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  One Small Step by Academy Games     The Space Race: on the outside a scientific marvel; on the inside a propaganda and military powerhouse...

One Small Step by Academy Games One Small Step by Academy Games

One Small Step by Academy Games

One Small Step by Academy Games

 One Small Step


Academy Games

 The Space Race: on the outside a scientific marvel; on the inside a propaganda and military powerhouse for both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Those missiles grew bigger and stronger each day. The same missiles that had school children on both sides cower under desks. From Sputnik until the lunar landing it was not even twelve full years. Robert Goddard was one of the first rocket pioneers. The real dream of Werner von Braun was to put a man on the Moon. we will never know exactly how much we are indebted to Jack Parsons for his contributions to the effort. However, once President Kennedy threw the gauntlet down in front of the world the race was on. Both superpowers put their all into the effort to land a man on the Moon. This game from Academy Games allows the player to fill the shoes of either superpower in those heady days. Let us see what comes with the game:

1 Game Board
1 Beginner Map Overlay
2 Agency Boards (1 USSR, 1 USA)
46 Event Cards (12 for Era 1, 12 for Era 2, and 22 for Era 3)
19 Hazard Cards
14 Advancement Cards (Not used in Beginner Game)
12 Crew Mission Cards (6 USSR, 6 USA)
24 Satellite Mission Cards
90 Temporary Resource Tokens (10 of each kind)
54 Permanent Resource Tokens (6 of each kind)
12 Crew Markers (double sided, USA / USSR)
12 Satellite Markers (double sided, USA / USSR)
Bonus Tokens (21 Satellite, 10 Crewed Missions, 14 Media, and 9 Advancement)
3 Dice (1 Gray Agency Die, 1 Red Satellite Die, 1 Brown Crew Die)
4 Administration Worker Meeples (2 Red USSR, 2 Blue USA)
4 Engineer Worker Meeples(2 Red USSR, 2 Blue USA)
2 Summary Sheets (Beginner on one side, Advanced Game on other)
1 Rule Book
2 VP Track Markers (1 Red and 1 Blue Cube)
2 Media Track Markers (1 Red and 1 Blue Circle)

 Have no doubt about it, this is a Eurogame, and as such it shows it. Upon opening the box you will be presented with a cornucopia of items. Not only that, but the quality is second to none. Old hoary grognards have the wrong idea about Eurogames. To them they are all glitz with no substance. Guys I am here to tell you something that you may not have noticed. The word wargame actually does have the word game in it. 

 As mentioned, your eyes will be pretty much astounded at the components. The game board is only 22" square, but it seems much bigger. It is very nicely done, although at first glance it looks a little empty in some spots and busy in others. It is mounted, and feels like it will last for however much gaming you put it through. There are three counter/token sheets filled with beautiful and large tokens. They are also very thick and sturdy. The Beginner and Advanced Summary Sheets (Player Aids) are of cardboard, and like the rest of the game are eye-popping with color. To fit all of the game's actions, the Advanced Summary Sheets are done in small print. There is a lot to the advanced game so the sheets are busy, and because of the print size I do have to pick them up to get them closer to my specs. Naturally, the Beginner Summary Sheet is in larger print and much less busy. There are two sets of cards. Both are of very good quality. One is the normal size for game cards, and the other is a much smaller deck. However, the smaller deck can be read easily. The 'Meeples' are kind of cute in a way. The two Agency Boards are well set up and are not crowded. The Rule Book is twenty-seven pages long. It is the standard Academy Games Rule Book. By that I mean it is beautiful to behold and very well written. If you have problems understanding and following these rules, I would not blame the Rule Book. All in all, this game screams Eurogame, but a very well produced Eurogame. 

 I hate to tell Academy Games this, but even though I lived through the Space Race my interest in it was near nil. Now, give me a book or game about Alexander's Successors and I am in. So, this will have to be a very good game to pique and keep my interest. 

 Victory is won by how many points each side can accumulate. This is the Sequence of Play:

Phase 1 - Countdown
Phase 2  - Replenish
Phase 3 - Draw Cards
Phase 4  - Placing Workers
Phase 5  - Personnel
Phase 6 - Play Cards
Phase 7 - Launch Missions

 The game gives you both Administrator and Engineer workers. Each of these can only be used on their corresponding spaces. Personnel Cards have the different Astronauts' names on them. Along with them the cards also have some of the following:

Military Missiles
Cold War
Freeze-Dried Foods
Satellite Research
Navigation Testing

  In a nutshell, this is a worker placement, and resource allocation game at its core. Having a Basic and Advanced version built in is very helpful for table longevity. It is a two to four player game. In the four player version two players are on the U.S. and two are on the U.S.S.R. sides. The missions that both sides have to fulfill are definitely a two edged sword. The tougher the mission the greater the gain for your side. The downside is that you do not want to fail missions. These setbacks have some real consequences to your attempt at everlasting fame. The game also has a Media track that is predicated on your successes and failures. The Beginner game is simpler, but that does not mean it is simple. This is a game that definitely has some meat on its bones. The advanced game is just that, advanced, or to be truthful very advanced. This is not a light Eurogame. It may not have tanks and hexes, but it is a deep thinking man's game. All through the game your choices are myriad, and unlike some games can have negative outputs for your side. Please remember that you are not just playing against yourself. There are hazards that both sides can add to missions to make them even harder than they were to begin with.

 Bottom line, this is not really a game I would recommend for a boardgame newbie. This is, however an excellent game for grognard to switch gears and learn to play. It is a deep game. Academy Games even touts it as a good game for teachers to help explain the Space Race to students. Please remember that this is a game about the entire Space Race. You as the player have to build your country's Space exploration history from scratch. Thank you very much, Academy Games, for letting me review this excellent game. The game has also come close to doing the impossible. It has managed to spark and interest in me to start reading about the history of the Space Race. If a game can do that, it has to be great.

 For you grognards out there who have been under rocks please take a look at their stable of 'Conflict of Heroes' games. It is a wonderful tactical series.


Academy Games:

One Small Step:

My review of Conflict of Heroes 'Storms of Steel Kursk 1943'