Mining the Far Reaches of Space with Far Space Foundry
Mine resources to create tools and other products at specialized stations with the help of freighter pilots in Far Space Foundry.
I remember being intrigued by the visual style of Far Space Foundry, which was the reason why I picked it up at a local game swap a fair while ago. Like the actual vastness of space, this one disappeared in a proverbial black hole of solo games! Fortunately, I dug it out the other day and decided to see what this pick-up-and-deliver game had to offer.
A pair of phases separates gameplay into mining asteroids for valuable resources, and then turning them into special products. Freighters and pilots provide the main elements of gameplay with some very neat artwork. It all moves quickly, as one might expect when flying through space!
November 2, 2023
November 2, 2023
26" x 24"
The play area is pretty neat with a bunch of modular boards that house various gameplay elements. Pilots and freighters are way at the top, punctuated by products.
Although some elements seemed to show an older design, I was still looking forward to exploring this title!
Moving resources around was a little more mechanical than I anticipated, but I still enjoyed the general concept.
Besides, the idea of flipping some of these elements to go from the A module to B module in the middle of play was kind of unheard of… Yet it worked better than I expected!
Pilots & Freighters
A hand of 3 pilot cards forms the main part of gameplay, which involves looking at the central area and the numbered ports. Tokens are then added or removed.
This mechanic did require a little more planning and was very interesting at first! I was impressed with the level of thought that went into this feature.
However, it soon turned into a puzzle that felt solvable in the required sequence… And it also relied a lot on luck.
My starting freighter could be flanked by other freighters, and only the top cards were available. Way too random.
The Central Hub
Placing or removing these ship tokens was at the heart of managing the pick-up-and-deliver elements. A port had to be empty to land there when returning with resource.
Conversely, shipping anything out of my warehouse to a freighter required a ship token to be present at the dock.
It made a lot of sense once I got into it, although I wasn’t a fan of the random die roll to determine the value of the commanders and neutral pilots. Very limited strategy.
I also found myself flipping around the rulebook a lot, since there wasn’t a nice reference guide included.
Filling Up the Ships
The first half of the game was all about gathering resources and combining a few of them into another, then making sure they were loaded onto my freighters.
Then, everything was loaded from freighters to my warehouse at the new foundry, resources were turned into products, and those were then loaded onto my freighters.
Although interesting in some ways, I scored a ton of victory points because I had a small capacity.
Freighters that aren’t upgraded or filled at the end are worth negative victory points… So this was kind of easy.
Knowing a Game Before Getting It to the Table
Part of me vaguely remembered reading about this game before I snapped up a copy… Turns out, that vague recollection wasn’t for this game! It wasn’t that I was disappointed, but nowadays, it’s getting more important to understand more about each new solo game before I decide to add it to my collection. It’s also a case of running out of literal space. Ha!
Had I done the usual amount of research, I likely wouldn’t have picked this one up. To be clear, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game: Just not one for me, as can be evidenced here. I strongly dislike giving any game a poor rating, so I’m trying to be very picky when it comes to purchasing new games. Must give every arrival at least a chance to be amazing!
Space Docking Style
What will you also find lurking in space? Flying popcorn tricycles, naturally! This Calico Critter guinea pig was dressed for the occasion in a starry dress. Nailed it. Ha!
I also liked how this turned out purely for the fact that it looks like she just rolled right through the port and crashed into the middle, all excited to arrive with popcorn!
Actually, dock security issued all sorts of tickets for safety infractions. It’s fantasy space… No one cares! Ha ha!
Physics never exist in the land of Calico Critters. I was just happy to stage another silly scene. Story of my life!
While the freighters were all too random and sort of set the difficulty level based on the top cards, recruiting pilots offered me a set of 4 options. Much better!
However, the expansion pilots turned out to be the best option almost every time. Their abilities were simply better and they could pilot any color freighter.
Definitely some interesting ideas here, but I can see why this one never took off… Just needed more refinement.
Still, it was nice to see what this one was all about so I could finally clear out some much-needed space!
Play Number: 1 & 2
Expansion 1: Far Space Foundry: Ether Ore
Expansion 2: Far Space Foundry: Extra Pilots
Expansion 3: Far Space Foundry: Extra Products
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Outcome: 27 & 21 (1 Win & 1 Loss)
This session certainly had its moments! I had some really interesting turns getting everything out of my warehouse right near the end, which was far from easy. Not one that will be sticking around in my collection, yet I hope my copy finds a home where it will be thoroughly enjoyed!
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- All of the artwork and graphic design work well together to create a unique sort of vintage space aesthetic.
- There are some interesting strategies about planning the order of pilot and commander cards to play.
- Plenty of variety exists with the different products, of which only 3 will ever be used each time.
- Different phases provide clear goals, yet the A side still provides insight into the conversions needed on the B side.
- Going to or from the foundry is an interesting decision to make each turn, particularly with the special actions.
- Alien pilots provide additional abilities that can be very interesting and helpful in the right situations.
– Cons (Negatives)
- The overall difficulty can be greatly affected by the available freighters, which are never cycled in the solo mode.
- Pick-up-and-deliver is the main mechanic, but this feels like it’s overdone with the constant back-and-forth.
- Aside from a few neat turns near the start, there isn’t anything particularly interesting to make each play exciting.
- A lot of the game is a solvable puzzle without much variety, along with a single difficulty level and scoring goal.
Score 22+ Points
- Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%
Goals and Milestones
Score at least 22 points.
Continue the Conversation
What do you like about Far Space Foundry? I appreciated some of the mechanics, yet a lot of gameplay boiled down to moving tokens from one place to another, then back again. Are there any other space-related pick-up-and-deliver games you enjoy? Definitely glad I had a chance to try this one out, particularly with the flying popcorn tricycle!