Perry Rhodan - The Cosmic League
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articles and interviews

Fritz Gruber

In the year he was born, a man named Juri Gagarin circled the earth as the first human being: Perry Rhodan, celebrating his 45th birtday last fall, tells us about his adventures in space in small booklets that up to now reached the fabulous number of more th an a billion copies.

This was quite a success for the Moewig publishing house (today "Pabel-Moewig") which in 1961 asked the then already well-known science fiction authors Karl-Herbert Scheer and Walter Ernsting to develop a new science fiction booklet series.

If those new stories would have filled fifty booklets only the two authors already would have celebrated this as a big success; actually however Perry Rhodan in the meantime lasts for 2361 booklets and thereby is the most successful fictitious astronaut of the world.

In the course of decades a gigantic Perry Rhodan cosmos evolved. The "Perrypedia", an internet encyclopedia, covers more than 12,000 references in 8,000 articles; this at least reported the German magazine "Stern" in a big article published on the 45th birthday of the galactic hero.

In "Perry Rhodan - Die Kosmische Hanse" two players assume the roles of spaceship commanders racing through a distant star system transporting goods and passengers between six different planets. With cosmic foresight, logistical craftiness, a clever investment policy regarding technologies the players try to reach the center of the sun, thus winning the game.


The game comprises of six colourful planets placed in a row. At the left or the right side of these planets the "sun" is placed showing a spiral of light running inward. At the start of the game both players place a "miniature spaceship" on the outermost field of the spiral. During the game these miniature ships will move to the center of the spiral according to the amount of "Megagalax" gained (a currency in the Perry Rhodan universe).

The goods cards are shuffled and five goods cards are placed near each planet. A total of 30 goods cards are in play. A polarized aleatorical hexacube - that is known as "die" on earth - provides the necessary energy for the flight.

Thus the stage is set to watch the Cosmic House at work. Each player now takes his own spaceship and one deck of 30 cards. This deck of cards contains technologies to improve transport capabilities as well as "intervention cards". If playing a technology card one has to pay an according sum of "Megagalax". These technologies will grant a permanent benefit available for the rest of the game.

Playing an "intervention card" however is for free - but these cards will only grant a temporary advantage and must be discarded after use.

Each players shuffles his own deck of cards, puts it down as draw pile and draws the top five cards to his hand.

Game play

Whoever did spend his vacation on Mars, alternatively in Florida or Martha's Vineyard starts the game by choosing to either select the planet where both players start their spaceship or to execute the first turn. The other player then uses the remaining option.

The players from then on take alternating turns to transport goods cards from planet to planet trying to make as much money as possible to push their miniature ships towards the center of the sun (which is nothing but an indicator for Megagalax already earned). As soon as one player reaches the center of the sun the game ends immediately and this player is declared the winner.

Since the goods cards will vanish from the game one after the other it can happen that there are no more goods cards left to transport. In this case the game also ends and the player wins whose miniature ship is closest to the center of the sun.

In his turn a player ... may execute one flight and up to two planet actions (load goods, unload goods or buy technology). Additionally a player may play up to two interventions. The maximum length of a flight is determined by the throw of the die whereby in the world of Perry Rhodan the "1" has a positive meaning indeed. Throwing a "1" means: add up and throw again. If a player for example throws a "1" and then a "1" again followed by a "4" he has 6 energy units available for his flight (1+1+4). Starting from a planet to its orbit and landing on a planet from its orbit costs an energy unit each. On the flight route itself each planet and each gap between two planets consumes one energy unit when flying away from the sun. Only the planet's orbits are considered when flying in direction of the sun. Talking gravity: You are faster when flying towards the sun.

Loading up and transporting goods

A player landing his spaceship on a planet may load up goods cards available at this planet. A container can be used to transport any number of goods cards as long as these show the same destination planet (both players own one container at the start of the game but can buy more containers during the game). Each goods card not only shows the commodity to be transported but also the destination planet to transport the goods to. As soon as a player arrives at the destination the goods cards are flipped over and now display different goods and different destination planets. Players earn two to three Megagalax per card delivered.


Yet the gathering of Megagalax is not enough. As in every other economy it is necessary to spend respectively invest money in order to make money. New technologies are costly but usually pay well off in the end. So it is possible to spare oneself from a long and luck-dependent flight in orbit by using "hyper jumps". Buying a container (additional to the one that both players own at the start of the game) enables a player to load up goods to more than one destination and thus allows him to organize his flights more efficiently. Space stations eliminate the costly start and landing maneuvers to get off a planet's surface or touch down. Fusion engines increase the amount of energy available for the flight and a special supply technology allows to draw additional cards at the end of the own turn. Both players have one such supply technology card at the start of the game allowing to redraw one card. Each additional supply technology card increases the number of cards that may be drawn at the end of the turn - up to the limit of 5 cards on hand.


