We began at seven o’clock on Saturday. I had taken precautions and read through the rules online, taking notes as I did. Joe also had read through them, and Adam too had some knowledge of the rules. Sam, however, had no idea of what the game entailed. As it turned out, this was like turning up to base camp in Bermuda shorts and flip-flops.
|I am delighted at the clarity and thoroughness of my notes|
After the rules were explained, the game got under way at around eight. We slowly built up our technologies and water tanks, when I decided to break free of Low Earth Orbit and set off to a new planet. Or moon. I landed on Deimos at 9.20 – the first of our group to successfully touch down on alien land! I was so excited, I wanted to text someone to boast about my achievement. Unfortunately, the only people I knew who’d be interested were with me in the room at the time.
Soon after that, Adam colonised the Moon, and Joe set off towards Jupiter or something. It’s hard to say, because he then looked at his cards, said “oh, fuck” and before long his ship had disintegrated. Sam, meanwhile, was getting frustrated. He had two thrusters to build his rocket with, but both were rubbish. They were solar sails, and one barely used any fuel until you needed to perform a “burn” at which point it became very inefficient. The other barely got you anywhere at all.
|I successfully identify the playing area on the table|
Adam and I continued to build up our extra-terrestrial concerns, while Joe tried again at the outer Solar System. But at 10.45 Sam discovered he couldn’t land on Mars with the ship he had, and so he resigned from the game rather than go all the way back to Earth and build a new one.
After Sam left, Adam and Joe began to prospect in the Asteroid Belt and they discovered just how mean a die can be, as one asteroid after another came up blank. Meanwhile (twelve minutes past eleven), I got some Glory points for taking a human crew to an asteroid (Phaethon) and safely back. The ticker-tape parade and extensive media coverage had to remain in my imagination, though, as Joe and Adam were too busy trying to find anywhere worth claiming as their own to acknowledge my epoch-defining achievement.
|Joe and I discuss the rules. Adam can barely hide his excitement.|
The game struggled on. I headed back out to Phaethon, hoping to refuel and tackle the outer Solar System, but by the time I got there, it was midnight and I was exhausted. By now Adam had succeeded in finding another asteroid worth prospecting and Joe finally got a bit of luck with a dice roll and landed and prospected on his first extra-terrestrial lump of rock. It was ten past twelve. We had been playing for four hours.
I called an end to proceedings with barely any argument from Joe and Adam, and I counted up the scores. To be honest I thought I had won, but I forgot about the scores for different types of factories. My “D” factories scored nothing at all, but Adam and Joe had other types of factories, giving them eight points each. In the end, it was:
It was a game that promised a lot of geek-driven joy, but in the end did not deliver. Even I, who did quite well at the start thanks to some lucky rolls, found it quite a grind towards the end.
We ended the evening by ruefully admitting that we'll probably never play this game again, but I'm not sure. If I see someone setting this up at Stabcon, I may be tempted to join in. Assuming it's still early afternoon, that is.