Space Base Review by AEG

Theme and What is it?

Some folks just like anything gamewise that is space based. A regular at my table, says he will play anything that is even remotely related to space, and the final frontier (my words, not his).

Space Base, a space based (thus the name) game, is a simple enough concept; you are a “nation” building a base (space dock) in space and that base turns into a game building engine. When you replace a part of the base, the replaced parts become beneficiary instruments for your neighbors rolls. 

So, you must decide between your own dice rolls, or that of your opponents. The more opponents you have, the more likely you are to benefit from their dice rolls, but each part of the ship you replace is only 1 in 12, or 1 in 6 times likely to re rolled at anytime. 

Gameplay Mechanics

The game is a dice chucking game that has an elegant engine building/ economy game within the “luck” based mechanic. 

Your turn consists of a few parts:

  1. Chuck the dice.
  2. Decide which dice to use, ala Yahtzee
  3. Take benefit of card, based on the dice
  4. Buy new card
  5. Flip old card
  6. Wait for opponents roll, if it hits same number as any of your flipped ships, you will take the red benefit
  7. Start your turn again
  8. First to 40 VP wins, unless someone else can take their last turn, and beat 40

Initial Impressions

Space Base is a small box game, that takes a lot of table space. 

It certainly looks impressive on the table, and gets people to stop to see what you are playing. I like the aesthetic, simple yet inviting. As most games that take a lot of table space, it looks more intimidating than it actually is. 

Game Build Quality

The game is built with cards, dice, blocks, and a player mat. Each of the components are fine on their own, and functional. Each is built with quality in mind, but nothing wow’ed me.

That is okay. The quality on its own is just fine, and works exactly how it should.

Artistic Direction

When I discussed the game at GAMA, I was told it definitely does not have an 80’s aesthetic from the person showing me the game. 

The person telling me that, obviously was not around during the 80’s. This is a combination of Voltron, Johnny Quest, Speed Racer, and Go Bots. For me, that is just super cool. For someone else, maybe they just don’t get the nostalgia factor. I, for one, really enjoy the simplicity, and Saturday morning cartoon vibe. (They used to play cartoons on Saturdays for school kids, Netflix did not exist.”

Fun Factor

Here’s the thing, I know of some people in our community that feel any game that requires a roll of the dice is necessarily “luck” based. I don’t know how it differs at all from a pull of the cards where you will draft a few of so many cards. 

It feels like one reviewer once upon a time told them that all dice games are inherently luck based. 

For me, I can see the elegance of choosing ships that are most likely to be the next roll of the dice based on your neighbors. I also can see the fun and entertainment value of needing the need roll “draft” to be one of a few different numbers to be helpful to you.

If you don’t “like” dice games, I would suggest giving this a try. It is not luck based, it is a conscious choice to and feels oh so good when you’re “lucky”.

Age Range & Weight

The game suggest 14+.

I would guess this has more to do with the small bits, than the actual weight of the game. I think even a ten year old could grasp this AND do well.

Conclusions

I like Space Base. It will make it’s way to my shelf. 

The downside is that although I enjoy dice games, I don’t enjoy them so much that I need a lot of them. AEG has made several fantahstic games the past couple of years, and one of their other “dice” games, may be the next to fall off the shelf. 

I enjoy this game more with more people, as the dice rolls mean so much more when you have several other people rolling during their turn. It is also painful to roll and help your neighbor. 

The strategy of this game is as much about picking good upgrades, as upgrades that are likely to be rolled more often. I hope this does well for AEG, as I am interested in what expansions the AEG machine can come up with.

 

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