I’m not an alien, but if I was, I like to imagine I would be the kind of alien who could change my body parts to whatever suited my every whim or fancy. Ok, so maybe I have never actually thought that, but after playing Chimera Station by Game Brewer and Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG). I kind of do think that is the kind of alien I would be. Since I will, most likely, never become an alien I’ll have to settle for creating a space station with my fellow aliens in Chimera Station.
What is Chimera Station like?
Chimera Station is a worker placement game for 2-4 players which takes place over 5 rounds. Each player has 2-4 aliens (determined by the number of players) that they take turn placing in one of the locations on the board.
Each worker is sent out to collect resources like points, food, credits and living “worker parts” that can be spliced on later. Together, with your opponents, you build a space station by adding modules to the common board throughout the game. Even though you build the space station together, there can only be one winner!
Quite simply, Chimera Station works very similar to many other worker placement games. Each player places a “worker” on a space on the common board or on their own personal board. Depending on the spot occupied the players immediately do a specific action, unless they placed their worker in the Splicing Lab, which is where the game introduces its uniqueness.
After placing all of their workers on varying spots on the board the players, if there are any aliens in the Splicing Lab the players get to add a physical piece to their alien that gives them 1 of 4 very specific abilities. Each alien can get a total of two different or identical parts “spliced” onto their body giving them abilities that other aliens do not have. Allowing each player to create their own workforce as they desire.
As the game progresses you get more workers, the space station gets more spaces for your workers (since you are building modules) and perk cards which allow even more options or bonuses for the players. Each round of the game is unlike the round before since your workers can gain new abilities when spliced, new modules can be added allowing for even more options than the round before.
After 5 rounds the game ends and the player with the most points is the winner.
I have played a lot of different worker placement games over the years. The ones that I enjoy the most, are the ones that provide something different, something unique. Lots of worker placements games consist of placing a worker, getting the benefit which allows you to place a different worker somewhere else, turning one thing in for another which then gives you points. I need more from my worker placement games and Chimera Station provides that. Chimera Station provides an easy to learn worker placement game in a package that provides deeper strategy than most. Each game can be wildly different due to the different modules that are placed in the station.
When I first saw the interchangeable parts, I thought it was a gimmick, something to sell games, but after playing the game, it is so much more. Each of the four different components that can be added to your worker provide a unique ability. Having two of the same component makes it even stronger. If you add a brain, your worker scores more points, because they were working smarter, not harder. Adding a claw component allows you to remove an opponent with 0 or 1 components from a spot you really want, but two claws allow you to kick out any worker. The leaf component doesn’t require food at the end of the round, because they are growing their own food (Chlorophyll for the win!). The tentacles give your worker the ability to get more resources when they earn them, because, well, I guess they grab them with their sticky tentacles. The interchangeable components add way more strategy than I thought they would.
It’s not just the components that grabbed my attention though. I love the idea of each player building modules onto the space station which means the better module you build, the better modules available for others to use too. Good and tough decisions come from that aspect.
- As the game progresses, more options are available allowing for more decisions and opportunities
- The components are fun, but add a deep strategy to the game
- Working cooperatively to build the space station, but competing to use the best ones to use yourself
- The point markers are not easy to identify as to whom they belong
- The rules are not laid out very well which caused problems finding the answers to our questions
- The icons were not all fully explained
The basic playing of the game is simple enough, but the complexity comes in the choices of which route to take with your workers and their components, the modules you build, the perk cards you choose, etc. There are a bunch of paths that can be taken, that it is easy to not specialize on one path.
- Players: 2 – 4
- Playing time: 60 – 90 minutes
- Suggested age: 12+