Designed by Reiner Knizia
Published by Victory Point Games
So, definitely a light Euro made even lighter, but, I have to say, not a Euro quality production. The rules booklet is a bare 8 pages made out of two sheets of slightly smaller than A4 size paper, folded in half and stapled down the middle. This really looks more like a DTP package. It is full colour [though mainly blue] and semi-glossy, but the outer spine of the rulebook was already starting to look slightly cracked when I opened the package. The "board" is made up by laying out the eight, very thin cards that represent the potential structures to be built and each player receives a larger mat of equally thin card on which to record his/her score and a set of small wooden cubes in the player's designated colour. Each player also gets an individual Faction Negotiation card.
The game set out for the maximum 5 players.
One of the 5 player mats - essentially a personal score board
Here are the four Resources:
Materials, Research, Power and Robotics.
The second phase of each turn is the Resources Phase when each player draws one Resource card.
The game continues until all the sections of 7 out of the 8 possible structures have been completed and a final bonus scoring is then conducted.
And here is the dinky space Rocket sitting on its Launch Pad, ready to blast off
to mark the next section potentially to be built!
However, if a bid with a Faction Negotiation card included is accepted, then the Active player must put the corresponding number of his/her own cubes on the building section and the Bidding player is awarded the Bonus marker from the relevant building section.
A neat idea is that the fourth and fifth circles don't score you any VP points, but if there is a fourth or fifth player who has placed cubes on that building you still need to place one of their cubes in the circles that score zero points. This is because they will count in the final scoring at the end of the game. All other cubes on the structure are now returned to each player they belong to.
When seven of the eight structures have been built the game ends and the Final Scoring takes place. If a player has a cube on all seven structures he/she scores 15 Victory pts, on six structures 10 Victory pts and on five structures 5 Victory pts. If you've built on only four or fewer structures - tough - you score nothing!
So, folks that's it. I have gone through the crucial bidding mechanic in depth, because virtually the whole game centres on that one major element. It does work well. There is interesting interplay between what cards you hold, what sections have so far been built, what players have scored so far, whose bids to accept or not [beware the payback from not accepting someone's bid, when they reject yours.], which building and which section to put up for construction.
But, it is very much a one mechanic game and very much a light filler. It is quick to play and quick and easy to pick up the few rules. For me, it's the type of game that gets played at the club while people wait to see how many turn up before moving on to heavier fare or else serves as a light family game - 'cept that I can see certain family members' personalities affecting which bids get accepted!!
My other concern is the very insubstantial nature of most of the components. At the moment I haven't been able to find it sold outside the States, though I assume that will happen. But for the moment, $32.99 plus the not inconsiderable postage/import costs is a high price for what you're getting. VPG make many excellent games [see my review of Espana 20 vol 2], among them many solo games, but Planet Rush is not one I'd "move in a rapid fashion" to get. [There, I managed - sort of - to avoid the awful pun!]