Review: Space Station – adventures in orbit

Space Station - packaging

Even in the silence, that fills the entire universe, you can almost hear efforts of all engineers. Dozens of people are moving in space suits and coordinate their movements with robotic arms. All of them are tied to thick ropes and there are always two rescue modules waiting ready on a ship for an emergency trip to Earth. But the infrastructure is already growing here. Small part of the future station is already occupied and there is a dining room, bedroom and a infirmary. The most important rooms, people need for their life. But the grand plans by far do not stop there, because this will be the largest , world has ever seen.

Do you want to be part of such enormous construction? Are you willing to pay for having it wear logo of your company as one of sponsors? Then you simply need to reach for card game from called Space Station. It comes from family publishing house and its author is . Graphics and design of cards was processed by Daniel and (author of the game Brawling Barons – review).

The game is located in a relatively small box and you will see a large block of station orbiting the Earth on its lid. Not only due to already used word „card game“, but even through its weight, you get suspicion, that its all about cards inside. And because there are altogether 120 of them, its still not everything, because space at the bottom is occupied by banknotes also divided in three levels. Together with this pack, there is also one dice and a bag full of differently colored, crazily shaped tokens. They represent not only victory points, but also station’s crew or damage. They ensure a pleasant table look compared to conventional wooden tokens and cubes.

Space Station - game is ready

All cards for the station are wearing a lot of text and trio of help cards and six basic modules are no exception. Nevertheless, these other cards can be divided into two types – events and modules, from which will you build your space station. They have one of the six purposes: structural used for basic functions, support for the construction, luxury earn money, but there are also military, scientific and biological parts ready to be built.

The entire game lasts for six years, when you should have the station built and assembled to final state. But do not worry, every year will only take a few rounds, when players will use their cards. At the beginning, you must sort out basic modules and cards with help from the deck. All other cards are shuffled and set aside. So far, players are not dealt any cards, as they get only one basic module and ten megacredits. Use the dice to determine, who will be the starting player. Dice will then show throughout the game, which year you are currently playing.

At the beginning of the game, as well as at the beginning of each year, player gets five more megacredits and draw cards back up to five. Each participant places basic module in front of himself. A new recruit is placed on it – a white piece from common stock. This is their first station inhabitant.

Space Station - game in progress

In his turn, each player can always make one action before passing word to next opponents in order clockwise. The choice is out of six options, including ability to skip round and play no card at all.

Much more interesting for us are active options, in which player can, of course, primarily build a new part of the station. To do this, they can use card from their hand. Orientation of each card is given by arrows indicating the entrance and exit to its section. First, however, player needs to pay six megacredits for it. Discount (one megakredit) is provided to player, who connects a module to other one of the same color.

Anybody can also play an event card, which usually aims to harm any of the opponents, but it can sometimes bring money or victory points. They are often used to manipulate crew or damage enemy modules. For this purpose, violet (temporary) and red (permanent) tokens are in offer and they are placed on damaged module. Its owner can repair it for action and three megacredits. Such a damaged module can not be used till then.

Space Station - game in progress

All other cards, however can be freely used for their effect, most of them only once per year. There are exceptions for support actions. Overall, a year takes relatively long time, because players are not only playing five cards, but they can do a lot of other actions with their stations. Especially in the later rounds with more modules build, time to finish the one year gets significantly longer and longer.

Once all players have consecutively passed, end of the year follows. At this point, a scoring for majority of individual types of modules happens (but damaged ones do not count!). Player with the highest number always receives one victory point. All temporary damage tokens are removed and starting player token is moved to next player.

Game then continues with new 5 megacredits income, plus one additional crew member for each people producing module. Fight lasts until the end of last year. Each player adds their accumulated victory points and whoever has most of them is the winner.

Space Station - game in progress

Although Space Station takes place in such a dangerous environment without oxygen, where would you expect the cooperation of all stakeholders, each of players is building his own station and plays solely for himself. Everyone else is a competition for him and he would prefer to shot them down from orbit and have a monopoly. But that’s not allowed unlike other measures, that can be taken.

Players can build their station, yet they constantly encounter some misfortune. But this is usually no accident, because it is mostly a malicious act and sabotage coming from the ranks of their rivals. Game benefits here a great atmosphere and tension, that is constantly present in the match.

Space Station obviously requires a certain type of player, who likes to harms others and does not mind harsh play. Similarly as a recent review of Brawling Barons, game clearly focuses on attacking players on the opponent’s assets. Lovers of quiet building, who do not like bashing others, should stay away from this game.

Space Station - cards

All of these options are decided at the beginning of the turn, when players get cards into their hands. There is no compensation whatsoever in the game, so if you get only actions, you may be harming others, but you get nothing out of it for yourself. And when you get into such a bad luck, you can hardly make up for it in subsequent rounds. Now here comes also the biggest complaint, we have when it comes to playing Space Station – it is very random.

Fortunately rules (and authors) were aware of that and they give us two more ways to avoid such luck dependence. Especially important is this at beginning of the game, when players can take ten cards and choose five from them, which they can then keep. This option greatly reduces problems with deficit of the other at the beginning of the game. Second option is market, where a replacement card can be bought. There is always five cards each year on offer there, no more added.

A large number of cards bring with them apart from said randomness also variability. This is guaranteed, because you are always working with only five cards in hand. Game has no differences between number of players, because it’s always a fair fight, when everyone harms everyone. Money is public, so players know, how well others are doing and they even may need to conspire against the strongest player. The actual game last about an hour due to the longer years near the end, when there is more cards in the game. However, as players constantly alternate in doing one action, everybody is involved at all times.

Space Station - cards

Processing is simple, when it comes to graphics. However, all tokens are very interestingly conceived, because they have really interesting space shapes. The rules describe everything clearly and simply on a sheet of A5 paper, which is enough to explain this game.

Space Station is very conflicting game, that can not do without attacking opponents. This is a stepping stone for its greatest advantages, but also disadvantages. It will certainly entertain fans of card games, where something is constantly happening. Based on all said, Space Station is excellent game, if you want to do a sabotage in space.

DesignerJacob Fryxelius
ArtistDaniel Fryxelius, Jonathan Fryxelius, Tanja Hofvander
Year Published
# of Players2 - 6
User Suggested # of Players Best with 6 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players
(9 voters)
Playing Time60
Mfg Suggested Ages12 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(5 voters)
Language DependenceModerate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(5 voters)
CategoryCard Game, Science Fiction
MechanicHand Management, Pattern Building, Worker Placement
ExpansionSpace Station: Core Modules
FamilySetting: Future Timeline (Fryxgames)
Primary NameSpace Station

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Space Station – adventures in orbit
Final word
Players are asked to build a Space station in this game. It should be the latest and greatest of them all. But the threat of terrorism and sabotage from other countries with space program is really high. In addition to the modules, there is also a number of events among cards, that allow you to attack other stations (and cause damage to modules, so they can not be used) or benefit from certain situations. Otherwise, players care about their crew and try to build their station with regard to the composition of individual sections. The game provides a great variability, but it's pretty random. Fortunately, there are rules, that diminish it. Fun is happening in all the recommended numbers. Thanks to all this, Space Station is an excellent choice for players, who like conflicting card games.
Reader Rating0 Votes
interesting tokens
simple rules
game runs quickly
large number of cards
expansion rules reduce influence of chance
good in all the number of players
plenty of ways to help yourself and spoil work of your enemy
very conflicting (con for some players only)
luck has influence on the outcome
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