American science fiction

Voyage of the B.S.M. Pandora (1981, United States)

1981United States

Categories: alien artifactsextraterrestrial lifeplanet explorationspace explorationspace travel1980s sci-fi

Voyage of the B.S.M. Pandora  1981 science fiction game

Board game first published in Ares Magazine #6 in 1981 - it was just a simple insert into magazine with a bit of fun for the readers, but just like most of the SPI Simulation games it was something more. First of all it was a prequel to the game called "Wreck of B.S.M. Pandora" published previous year in Ares Magazine #2. Both were designed for a single player, but while "Wreck" was "Alien" like game that takes place onboard of the remains of Pandora, here we take the exploration mission that lead to the catastrophy (although it doesn’t have to). The limitations of the size of the board were high (especially since it was an insert in the magazine), but the creators Edward Woods and John Butterfield managed to make this a truly remarkable game.

We take on board of Pandora 7 crewmembers described by their functions (captain, soldier, doctor, navigator, etc), 4 robots with specific strong points (transbot, reconbot, etc) and a lot of equipment required for the exploration. We have only few planets available for exploration and only 8 small maps with different kinds of terrains (as I said before, the size of the board was very limited), but the construction of the game and wide range of events that take place during the missions made it last for hours. The game was based heavily on logistics of such space mission - we hade to decide what we can fit on the landing craft, what will be the most useful on the surface, which members of the crew will be most useful, do we plan to catch the creatures that we will meet or just avoid them and try to gather as much artifacts as we can. Each time on the planet we had to also plan how long do we plan to explore the area risking on getting in some sort of problems or to just quickly gather anything and retreat back to Pandora. The aim of the game was to return to Earth, where the success of the mission was decided based on the number of artifacts, creatures, informations and surviving crewmembers that you have brought back.

Despite the limitations of the board game and the size of the board "Voyage of the B.S.M. Pandora" is still fondly remembered by the players - it gave hours of entertainment using the players imagination and very clever plot of the game.

Our rating

6.8 / 10

Overall rating

8 / 10

Reality complexity

3 / 5


4 / 5

Story complexity

2 / 5

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