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Subject: 20 Questions About Galaxy Trucker... rss

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The Compulsive Completist
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1) What kind of games do I own and like?
I mostly like the light-medium games because of the ease of learning and teaching. One thing that turns me off to a game is repeatedly having my nose in the instructions during play. My collection (and reviews) include games like PitchCar, Dominion, Carcassonne, Pandemic, Lost Cities, Dixit, Ticket to Ride, Survive: Escape from Atlantis and For Sale.

2) Why was I interested in Galaxy Trucker?
Blowing up ships in space. Encountering strange alien stuff. What isn’t to like?

3) Why would I have thought I would have liked it if I had never played it?
I have a pretty good record of finding games on BGG and knowing if I’ll like them. Thanks to all of my fellow BGGers and their reviews there are rarely any disappointments. I almost always have a copy of the instructions downloaded, read and reread while the game is in transit across America. I can usually hit the ground running as soon as the game is opened up.

4) How was the component quality?
There is a lot of cardboard and I mean a LOT. There are some really cool shaped space pilots that I like a lot. There are wooden cubes which may remind you of a Pandemic outbreak. There are also some glass beads. Did I mention there was a lot of cardboard? Honestly, there was way too much in the way of components.

5) Are the rules clear?
No. The game instructions are awesome to look at. Big, pretty, colorful. The best looking instructions I have probably seen in a game. But that is where my love affair ends. I constantly had to refer to them because I was either confused or wanted to verify my “is that all there is” feeling.

6) Is it easy to teach/learn?
No. Looking at the game it should be a build it, race it, blow it up game but it feels like there is something holding you back. The mechanics are a bit tedious. It time to do this. Now it is time for all of us to do this. Now we all need to do this. The game just didn’t have a natural flow. Hardly anything was written out but instead they opted to use symbols on the cards. You must have a major in hieroglyphics to play this game.

7) Is the game fun?
No. But to be fair I don’t know. It is like asking how does the clunker in my driveway drive. Well, it doesn’t. If you can get it started and take it for a spin I will trust you opinion but I couldn’t get it started.

8) What is there not to like?
I really disliked the aspect of drawing tiles at the start. It seemed odd to have a dexterity-type set up to the game. Galaxy Trucker also doesn’t seem natural to include a sand timer. The whole set up seems off but I don’t really have a better set up to offer.

9) What else was off-putting.
The money was clumsy and cumbersome. I don’t like the looks of it, the feel of it or the mechanics of it.

10) More to complain about?
To a lesser extent I also didn’t like the dice throwing. I don’t mind chance in games but I don’t typically like randomness via dice for some reason. It all leaves a very “gamey” taste in my mouth if you’ll excuse the pun. To be fair to the game I knew dice were involved before purchasing but it seems there is a LOT of dice in Galaxy Trucker.

11) Anything else Mr. Crabbypants?
I would have liked it better had there been more event cards. The universe is a grand place and I wanted the feeling of never knowing what you were going to encounter next. Galaxy Trucker comes with 12 types of event cards and should come with dozens more (as long as there is text to explain them)! Who would have thought you could make space exploration so boring and predictable.

12) I want to add components to a game that I complain is already bloated with them?
Stop judging me!

13) Does Galaxy Trucker have replayability?
Hard for me to say. This game had a sputtering start and never got going to begin with. In my head I know the game I was envisioning and I wanted to play that game a lot. Does that count?

14) How could I make this game better?
It needs a different beginning set up for me to enjoy it. One that doesn’t give me an advantage over a child. You get a lot of bang for your buck when you buy Galaxy Trucker but it may have been received better if it had come with less. Hook me with a core game that is simpler and then toss in some quality expansions that tweak the game slowly. More flow, less components/mechanics.

15) Is it worth the higher price tag?
$75.00 retail/$50.00 on the net is a high price for a game. If you can get the game going and enjoy it I would have to say it is worth it. You get a couple pounds of game and if you add The Big Expansion you get another couple pounds. Is it possible that I just recommended this game?

