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Subject: Colonization games rss

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Drew Metcalf
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I was wondering if there are any games out there that are any good that deal with colonizing and exploring other planets, or managing colony ships, etc. If so I would love to hear your recommendations! Thanks!
 
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Dustin Taylor
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Martians: A Story of Civilization
 
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R.T. Sloan
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Onward to Venus

This is a Martin Wallace game where you explore the solar system, building bases on planets, and generally trying to out compete everyone else. Oddly enough it has a 1901ish exploring Africa/Flash Gordon kind of theme. And as a big plus Miniature Market has it on clearance right now for $25. Can't beat that.
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Ludvig Stigsson
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Tiny Epic Galaxies
 
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Chris Puram
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Let's meet up for games and coffee!
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Golden... As in Oldie! I'm new to the Portland area and looking for gamers to game with and new gaming groups to join! I'm 50+ and like most games but do have a special affinity for dry, cube pushing euros!
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King of Communism wrote:
I was wondering if there are any games out there that are any good that deal with colonizing and exploring other planets, or managing colony ships, etc. If so I would love to hear your recommendations! Thanks!
Eclipse is a very popular one. There is a new edition coming out soon.
 
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J Rob
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As does everything.
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Space Empires: 4X
 
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Michael Dillenbeck
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There is an old game that is one of my favorites, Stellar Conquest (SC), which covers this.

In SC, you are one of 2-4 factions coming from a different corner on a board that shows the universe. This board has space for the 5 decks of "cards", each representing different spectral classes and the usable planets in the system; the combat chart; the tech chart; and hexes that are either stars of spectral classes, gas nebulae, or empty/clear space.


Players will be given identical counter mixes in different colors and a player mat. Different types of combat ships and colony ships, task force markers, and base markers are provided. For ships, there is a number on the counter for the quantity of ships. Thus Colony 5 means there are 5 colony ships, while Colony 20 means there are 20 colony ships. Until the right technology is developed, players must move in "straight lines" from star system to star system and must complete their journey. Entering a star system for the first time is risky, and so checks must be made for surviving hazards (if applicable). Upon entering the system, draw a card. All counters are on the board face down, and the task force marker and different values let you manipulate these stacks to effectively bluff (is that 1 counter really just a single scout, or a taskforce of warships with colony ships). All the techs are detailed on the player mat, and there are space for the stacks of task forces.


Okay, here's the part modern gamers really hate. The game takes place over 44 turns, and with all the hidden movement and production you have special tracking sheets for what you discover. Every 4 turns you enter a special "production turn" where colonies grow plus you get IP to build ships and buy tech. After 44 turns, you get VP based on the number of Terran and Subterran planets you control - that's all that ultimately matters in the game.


The game is everything that is old-school. The graphics quality is thoroughly 70s/80s, the component quality is also equally from the 70s/80s (artwork and material), and the game play is long and you may have downtime. The player count changes the game - at 2 players you have open space and a fairly peaceful game, but at 4 players you will get into a war at some time.

Combat is equally 80s styled - but really, not that far of from something like Twilight Imperium. You compare the two types of fighting ships, look up on the table what they need to hit, and roll some 6-sided dice (d6).

An often cited big flaw is the "instant upgrade" for ships, but at only 8 pages of rules this is a fairly simple and straight forward game worth checking out. There are plenty of house rules for adding more details, and there is even a solo rules set that was published floating out there if you look for it.

This is the "granddaddy" of the computer and board game 4X genre. A classic, but not for everyone - and most modern board gamer elitist/snobs my thumb up their nose at the age, the pacing, and the component quality of the game (I showed the nicer Avalon Hill version from the 80s, not the cheaper 70s version).

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The modern incarnation of SC is Space Empires 4X - which I enjoy but it has some flaws (in my eyes): the graphics design is a little too busy for my tastes; the star systems are gone and now you just discover planets hidden in hexes; you use group counter stacks (one ship with a 1-6 numbered counter under it representing a group stack) so that it is known, colony and mining ships are open knowledge, game play isn't a fixed number of turns, and the game ends and a player wins by destroying an enemy homeworld.

The plus sides to SE4X are: it is a modern game, while there is tracking it is a lot more efficiently organized, tech doesn't auto-upgrade, it has solo scenarios, and the "genocide victory" is fixed with expansions. They even let you have 3 task force markers in the expansion, ground troops, and so much more. Oh, and there are different length scenarios with quick start rules, plus the expansions add empire power cards and other nice details.

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When talking space colonization, there are two others I like.

The now expensive to acquire High Frontier 3rd Edition has an interstellar module (early colonization), but the core game focuses on near future exploitation of our solar system. Mostly you will deal with robonauts, but there are also colonists and other factors. I say this game is easily worth $200, but it is now going closer to $250-$300 and that is a price to balk at. One nice thing is there is a base game, then the colonization game is divided up into modules to add, then there is the Interstellar game - and there are also a variety of scenarios to change how you play; and it plays 1-5.

Then there is the historical Leaving Earth. With the expansion Stations, you can build space and ground habitats to form permanent colonies - but it really isn't a space colonization game (like you are seeking). Still, its an odd-ball that might be something that interests you. The manufacturer prints their own game and recently moved, so there is a backlog on orders - it might be hard to get right now if you do like it.

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Anyway, these are the space themed exploration/colonization games that I enjoy. I actually enjoy non-space based exploration/4X games and civilization games, but it seems you are on a quest for something specific. My suggestions were to lead you to the more bizarre and ancient corners of board gaming, not main stream - I hope one of them at least piqued your interest. Good luck finding the right game.
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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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King of Communism wrote:
I was wondering if there are any games out there that are any good that deal with colonizing and exploring other planets, or managing colony ships, etc. If so I would love to hear your recommendations! Thanks!


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