2019, and a promise to post more frequently than 2018… shouldn’t be too difficult.
In early December I received a long awaited Kickstarter. A re-print of a solo game I had heard about on a Facebook group. Deep Space D-6 from Tau Leader Games, designed by Tony Go. I had also opted for the expansion set which adds a rescue mission with new rules and cards.
The game is solo play only. Solo play being an option I deliberately look for now in my board games. It’s also very compact and states a quick play time, making it excellent for taking on your travels.
- Players: 1
- Age: 10+
- Play time: 30 or more minutes
- Designer: Tony Go
- Publisher: Tau Leader Games
So what’s it about?
You’re the captain of the starship UES Crypsis, on a routine patrol, when you respond to a distress signal. Once you board the ship you find yourself trapped. You and your crew must survive a number of threats until a rescue fleet arrives. Once you start playing the game, it’s actually easy to start coming up with your own back stories, particularly as you play a game and the threat cards start to be played.
Inside the compact box – measuring approximately 7 x 4 x 1.5 inches – are 4 starship deck plans, 54 threat cards, 2 tracker cubes, 7 dice, the infirmary card and 12 page rule book.
The starship deck plans are printed on thick board 5 x 8 inches, which is edged and taped across the centre fold. They’re printed on both sides, deck on one side, additional information on the other. These are very well made, like a standard big game board, so I’m sure will stand up to a lot of use and folding.
The threat cards are glossy 1.75 x 2.5 inch cards, printed in red and black. In fact I haven’t mentioned the art style yet, which is all red and black and very minimalist, almost old school gaming style. I really like it. It’s unique. And I’m guessing makes things a lot easier for the print and play option for the game.
There are 6 crew dice, 5 faces representing a different type of crew member – Commander, Tactical, Science, Medical, Engineering – and the 6th face representing a threat being detected on the ships scanners. The dice are all etched and coloured, again with a good quality feel.
The tracker cubes are small clear coloured plastic cubes.
Overall, for such a small game, the quality of the components is great. Even the box is designed like a book, with thick board and magnets to hold the hinged lid in place.
I’ve now played 3 games of Deep Space D-6, although I can’t really count the first one as I messed up the rules. My fault for skim reading, and not the fault of the rule book!
So, how does it play? Well, once you read the rules properly, it’s quite straightforward.
The game is a resource allocation style game where the dice rolling is really secondary to assigning your crew to deal with threats.
There’s an initial set up where you select your ship – I started with the Halcyon as it’s recommended for beginners as a good all rounder. The trackers are set on the board for the hull strength and the ships shields. The infirmary card is placed to the side of the ship. The threat deck is shuffled and the first 2 threat cards drawn.
Threats can be internal (on-board the ship), or external (attacks or natural events). Internal threats are placed on the left of the ship and remain in play until they are resolved. External threats are placed on the right of the ship against the relevant threat level. External threats must be destroyed and will reduce in threat as you attack them, and move down the threat track.
The game round plays in a series of stages.
Gather your available crew. Roll the 6 crew dice – if the scanner icon comes up, those dice are placed on the scanning track at the top of the ship board. Fill the scanner track and a new threat card is immediately drawn.
The remaining dice are your available crew, with the icons determining the station they’re assigned to.
Assign your crew dice to the stations around the ship. Use the crew to resolve threats currently in play. Internal threats are usually resolved by assigning a certain number of crew members. For external threats it could be the same, or you may need to fight. This means assigning Tactical crew and firing your lasers. The strength of a threat is in the top left corner of the card. Each hit from the lasers reduces the threat and the card is moved down the threat tracker on the right side of the board. Reduce the threat to zero – remove the threat.
On certain ships, some crew can be switched to another another area of the ship allowing you to deal with bigger threats. The example I had was the Commander, who can switch to work in any other area.
Once crew have been assigned and their actions completed, draw a new threat card from the deck and place it around the ship.
Roll the black threat die and resolve any triggered threats. Threats are triggered on certain dice rolls shown on the card. Roll that value and the threat on the card occurs.
Gather all the crew dice and go back to the first stage again.
Once you get into the swing of the stages above, a round goes by quite quickly.
Winning… and losing
During play you’ll also be tracking shields and hull points on your ship using the 2 little cubes. Luckily both can be repaired by your Science and Engineering crew.
To win the game you need to meet 3 conditions;
- the threat deck is empty
- all external threats are destroyed
- the ship has 1 hull point left.
Which is a challenge. At least in the games I’ve played so far.
So far I’ve enjoyed my games of Deep Space D-6 and I’m looking forward to trying to come up with a strategy to win the game. The game’s easy to set up, quick to get into and provides a bit of a brain teaser as you decide where best to assign your crew.
There are some rules for changing the difficulty level of the game, which will ensure longevity. Plus, I have the expansion set to include into games. But I’ll leave that until I’ve had more success!
All in, a highly recommended solo game.