Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Kosmos Two Player Series - Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League by Heinrich Glumpler

 Perry Rhodan is a popular science fiction book serial in Germany. In the game, each player is a trader, moving his ship among the six planets of a solar system, picking up and delivering goods and passengers. Each delivery wins the player the currency of the galaxy, the Megagalax, and the first player to accumulate 70 Megagalax wins. At the start of the game each player has five cards in hand, one container for holding goods, and may replenish his hand by one card at the end of his turn.

Goods awaiting shipment

On your turn, you may execute up to two Planetary Actions, one Flight, and may play up to two Intervention cards. Planetary Actions are (1) load a container, (2) unload a container, or (3) buy a technology. Loading and unloading is pretty straightforward. You take all of the cards on your current planet that have the same destination and put them on your container card. Containers can only be loaded once until they reach their destination and are unloaded, at which point the container can be reloaded with goods destined for another planet. When you unload goods, you get paid the value of the cards in Megagalax and flip the cards over to reveal the next destination on the other side. If you flip two cards that have the same destination, they are removed from the game, meaning that the goods available for shipping is constantly dwindling.

Buying a technology requires you to pay Megagalax to play a card from your hand to the table in front of you. Technology includes things like additional Containers for shipping goods, additional replenishment actions so you can redraw more cards at the end of your turn, and cards that let your ship move faster, farther, or execute Planetary Actions from orbit. The first technology card you play cost 1 Megagalax, the second 2, and so forth.

Taking one Flight on your turn means moving your ship from planet to planet. At the start of your turn you roll a die and may move that far. If you roll a one, you get to roll again and add the new number. What's interesting is that traveling towards the star is more efficient than traveling away from it (gravity and all) so it's faster to travel inwards.

Intervention cards can be played out of your hand. They let you do things like steal goods from the other player, execute an additional flight, switch the positions of the two ships, load goods from another planet, and deliver a passenger for 3 Megagalax. They can be cancelled by the other player playing an identical card.

The star acts as a score track

Carol and I stayed pretty close during the game. There's a similarity to Jambo in that you constantly gain victory points and then must spend some to increase your abilities. I really enjoyed the planning that went into efficiently picking up and delivering goods and the way that clever card play could foil your opponent. We both added technology and moved cards quickly. As we approached the goal of seventy points, we were almost out of goods to ship. I managed to secure the last couple of valuable lots and made it to seventy just ahead of Carol.

Coming up: We switch gears and take a leisurely afternoon off in Gone Fishing.

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