We rode rockets around the galaxy to earn our exploration badges in Space Park, the next game in our A-Z game shelf play-through.
Time: 20-30 Minutes
Designers: Henry Audubon
Artists: Brian Edward Miller
Publisher: Keymaster Games
In Space Park, players take on the role of explorers who are visiting beautiful sites around our galactic neighborhood. By collecting crystals, players can earn exploration badges with points and special powers to make their adventures even more rewarding. Whoever can collect the most points fastest will be the next great space explorer (and win the game).
Space Park is set up by first laying out the location tiles. The Starlight Station always sits to the one side of the board, but the other six locations are randomly placed out next to it to form a rondel of 7 locations. Then the crystals, point tokens, fast travel passes, controller, and scout are placed near the locations on the board where players will collect them. The three rockets are placed out on their starting spaces. The exploration badges are shuffled and a market of three placed out. Each player takes a sun (red) crystal and an exploration badge card from the deck into their hand. Once a start player is chosen, the game is ready to begin.
On their turn, the player will choose a location with a rocket to visit. They will take the action associated with that spot, and then move the rocket to the next available location, moving it clockwise around the board until it comes to a location unoccupied by another rocket. At three of the locations (Cosmic Canyon, Lunar Woods, and Celestial Seas) the player will simply take a crystal or two, with the color and number depending on the location. At Fusion Falls, players can turn in a sun crystal for a point. At Starlight Station the player can pick up a new badge to add to their hand. And at Outpost 13, they can turn in the required crystals to earn a badge from their hand.
The last space, Astral Arcade, gives the player a fast travel pass ticket and the controller for Scout. They also get to place Scout at a new location on the board. Whenever any player activates the location with Scout, the player with the controller gets a bonus.
The rockets do not belong to any one player, but instead they represent the actions available to a player that turn. They can use a fast travel pass before they choose their action to move any rocket one space forward, giving themselves another option … or blocking other players from a given spot.
The badges give the players points, but many also have special abilities the players can use when they visit specific locations.
The game continues until a player reaches 20 points or more. At that point players finish the round so that all players have the same number of turns, and then they tally up their points. Whoever has the most points, wins.
I backed Space Park on Kickstarter, and (as usual for me) I was 100% drawn in by the art. The images reminded me of NASA’s Exoplanet Travel Bureau imagery, and I was delighted to see similar art in a game.
Of course a game is more than its art, and Space Park is a quick-playing game with interesting decisions. I like how the rockets move around — you don’t “own” any one rocket, but you hope that they land on certain locations before your turn. The game can be a little frustrating at the higher player counts because the board is always going to change so much that you can’t plan your turn ahead of time. However, the choices are fairly simple, so it’s easy to recover. Plus I like that the fast travel passes allow you to mitigate some of that randomness, since you can often get a rocket to a spot where you can do something.
Three Quick Questions
How is it as a 2-player game? Space Park works well at 2-players. It’s a bit less chaotic than with higher player-counts, but that also means that you can plan your turn ahead of time.
How about the art and component quality? The art is amazing in Space Park — it was the first thing that drew me to the game. The components are great quality, with neat rockets and chunky crystal pieces. The only thing that feels a little out of place is Scout, as a cardboard cut-out next to the 3D rockets, but that is a minor complaint.
Will this stay in my collection? Yes, that’s an easy yes. Space Park is a fun filler-length game with beautiful components, great decisions and amazing art.