Space Gate Odyssey – Ludonaute – Review

"Boldly going where only those that have gone before have gone, you are a Space Gate traveler."

Theme and What is it?

“It took us 15 years and three supercomputers to MacGyver a system for the gate on Earth.”

– Samantha Carter, Stargate SG-1

Boldly going where only those that have gone before have gone, you are a Space Gate traveler. You have bands of settlers who believe in your vision for the future. Like all colonization, those that have the most people in the new place, will get the most political power, in the form of victory points. Your job is to send your settlers to other planets, as quickly as possible, and get as many VP as possible in the process. 

Each planet, has differing methods of point collection. The question is, can you plan your space station (jump gate), in the most efficient manner to get as many points as possible, as quickly as possible. 

These are the voyages of the Space Gate Odyssey.

Gameplay Mechanics

Do not look at the above picture for mechanics. It is a lie.

Space Gate Odyssey is three games built into one, and done VERY well. The first aspect of the game is the “worker placement mechanic”. Yet again, this is a lie. It is not a pure worker placement, in how I understand worker placements. You will be moving engineers onto different portions of the Odyssey board. They do nothing, when they move. You may move up to one, per turn.

The huge hollow meeples are Chief Engineers. When they move to a section of the odyssey board, they light it up. It is go time. Now, they have two actions, and each engineer in that section gets an additional action, regardless of color. Previous chief engineers in that section, ALSO get two actions… 

This cascades into a beautiful set of actions that you pre-plan, based on what you think your neighbors might do on their turn, to give you as many actions as possible. 

There are five different actions, fill a vacuum lock with settlers, get new station parts, move to blue, move to green, or move to fuchsia. Now that the action has been planned, each player gets to ALL take that action, for as many action points as they have on that color. Only the Chief Engineers activate the location. Everyone else is pre-planning for future turns. Eventually, you may also get robots.

That was game one. Game two, is moving around your station. You have a limited number of movements, based on where your engineers are, and what colors are activated. The object is to get settlers into the vacuum lock, to the space gates, in as few turns as possible. 

That was game two. Game three, is moving your settlers to the planets, and using the planets scoring system as best as you can to get as many point as possible, and avoiding your neighbors from stealing the best point planets. 

Ultimately, for how many moving parts this game has, it plays, quite well together.

Initial Impressions

The box art, is quite nice. The internals also, built in a way to attract people to the table. 

I knew I wanted to play, though I had no idea what I wanted to play initially. I had not heard of it, or seen any buzz prior to playing. 

Though, I knew, I wanted to play.

Game Build Quality

The meeples are made tremendously well. There are four different meeples, and each has its own function. The Odyssey board is cool, and the worksite, says so much forward thinking was put into the design of this for the table. 

The quality is among the highest I have ever seen in a non-minis game. The game build makes me want to dig other Ludonaute titles out, and see what they look like.

Artistic Direction

The box art is just so nice. It could hang on your wall, and not be out of place. Vincent Durant is a name to watch for his eye is incredible. 

The game has fairly simplistic art, as the game is entirely focused around the meeples. The meeples however steal the day. They just keep coming and making the boards look so full of settlers. It would have taken a great eye, to see how the meeples would interact, and fill the planets in an artistic manner. 

Vincent Durant, I am a fan.

Fun Factor

Does simple complexity entice you?

I was not sure what I would think of the game, and it looks complex. It is not really complex at all. It just looks it. I so very much like the simplicity and depth of the mechanics. 

If that is a + for you, you may enjoy it as well.

Age Range & Weight

12+. The game while not being overly complex to play, has so many different ways to get victory points. I very much would be in agreement of the suggested age range. 

Though I think a younger audience could play, I don’t know that they would enjoy the mechanics, as they would seem overly complex, despite their refined simplicity.

Conclusions

So far, Space Gate Odyssey, is easily one of my top five games in 2019. This comes with no reservations, and is happily given. 

It was a pleasure to learn, and play, and I will force anyone who will listen, to play this game with me. If you have not picked up Space Gate Odyssey, you need to get to the nearest space gate, and get to the nearest copy. It will be beamed out of stock quickly, if anyone even remotely agrees with me.