16) Do I need The Big Expansion?
I thought I did and purchased it with the core game although I never got to the point of even adding it. More games, more rules, more sputtering.

17) Do I recommend Galaxy Trucker?
I can’t recommend it but at the same time I can’t argue completely against it fairly. I know I wanted to like this game. I loved the theme and the idea your ship getting blown away. I like randomness and chaos. This dang game just couldn’t get put in drive. My 10 year old never asked to play it so it hardly ever came out of the closet. When it did it was the same experience each time. Bleh. This game would sit in our closet for 6 months at a time. I would see it and get all excited about the theme and the exploding ships and the variable set ups. I would convince myself I must have done something wrong. I’d pull it out of the closet and you could almost hear the game backfire as it hit the table.

18) Am I happy with my purchase?
No. I sold my copy of Galaxy Trucker and The Big Expansion here on BGG. I hope I made someone out there happy.

19) What could have improved the game for me?
Maybe if the game had been taught to me I would have liked it better. The frustration of learning the game as I played and not enjoying what I learned was off-putting. Less symbols, more text. Less components, more flow.

20) What makes me nervous about not liking this Galaxy Trucker?
I am hoping to take that next step to more complicated games but fear that I just won’t have the patience for them. If my dislike for Galaxy Trucker is rooted in the game itself and not the complexity I may still be able to branch out yet. Although I love the light-medium games I know there is a whole world of more complex games out there for me to enjoy. Tell me I shouldn’t give up hope quite yet.
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Brian M
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Re: 20 Questions About Galaxy Trucker!
You definitely shouldn't get give up hope of heavier games due to Galaxy Trucker. I think GT is a wonderful, fun game, but its not for everyone - the real-time "puzzley" ship building aspect is going to be a love it or hate it mechanic for a lot of people. Personally, I love it. Its chaotic and frenzied but really stretches your brain figuring out how to make a good ship fast.

I think the GT rulebook is actually quite good, but make no mistake GT is a complicated game with a lot of rules to it. If you're used to lighter fare, that can be pretty overwhelming. Playing a training game with fewer possible components to pick from might be a good idea.

The learning curve and difference between skilled and new players can be quite steep in GT. I find this a big obstacle to playing sometimes; its hard for Lisa and I, who are veterans, to not completely clobber new players, even if we give them some advantages.

As a side note, you mention not liking the sand timer. The timer isn't particularly important for the game; you can leave it out without changing the experience much. We tend to ignore it just because it doesn't matter much; its always a very close race to finish the ship anyway.

You also mention "only 12" event cards. I'm a little puzzled; GT has 60 event cards. Or were you referring to different types? Different combinations of cards can give very different flights!

Sorry it wasn't for you. But for those who like the real time ship building, its really awesome
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The Compulsive Completist
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Re: 20 Questions About Galaxy Trucker!
Thanks for the reply and I am glad you undertsood where I was coming from. I hate to knock someone's loved game but it just wasn't for me. I edited my comments on the event cards to be clearer...my main point is there should be more variety when you're talking about traveling the universe.

Thanks for the reassurance to not give up on more complex games. We'll see how that goes.
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Re: 20 Questions About Galaxy Trucker!
Hockey Mask wrote:
Thanks for the reply and I am glad you undertsood where I was coming from. I hate to knock someone's loved game but it just wasn't for me. I edited my comments on the event cards to be clearer...my main point is there should be more variety when you're talking about traveling the universe.

Thanks for the reassurance to not give up on more complex games. We'll see how that goes.


So did you actually finish a game?

The chaos of shipbuilding is really the main part of the game IMO. Everything else is secondary, just watching your ship get blown up. That and double checking your buddy's ship, and possibly him having to lose half of it right off the bad.

It can be a bit to get into. But IIRC the game is also broken down into different skill sets. Like the basic one for beginners doesn't use the Aliens, or the timer. You learn that and build from there.

