With experienced players, a full game usually takes about an hour. For a shorter game, you can just play one or two rounds. It is up to you whether to leave out the shorter rounds or the longer rounds.
Experienced players can make the game longer and more challenging by playing an extra round. The extra round is played according to the Round 3 rules using ships of Class IIIa.
(You may have noted that this board has no discard area. You can just keep your discarded components beside your board. These ships are uninsurable, so you must pay for every component you lose. There is no maximum penalty).
You can also leave out Round 3 and just play 3a.
If you have good memories and like planning ahead, use the following rules:
Don't mix up the three stacks of adventure cards. Don't change their order when you look at them during the building . Don 't shuffle them together once everyone is done building.
Instead, just stack them neatly on top of each other and put the fourth stack (with cards no one has seen) on the bottom. Now you know what will happen and when ( except for the last set of cards).
After playing several games, you will find yourself becoming much swifter at grabbing tiles and building your ship. This can cause problems when introducing new players to the game.
The final timer will run out before they are done building and they will have worse ships than they would have if they were just playing against each other. It's not much fun to fly through space in a half-built ship. Team play can help fix this problem.
This variant is for four people. The most experienced player should be partnered with the least experienced player and the remaining two players from the other team. Partners should sit across from each other. The game is played according to the usual rules with two exceptions:
- Partners keep their cosmic credits together in one pile.
- After building, you fly your partner's ship.
The beginner will see what it is like to fly a well-built ship and you can nostalgically re-live your first space flights when it was a great accomplishment just to get to the finish.
Your partner will get better quickly. The desire to build you a good ship can be better motivation than the struggle to keep up with experienced players in a standard game.
Team Play for Experienced Players
Team play can be fun for experienced players. It adds new tactical elements, such as deciding whether it is better to use an opportunity yourself or to leave it for your partner.
You can just play as described above or you can use this shared ship building rule: When the timer is moved from one numbered circle to another, the player who does so calls out " switch".
Each player must move to the opposite side of the table and build on the ship his or her partner was working on. There is no switch when the timer is moved from circle 1 to the "Start" circle, so you will not switch during building in Round 1. You will switch once in Round 2 and twice in Round 3.
After building, you switch one more time to go fly your partner's ship, as you do in standard team play (so you will still get your exercise even in Round 1).
You will have to find your bearings quickly to be able to figure out what your partner was working on and what the ship needs for completion. The resulting ship will truly be a team effort.