Chimera Station is an alien splicing, space station worker placement game, that allows the workers to change based on upgrades, or lose their upgrades based on not being able to feed the workforce.
Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games
Designer: Mark Major
Artist: Brian Patterson
Game Type: Worker Placement
Game Type: Euro
Game Type: Resource Management
Game Type: Meeple Specialization
Initial Year of Release:
Number of Players: 2-4
Theme and What is it?
Chimera Station is an alien splicing, space station worker placement game, that allows the workers to change based on upgrades, or lose their upgrades based on not being able to feed the workforce. The theme of aliens being the workers is interesting if, for nothing else, it seems many of my friends lament the fact that there just aren’t enough good space-based games. Objection your honor, counsel is soliciting an opinion. (This is their opinion, but since we are an opinion based site, I’ll allow.)
The workers are at the forefront of Chimera Station. They can be manipulated to have powers that are not inherent in being an alien. The four base powers (midsections) are doesn’t require food, takes extra resources, can force another worker to vacate space, or take immediate victory points. These are the initial power-ups, but if you add a second mid-section, you can power-up those power-ups further. It seems from most of what I have read or viewed, there is a lot of talk about the plastic being a gimmick. I say phooey. It allows for building your workers in different and meaningful ways.
I am generally predisposed to like TMG offerings. They put out quality, and the people at TMG are approachable by the media and public alike. Therefore, when they put out a neat looking game, like Chimera Station, I am also interested from the getgo. This is no different. Chimera Station has a cuteness to it that hides a depth of play that while may not be meaty enough for some CIV gamers, can easily hit the spot for everyone else. When I first saw it on Kickstarter, I wanted to like it, and thankfully, I do.
Game Build Quality
The forefront of this offering is the workers. They are plastic aliens that are able to morph into more powerful beings. As said before, the “gimmick” is the upgrading process that actually can be seen. I disagree with this assessment of calling it a gimmick. The pieces just work to show you what you are doing at any given moment. And, they work well. The downside is, while they are high-quality plastic, the fusion or fission of the pieces can be difficult for even the most nimble strong hands. I hope they have more give with more plays, but that also means they would not last as long. I am not sure what the best solution would be under these circumstances. One of the people I played with, suggested magnets, but that would raise the price of the print, and therefore the game enormously. The quality of the pieces is the best part, and the biggest drawback currently.
I am possibly the world’s worst art critic. I truly appreciate beautiful art, and in some games, it is what draws me in. That is not the case in Chimera Station. I do not find the art particularly exciting, for the workers, or the game. It is adequate and cute. Now, the reason I am the worst art critic is this, adequate and cute, is more than good, it is just right in this game. While I would prefer a masterpiece of art, artistically speaking, it would detract from the game if the workers were not the focus. Therefore, while I am not a fan of the art, I believe the artist designed the art for the game in a meaningful manner that was precisely what the game required. Therefore, do not read this section, I am wrong.
Fusing and fising (is that a word?) aliens together and apart feels good, and at times, when you cannot feed your aliens, quite bad, which is again good. I liked this game. It induced groans more than once, and the scoring was climatic. I thought for sure I had won. But no, I was 30 points behind the first place for a second-place loss. I prefer tight scoring generally, but in Chimera Station, it seems most of us had no idea until we were counting victory points, who has actually won. That is a win in and of itself.
Age Range & Weight
A young child could play the game without many strategies and do adequately enough to possibly enjoy it. For a more strategic game, I would say an “old” 10 and up would be a good range. The game is not difficult, but then figuring out what you just did and how it affects all your pieces can be a bit cumbersome for a younger person.
I just watched Alien: Covenant, and while playing this game, I kept thinking of the Alien being spliced with different genes much alike happened in the Ridley Scott film. Each different iteration would be caused by new genetic information, and therefore would have different strengths and weaknesses. I enjoyed Chimera Station. The morphing aliens is a unique twist in worker placement games, and I am curious what the mechanic will do for future games. For now, although I liked Chimera Station, and also the changing worker mechanic, I am not sure how much playtime it will get. Of the group I played with, several said it did not feel “meaty” enough for them. This could be fixed in expansions, but for now, I do understand the criticism. The depth of the game is not overly deep, and for that reason, it seems to have missed the mark with some players. For me, I am content using leaf arms to make food.
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