 sheet of paper, and all the systems were small double sided counters. I changed it to cards so I could include reference text and because I thought it would make an easier PNP build. (I also like the epic feel it creates at that size!)
I might create a mini-Photon after the competition which strips the board down to bare bones if time permits.
The section on Firing Lasers and Firing Missiles explains what happens when you destroy a pirate (appendix A). They just go into the discard pile - face up if they were hostile, face down if they were neutral. The money value of destroyed hostiles is added up at the end of the game and is added to your score as a bounty.
Your 2 player variant sounds interesting! I could see that working quite well if done right.
There did used to be other types of cards mixed in the pirate deck, but it made the game too swingy in difficulty. If you drew 4 cards and 2 of them were events, the low number of attacking pirates made it too easy. If I compensated by increasing number of cards drawn and you happened to draw ALL pirates, it made it too hard. The counter draw at the abandoned research station was my concession to this, but I think the game would benefit from more distractions like this
The swapping out of crew is a good idea, I will think on that.
Thanks again for your input!
Paper 'Mech - winner 'Best Overall Design' in the 2016 1-page PNP Contest
when the contest is done I'm seriously considering creating 'Mini-Photon' that will fit on a small table. It will be less user friendly as much of the help text on the cards and ship board will need to be omitted
Travel Photon GT?