GTM #227 - Return to Space!
by AEG

Space Base placed you in the role of a commodore of a thriving space base, deploying ships into various sectors of space to grow, colonize, and find new resources. This was done through cards that activated based on certain dice rolls. What made Space Base exciting was that you also could gain resources on other opponents’ turns, and the selective upgrading of certain sectors could create combo engines that would fuel you ahead of your opponents.

Would you focus on solely the low numbers such as 1-6 that hit every roll?  Or the higher values such as 10, 11, and 12 that don’t roll as often, but have much greater rewards?   You can also spread your values to hit more often across the numbers, but with less reward on each.  Space Base gives players lots of strategies to try out.

And now, Space Base returns this March with Space Base: The Emergence of Shy Pluto.  This expansion is not a normal “add some more cards” expansion, this is a “Saga expansion” which introduces storytelling to Space Base!

Saga expansions tell a story while introducing new cards to your games. Instead of dumping 50 new cards into the various decks, the story deck introduces a subset of cards with the rules for those cards. This highlights the cards for a scenario and allows players to become accustomed to them before those cards enter regular play. In theory this should reduce the time players spend making decisions about which cards to draft.

A strange new galactic body has emerged within the Milky Way. The greatest minds of The United Earth Services find themselves befuddled by the sudden appearance of Shy Pluto. Get the crews to their stations - it’s time to deploy your ships.

When you play The Emergence of Shy Pluto, you will learn what dangers scientists have unleashed in their study of faster than light travel.  Players do this by adding collections of certain cards from the expansion in a controlled way. The story deck will provide certain trigger events which permit the addition of more cards from the Discovery Deck (this is where all of the new ships are stored. Ship collections are divided by garish Stop cards, which plainly tell you to stop and look no further so as not to spoil the rest of the story.

For instance, in some cases a special marketplace of cards may be set up from the Discovery Cards from which players may draft specifically chosen cards. This can fundamentally change the game as you play that scenario. Or the method for choosing the starting may be altered, giving you a random cards from a few specially selected cards with new abilities that allow you to start with something you have never seen before.

This expansion includes some interesting new abilities of course, such as abilities that also feature “the hard way.”  For instance, a space may give you 2 income whenever you roll an 8, but it gives you 6 income if you got the 8 by rolling two 4s.  Some new cards have “variable sectors” which means that a card with a 8+ could be placed in your 8 sector or any higher sector.  There is a great deal of potential for combos with all of these new abilities.

The Saga expansion has been designed in such a way that nearly all of the components of the game may be added to your existing Space Base cards and played normally, or you can restack the various decks and replay the story should you choose. This can be a benefit when introducing new players to the new contents they have never experienced before.

Space Base has been acclaimed for being a dice building game that keeps players engaged throughout the game, with every roll being important.  Shy Pluto introduces even more new abilities that trigger on other players turns, while all the players face the challenges that will come through the story.

All of this is wrapped up in a fun and light hearted narrative set in Space Base’s adventurous science fiction future. Featuring game elements designed by John Clair, art by Chris Walton, graphics by Kris Aubin, and words by Shawn Carmen there’s a lot to enjoy in this expansion.