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Subject: Ameritrash.nl reviews: Take the Galaxy (Kickstarter preview) rss

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Wesley Fechter
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This review was originally written and posted by me on Ameritrash.nl


Do you like games such as San Juan, Jump Drive and Villages of Valeria? Than Take your Galaxy could be right up your alley. A wormhole opens up and turns out to be stable. Perfect for exploring the galaxy, right? Unfortunately your opponents want the same. So who will be the best?





Take the Galaxy
Piet Schellens / Tim van Geel
2017
1-2 players (3-4 players with two base games)
Catch Time Studio
45-60 minutes
Card Drafting / Hand Management / Space Exploration
English
Language Independend


Goal

During a certain number of round players will explore throughout the galaxy. Planets they encounter and control as well as resolved events and anomalies will earn them points.

The goal of the game? Do you need to ask? To score more points than your opponent!

Setup

The setup of Take the Galaxy is quite simple and won’t take a lot of time. First you’ll need to form a space deck and for each player a player deck.

The space deck consists of cards which represent the three parts of space you’ll travel to, the core, the expanse and the fringe. You’ll shuffle each set of cards separately and form a space deck by placing the expanse cards on the fringe cards and placing the core cards on top of the expanse cards. This way, when traveling through space (by revealing cards) you’ll encounter the core cards first, before the expanse and fringe cards.

Next to the space deck you’ll place the space cards which have been revealed. These cards are in the ‘explored space’. When the space deck is formed, you’ll draw and reveal a number of cards equal to the number of players.

Each player takes his player deck and searches it for his starting cards. These cards contain a symbol in the upper right corner. The home planet and a ‘frontier colony’ cards are placed in front of the player. The remaining seven starting cards are the cards the player has at the beginning of the game. The remaining cards in the deck are shuffled and placed as a draw pile within reach of the player.

After all tokens have been placed on the table, you’re ready to begin.

Gameflow

Each round consists of the following phases:
- Exploration phase
- Draw phase
- Reset phase
- Action phase
- End turn.

Each round is played in this fashion until the last card from the space deck is revealed. When this happens, the current round is in fact the last round of the game. A final scoring will take place which will determine which player wins the game!


The cards used in the game.


During the exploration phase the active player draws and reveals the top card of the space deck. This card is placed in explored space (at the left side). The explored space may contain a maximum of cards equal to the number of players + 1. If the number of cards (including the newly placed card) exceeds this maximum the card on the right (which has been in explored space the longest) is discared.

The space deck contains systems, bounty systems, anomalies and events. Both the systems and bounty systems represent the parts of space which contain planets. On these planets you can start a colony. Each system cards shows you how many colonies you can start and how many points the system is worth. The only difference between regular systems and bounty systems are the bonus resources you get (which you can use during the game).

System cards can also contain a hazard symbol. These systems are more dangerous than other systems. When you want to explore such a system to gain control of it you’ll need to pay one extra cards per hazard symbol. This represents the extra time it costs you to survive the dangers in this system.

Anomalies and events represent the different sorts of encounters you’ll have when exploring the galaxy. The main difference between systems and anomalies/events is the way they are resolved.

After the exploration phase the active player draws one card from his player deck and adds it to his hand. The player also resets all of the cards he activated during his last turn.

During the action phase a player may perform his actions. Besides taking a cards from the explored space (which you can do once per turn), each action can be performed multiple times during your turn and in any order. Your actions are to start a colony, build a ship, activate a existing colony/ship, upgrade a colony or to relinquish a system.

To take a card from the explored space you’ll need the right resources or cards. To take control of a (bounty) system from the explored space you’ll need to start a colony in this system. Each system card shows you how many and which colonies you can start. To start a colony you play it from your hand and pay for the colony by discarding a certain number of cards from you hand. The colony card you played will tell you how many cards you’ll need to discard. If you can start the right colony you can take the system card from the explored space, place it in front of you and place the colony you started next to it.

When facing (taking) an anomaly or event you’ll need to pay the appropriate resources. You gain these resources by activating your colonies and ships. If you face the anomaly or event and pay the correct resources you can take the card and place it on your score pile.

Building a ship is done in the same manner as starting a colony. Therefore building a ship also requires you to discard a certain number of cards. Main difference between a system and a ship is the fact that ships aren’t built in systems. Ships can even be built if you don’t have any room in your current systems.

Colonies and ships can be activated once they’ve been build. To activate these cards you rotate the cards. This way you’ll receive the much needed resources which will let you draw extra cards, gain anomalies/events, take a cards from your discard pile or scores you points. Resources remaining at the end of the turn are discarded.

