2-4 players, Competitive, Pick up and Deliver Style
Designer: Matthew Dunstan, David Short
Artwork: Victor Perez Corbella
Overview of Gameplay
In Scorpius Freighter each player will be controlling a specific space ship and 4 person/alien crew. You will be utilizing your crew members to activate a plastic ship mini on the board which will move one of the ships around three different rondels. Where the ship stops determines what action you can take during your turn. These actions will vary from acquiring little square cardboard tokens that can be placed on your ship player mat and upgrading your crew to collecting resources based on what tokens you have acquired to your ship already.
Once one of the three ships makes one complete revolution around the rondel the player that moves it to that point has to place one of their precious resources on that particular ship mini. Once a ship has collected 4, 5 or 6 (depending on player count) resources then game ends and you calculate points to find the winner.
Win Condition /Length
So the win condition as mentioned above is kinda neat, well the way the game ends is neat. Placing those colored cubes on those ship minis is really cool and thematic to the game. I have mentioned this many times before that I don’t much care for the victory points win condition in games however and this one ultimately is set up this way. After all is said and done you are left to calculate all the possible VP combinations that you have acquired and add up the points for each player to determine the winner.
The game actually plays fast, especially a two player game. You will whip out turns super fast since there are usually only a couple options of movement per rondel. Once you get the iconography down on what each image means then you will blaze through turns and before you know it you are already placing that last resource cube harkening the end of game. A two player game for us takes about right at an hour with 3 and 4 player taking a tad longer for experienced players.
Setup COULD have been a bear with this game, what with all the tons and tons of square cardboard pieces you will have to setup in piles. Luckily the insert in the box keeps everything super organized into their respective piles so you can easily pop them all out and set them up easy peasy. That detracts a ton from the setup AND takedown time which just goes to show what a great benefit a good insert can be to a game.
I really, really love the components and gameboards. The main board loves great with the icons and colors they used and then add the awesome plastic ship minis that you end up adding the little colored wooden cubes to. And there are even little perfectly sized spots to sit the cubes in like they are actually carrying cargo, which is just neat. There are a number of different ship player boards as well. Each of these are double layered (YES!) so your tokens fit in specific spots easily and don’t move when bumped. Also they are double sided! One side of each mat is the exact same for each with the beginner ship. However the other side is completely different for each with a variable setup of starting tiles to differentiate the ships and make the game more interesting.
I mean I LOVE double layered player mats to begin with. Any time I hear of a game with one it instantly intrigues me and throw in double sided variable player boards and my intrigue-ness goes crazy. In any case top notch components all around.
The box is also very well done. It includes a great insert that holds all the specific pieces together and has icons embedded in the insert to show where they go as well. Not only that but everything actually stays in place so you can store it on its side and not have to worry about all your stuffs getting mixed up which is always a plus.
Visual Appeal /Theme
We have a space theme here but in this one you are a rebel group that is smuggling goods around these three planets (rondels). After one complete revolution around, the government (the plastic ship mini) will snatch up one of your resources. Which is to say they are getting keen to your smuggling and punishing you. After they grab enough then they put a stop to your illegal smuggling completely and the game ends. It’s an interesting theme for sure and I love the way the rondel works in conjunction with the theme.
Visually the game is great looking for the most part. The art and colors on the main board look great and the art on the cards looks pretty good. The cards have all the different crew members that you can use in a game depicted on them with each one having a different special ability that can be activated in the game. Of course these usually have to do with scoring bonuses rather than contributing to the overall theme.
The rulebook is pretty good! It’s oversized with colored pages and easy to read text. There are a plethora of pictures and examples to peruse. Also end game scoring can be rather daunting at first as there are many different variables to consider. Luckily there is a nice visual representation of a player board showing exactly what scores and what doesn’t. This was a tremendous help in alleviating any confusion.
Table Talk/Fun Factor
So for much of the game you will be primarily focusing on your own playerboard ship. The only real confrontation that may raise some talk is when you snatch up a ship movement that another player was eyeballing. That said it is still fun to discuss the many, many different tokens that you can collect that you add to and differentiate your ships with. I mean there are a BUNCH of these tokens. And personally I think that adds a ton to the overall fun of the game. You are excited to see what new token will be drawn from the massive pile and it could change your strategy up a bunch. Actually now that I think about it, your strategies are always on the move with this game. Whether someone moves a ship that you were planning on moving, or someone snatches a particular contract or tile you wanted. It’s not a “Take-That” kinda game but your planning will always be on the move based around the actions of others for sure. And because of that you are never really bored. You are always thinking, always plotting some new way to gain the most points.
Optimal Player Count/Replayability
This kinda depends on how long a game you are craving. I mentioned earlier just how fast a 2 player game can be, and that is amazing if you are just wanting to whip out a quick game. But if you are craving a longer game you can play with up to four players and this will also increase the amount of resources you need to place on each ship but of course with more players you will be flying those ships around the rondels quicker too. But the biggest catch with more players is the fact that the actions you can take will be changing much more often. Take that as you will. I prefer a 2 player game personally but will never turn down more players either! Unfortunately there isn’t a built in solo mode for the game but you can play as two ships to learn the basic rules of the game before you delve into the main feast.
Overall I enjoyed this game quite a bit. Component-wise the game is glorious. The game play is interesting and all the many different tiles on the board are a bit overwhelming at first. If I were to point out one thing I didn’t much care for in the game it would be that even though there are a ton of tiles…….many of them are the same. Going through the resource tiles, you end up seeing a bunch of the exact same tiles pulled, which kinda kills that thrill of what’s next. Looking at the ship upgrade tiles, many of them seem rather…..un-thrilling. Almost like, “why would I spend a turn getting that only to need to spend more turns using it when I could just do this and this much faster and more efficiently”. Now of course this could just be ignorance on my part not knowing JUST how valuable these particular tokens are…..