A preview by
All images are from the prototype copy and do not reflect finished game quality
Disclaimer: The copy of Warpgate I received was an early prototype. As such components are not finalised. Some of the content was also not finalised and the Rulebook was still a work in progress. The designers plan to improve upgrade and enhance all the content shown in the images in this article. This will include miniature ships, more cards, improved card stock, text and rules change and upgrade. Even allowing for this I am pleased to say that what I have been able to experience gave me a good overview of the game and allowed me to form a valid and honest opinion of the preview..
Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate. Warpgate is what I would call a 4X lite. But that does not mean there is no depth. The modular board is set-up based on the number of players. This is to allow growth but not give you too much space.
Players select from one of 4 Alien races (colours) they are also given a random player board which is double sided. Each side has a different player power (special ability) and a combat and action deck.
The number of Planet and Technology cards are scaled to reflect the number of players. This allows a nice balance to maintained. All players will start at their “warpgate” You are now ready to explore.
So what is the premise in Warpgate? You have discovered some ancient technology, created by some mysterious alien race left derelict in space. As you approach the derelict artifact activates. It is in fact the titular Warpgate which leads to uncharted space. So begins the competitive race for galactic conquest. Lead your race to victory by having, control of trade routes, researching technologies, completing missions and claiming glory in battle.
The way actions are taken in Warpgate is a clever mechanic in that each player draws a hand of action cards. All of the action cards have two actions to choose from. This in effect gives 8 potential actions to choose from. Once a player has selected their card they place it onto their player board. This is where things start to get strategic. Each of the 4 spaces on the player board have a multiplier ranging from X1 through to X4 for turn four. This means that the longer you leave it to take a particular action the more times you can take that action. A simple example could be “Draw X cards” turn one you draw 1 card but wait till turn four and hey presto 4 cards. Deciding when to take an action will possibly be tension inducing.
Movement in Warpgate is selected by use of the action cards. You must always finish your movement on a planet space. So a bit of forward planning is needed. As well as movement of your ships other actions you can select from the cards are,
- Control→ Establish an outpost on a planet.
- Research→ Acquire new technology.
- Draw→ Yep draw cards.
- Trade→ Claim trade routes.
- Attack→ beat up some ships.
OK so you have been exploring and expanding. You have set up trade routes. All is going well, until. You bump into a rival. How dare they try to muscle in on your territory. You need to show them who is boss. Good but how. Thankfully it is a very simple affair. Each player draws some combat cards and chooses 1 in secret. When both players have chosen, cards are revealed. Each card has multiplier that works with number of ships in a fleet. This determines the outcome of the battle. After resolution of battle the card effect text is resolved.
- OK how do I win Warpgate?
- You will collect Victory points from Completing missions, Claiming trade routes, Researching technology, Combat.
- Once the Technology deck or Planet deck is exhausted the player with the most VP wins.
- Warpgate is a light space 4X style game that does not take all day to play (looking at you TI3).
- I found Warpgate easy to learn and did not find I had many questions over gameplay.
- While gentle and easy to access there is still a chance for strategic depth.
- Gamers looking for heavyweight depth might find themselves a little disappointed. Everyone else should find a nice way to pass an hour or so.
I was provided with a copy of WARPGATE to preview as part of the BGE group. I have now passed this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.