Every now and then a board game expansion comes out that improves its base game in a number of ways and people end up focusing on just one of those ways and not the others. This is the case with Space Base Command Station, an expansion that offers much more than most people realize.
This expansion gives you more than just a big box and a way to add two more players to your games of Space Base. Read on to find out what other things are in this box, that people seem to miss.
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What do you get with the Space Base Command Station Expansion?
Space Base Command Station is the second expansion for Space Base, featuring new content designed by John D. Clair and artwork by Kris Aubin and Chris Walton.
It was released in 2019 by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG). This big box has an MSRP of $44.99, which should be a good indication that you are getting more than just a new box here.
The Command Station expansion for Space Base is advertised as “The Big Box to Hold Everything!” which is one of the things it provides for your games of Space Base, but it also provides much more. In addition to a storage box that will hold Space Base including Shy Pluto and all of the promos currently released (with room for future expansion), you also get all of the stuff needed to play with two more players, including player boards, tracking cubes and two new full sets of starting ship cards.
But wait, there’s more! Along with a bigger box and higher player count you also get fourteen new pre-deployed ship cards. These are specifically used when playing six and seven player games.
But that’s not all! You also get seven pairs of D6 dice, one set for each player colour, and 30 extra charge cubes.
Next, there’s something else in the box that is not even listed on AEG’s website. The biggest surprise of them all, card sleeves for all of your Space Base cards. This expansion box includes 350 sleeves specially made to fit Space Base cards. These are actually tighter and thicker than the Sleeve Kings sleeves that many people had purchased for the base game before this expansion was available.
Finally, there’s the rulebook which is notable. The great thing about the rulebook in Space Base Command Station is that it includes all of the existing rules for Space Base. You get the base rules, along with the rules from The Emergence of Shy Pluto expansion, all integrated into one book.
To take a look at all of this stuff check out our Space Base Command Station Unboxing Video on YouTube.
Overall the component quality of pretty much everything in this box is just as good as you would expect and most importantly perfectly matches the quality of the original game. My only complaint quality wise, and it’s a very minor one, is that the green and teal dice are far too close in colour (in fact there’s actually a chance I may have gotten three green dice and only one teal one, it’s hard to tell).
Now I do have one significantly larger complaint. Nowhere in this box is there anything to show you how to use the insert. I would have liked something showing me what they expect you to put where.
How useful are the new things added to Space Base with Command Station?
Here I will be talking about each of the different things included in the Command Station expansion for Space Base. I will also be sharing what my game groups thought about each of them, starting with the bigger box and insert.
My biggest complaint about the box itself is the lack of instructions on how to actually use the box insert included in Command Station.
Right now, every time I put this game away, things end up in different spots in the insert. Some direction would have been greatly appreciated. On a positive note, each time we do put the game away we have always managed to find a spot for everything and there is plenty of room for all of the Space Base content I own. Even better, there is plenty of room left to fit at least one, if not more, future expansions.
It’s worth noting that the insert is just molded plastic. You aren’t getting a deluxe Game Trayz style insert here, with individual storage containers for specific components that you can just pull out and put on the table. While the Command Station insert is functional and allows you to fit everything into one box, it doesn’t do anything to speed up set-up or teardown time. Which is something I do look for when thinking about buying a box insert.
Next, we have the stuff for playing Space Base with six or seven players. This includes the new player boards, starting cubes, and starter cards. These all match the quality of the original and come in two new colours. Having more colours also has the bonus of giving you more colours to pick from when playing with less than the full player count.
When you do play with six or seven players there is one significant rule addition.
At the higher player counts, every player gets a pair of two pre-deployed Monitor-Relay Craft cards that go into their 7 and 8 slots. These start the game pre-deployed, so they are tucked under your player board with the red ability showing. Both cards have the same ability, which requires three charge cubes to use.
The Monitor-Relay Craft ability can only be done on an opponent’s turn. It gives you two options. You can either roll the bonus dice or you can draw two ship cards from any deck and purchase up to one of the cards drawn.
The effect of these cards is to give you more to pay attention to during the other players’ turns and also lets you generate extra resources, or use up resources that have built up, as turns go around the table. With six or seven players it is common to generate a lot of credits between turns and having a way to spend that excess during another player’s turn is a welcome rule addition. Both this ability to generate and spend resources has more impact on the game than you would expect.
