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Light Speed

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 10 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Tom Jolly, James Ernest

Manufacturer(s): Cheapass Games

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Product Description

Light Speed is a lightning-fast card game of space combat about identical teams of spaceships dropping out of hyperspace to do battle over an extremely important asteroid. This game is fast: each round takes less than a minute to play! (With a few minutes to score.)

Tom Jolly, master game designer, brings us this fast-paced space combat game for 2-4 players. Each player has just 10 ships to play as quickly and strategically as he can. Once a player has run out of ships, the playing round ends and the shooting begins. Fast ships shoot first, big ships shoot last, and whoever scores the most points wins! A thrilling real-time card game in full color, a first for Hip Pocket games.

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Product Information

  • Designer(s): Tom Jolly, James Ernest

  • Manufacturer(s): Cheapass Games

  • Artist(s): Eduardo Muller

  • Year: 2003

  • Players: 2 - 4

  • Time: 10 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 53 grams

  • In order to play Light Speed, you will have to provide 15 'damage' counters per player, 12 'rock' counters


  • 42 cards
  • rules

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.6 in 5 reviews

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Fast fun for everyone
March 04, 2004

After reading the reviews for Lightspeed, both here and in games magazine, I decided to pick it up. After playing it both as a two player game and with 3 players, I've decided this is one of the most innovative ideas I've seen in years. The best part is that the rules are so simple, yet 'mistakes' are so common, that it becomes as much fun to lose at it does to win!

Each player has an dentical squadren of ships. Each ship has a speed from 1-10 that determines when it fires. The lower the speed, the sooner it will fire. Ships also have from 1-4 hit points, determining how much damage they can take. All ships shoot from 1-4 laserbeams, which depending on the thickness and color do from 1-3 points of damage each. Some ships also have armor to protect certain parts of the ship from attack.

In the center of play lies the asteriod that all players want to mine. It has 12 rock counters waiting to be mined by players who shoot their lasers at it. However, you only get points for what you mine if your ship survives.

After all players shuffle their 10 ships, the round starts, and plyers draw one ship at a time and place it anywhere on the table. The only rule is that it must not touch or cover any other ship or the asteriod. Players can play their cards as fast or as slow as they like, and all players play at exactly the same time. Whoever is first to play all of his or her ships first yells 'stop', and everyone else can either drop any ship in their hand down immediately, or put it with any other unused ships they may have.

Now, all the insanity of frantically pacing ships all over the table. Starting with all speed 1 ships played, players use a piece of string of such to see who shot what, giving out damage to ships and minig rocks from the asteriod. since the most powerful ships are slower, they can be destroyed before they get to fire, thus foiling your plans. When a ship is destroyed or the last rock is mined from the asteroid, they are removed from the playing surface, so shots aimed at an enemy ship can accidently end up in one of your own ships.

This is the perfect game to pull out when you want to play something lighthearted and fun. It reminds me of starcraft on caffine, and everyone who has tried it has loved it. I'm going to pick up a second set to play with up to eight players, since the game certainly has that party-game atmosphere.

What to do When you are Dead.
September 27, 2003

For such a simple idea, this game is ridiculously compelling. The simplicity is what makes it work, as a real-time game, otherwise it would never get out of the bag. Takes less than a minute to play, longer to figure out who won, and then you just HAVE to play again. The second time you know what you want to do differently - for example, 'this time I'm going to try not to shoot myself quite as much' - but the order in which your ships appear might dictate a different approach, and you have very little time in which to adjust. The experienced player will have an advantage in the long run, (so it is, in fact, a game) but the scoring phase, in which you reenact the battle, is always entertaining and full of surprises, so you'll still want to play again even if you just got crushed.

Everyone I've played this with has enjoyed it immensely. Most ask where they can get a copy. Could be my Game of the Year. Plus, it is the perfect thing to do when you have been killed playing Bang!

Fast Fun for All!
March 23, 2003

I have played this game with my eight year old many times. We love it! Very easy to understand rules but reminds me a lot of GO in terms of all the positional strategies that you can do. My son and I like to play it in the carpet floor. You do need some kind of non-slip surface to play it. Definitively more than worth the price I paid for it.

by Sean
The Fastest Game?
December 06, 2003

Light Speed is a bit of a wonder. The game takes just a minute to play (and maybe 4 or 5 to count the points to see who wins) but quickly becomes an addictive treat. And at $4...what a deal!

Can there be strategy in such a short time? Well, yes and no. The more you play, the better you know your ships and their powers. This certainly helps you place them better. Since there are few limits on how the ships can be arranged, you will enjoy experimenting with many theories: close to the asteriod, far away from the asteroid, next to my other ships, next to my opponents'. However, all your best-laid plans could be undone by an opponent that just throws his cards down. The rule is that every player stops placing ships when the first person finishes. This allows an opponent to force you to match their speed (and eliminates some strategic placement).

It is that short length of Light Speed that is both its draw and its short-coming. Who doesn't love a 5-minute game that is essentially throwing down a bunch of cards and then orderly sorting out what just happened? It is light fun for the entire family. A game where the novice can annoy the pro by winning on their first try.

Be sure to play on a table cloth to help the cards stay in one place.

by Al
Gonna make you sweat.
March 24, 2003

Light Speed is a highly enjoyable, fast-pasted, and addictive game. The endless options for placing the asteriods makes each game different and keeps it interesting. I can see other possibilities, such as planets, moons, etc., since the only limitation is your table top.

However, the luck factor in placing the ships made me rate the game only 4 stars. I've seen games where people throw down their ships without thinking and win.

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