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Spaceship Unity

We can safely say that you won't have played any games before that are quite like Spaceship Unity from Pegasus Spiele. Designed by Ulrich Blum and Jens Merkl, with art by Eric Hibbeler, it's a story game, structured in episodes like a TV miniseries, and you'll play through each of the five 'episodes' as separate games, each of which will take about 1-2 hours. Like the episodes of a TV series, the games are divided into discrete Acts or chapters where the 2-4 players will have tasks to complete to satisfy the demands of the story.

Spaceship Unity is a fully cooperative game where players will be undertaking individual tasks against the sand timers that are supplied in the box. The game uses decks of cards to accompany each episode's story - a different deck for each of the five episodes - and it's these, and the individual story books, that account for the hefty weight of the box. Despite this, you'll be making use of components that aren't in the box at all - everyday objects you'll find around the different rooms of your house...

Space Cadets (Stronghold) is a similarly themed cooperative game where players are assigned stations on a space ship that involve each player completing individual mini-games. In Spaceship Unity, however, your individual and some shared tasks will involve frantically searching out household objects and using them to simulate the required actions - again tho' against a timer. Think back to your childhood where you'd playact stories or movie scenes using your toys or even pieces of junk as props - waving cardboard tubes around like light sabres, for example. That's the idea in Spaceship Unity. Some of the everyday items you'll be using will be obvious substitutions for systems on your spaceship: it doesn't require a huge stretch of imagination to substitute blinds or curtains for a shield generator, or to use an umbrella as the ship's transmission relay but you find it more of a surprise to see your vacuum cleaner pressed into service as the ship's jump drive.

You'll be dealing with ship malfunctions and players can expect to suffer medical mishaps which will involve handicapping players so that, for example, they must carry a bucket or bowl with them (motion sickness) or keep a finger in their mouth at all times (toothache)

It sounds silly but it works - provided you're playing with people who are able to suspend disbelief and treat Spaceship Unity as a party game. Children can enjoy playing as a family game but some may find the story element overlong, especially for episodes 4 and 5, which are designed to run to around 2 hours. It may be best to stick to the 60-minute episodes 1 and 2 when playing with kids. In any event, Spaceship Unity is at its best with the full complement of four players.

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