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Subject: Loving every minute of having my ship smashed to pieces! rss

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Casey Braden
United States
Warrensburg
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Galaxy Trucker is a game that I recently began hearing a lot about, and it quickly made its way to the top of my wish-list. Finally last week, with some extra birthday cash in hand, I stopped by my FLGS to pick up a copy. I could hardly wait to get this game to the table. After a quick read through of the rules I sat down with my wife and my friend Mike for our first play through of this unique game.

My wife generally hates it when I try to teach new games, and I often find her rolling her eyes at my apparently far too lengthy and detailed explanations of mechanics. When she has finally had more than she can bear, I usually get the classic “Let’s just play and we’ll pick it up as we go along!” This night was no different. So after a very basic run-through of the rules, we were off.

Since this was the first time each of us had played this game, we used the rules and adventure cards for one’s first flight, meaning we didn't limit the amount of time each of us had to build our ships, and instead focused on learning how to actually do so. As we began assembling our ships, my first thought was that it was much more difficult than I thought it would be, even without the added stress of having a limited amount of time. I think not being familiar with the different types of pieces and the ways that they all fit together made me have false expectations that it would be just a matter of finding a piece and laying it down. I could tell that my wife and Mike were finding this task to be as difficult from the grunts of frustration I was hearing. Luckily, the grunts seemed to be followed by chuckles, which let me know that despite the difficulty, they were still having a good time. After a few minutes, though, I really began to understand why so many people think that this game is so much fun. There is something about racing to find just the right pieces to create your ship that is so entertaining.

Mike was the first one of us to complete his ship, and grabbed the coveted first position in the starting lineup. My wife was not far behind, and put the final piece on her ship less than a minute later. Knowing that I had already secured the last position and also didn't have to worry about the timer running out, I spent about two more minutes making sure my ship was as perfect as I could get it. As we reviewed each other’s ships before starting, I could tell that both Mike and my wife had a bit of confusion about legal placement of ship pieces. My wife had a few pieces placed illegally, I think as a result of never having seen the different connectors before and just getting confused as she was placing the tiles. Mike seemed to have the connectors down, but he didn't realize that you couldn't place a tile with connectors facing into another tile that had NO connectors in that direction. Since this was our first run-through, we both just decided to allow each other to fix those violations without any sort of penalty.

The first flight was fairly tame for all of us, with the exception of Mike who ended up losing two pieces off of his ship due to light cannon fire. Neither he nor my wife realized that you only really need two shields if they are oriented in opposite directions: another consequence of only having a cursory familiarity with the rules. No matter, though. We were still having fun. And each of us was able to secure at least a couple goods on the journey and make it back home alive and more or less in one piece. Having a much better understanding of the building process and the sorts of challenges we would be up against during our journeys through space, we began assembling our second ships, this time using the standard rules and competitor imposed time limit.

This time, equipped with a much better understanding of legal vs. illegal component placement, Mike and my wife seemed to be having an even harder time with the ship building process. I felt like I was moving quickly, but not necessarily rushing myself. Feeling pretty satisfied with my ship despite not being able to find a cargo container piece for hazardous materials that fit where I needed it, I picked up the first ship marker and turned over the timer, beginning the countdown for Mike and my wife. Mike grabbed the second ship fairly quickly after that, and my wife continued trying to place pieces up until the last minute. After reviewing each other’s ships this time, no one was able to find any placement violations. We were starting to get the hang of this “ship-building” thing after all!

During this flight we were all pretty much able to handle everything thrown at us with the exception of a few pieces lost due to heavy canon fire. However, near the end of the journey the epidemic card was pulled. Even though I was aware of this card since I had read the rulebook in its entirety, I still ended up losing two crew members. My poor wife, though, had been completely oblivious to this rule, and lost the majority of her crew in one fell swoop! I could feel her glaring at me as if I had purposely withheld important information from her, and all I could do was remind her that she had wanted to “just play!”

I seemed to do quite well again with building my third and final ship, noticing that both my wife and Mike had far less of their ships completed as I was putting the finishing touches on my own. However, try as I might, I could not find a second shield tile to protect my ship to the right and rear. I decided that there was probably no tile left that would work in the last couple of spots I had available on my ship, so I laid my last tiles and grabbed the first player marker. As before, I felt pretty confident that my ship was going to do well, but I was about to be in for a rude awakening. The one aspect of ship building that I had been ignoring was going to become incredibly important during the final flight: canons facing to the left and right.

