Galaxy Trucker sees you and your fellow players compete to build a spaceship – each, against the clock – before flying it across the galaxy to sell your cargo at the other end… assuming you make it there, that is, as the game will do its level best to destroy your hastily-constructed ship en route!
The game takes place over three rounds. In each round players first build their ship from a central pool of tiles – the tiles are made up of the various components you need in your ship: engines to make it go, lasers to defend it, batteries to power it, cabins for the crew, shields and cargo holds. This part of the game is slightly against the clock – the game comes with a timer that must be turned once or twice each round, but it’s up to the players themselves when to turn it – chances are, it’ll be the person quickest to build their ship! Tiles have three different connections and these connections must be ‘legal’ during a final inspection by all players – any connections that don’t ‘work’ are removed from your ship, costing you a fine as well as potentially taking further parts of your ship with it.
Having built their ships, players now fly them through deep space, negotiating a series of hazards as they do so. These come in the form of cards that are flipped over one by one – some are neutral, some give you the option of picking up cargo, and some are a little troublesome… meteoric storms and space pirates to name but two.
Having – hopefully – negotiated the journey you now get the rewards: there are bonuses for arriving ahead of other players and for having the fewest exposed connections (i.e. facing out into space). You also sell your cargo, which is pretty crucial. Arriving first has nothing on trailing in last with a whole bunch of stuff to sell.
Having experienced the madness of Galaxy Trucker once, you now have to do it all over again in rounds two and three, each time with a bigger ship!
The fun of the game really comes from watching your – or preferably someone elses’ – spaceship being blown apart by fate. If you can take a few hits on the chin, it’s a hoot for kids and adults alike.
There's a fair bit of Take That in Galaxy Truckers but, apart from the time pressure during the building phase (which can be ignored with young players anyway) it all comes from the game itself rather than your opponents. You can try and take the lead which gets you first dibs on the good stuff, or you can hang back and avoid all - or at least some of - the bad stuff...
Everyone is involved at all times - except possibly waiting on a slow builder!
It depends how you cope with building spaceships from tiles. After that, you're in the lap of the Gods.
Huge randomness from both tiles and cards - as well as the shipbuilding appeal - make Galaxy Trucker eminently replayable.