Spaceteam a super fun, chaotic, and cooperative card game I bought recently from Amazon. The concept of the game is really neat and original. You are a part of a spaceteam (3-6 players) aboard a spaceship that is heading straight for a black hole. The ship is malfunctioning as it heads towards its impending doom. You and your teammates are responsible for repairing the ship in your own individual sectors. There are several tools that you and your teammates can use in order to repair the ship. On top of all that, you will have to deal with things called anomalies that will require everyone to work together to solve. You must repair all six systems of your ship in under 5 minutes in order to avoid the black hole. Do you and your team have what it takes?
Let’s break it down…
Divide the 24 blue Tool Cards equally among all players. Everyone can look at these cards and hold them in their hands. All the cards must be used, no matter how many players.
The Malfunction deck consists of the 45 malfunction cards, 15 anomaly cards, and 6 system go cards (all have orange on the back of the card). Separate these cards accordingly. Depending on the difficulty and how many players are playing, you can adjust the amount of anomaly and malfunction cards. Once you have the appropriate number of cards for your malfunction deck, set aside any unused cards (they won’t be needed) and add in the six System Go Cards. Once the malfunction deck is assembled, shuffle the deck and deal out the cards to every person, face down, equally. Players do not look at their malfunction cards but should keep their individual malfunction decks in their immediate playing area.
Start the timer and each player flips over their entire Malfunction deck, revealing the bottom card only. There are no turns in this game, just shouting and everyone playing at the same time. Players must resolve malfunctions and anomalies one at a time from the top of their decks. When the card has been resolved, it is discarded face down in an adjacent discard pile.
Players “fix” their malfunctions by placing all appropriate Tool Cards face up directly above the Malfunction Card. Each Malfunction Card has a “fix with” box on the card. This box indicates the tools and/or types of tools needed to fix the malfunction. The tools needed are indicated by either their name, image, or tool-type icon. Once the malfunction has been resolved and discarded, the player picks the used tool cards back up, puts them back in their hand, and continues playing.
So for example, one Malfunction Card might require two tools. These tools will be in the “fix with” box on the card. For one of the tools, it might have the name of the tool. So you would need to announce to the group, “I need the Steamhydrant!”. Whoever has the card must then pass it to the next adjacent person, and so on, until it reaches you. Then you can place your “Steamhydrant” card on top of your Malfunction Card. The other tool that you need to fix your malfunction must be a “Splicer”-type tool. So, by looking at the top left of your Tool Cards, you find a “Splicer”-type Tool Card in your hand. You play that card on top of the malfunction, the malfunction is resolved, and then discarded.
You pick up the two tools and start over with the next malfunction. Also, sometimes in the “fix with” box, you will only see the image of the tool, but no name or type. You must then describe what the tool looks like to the group, if you don’t have it in your hand (ex: I need the tool that looks like a blue vacuum with a twisty hose sucking up spaghetti!). The names and images of the tools are absolutely goofy, which makes it even more intense and crazy.
Players should resolve Anomaly Cards by performing (individually or with all teammates) a necessary action as indicated by the card. After the indicated action has been performed, the player discards the Anomaly card and continues playing.
Here is an example of an Anomaly Card: Noxious Gas (you shouldn’t have turned that valve!): You can’t speak or play until all Players have shouted your name to wake you up. Once again, these cards are just crazy little events that try to disrupt your mission to fix the ship. It could be anything from not being able to use your thumbs for the remainder of the game (which is surprisingly difficult) to switching seats with other players. Some of them can be quite fun and add a little twist to the game, and others are just downright mean and frustrating.
Systems Go Cards
System Go Cards indicate that a particular system of the spaceship is up and running. When a Systems Go Card is revealed, the player who drew the card must loudly read the caption (ex: Navigation Systems are go!) and place that card in the middle of the playing area. There are six of these cards, all of which comprise a piece of the ship. When all six pieces are found, announced and put in the center of the table before time runs out, you and your team win the game!
There is only one of each tool on the spaceship, and all these tools are divided evenly among all players. Each tool is also categorized by tool-type, which is indicated by the tool-type name (ex: Booster, Atomizer, etc) and an icon in the top left corner of each Tool Card. Players must learn to effectively share their Tool Cards with other players in order to repair the spaceship before time runs out. Tool Cards can only be handed to a player directly adjacent to you, and may never be directly handed across the table. A Tool Card placed above a Malfunction Card prevents it from being removed or used elsewhere until that Malfunction Card has been resolved. A player may not place more than 3 Tool Cards on the playing surface at any given time.
This game is super fun, fast-paced, stressful, and frustrating. Believe it or not, that’s what makes the game fun. I played with a group of 4-5 people, on some of the harder settings for the game. There is a lot of shouting and confusion. Normally there is always one person shouting that they need a specific tool, over and over again. And there is always that one person who is holding onto it the whole time, and then finally realizes they are holding that specific tool, after a whole precious minute goes by.
I like the fact that it’s really quick, only lasting 5 minutes. This means you can play several rounds over and over again, which is awesome! I also love how satisfying it is to succeed on a difficult setting; and it’s a rush when you just beat the timer! It makes you think you and your friends could totally survive a space adventure together. I also really love the artwork and design of the box and cards.
Well, that’s all for now, Space Cadets. Now go out there and play some games!