Traveller Customizable Card Game. Horizon Games, 2018. Designed by Jeff Yin. Each ship deck: 1 Ship Card, 20 Adventure Cards, and 60 Captain’s Cards. The two player Starter Set includes decks for the Type S Scout and Beowulf Free Trader plus 60 card Supplemental Deck, a Counter Sheet and a 44 page Rulebook. 1-4 players, ages 12+. About 30-90 minutes. MSRP $40.
In the Traveller CCG, players choose a ship card, and build a deck of 20 Adventure cards, and a deck of 60 Captain’s cards. Each Adventure deck provides Contracts players can complete to score victory points and Complications that attach to Contracts provide obstacles for players to overcome. The Captain’s deck provides your Ship Upgrades, Events, Connections, Crew, Gear, and Heroic Actions.
Cards are purchased using “Credits” which are noted on every Captain’s card. You can discard cards from your hand or your deck to pay for cards you wish to put into play, but beware Bankruptcy. Captains cannot reshuffle their deck when it runs out, and if you have to pay a cost and don’t have cards to discard to pay the Credits, you lose.
Designed as a competitive card game, in addition to adding Complications to Contracts, each round players can choose to pursue Piracy or a Contract. Piracy combat can result in destroying Ship Upgrades and costing Credits, which can reduce the effectiveness of your ship or even run you into Bankruptcy. The first player to 20 Victory Points wins, the first player to go Bankrupt loses.
The Ship and Captain’s cards generate Capability and Skill tokens which are then used to resolve Complications and Contracts. Of course your opponent may have ways of inflicting damage or removing tokens thus reducing you ability to succeed.
The rules are detailed and clearly written, though at times the organization can leave you hunting. The game uses a LOT of icons and the rules use only icons instead of text in many places, which I found confusing when trying to learn the game.
In addition to the 2 player (up to 4 players with additional ship decks) competitive game, the game includes several Solo scenarios and challenge levels that provide interesting modes to play while tailoring the difficulty level in many ways!
With many colorful Crew armed with Gear and performing Heroic Actions on board their ship with Ship Upgrades, all set in the Traveller universe, I had hoped that the game would evoke an almost RPG-like story. However, while the game plays smoothly, I found the “feel” to be more mechanical than story. I admit that perhaps it is unfair to judge the game based on it not being what I wanted while doing well at being what the designer intended.
If you’re a Traveller fan looking for an RPG-like experience in a card game, you won’t find it here. But if you’re a fan of competitive CCGs, this is an interesting game with many options.
This review was written based on a privately purchased copy of the Starter set though review copies of some expansions were provided.
c2018 by Richard A. Edwards