$20.00
$60.00
Recommend
72 
 Thumb up
 Hide
22 Posts

Galaxy's Edge» Forums » Reviews

Subject: It's About Danged Time rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: Review [+] SYFY [+] [View All]
Matt Drake
United States
Arlington
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
When I read that Assa Games was coming out with a new game, I felt like running around yelling, 'The new phonebook is here! The new phonebook is here!' and then inventing the Opti-Grab until everyone sues me for making them crosseyed (if you didn't understand that at all, go watch The Jerk. If you haven't seen The Jerk, go watch The Jerk. I'll wait here).

Up until now, Assa Games has had one game on the books, called Conquest of the Fallen Lands. I liked it a lot, and have wondered for years why these guys would make one great game and then rest on their laurels. Turns out, it just takes them a really long time to make their genius magic work. And thankfully, the wait is over. In just a couple months, you'll be able to get your mitts on Galaxy's Edge, the long-awaited second game from Assa Games. I was so excited, I spent all my Geek Gold (if you don't know what that is, you're probably better off) on nabbing an advance copy, then played it with my playtest group this weekend.

And it's just as awesome as I had hoped it would be. The pieces are far nicer than those in Conquest, and you don't have to mess around with a bunch of cards. The art is great. The big chunky hexes that make up the game board are easy to read and lay out. There are also little wooden space ships, which I must say totally kick ass.

Like Conquest of the Fallen Lands, Galaxy's Edge features a board made randomly from hexes. Each hex represents a different star system, and each system has planets in it (except for the ones that only have one planet. Those only have one). Each planet has a value from 1 to 9, which is how many points you get if you can hold onto that planet until the game is over. If it's a 9, that's pretty hard, in case you were wondering.

Every system has already been settled by an alien race way before you get there. There are tree people and bug people and robot people and crystal people and people people. When you colonize their regions, these aliens start to make friends with you, and different aliens provide different scoring bonuses at the end of the game. So you might get to be friends with the Wargers, who are some really unpleasant robot dudes who love bloodletting and reward you if you have the most military bases at the end of the game. On the other hand, maybe you get in good with the Saplenti, who are peace-loving hippie tree-huggers - well, OK, trees - and they reward you if you have the fewest war bases. The Humanoids just want everyone to get along, and give you points if you share a system with a bunch of other players. But here's the thing - you only get the bonus for an alien species if that species likes you best.

You can grab those loyalties by building colonies in the alien systems - but if you want to keep them, you're probably going to want some military bases. Only colonies get you points, but without bases, you might not be able to hang onto your colonies. And only colonies count toward making best buds with the big bugs, so you have to carefully balance colonies and military bases. Or just play a lot better than I did, because I got completely destroyed.

To explore this burgeoning galaxy, you're going to fly around the board in your wooden spaceship, and maybe (if you get the chance) draw and play some cool event cards. Or you might just put interstellar bans on the area you're in, in which case you'll have to leave before you can do anything interesting. Apparently there's some kind of galactic zoning committee that decides you can't pave over Saturn. Damned hippies.

So those are sort of the rules - but what's important is how the game plays. There is a ton of strategic placement, reinforcing important areas, balancing expansion with defense, and a whole bunch of really nifty little wood pieces. Strategies can shift during the game, and until you play it a couple times, you won't even begin to understand how many different ways there are to win. Maybe you try for military dominance - but you could still lose to the diplomats who make lots of friends. Or maybe you just try to spread yourself all over the place, and lose to the mining superpower that snags all the cheap spots nobody else wanted just to score big with the Crystalloids.

Now, if you're thinking this is your standard galaxy takeover game, think again. Galaxy's Edge teeters on the edge of being a Euro game. Hell, it might even be one, but the line defining Euro games is blurring all the time, and since you can trash an opponent's colony with a surprise attack, you've at least got some potential body count, which doesn't happen a lot in Euro-style games. This isn't a game about starting fights and killing people, though. It's about controlling important areas and influencing the rest. It's actually a little abstract, in fact - I'm not entirely convinced that the theme here was completely required, but it's damned fun anyway.

