Review: Space Gate Odyssey – our new home is right behind the gate
It is here. Our great-grandparents dreamed about it, but only now have technologies come in such a stage, that we can think of leaving our native planet. And it’s really time, because it’s getting hot in here. So it is time to open several orbital gates and travel to chosen planets for exploration and preparation. Only one of them will eventually be the chosen one, and even though everyone is trying for it to look as its all about mankind, all they really want is for their world to win!
Designer Cédric Lefebrvre invites us to far future, creating a new game called Space Gate Odyssey for us. In the beginning of 2019, the game was released under the banner of Ludonaute with illustrations by Vincent Dutrait. This new glowing box sets off on a journey through Europe thanks to Esdevium Games.
On the lid, we look at one of the chosen worlds, where the planet Earth shines in the distance across the space gate. Space Gate Odyssey is a game, in which three-dimensional cardboard elements play an important role. But to enjoy them, players must first assemble them. They put together a cascade representing the working environment (designed for module cards, that players place here in nine groups), and the entire structure creates an offer. Another piece of the puzzle is the title plate of Odyssey, a space station serving as centre of operations. It offers a total of five rooms, each equipped with one action stand. The station board is also located on the side of the playing area.
The space in the middle gaming area is reserved for exoplanet boards – the central Hawking planet is used every time (it contains scales), while the other five are randomly selected. But only three out of five are initially accessible, and players are placing travel gates on them to mark their availability. The other two planets start the game slightly out of reach.
Each player chooses one of their colors, gets pieces from it and puts some of them in the base rooms and one on the influence track. In addition to ordinary characters, the main engineers are in the game, and they have to wear a suit (a silhouette pawn, that a small piece fits into). At the end of the training, each player gets his starting module populated with the remaining pieces and joins several randomly selected modules to follow the corridors to the starting room.
Players in their turn mainly maneuver their engineers aboard the Odyssey and always have the task of moving one character between the rooms (an active player marks his chosen position by placing his figure on the pedestal in the middle of chosen room). This continually changes superiority of rooms, but that only decides about the number of actions available for the player. The location, where the engineer has moved, has been activated for everyone present, depending on the number (and level) of his pawns. For ordinary characters and robots, players get one action point, two for main engineers (in space suits).
However, in addition to the number of actions, the target room also determines, for what the players can spend their points. And here’s, where the player’s own built station comes into play. By spending points, he can move his settlers to a room, that corresponds to the activated location (color). But to have enough space to run around, he first has to buy new building blocks onboard Odyssey and attach them immediately.
At the same time, three positions for engineers correspond to the individual gates, that allow travel to distant planets. Players in this situation must check, if they have all positions occupied in any of their airlock modules. Only in such a situation can they move their pieces to the target planet of the corresponding color and occupy some of the vacant dwellings there. But every planet has only some capacity, that is soon reached. Although the gate moves to one of the waiting locations, the players will also receive points of influence for the presence of their colonizers. Each planet then offers its own specific scoring conditions.
The game ends, when gate to the fifth planed (and thus the last location) is closed. Players will receive the rewards for dominating their station and will lose other points for open endings. Then they only compare the resulting sum and learn the overall winner.
Space Gate Odyssey is an interesting game, that combines several elements. The very first and the default is also the most original. Players do not decide on actions only for themselves, but also for others by shifting pawns on the common board. By moving correctly, they can earn big advantage over opponents‘ actions and, on the contrary, a bad decision can be lost – for example, not to move at all.
But moving the pieces is just about planning before the event itself occurs. Players simply build each of their own stations and try to fill their positions to send their colonizers to the right planet. Only to accumulate points. And all this is full of positional story – from the proper deployment of the individual rooms of the station, which also have their building rules. Corridors must connect to each other.
The different matches are not nearly the same, because players always have to consider different ways of scoring individual planets. They not only come into play in a different order, but each time there are only some of them in the game. Everyone has to adapt to this and even the station’s rooms are then of different importance.
Otherwise, the main element remains from the beginning to the end about building the station and the dominance on the planets, where the explorers travel. Certainly, you will recognize worker placement mechanic in the game, but at the same time, these pieces also serve as a resource to manipulate. As time goes by, the pieces reserves are dwindling and players have to deal with it (they are left on the planets). Overall, in terms of gameplay, the whole experience is quite novel, though in reality, it is based on well-known principles. It’s probably also a theme, that allows the game to trule shine in an enjoyable sci-fi touch.
The game is not overly complicated and the rules are clear enough to understand. Of course, the specific rules themselves should always be traced, but in general, the progress of the games is clear even without auxiliary cards. But what players will need to learn is the correct use of the elements in the most effective combination.
The game is suitable for different numbers of players, as you should count with over sixty minutes to complete. And better (especially for the first games) expect double of that amount. Players are waiting for each other, but there is always something to think about, so it is not unbearable even in four. Only in two is the base occupied not enough to provide enough interesting outcomes for moving pawns.
Processing, whose individual parts have not been neglected and together into a meaningful whole, deserves great praise. The game is compact and everything looks great. Above all, of course, the already mentioned 3D cardboard components.
Space Gate Odyssey is not just about the gate, but also about preparing for space travel and about staying on the target planet itself. All this is represented here in an interesting mix, that is fun, but also tests all players and their abilities. We like Space Gate Odyssey, because it offer a lot of action in a great jacket.
Review: Space Gate Odyssey – our new home is right behind the gate
Space Gate Odyssey is a game, that doesn't have complicated rules, but it has a lot of cleverly connected moments. The game is fun, because it creates pressure on the player in the best possible combination, but above all, pushes in him the need to predict the moves of others. Only in this way can you gain an equal share of actions as opponents and have a chance to compete. Space Gate Odyssey ranks among the endangered type of clever sci-fi euro games, but it is unique enough to keep you entertained and entertained for the next two hours.