The Phantom League is a card-driven strategy game that takes place in outer space, intended for those who love a truly open-ended game-playing experience. Made by a small games publisher, this is an innovative board game that will entertain players for hours.
The Phantom League is a game for two to six players, with a whole game taking between two and three hours to play. You and your friends assume the role of spaceship captains seeking either fame or notoriety. You acquire this through a number of avenues, including piracy, trade, exploration and defeating your opponents in space battles.
The game begins with the home world in the center and a layer of sectors around the home world representing the known universe. The next layer out is the unknown universe. The sectors are comprised of half-hexagons combined together to form whole hexagons. The hexagons are assembled randomly after shuffling, meaning that you play in a new universe nearly every time that you play.
Game play begins with each player choosing a starship captain and buying a ship. The captains all have their own skills, abilities and personalities that will affect your style of play. At the beginning of the game you are provided with $1000 that you must use to purchase a ship. After this purchase each player takes a turn buying a single improvement for his or her ship with any money that he or she has left. The improvement purchasing round begins with the player who purchased the most expensive ship. Players will also select three mission cards at the beginning of each round. Completing these missions is one way to gain recognition as a famous starship captain.
Playing the Game
The game is very open ended, meaning that you can do just about anything to achieve your goals. You can play a passive game by fulfilling missions and only getting into fights when attacked first. Alternately, you can play a more aggressive game, blockading your fellow players and attacking whenever possible.
The path of fame lends itself more toward a game centered around commerce and honorable battle, while the path of notoriety is geared toward the player who prefers aggression and deceit. You do not have to confirm which path you are playing until you reach the fourth level of notoriety. However, the path you choose will determine your strategy, whether it will be honorable trading and peaceful coexistence or slave trading and aggression. All players lose recognition by running away from battles, breaking alliances and leaving ships after the battles are done.
The Phantom League
Informal alliances are allowed in the game and are not binding. These work in much the same way that an alliance would work in any other game. You and another player make an agreement and perhaps you both decide to uphold your end of the deal. However, there is a specific type of alliance in the game that cannot be broken. This is the Phantom League, from which the game takes its name. Once you make a Phantom League you cannot break this alliance without severely impacting your recognition.
Purchasing Phantom League
There are a number of places where you can purchase the Phantom League online, including:
- Noble Knight Games
- Tuonela Productions - Tuonela is the creator of the game, and is located in Finland
A Night of Space Opera
The Phantom League is a very engaging game because of its open ended complexity, far more complex than other strategy board games such as Risk. No two games of The Phantom League will ever be the same, from beginning to end. If you've ever wanted to be a starship captain in your favorite science fiction movie, The Phantom League is perhaps the closest that you will ever get to doing this. Best of all it offers new surprises with each new configuration of the board.