A prototype of this expansion was provided by the publisher; however, my opinions are my own.
This copy is a pre-production prototype — content, quality, and components may change.
Overload is the second of several upcoming modular expansions for the deck-building negotiation game, Moonrakers. I have written a full review of the base game if you’re interested in learning more.
The Overload expansion doubles the number of unique ship parts and adds variety to ship and deck builds, enhancing the deck-building in the game. A new resource, IOSphere tokens, are used to make crewmates and ship parts more powerful and aid in exciting combos. In addition, two new types of Contracts alter the bidding dynamics.
This expansion adds over 100 deck-enhancing cards, 37 new Ship Parts, a new resource, and 20 more Contract Cards. “Overload” indeed!
The Overload expansion lives up to its name by stuffing the draw deck with seemingly unlimited deck-building potential, massively upping the replay potential of the game. Advanced Action cards allow for more actions and/or draws and are incredibly powerful. These cards are purchased, acquired with ship parts, or taken as contract spoils. In addition to powerful action cards, new Crew Cards and Ship Parts added to the game often utilize the IOSphere token resource. These tokens emulate an energy source, allowing crew and ship parts to provide bonuses such as drawing cards and blocking hazards.
The significant increase in Crew and Ship Parts, especially when combining Overload with other expansions, has caused the draw decks to become quite large. A new rule allowing players a free Armory discard during their buy phase helps cycle through cards more quickly. In all our games, a few players have successfully built their ship and deck into an efficient powerhouse, so the large draw decks don’t appear to be a problem.
The new Flex Contracts live up to their name, giving players flexibility in how they choose to complete the contract. But even more interesting is the addition of the Head to Head Contract. These competitive contracts allow all players to vie for victory if they so choose, turning it into a risky choice.
The Head-to-Head Contracts are one of my favorite additions to the expansion because they enhance the game’s interactivity in a new way. These contracts allow underdogs to make surprising comebacks. Choosing a Head to Head Contract over a cooperative one is risky, but sometimes the best option comes without guarantees. By adding a competitive contract where players cannot pick and choose their opponents, Overload opens up the potential for bluffing and surprises and adds excitement and meaningful choices.
The expansion adds complexity to the game, but not so much that teaching the new rules felt like a chore. Similar to Binding Ties, Overload integrated itself into the base game smoothly. Teaching the expansion to seasoned Moonrakers players took less time than it did to set up the game.
In my experience, victories in Moonrakers without this expansion often come down to the most clever and sneaky negotiator. Shrewd negotiation skills are still crucial with the Overload expansion, but the new cards allow players to craft a powerful deck and ship more quickly. This helps them to complete contracts with little-to-no assistance much earlier in the game. In our plays, the victor seems to be the player who’s managed to build the most streamlined ship and deck. Cooperation still comes into play, but IOSphere power and Advanced Actions allow for a level of independence I haven’t seen much of in the base game alone.
Deck-building games can be so much fun, especially when you can construct a powerful, efficient deck. I have watched my husband and friends create awe-inspiring combos with the new cards in Overload. Judging by the grins on their faces when running these engines, they are having a blast while doing so.
The pursuit of good card engines and complimentary ship parts has been enjoyable and challenging for me. And even though I have not been successful in that endeavor (yet), the fun of Moonrakers continues to be in the interactive experiences it fosters among its players. Overload expands upon this with flexible contract options and exploration of new synergies, both within the decks and among allies.
For players who crave variety in their deck builders, Moonrakers: Overload delivers a massive amount of deck-building potential and variability to the game.