I want to move on to the dice next. The expansion provides a pair of D6 dice for each player. This is an awesome thing as it lets players leave their dice face up in play after they have rolled. It helps with the “what did you roll again?” problem, as well as giving players a chance to leave the table for a bio break or other reason and come back and be able to quickly see what numbers were rolled while they were gone.
The only drawback we’ve found with everyone having their own dice is that you miss the very clear “it’s now your turn” indicator of passing a single set of dice around the table.
We found the ability for players to leave the table during the game, especially at the higher player counts, really outweighs any loss of player turn tracking ability without dice to pass.
This was an addition that Command Station added that I didn’t even know was in there until I opened the box and it ended up being more valuable than I first expected.
The extra charge cubes are a “nice to have”. In all the games I’ve played we have never run out of the original cubes but it’s nice to not have to worry about that. It just makes sense that with a now higher player count you may need more cubes.
Next up are the sleeves. This is the one thing that comes in this box that no one seems to know about. I’m sure there are people out there right now who are reading this review that were surprised when I first mentioned sleeves. I have no idea why the sleeves you get in this box aren’t even mentioned on AEG’s own website.
Whether you knew about them before or not, you now know that you get 350 sleeves specifically designed for the unique card shape of the cards in Space Base. These sleeves fit the Space Base cards nicely and seem to be nice and thick and should do a great job of protecting your cards.
Personally, I’m not a fan of sleeving my cards. I hate shuffling sleeved cards and I find sleeved card stacks tend to slide, and a sleeved stack of Space Base cards is no exception. With the added thickness of the sleeves, the card stacks become quite tall and some sliding is inevitable. For those that like sleeves, you get sleeves, a lot of them.
One important warning: due to the long, thin shape of the Space Base cards it can be very easy to bend your cards while sleeving them. These sleeves are tight and I found the cards wanted to buckle after being about 2/3 into each sleeve. Take your time and be careful unless you want to mark your cards as well as sleeve them.
Up last we have the condensed rulebook which is something I really appreciate. The new rulebook included in Space Base: Command Station is a simplified, shortened, rulebook that features just the rules you need to play, including rules added in Shy Pluto. There’s no background or back story to be found here and very little art. This is all rules and no fluff and is thus great for a quick rules refresher or for reference during play.
This quick and dirty set of rules was another added bonus I had no clue I was getting when we picked up the Space Base Command Station.
Overall I was personally surprised by the actual amount of different stuff you get with the Space Base Command Station.
When I got this box I thought all I was getting was the ability to play Space Base with more players, some special cards for doing that and a big box. I had no clue that I was getting more dice, tons of card sleeves and a better rules reference. This was a very pleasant surprise.
If you own Space Base and Shy Pluto you are probably going to want to pick up Space Base Command Station (if you haven’t already). If you are planning on picking up The Mysteries of Terra Proxima expansion you are probably going to want it even more.
With the Command Station expansion, not only do you get a big box to store all of your stuff, you also get a higher player count, more dice, a more referenceable rulebook and sleeves for all of your cards.
Where I’m on the fence as to whether or not you should pick up Command Station, is for folks who own just Space Base and don’t also have Shy Pluto.
I’m not sure if the price of this box can be justified unless your game group regularly consists of six or seven players and you will get a lot of use out of those additional player boards. While there is more than you would expect in this box, the main purpose of this expansion is a better storage solution and you may not need that if you regularly only play with five players or less.
If you don’t enjoy Space Base, you don’t need this at all. This isn’t one of those expansions that can change the base game in a way that might make it more appealing to some players. This is a box for fans of Space Base, especially those who plan on collecting all of the expansion content.
That’s it for my thoughts on the Command Station expansion for Space Base. This is one of those expansions that’s going to be a “nice to have” for most people and a “must have” for a select few. To me, it adds just enough to the base game to be worth it and I do appreciate being able to keep my game all in one place.
Unlike The Herb Witches for Quacks of Quedlinburg, which I reviewed last week, to me, Command Station isn’t something that everyone should pick up. If you usually play Space Base with more than five players you definitely want to own this, other than that, take it or leave it, or do what I did and put it on your wishlist and be happy when you get it as a gift.