Yesterday my wife and I went through about a half dozen training runs. My wife likes puzzles, so I played up a "build your ship as a puzzle" aspect when I described the game to her. The training sessions went exceptionally well, with her being the one to say "one more time" as we finished up our training flights.
Tonight we taught our daughter the game and went through another training run (it went well) and then my daughter bowed out to do something else while my wife and I set up for a full, three round game. Thanks to BGG I had plenty of research under my belt in regard to some of the subtleties of the rules and because my wife enjoyed the trial runs I figured we'd have smooth (as possible) space-sailing for our first game.
It went as well as I could have expected. My wife is a fairly meticulous person. I assumed her biggest gripe with the game would be the timer, but as it turned out during the training runs (when we played without the timer), it was she who said we should play with the time to add the element of stress and keep the game moving forward.
We had no major hiccups with the rules (again, kudos to BGG for helping me head off any major rule snafus) and the play went fairly fast. We both came away with positive feelings about the game.
What we liked:
- the hectic nature of building your ship under the constraint of the timer.
- the satisfaction of seeing your creation hold up well to the adventure deck (when applicable).
- the jocularity of seeing your creation not hold up well to the adventure deck (when applicable).
- the overall theme of the game, components, and disposition of the experience (by disposition I mean the perceived concept that building your ship under a time constraint can lead to the highs and lows when taking your ship out into "open space.")
I didn't really ask my wife what she didn't like about the game. Before Galaxy Trucker her current favorite would have to be either Stone Age or Battle Lines (as a quick aside, I've only been heavily into board games for the past half year or so, in which time I've ramped up our game collection somewhat heavily) and when I said that Galaxy Trucker might be tied for my favorite family game (next to Cosmic Encounter) and asked her how GT fared against Stone Age, she replied, "I'd say it's tied." Which is a heavy endorsement from her.
Now, this is only after one full game with two people. We have to see how it stands up to the test of time and plays. I can already see how the game might lose luster as the prognostication aspect of looking at the deck had me put together a supremely well-oiled machine for the final round (I didn't lose a single component while my wife's ship was decimated even though she also looked at the cards). With more people obviously ship parts will be more limited and the timer will come into play even more so than with just the two of us. I know the expansion is out there and will add more to the experience but my concern right now is that I might have a runaway advantage, which would be bad. Time will tell. I also know that the Big Expansion (already on multiple wish lists of mine) will add more variety.
So overall, I have continued high expectations for Galaxy Trucker. The tongue-in-cheek scifi theme is awesome, the tile-building aspect is great fun, and seeing how your creation will hold up to the dangers of outer space is great fun. I truly sat back after the third round (when I flipped the timer into the Start circle and grabbed the first position) and beamed proudly at what I had put together.
We have a big test coming up this coming weekend, as it's a long one here in the States, and I'm sure we'll get a few play throughs in.