I remember when we started playing, we didn't get that you had to have life support attached to a crew quarters to use the alien. You live you learn.
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David Debien
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Re: 20 Questions About Galaxy Trucker!
THis:

11) Anything else Mr. Crabbypants?
I would have liked it better had there been more event cards. The universe is a grand place and I wanted the feeling of never knowing what you were going to encounter next. Galaxy Trucker comes with 12 types of event cards and should come with dozens more (as long as there is text to explain them)! Who would have thought you could make space exploration so boring and predictable.

This is where the game ultimately falls flat for me as well. I really enjoyed my first few plays of Galaxy Trucker, or as my group calls it, "Space Chop Express". After a half dozen games, it all feels the same. As I said, I enjoyed my first several plays but now I have no desire to play it any more. This one will be added to my For Trade list. In fact, you just convinced my to add it to my For Trades right away...
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Re: 20 Questions About Galaxy Trucker!
I think you made your opinion pretty fairly, but I did notice a couple of things.
You mention you sold your copy of Galaxy Trucker and The Big Expansion. I take it you started with just Galaxy Trucker and didn't try them all in one go? I don't think the basic game is overly complicated tile wise? Once you add the additional tiles from the expansion I think things get more tricky as some of the tiles look similar.
Event variety in the basic game (to my recollection) - open space, planets, asteroids, pirates, slavers, space plague and space war I think. It's not really a space exploration game, but that's not a bad selection for starters. The Big Expansion adds a few more events and a lot more tiles which adds a much greater level of complexity.
Galaxy Trucker is a puzzle game that has to be learned. It's mainly about building the best possible ship, in the shortest time. The exploration phase is like a test flight (which is often a test to destruction flight...)
You also mentioned lots of dice rolls. To my recollection the only die rolls are to decide where your ship gets hit. Not really a big part of the process to be honest.
Pity you didn't like it as it's one of my favourites, but I think you were just expecting a different type of game.
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The Compulsive Completist
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Re: 20 Questions About Galaxy Trucker!
I only played with the Big Expansion once and that was in desperation to see if it "fixed" the game for me like some expansions can. It was not the case.

I think you're right. I must have been expecting something else and as a result Galaxy Trucker/Big Expansion is the only turnover I have had in my modest collection thus far.

I am glad it works for many of you. I wish it had for me because I still have an itch for this genre that hasn't been scratched.
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Kevin Erskine
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Re: 20 Questions About Galaxy Trucker!
Good review!

I can understand a lot of your points and for some reason it has been a hit in our house (daughter, son, girl-friend). None or whom, like particularily complicated games. Maybe laughing at the poor ship designs makes it more fun for us.

Dice aren't much of a factor since everyone uses the same roll (At least we do it that way if it's wrong). So if something misses one guy's ship, it probably misses them all.

As I read the review, I got excited because you said you had the expansion and I thought I could get it cheap from you but I see it's gone.

I did have to refer to the rulebook a lot at first, but after 3 games it wasn't bad. I will say it's easily the most entertaining rulebook I've ever read.

It wouldnt' surprise me if it was one of the more traded games by % or something like that. People seem to love it or hate it.

I just know we love it.
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Benjamin Grey
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Re: 20 Questions About Galaxy Trucker!
I’m curious what you are looking for in a game for this genre. “Blowing up ships in space and encountering strange alien stuff” covers a wide range of games.

If you’re looking for more heavy-level space combat, Star Fleet Battles or Babylon 5 Wars work well.

For more strategic “build an empire over 3+ hours” style play, there’s Twilight Imperium and Starcraft. (Ascending Empires might be included here, but it’s got a dexterity component to it that may not be your thing.)

For fast paced cooperative “defend your ship” action, there’s Space Alert.

For a slower paced cooperarative with a “traitor” element, there’s Battlestar Galactica.

Without knowing what you’re looking for in a game, it’s hard to tell which one would be for you. Problem is, Galaxy Trucker is the light space game I would start people on because it’s easy to teach, easy to learn, the lighthearted visuals are less intimidating to new gamers, and my friends and family have a good time playing it. Even the ones that don’t do very well seem to like it. (And my group tends to love symbols. We have several players with different stages of impaired vision, and large symbols are appreciated over fine print any day.)

