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Galileo Project Board Game Review

Galileo Project


WBG Score: 8.5

Player Count: 2-4

You’ll like this if you like: Ganymede, Starship Captains,

Published by: Sorry We Are French

Designed by: Adrien Hesling


Wow, what a game a game this is. 2022 has been an amazing year for games, but it seems to be ending on a huge combo heavy high! Galileo Project is the spiritual successor to Ganymede. A 2018 release, where players compete to get their settlers to Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter. Now, with Galileo Project, set 30 years later (in the game world) rival companies are battling it out to control Ganymede and the other three moons. Let's get it to the table and see how it plays.


Set-Up


First, place the main game board into the centre of the table. Then shuffle the Robot cards and draw five of these, placing them face up into the top row on the main board. Then do the same with the character cards, placing them on the bottom row. Then sort the technology tiles into the four types and lay them out on the board. Two of each for a two and three player, four for a four player game. Place the Z tile, on either side, next to these. Next, select four of the goal tiles and place them out on the board as well as the robotic project cards. Then place out the Megacredits and Energy tokens onto their dedicated spaces. Each player then takes their own player board as well as all the components in their colour, placing their four moon trackers onto the zero space. Then draw out some robotic project cards equal to the number of players plus one. Each player will choose one which will set their starting resources and the level of their first robotic project. You are now ready to play.

How it Plays


Players will now take it in turns to carry out up to three actions on their turn until either one player has acquired their tenth robot card, or the character deck becomes exhausted. Their are two tracks on the main board showing influence on either Earth or Mars. Your first available action, which is optional, is to spend a Megacredit to switch your marker to the opposite tracks. You would want to do this because your second available action, which is mandatory, is to hire either a character, acquire a robot, or develop a technology. If you are hire a character or acquire a robot, you can only do this for one that matches the colour of the track you are currently on. The cards are either red or blue, and you need to decide which card you want on your turn, move to the matching track, and then spend the required number of influence to take that card. The final action, which is also optional, is to claim one of the four goals, if you have reached it's requirements.


Each goal has space for up to three markers. The first person to place their marker can put it into the first space which will score more points then the second or third spot. So, this is a bit of a race. You can lower the requirements of a goal if you want to try and achieve it before the other players by spending energy. Each energy spent you can lower the requirements of one goal by one cost.

When you hire a character, you will immediately gain the influence shown on their card. Moving your marker on the influence track by the corresponding number. This influence is used to buy robots. So, you take the characters to get your influence up, then spend that influence on a later turn to acquire the robots. However, the character you hire will also give you an instant one shot ability or end game scoring condition. This is decided by your current position on the influence track. Each character card has a immediate ability shown on the top of the card and an end game scoring option on the bottom. These will either be red or blue, mixed up between the top and bottom of the cards. You will either carry out the top immediate ability if that matches your current track, or tuck the card under your player board for the end game scoring. At the start of the game you can only place two cards here, but you will have the ability to upgrade this during the game.


When you acquire a robot, you first pay the influence needed, making sure you are matching that robots influence colour to the current track you are on, and then you can place that robot into one of the four spaces around your own player board. Each robot card will show different moon images. You can place the robot into either space that match this symbol. You can then resolve that robots ability which will be to either gain extra Megacredits, take an extra character and use one of their abilities, increase the level of one of your robots, or use one of the benefits on the Z tile. These vary from gaining extra credits, influence, energy, or characters, or you can increase the level of one of your existing robots, develop a new technology at a discount, or achieve one of the goals, even if you have not met the requirements yet.


The more robots you have of each type, the more you can use their action. For example, if you place your third miner robot, you will take three Megacredits when you place this card down instead of just one. This is the beginning of where the joy comes from in this game. Strap in!

Increasing the level of your robots is important for a number of reasons. As you add more robots to each moon, or when you increase an existing robots level, you can move the tracker at this moon up the corresponding number of places. As you move up the tracks, this will increase your end game score, but also brings additional benefits depending on the the different moon's.


At Jupiter you can develop your ability to acquire robots for a lower influence cost by spending Megacredit's. Europa's track allows you to gain energy. Ganymede improves your hiring a character ability by giving you the chance to resolve both benefits on the cards instead of one and build up to collecting up to six characters instead of the starting two for end game points. And Callisto increases the value of your most common robots at end game scoring. Either scoring one, two, or three points for each robot of your most common type.

Developing technology is the last main option available to you on your turn. Each technology has a requirement that needs to be paid shown on the top left, and then it can be placed above your player board. The different technologies offer various benefits, including gaining Megacredits, acquiring new Robot cards, being able to move up by two influence each time you choose to shift tracks, and using characters from the discard pile.


The game ends when someone has control of at least ten robots, or the character deck runs dry. At this point, you will complete the final round so all players have equal turns, and then score for each player position on the four moon trackers, characters they have hired, technologies they have developed, and goals they have achieved. Most points, unsurprisingly, wins.

Is it Fun?


Galileo Project builds on what made Ganymede so good, and turns the combo dial up to 11. Any game where your powers develop as you play and your ability to do more powerful things on your turn increases is generally a game I will enjoy. But you have to feel that you earnt this to make this a truly fulfilling experience. Galileo Project brings this feeling in a big way. Spending a Megacredit to move tracks to acquire a robot which when placed at a specific moon, allows you to increase a Robots level by using the Z tile, which in turn, allows you to fulfil one of the goals, increasing your end game points on both the Moons position and goal tracker is well, phew... incredibly satisfying!


So much in this game is about doing this particular action in order to do a second. Take card A to move on Track B. Planning out your turns in this way is deeply rewarding and leaves you with a huge sense of gratification. Especially if it means you end up winning the game. But even if you loose, just making your turns as efficient as possible and seeing development in your abilities as the game progresses will bring you great joy.

Some games with combo-tastic turns can create unnecessary complications by offering too much choice, in terms of the actions available to you on your turn. But in Galileo Project, this is not the case. Most of the time you will be simply hiring a character to increase your influence or using previously gained influence to acquire a robot to develop on the moon tracks. But within this simplicity, there is the feeling of a lot of choice and control. Of course, each time you chose a card, be that a character or robot, you are picking from one of five cards. And each card will have a different top or bottom affect if it is a character. And for the robot, the choice of which moon you want to develop, which type of robot you want, what their cost is, and what their current level will get you too. Which all starts with the colour of the card and determining which influence track you need to be on. There sure are some layers.


All of this plays over a 45 minute period, or a bit longer with more players. Giving you the feeling of playing a crunchy rewarding game, that is relatively simple to learn and play, but one that offers tense, exciting, and rewarding turns and game development. And as I said, all in under an hour. The holy grail of board games.

The set-up is simple, the gameplay is incredibly streamlined, and the learning curve is very low. I taught this to my nine year old son in under ten minutes, and he ended up beating me on his first play.


I love the way the game develops on the story from Ganymede. You won't especially feel this as you play the game. It's a little abstract in truth. But the theme they are trying to implement is interesting and everything looks bright and colourful. The components are all high quality and feel good to play with.


I would recommend this game to anyone who is looking to progress from their current collection of gateway games into something a little more complicated and rewarding. This is the perfect "next" game to play with someone new to the hobby, to show them what modern games are capable of. I would imagine most who play this will enjoy the combinations that you can develop, and will come away from the table wanting to play again and again to develop their understanding of the game and overall score. I certainly have struggled to get this one off the table, and can see this game easily making my top ten for 2022.

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