Welcome to our review of Project Pandora: Grim Cargo, a sci-fi board game from Mantic Games. Project Pandora pits the Corporation against the mysterious Veer-myn, who have boarded a Corporation Starship in attempt to steal its precious cargo. We’ve been eager to test out Project Pandora as we’ve had great fun playing similarly themed boardgames in the past and have been looking forward to seeing the new Veer-myn models.
Project Pandora is priced at £34.99 (or $59.99) and comes boxed with some great artwork on the cover showing the ongoing battle between the Corporation and rat-like Veer-myn. We feel that the box itself could have been made of thicker card, but this is a very minor niggle.
The reverse of the box displays an action shot of the game in progress, and lets us know that this is a game for 2 players that will take around 15-60 minutes to play depending on the scenario.
The box contents include:
- Project Pandora: Grim Cargo Ruleset
- 10 x Corporation Marines
- 10 x Veer-myn Night Crawlers
- Starship Tilepack
- Game Counters and Dice
Here you can see the Project Pandora: Grim Cargo rules booklet, 9 dice, and 2 Mantic Points which can be saved up and traded in for free models, tools & accessories.
5 of the large tiles in the box are starship tiles which make up the game board. These look great and have a 3D look due to the various lighting effects.
1 of the tiles consists of 62 colourful gaming counters.
Enough parts to build 10 Mantic Games Corporation Marines.
Parts to make 10 Mantic Games Veer-myn Night Crawlers.
The 21 page rules booklet is printed in black and white and contains all the information needed to play, plus some nice pieces of concept art. There is one training mission to help you get to grips with the rules and then 5 scenarios to play though.
Each of the starship tiles contains corridors, rooms and pieces of cargo to make up the game board. These pieces need to be pressed out of the starship tiles and then can be rearranged to create lots of different starship layouts. The tiles are made of card which appears to have been laminated in a thin layer of plastic for durability.
We are already familiar with the Corporation marines and so we had the whole squad built in no time. You can use the following link to see our full review on these models: Corporation Marines Review. the only difference we could see is that these marines don’t come with the optional 25mm bases (not needed for Project Pandora).
The Veer-myn Night Crawler models are new to us, here you can see the parts that make up the 10 man (…10 rat even) squad. This includes enough parts to build a leader and heavy weapon (chem-thrower) model.
Here you can see a few of our assembled Night Crawlers. The models are nicely detailed and contrast well against the armoured marines.
Here is a close up of the nasty looking Master Reekish, leader or the Veer-myn ranks.
…and here is the completed squad of Night Crawlers.
Here is a board layout used in one of the later scenarios in the rule booklet. We played through the first few scenarios, and it was great fun seeing how each side performed. We were actually surprised by the depth of strategy that can be used with the rules, and we ended up with quite a few exciting moments during our games.
Stat-wise the Corporation Marines are more heavily armoured while the Veer-myn are faster, but both sides have substantially different special rules making each once feel totally different to play. The Corporation Marines make use of extra shooting abilities while the Veer-myn get to sneak around in the darkness. Project Pandora’s ruleset is based around the idea that each player has a limited number of actions they can perform each turn, so there are some real tactics involved while still keeping the game fast moving and fun.
After we had assembled all the models and punched out all the card tiles, the entire contents of Project Pandora: Grim Cargo still fits nicely back in its original box, so it’ll be easy to take to a friends house to get a quick game in. We’re already looking forward to playing through the remaining scenarios in future. The £34.99 price tag seems quite reasonable considering that you get 20 28mm sci-fi models that you can also use in Warpath or other sci-fi games. If you’d like to pick up a copy of Project Pandora: Grim Cargo, head over to www.manticgames.com.