As far as gaming with your 10 year old, it would depend on what interests and talents the kid has. I loved making things with Lego blocks, was good at figuring out how things fit together, and I suspect I would have loved GT if it was out when I was that age. (By contrast, my face was an open book and I didn’t learn how to have a “Poker face” until much later in life so I’m glad I wasn’t exposed to Battlestar Galactica until I could appreciate it.) If the child’s talents are different, look for games that meet those strengths.

In any event, I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you. I’m sure there’s a game that’s a better fit out there.
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Sean Franco
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If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cries of strange birds and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you?
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Re: 20 Questions About Galaxy Trucker!
The OP conveys my problems with the game excellently.
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The Compulsive Completist
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Re: 20 Questions About Galaxy Trucker!
GreyArcher wrote:
I’m curious what you are looking for in a game for this genre. “Blowing up ships in space and encountering strange alien stuff” covers a wide range of games.

If you’re looking for more heavy-level space combat, Star Fleet Battles or Babylon 5 Wars work well.

For more strategic “build an empire over 3+ hours” style play, there’s Twilight Imperium and Starcraft. (Ascending Empires might be included here, but it’s got a dexterity component to it that may not be your thing.)

For fast paced cooperative “defend your ship” action, there’s Space Alert.

For a slower paced cooperarative with a “traitor” element, there’s Battlestar Galactica.

Without knowing what you’re looking for in a game, it’s hard to tell which one would be for you. Problem is, Galaxy Trucker is the light space game I would start people on because it’s easy to teach, easy to learn, the lighthearted visuals are less intimidating to new gamers, and my friends and family have a good time playing it. Even the ones that don’t do very well seem to like it. (And my group tends to love symbols. We have several players with different stages of impaired vision, and large symbols are appreciated over fine print any day.)

As far as gaming with your 10 year old, it would depend on what interests and talents the kid has. I loved making things with Lego blocks, was good at figuring out how things fit together, and I suspect I would have loved GT if it was out when I was that age. (By contrast, my face was an open book and I didn’t learn how to have a “Poker face” until much later in life so I’m glad I wasn’t exposed to Battlestar Galactica until I could appreciate it.) If the child’s talents are different, look for games that meet those strengths.

In any event, I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you. I’m sure there’s a game that’s a better fit out there.

Thanks for the ideas and I'll look into them. We have Cosmic Encounter which is decent for a space type fix for now.
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TS S. Fulk
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My kids and I love this game. I agree with the others that the building is best part. If you found that tedious, then this game is not for you.You might want to look at a Finnish game that should be released at Essen: Eclipse


Hockey Mask wrote:
GreyArcher wrote:
I’m curious what you are looking for in a game for this genre. “Blowing up ships in space and encountering strange alien stuff” covers a wide range of games.

If you’re looking for more heavy-level space combat, Star Fleet Battles or Babylon 5 Wars work well.

For more strategic “build an empire over 3+ hours” style play, there’s Twilight Imperium and Starcraft. (Ascending Empires might be included here, but it’s got a dexterity component to it that may not be your thing.)

For fast paced cooperative “defend your ship” action, there’s Space Alert.

For a slower paced cooperarative with a “traitor” element, there’s Battlestar Galactica.

Without knowing what you’re looking for in a game, it’s hard to tell which one would be for you. Problem is, Galaxy Trucker is the light space game I would start people on because it’s easy to teach, easy to learn, the lighthearted visuals are less intimidating to new gamers, and my friends and family have a good time playing it. Even the ones that don’t do very well seem to like it. (And my group tends to love symbols. We have several players with different stages of impaired vision, and large symbols are appreciated over fine print any day.)

