Gen Con 2018: Master of the Galaxy


Exploring space! Claiming planets! Building structures! Utilizing dramatic powers!

All these things we love in our midweight space Euros that are vaguely trying to emulate 4X games. Master of the Galaxy features the relatively new bag-building mechanism, requiring you to draw cubes from your bag and placing them in various slots on the board and player cards to activate abilities.

The primary way of earning new cubes is by placing one on a planet in a system you control. You can reach other planets by drawing cubes from your bag and filling up the paths between two stars. Build structures by filling the slot on your race card. You can also gain new cards or score points by filling up your other slots. Some activations require you to permanently discard cubes; others keep the cubes in place for the rest of the game. It’s possible to steal cubes from other players.

Score tracks

Almost everything you do earns you points in one of six different categories, determined by which cards you have. The first player to reach 5 points in one category wins the game!

Unfortunately, I came out of this demo feeling pretty disappointed with the experience. I feel like I must have missed a rule, but it seemed like I was barely able to do anything before the game was over. It’s entirely possible the demo was shortened, which would be a reasonable thing to do, except that I was given no clue as to how it was shortened, or what it would take to play the full game. Maybe scoring 5 points in multiple categories?

In any case, the cube-building worked okay, but it took forever to get to any new planets. Most of the board was still empty, for that matter, and despite the number of turns it didn’t feel like we’d accomplished much. I guess that may be a flaw with the bag-building mechanism; sure, it’s a clever way to force players to make forward-thinking decisions, but if you don’t draw the right collection of cubes to activate the actions you want, it’s easy to feel stuck, or running on rails, or like you’re forced to make sub-par choices. That can happen even if you tried to manipulate the cube contents of your bag the right way.

this is how far we got

Time will tell if this game is better than my first impression. I wish the demo runner had been more clear about changes for the full game, if there were any. As it stands right now, I’m not super eager to try this one out again.

Futurewolfie loves epic games, space, and epic games set in space. You'll find him rolling fistfuls of dice, reveling in thematic goodness, and giving Farmerlenny a hard time for liking boring stuff.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. Joseph E. Pilkus III


    Thanks for the review..this one doesn’t even look appealing, and as someone who loves to cook, the adage, “you eat with your eyes first” will often dictate if a title ever gets to my Gaming Table. While Master of the Galaxy might play well, I find myself attracted to beautiful and playable games. By contrast, I absolutely love the beautiful art of Everdell and having played it, I’m a bit saddened that I didn’t back it on KS.


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