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, 18 June 2019

2001:- Space Gate Odyssey

Game: Space Gate Odyssey

Publisher: Ludonaute

Designer: Cédric Lefebvre

Year: 2019


Space Gate Odyssey is a 2-4 player tile laying and area control game where you will build your own space station in preparation to send your colonists down to the surface of a handful of habitable planets. Each planet has it's own dangers though so you'll need to plan your strategies around which planets are best to inhabit at which times. All of this requires construction of an efficient space station and strategic use of the action selection mechanics found in the central command station. Deploy your engineers wisely so as not to give your opponents too many free actions.


At the start of a game you will choose 5 exoplanets that you will be seeking to colonise before giving each player a set of pieces in their colour and a central hub for their personal space station. Each player will then choose a couple of starting modules to add to their space station in their inactive state before placing 5 colonists onto their station hub and a handful of engineers in their colour onto the command station. Each turn the active player will move an engineer from one room on the command station to a different one. This will then give them and everyone else who has an engineer (or robot) an action to perform.

The command station is where the actions are selected, here purple will be able to build 4 rooms, while yellow can only make 1.
The function of rooms is fairly simple, perform a green action and in your personal station you can move a colonist towards a green room. If they enter a room that hasn't be activated yet then this colonist leaves the station and the room is activated, otherwise they remain in the new room and can be moved later. If you manage to fill a green teleporter by the end of a green action then it will activate and all the colonists will be sent to the marked exoplanet. The pink and blue actions are identical except for pink and blue rooms. The 4th action lets you add new rooms to your station. There are 3 types of room and 3 colours all displayed in a 3x3 grid for each person you have in the construction room you can build one new room. Teleporters are used to move colonists to the planets, corridors grant you more engineers and therefore more powerful actions, however become empty space once activated. Finally docks allow you to bring more colonists aboard during the 5th action. The final action lets you fill up a number of your docks with colonists which can then be moved about with the other actions.

Each game you will have 5 exoplanets in play and they all score differently. Some require you to fill them up in certain patterns, some reward you for teleporting lots of little groups, while others have spatial elements to how you can place people. All of them will close when a certain condition is met, at which point points are handed out to everyone who was involved and the teleporter moves to the next planet. Once all 5 exoplanets have closed the game will end and the player with the most points wins.

Filling the teleporter will send more people to the planet, in this case it's a race to reach the middle!
There is a lot going on in Space Gate Odyssey, in a way there are 3 games here which you are playing simultaneously. The command center action selection often comes with compromises of giving your opponents abilities, but you are left choosing between spreading your people thin and getting lots of weak actions, or honing them into only a couple of rooms at the cost of being largely self-reliant on their activation. Then there is building your station itself, the key to this is having a plan and knowing when to stop. You want to build some corridors to gain new engineers, but they are without function once built. Teleporters and docks are what you need to actually score points. Building an efficient station is key. Finally the planets all act as mini games in themselves with plenty of area control aspects (my favourite was the one where you try to create the "longest road" of your people to score).

Despite this complexity the game actually plays pretty fast with turns tending to be rather quick and most actions being able to be done simultaneously. The variation in the planets is nice, though can add to the confusion with a new player. Though with only a few more than you use every game in the box you will soon get used to them, whether that's a good thing or not. One of my biggest concerns is that there feels to be a way to building your station that is extremely efficient and the key to winning, I worry that this actually deters experimentation in place of being as efficient as possible. Overall Space Gate Odyssey is a solid game, but despite a lovely theme and some wonderful components (you have to love the suits the engineers wear) is lacking that spark to get me completely hooked.

6.5/10


Space Gate Odyssey was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available at your friendly local game store for an RRP of £47.99 or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk

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