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Subject: Review after a few plays of this Christmas present. rss

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gary rembo
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brighton
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Review based on the retail version I recieved from Christmas.

Components.
Included in the box are loads of components.
5 unique sets of miniatures of a reasonable quality and varying in design quality.
Lots of dice although the faction coloured dice in some cases were of poor quality with the numbers badly painted.
Map sections counters cheat cards,faction cards etc all of good quality heavy card stock.
Cards of reasonable card stock.
The art throughout in my humble opinion is excellent.

The rule book although fairly short could do with some clarifications here and there and one or two thing completely omitted.
I did contact the author and he was more than helpful in explaining the issue I had.

It would take a loooong time to explain all the games nuances and unique aspects that set it apart from similar games but in a lot of ways the game plays like a slicker faster twilight imperium but in fact has a lot more depth.

I have and love twilight imperium but at its heart it is a massivey long space opera who's gameplay is not cutting edge in any way but relies on the player interaction and experience of the game lasting sometimes 6 hours or more.

This game scratches that itch for me but can be played 2 players playe 40 minutes per player (this is an accurate estimate after a couple of plays and in my opinion has far more variation and options in gameplay.

Each race is made up of one of ten species,their ideology and their framework.

When you select a race you also randomly choose an ideology board and a framework board.
These are all butted together to form you race for the game.
There are 10 races,10 ideologies and 10 frameworks so as you can imagine the possibilities are vast.

In game terms your chosen race will effect the cost and capabilities of your units,how many if any perks your race can have and how upgradable their units are.

Ideology will give you varying ideology specific things you can do like the assasins ideology allowing you to damage far distant units if you apply a leader to the tasks and they succeed. Your ideology options will Increase and improve as you level up by scoring victory points.

Framework is a measure of how good your race is ate the various game mechanics.
Some races will be able to jump more systems than others,
Some will be able to field more agents,some will be better at combat so get more re rolls and so on.

Because of the random map setup and the random race set up every game we have played each player has to take stock of what they have and formulate a new plan.

The main gameplay revolves around your your three leaders each having a number on them.the higher the better as you have to roll j der this on a d8to succeed in certain tasks.
and the 12 different actions that you assigns them to each turn worker placement style.
Some will automatically succeed some you will hate to roll successfully for so it payes to keep the stronger leaders for these tasks of course.
Most of these actions are automatic although some will depend on how good of a leader you have assigned to the task at hand.

Even the order of the 12 possible actions changes from round to round to add further strategy.
Once players have selected 3 of the 12 actions they are resolved in order.
The options are as follows,
You can explore,jump or scan,
Exploring allows you to turn over two sectors adjacent to a planet you control,once explored you can use jump actions to move your units into these revealed sectors.finally you can scan and if successfull gain space credits of artefacts tha give you bonuses in assorted aspects of the game.

Second you can colonise,diplomacy or construct.

To colanize you need to have ships capable of colonising in orbit around a sector with no opponents human or AI present.
Diplomacy is a way to take over a planet withou using force.
And constructing is simply the act of building new ships repairing unique units and buying upgrades,mercenaries or buildings from the ever changing galactic market.

Next we have activate,recruit and mission.
Activating is required for many of the games special effects gained in assorted ways.recruiting enables you to acquire agents that will give you assorted ongoing benefits during gameplay and finally mission.
This serves as a wild card and allows you to choose any action of the 12 although in this case you will have to make a success roll whatever you do. This is useful if the turn is evolving in a way you didnt expect and you don't want to commit yourself to any given task until you know what is going on later in the turn.

Through gameplay and these options you are trying to reach the given victory point level.
Victory points are referred to as antimatter in this game although they are just victory points lol.

You can acquire these by taking certain planets,completing certain requirements and winning larger space battle and planetry assaults.

The options are truly mind boggling and the routes to winning likewise.

There are many little thing in this game that set it apart for me and bring the universe alive like the inclusion of an NPC race that Occupy certain planets and areas of space,the way that new products tha appear in the galactic market each turn you have to pay a premium for while items that have been out for a could of turn are actually discounted.the way certain leader are more competen than other and are actually named character etc.

The game is heavily icon driven and once you have these memorised it flows along at a great pace.
Combat is fairly simple.
basic combat is just rolling 1d8 per ship and rolling under their hit number causes a hit or hits on your opponent. Both players roll together and then players allocate hits to their own ships. Unique ships can be repaired in the construct phase and certain enhancement will alter ships stats and capabilities.

There are a few things that did not feel right for me but that may be because of what I have become used to in games of this type.
Like referring to the victory point track as the antimatter track just didn't work thematically for me and the way in which infantry do not travel aboard ships in your fleet but must travel with them as if escorted.

As I said you may need to clarify some points via the boardgamegeek website or the author but for our part we love this game and after 5 games that all played out quite differently we are having a blast.

Their are 5 sets of figures in the box although currently there are 10 races so in order to play some races you will have to use substitute figures of another race but considering that there are 5 seperate sets of sculpts in the box at the moment this is not the end of the world for me.
I am hoping that the other 5 will emerge at some point but I believe the publisher had some issues with the company producing said minis.

There is sooo much to cover in this game and I have probably missed a lot out but it never feels overwhelming

Overall I'm loving this game and what it offers.
It is a 4x but is different enough for me and offers a great 2 player game and a respectable play time as well as endless variety through the galaxy co strict ion and the many race variants.

I feel this is a very clever and balanced design that has not been rushed from a game design point of view.

While you are learning it is easy to get caught out and make some sill costly mistakes but once you understand the game flow and what to look out for this game is an absolute blast.
It is possible to win through nothing but conflict and also not engaging in combat at all and anywhere in between.

My mark may seem quite high to some but a really really like this game despite its minor flaws. 9/10.

EDIT....
Hi all,
I have been in touch with the designer and there were a couple of rules I was playing wrong specifically how ground forces work.
It now all makes sense to me.
In game terms ground forces after the initial occupation can be used to re enforce defences on an owned planet and are are built and moved on their own within space you control.

Also an initial issue I had with the race specific dice used in unique ships was a little unfounded.
There is just some residue on them that comes of with a damp cloth.
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Emil Larsen
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Thanks a lot for your kind review Gary,
I'm happy to hear that you're having a blast with the game, and you also enjoy the two-player aspect of it. I was a focus point for me that the game would be fun for any number of players.

Hope you'll have a great New Year, and that 2018 will bring lots of cool game experiences to your table

Best regards Emil
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gary rembo
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Lol.....
Not kind just my honest opinion.
I got three games for Christmas and yours has not been put away yet.
Played two more games yesterday and I intend to play again today before we head out to celebrate the new year.

BY THE WAY HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL......
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Emil Larsen
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Great to hear Gary, that really makes my day
And a happy New Year to you too!
 
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