It just didn't make sense to me to face canons to the sides, since they only gave you half as many points towards total gun strength when fighting space pirates and smugglers, so I had made the conscious decision to forgo them. This turned out to be a very bad decision, as large meteors began smashing my ship numerous times on both sides. I also seemed to have not used enough battery tiles, as I had used up all of my available batteries after only a few adventure cards. I ended up losing a total of 11 pieces off of my ship the final round as a result of these decisions and not having total shield coverage on all side, much to the delight of my wife. After losing all of my single engines and batteries, I was forced to give up when an open space card was drawn. So much for my stellar ship.

By the time all our credits were added up, Mike had just barely eeked out the win over my wife, with 86 credits to her 85. I was a close third with 81 points, despite my devastating final round. I have to say, Galaxy Truckers is a difficult game, and I can see how some people may be turned off because of how brutal it can be. But I find it to be some of the most fun I have had gaming in a long time, especially since it is completely different from any other game I own. I can’t wait to get this one to the table again!
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Scott Wheelock
Canada
Woodstock
New Brunswick
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David Malki drew this!
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Great report!
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Edwin Nealley

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I think the title of your session report says it all about this game.
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Justin R
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Excellent report. You may have just convinced me to pick this up. Been on my wishlist for a while. Now the question is whether I just hold my breath and see if I can find a deal ($95 or less, so basically waiting for boardsandbits to restock) on the anniversary edition...
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Manuel Berger
Israel
Kfar Saba
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KD:M!!!!!!!
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$81.25 @ MM! Totally worth it:
http://www.miniaturemarket.com/rgg491.html
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Robert Stewart
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JJRR_Esq wrote:
Excellent report. You may have just convinced me to pick this up. Been on my wishlist for a while. Now the question is whether I just hold my breath and see if I can find a deal ($95 or less, so basically waiting for boardsandbits to restock) on the anniversary edition...


The Anniversary Edition is good for players who want their ships to blow up; less so for people who just want to build pretty ships and deliver them unscathed - okay, the new tiles give you options that let you build more durable ships, but the new adventure cards, new ship boards and pretty much everything else about the expansions is there to make sure you need those extra bits...
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Chris T
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Slamming report!

Do you see this as a game you will play just with you wife or is the 3rd player crucial?

Also, nice username; Camp Anawanna, we hold you in our hearts…
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Casey Braden
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Thanks! This is the first piece of content I've submitted, so it's so nice to hear that at least a few people found it enjoyable.

While I haven't played with either two or four players, I think that this game will scale pretty well either way. I know that my wife and I will be able to enjoy it with just the two of us. To me, this game is more about the fun and the experience of playing it than it is about being uber-competitive with the other players (although it is quite fun when you're opponent's ship takes a beating). I do wonder how building will be affected with either two or four players, though, as the number of available ship pieces doesn't change with the number of players. It seemed like we were getting down to the bare bones with our third and largest ships. I would imagine that it would be even harder to find pieces that fit your ship just right when there are FOUR people scrambling for the same amount of pieces. I believe that in one of the expansions, a rule is introduced that you randomly remove a certain number of tiles prior to playing, depending on the number of players.

And thanks for getting the username reference. I never did figure out what an "awful waffle" actually was, but it sounded good.

Red 6 wrote:
Slamming report!

Do you see this as a game you will play just with you wife or is the 3rd player crucial?

Also, nice username; Camp Anawanna, we hold you in our hearts…
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Ben Kyo
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Osaka
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Forward 1, Forward 2, Forward 3... siege attack 5?
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Why for this life there's no man smart enough, life's too short for learning every trick and bluff.
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Each expansion adds 42 tiles and one of either a 5th player or a class 4 ship.
You remove 25 tiles if not playing with a 5th player, 25 if not playing with class 4 ships, and 25 for every player less than 4.

So without any expansions you could take that as meaning use all the pieces with 3 or 4 players and take out 16 pieces with two players.

However, calculating from only one expansion you get all the pieces with 4 players, take out 8 tiles with 3 players and take out 33 tiles with two players.

But! The core pieces are generally more essential to ship building than the expansion pieces, so all the above calculations are basically pointless.

In conclusion, only when we're playing a basic set game with two players do we remove 25 tiles, but otherwise we use all the core tiles, and there's no hard and fast rule about tile removal.
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