The year is 3018 humankind has spread out through space. This has created new opportunities for trade and with that comes opportunities for more nefarious things. The Alcubierre Drive has allowed for faster than light travel and enabled the interplanetary trade. The space lanes were scouted and cleared out so that goods could travel between all the terraformed planets. Now you are the captain of one of the trader ships. Space Lane Trader is a pickup and deliver game designed by Jessper Bennhult and published by Artic Lynx Games
The object of the game is for the players to buy and deliver goods to get 500,000 for a short game or 750,000 for a normal game and then return to the starting planet. There are two sides of the board to offer some variety in your game play. There are also 8 playable charterers.
Once you get the game setup (this takes a min there are a lot of cubes to put out.) you pass out 2 random characters to every player and they will choose one. Then the players choose which of the two smaller ships they are going to start with. Each player card has a XP tracker on the back side. This will track all of the XP you earn through the game and it will also explain the special bonuses that you will gain when you get enough XP. Also there is a side board that tracks all of the market pricing. Each good is available to buy on one planet and you can sell it at two other planets.
During a players turn you can do a few different things, move, buy goods, sell goods, attack another player, buy equipment, buy trade permits, train your character, buy a new ship or take a freight. Moving is pretty easy you can move up to your ships speed plus any enhancements you may have added. If you have entered a planet space then you must draw an event card that matches the planet (yellow or green). Buying goods is a set price at the planet where the good is available. If you want to sell your goods its based off the price at the planet that is buying and the current demand multiplier (1, 1.5 or 2x). It sounds a little complicated but its not hard math.
I tend to like the pirate role in games and this lets you take on that role full steam.
I tend to like the pirate role in games and this lets you take on that role full steam. If you want to you can just fly around and attack other players. You can steel goods or earn space debris that you can sell for credits. Or if you are going to be a goody two shoes space trader then you can buy permits to transport goods. If you get caught without a permit you will loose all your cargo. (event cards have a bout a 30% chance of doing that to you. This makes it quite the gamble.
You might not be able to put every upgrade you find on your ship, can you even imagine.
Other things you can do are upgrade and buy ships. You need to head to a space port to buy a new ship, this will end your turn. If you wish to buy ship upgrades from the market you can just spend the cost as long as you are on the market. pay attention to how loaded your ship is and what slots you have available for upgrades. You might not be able to put every upgrade you find on your ship, can you even imagine. Lastly you can go to college and learn stuff. If you do this this is your whole turn and you have to do this on the academy space. All in all each player can make their own way through the game and there is no one linear path to winning. That's what make this game so fun.
Space lane trader is a great pickup and deliver game that features market based pricing. The fully customizable ships and multiple maps and many characters to choose from make the replay value very high. I enjoyed that there is a solo version of the game as well as the rules for a mega 8 player version (you need 2 copies of the game). The game was enjoyable playing as a above board trader as well as playing a smuggler or pirate type of player. Do not forget to check out the Kickstarter page for Space Lane Trader.
Year Published: 2022
Recommended Ages: 12+
Time to Play: 90-150m
A copy of Space Lane Trader was provided to Bert's Tabletop Games by the Artic Lynx Games for review purposes.