Galaxy Trucker is a science fiction tile-building game created by Vlaada Chvatil in 2007. Set 25 years in the future in a world full of trash, players take on the roles of garbagemen building ships and trying to collect the most credits by the end of their journey.
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To start, each player will take a galaxy board with the number 1 in the center and place it in front of them to begin building their ship. The ship component tiles will all be placed face down in a large pile in the middle of all players where everyone can reach them. This step is done in real-time, meaning the players do not take turns and everyone must build their ship as quickly as possible at the same time. When grabbing for tiles, each player must only use one hand and can only turn the piece over when it is directly over their game board. In order to build an effective ship, all pieces must connect together with corresponding pipes. Once two pieces are joined together, they are considered welded and cannot be moved when the player reaches for another piece. While building your ship, it is important to know that engine pieces must be facing outwards and nothing can be placed behind them. Also, cabin pieces hold crew members which will be helpful during your flight, so it is ideal to get as many of these as possible. When all players are satisfied with their ships, everyone will check each other’s ships to make sure they are built correctly.
Next, remove all ship components from the middle of the table and replace it with the flight board. Each player will get 2 spaceship model pieces of their color. Player 1 places their ship on the starting space of the track, player 2 is two steps behind, and so on as indicated in the middle of the track. Place the cosmic credit cards (numbered tiles), dice, blocks, and markers near the track to form the bank. Place 2 white figures in each cabin and place the green token pieces on each battery pack, depending on the number of e-cells depicted on them. Finally, shuffle the deck of cards with the number 1 on the back and pick out the 8 cards with a star in the bottom left corner to form your adventure deck.
The object of the game is to collect goods and earn the most credits.
The first player or “leader” will turn over the first adventure card and place it on the table and the card is dealt with accordingly:
Open Space: The leader will announce the strength of the engines on their ship by counting them. They can decide to spend battery tokens on double engines or move their marker ahead the number of spaces equal to the engine strength. The rest of the players will do the same in order and move their ship forward that many empty spaces (occupied spaces do not count and should be skipped).
Planets: Planets cards have 2-4 rows of goods representing planets where you can land to pick up goods. You can do this by paying the number of flight days indicated int he lower right corner. To land, place your extra marker on the planet you choose. The leader goes first followed by the rest, but no one is required to land. On the new planet, players can take, re-arrange, or discard goods.
Abandoned Ship: When this card is drawn, the leader will decide first if they would like to trade one of their crew members to the bank in exchange for cosmic credits. If they do not take the opportunity, the next players will be able to make this choice in order but only one player can complete this action.
Meteoric Swarm: The leader will roll two dice to determine which row or column the meteor can impact (these numbers are indicated in the corners of the grid). Small meteors will bounce off the affected ship, but large meteors must be blasted to survive.
Abandoned Station: To use this card, you must have at least the number of crew members indicated on the card to search for abandoned loot. Only one player can use this opportunity, and the leader will decide first. The player who completes this action will collect any goods left behind and keep their crew members.
Enemies (Slavers, Smugglers, Pirates): Enemies will attack all players ships on the track in order and keep going down the line until someone defeats them. If they defeat you, you must give up 2 of your most valuable goods, but if you defeat them you gain the same goods.
Combat Zone: All players test their space ships by flying it through the combat zone. There are 3 lines on the card that give criteria and penalty for the player who is weakest in that area. If multiple players are tie for being weakest, the one who is farthest ahead pays the penalty.
Stardust: This card is a special event with its effect written on the card. For this one, every player loses 1 flight day for every exposed connector. Starting with the last player, every player will count their exposed connectors and move back that many empty spaces.
The trip is over when all 8 adventure cards have been dealt with. The information in the center of the flight board will tell you the rewards and penalties you receive at the end of your flight, which should be read from left to right. Each player will return their goods to the bank in exchange for cosmic credits as shown on the price list. For each ship component that was lost along the way, you lose 1 cosmic credit. Players will also collect any bonuses they are eligible for from the chart in the center of the game board. At the very end of the round, return all your tokens, blocks, and figures to the bank and keep your cosmic credits.
For the next 2 rounds of the game, players will follow the same set of rules, but this time all of the adventure cards will be used instead of just the ones with the stars in the corner. For the ship building phase, the timer will be flipped over and all players must finish their ship before it runs out. The first player to finish building will become the new leader.
How to End the Game
The game ends when round 3 is over and all rewards and penalties have been collected or paid.
How to Score the Game
To score the game, everyone will add up all of their remaining cosmic credits. The player who ends up with the most credits is the winner.
One of the best strategies to consider while playing Galaxy Trucker is to take your time while building your ship. Most players will feel the need to rush this step, but they do not have adequate time to assess their ships when they do this and may miss out on important pieces or clever placement. Another good point is to set up your laser builds forward first while building.
Variations of the Game
There are many variations of Galaxy Trucker in different languages including the Portuguese, Chinese, German, and Polish Editions.
Common House Rules
Since the first round of ship building is not timed like the following 2 rounds, the leader role is not automatically assigned to someone. It is a common practice for the oldest or tallest player to assume the role of leader for the first round .
Time to play: 60 minutes
Alternative titles of the game: Galaxis Roncsderbi, Galaxy Trucker: Aventuras en el Espacio
Manufacturer suggested player age: 10+
Community suggested player age: 10+
List of expansions: Galaxy Trucker: Missions, Galaxy Trucker: Latest Models, Galaxy Trucker: Another Big Expansion
Community rating: 7.4/10
Popularity: Rank 144
Designer credits: Vlaada Chvatil
Published year: 2007
Awards: 2012 Ludoteca Ideale Winner, 2009 Lys Passione Finalist, 2009 Japan Board Game Prize Voters Selection
Link to official game site: http://czechgames.com/