What: a rather silly romp through space in which everyone loses in some way
Players: two to four truckers
Time: at least an hour
People: bit difficult for older players, but amusingly frantic and simple for most people
Remember: this is the opposite of chess. It invokes a real sense of panicky tension
Available: £40 from Amazon here or $50 here
Why we recommend it
It’s the distant future, and you’ve just landed a job as a long distance haulage trucker.
In this slapstick vision of what’s to come, Galaxy Trucker pits players against one another to build a ship that carries them through space and earns them loads of cash.
Players start off with a big shared pile of hidden ship components, and all at once are given the chance to grab one piece at a time to build the best ship they can.
Build it quickest, and you get to leave first. So hurry.
Take too long, and you won’t have time to finish it – plus you’ll start your trip a few days late.
Grab all sorts of crap, from batteries to guns to engines to sleeping quarters. The idea is to get something that will keep you alive as you hurtle through space.
There’s just no time for anything flashy.
Don’t like the sound of that? No worries. There’s a reward for prettiest ship, given to the player with the cleanest vehicle – the one with the fewest number of ugly protruding rods poking out the side.
It’s almost impossible to build a ship that has enough bits to do what you need it to do, and that’s kind of the fun of Galaxy Trucker.
There’s a shortage of pieces too, meaning you’ll end up making questionable compromises as you panic about trying to get your crappy ship together before time runs out.
Most people’s ships will be a hastily-assembled collection of random junk, woefully unprepared for the savage journey through uncharted space you’ll all be embarking upon.
Next up, the quickest player (you) gets to go through a selection of eight cards one at a time to reveal what horrors lie in wait.
To kick things off we uncover an abandoned space station. Waheyy.
As your ship was finished first, you can send some fellas aboard to gather the booty on board.
But oh shit – you only have four astronauts, and it’ll take six to drag it all on board. Someone else takes up the offer instead.
Next you stumble upon some annoying bastard pirates.
Thankfully, you plastered your ship with purple guns poking out of every surface you could find.
With just enough firepower to see them off, you’re able to shoot them down and claim the cash reward – but this takes time and so it sets you back further behind the others.
The new leader then discovers some resource-laden planets, and decides to land her ship to grab the best the system has to offer. By the time you get there, there’s only one planet left. You take what you can and move on.
BAM. Meteor storm.
All of you get shattered by three small rocks and two fat ones.
The first two little buggers bounce off your ship, and you desperately manage to shoot the big ones down before they hit.
Somehow the last tiny strike finds its way to an exposed vent of your ship, tearing apart the entire left wing of your construction and bringing with it the lives of four of your chaps, half your ship’s power and all of the resources you’ve plundered so far.
This is often how Galaxy Trucker plays out. It’s regularly a case of ‘whose ship got fucked up the least?’, rather than ‘who managed to make it through untouched?’.
It’s a funny series of disasters as you watch gleefully as your rivals suffer critical blows to their cleverly-laid plans and race forward to almost certain victory – before an unlikely epidemic breaks out, with your ship’s habitation quarters so disastrously designed that half your men die out in a heartbeat.
There are lots of ways to make money.
Arrive at your destination quickest. Survive with the prettiest ship. Shoot down wanted raiders. Salvage lucrative abandoned wrecks. Sell the stacks of contraband goods you managed to accumulate along the way.
There’s no sure fire way to success.
Do whatever you can to earn cash, and make sure you don’t end up getting destroyed as you try to get as much of it as you possibly can.
It’s a silly, playful and riotous game that can often see players limp across the finish line, with little more than a box of batteries strapped to a capsule containing two very scared astronauts, aimlessly floating through space with no engines, no protection and a hull that’s been disastrously exposed to the void.
Play with friends over a bottle of wine as a way to break up more serious sessions.
It’s probably not one for the pub, but it’s a laughter-filled weekend favourite that brings a silly edge to strategy board games nights that can sometimes feel a bit heavy duty.