Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Game Review: Jump Drive

So I picked up Jump Drive about a week ago. For those that aren't aware of the title, it's a standalone and faster game set in the Race for the Galaxy universe. This is more about the artwork, iconography, and gameplay than things like storyline. There is far more story to the other games(especially with expansions) than this, as this is a really fast game.

Here's an endgame tableau:

Now some that know the game are thinking Race is already fast. The more you expand it, the less that's true. This also has the advantage of having less actions to choose from. Yes, that's an advantage here.Because about halfway through, your choices kind of explode.

We still have simultaneous action selection. Each turn, the players have a few options: explore, build an improvement, settle/conquer a planet, or build and settle/conquer. In place of an improvement, there are also some cards(1/player) available for cheap every game(limit 1/player).

Ok, the explore action. You draw based on your explore icons(plus 2), and then discard equal to your explore icons. This is from your whole hand, not just what you drew, so everything can get swapped, and you get 2 more cards. And, the number of explore actions available is a shared pool, so in a full game, it COULD run out(I doubt it).

The solo build/planet actions have their own advantages. For building an improvement, you pay one less card. After you conquer/settle a planet, you draw a card. If you do both, you pay full cost(though the improvement can affect the planet), and don't draw.

How fast does the game move? Everything is scored each turn, so stuff continually scores for you. Games will last from likely 5-9 turns, depending on card draw and player choices, from what I've seen so far. There's a number of different engine options to build, and I know I haven't seen them all yet. Part of me wants one expansion, just to take it to a possible 6 players from the four max currently.

If you dig Race, but it's too long for some in your group, I'd suggest this as a fast option. It will take no more than a half hour, and that's with analysis paralysis.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

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