original German edition
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Average Rating: 4.5 in 21 reviews
When I first played this game I did not like it. At first blush it seemed to rely on the same production mechanism as Settlers of Catan, and Starfarers of Catan. You have colony planets that produce goods much like Settlers and Starfarers, but the game does not rely on this mechanism to bring goods into the game.
After you lose the mindset that it is similiar to Settlers of Catan, it is a much better game.
There are several stacks of cards, each turn you 'explore' a stack of cards. Find a planet that sells goods for 1 or 2 coins, buy them, and sell those goods at a planet that offers 4 or 5 coins for those goods. Remember what stack each card is in, this is how goods and money are brought into the game.
This is not intended to be an exhauative review. I only mention this one small point to help new players who may be expecting a game similiar to the original. There are many more aspects to this game. There are some tough decisions to made, there is some combat (although not with the other player), there is competition with the other player to get advanced spaceship components, there is some player interaction, and there is some luck involved.
Good game. Buy it if you play 2 player games at all.
This is my favorite game to play of two player games that take a little longer to play. I really feel like I am in a Star Ship Theme when I play this game. It has the feel and mechanics of a regular Settlers of Catan game but with a lot of nice new features! I highly recommend it. We have played this game for a long time now, and we keep coming back to it.
Unless you play at warp speed this game takes more like an hour and a half then one hour but is worth it! This game is just fun. If you like Settlers of Catan's mechanics you will like the mechanics of this game. The basic game is you have a mother ship that you can accesorize with smaller ships, modules with special abililties, boosters to increase speed, and cannons to fight pirates. You have to choose the right ship for your situation and which areas of space are right for you to explore given your current financial status. There are lots of choices to be made balancing money, resources, and points. If you like games that make you think and capture your imagination then you to may want to fare into space.
The other reviews have said pretty much everything I would have said about this game's playability, components, etc.
I wanted to point out the documentation, of all things. This game comes with a 'Professor Easy' booklet, which walks you through the first several turns of your first game, telling you how to stack the cards in the piles, what to do, and why you're doing it.
Once we got through the 'Professor Easy' walkthrough, we knew how to play the game. I wish the two-player Settlers of Catan card game had come with a Prof. Easy book.
Add my vote to the other positive reviews of this game. I was given this as a gift for Christmas, but never felt motivated to play it - that was stupid, I sure missed out all this time. This is an excellent 2 player game, and like others, its one that a non-hardcoregamer significant other can enjoy too. It looks complicated, but really isn't. Like Carcassone, I'm adding this to my ever-growing list of recommended two player games.
I must agree with the majority of reviewers here who have given this game excellent ratings. The 'independent star trader' theme has always interested me. I have purchased and played several games on the subject through the years, and Starship Catan is in many ways the best I have seen so far. Another plus for me is that my wife likes the game and asks to play it. It is like Carcassonne and Taj Mahal in this respect, and has greatly increased the game's value in our household!
I also own and enjoy Starfarers of Catan, but the two games are very different. Starfarers is a 'big game' with a fairly lengthy playing time that casts the players in the role of empire builders. Starship Catan puts you in the role of a free trader piloting a single ship. The exploration aspect is there, and using decks of cards to simulate exploration of sectors of space is an excellent mechanic. The 'buy low, sell high' aspect is certainly there, along with the enjoyment of tinkering with your ship to give it that extra edge.
The game is essentially a race where the players are competing mostly against the game-generated universe rather than each other, but I think that is a good thing in this case, and it suits the theme well. After all, the fun in a space trading game comes primarily from taking on a Han Solo role, trying to make a fast buck in an uncertain galaxy in a ship where you can say you have 'made a few modifications myself' so that 'she has it where it counts, kid'.
This is by far the finest 2 Player game of the Catan card game series. It is a perfect family game as even my wife enjoys this one. I highly recomend this game. The game is fast, Fun and very replayable. I would like to see a expansion to add additional ships for more players.
