Kotaku reviews Space Race, the board game by Boardcubator

I want to make that clear above: I am someone who can forgive many of the flaws in a board game when it looks good.

While with video games even the prettiest graphics can quickly fade if the experience itself is lacking, there’s something about the tactile delights of an attractive board game, its physical appeal that really appeals to me. Is that superficial? Probably! But, and I can’t stress this enough, given my honesty in revealing my critical bias, it is what it is.

and space race is a board game that looks Good. It’s designed for 1-5 players, each taking on the role of a space nation (like the US or the Soviet Union) or a private sector company, and basically just playing a whole bunch of maps to do research. Launch astronauts (or cosmonauts) into space, complete missions, and jostle to be the farthest faction on a progress tracker and be declared the winner after only seven turns.

Despite all the scientific designs everywhere, it’s not a complicated game. You really don’t do much more than draw cards and place them on the table, build an engine This has to be changed each turn by adding new cards, which then changes its score on the missions or challenges you try to complete to earn points (and thus move up the progress bar).

I won’t go into the rules of the game, that’s not what these reviews are for (You can check them out yourself if you like), but I found it fairly easy to pick up and strategize, even during my first playthrough, something that doesn’t actually happen to me all that often (I like/need to test the water with a game once or twice, usually I don’t know until I feel confident enough to strive for clear strategies).

It’s far from my favorite game of the last few years on the mechanical side of things – I’ve found plenty of them Space races Peripherals can be ignored without much consequence, which limited the complexity and depth a bit – but it was a pretty airy game in general, as I moved and adjusted my cards each turn to try and find new ways to earn points get out of the plank.

I still loved every second I spent on it because everything is so beautiful. Space races Art is divided into two completely different camps; There’s the graphic design, consisting of the board and the tokens, which is 100% committed to the aesthetics of a rocket scientist and makes the whole thing look like a series of blueprints. It’s simple, but also clean and totally appropriate to the topic, so I’m digging it up.

Image for article titled Space Race: The Kotaku Review

photo: Luke Plunkett

The other half is the game’s card art, and it’s a joy to look at. Every single card in the game, from “celebrities” like JFK, to mundane missions, to key technology components and depictions of mission control rooms, is a beautiful illustration that oozes color and character, and in the early rounds of this game I could I can nothing but just sitting and staring at each and every one of them, fighting my brain’s impulse to treat the most beautiful card faces as the “best” cards, even if they were just low-scoring filler.

Image for article titled Space Race: The Kotaku Review

photo: Luke Plunkett

Adding to the sensory delights of this game was the quality of the components themselves. While the game’s meeples are fairly plain, the included plastic rocket stones are detailed and the cards are printed on thick, glossy paper. The real star, surprisingly, is the board itself (above), which is a mousepad-like foam mat that shimmers under lights and is a wonderful thing to press on and rub your hands over all night.

The game even has room for humor amidst all the cold scientific progress:

Image for article titled Space Race: The Kotaku Review

photo: Luke Plunkett

If you’re a fan of moderately difficult (games that don’t last all night, but don’t finish quickly either), engine building board games that are fairly easy to learn, then sure, space race is a fun game. But if you’re someone like me who appreciates the physical pleasures of a board game as much as its intellectual hardships, then you should definitely try and get a game of it. Probably with someone who already has a copy, since that is indeed the case Kickstarted without a retail version makes it difficult to find a new copy of your own. Kotaku reviews Space Race, the board game by Boardcubator

Curtis Crabtree

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