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Scavengers - PnP

SCAVENGERS - Jan-2016 to Present
(last update March 2017)

Lots of changes and evolution have occurred in the year since this game began. I used to keep a print-n-play version available on my website, but I've since ceased updates. I'm consciously focusing on contacting publishers, as the game is very strong and requires more of a critical/publisher's eye. You can see my basic write-up here:

My next step is to come up with a clear set of game instructions. Blind playtesting will follow.

To sum up changes since the most recent documented updates:
- Tech cards scrapped from the game, replaced with Event cards that appear in certain Sectors.
- Cards in player hand have some special abilities
- Tokens used to track Radiation, Alien Tech, Alien Escape Pods, and Edge Tokens (allow a +1 to a player's bid when used)
- All Sector Cards worth 3 points when won, with bonus points allowed for icons that match a player's Contract Card
- Players can add Company Cards to their hand. These are near identical to bid cards but offer added effects, like collecting additional tokens when used.

In general, the game is much more streamlined and easier to pick up. There have been lots of comparisons to Hearts, Spades, and Poker, with added strategic depth afforded by the tokens and Company Cards.

The game supports 2 to 5 players, and takes about 30-35 minutes for a full complement of 5 players to complete.

Any feedback can be sent via email to

Thanks for reading!



UPDATE: 7 September 2016
- Revised the instructions in preparation for blind playtesting
- Balanced Technology and Space Scum Cards

Had another positive run with the local publisher candidate, so this was another polishing revision. Balanced and revised some of the Technology and Space Scum cards. May add some more before it's finally "locked in."

Update: 27 August 2016

LATEST UPDATE: 27 August 2016
- Clarified wording on the 0-bid Energy Cards
- Added Space Scum Cards and updated instructions on their use
- Adjusted point values for Resource Cards. Range is now 2 to 4, instead of 1 to 4 (which seemed like too much a spread of point values)
- Added "Radiation" side of Current Victor Card. Note that you will need to put the Radiation card and Current Victor cards in the same sleeve, and/or tape them together, so that the player can flip the card as needed (see page 4 of the instructions)

This is a sizeable update, and includes some rules variants which address what some would call a "runaway leader" problem. Turns out it's more of a "losers keep losing problem," so I came up with a couple useful ways to fix that. The game is working great.

Update: 4 July 2016

The Instructions and the Tech Cards were adjusted for this update.

UPDATE: 04 July 2016
- Marked some Technology cards for 3/4 player games.
- Adjusted the instructions to factor in the selection of Tech Cards in the event of a 2-player game.

Update: 1 July 2016

This update affects the instructions and resource cards download.

LATEST UPDATE: 01 July 2016
- Reduced players from 2 - 5 to 2 - 4. Things were just too chaotic and strategy was being reduced by too great a degree for my liking.
- Changed Secret Faction Cards to +1 Points. When it was +2 Points, deducing a player's Secret Faction was too easy, and dominated the player's thinking throughout the game. That's not what I want.
- Made minor adjustments to the instructions to reflect these changes.

UPDATE: 20 June 2016

LATEST UPDATE: 20 June 2016
- Merged the Resource Cards and the Faction Cards to a single file. There are now 10 active Faction Cards: 5 Public and 5 Secret. You should still ignore the Alien Faction cards.
- Updated a couple of the Tech Cards with different effects.
- All Tech Cards have their own symbol, no longer the Radioactive icon.
- Revised instructions to factor in the Public and Secret Faction Cards.

I have another game workshopping session this coming weekend, and it's with this in mind I added the additional Faction Cards and tweaked some of the Tech Cards.

Update: 12 June 2016

LATEST UPDATE: 12 June 2016

PnP Files affected by this update: Technology Cards, Sector Cards, Instructions

- Made minor - but essential - edits to the instructions.
- A few Technology Cards revised and/or significantly changed. Total of 27.
- Added a Next Sector Card and Current Victor Card to the PnP files, and outlined their use in the instructions.
- All Sector Cards now have four symbols on them. No more 2- or 3-symbol cards included.
- "Did the math already" for the point values of cards. Player need not subtract points from their score for Radiation Symbols they've collected, as it's already calculated. However, a player will still need to add a bonus point for each Artifact symbol that matches their Faction Card.

Update: 7 June 2016

Updated the game instructions after a bit of tweaking through playtests.
- Scoring for Alien Escape Pods = 1 point for each Pod collected for the player with the MOST Alien Escape Pods.
- Updated number of Technology Cards (27) and Sector Cards (23).

I have another design group session this coming Friday, and we'll see how things turn out after that session... I think the game is in solid shape at this point. Scoring seems ironed out, the mechanics are sound, games are surprising and dramatic. I think only Technology Cards require more testing and balancing.

Update: 4 June 2016

A few changes to the current PnP version. Also, the last update of the Sector Cards went very well, so those are likely locked in for the duration.

- Added a third page of Technology Cards (allowing for 27 total), and updated a few of the previous ones after playtesting.
- Updated the instructions with some minor clarifications and font changes.
- Updated the Technology Cards and Energy Cards with a different font to aid in reading.
- Updated Faction Cards with resource symbols, so even those who do not color the Resource and Faction Cards can play the game. I still recommend colouring the Energy Cards to facilitate resolving bids, however.

Update: 26 May 2016

If you have downloaded a previous version, you only need to download the updated Sector Cards.

Changes in this update:
- color photographs included in PDF instructions and website.
- adjusted faction resources on several Sector Cards.
- 23 Sector Cards in the game.

"You will also need to color

"You will also need to color the faction cards and corresponding artifacts on the Sector Cards"

What are the corresponding artifacts for the factions? I don't see this clearly stated anywhere.


I've since updated the instruction sheet with a third page, detailing the Faction Cards, corresponding Energy Cards, and an example colour scheme for the different factions/equipment to scavenge.

Sincerely sorry that there was a delay on this. Enjoy the game! :)

The title reminds me of ...

Arctic Scavengers.

But this game is a "re-themed" version of "Race For the Galaxy" (RACE) and San Juan (SJ). It still seems like a popular game.

And your game title reminded my about "Arctic Scavengers" (vs. Scavengers). I have never played but I remember the picture of the guy on the front. Personally I feel it's a lousy box cover... That's just my opinion.

Game Names

Arctic Scavengers seems interesting, particularly in the video review I watched that constantly drew comparisons to Dominion and Thunderstone. The reviewer is totally engaging.

I'm not surprised that there's already dozens of games out there including the word "Scavengers." It's just a placeholder name, really, until a publisher has a hold of it.

It used to be called "Stellar Scavengers," but I dropped the first word because I didn't really like it. Before that, the original title of this project was XGXL, which was short for "Crossing Guard XL." Most recently it's been re-themed for sci-fi thanks to a local publisher's input. So the entire game has been on quite a journey these past few months, and the name is only part of it.

UPDATE: 23 May 2016

Added reminder text to all 0 Energy Cards: "You may trade in a technology card."

See rules document for a detailed explanation of this rule.

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gamejournal | by Dr. Radut