The more I play board games the more I realize that they are a lot like movies. There are big budget titles and indie darlings. There are ones with big names, and ones by first-timers looking to make a splash. The movies most interesting of all to me are the cult classics. These movies are hidden gems that are underappreciated, except for their small core following. Eventually, their brilliance is discovered and the popularity explodes. Two such titles I can think of that fall into this category are The Princess Bride and The Goonies.
This got me to thinking. Are there cult classic games currently in the hobby? I think so, but I can’t really prove it, because it’s just kind of a gut instinct. However, if I had to provide you with some examples to back my claim I would list Vast: The Crystal Caverns and Space Race: The Card Game. Space Race is a clever little card game of space exploration for 1 to 4 players. It was a Kickstarter darling that did not see retail release, causing a lot of people to be sad they missed this project. Well, if you missed it, lucky for you, there is currently an expansion out called Interkosmos, and you can get the base game and expansion during this campaign! So what’s new in Interkosmos?
The first big change to the game is the addition of a fifth Space Program (or player). In the original game, you had the U.S., Russia, Europe, and Private Sector that you could play as. With the expansion, we now have the Chinese and their Taikonauts! Not only does this make the game playable with a larger group, it adds more theme to the game as China was the third country to put astronauts in space.
Second, you will now have achievements which can be completed and range in difficulty from having two of one type of card in your agency to using two immediate actions in one round. With only five available each game, you will now have to focus on completing specific tasks while still building the best space program. However, you will have to complete these tasks more quickly than your opponents or you will risk not scoring any points for them at all.
The third big change is an influx of new cards added to the universe. We now get to see famous people such as Alan Shepard, Jeff Bezos, Yang Liwei, and Vladimir Komarov. There is technology such as Mir, Goddard Space Flight Center, and Falcon 9.There’s also some fun breakthroughs like a Martian Colony and Landing on Venus. These cards expand the deck of cards dramatically and add so much more theme to the game that you can taste it!
The last and biggest change related to the game is the introduction of Scenarios! There are currently three Scenarios (with the potential for more in the form of Stretch Goals) that make the game so much more awesome. The Scenario I tried was called The Dawn of an Era. In this scenario, countries are at the start of the space race (appropriate!) and are competing in a technological arms race to establish supremacy. This means that you won’t be playing breakthrough cards like normal and will have to wait until the last round to make the best possible combinations. My wife and I really enjoyed playing this specific Scenario at two players because it made the game take on an even deeper historical context that you don’t always get in the base game. I’m not sure how well this Scenario would scale beyond three players, but I’m anxious to try it and other Scenarios.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the expansion, but I was pleased with every addition to the game. Jan Soukal and Michal Mikes took an already excellent game and found a way to make the universe bigger and better. In a hobby with so many space games (99% of them 4x or alien-based), it is refreshing to see a game steeped in history, actual people, actual technology, and actual events. This is my go-to space game and one you need in your collection if you have any love of space and exploration at all. If you already own the base game, pledge for the expansion. If you don’t own the base game, well you better be one of the first 1000 to pledge for the base and expansion, because you might never have a chance to own this game again! Highly recommended!
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Copyright 2017 Stuart Dunn