Interventions may be played free of charge but must be discarded after use. Here you find "agents" that allow to execute additional planet actions; "passengers" who are willing to pay a lot of money to reach a specific planet; transmitter gates usable to switch the position of the own spaceship with the position of the opponent's ship; on-board transmitters allow to exchange the freight of a container with the freight of one of the opponent's containers; after-burners provide enough energy to execute a second flight during the own turn; additionally there are hyperstorms, tunnels through the sun and options to load up goods cards from far away planets by teleportation.

Logistically refined shipping, clever investments and playing interventions at the right moment - these features characterize "Perry Rhodan - Die Kosmische Hanse" (The Cosmic House) as a game of cosmic depth. Rules are pretty easy to learn. Just a few sessions and players will be able to use their experience as spaceship commanders to take advantage of all the finer points of strategy and tactics that technologies and intervention cards have to offer.

The game author Heinrich Glumpler (photo) who created "Perry Rhodan - Die Kosmische Hanse" was inspired by a boardgame that is widely unknown here in Germany - "Merchant of Venus". This game was published in 1988 by the US company "Avalon Hill". Glumpler intended to publish a smaller, more handy version of "Merchant of Venus" in his small publishing company "Erlkönig". When KOSMOS heard about the project this overlapped with negotiations that the publishing house located in Stuttgart conducted with the Pabel-Moewig publishing house to create a game based on a Perry Rhodan licence. Heinrich Glumpler could not resist to combine the most successful (fictitious) astronaut of all times with a space game. Following up Glumpler studied the "Perryversum" in detail and realigned the further development process to match the features of his game to the most important background elements of the Perry Rhodan universe.


A workshop report

Just in time for the Frankfurt book fair in October the PERRY RHODAN boardgame "Die kosmische Hanse" is published by Kosmos. To shorten the waiting period up to then the PERRY RHODAN FanZentrale presents an excerpt from the workshop report describing the development of the game in its next fanzine publication SOL 48. The workshop report was written by Heinrich Glumpler - game developer at Kosmos.


"I did not want to simply paste the PERRY RHODAN background on my mechanism and immediately began to study Perryversum. My first source for information was the Perrypedia - and I must admit that I back-leaned after approximately half an hour and slapped my head. How could this possibly work? I had discovered a genuine universe - in the purest meaning of the word: it seemed infinite!

How should I pack this universe into my game? I found a small story ("Die Expedition der Mausbiber"), in which the planetary system of the Dreamers made its appearance - non material beings which employed transmitters to travel between their planets. This story seemed suited quite well as a background since this Dreamer system did not appear in later storiesr and I therefore had some liberties in using it.

I was interested to use a background story that fitted the PERRY RHODAN stories and fabulated that the transmitters of the Dreamers were destroyed by a disaster and that now they needed the assistance of the players (the Dreamers had no spaceships) to transport "Constructs" necessary to rebuild the transmitters on their planets. The special abilities in the game (later called "Technologies") were nothing else but religious motivated telepathic powers that the Dreamers bestowed upon the players temporarily. The objective of the players was to win the confidence of the Dreamers (represented by points of influence received for successfully transporting the Constructs).

I wanted the boardgame to be interesting for Rhodan fans but at the same time wanted to ensure that players were intrigued by the Perryversum even if they never heard of Perry Rhodan before. For this purpose the framework of the game could not be too specific. "Die Kosmische Hanse" hat a multi cultural touch to it and seemed much more suited than my initial background and so I converted the Constructs to goods while the planetery system was somewhat generalized. Without a doubt the Pabel Moewig publishing house made the crucial contributions here to ensure that my game became a genuine PERRY RHODAN boardgame.

I hope that "PERRY RHODAN - Die kosmische Hanse" will not only be fun to play but will also serve as a gateway to this fascinating world of the Perryversum. And I would be lucky if it were only approximately as long-lived as the Perry Rhodan series itself - which in fact is in existence since over 40 years now!"

Posting with some infos

I am the author of the boardgame "Perry Rhodan - Die kosmische Hanse" and would like to post some informations about the game here.

To describe the game very briefly: Two players fly their spaceships from planet to planet in a small system to transport goods to earn money. This money may be saved to reach the objective of the game - but as an option may be invested in technologies to facilitate the transport tasks. Both players have in principle the same resources to fulfill the tasks at hand - although both do have only a limited number of these resource at hand at any given time.

The players have options to affect - perhaps one should say "annoy" - each other what should be expected from a game like this. The trick in this game is to decide how long to still invest in tools which help to earn money more efficently - and when to start saving money to run for the finish. Naturally each investment costs some money and thus time.