Moving from my first exposure to Settlers to the two-player card game version led to my current addiction to games. So, when Starship, another Teuber, came out I had to get it. The Settlers Card Game has faded since my initial love affair, but I don't see THIS wonderful game becoming tarnished in the same fashion - Starship is just too darn fun! My wife loves the game, beating me as often as I beat her, and though there's some luck involved, memory and good resource management are large factors too. With so many different ways to earn Victory Points (you must have a mix in order to win), there are a lot of ways to win. I find that the moon player has the upper hand on modules, whereas the star player has the advantage on colony collection. something that dawned on me only after losing to my wife a few times after a race to get the most modules.
OH, I almost forgot my favorite part of the game - dealing out your opponent's 'flights' through space. By involving the opposing player in the most important part of a person's turn, the double solitaire nature of many two-player games never occurs. This game is a joy to play - and the bits are some of the best out there.
I love Starfarers of Catan, and so I was pretty quick to snap this one up. I had my reservations, as I never really enjoyed the two player version of settlers of catan much, but this one is extremely fun. I actually enjoyed it more than the starfarers of Catan, which even i would have found hard to believe. Throughout the first game we played I kept cathing myself saying 'I love this game!' There are many ways to go about winning, and I have not found them all yet.
Furthermore the pieces are of high quality, which always heightens the game experience. I love games with a lot of pieces to it, and this one certainyl has it, so much that you have to device a certain scheme to get it all fitted back into the box.
I buy these two player games for a chance to spend some quality gaming time with my wife. We have almost every one and certainly all the big ones (Hera and Zeus, Lost Cities, Caesar and Cleopatra) and this one is the best! As soon as we finish we want to play again. It has many great elements from other games mixed together in just the right recipe. I'm not sure what the one-star review was doing, but he must have been playing it wrong. This game is great! Read the other reviews! Highly recommended!
the hardest thing about learning this game was setting it up. once that is done, the game walks you through several turns telling you what to do, what to say, and WHY you are doing it... once the walkthru ends, you know how to play. and play.
if you like ANY of the catan / Teuber games, you will LOVE this one....
If you've been worried that the Catan franchise is getting long in the tooth, this is all the evidence you should need that there's still plenty of great Catan stuff coming from across the pond.
This is an absolutely terrific two player game of trading. Rather than the planet-based bases in Starfarers, each player is the pilot of a mother-ship. Like in the big game, you've got a lot of trading and exploring to do, and you must constantly upgrade your ship and cargo so you can get the magic number of victory points. Instead of a board to explore, though, you 'fly through' one of several decks of cards, possibly encountering habitable planets or trade outposts, pirates, etc.
The hands-down best feature of Starship Catan is the instructions. In addition to an easy to follow and well-illustrated manual, there's an almanac that begins by having you set up all of the decks in a certain order, then steps both players through three complete turns of the game. Despite the complexity and depth of the game, we were fully up to speed in just a few minutes. I only wish more games would go through this much effort to get players up to speed.
While the format should be easily recognizable by anyone familiar with any of the [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Catan series of games, game play in Starship is richer, with several more options for each player. Each turn, players earn resources, attempt to expand their 'real estate', and upgrade their holdings. However, if you're looking for a carbon-copy of the previous titles, this ain't it!
While the former Catan games are essentially two-dimensional (players expand their holdings spokelike from a single starting position), Starship is virtually three-dimensional. After generating resources, players my explore any of four 'sectors' of space, represented by a stack of cards. There is no limitation on which sector a player explores, and players may (and do) explore each of the sectors several times.
How deep into a sector (number of cards) the player may explore, how he fares against various encounters, and what planets he may colonize or establish trade with, are limited only by how the player has previously allocated his resources. Money (Astros), raw materials, and 'Science Points' are available in limited supply, and players must balance current requirements with future needs. In the end, however, the game bears out the old adage, 'It takes money to make money.'
Few games designed for two players provide this much richness and diversity. Each game is different, in part because of the random appearance of various cards, but to a larger extent because there are so many ways to win! Already, I've seen variations on a number of themes from 'Colonize Everything', to 'Missions-R-Us', to 'Modules, Modules, Modules'. (Get the game... you'll understand.)
