Michael Eckenfels, 4 April 2019
Part 1: Introduction and First Turns
Manned and unmanned exploration of the stars had been ongoing for decades before the year 2025, though private enterprises (such as SpaceX) drove governments and other private companies alike to develop and build new systems for exploring our inner solar system. With issues coming to the fore such as climate change, population growth, and scarcity of resources, this impetus to drive for the stars became a reality by the start of 2025.
SpaceCorp 2025-2300 AD is a GMT board game that allows 1-4 players the opportunity to become the ‘first’ enterprise to explore, over three eras, outer space. Players do this by exploring, building, and moving teams across the cosmos in an attempt to earn money through contracts. Lucrative contracts in the trillion-dollar-plus range were all up for grabs by this time, and the first space enterprise to gobble them up stood to earn massive profits on scales unforeseen before.
In this particular game, I am playing the ‘blue’ team (because, hey, blue cubes and blue counters), with the SpaceCorp (SC) game system controlling the other three colors (yellow, purple, and green) as one all-encompassing ‘competition.’ These colors can be used separately in multi-player games but are lumped together representing a nebulous “The Other Guys” whom we are in direct competition with.
We’re going to start with the first era – entitled ‘Mariners’ – which stretches from the year 2025 through 2069. This era covers the exploration and to an extent, exploitation, of the inner solar system, from Earth to the Asteroid Belt. The next era – ‘Planeteers’ – covers efforts at doing the same from the Asteroid Belt outward to the edge of the solar system, and the final era (‘Starfarers’) covers doing yet the same thing, but this time, involving the closest star systems. As the eras progress, more techs are unlocked, and capabilities increase. For example, you cannot build colonies in the Mariners era, but you can in the Starfarers era.
Although exact dates are not covered in the game itself, I’m mapping out all activity across each era and then assigning a rough date to them, for narrative/AAR purposes. For example, any events in the Mariners era will be spread out from 2025 through 2069, and so on. Also, any images I use to illustrate the following AAR, that are found online, will be credited to the original source in the caption.
Now, on with the space race!
In the preceding years, NASA – the National Aeronautic Space Administration, America’s grand space exploration government entity – has slowly but surely contracted out most of its efforts, to the point where it has more or less become a non-entity. BanzaiCorp, founded in 2020, is an amalgamation of some of NASA’s cast-off parts, including laid off engineers and other workers, as well as several other smaller space exploration companies. BanzaiCorp is, however, not the only privately-owned company to come to the forefront of the space exploration business; several other worldwide and regional ‘powers’ have come to be, also incorporating previous employees of NASA, the ESA, and other space exploration entities. The privatization of space becomes more and more lucrative as governments find it cheaper to motivate private concerns through contracts rather than fund their own space programs. This launches the Platinum Age of Space, which is officially marked as 2025, when most of the major private space companies begin to move to the stars.
As CEO, CFO, and whatever else I decide I am, of BanzaiCorp, I call all the shots. Right now, with various R&D departments across the globe on the cusp of developing the first workable fusion reaction and incorporating it into an engine for space exploration, the universe is truly beginning to open, and my decisions will either make or break BanzaiCorp.
BanzaiCorp has two ‘Teams’ that can explore the inner solar system…
…while the Competition numbers at a dozen.
These twelve Competition Teams represent ALL our competitor’s efforts, giving them near-limitless (as a whole, of course) for exploring the inner solar system. Compared to our two Teams, we’re facing an uphill climb. The bottom line for the solo side of this game is, from the perspective of BanzaiCorp, there’s only two things that matter – if BanzaiCorp does something first, or if any of our competition does. There are quite literally trillions of dollars to be made, which will not only make us and our stockholders insanely rich but is also eminently necessary to fuel the technological leaps we must make to strive for the edge of the solar system and beyond.
We’ll measure our relative success through profit, which is tracked here.
The ‘T’ symbol on the counters in the upper left corner represents that profit made, both by us (BanzaiCorp, represented by the blue counter) and everyone else (represented by the yellow counter). Profit is not spent on anything; rather, you can just simply think of it as Victory Points.
