Designed by Jim Krohn
Close Encounters is the first expansion to the base game of Space Empires 4x. The Space Empires 4x is defined as eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate all your opponents. For those of you who haven’t had an opportunity to look at the Space Empires 4x world, here is just a sampling of the actions you can perform:
- Build Carriers
- Build fighters
- Build mines
- Build dreadnoughts
- Build merchant shipping
- Build shipyards
- Research Cloaking Technology
- Research Mining
- Terraform to colonize planets
- Discover Black Holes
- Discover Warp Points
- Overcome non-player aliens.
Finally there is the ever evil Doomsday Machine that you must defeat.
When you have enjoyed the base game and its wonders of galactic exploration, there is Close Encounters.
This Close Encounter Expansion adds new rules and aliens that you can conquer during the course of your galactic travels. For the first time, different alien species can meet and battle it out with ship boarding’s and planetary invasions. Or, the rules can be added to your existing game of Space Empires 4x to change the entire complexity of the galactic empire.
When you first receive the box and even before removing the shrink wrap you notice that it is quite a heavy expansion. Then, once the box top is removed you find the following:
- 3 New Counter Sheets
- 4.5 Counter Sheets to replace those from the original game
- 25 Racial Advantage Cards
- 30 Alien Technology Cards
- 4 Cardstock Fleet Displays
- 1 Cardstock Battle Board
- 4 Two-sided Reference Cards
- 1 Production Pad without Facilities
- 1 Production Pad with Facilities
- 1 Rule Book
- 1 Scenario Book
Now, the first question you may ask when looking at the list of contents is why are we receiving a replacement set of counters for the base game. The answer is that GMT Games has moved to a thicker counter set for the expansion and decided that the base game counters should be of identical thickness. The newer counters are just about twice as thick as the original Space Empire 4x counters and added to this is the mounted map in the original game and you have first class components.
The Close Encounters rule book is a total of 16 pages, 11 of which are devoted to the actual rules while the other 5 pages define the Alien Technology Cards and the Empire Advantage Cards. The Introduction to the rules begins with advising the players that all of the rules in the Close Encounter rule book should be considered Optional Rules. You have to keep in mind that the original Space Empires was designed to be a customizable open gaming system. Even though these Close Encounter rules were designed to be added as a group, players can pick and choose which rules they want to use to spice up their game.
The 11 pages of rules are divided into 21 different sections. The rules in this area are:
2. New Homeworlds and More Money
3. Ship Experience and Military Academies
4. Boarding and Capturing Ships
5. Security Forces
7. Fleet Markers
8. Mine Sweeper Technology
9. Movement Technology
10. Reaction Movement
11. Fast Battlecruisers
12. Alien Technology Cards
13. Empire Advantages
14. Transports and Ground Combat
15. Captured Colonies
17. Research and Industrial Centers
18. Terraforming Nebulae
19. Unique Ships
21. Galactic Situation
For those of you who already own the base game of Space Empires 4x, you can see that there is a whole new plethora of possibilities when adding the Close Encounters rules.
The base game provides gamers with 1 to 4 player scenarios. With a number of the scenarios there is a small, medium and large map presented with each offering its own unique challenges. The different size of the map will normally determine how long it will take players to complete a game. Two unique scenario offerings in the base game are the Epic Scenario which is from 2 to 8 players that uses two Space Empire games and that the game has 3 solitaire scenarios for the gamer to enjoy.
Again, this is only the beginning as the Expansion adds all types of new Scenarios in combination of 1, 2, 3 or 4 players. A list of the Scenarios in the Close Encounters Scenario Booklet are:
- 2 Player Knife Fight
- 3 Player Teams – 2 vs. 1
- 4 Player Teams – 3 vs. 1
- 4 Player Deep Space Scenario
- 3 or 4 Player Quick Conquest Scenarios
- 3 or 4 Player Planetary Gate Scenarios
- 2 – 4 Player Space Amoeba Scenario
- Alternate Victory Conditions
- 3 – Solitaire Scenarios
- Various Co-op Scenarios
So, as you can see, there are a number of new 1 to 4 player scenarios, each of which gives players new challenges and opportunities to conquer the galaxy.
Many players who have been exposed to the Space Empires 4x system enjoy the set of deceivingly simple rules that provide gamers with a unique gaming system. With the addition of the Close Encounters Expansion you can add all different types of rules that while adding to the playing time, only adds a small bit to the games complexity. These new rules provide players with all types of new optional rules that can be enjoyed with the Space Empires game system. On top of this, you receive all types of new scenarios which can provide gamers with new challenges. If you enjoy games that are easy to learn and a lot of fun to play, then Space Empires 4x and Close Encounters are games you don’t want to miss. With the addition of the solitaire scenarios, gamers can practice tactics for when opponents are available. While playing the eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate system, you will get many hours of playtime with no two games being the same as you see if your species can achieve galactic conquest and rule the galaxy.
This Boardgame is available from GMT Games