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  • Writer's pictureJared Neal

Troika - Don't Run Out of Gas In Space

Retail Price: $23

Player Count: 2-5 (best at 3-4)

Age Range: 7+ (slightly older in our experience)

Play Time: 20 mins. (can vary greatly, but usually not more than 20 mins)

Complexity: 2.75 out of 10 (consistent with our experience)

Mechanisms: Set Collection

Designer: Jun Sasaki

Artist: Jun Sasaki

Publisher: Oink Games

Educational Value:

  • Strategic Thinking

  • Pattern Recognition

  • Future Planning

  • Probability

  • Math: Addition

  • Math: Subtraction

Flavor Text:

“Not far into the future, a stone was found in a star — then more stones were found, and it turns out that if you combine three of these stones in the right way, you create a very valuable jewel. What's more, you can combine them in a different way to create fuel.

In Troika, you are an adventurer who has dreamed of making a fortune, so you've travelled to this star along with other wanderers. Unfortunately, your spacecraft has no more fuel, so while you'd like to create jewels, if you don't also create fuel, you'll die as the richest person at the end of the universe!”


You start with all the tiles face down in the middle of the table, and you take tiles either into your hand or your tableau, with the goal of getting a set of three, and at least one run of three. When a player who has met both those requirements goes out, the player with the highest score wins.


  • Place all game tiles face down in a pool in the middle of the table.

  • Each player takes one tile into their hand.


There are 3 pools of tiles, the pool in the middle where everyone will choose from called the “extraction area”, a pile of face up tiles in front of you called the “container”, and then tiles you have drawn into your hand.

On your turn, you will do one of three actions:

  • Take a face up tile from the extraction area, and place it face up into your container

  • Take a face down tile from the extraction area, and put it into your hand (you may only ever have 3 tiles in your hand)

  • Choose a tile from your container or your hand, and discard it back into the extraction area. If it was in your container it stays face up, and if it was in your hand it stays face down

The objective of the game is to between your container and your hand, to collect 3 tiles of the same number “fuel set”, and 3 tiles in a run “gem set” (each tile can only count towards one or the other). Any tiles left in your hand or container that do not belong to a set of 3, are called trash, and will cost you points when scoring.

The round ends when all the tiles in the extraction area are turned face up, or when only one player hasn’t shouted Troika yet.

  • You may shout Troika if the following conditions are met:

  • You have at least 5 tiles in your container

  • You have collected a fuel set (3 tiles of the same number)

  • You have no trash in your hand or container (tiles that don’t belong to a set)

If playing with 3 to 5 players, and you shout Troika first, you will get a bonus of 5 extra points. Once you have shouted Troika, your turn is skipped for the remainder of the round. You may not shout Troika in a 2 player game.

Scoring it calculated by adding the last digit of the highest tile in each of your gem sets (ie a set of 10, 11, & 12 would be worth 2, and a set of 8, 9, & 10 would be worth 0), and subtracting 1 point for each piece of trash you have. If you don’t have a fuel set, you don’t score any points, because you aren’t able to get off of the planet. The game comes with score markers of 2, 1, and -1, where the highest score gets the 2, the second highest gets the 1, and any players that were stranded because they didn’t have a fuel set, get -1. This is kind of a simplified way to keep score, and makes it so that nobody can run away with it if they get a really high score in one round.


There is a lot of luck in this game, and if you ask my kids they would tell you it’s complete luck. I can assure you there is some strategy here, but what this feedback from my kids tells me, is that the strategy is really about understanding the probability of drawing certain tiles, which feels a lot like pure luck until it clicks. There are 3 of each number 1 through 15, with the only exception being 7, which there are 7 of. Which means, your best bet for getting a set of 3 of the same number, is going to be going for 7’s whenever you get a chance. There isn’t ever going to be any deep strategy here, but similar to a trick taking card game, even with the luck of the draw, the better player will win more often than not.


There isn’t really any artwork in the game per say, but the tiles are really nice and thick, and beautifully colored.


As far as theme goes, this is really an abstract set collection game, and the theme doesn’t come through in any way.

Replayability/Fun Factor:

Troika is almost like an advanced take on Go Fish, and similarly the replayability is going to come mostly from the random nature of the tiles you are dealt and draw each game. This game is quick enough, we will often play at least 2 or 3 games back to back, and it isn’t going to overstay its welcome in that capacity. We have enjoyed all of our experiences with it, but I would say I definitely enjoy it more than the kids, largely I think due to the fact they aren’t able to grasp the strategic component just yet.


This game isn’t going to be for everyone, as a lot of younger kids are going to struggle to see the strategy, and those old enough to see the strategy may become bored with it. However, for a quick game that is simple enough that young kids can grasp the set collection component, and adults can enjoy the somewhat strategic component, this is a good bridge game. You can literally play this game with any age preschool and up for the simple set collection aspect, but for kids to be able to grasp the strategic component, I would say at least late elementary age.

+ Easy to learn

+ Quick to play

+ High replayability

+ Beautiful components

- If you don’t like abstract games

- High level of luck

Final Score:

Jared - 7

Abigail - 6

Other Games You Might Like:

Azul, Calico, Durian, Mandala Stones

This game was purchased from my friendly local game store, and is available here. This isn't an affiliate link, but just my way of trying to support my FLGS, who carry great games at even better prices.

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