Hyperspace-Petersen Games-Preview

Theme and What is it?

Hyperspace takes you out into the void where you control a powerful alien civilization that seeks domination over the galaxy. Choose from the Brood, Venge, and other species, make your presence known, and take control of your destiny.


This is a preview, covering the test pilot version of Hyperspace. The test game provides four species from which to choose, allowing 2-4 players, but there are rules that can accommodate up to six players.

Gameplay Mechanics

Goal

The goal of this game is to achieve the most victory points (VP).  Before this can be determined, at least one of the players must show that he has at least 20 VP and confirmed by the other players.  Once that occurs, the Ending the Game phase begins and VP are totaled among all the players.

Setup

To start with, each player chooses a civilization and sets up the civilization’s components (civilization sheet or “civ sheet”, tokens, units, installations, etc.).  The game area in the middle of the players is set up depending on the number of civilizations in play.  The picture shows the 4-civilization arrangement.  Each of the players are dealt four random General Technology cards.

Each of the civilization’s home worlds is seeded with the tokens and models identified on its civ sheet.  Other game tokens are separated for easy access to the players.

Turns

During each player’s turn, they take three normal actions and any number of unlimited or one-use actions.  The player can perform any of these actions in any order and any number of times.  The normal actions consist of: Battle, Build, Move, Produce, Rebirth, Research, Salvage, and Self-Destruct.

Battle is obvious, the civilization attacks another.  What isn’t obvious is that there is a likelihood that the attacker loses his units even if he has overwhelming forces.

Build is where the civilization produces units and installations.

Move is where a civilization’s units move between planets to explore or conquer.

Produce is how a civilization gains resources used in building items.

Rebirth is an action not typically taken as it resets a civilization, best done if a civilization has its home world taken over by others.

Research is how a civilization acquires new knowledge and capabilities.  Be careful though, doing this doesn’t just cost you in resources but it also gives an opponent some resources as well.  Is the cost worth the gain?

Salvage allows a civilization to recover damaged ships and acquires available tokens from the gameplay area (Salvage tokens, Secret tokens, etc.).

Self-Destruct allows a civilization to remove units, free up a technology slot on your civ sheet, or discard a technology card from your tech pool.

Additional Info

In the midst of executing these actions, there are aspects to the game to be managed such as the Resource and Victory Tracks which provide players additional VP and other effects.

Initial Impressions

My group and I were kind of intimidated by the game because it was a beta test version. It took us a couple of goes at the rules to make sure we got the gist of how they were supposed to work.  We stepped through our turns most of our first game to make sure we understood it all. So once we got a hang of it, the game moved a lot easier.  We tried out many of the different rules to get a feel for the whole game and thought the core of the game was pretty balanced.

Game Build Quality

There are many components in this game: unit models, technology cards, tokens, civ sheets, and planet tiles. The unit models are made of plastic and somewhat intricate. Each set was color-coded for a civilization but from reading the rules, they may not be for the production version. When I got them, they were all in a big bag and I found a couple were damaged or bent, but most were in good shape. The cards were not of playing card stock but something a little more flimsy, maybe that will change with the production version. The civ sheet was of similar weight. The tokens were of a heavy cardboard stock and punched out neatly. The planet tiles are of the highest quality and should be because they get manhandled a lot from shuffling them around, turning over during the game, and acting as a gameboard.

Artistic Direction

The art of the cards and tokens appropriately evoke a sci-fi feel. The planet tiles are really well done, as each have a unique picture. Some of the colors used though were difficult to see or differentiate because of such dark colors on a black background. One of my players is color-blind and he had issue with some them as well.
The civ sheets are where a lot of time and care was put in to how the standard layout was designed; while also accommodating the unique races.
The unit models are the same between the civilizations for the standard ships and installations while there were civilization-specific citizen and other unit models.
The art on the whole, I thought, was all its own for the game, nothing rehashed or remade from known sci-fi properties.

 

Fun Factor

The game had a mixed review in the group. The exploration, combat, and civilization improvement aspects were good. Some of the rules about resources and movement slowed the game down more than we would’ve liked. A few of the technology combinations were thought to be too overpowering. The mix of civilization abilities and strategies keep the game interesting and not easily mastered. I am interested in seeing what the other civilizations mentioned in the rulebook will be like when brought to the game.

Age Range & Weight

This is a long crunchy game. No age range was given but I wouldn’t try this game with someone less than 13 or so to be able to understand all the rules and the attention span required for playing for so long. No game length was given but my group’s average was about 3 hours.

Conclusions

This game has a lot of potential. I believe it would appeal to those who like tactical board games that center around resource build-up and conquest. I thought the planet tile placement and adjustments based upon the number of players were nice. The rules could use some tweaking here and there to be more consistent and the flow of the rulebook improved to support setup and gameplay. The dice used for combat were missing from the test pilot version, they will be included in the production game.

While my group played, we came up with a number of questions and perceived flaws with the game’s rules needing clarification, to which the designer quickly and eagerly replied so I’ve been impressed with the customer support.

As I understand it, this game will be launched via crowd-funding so be on the look for it on Kickstarter in the near future. There are lots of potential for enhanced components, new civilizations, and other bonuses that would lend themselves as stretch goals or a deluxe version of the game – perks commonly found using Kickstarter and the like.