Set in a future where man is planning to colonise the moons of Jupiter, Galileo Project is a card drafting set collection game for 1-4 players from Sorry We Are French, distributed in the UK by Hachette Boardgames. It's a game design by Adrien Hesling that adds some interesting twists to previously familiar mechanics.
You'll be seeking to progress on the four tracks on your individual player board representing the moons of Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto (moons first discovered by Galileo - hence the game's title). To advance on a moon track you'll need to acquire robots (cards from the open display) but to pay the robot's acquisition cost in 'influence' you'll need to recruit human specialists from a second open display. When you recruit a specialist, you advance your influence marker along the influence track that you are on, which will either be the blue (Earth) or red (Mars) track; you can't switch between tracks unless you pay a 'megacredit' poker chip. And, as you might have guessed, some robots demand red influence and others demand blue. When you add a specialist you also choose whether to take the immediate action at the top of the card or to tuck the card beneath your board for its end-game scoring effect. Aside from influence, you may also pick up 'megacredits' and 'energy' tokens.
As an alternative to acquiring a robot or recruiting a specialist you can pay the cost, usually in energy tokens, to 'develop a technology' from among those on display. This may give you an immediate benefit or add to your end-game score. And in addition to taking one of these three options, you can claim one of the Goals on display. These are randomly selected in set up and they too give victory points at the end of the game; more points, the earlier you claim them. A novel feature in Galileo Project tho' is that you can spend energy tokens to lower a Goal's requirements. This has the effect of ensuring all the Goals are kept in play because even a player who looks like they are out of the running for claiming a goal can sneak in to meet its requirements through energy tokens - assuming they've previously managed to amass those resources.
Turns in Galileo Project tend to be quite quick, so we found our games mostly ran to no more than 60 minutes, even with the full complement of four players. The game ends when the specialists deck is exhausted or when a player has acquired 10 robots, but with all the potential end-game scoring bonuses the winner won't necessarily be the player who triggers the game end. Part of the dynamics of play - and perhaps the one element that can slow an otherwise brisk game, is players' need to keep an eye on each other's victory point bonuses and modifiers so they can judge when it might be in their interest to hasten or delay the end of the game. That said, almost all of our game ends were triggered by players acquiring 10 robots, not least because it's through the robots that you advance on the Jupiter moon tracks and if you get the right synergy between your robots you can build up a hefty score.
With art by David Sitbon, Galileo Project is an engaging game that keeps players on their toes. We've especially appreciated the mechanic for discounting Goals and the twin influence tracks: players are often well into the game before they realise how valuable the megacredit poker chips can be in allowing them to switch between the Earth and Mars track! It's a euro game which means it's all about the points but it never feels like a mere 'points salad' game.