Sector Prime game preview for KickStarter launch

“Sector Prime” is an upcoming Kickstarter game from new publishers Two Guys and a Giant. A 30-60 minute space mining title, “Sector Prime” is for 2-4 players, all of whom are trying to explore and secure planetary systems, exploiting them for their resources whilst trying to stop other players wishing to do the same.

Players start with a set amount of “Sector Prime” components: A player shield, character card (chosen secretly by the players), 3 Traxium crystals, 25 drone cubes, 3 force field / jump bridges, a drone piece, 3 dice (d12, d10, d8), two refinery tokens and your start station card (which sits in a holder – see image, though we believe this will be a 3d structure in the final game). Now it’s time to try and establish your mega corps mining sector in various places throughout the galaxy. Tiles are placed showing the play area, this is a random event, thus making each game different. The amount of tiles placed depends on how many players and this is demarcated in the rules.

Sector Prime game contents prototype kickstarter preview by gameapalooza australian board game news and reviewsAll the goodies in the preview copy of Sector Prime from Two Guys and a Giant

“Sector Prime” actually has some really nice gameplay mechanics, one of which is the larger your station becomes, the smaller the die you get to roll. We really liked this mechanic because it stops someone completely smashing the other players. Thematically this works because you can put it down to the larger space station taking up more resources / power, thus giving you less resources / power in other areas.

Each character in “Sector Prime” has two special abilities, one for control of one tile and one for control of three. This is a neat idea as each ability is specific to that character and – again – thematically speaking works very well. Example, the Navigator character can cross asteroid fields for only one movement, because he is a badass and can swerve through flying space rock. The engineer is better at crossing ion storms, because she too is a badass who can tweak the ship to deal with the vicious output of those storms. And so it goes, with each character having a well tied in bonus that does a good job reflecting what that character actually is. It’s a nice touch and works really well thematically speaking.

Phases in “Sector Prime” include an Explore Phase, in which players move / deploy. You can move anywhere, but you must take barriers into account and ensure you have enough movement to make it to your destination. Example, crossing an ion storm costs 3, crossing two back to back costs 6. Needless to say the best path is always the unobstructed one, but that is rare as quite a few of the tile edges have ion storms and asteroids.

Kickstarter launch Sector Prime component imageCool 3d Station, hopefully everything will get a makeover in the final version.

Next phase is the Exterminate OR Expand Phase. In this phase players can choose to EITHER exterminate another players drones OR expand their own planetary system exploitation. Exterminating is essentially space war, if two players end up in the same planetary system it becomes a disputed area and things being what they are, greed for expansion means you probably want to blast the crap out of anyone else who might want to expand their empire into a tasty sector you’ve got your eye on. Once a dispute occurs, you need to resolve it before you can move on. Remember, you want to mine for crystals and if some asshat is threatening that, you need to fight them off and get back to work.

As this is a prototype version, we don’t judge the components in the usual “Game Build Quality” section we include in reviews. We do however give what we hope is constructive criticism of the prototype in the hope it is useful to the designers. Starting with those player shields, a neat idea and given this is a prototype version, maybe these will change, because as it stands a few of our playtesters found them quite difficult to see. Light green on dark green sure does give that old school computer screen feel (Commodore 128 anyone?), but given how small the font is, we think bigger screens – and thus bigger font) or a better color combination are in order. A crib sheet for aiding play is only as useful as it is easy to see.

We believe the spaceport / station cards will be changed to nice 3d models in the final version and that would be awesome, likewise if they chose to do this with cubes. Sure cubes work well in a lot of games, but here, the placement of tiny drone / ships would really add to things aesthetically and thematically. Refineries too would be cool if they were modeled like the station. The crystals are great, great enough for Australia’s Border Force to bust open the box and take a look (disappointment ensued).

Sector Prime Kickstarter Preview by Gameapalooza Australian tabletop game news and reviewsTraxium Ore apparently not as illegal and Australian Customs assumed it to be.

This could be an awesome little game, it looks nice even in the prototype, with great character art and nice planetary cards.

Overall we’ve been impressed with “Sector Prime”, particularly with the thought that seems to have gone into the more thematic aspects of the game. Characters with skills that match their backgrounds, the cool mechanic of the die being lessened as your station becomes more powerful. It’s not perfect, but we are interested to see where it goes. We’d say definitely check it out when it hits KickStarter and if you like what you see back it. These guys have worked for years on this game and we wish them well when it launches. We’re looking forward to reviewing a final version.

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We’re good to press launch on this preview as Sector Prime is now live on Kickstarter. Get on over there and give it a look and if you like what you see, we guess you’ll back it and be taking over planetary systems around September when it’s estimated for delivery.

Good luck with the project guys.