Okay. I won't lie to you. Space-based thematic games are not usually my favorite. So when Aaron really wanted to try Galaxy Trucker yesterday, it took a little bit of convincing for me to try it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this game - easily in my top ten thematic games. Players are the aforementioned galaxy truckers and build a spaceships from scraps. Then, the ships must endure a rigorous space odyssey (pun intended) full of hazards, rewards, and surprises. Whatever remains of the ships and cargo at the end is sold for credits. The player with the most credits wins the game!
I'm all about lists, so here are a few major pros and cons from my initial experience playing Galaxy Trucker.
Easy (and fun) to learn - This rulebook is FUNNY. Sincerely enjoyable to read with excellent, helpful visuals. There is also a shorter, learning version for new players that exposes them to all the elements of the game quickly, enabling them to strategize and enter their first real game confidently.
I feel pretty - The art is great. Nothing crazy or exceptional, but overall high quality and exactly what one would expect from a highly-rated thematic game.
Replay-ability - There are many variables in this game that make it very replay-able: tiles used for building ships, cards that determine what the space journey entails for pilots, dice rolls, player sabotage, etc. Additionally, it is not as mentally exhausting and time-consuming as many thematic strategy games, thus lending itself to multiple plays per session.
My mom says I'm special - The ship building phase of this game is super unique. Many games have development phases such as this, but it is a mad-grab from a common "scrap-pile" that provides players opportunity for sabotage (and self-sabotage). The timer advances at player discretion and can be used to impact others' builds. This might have been my favorite part of the game.
Get wrecked - Players' ships WILL get damaged/destroyed. If you're not someone who can stand to see their strategy torn apart in 10 seconds flat, this is not the game for you. It is also darn near impossible to create a pretty, perfectly connected ship. Ambiguity tolerance is a must as a Galaxy Trucker.
That ship has sailed - Players build three ships and take each on a journey across the galaxy. The ships get increasingly larger and the obstacles increasingly difficult. Players use a different outline to build their ship each round (mats with the outline are shown on the sides in the picture below - phases I, II, & III). I would enjoy the game more if the base game had more options for ship-building. These exist in expansions, however, and I would encourage giving them I try (I certainly will be).
Overall, I'd give Galaxy Quest and 8.5/10. Frantic builds, hazardous trips, and sweet sabotage make this tight thematic game a blast from beginning to end (again, pun intended. They are usually intended).