To the Edges of Space with Jump Drive and a Solo Campaign
Develop new technologies and settle worlds on the fringes of space to work through a solo campaign in Jump Drive.
Although I have plenty of space-related solo games, none of them come to my table a lot. Maybe they’re not cozy enough? Ha ha! Jump Drive started off with an unofficial solo variant that helped pave the way for an expansion. This is one I play multiplayer all the time, yet it was definitely time to take a journey into the unknown and play solo again!
Game Name: Jump Drive
Publication Year: 2017
Designer: Thomas Lehmann
Artists: M. Hoffmann, C. Stephan, M. Suzuki, & J. Wiese
Publisher: Rio Grande Games
Solo Mode: Included in Jump Drive: Terminal Velocity
A civilization takes shape over the course of a few rounds where different technologies and worlds provide bonuses. Cards act as currency, and the goal is to progress through a solo campaign by completing certain conditions. It’s fast-paced, like space, with lots to see among the stars!
December 6, 2018
September 29, 2023
24" x 18"
Going Back in Time
Each round involves counting up and collecting victory points… Which are some of the most frustrating tokens I’ve encountered! Unnumbered and too similar for me.
This seemed like the perfect opportunity to use an abacus, which is from a deluxe upgrade kit for Arcana Rising.
Perfect! I don’t always show these in all of my board game photos, but using these simple trackers can be amazing.
I only wish that there were a few simple indicators to make it easier to see larger values at a glance, yet that’s minor. Less tokens to deal with is absolutely worth it!
All the Lucky Cards
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from playing so much, it’s that this game is filled with luck. Drawing cards that work together can be entirely random, and never guaranteed.
However, those rounds when everything comes together so nicely are worth it! I managed to increase my military power a lot, and then some really nice worlds came up.
Alien technology and worlds also helped out, as these were the last cards I played to end this play. Victory!
The trick, however, is to keep winning in multiple ways… Which requires some luck, and lots of important choices.
Fun Solo Campaigns
Multiple solo campaigns are included with the expansion, and it’s easy to take a look at the requirements. They don’t have to be completed in order, either. Very flexible!
The expansion goals also introduce additional ways to move ahead and earn bonuses, either in the form of discounts or victory points. They help guide gameplay.
It might seem easy to focus on one of these victories, but the cards can be quite rude to deal with! It gets harder.
With that first victory checked off, I only had 3 options for the next win… If I could even get there. Questionable. Ha!
A Galactic Federation
Back when I played Race for the Galaxy a lot, the Galactic Federation card was always iconic. Playing it early usually meant a victory was imminent. Such an awesome ability!
Although, a funny bit of trivia: Up until I wrote this post, I thought those ships were clouds. Nice. Ha ha!
Some cards may feel overpowered, until that cool moment when they actually come into play. This federation has a steep cost, after all, and usually means not settling.
Victory points per development each round make this one a great choice early on… If that cost can actually be paid!
When a Digital Implementation is… Too Good?
This one often makes the journey with my husband and I to almost every game night. It might not come to the table all the time, yet it gets played nearly every week. How? We play it on Board Game Arena with one of our game groups! Time flies by, and everyone knows the goal isn’t necessarily to win, but to ensure that my husband doesn’t win. Ha ha!
However, all of the speed and automatic calculations have definitely made me a little lazy. Playing the physical version made me aware of just how much I like the quickness of playing this one digitally. However, I still vastly prefer tabletop gaming and simply need to get back into the habit of doing my own calculations. It’s an interesting conundrum.
On the one hand, I could probably fly through my solo plays online with little thought. But is that my favorite way to play? Not really. It still feels like there’s a place for both the tabletop and digital versions, luckily. Most of my gaming is done with physical games, so a digital play here and there seems fine. Just don’t expect me to go all digital… Not for me!
It quickly came to my attention that I created a time paradox by pairing Old Earth with my abacus. It was just too old. Ha ha! My second play saw me fall just shy of a victory, courtesy of some bad luck and poor choices. Seems like I might be a little spoiled with the digital version, yet this one is a quick, challenging bit of fun!
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- Gameplay is extremely quick with meaningful decisions that don’t take too long to make, and an easy sequence.
- Almost all of the iconography is intuitive after a couple of plays, making rulebook referencing quite rare.
- The artwork might be mostly recycled from this game universe, yet it’s still pretty awesome and thematic.
- Victory points usually ramp up at a certain point and it’s very exciting to start seeing early planning pay off.
- There is a ton of variety in the cards with all sorts of strategies and awesome combinations to discover.
- Solo campaigns create a very interesting challenge of chaining together victories and planning out how to win.
– Cons (Negatives)
- A lot of gameplay can come down to getting the right cards at the right time, which is entirely random.
- Tracking victory points earned each round with the included tokens can be cumbersome and tedious at times.
- Although the iconography is pretty clear, some special abilities are easy to forget about based on their placement.
- It can sometimes be very hard to put together a clear strategy from the cards, even when drawing a lot each round.
Complete a Solo Campaign Victory
- Overall Goal Progress 0% 0%
Goals and Milestones
Successfully complete Solo Campaign #1.
Continue the Conversation
What do you like about Jump Drive? Have you succeeded at completing the solo campaigns? It certainly stands out as a mostly multiplayer experience for me based on what my game groups play, but this is really fun to play solo. Just need to wean myself away from the digital implementation a bit! And maybe not offend the game with an abacus? Ha ha!