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Subject: Andre outlines Space Cadets (pros & cons) rss

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Andre Jeworutzki
Germany
Hamburg
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Space Cadet is a real-time cooperative game in space in which players control different stations on a ship. A game about chaos, stupid mistakes, and fun moments.

What makes it special?

Multiple players controlling one ship together. Several tactile mini games integrated into a cooperative real-time board game.

Pros:

+ Artwork (cartoony)

+ Very different tactile mini games at each station (Tetris, memory, poker, dexterity)

+ Five of the Stations simultaneously perform their task: Helm, Shields, Sensors, Weapons, and Engineering

+ Indirect player interaction creates fun moments: most stations play solitaire but effect the ship as a whole. However, some stations have to communicate, e. g, Helm and Shields must talk to each other to allocate shields and ship into the right direction

+ Energy management: players discuss how energy is distributed to each station

+ 6 missions with special rules, different enemies, and difficulty (replayability). The goal is usually to pick up crystals. More unique scenarios would have been nice (see expansion).

+ Several enemy ships with different stats and simple AI

+ Simple dice roll for damage determination

+ Hard difficulty

+ Nemesis, an enemy ship that cannot be destroyed, it grows stronger each turn and acts as a kind of thematic mission timer

+ Modular board (tiles with a grid, different obstacles like nebula or asteroids, depending on the scenario)

+ Well written rules

Neutrals:

# Theme (generic, not so serious)

# Random 6-sided die role for damage can be quite swingy

# Basic and advance game mode

# Requires a lot of table space

# Most mini games are language independent

# No alpha player issues due to real-time time pressure

# Can be very chaotic due to time pressure

# Scaling for different player counts: the less players the more stations have to be played by each player (the game is better with higher player counts)

# Some players may not like each mini game (players shift stations during a game)

# The game give a light fun impression due to the quite easy mini-games, however, the 23 pages of rules are quite extensive (there are good tutorial videos by the designer)

# Expansion adds more missions, obstacles, and challenges (replayability, variability)

Cons:

- Real-time is not for everyone (too stressful, 30 second rounds)

- Set-up: a lot of different tiles, pieces, and boards

- Long playing time (due to several sequential steps per turn plus discussions. Not all players/stations are involved in each step)

- Teaching the game especially when all players are beginners. The mini games are simple, but each player also needs an understanding of the overall game system (e.g., space navigation, crystals, obstacles, combat, other interactions)

- Thin map tiles

Thoughts:

I like the idea of having all team members control one spaceship together and effect each other. The real-time cooperation between the players is deeper than I initially thought. The game is still very chaotic, but in a fun way. However, the playing time is quite long for such a "light" fun cooperative game which makes it harder to get it on the table.

Stations:

* Engineering: distribute energy to other stations to grant them "action points". Solve a spatial tile laying puzzle to match symbols on the edges. Each match grants energy to a particular station. 2 energy of a type can be converted to 1 energy and transferred to another station (some flexibility)
* Sensors: draw cards for each given energy. The cards have Tetris symbols. The engineer then draws the right Tetris tiles from a bag by feeling the shape of the tile.
* Helm: Draws cards depending on the current speed and given energy. Adjusts the speed. Cards show different steering actions (left, right, drift, and some special maneuvers). There are different fields on the board (boosting arrows, nebula, asteroids, enemy ships) that my effect the ship.
* Shields: draws a random amount of two colored tiles with numbers depending on the given energy. The player tries to make poker hands with the tiles by allocating 3 tiles to the four sides or center of the ship which boost the shields to a certain amount in that area. If all tiles are of the same color, the shield value is doubled.
* Damage & Repair: draws damage cards with random effects from the four sides of the ship (permanent or one-time). The player can try to repair by drawing repair cards and rolling dice. If no more damage cards are left on a side, core cards are handed to each player. In real-time and turn order, each player has to dig through the core deck to find the right card matching his symbol.
* Tractor Beam: flip a certain amount of tiles depending on the given energy. The player tries to find matching pairs (Memory). Determines how many crystals can be taken from the main board. May also double the damage done to enemy ships.
* Weapons: draws a certain number of cards depending on the given energy. Each cards shows a different shaped grid. The player then tries to place Tetris tiles on the grid to cover it completely (Ubongo) and launch a torpedo. Shooting is done by flipping a disc over a track (dexterity game) to determine the damage (also depending on Sensors and Tractor Beam).
* Jump: warming up the engine to get more cards to mitigate the dice roll (five of a kind)

Similar games:

* Damage Report (real-time, player movement over modular locations, pick-up-and-delivery, actions and events based on timed intervals)
* Space Alert (real-time coop, programming instead of mini games, quick playing time, chaotic)
* UBOOT (cooperation, 4 different roles, real-time, app integration, worker placement, simulation, more complex, each player plays different character roles, great thematic and tactile elements, replayability may be limited due to the submarine theme)
* XCOM (real-time, four different roles each with one easy mini game and some hand management, similar resource distribution)
* Dirigible Disaster (real-time, Pandemic-like, move and roll dice to remove cubes, quick playing time, easy to teach and learn)
* Kitchen Rush
* Space Cadets: Dice Duel (real-time, team vs team game, ship movement, common resource management, all about dice rolling and re-rolling, quick playing time)
* Spaceteam / Quintet (multiplayer App / PC game)
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William Mcneil
Canada
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um i have played this and i feel there are few if any cons most of the stations are easy to learn and most of the time things dont go all bad when would i play this any time some one asked me if i wanted to having problems well ask ppl if they want to switch stations. i dont recall having a bad game of this
 
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