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Star Cargo
a quick tabletop game by Ryan Hackel for 2-4 players and some simple stuff you probably already have.

Star Cargo, a game by Ryan Hackel

You are a merchant in space, traveling throughout the galaxy looking for the best cargo to sell. The most sought-after goods come from the frontier worlds, for which the colonies back home will pay top price. But youíre not the only merchant in the businessÖ your competitors are after those same profitable goods! As you race to get there first, the frontier itself is expanding, shrinking, and being settled into stable markets. Will you be able to haul the most profit before the final frontier closes forever?


COMPLETE RULES

You Will Need:

SETUP:

Each player takes a pawn to represent her ship in space.

The PLANETS (poker chips) initially start in a bank to the side, and will be brought into play by the players during the game. There are four planets in three different colors, for a total of twelve planets.

Shuffle the deck and place it face down on the table. The cards of the poker deck will represent the cargo to be sold at market and will also represent the pace of space exploration. There are two types of cards in the deck:

Each player selects a planet from the bank. Place your planet in the play area between all players with your ship next to it. Draw a card from the deck and place it face up underneath your planet. This is the planet your ship starts at, and the cargo or colony on that planet.

Select a player to go first.

ON YOUR TURN:

You must do any one of the following:

Your turn now ends and play passes to your left.

PICK UP: If your ship is at a planet with a cargo card, you may pick up the cargo and place it in front of you, face up. This card is now in your shipís cargo hold. After you do this, draw a new card from the deck and place it face up under the planet.

If you were already carrying any cargo, jettison the old cargo into space (discard it face up into the discard pile, starting the pile if necessary). You can never pick up a colony.

MOVE: You may move your ship to any planet that is NOT the same color as the one you started at. You cannot move between two planets that are the same color. There is no limit to the number of ships that can be at the same planet.

DISCOVERING NEW PLANETS: If the planet you want to go to doesnít exist (isnít in play), discover the new planet as a free action before your move. The new planet must be a different color from the one you started at. Take the desired planet from the pool, put it in the play area with your ship next to it, and slide a card from the deck under it, face up. If the new planet has cargo, you canít pick up that cargo until your next turn.

SELLING CARGO: You can only do this at a planet whose suit (spade, diamond, club or heart) matches the suit of the cargo in your cargo hold. To sell the cargo, simply move the card from your cargo hold (face up in front of you) to your score pile. Use whatever method you prefer to mark your score pileÖ stack them on a beverage coaster, put them in your pocket, however you want, as long as you can keep your score pile separate from the draw pile and your cargo hold. Your score pile wonít be modified during the game, only increased. Donít let anybody know how many points you haveÖ thatís a secret!

!!! IMPORTANT: You CANNOT sell cargo at the same planet you picked it up from!

COLONIES: At some point, the next card placed at a planet will be a colony card. This marks that planet as an established colony, a market world. Once a planet becomes a colony, it will stay that way during the rest of the game. Colonies never have cargo to pick up, but they will always be there for selling that suit of cargo.

GAME END:

The game ends immediately when all the planets in play are colonies.

WINNING:

The player with the most points in her score pile wins! Cargo onboard your ship does not count. In case of a tie, the tied player with the higher valued cargo in her cargo hold wins. If still tied, the tied player with more cards in her score pile wins.

CREDITS:

v1.0. Ryan Hackel designed this game on November 18th, 2012. Playtested by Evelyn Hackel, Ian Webb, Suzyn Smith Webb, Benjamin Bentley, Larry Roth, Benjamin Barden and others.

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Star Cargo entry is listed on BoardGameGeek. Please add your feedback, comments, and reviews.

Last Updated: 6 November 2014

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