Exodus Fleet - Sci-Fi Board Game Review
Exodus Fleet Review
When it comes to theme, I love space games. The thrill of exploration, the excitement of uncovering ancient alien civilizations, and the building of new technology all get my blood running. Unfortunately, a large amount of space games start to seem pretty similar when looked at closely. A little 4X here a little lasers blasting there, and things all start to feel pretty same-y. Thankfully, this is not the case with Exodus Fleet.
In this game players are various rival factions each looking to win prestige by escorting people off of their dying planet, building powerful fleets, and making their factions stronger. Each game lasts a number of turns determined by player count. During the game there are 2 scoring rounds where players get points for sets of faction ships, tribes of people they are carrying on their ships, and bonus points gained from various ship powers.
Each round the active player chooses one of five actions that all players will perform, with the only restriction being that they can’t pick the same action that was last picked. These actions let players collect income, mine planets for ship building materials, build ships, transport tribes onto their ships, or gain special explore cards. Before every action (other then income) there is a single round of bidding with the active player going last. This auction determines who will get the more favorable results of an action, whether that is first pick to build a ship or just more of a resource. If a player has the lowest bid and therefore can’t participate in the selected action, they pay nothing and get some income and a resource instead.
Game play flow very smoothly and even with an auction almost every round, things tend to go fast. It’s pretty easy to plan ahead so it doesn’t seem like it would cause much analysis paralysis. Near the end of the game it can slow down a little, as players have more ships with unique abilities, but the game never really grinds to a halt. Everyone getting a chance to take an action each turn also leaves little downtime and no one really feels left out, which is nice.
The rules are well written and easy to follow, there are lots of examples, and the back of the book has both a glossary and full clarifications for every card, sound like a slam dunk right? Well, it would be except for the fact the font and background color made my eyes feel like they were falling out of my head. Not the worst case of a physically hard to read rulebook I’ve come across, but it was close.
As I said at the start, I love that this isn’t a space game where players are just trying to blow each other up or conquer the galaxy. The game does a pretty good job of conveying the theme just through naming conventions. The casino ship gets you more points for having more income, a lot of military ships give you a discount to build more military ships, and so on. I will say that the game is not DRIPPING with theme, but I feel like they got as much as they could into the game with the mechanics it has.
Pretty quick set up that mostly involves separating a couple decks of cards and finding the correct player boards for the player count.
Decent quality stuff here. The resource cubes are pretty standard wooden pieces but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and better than cardboard. The art has a charming 90’s sci-fi quality to it and is a little goofy at times, but in an endearing way. They use cards for money which is much easier to handle then paper money. Every thing is good with one exception, the font size.
The font on the cards is so small you have to pick up anything that’s not directly in front of you to read it. I understand that some of the cards have a lot of text but most of them definitely have room for larger sized or even just emboldened font. I hope the second edition comes with a frenzel lens.
All in all, I had a lot of fun playing Exodus Fleet. It moves quick without losing its strategic edge, the engine building aspect is very satisfying, and you don’t have to take the same path to victory every game. It will be going into the collection for sure, but I didn’t give it our highest rating because there was nothing really ground breaking that blew me away and, to a lesser extent, the graphic design on the cards made my eyes bleed. Don’t get me wrong though, a game doesn’t have to reinevent the wheel to be good. I really enjoyed this one and if youre a fan of engine building space auctions, you probably will too!