And one more thing, while the game is rated for ages 12+, my 9-year-old daughter beats me at least half the time. (As an experienced gamer, this is difficult to admit.) However, her success points to the clarity of the rules and principles of the game. The tutorial provided outlines not only the mechanics, but also points to the basic strategies.
Couple all of this with very attractive, high quality components, and you've got a surefire hit. To Mayfair and Mr. Teuber, I say, 'Hats off!'
This is a superb game! The game has elements similar to the other [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Settlers games, but offers more interesting game play, I think. Certainly you get a lot for your money, and the components do--in my opinion--add to the enjoyment.
The myriad of options each turn, how all of the ship's modules interact, the trading you must do, the difficult choices, the effort to gather needed resources, the well written rules, the tutorial booklet included--they're all well done.
Suffice it to say this is the best of the Settlers games so far, I enjoyed it immensely, and it's a solid winner.
5 stars, all gold.
Hats off to Klaus Teuber for yet another amazing [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Catan game. This time around, he's squeezed an epic space exploration and trading game into a tiny, little, two-player box.
Starship Catan is, of course, the direct descendant of Starfarers of Catan, which in turn is a distant offspring of the ultimate tabletop civilization game, the Settlers of Catan. All of these games share common themes and elements, mostly that of earning resources to build or trade with, and eventually earning ever-sought-after victory points.
Starship differs from Settlers in so many ways as to make them almost seem unrelated at times. The game focuses more on riding the trade market of buying resources cheaply and selling them for a better price. Also, it incorporates an element of exploration: The galaxy is divided into four sectors (I would have called them quadrants, but that's just me) and players are urged to remember which cards are in which sector.
Players also have the opportunity to set up colonies and trading posts on some of the planets, provided they have built Trade ships and Colony ships. Additionally, they can speed up their ship or improve its combat standing for when they're challenged by pirates.
All of this makes for a really incredible game, which stays balanced throughout. This is not to say that I don't have some problems with it. The box contains lots of cardboard components: a huge, 2-piece ship for each player, 6 boosters, 6 cannons, 4 colony ship tokens, 4 trade ship tokens, 12 resource indicator tokens, 18 coins of value 1, 14 coins of value 5, and 18 ship 'modules'. All in all, it looks great, but I can't help but think some of this stuff is a bit redundant. A lot of it could have just as easily been done on regular cards, decreasing the overall price of the product. I've seen similar arguments against Starfarers, though, and the general consensus seems to be that the components help contribute to the 'feel' of the game.
At any rate, the game is definately worth buying, especially if you're a Catan fan.
Herr Teuber has made many, many forays into the beloved world of Catan, and now makes his second foray into outer space as well as his second two-player game using the Catan game mechanics.
This game overcomes some of the problems inherent in the Settlers of Catan card game, making resources much easier to acquire through trade with the various planets encountered. The level two modules for the two spaceships are unique, so there is real competition between the players to get them. All in all, there is much more reason in this game than in its predecessor for competing directly against your opponent.
The components are top-quality as well. While most of the pieces are nothing more than thick cardboard, there is a LOT of it, and it is thick enough to stand up to a lot of play. This little box is packed full, and provides good value.
Play will easily take the hour and a half to two hours suggested, and a first play will probably run even longer, so allow enough time to play. It will be time well-spent, as this is one of the best of the Kosmos two-player line. Recommended.
After about six games, we've found that the player who starts out with the carbon-producing colony (moon as opposed to sun) wins EVERY time. The finish is usually very close, but there always seems to be a little edge there. It's to the point where the player drawing the sun card at the very beginning immediately feels like the underdog -- which maybe creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I wonder if other players are noticing the same phenomenon, and if you have ideas for evening things out.
I can also relate to those players whose experience of the game has felt more like work than fun. If you get behind -- often by suffering some unlucky breaks at the hands of pirates while your opponent miraculously coasts through -- that magic total of 10 victory points can seem light years away.