I tried to learn about the Perry Rhodan universe as much as I could - and learned that it was practically infinite.

In the context of a game for 2 players I had to address casual players, experienced gamers and Perry Rhodan fans alike. In a certain way it was quite good for me that I was not an expert of the Perryversum and in my opinion it also was good for the game development - a casual player would for example hardly read through the (I believe) 80 pages of the Perry Rhodan CCG rules.

So I hope that my tiny game (compared to the perryversum) will be able to open a gateway to the fascinating world of Perry Rhodan.


Teaser by the author

2007-08-08: Heinrich Glumpler provided a small teaser to us for his 2-player game:

Charrid had to work hard to load up the freight to the container and he gave a breath of relief when he finally heard the hissing noise of the sealing mechanism. Now he j ust had to get into orbit as fast as possible to reach the ice planet - only there the container could be unloaded again. And then Charrid would have it made - or so he thought.

He had taken precautions - sure. The afterburner was filled up and the on-board transmitters were ready to repel a hostile exchange - this time Flurod, his opponent, would have no chance to steal the freight.

Liftoff was o.k., but then the difficulties began. The fusion engine was not as effective as he had hoped. Charrid considered briefly to use the afterburner on the spot but then decided against it - one never knows.

How right he was - as turned out a little later. Just before arriving at the orbital station there was a violent bang - shocked Charrid realized that the automatic visors of the ship had closed. In disbelief he stared at the navigation screen - this could not be! He was just a few light minutes away from the sun! A moment ago his ship had hung in the cold dark space over the ice planet - and now it bathed in the hot rays of the central star in the system!

The realization hit Charrid like a physical blow. A gate transmitter. Flurod had activated a gate transmitter. This space pirat had waited up to the last possible moment to hit him.

Well - but the game was not over - not yet.

Actually the game we are talking about here lasts for about three-quarter of an hour. And as you may have guessed up to now it is a boardgame for two players, who work against each other - in a more or less civilized way - to reach their goal.

Be with us in october - and get to know the Kosmos boardgame featuring the biggest science fiction series of all times... made in Germany - Perry Rhodan!

Preview (dutch)

... Dit spel staat zeer hoog op mijn verlanglijstje voor Spiel. *
* That means something like: ... This game ranks very high on my wishlist for the Spiel' 07.

Interview about the game

Michael Weber: Heinrich, your game "Die kosmische Hanse" is published with the "Perry Rhodan" background? How did it come this way and that the license was granted? Are you a fan of the booklet series?

"If I had got my hands on one of th ese booklets earlier it well could have been that I would write Perry Rhodan stories myself these days instead of inventing boardgames - whereby its the question if the science fiction series would have profited of this :-)

I actually read my first Perry Rhodan booklet in the biblical age of 22. I was immediately aware of how much I already had missed at that time - the series is in existence since 1961! I did not see a chance to catch up to material already published and turned to other hobbies. Thus I cannot say that I am a fan indeed - but on the other side I am very happy that I was given a second chance to learn about the fascinating Perryversum and its fan community.

The game I developed was meant as a homage to the great boardgame "Merchant of Venus" and was started using the working title "Venus Connection". When I first demonstrated the prototype at the Herner Spielewahnsinn convention I had a chance to show it to Fritz Gruber from Kosmos. His positive feedback motivated me to continue working on it intensively. He later told me that at this time he already considered to combine the game with a Perry Rhodan license. When I demonstrated the game successfully again in Goettingen (a big meeting of game authors) a cooperation with Wolfgang Luedtke (TM play/cosmos editorship) ensued which finally led to the publication as Perry Rhodan license - not at least because the Pabel Moewig publishing house was also very interested to publish it.

Michael Weber: Space boardgames are usually not liked by the masses. Would another theme not have been a more promising choice?

"Here I would like to quote George Bernhard Shaw who said

'The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.'

In regard to science fiction and boardgames I'll have to count myself among the 'unreasonable' men, since again and again I like to pursue science fiction themes. In regard to my Perry Rhodan boardgame however I have to say that this was irrelevant because I intended to self publish it. I wanted to create a game having the main characteristics of Merchant of Venus - a boardgame once published by Avalon Hill, that in my opinion is a classic. My plan was to develop a minimalistic version of Merchant (how we call it here) for the tiny group of experienced gamers who are familiar with this marvelous boardgame. My partner at Edition Erlkoenig, Mario Truant, imposed hard restrictions: 110 cards - nothing else. No board, no pawns, no dice - just cards.

That was hard! But one grows with the challenges. I used some unusual mechanisms like multi-functional cards and the like to honor these restrictions without losing my objective. The result was a typical "gamer's game".