One more note on the Mariners era: it ends in one of three ways. If either my draw deck or the Competition’s draw deck runs out of cards, the era is over. Also, if six Contracts are fulfilled (in total, no matter which side gets them), the era will end. When this happens, you can kiss 2069 goodbye and we will move on to the Planeteers era.
And finally, note this Great Beyond marker in the Asteroid Belt:
The first Team to get there may claim it, and this is important as it gives good advantages to that side moving forward into the Planeteers era. More on what this entails later, when we get there.
Unfortunately, in this new “Platinum Age Space Race,” the competition gets to go first. I draw the first Competition card to see what our Competition foes do…
Lunar LP5 is ‘Lunar Lagrange Point 5.’ This means the Competition sends one of their teams to this location on the map.
Not the grandest of starts for them, but that’s GREAT for us.
Next for the Competition team’s turn, we’re supposed to check to see if they fulfill any Contracts. This early, there’s no chance for that, so we’re good. Now, it’s our turn.
This is my HQ board. It’s where I can play upgraded infrastructure items; anything on this board (including what’s pre-printed on it) are part of whatever Action I decide to take. I can play cards, too, to enhance my Action choice; however, at start, I am limited to one simple card – Chemical Drive.
Looks like BanzaiCorp (hey, let’s call it BC moving forward, huh?) has a simple yet decent propulsion system that we can use to push our teams into the black.
I’m very limited to what Actions I can take this first turn; the AI/bot/Competition in this game is only limited to what’s in their deck of cards; they could have technically landed on Mars this first turn. That’s why their first turn is great for us – not too far out. For me, the Chemical Drive card is only worth one Move point. My HQ board also has one Move point on it, giving me a grand total of two Move points. That won’t get me anywhere. Earth’s gravity alone requires at least two Move points to escape, plus the usual one Move point to launch from anything, for a total of three. It also costs one Move Point to land somewhere. So if I want to send a BC team to the Moon, that’ll cost four Move points.
Nope, my teams aren’t going anywhere, so I take a Research Action. That’s pre-printed on my board, and has a value of 2, so I can take two cards from the Offer section of the board.
These Offer cards come from my deck, and they’re all ‘start’ cards. It’ll be a while before the more juicy, useful ones appear. I’m in desperate need of Move points, so I take a Science Module (worth Move 1 or Explore 1) and a Cargo Pod (worth Move 1 or Build 1). That leaves two empty card slots in the Offer section, which I immediately replace. This ends up being another Chemical Drive (Move 1) and a Science Module (Move 1 or Explore 1).
There are other things going on during my turn, but none of them apply right now (for example, fulfilling a Contract – ha-ha, not this early), so things swing back to the Competition. I draw another card to see what they do.
They move another team to Solar Lagrange Point 5, which is just ‘east’ of the other Competition team.
So now it’s BC’s turn again. I now have four Move points, which I can use to send a team to the Moon. I’m going to do that now.
REUTERS (AP), JANUARY 12, 2026 – At 08:39 Mountain Standard Time today, BanzaiCorp launched “Team One” into space. Their mission, to establish a full-time presence on the lunar surface. Hopes are high that their exploration of the Moon will yield valuable resources to make this mission lucrative, and fuel future moves in the inner Solar System.
With four Move points spent, my team lands on the Moon (no safety rolls necessary here, thank goodness!). You’ll note that Luna has a ‘b2’ and an ‘e1’ label on it. The e1 represents a (hopefully) lucrative discovery; finding it will cost me one Explore point. The b2 is how many Build Points (in this case, 2) it will cost to build a base there. These are, however, future events that I cannot do on this turn.
No Contract pays out for being the first to land somewhere. I’m simply looking to ‘edge’ my team out further, hopefully next to Mars and then the Asteroid Belt and that sweet, sweet 1stBeyond marker. Building a base here will also deny it to the Competition.
Tune in next time for a continuation of this epic story – well, hopefully you think it’s epic if you’re into space travel. If you’re not, why are you even reading this?