Even so, we enjoy this more than the original Settlers card game (now THAT felt like work), Hera and Zeus and some others now gathering dust on the game shelf. Give it a try.
Starship Catan is one swell 2-player game, addressing a few of the things about the Catan card game that annoyed me (multiple harvesting off of a single die roll result, etc.). The only factor keeping it from a perfect 5 would be the relative lack of significant player interaction (it's basically a 'racing' game in a sense and the only real interaction between players comes from snagging a colony/trade colony out from under your opponent).
Components are first rate, rules are VERY clearly written and the game is quite entertaining.
I had been skeptical going into this game because I had not enjoyed the 2-player card game very much, and had felt that Starfarers was not in the league as any other [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Settler's expansions.
Happily, I was quite wrong! Starship does a much better job of lowering the luck factor, while retaining the strategy of deciding what to build and when. And this game has one of my favorite recommendations: in three games, three different strategies won. There's not as much interaction between players as I would like, but that's certainly understandable with fewer player.
Playing this game is about as fun as going to the dentist. I've never been able to finish a game because it just drones on endlessly, and there are so many other great games we lose interest in it. Some have commented that it seems more like work than play, and I would agree.
I love most of Klaus's games, especially Settlers and Lowenherz. The components to this game are first rate and make the game a little fun. When I read the rules I could not wait to play it because it has a cool element of adventure and going on missions into the unknown. Unfortunately, the mechanics couldn't be more dull. Next time I play it I will modify the rules drastically to make it more exciting. There may be a great game hiding in there somewhere.
I'd give it an extra star for the quality art and components.
Sorry. I've recently been on a game shopping spree getting just about every game I that I heard good things about. I loved Settlers, but I'm often in a situation where a friend an I are hanging out so two player games are our choices. I figured this ought to be as good as Settlers, but for two people.
Nope. Of all the games I bought, this is the only one that isn't really all that fun. The mechanics are so-so. Trading between players almost never happens. Perhaps after two tries, I haven't picked up on any strategies that make the game fun. But so far, I have to recommend that you gamers spend your money elsewhere. Babel is a terrific choice for two. Lost Cities is not bad either. The best bet (it's for 3 or more, however) is The Prices of Florence. This one gets better the more you play it.
As for Starship: sorry, but I'll pass.
The latest instalment on the [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockin.asc/ml=20]Siedler soap sees a combination offering a 2 player game set in space. And why not? Settlers is very popular and the company has a great line in 2 player games, including the Settlers card game. So does it match its predecessors?
The initial impression of the box is that Mayfair have used the Kosmos artwork, which is good because I find the Kosmos graphics to be better than the Mayfair style. The second thing you notice is the high heft factor and this is confirmed when you open the lid. Inside this Tardis are two space ships, a wadge of cards, a ton of spaceship components, a sheet of markers and the dice. (It just fits back in when you finish!) Each starship is created from 2 jigsaw parts -- a front and a back onto which cannons (at the front) and movement boosters (at the back) are fitted. To begin with you are lightly armed and slow, but during the game you can acquire more resources to build faster and more dangerous starships.
A Siedler game wouldn't be the same without resources and Starship Catan provides plenty of these. Starfarers players will recognise carbon, food, ore and fuel as well as the trade goods. New into this game is the scientific resource. Storage of resources is on the familiar 4-sided areas, except that there are arrows to show how many resources you have, rather than the card rotation system and the resource areas are drawn on the starships. Personally, I like rotating the cards, but the arrows work fine and are probably a better design for this game.
In the centre of each starship are 6 storage areas and this works really well for the theme. You choose a module to start the game and on offer are:
- A storage module that allows you to store 3 resources of each type rather than 2.
- A command module that increases the number of actions per turn to 3 (plus the roll of a die).
- A trade module that allows you to buy a limited number of goods from your opponent for a fixed price.
- A research module that gives you an extra resource when the die roll matches the card. (This is a 1 in 3 chance as the die gives results of 1-3.)
- A trade goods module - just like the research module.
