Galaxy Express

I am not normally sad enough to play solitaire board games on a Saturday night, but Ness is ill, there’s nothing on the TV, I’ve read all my favourite websites and my PC is in too poor condition for video games. In desperation, I remembered Mikko’s “recent posts”:http://www.melankolia.net/gameblog/archives/000999.html about his initial experiments with piecepack solitaires, which inspired me to have a go at “Galaxy Express”:http://www.ludism.org/ppwiki/GalaxyExpress, a runner up in the “Solitary Confinement”:http://www.ludism.org/ppwiki/SolitaryConfinement competition.

The rules summarise it well:

bq. Galaxy Express is a solitaire game for the piecepack about delivering shipments between planets in the distant future. It is a game of strategic planning and clever movement. Carefully move your starship to each of the planets, in the proper order, while refuelling as little as possible.

The planets are coins and the starship is a pawn. The universe is an 8×6 board, formed from 12 piecepack tiles. Starships can move from one edge of the board to the opposite, rather like the 1970s video game, “Asteroids”:http://www.squadron13.com/games/asteroids/asteroids.htm.

I had to think a lot, and managed to complete the game and get 115 points on my first attempt. According to the rules this is a good score. I think I was helped by lucky initial placement, which meant that all the planets had at least one shared axis with another planet.

I enjoyed Galaxy Express a lot; in fact it resurrected my dire evening. What I particularly enjoyed was the wraparound board. This reminds me of the Toric Scrabble variant, in _New Rules for Classic Games_. The name and concept come from the “Toroidal Universe theory”:http://www.cs.appstate.edu/~sjg/class/1010/wc/geom/donutuniverse.html.

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