In Space Caravan each player is a captain of a ship in the last fleet of humanity. The goal of the game is to gain enough support from the 7 political factions controlling the fleet, so that you will be chosen as the new fleet admiral.
The core mechanism is worker placement, where players take turns sending their captain or one of their two crew officers to perform actions. Each ship in the fleet is aligned with one of the factions, and the actions you take define who you gain support from. The player may also visit planets or space stations in the system, can engage in diplomatic relations with aliens or upgrade the ship and crew.
But the 7 factions do not agree on the path forward for humanity. Through story and event cards, a faction may enforce new policies, and the gameplay conditions may change. For example, if the religious Seeker faction is dominant, they may force the fleet to jump to a new star system after each round, thus forcing players to gather more fuel and limiting access to the planets of each system.
Furthermore, the fleet is being hunted by a swarm of machines. These machines will attack and eventually destroy ships in the fleet. When a fleet-ship is destroyed, the faction they belong to will lose power, and the action space available on that ship will be lost. In this way the action spaces available will diminish as the game goes on.
Players can choose to fight back and attack the machines. But sometimes it may be politically favourable to do nothing, and let the machines destroy ships belonging to an opposing faction. After all – the power balance shifts in your favour, when opposing factions are diminished.
You should play this game if you enjoy big sprawling worker placement games. The game attempts to weave a space-opera story on a political scale into the mix, and each game will have a different progression and ending depending on the actions taken by players during the game.