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Subject: An Enjoyable, Though Extremely Random Game rss

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David Anam

Oklahoma
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Spacey Gamey is a fantastically simple game where you design a spaceship and then battle your friends' creations on an unfortunately bland map. By "bland" I mean a hex-grid with absolutely nothing else on it. In fact, calling it a map is a bit of a stretch.

Before I continue, I'd like to point out that I haven't played this game in years, so I'm going off of memory. However, due to how simple the game is, I doubt I'll get too much wrong.

Everyone gets a sheet of paper, some writing utensil, and a set number of points that you can use to purchase components for your ship. The most important decision to make is whether you would like to build a "solar" ship or a "conventional" ship. Solar ships are generally more efficient and arguably more powerful, but conventional ships have a lot more options (as you'll see when you look at the component list that's about twice as long.)

You don't have to purchase anything, but if you want to move around the hex map, you'll need to purchase engines, and if you want to shoot people, you'll need some weapons. Take into consideration that in games with many people, you could theoretically have no weapons and load up on armor and shields, letting them shoot each other and maybe come in 2nd place or something. As you purchase components, you simply write down what your ship has on your sheet of paper. You don't tell anyone else what the capabilities of your ship are until it matters to gameplay (for example, you don't let anyone know you have shields until someone hits you, at which time you say "oh by the way, you did 4 less damage than you thought you did.")

Weapons are the meat of the game, as you have many different types. All sorts of lasers of various power, short-range rockets and cannons, nuclear weapons (which cost almost as much money as you can gain from winning a battle), and of course you can always design your ship for ramming people, though this strategy doesn't work very well when you're playing with more than 2 people.

While the specifics of gameplay are a little fuzzy to me, I believe that when firing a weapon, you would count how many hexes you are from your target, and look at a chart to determine how likely you are to hit and how much damage you will do, rolling dice to see the actual results. It is a fairly random system somewhat similar to that used in Dungeons & Dragons, for those familiar with that game. In general, the game seems to favor keeping a large distance from your opponent, which means you'll see a lot of missing. Quite irritating at times, until someone says "screw it" and charges in with rockets or something. Though that person is unfortunately unlikely to win.

Some ship designs that I've seen in my group:
- A solar ship that had very long range weapons and would just sit in the corner and snipe people (won more games than any other ship)
- A fast ship that would run up to you and unload short-range rockets in your face
- A ship that teleported around the map randomly, firing cannons when happening to get close to something (designed specifically to beat the previously-mentioned solar sniper)
- A ship loaded with defense and sporting everyone's favorite weapon: the whiplash thunderbolt (WLTB), which is actually a lot less interesting than it sounds...

The variety and goofiness of ship designs is the primary appeal of the game, and considering how relatively few things you have to work with, it's impressive how weird the games can get. The big problem is that once someone figures out a good ship design, there tends to develop a trend to "beat up the leader" which feels almost like you're getting punished for coming up with something good. Of course, this is a non-issue in a 2-player game... but the fun of the game is having a large group of players with crazy ships flying around like lunatics trying to find some way to win.

The two big complaints about the game are as follows:

1) The map is boring. Imagining the possibilities of asteroids floating around, or some sort of particle cloud that messes with your systems just makes you realize how boring it is to fight in empty space. It doesn't even really matter where you are on the map except in relation to the other players. Luckily, it's not hard to add in some user-created ideas if you're group gets tired of the monotony.

2) Solar ships are boring. Sure, their engines and stuff are cheaper and they can snipe like no one's business, but they can't buy random teleporters, or nuclear bombs, or short-range rockets, or the WLTB... or really anything interesting. Upgrading your ship after a successful game is just a matter of going from 3 solar flares to 4; same thing but a little better. Some sort of expansion is needed to add new ships options, especially for solar ships. Again, you could rely on user-generated ideas, though this is a little more tricky since you need to balance any new additions properly.

I would say in general, this game is a fantastic one for a creative group that likes house rules and coming up with their own additions. The game is practically begging to be modified, and it's not hard to imagine the possibilities of playing team games, or having missions like "protect the freighter," or some sort of map obstacles.

On the other hand, if your group is strictly "play the game by the rules," you'll likely find this game getting old after you've tried all of the ship options and uncovered the natural imbalances of the game. The randomness of combat can also be a turnoff for players expecting a more strategic game.

Nevertheless, if you have a chance to play the game a few times, you'll find a goofy little game that will provide plenty of laughs and some fun memories. The only question is how long it will remain fun, which depends highly on what you and your group expect from it.


EDIT: Expanded a little on some explanations and added a bit more detail.
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WAN CHIU
United States
Arcadia
California
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Sounds interesting I would really like to see some more photo of this game!
 
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David Anam

Oklahoma
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There's not really much to see. There's a rulebook and a very plain hex map (20 hexes x 10 hexes, if memory serves), and according to the one photo on this site, there's supposed to be dice (ours must have been added in with our Dungeons & Dragons dice bucket).

You have to come up with your own pieces to mark the ships (we used dice of various colors) and the scrap paper you provide yourself.

Though if I'm bored one day, I might upload a picture of the combat chart. That would be something at least...
 
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Kevin Moon
United States
Oklahoma
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Hello! I just read your review of Spacey Gamey and I'd say you were
Very accurate on your review. My name is Kevin Moon and I invented
This game. It's so funny because it was a fun project and I didn't really
Have money to do it right with a cool laminated map or board due to
lack of funds. I have not thought about it in years and found my lone copy
in my D&D stuff while playing with my grandkids today! They asked about it
and I googled it up. I was amazed to find anything at all and it's cool seeing a few posts about it. I always felt it could be a great little game in a video game format. So thanks for the review, it made me smile a lot as
my friends and I had a lot of fun playing it! Have a great day and sorry it
took so long to reply!....Kevin
 
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