As far as gaming with your 10 year old, it would depend on what interests and talents the kid has. I loved making things with Lego blocks, was good at figuring out how things fit together, and I suspect I would have loved GT if it was out when I was that age. (By contrast, my face was an open book and I didn’t learn how to have a “Poker face” until much later in life so I’m glad I wasn’t exposed to Battlestar Galactica until I could appreciate it.) If the child’s talents are different, look for games that meet those strengths.

In any event, I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you. I’m sure there’s a game that’s a better fit out there.

Thanks for the ideas and I'll look into them. We have Cosmic Encounter which is decent for a space type fix for now.
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Jay Sheely
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Interesting comments, nice to hear why someone doesn't like GT.

I am in love with this game but am leary about who I'll play it with because it is NOT for everyone. It is a love it or hate it game. It is also unique. I haven't found another game like it (unfortunately).

If someone said about a new game, "It seems like Galaxy Trucker, but in the Middle Ages..." I'd buy the game without delay.

If my board game collection was stolen, GT would be one of the first three games re-bought.

And, you really need the Big Expansion. Which I think is a bummer because that ups the cost to $120 MSRP.
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Jeff Dunford
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I'm really surprised by this review. I generally share opinions with "Hockey Mask" and rate games similarly, so I was surprised to find Galaxy Trucker at the bottom of the "Don't Buy" list.

I've only played a few times, but they've been great experiences. It's among my favourite games right now. I benefited from being taught Galaxy Trucker at a local game club by experienced game teachers. I enjoyed it so much I had to get a copy for myself. It arrived recently (latest printing), and just last week, I taught the game to 3 ladies: my girlfriend (gamer), her friend (aspiring gamer), and her work colleague (new/non gamer). They all loved it, and we're getting together again this week specifically to play it again!

It's a typical Vlaada Chvatil game - if there is such a thing. The rules are written in his characteristic format of "do this tutorial mode first; then try the full game with all the rules." Galaxy Trucker was actually the first of Vlaada's manuals I'd read. It was a hilarious read, and I recommend just reading the manual for it's humour if nothing else. When I taught the game, I followed the recommended format: "Here's how you build a ship (and don't worry about the pink/brown [alien habitat] tiles yet); now let's build a ship" + "Now that we've built a ship, let's take it into space and see what happens to it" + "OK, now let's include all the rules [aliens; placing up to 2 tiles in reserve while building; etc] for rounds 2 and 3." It worked really well.

As for the sand timer, I could imagine omitting it and allowing players to take as long as they want, still claiming the "1" - "4" tiles for the order they finish. We've always played with the timer, and sometimes it matters and sometimes it doesn't. The timer just speeds the building phase along (and can put some pressure on slower players) after at least one player has finished building. If your players are all pretty quick, there isn't really a need for it.

As others have mentioned, I can already see that replayability might be limited in the base game (events can seem repetitive; there aren't a lot of building options)... but that's what the expansion(s) are for! We'll probably purchase The Big Expansion (and maybe Another Big Expansion) when the base game starts to feel samey.

As for too much dice rolling, there is a strange stigma that "dice = bad" and "cards = good" when it comes to generating randomness. Personally, I firmly believe that "random is random" (how you generate it doesn't change the mathematics behind it), and rolling two dice gives an appropriate distribution of values for taking hits in Galaxy Trucker (i.e., there's a higher probability that a meteor/shot will hit the middle of your ship and a lower probability that it will be towards the edges... but that "lucky 11 / 66" can be a life-saver). Similarly, we've come to prefer Flash Point: Fire Rescue to Pandemic because the randomness of the fire (due to dice) makes the game (a cooperative puzzle) less predictable than shuffling and replacing the same few cards to the top of the infection deck.
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Kawi Santosa
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I experienced the same with Galaxy Trucker,
When I saw the rating is really high,

I hesitated to buy one for my group,
but guess what...

only the moment where we built our ships is fun, the rest is plain boring..
We only play with first ship and one round, never ever go for the next round because we couldn't enjoy this game for the next round, even we have tried

I quite disappointed and I think this game is overrating ,
I bought for $85, quite expensive but it's rare to find here, and I am selling it now.

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