Review – Space Station from Fryx Games
Designer – Jacob Fryxelius
Art – Daniel Fryxelius, Jonathan Fryxelius and Tanja Hofvander
Another offering from Fryx Games at Essen was Space Station and I have to say that it wasn’t what I expected. First of all, I expected it to be rather dry and boring. Actually its not. I thought it would be a slow brain burner. No its not that either. Its actually a fairly fast playing game that doesn’t bury you in techno jargon. Its more social than what I might have expected. Hmmm… might be a good un.
From the publisher –
Finally, the international space industry is beginning to grow! To encourage the development, global funds are awarding prizes to companies that are outstanding in different areas. You control one of those companies and want to compete for the biggest, best and most beautiful space station the world has ever seen. But the competition is hard…
Space Station allows you to build your station, but you will have the opportunity to stick it to your competitors should you desire to slow down their progress so there is interaction as well as planning and careful card play.
The game comes wit:
Core Module Cards which all players start with
Game cards – most of which are additional modules of different types(structural, bio, luxury, support, scientific and military) and benefits as well as Event cards which can benefit you or be used to impact other players
Paper money – to pay for the modules
Plastic coloured tokens (a nice change from cubes)
The art on the cards is nice and effective, the information clear and easy to understand.
The tokens, as I said, make a nice change from the drab, boring coloured cubes found in far too many games.
Game play overview
In Space Station you start your space station with a core module card on the table, then over six years (rounds) you expand it by paying and placing new module cards. Each year you start with a five card hand, crew tokens and new MegaCredits (money), with the amount of crew and money determined by the structure of your space station. You use money primarily to pay for new modules, and the crew gives you special effects on many of your modules.
Each turn during a Round, you can take 1 Action –
Take a Build a new module
Take a Module Action
– Crew Action to get the benefit or impact of a module
– Take Other Module Actions including
Play an Event card to help you or hinder others
Players follow this sequence in player order, using the cards in their hands until the players all run out of cards or Pass (choosing to keep cards in their hand for the next round.
At the end of the round, victory points are awarded (There are six kinds (colors) of modules and for each kind, the player(s) with the most modules of that kind is awarded a victory point), temporary repairs made, crew removed and the year marker die changed to the next year.
A new year (round) begins with starting cash, new crew and hand of cards.
This goes on for 6 rounds and at the end of the 6 rounds, the winner is whoever has earned the most victory points.
What is nice in the process, is that you only have a few Action choices to choose from and the rest is all there on the cards. Its a case of choosing which modules to build with your limited funds. You will compete to have the most of the same coloured modules in order to get victory points. Its not that simple as the benefits of different modules will help you gain more crew, have more financial advantage, attack your competitors, etc. My sense is that attacking your neighbours might only be used rarely as you will be keen to maximize your own hand but who knows, if it makes sense to attack, then…
The thing to know is that the process works smoothly and moves along. You will usually have just 5 cards in your hand, so your options are limited enough to keep the game to a reasonable time, say up to an hour.
Did I like Space Station?
I enjoyed Space Station although its not quite my type of game. The attraction for me is the limitation of options. I prefer having a small amount of choices so I don’t get overwhelmed and that’s the case here. Its pretty straightforward although there are nice twists that can be used with Event cards and certain modules. I think that you will need to play 1 game to get a sense of the flow of the game, or at least 2-3 practice rounds but after that. its easy.
I personally like the level of randomness. With the card draw you will always get this but you do have options, which give you a level of control of your destiny. Managing funds is tough as you will find that you need to be selective to maximize the modules that you will have access to. Ultimately, though, if you have a few bad hands, Space Station, like so many other card games, may just frustrate as you just will find that you just aren’t getting enough colour matching modules.
On one hand, this is an interesting game and an effective filler between meatier games, but I suspect that if there is one drawback to Space Station, the randomness factor may put people off over the 6 rounds. This can be easily rectified if needed by playing less rounds.
For more information go to – http://www.fryxgames.se/