Updated: Oct 25
We reviewed Albedo on Board's Eye View around six months ago. It's a well-designed deck building game where players (2–4; more if you combine a couple of boxes) select to deploy their space and ground forces at different planet locations. You can check out our review of the original game here.
Space Pirates! is an expansion to Albedo; you'll need the original game to play it. There's some great artwork from Can Basdogan, Michael Brown, Ozan Korkut and Bojan Prakljacic. The expansion incorporates some additional planets and a new Garrison Fighter card that introduces an additional planetary sub-location and effectively increases a player's hand size and therefore the number of cards available for the player to deploy. Most important, however, the expansion adds a whole new playable space pirate faction - so exciting that they've been given an exclamation mark!
The new space pirates faction have different ships to those available in the core game, though in practice they feel in play more like a variation on the theme. That is no bad thing; it is an almost inevitable consequence of preserving a playable balance. Nevertheless, we did find the Space Pirate! player tended to play more aggressively; perhaps it was just the effect of that obligatory exclamation mark!
If you've enjoyed playing Albedo as much as we have, you'll welcome the extra cards and the tweak to strategies that they engender. It's also good to see that designer Kai Herbetz has taken a gradual incremental approach to expanding the game. Often combat card games suffer from expansionitis, with ever more powerful new cards undermining and making increasingly unplayable the original game. It's very good news indeed that Albedo is avoiding that trap.