Gen Con is so much more than spending a bunch of money at the exhibitor hall. In between board game purchases, developers host players to demo their games. Three months before Gen Con, you can register for game demos, often these events are free. One of the demos I registered for was a space exploration game titled Lander. As our demo leader Dan stated, it’s loosely inspired by Settlers of Catan, but in space.
Lander is a space themed strategy game where players take on the role of corporations to complete missions in space. There are three playing styles within the game, but in the demo version, we played the basic simulation. The win condition in the basic simulation is to have seven completed mission stars. In order to complete missions, you need to complete your crew and gain resources. It’s more complex than what it sounds which is where the challenge comes in. I lost the game because I didn’t attach the right characteristics to the right crew members. As a result, I couldn’t complete the mission.
Unlike Settlers of Catan, Lander puts more focus on negotiation. There’s an hour glass within the game which represents the time you have to successfully negotiate with another player. It’s funny because one of the players in our demo group hates Catan with a passion because of how you can be a jerk in the game, yet they ended up loving this game once we finished.
Immediately, I wanted to purchase this game after I completed it. However, Lander isn’t out yet. It will be an upcoming kickstarter campaign in March of 2020. What makes Lander a unique campaign is their #playbeforeyoupledge. Many local game stores will be receiving a copy of Lander, which allows players who weren’t able to attend Gen Con to play Lander and determine if they will back it in March. There’s an interactive map on their website, so you can identify which game store would receive a copy of Lander.
Lander is a complex strategy game that needs to be played multiple times. It was more challenging than I had anticipated which makes it worth replaying. One of my good friends loves Settlers of Catan, and I want to introduce her to this game. Lander is going to be on a future kickstarter campaign which will launch March of 2020. I do plan on writing a blog post to remind all of you about this game once it gets closer to the kickstarter launch. Otherwise, feel free to browse through Lander’s website and check if your LGS will have a copy to play.