- A probe module that allows you to look at the first 2 cards of a deck, rearrange their sequence or place one or both of them at the bottom of that deck.
The variety is interesting and it is not clear which module you should select as your starting one. The command module allows you more options on your journey into a deck, but if you have insufficient storage space, you have to spend your resources immediately. This may not be on something you really want, but otherwise you risk losing valuable resources if you have no more space in which to store them. The trade module might be useful early on to get a much needed resource, but in the games that I have played so far, both my opponent and I have spent resources as quickly as possible, so the choice of resource has been limited and this reduces its immediate value. The module making the biggest noise has been the probe. If you meet space pirates, you can dodge them, other "useless" cards can be dumped to the bottom of the deck and the odds of finding something useful seem much higher. Even so, you may not get the resources you would like and storage is a problem. So the best three modules look like the storage, command and probe. This is sufficient choice to make early on in the game.
The best system in the game is the use of cards to offer 4 choices of journey. Each of these four decks has 10 cards, which are face down. They contain a variety of planets to trade with. You can swap money for resources or vice versa; colonise planets, which also score a victory point and offer a chance of a free resource each turn; establish a trade relationship with a planet, which provides a permanent trading option and a friendship point. These are a bit like the longest road in standard Siedler and give the leader a victory point.
There are also pirates, which you can flee from or fight, possibly earning resources or fame points. These are like the longest road too. Other cards let you waste time on neutral planets, trade or visit other systems that may provide resources in return.
Each game follows a standard pattern -- gather resources, explore one of the space journeys, interact with what you find and upgrade your ship. The system is flexible enough to allow plenty of options and has more decisions than standard Siedler, though a few less than the card game counterpart. My main criticism is the lack of interaction between the players. You can trade resources, there is a race for the module upgrades as there is only one of each of these, and you can learn about what is in each journey that your opponent has uncovered. But that's it. You may think this sounds pretty good, but there is no way of clawing back a position. So if you gain a lead in victory points, with sound decisions you can extend that lead and there is not much your opponent can do. By contrast in the Siedler card game, while there is a race for the fifth town, you can spy on your opponent, force cards out of their hand, destroy city improvements and steal resources. It isn't simple to do, but there are several ways that you can injure your opponent and catch up in victory points. In Starship Catan, these opportunities do not exist.
I have enjoyed learning and playing the game, but towards the end of games now, I just want them to finish rather than having the excitement of winning that accompanies the game that this is based on. My second criticism concerns the power of the probe module. If you get the upgrade, then, since this allows for 3 cards in a deck to be examined, re-ordered or put to the bottom of the stack, you have a tremendous advantage. The number of cards seen is dependent on the speed of the starship (nice touch!) and a 1-3 dice roll, so it is quite possible to generate a speed of 7 or more. As the exploration decks are 10 deep, this means it is easily possible to go through a deck on one play. This takes away the edge of uncertainty and surprise and so detracts from some of the game enjoyment. My solution would be to limit the power of the module by 1, so a standard module allowed viewing one card and the upgrade two cards. I would also like to add more cards to deck, so that it was more difficult to go through a deck on one turn. Possibly this would work by reducing the four 10 card decks to three of 13? I haven't tried either of these options out yet, but it might return more of the suspense and uncertainty back to the game. At least for me.
The game is full of design ideas to link the game with the space theme. Boosters for speed sound right. The ship itself is well designed and the modules provide images of a large ship travelling through space. There are replacement cards for the decks as they are added to your growing collection of trade planets. Some of these replacements are space pirates that grow in power as well as some useless planets that ensure you upgrade your speed. So if you like the more solitary nature of the game, then I would say try this one out. My inclination is that this is not such a good game as Siedler card game, as the criticisms I have levelled will have indicated, but on the positive side, the game plays well, the components and options are really first-class and there is a real theme attached to the game. And it is the theme that draws me back. Despite these concerns, I would play this game again, particularly against people who have not tried it yet. The final question is where does the Siedler bandwagon move to next? Outer space has been done, as well as life on earth, so does the Siedler solution go into the fantasy world? Watch this space....