One area of Jump Gate that has remained relatively stable since early revisions of the game, has been the types of Resource cards, their distribution and scoring methods.
The game has a number of layers of scoring, but the Resource cards will provide the main focus. Because, while scanning and claiming Planets provides points for players, the main purpose of getting to the claimed Planets is to be able to harvest the Resources that are found there. I wanted the game to encourage players to specialize in which Resources they were looking to collect, while having those Resources be randomly scattered around the Planets. To encourage the specialization, most Resources score better when a player has collected more of that type. This approach also adds in the strategic need to pay attention to what the other players are collecting in order to try to stop them from getting what they need … a bit of tension between wanting to collect *your* favorites, and stopping others from collecting theirs.
Here are the type of resource cards you will find in the game:
“Nothing” – There are 12 “Nothing” cards, which are exactly what they say they they. They represent finding nothing while searching for Resources. They don’t improve the player’s score, and they can simply be removed from the game when they are revealed.
Gems – There are 12 total Gems — 4 in each of the 3 colors: Red, White and Blue. They have the most complex scoring of all of the Resources, being worth little at first, but providing the most possible points from any single Resource type. To score Gems, the player multiplies their total number of Gems collected by the number in their largest set of the same color. For example, if the player collects 3 Red, 2 Blue, and 2 White Gems, he/she would score 7 x 3 = 21 points (for 7 total Gems times 3, because the most of any color is the 3 Reds).
With this method of scoring, getting 2 or 3 Gems won’t be worth much, unless it was done to keep them from being collected by another player who would get great benefit from them. If a player gets half of the Gems, they will score from 12 to 24 points, depending on the mix … and can potentially get 48 points by collecting all Gems.
EnerGel – There are 10 total EnerGel cards — 5 Light and 5 Dark. EnerGel is a 2-component fuel, and each component by itself is rather harmless and not very useful … but combine them together and you have the primary fuel used by starships. Therefore, single EnerGel cards are only worth 2 points each, but each pair of 1 Light and 1 Dark card are worth 7 points. With this scoring method, if a player collects half the EnerGel cards, he/she will have 2 pairs plus 1 solo card, for 16 points. Collecting all EnerGel cards is worth 35 points.
Water – Can’t really have a space/resources game without including Water as an important Resource. 😉 There are 8 Water cards, and the scoring method is mostly a squaring of the number of cards collected. However, after the half-way point, the scoring becomes linear. So, based on the number of cards collected, the points received would be: 1 card = 2 points, 2 =4, 3 = 9, 4 = 16, 5 = 20, 6 = 24, 7 = 28, 8 = 32 … so, getting half the cards will get you 16 points, and collecting them all will get you 32 points.
Famous Finds – Finally, there are 6 Famous Find cards. These have the simplest scoring method — each card is worth 5 points — and the highest scoring when only 1 or 2 are collected. This makes collecting half the cards worth 15 points, and collecting them all worth 30 points. But there is one issue with the Famous Find cards … Notice the icon in the upper-right corner, and …
Watch Out for the Black Hole
The game also includes the concept of a “Black Hole”, which is represented by a board in the middle of the table. It is there to act as something of a karma-like governor to those who might be a bit over-aggressive in their Resource Harvesting.
Some of the Resource cards have a Black Hole icon in their upper-right corner. If a player collects one of these cards, he/she needs to add a marker to that Black Hole board. If the board gets to having 9 (or more) markers on it, the game ends immediately, and the player with the most markers on that board has to give up some of his/her collected Resources.
You will find a Black Hole icon on 1 Gem card of each color (3 total), 1 EnerGel card of each type (2 total), 1 Water card, and all of the Famous Find cards (6 total).
So, we have 4 different Resource types (plus “Nothing” cards, which don’t matter) that each have their own scoring method. In most cases, it will be better to collect as much as possible of a single type. But, it might also be best to try to collect something that other players want in order to reduce their potential scores. And, finally, you need to keep your eye on the growing marker pile on the Black Hole Board to avoid losing some of your hard work.
So far, this combination is proving to make for an exciting and challenging game.