If you don’t have enough cards to pay for a colony or if you don’t have a free slot to start a new colony, you can always upgrade a current colony. When upgrading a colony you play the cards from your hand on top of a colony cards which is already in play and you pay the difference between the cost of both cards. You can only upgrade a card if both cards are the same color and the cost of the second card is higher than the cost of the first card. The old colony isn’t discarded, but isn’t in play anymore. Points and effect on the old card can’t be used anymore.

Players can also relinquish control of a system. At any given time a player can have a maximum of 4 systems under his control. When you want to take a fifth system, you’ll need to relinquish control of another system first. To relinquish control a system has to be full, meaning that every slot to start a colony has to be used. And you may never relinquish control of your fourth colony (the one you gained last).

When relinquishing control you place the system card on your score pile. Next you check your colonies in this system for points. If there are points on these cards, you take tokens for these points before discarding all these colonies. Sometimes it’s better to upgrade a colony before relinquishing control, since some (cheaper) colonies will cost you points!

This is the way the game is played until the last round is finished. The final scoring will let the player count the points on their score pile, their tokens and the systems and colonies under their control. The player with the most points wins the game.

When playing solo, the game is played the same way. You’ll just skip your opponents turn. The rules offer you two ways to form the space deck. You can either use the cards meant for playing solo or you can randomly draw twelve cards.



Conclusion

If you want a quote from me for Take the Galaxy I would have to say Take the Galaxy turned out to be a quick card game full of tactical choices. Is this my final conclusion? I guess not, because there is more to say about this game.

The rules and the different symbols used in the game are quite clear and easy. A good thing as the bigger part of the game revolves around combining these cards and symbols to create an engine to gain resources and points. Because you won’t use tokens for resources you gain through activating cards (you simple keep track of you resources in your mind) a lesser number of different types of resources and clear symbols is a plus.

Even though this is simple enough I for one would like to see a small reference sheet which shows which resources you can use for which effect. The reference sheet could be placed on the back of the rulebook or even on (the back of) your home planet card. I don’t know if the designers plan on including a reference sheet in the box.

We’ve seen the hand management aspect of Take the Galaxy (paying for cards by discarding cards) in several other games. As a player you’ll be given mostly interesting (and sometimes frustrating) choices. The resource management aspect of the game intrigues me. Sooner or later you’ll need to relinquish control of one or more system to score points. And once you’ll relinquish control you need to asses if the system you’re relinquishing won’t interrupt the engine you’ve build during the previous turns. I found after playing the game multiple times that this part of the game is essential for winning or losing the game. And with each game you’ll play you will try to relinquish in a better way.

Take the Galaxy is a game which (when playing) feels like games such as San Juan, Race for the Galaxy, Jump Drive and Villages of Valeria. I’ve played both Jump Drive and Villages of Valeria quite recently, making it easy to compare these games. My main issue with Jump Drive was the quick and random character of the game. When playing all that mattered was getting your engine up and running before your opponent after which it felt nearly impossible for the other player to win. After a couple of turns the amount of points you gained each turn had multiplied exponentially ending the game. Take the Galaxy doesn’t suffer from the same issued.

This is mainly because Take the Galaxy doesn’t have the same depth as both Jump Drive and Villages of Valeria. Less different sorts of symbols and less special effects simplify the gameplay. But because of the resource management aspect of the game it still stays interesting after several plays.

As with the games I’ve mentioned before Take the Galaxy doesn’t offer a lot of direct interaction between the players. The only way you can really thwart your opponent is when taking a card from the explored space. And even if you do so, this could still backfire on you since the every playing may always draw another cards from the space deck at the beginning of his turn.

My main concert for Take the Galaxy is the replayablity when playing solo. The basic rules let you use the same twelve space cards for each game (yet in a different order). For me this offers too little variation. Some extra space cards would have solved this. For now this just mean that the randomized space deck variant will probably be my favorite way of playing Take the Galaxy.

But, like I’ve said before, Take the Galaxy turned out to be a quick and tactical card game. Perfect to play as a filler. I’ve you like games such as Village of Valeria, Jump Drive and San Juan you should definitely check this one out!

Ameritrash.nl thanks Catch Time Studio for providing the print & play version of the game and the pictures within this review.
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Flashly wrote:


My main concert for Take the Galaxy is the replayablity when playing solo. The basic rules let you use the same twelve space cards for each game (yet in a different order). For me this offers too little variation. Some extra space cards would have solved this. For now this just mean that the randomized space deck variant will probably be my favorite way of playing Take the Galaxy.


For that reason we should all vote for the additional space cards as the next stretch goal on Kickstarter.
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Francois-Xavier Martin
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As Jamiri said, they added a vote for the second SG regarding to options, one for milestone cards (for the late game) and one for extra space card (yay for replayability).
The extra space cards would indeed be a great addition for the game.
Let's just hope there is enough backers by the end of the campaign to unlock these cards
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Maxim Y
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Special thanks for comparison to Jump Drive and VoV.
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