#GameAWeek Game Two Extended

I’ve been at GDC this week and haven’t really had time to work on a new game. I did get a chance to revise the rules for the Space 4X Co-op Card Game, though.

space 4x co-op card game sketch

It’s probably a little incomprehensible without the actual cards in hand to refer to, but here the latest version:

Co-op Space Card Game, v.4

One-sentence Description

Players flee the galaxy before it is overrun by an alien terror by drafting and playing cards which allow exploration and movement actions on a tile-based path.

Game Details

  • Play Time: 30 min <-design goal
  • Number of Players: 1-3
  • Target Age of Players: 10+
  • Main Mechanics: deck building, tile placement, card draw and play for actions
  • Degree of competition and/or collaboration: cooperative

Theme, Narrative, or Metaphor

Players play bumbling humans on the eve of discovering jump drives for space travel. Upon this discovery, however, an alien menace takes notice and sends an invasion fleet from the far reaches of the galaxy. Luckily and purely by accident, through the initial test of the jump drives, the first explored world was the site of an alien artifact that could possibly hold the key for survival. Players then have to flee from their alien conquerors while simultaneously piecing together the meaning behind their alien artifact discovery.

Winning the Game

Research all 4 of the Alien Artifacts before getting decimated by the alien menace!


  1. Place the Earth Space card face up in the middle of the table.
  2. Each player selects one Starship card to place in front of their individual play area and places the corresponding transparent ship card on top of Earth. Each player also takes a Hull points card to place under the Starship card to keep track of Hull points throughout the game.
  3. Each player gets 5 random cards from their starting deck. <-need to specify start decks
  4. Place the other transparent cards and the Advanced Technology cards aside.
  5. Shuffle the other decks (Space, Planetary Resources, Interstellar Events) into their own piles.

Player Turn

  1. Draw card(s).
  2. Take up to two actions. The current player does up to two of the following:
    1. plays one or more cards for a specific action (e.g., Explore)
    2. uses a Move action to move up to two Space cards
    3. takes a Trade action
    4. research Alien Artifact
    5. repair at a Starbase
    6. discards as many cards as desired
  3. Resolve event. If the current player did not take a Move action this turn and is not on Earth, she draws one Interstellar Event card.
  4. Resolve combat (if any).
  5. Discard down to hand limit.
  6. Resolve Alien Phase. Advance the Alien Threat Track by one. [maybe add cards here that do something special?]

Draw card(s)

If the current player has cards in hand at the beginning of her turn, she draws one more card from her Ship deck. If she has no cards at the beginning of her turn, she draws up to her Hull value.

If there are no cards left in the stack when a player needs to draw a card, she reshuffles the discard pile and continues drawing.

Take up to two actions

Ship cards include combinations of various actions each card can be used for: Probe, Explore, Mine, Attack, Research, and Build. The current player may take two of these actions, using as many cards as she wants per action.

Ship Card Action



Draw 1 Ship card for each Probe point played. This does not count as an action. [need to test this!]


Draw Space cards equal to number of Explore points played; Pick one Space card to lay onto map in an adjacent space to player ship.


Mine for Planetary Resource cards, one for each Mine point played. These new cards get discarded into the current player’s discard pile.

Attack / Defend

Play to attack an enemy if present OR to prevent damage.

Research / Repair / Build

When at a Starbase, Research may be taken if at least one Advanced Research card is played. The new technology is added to the researching player’s discard pile.

For any researched technology, any player may upgrade their ship using a Build action at a starbase to make the corresponding upgrade to their Ship card. [expansion rule?]

When at a Starbase players may repair one damage for one action or all damage by discarding an Advanced Research card. [this is new]

Players may also build starbases at the cost of 4 Build points at a “Galactic Hub” Space card.

Explore: All Space cards show 0-2 planets (+1 to end game score for each planet on map?) with 1-4 jump points. When playing an Explore action, the chosen card must be connected to other Space cards with jump points adjacent. When newly revealed, place an Interstellar Event card face up on top of the Space card. For each planet on the Space card, take a Planetary Resource card and place it face down underneath the newly revealed Space card. [need to change this to be planetary class specific]

Move: The current player uses one action to move her ship up to two Space cards but must immediately stop if entering a Space card with an Alien ship.

Trade: If the current player’s ship is on the same Space card as another player’s ship, the current player may perform a Trade action by giving one of her cards to the other player.

Research Alien Artifact: If the player is at a starbase, she may play an Alien Artifact from her hand to the table, attaching it to other played Alien Artifacts. If the player is not at a starbase, she can still take this action if she also discards a Research Alien Artifact card. [this prob needs to be changed to reflect the cards. need both types of cards to research *and* be at a station. but the difference is that certain types of planets have certain types of resources (either alien artifact *or* alien research) allowing players to plan how to get them, divide and conquer, then trade, etc.]

Discard: The player may choose to discard as many cards as she wants for one action.

Events and Combat

Most Interstellar Events involve Alien ships or other interstellar occurrences to be resolved immediately once a player moves to that Space card. Note: If the current player did not take a Move action this turn and is not on Earth, she draws one Interstellar Event card.

Whenever an Alien ship is revealed, take one of the corresponding transparent Alien cards and place it on top of the Space card. The current player receives the stated amount of damage minus the total Attack value on any Action cards she decides to discard in defense. Each damage that gets through requires the current player to take a point of damage to her Hull, which reduces her hand limit by one.

The Alien then stays on the Space card where the current player’s ship is. A player may attack the Alien by playing the Attack action on her turn.

Discard down to hand limit

Each player’s ship has a starting amount of Hull points, which is also the player’s hand limit. Damage taken during the course of the game reduces the player’s hand limit. When a player’s ship reaches 0 Hull, the ship is destroyed and the player is out of the game.

Alien Phase

The current player advances the Alien Threat Track by one and follows the directions on the new space. ? add events like Eldritch Horror here… either card draw or a static event? e.g., all Aliens in play move one space.

End Game

Players must research 4 Alien Artifact cards before the end of the Alien Threat Track. Otherwise, Earth is devoured!

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