Galaxy Trucker Overview
Game Genre: Building
Designer: Vlaada Chvatil
Publisher: Czech Games Edition
Number of Players: 2-4
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Life is where you take a smorgasbord of different life components – an education, a job, personal relationships – and try to make something of it. You’ll assemble it, send it into the vast uncaring, indifferent void of “The Real World”, and watch it weather many a storm. And if you’re lucky, you’ll escape it with only a few chunks taken out of you and maybe you’ll even bring back shinies to show for it.
Galaxy Trucker is life. Substitute the above components with rocket boosters, laser guns, shields, cargo holds, and life support bays. The assembling phase still takes place: you’ll be stitching those together into a Frankensteinian object that’s a little on the fragile, clumsy side and sending it to face off against meteors, pirates, smugglers, and weird space diseases. Through all the calamities, through all the ridicule, there’s a certain sense of pride. It’s your ship, dammit! You built it, piece by piece. And now, you get to watch it fall apart.
That is the game. That is life.
Galaxy Trucker Builds You Up and Tears You Down
Galaxy Trucker can be a little demoralizing in that respect. Careful planning takes a back seat to the rush of chaos-fueled instinct. In Galaxy Trucker, you pick up ship components and with a snap second, you decide whether to keep or discard it. If you decide to keep it, you then have the joy of figuring out where it goes. Rinse. Repeat. Until the timer counts down to zero. Not a game for those who love planning out move after move.
Because what happens next is arbitrarium. You’re sending your stout ship to face danger and opportunity. Here, you might find planets laden with cargo to make you wealthy. There, you might find yourself in the midst of a meteor swarm or a combat zone. An errant roll later and all your dreams are crushed. Or not. Hope is scant, but it does exist. And every Galaxy Trucker scoring session is a nail-biting experience as you cling on to that shred of hope that, in spite of the odds stacked against you, that you’ll still prevail.
But Win or Lose, Galaxy Trucker is About the Journey
When you do prevail, there’s a mix of relief and schadenfreude. On the one hand, you’ve “weather’d every rack”, the prize you sought is won. On the other hand, watching other people’s ships fall apart is hilarious. Hilarious because they might have the pleasure of deciding which half of their ship to keep, and hilarious because, damn, at least that wasn’t you.
And if it’s your ship that got torn asunder, it’s still hilarious. The absurdity of an event like rolling the same number on two consecutive meteors resulting in your weakest spot being pulverized is something that has to be experienced. There’s an adrenaline rush when the next calamity comes up and it’s that adrenaline rush that keeps me coming back for more.
Needless to say, I love Galaxy Trucker. It’s a departure from my normal preference for slow, deliberate, analytical-type optimization games, but Galaxy Trucker’s amusement value is something that no other game has been able to replicate. My eyes dance with laughter when I look at how ridiculous all of the ships are. I laugh in the face of the disasters raining down like meteors. And I breathe a sigh of relief when my ship makes it home, battered, but sound.
Verdict: 8/10 – Great: Usually up for a game. Galaxy Trucker embodies the idea that it’s about the journey more than the destination. Love bringing this out to show how different boardgames can be.
- Exciting, intense, madcap mayhem the whole way through.
- Fun mechanics of ship construction followed by a very fun, silly scoring phase.
- Game is fairly easy to explain (if not easy to play).
- Not for those who hate the pressure of the timer or like to plan and deliberate.
- Can suck if your ship is obliterated and you sit and wait for the round to finish.
- Events that come up are basically random and you have to be OK with that.
- Not a game for people who are too too serious.