Space. Cowboys. Starships. What’s not to love? … Do a job, fly your ship, and don’t get lost in hyperspace!
Publisher: Little Rock Games
Designer: Olivia Dunlap
Designer: Joseph J. Williams
Artist: Kevin L. Cates
Game Type: Storytelling
Game Type: Hand Management
Game Type: Take That
Initial Year of Release: 2019
Age Range: 13+
Expected Playtime: 90-120 min
Number of Players: 3-5
Theme and What is it?
Space. Cowboys. Starships. What’s not to love? Tell a story about your favorite shabby-looking bovine wrangler with a heart of gold while he unsuccessfully plays a local official the fool or about a crew of misfits just trying to make their way through the galaxy. Do a job, fly your ship, and don’t get lost in hyperspace!
The goal of Galactic Scoundrels is to have the most money at the end of the game. But for me, if you can tell an entertaining story, that all the more important.
Separate the decks. Shuffle the 2000-credit ships, deal one to each player, and shuffle the deck. Give each player a 1000-credit card and shuffle each color of money cards (Ep IV, V, VI) into their own piles. Shuffle the Galactic Scoundrel deck and deal 5 to each player. Shuffle the remaining decks into their own piles (Jobs, Crew, Cargo).
The game is played in rounds, each with four phases: Job Opportunity, Winning the Job, The Job, and The Spaceport.
During Job Opportunity phase, a Job card is turned over. The players roll dice to determine how much the job is worth.
To win the job, then they play a hand of modified poker based upon the cards in their hand, bluffing or telling the truth to gain or avoid the job.
The Job phase is the meat of the game where the player who won the job rolls dice to determine how many challenges he must face to complete it. That player determines which ship to use and crew to take with him to complete the job. The other players take turns to play cards as challenges for the job-winner to overcome or possibly help him — for a price of course.
If the job-winner overcomes all the challenges, he wins the pot plus a bonus for any remaining cargo or passengers. If the job-winner fails and runs away, the job is up for grabs by the remaining players.
Finally, in The Spaceport phase, the players have three options, taking any or all of them: Scavenge, Buy a Ship, Hire Crew. In the Scavenge action, the players who didn’t win the previous job can get new cards and play for an unfinished mission. Buy a Ship and Hire Crew are where players may spend their money to acquire better ships and round out their crew.
The rounds continue until there are no more money cards in Ep VI. The players finish the last job and total up the amount of money and ship cards they have.
The game looks great and love the theme given I’m a big fan of Star Wars and Firefly, same as my group. The “storytelling” component though is the questionable part.
Game Build Quality
Galactic Scoundrels consists of cards and dice. The cards are primarily playing card size with a stiff core and nice finish. There are also some oversized cards used for player aids, not as sturdy but of similar finish. The dice are standard d4’s, nothing bad about them.
As I said before, the artwork is great. Evocative of the theme and consistent between box, rulebook, and game. It reminds me of some sci-fi posters I got a number of years ago.
If you love the theme and storytelling, then you’ll get a lot from the game. The components are there to facilitate the game but without the storytelling aspect, the game will fall apart as mundane.
Age Range & Weight
Age range is 13+ but I think misses the mark considerably. This might be to address small components in a foreign market but inherently the theme doesn’t warrant such a high age. It all comes down to who is playing the game and how appropriate you are in describing the story.
I would put this game down to 10+ or even 8+ for just the basics of the game and ability to play along with the story. 10+ is probably more appropriate with strategic aspects of which cards to play to get you the most money on the job.
Overall, this is a great game. I am a bit biased as this game is geared towards a lot of things I love: roleplaying, the theme (Star Wars/Firefly), a bit randomness/unpredictability. The rules were kind of clunky, having to refer back to the rulebook throughout the game to be sure we understood what was happening but it didn’t inhibit the fun.
The rulebook though was a little out of order in my opinion — if I am going to learn a new game, all the important stuff should be up front with additional details at the end, not requiring a person to skip all over to get the gist of the game. Similar to the Gloom series but more so storytelling is a major component to the game — without it, the game will suffer so be aware of that when looking at the game for your group.
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