Although I used some quite innovative mechanisms I paid attention to ensure that the game could be played fluently. The guys from Kosmos were pleased so well with the game and its ideas that a co-operation developed. I still remember my first game of Venus Connection with Wolfgang Luedtke (from TM Spiele working with Kosmos). He was dead tired - and was pleasantly surprised that the game was able to revive his attention.

So in total - my motivation to develop a science fiction game was based on my enthusiasm for Merchant of Venus while Kosmos was interested because of the chance to create a Perry Rhodan license."

Venus Connection becomes Perry Rhodan: The cosmic Hanse (caption of image)

Michael Weber: What about the background of the game? What is this all about the "Kosmische Hanse"?

"Recently a remote planet system was discovered in which some strange aen-old technology can be found. Different peoples established themselves in this system and the task of the the players consists in transporting goods and passengers between the six planets of these peoples - in order to make a certain amount of money as fast as possible. The first player to gather a specific amount of money wings the game.

Instead of saving the earned money in order to reach the objective of the game, the players may alternatively invest it in certain technologies (additional engines, special abilities, et cetera) in order to gain money more efficently. Because of this there exists an interesting dilemma (also to be found in the original game of Merchant Of Venus): How long do I still invest in technologies and when should I begin to save my money in order to win?

If I invest too little or late my opponent will do that and will earn his money much faster than me. If I invest too much on the other side I'll drop back too far and my opponent will win although he actually earns money at a slower rate than myself."

Michael Weber: How to you achieve this in the game? What mechanisms do you use?

"Both players have an identical set 30 cards and have five of these cards in hand to be used in their turn. Some of these cards represent technologies, which can be bought and then will provide permanent advantages, while all other cards are so called interventions which give a temporary advantage for the duration of a player turn.

The goods cards provide the central means for the players to make money. I wanted a simple but also interesting mechanism. There are 30 goods cards in play which are placed at the six planets to be picked up. A goods card shows a commodity and the destination planet to which it must be transported as well as the amount that is earned when delivering the goods card (pick up of goods is for free).

The trick with this mechanism is that - as soon as a goods card reaches its destination - it is flipped over and will then show another commodity with a different destination planet. Each and every goods cards shows two different commodities and destination planets on either side - by this method the delivery of a goods cards immediately creates a new transport task.

The mechanism behind the goods cards is the same as in my game "Tschuk" which is published by the 3-Hirn-Verlag this autumn.

All goods cards waiting at a planet are grouped by their destination and are transported together. The reward consists in the sum of the values of all transported cards - this way the transport tasks differ by value again creating interesting dilemmas quite naturally.

Additionally a simple rule takes care that the goods will disappear one after the other. Thereby an increasing demand is generated resulting in a bonus for players who succeed to deliver goods to planets which do not offer new goods for transport themselves."

The goods of the prototype (caption of image)

Michael Weber: This is a two player game. Why this restriction?

"Venus Connection - the ancestor - was originally meant to be played by up to five players - and it worked quite well with this number since the player's actions were very restricted. The number of options per turn was minimal, so that there was nearly no downtime. In the development process however cards came into use which offered variable ways to be used. This resulted in more liberties for the players and I therefore reduced the number of players to keep the game flowing.

The decision to create a two player game resulted from the desire to create a more tactical game while restricting the duration of a session to a maximum of 45 minutes. This was good for the publication in the end because the game now fitted perfectly in the 'games for two' edition of Kosmos."

The spaceships of the prototype (caption of image)

Michael Weber: What should players keep in mind during their first session to avoid losing hopelessly?

" Naturally it is good to know the different cards and their effects - however, as in real life, the best (and most sorrowful) way is to learn it by doing. Because of this a beginner will most probably lose against an experienced player anyway.

In order not to lose hopelessly I can only recommend to observe exactly. Each individual session develops a special character of its own which is (naturally) determined by the hand cards drawn at the start and the following turns and on the other side by the flow of the goods cards.

There are sessions where the goods cards disappear rapidly from the game while in others there is a rich offer of goods up to the end of the game. In the first case it might be a good idea to invest in technologies increasing the speed of the spaceship while in the other case it may pay more to invest in freigth space on board of the ship.

You have to be observant in every single session - there is no such thing as a "killer combo". Even if there exists a winning combination of cards it could well be buried at the bottom of your deck, coming up late - too late in order to be useful any more.

Again and again situations developed in test session offering an opportunity to devise and execute a "devilish plan" as I call it. Maybe there is a chance to buy three technologies at low costs or there arises a situation when it is possible to steal a fat load. It is crucial not to miss such opportunities.

In my opinion you will win this game if you either adapt the game flow to your resources or adapt your resources to the flow of the game."

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