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Subject: A description of the game for someone who hasn't already heard of this? rss

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Anthony Pham
United States
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One thing I think is missing sometimes in the pre-release enthusiasm is people forget that some haven't actually heard anything about whatever wonderful game is coming up.

Such is the case with Space Cadets.

Can someone please write out a general or detailed description of the game? Going through some mechanics at least?

All I have seen is the blurb, but that's not enough to get me really interested in the game.

Right now, all I am is piqued, since I did enjoy space alert, or any co-operative game.
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Geoffrey Engelstein
United States
New Jersey
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This report on a playtest gives a pretty good feel for the game:

And here's an excerpt from the overview in the rules:

At the start of the game you will select a Mission and difficulty level. The objective of the game is to move around the map and accomplish the mission goals. For example, in Mission 1 the ship must use Tractor Beams to collect three crystals and then jump out of the sector.

The game is played in a series of turns, and each turn is broken down into 9 steps. Some of these steps are timed using the sand timer.
There are nine Stations on the ship, and each player will be in charge of one or more. Here is a brief overview of each Station and how it works. Each Station has its own section in the rules where you can see the full details.

Space Cadets is a cooperative game, so the players win or lose as a team. Good luck Cadets!

Captain: Sets the overall strategy and goals for the rest of the crew, and leads strategy discussions. He manages the turn sequence and the sandtimer. He also has access to Experimental Equipment cards, which can be used to assist the different Stations.

Engineering: Gives energy to the other Stations. The more energy that a station has, the more options it has. The Engineer matches dominoes to determine which Stations get energy.

Sensors: Locks onto targets, breaks enemy locks, and scans unknown sectors. To perform these actions the Sensor officer draws cards with pictures of a shape on them, and has to reach into a bag and find the tile with that shape by feel alone. You draw one Target card for each energy as¬signed to Sensors.

Shields: Protects the ship from enemy ships, asteroids, and other external damage. Number tiles are drawn and need to be assigned to the different sides of the ship. The number of shield points is determined by the pattern and color of the tiles. For example, two pair gives two shield points, which are doubled if all are the same color. The more energy that is assigned to the Shield Station, the more tiles may be drawn.

Weapons: Attack enemy ships. One torpedo may be launched for each energy allocated to Weapons. The weapon officer first has to load the Torpedo Tubes, and then fires them. To load the Torpedo tubes, you draw a Torpedo Tube puzzle card, and place torpedo tube pieces onto it to complete that puzzle. For each puzzle completed you launch a torpedo by flicking a disc down the Weapons Track. Sensor Locks and Tractor Beams increase how much damage is done.

Helm: Sets the ship speed and plots the movement across the Map. The course is plotted by laying a sequence of Maneuver cards. Energy allows the Helm to change the ship speed and draw more Maneuver cards to choose from.

Tractor Beams: Grab crystals and other objects to complete missions, and grab enemy ships to increase weapons damage. You activate the tractor beams by turning over pairs of tiles. If the shapes and number match, you generate Tractor Beam points. Generate enough points and you are successful. Each point of energy allows you to flip one pair of tiles.

Damage Control: Resolve and Repair Damage. When the ship takes damage that gets through the shields, turn over a card to see the result. Some damage cards cause ongoing effects to a particular Station. These cards may be repaired by turning over Repair cards, which may be successful, cause more damage, or require a die roll. Energy may be used to skip bad result cards. If the ship takes damage but there are no more cards to be drawn the ship suffers a Core Breach. The players must work together to repair the Core Breach other¬wise the ship explodes and the mission fails.

Jump Drive: After completing the mission objec¬tives the players must successfully Jump out of the sector to win the game. The Jump Drive officer rolls five dice and needs to get five-of-a-kind. In turns before the final jump, the players roll the dice to get combinations, like three-of-a-kind, to earn Jump Flux cards that can be used on later Jump rolls to change the dice. Energy is used to gain re-rolls, and to gain extra time to successfully jump.

The Steps in a Turn
There are 9 steps in a turn that are done in sequence. They are tracked by moving the 30 second sand timer along the circles on the Captain’s Log. Details for each Station are included in the rules for that Station, but this section will give you a sense of the flow of the turn. Most steps are timed, but for some the players may take as much time as required.

Step 1: Discussion and Energy Distribution
This step lasts 3 minutes
The players discuss what they want to do during the turn. Engi¬neering also determines what energy goes to each Station based on the way the Engineering Tiles were played in the previous turn. Engineering may also exchange energy between Stations at a 2:1 trade.

Step 2: Preparation
This step is not timed
Certain Stations need to be set up based on the decisions of the players and the energy they receive. For example, Helm decides how energy will be split between Thrust, to change the ship’s speed, and Maneuver, to draw more Manuever cards. Then Maneuver cards are drawn, ready to be used in Step 3.

Step 3: Action
This step lasts 30 seconds
Five of the Stations simultaneously perform their task – Helm places Maneuver cards, Shields places shield tiles, Sensors finds the target shapes in the bag, Weapons completes the Torpedo Tube puzzles, and Engineering uses the dominoes to determine how much energy will go to each Station in Step 1 of the next turn. If a Core Breach is in process the players must also try to repair the breach at the same time. If it is not repaired, the ship explodes and the game is lost.
Note: Since there are five actions that need to be done at the same time during Step 3, if there are 3 or 4 players this step is split into two steps, called 3A and 3B. There is one side of the Captain’s Log for 3 or 4 players, and one side for 5 or more players, that show these steps and which Stations are active during each.

Step 4: Resolution
This step is not timed
Shield points are marked on the track, Helm moves the ship on the board and checks for damage from map obstacles (like asteroids) or Special Maneuver cards, and then Sensors locks onto targets, scans map tiles, etc, based on the target shapes that were found. These three steps (Shield, Move Ship, Sensor Locks) are done in that order.

Step 5: Tractor Beams
This step lasts 30 seconds
Tiles are flipped on the Tractor Beam display to attempt to trac¬tor an object, or just to learn where the tiles are for future turns.

Step 6: Weapons Fire
This step lasts 30 seconds
The torpedo disc is flicked down the Weapons Track one time for each successfully loaded Torpedo Tube.

Step 7: Enemy Action
This step is not timed
Enemy ships get to move and fire. Next the Nemesis ship moves closer to entering the game, or grows stronger.

Step 8: Jump
This step lasts 30 seconds
The Jump Drives can be activated to either gain Jump Flux cards to make future jump attempts easier, or to jump off of the map and end the game.

Step 9: Repair
This step lasts 30 seconds
If there are any ongoing damage effects, repairs may be attempted.

After Step 9, the players return to Step 1 and start a new turn.
The players continue taking turns until the mission is won or lost, or the player ship explodes from not repairing a Core Breach.
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