Gaming industry has plenty of living legends, but few can boast such amount and diversity of finished projects as Sandy Petersen. Some of you know him as the designer of Call of Cthulhu RPG. Others recognize the guy from his video game contributions to all time classics like Civilization, Doom or Age of Empires. Lately, he’s been putting more focus on creating tabletop games, and on Kickstarter we’ve already seen titles like Cthulhu Wars, Orcs Must Die or Planet Apocalypse.
Hyperspace, Petersen’s newest title, will take you to dangerous outer space as a colonizer who’s trying to expand an empire and achieve glory. What makes it innovative?
The Speed of Light
4X games often have the reputation of being incredibly long. And many players not only like, but clearly want that. Hyperspace approaches the genre differently. The game is said to be short and last between an hour or two. Roughly: 20 minutes per player minimum.
The author achieved that by making turns the only part of the game, without the good old upkeep phase (which usually makes everything much longer and complicated). In fact there are no phases at all, you just keep going and going. Each time you take 3 actions and pass the beacon to the next player.
What can these 3 actions mean? Virtually anything. They include things like gaining resources (not your usual per turn generation), traveling across space (unless you have your own network that allows instant travel), constructing starships, attacking, inventing new techs and more.
Combat, like most mechanics of Hyperspace, is simple but by no means shallow. Each ship has a set of statistics, and fights are resolved by rolling dice specific to them – D6, D8, D10 and D12. Starships can also be repaired after falling in battle.
The map of space, you’ll be competing for is mostly covered in “fog of war”, modular, and will have to be discovered, and conquered tile by tile. Each of these includes either a race homeland or a planet. The game ends when a player reaches 15 Victory Points and decides to finish it. Said points are gained by building Colonies, Starbases, traded-in Hypers and face-down Secret Cards.
The game is asymmetric, but it all boils down to race variety. Each one is different, has its own set-up method, abilities, homeworlds, units, inventions, advantages and weaknesses. All manage to stay balanced and playable.
Races include the time traveling Skith, mechanical Automata, wise and lore-loving Old Ones, kaiju-styled Urumak and dragon-like Zevolt. Each with their own philosophy and backstory described in a supplemented explorer’s diary.
Kickstarter Campaign for Hyperspace
Core box comes with 4 basic civilizations, 8 native alien races, a whopping 108 minis and is priced at $69, but SPG offers various pledges and add-ons with many more species (up to 25), and allowing more people to play at once. The campaign for Hyperspace will last until February 22nd and the game should ship around August 2020.