Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

The Dwarf Planet that Could:- Space Base: The Emergence of Shy Pluto

Game:  Space Base: The Emergence of Shy Pluto

Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group

Designer: John D. Clair

Year: 2019


Space Base: The Emergence of Shy Pluto is a saga expansion for the 2018 game Space Base. This means that it acts in a pseudo-legacy way, with new content being added gradually along with a storyline. However unlike a legacy game nothing is destroyed so the campaign can be replayed as much as you'd like. In addition the final state of the game at the end of the campaign is a complete expanded Space Base game.

In the game box you'll find a rule book couple of secret boxes, some dice and 2 decks of cards. One filled with story decks that give the ongoing story, tell you when to read which portions of the rule book and which cards to retrieve from the secondary deck. They also tell you when you can advance to the next card, which may be anything from "when all of the newly unlocked ships have been bought", to "at the end of this game".


The game starts almost exactly the same as the base game of Space Base, though your starting card will come from a new set of expansion ships!

Gameplay starts similarly to the original game but with a handful of new ships added to the mix. The game soon adds new mechanics, thankfully the first few story cards have requirements that can be unlocked during a game. In fact if you really rushed you could probably complete the campaign in 3 games. It took us 5 games to unlock all the new content and get onto the final state of the expansion. The story to the expansion is... Fine. It's not great, but it serves as an excuse for why and when the new components are unlocked.


I won't spoil what is in the mystery boxes or any of the new mechanics, but I will say that the final game that you end with felt rather lackluster compared to the penultimate. They both essentially used the same mechanic, but the penultimate used them in a way that made a huge change to the way you want to play the game. In the final gameplay mode, the way that the expansion "should be played" felt a lot slower and less dynamic than the previous one. Though if you are a fan of rolling lots of dice then you may be very interested!

This is all you'll see when you open the box. But just what is in the mystery boxes?

Ultimately Space Base: The Emergence of Shy Pluto is a rather shallow legacy style experience, one that seems to take too long to introduce simple concepts. Most of the early game unlocks barely change the gameplay at all and that's when the game near-forces you to use them! What I normally like about legacy game sis it feels like a box with a dozen expansions in it that get added piece by piece. Space Base: The Emergence of Shy Pluto feels like one expansion that got dissected into smaller parts for no real gain. To Judge the game by the final "everything unlocked" state, it's a noticeable change to space base which adds another mechanic which you could well focus on enough to make it a route to victory. But the investments required are extremely high compared to other strategies. If you are finding Space Base stale and want an excuse to bring it back to the table then The Emergence of Shy Pluto does provide that excuse, but if you thought that the base game needed a shake up to be truly great, this won't be the expansion for you!

6/10


Space Base: The Emergence of Shy Pluto was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available at your friendly local game store for an RRP of £28.99 or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk

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