Spaceship Redoubt Review

Thanks to Cutlass: Boardgame supplying the Print and Play version of the game. My opinions are solely based on the game itself. The Kickstarter for Spaceship Redoubt will be launched in March.

A quick deduction card game by Cutlass: Boardgame features 5-7 players set in the confines of space.

The U.S.S Redoubt is the last bastion of defense as it patrols the outer ridges of the United Star Systems (U.S.S) territory. This small team of 24 Spacefleet officers crew the battleship Redoubt as it brings safety and comfort to the united planets. Until without a moment to react, a powerful cannon shot from the inky darkness disables the engines, causing explosions through the decks, and killing the captain. Moments later a small craft docks onto the side of the hull, and a small struggle is heard, afterwards two crew emerge saying there is no problem, and you are suspicious they are not the crewmembers that you know and loveā€¦

Jail the invader shapeshifters, and repair the Engine before the Redoubt Orbit decays and crashes into the nearby moon.

What is Included

  • 24 Crew Member Ability Cards
  • 7 Jail Cards
  • 7 Role Reminder Cards
  • First Player Card
  • The Captaincy
  • Orbits Remaining Track Card (6 Spaces)
  • Engine Repair Track Card (6 Spaces)
  • Blue Space Ship & Small Crystals (these act as counters to show progress in the Orbits and Engine Repair Cards. Since I am playing it as a Print-Play game, I have substituted my own)

Setting Up

Before starting the game, the following cards are placed in the middle of the playing area: The Captaincy, Orbits Remaining, Engine Repair, 7 Jailed, Small Crystals near the Repair Card and Blue Space Ship near the Engine Repair Card.

Figure out who wants to be the first player and assign them with a First Player Card. They are in charge of managing progress between the two tracks.

The game is started by the First Player dealing out reminder cards to each player. Then, a deck consisting of 24 Crew Member Ability Cards is shuffled and three cards are dealt to each member. The remaining cards are placed face down as a deck in the centre of the playing area.

Each player looks at their hand and selects one of the three cards in hand to place under their reminder card. If a hand contains a red card, a player must choose that card. This card acts to show a player’s alignment: Red for bad guys or Blue for good guys.

Gameplay

First Player starts by selecting a character ability from the reminder card to be their action for their turn. Note: You do not have to have the specific card in hand to announce the ability. e.g. I can use the Medical Ability despite not having it in hand.

However, if any player thinks you are lying about using an ability that you don’t have access to they can declare “Doubtful”. From there, if a player does not that ability in hand, they must shuffle one card from their hand back into the deck.

If a player does have the ability that they declared in hand, they must reveal that card from hand and the person who called “Doubtful” will have to choose one card from their hand to shuffle into deck.

After that turn phase is resolved, it goes on to the next player until everyone has had a turn. Once it comes around to the First Player again, they must add a counter to the Orbit Card.

At any point, if a player has no cards in hand they are immediately jailed. You can also be jailed by a player performing the action of “Security” during their turn – Choose a player, you may jail them or free them from jail. When a player is jailed they are allowed to perform the following:

  • Cast “Doubtful” at any time
  • Discard a card to break free from jail in your turn
  • Discard a card to break another person out from jail on your turn

On the final turn of orbit (6th space), any player may jail others by discarding a card from their hand. Whenever a card is discarded for a jail action it is shuffled into the deck without being revealed. If a player would be jailed by the Security Action, a player that happens to be appointed with Captaincy may forfeit their card to prevent the jailing.

To Win

As the bad guy (Red Card Alignment):

  • No more spaces left in the Orbit’s Remaining Track
  • Reaching the final 6th space in the Engine Repair Track
  • Reaching the end of a Successful Call without being jailed/found out

As the good guys (Blue Card Alignment):

  • Engine Repair Track is on Green or Orange
  • Successful call to the end of the game. (Any player can call an end to the game. Once this is done, players reveal their alignment cards. If there is one red card amongst you, bad guys win. If there is only blue revealed, good guys win)

Overall Thoughts

At first, learning the rules of the game was a struggle for me. I felt this could be mitigated by having a visual example of how the game board is set up along with a “turn procedure” guide either as an individual card given to each player or stated in the rulebook. Since no one is drawing from the deck without stating a specific character ability, I would advise putting a blurb to say: Players do not draw from the deck at the end of their turn. Often, when there is a deck involved individuals will be inclined to draw. This is not the case for Spaceship Redoubt.

Knowing that this is a print and play, I am not too concerned about any spelling errors or discolouration on the cards. However, during the final release, I would recommend any spelling mistakes be checked (simple ones like adding a y to ever for every) and being sure to darken the background of the cards and rules so the white text written is readable.

Once everyone learnt the rules, Spaceship Redoubt was very fun to play and I enjoyed all the card interactions. Normally, I am not a fan of deduction games since I am very bad at lying. However, this was fun as players’ alignments can shift at any point due to the Medical Ability: Choose another player and switch alignments.

During play I was stuck with a red alignment. Somehow, I got put into Captaincy: No one can call ‘Doubtful’ on you. I realised I could lie without repercussions and used Medical to switch out my bad role with someone who I thought was good.

It creates an interesting dynamic of not being constrained to a role and helps to include players rather than exclude them once they’ve been caught out as the bad guy. In the deduction game Mafia, if you are called out as the bad guy, people can decide to kick you off during the night. You are put out of the game and can’t participate in any discussions or actions.

Even being jailed, you can still perform actions which makes this game inviting and I feel this will motivate people to choose this over other deduction games.

I appreciate the Engineer Card Ability being a double edged sword. On the one hand, as the good guys you want the ship being repaired. But on the same token, it could be that you are a bad guy trying to break the ship.

Now, Spaceship Redoubt for newcomers can be rather daunting. I would suggest having someone in game that has played it before so they can explain the rules. This was because I was explaining the rules to some players who have never touched a deduction game and they were quite confused. I felt if I wasn’t there with my friends to explain what was going on, they would have been lost.

Overall I thought Spaceship Redoubt was amazing and I would definitely play it again. Card art was well done and helped place players in the scenario the game has set out. Its rules (once understood) make for quick games which is often hard to find in deduction titles. I would highly recommend this to anyone who has played and enjoyed deduction games.

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Score: 4/5

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