I was not the least bit surprised at how much I enjoyed playing Galaxy's Edge. Conquest of the Fallen Lands is just a really cool game, and Galaxy's Edge is every bit as good, if not better. There are similarities between the two games, but they're still very different games. If you liked Conquest of the Fallen Lands, you should be chomping at the bit to get Galaxy's Edge. If you haven't played Conquest, you should. And come June, when you can order yourself a copy of Galaxy's Edge, you should buy that, too.

Summary

Pros:
Neat pieces and great art
Clever game play and slick rules
Tons of tough decisions
Plays pretty fast

Cons:
Theme is a tad weak
May induce Too Much Thinking syndrome, forcing you to beat your friend with a rubber mallet
38 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Everts
United States
Foothill Ranch
California
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
"Nobody gets me. I'm the wind, baby!" - Tom Servo
badge
"Push the button, Frank!"
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review! I love Conquest of the Fallen Lands and really looking forward to this game!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Burkhard Nierhaus
Germany
Muelheim
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
ScottE wrote:
Nice review! I love Conquest of the Fallen Lands and really looking forward to this game!

So do i
btw thank you for the review, i really enjoyed it.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kelley E.
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
He went that way
badge
I used to have AP. Now I'm not sure.
mbmbmbmbmb
Entertaining review! Informative and I liked the writing style. Looking forward to this game as well.

Dang, I didn't know you could buy a pre-release with geekgold! Doesn't matter as I don't have any GG anyway but I might have considered buying some up just for this.

Side note: As violent and prone to strife as the human race is, why do so many games portray us as the political silver tongued race, talking our way out of conflict? I suppose game geeks and designers are an idealistic lot that believe we'll one day overcome the notion that might makes right.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Schaeffer
United States
Unspecified
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
xeromist wrote:
Side note: As violent and prone to strife as the human race is, why do so many games portray us as the political silver tongued race, talking our way out of conflict? I suppose game geeks and designers are an idealistic lot that believe we'll one day overcome the notion that might makes right.


Star Trek Syndrome: The conceit that if humanity makes it out into the universe as a starfaring race, it will have become a unified and peaceful species.

Related concept reflected in game designs: The idea that humans are "versatile," "flexible," "jack of all trades, master of none" while non-human species are really really good at one thing and pretty miserable at everything else. (Applies equally in fantasy settings as well as science fiction.)

I think the first one is somewhat excusable in game design, since if you're going to portray HUMAN as a single player species, you pretty much have to assume a united humanity (unless the game involves fractious and factional player teams). The second one strikes me as lazy, though I suppose there are always game balance issues to consider. I'd much rather see game advantages/disadvantages be dictated by the environment and strategic choices -- e.g., if I focus on developing mining, then I become really good at making metal things -- than have them imposed by whether I play an insectoid or robotic race.

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread. This game actually sounds interesting to me, so thanks for the review.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm looking forward to this game, too. I have only read the rules and seen photos here on BGG, but I have to disagree on two more subjective points, a pro and a con.

VixenTorGames wrote:

Pros:
Neat pieces and great art

The pieces seem to be your average wooden stuff. Detailed plastic miniatures, that would be neat! (I totally understand that plastic miniatures may be practically impossible for a small publisher, but I see no reason to praise wooden pieces.) There is nothing great about the artwork, either. It is barely OK, functional but not attractive.


Quote:
Cons:
Theme is a tad weak

From an Ameritrasher's point of view, maybe? Or perhaps it's the lack of plastic miniatures? I really appreciate the idea of creating a game of space colonization and conquest that is totally Euro-style. It's all there: you move your ship, meet alien races, found your colonies, conquer others with military bases. The races bonuses, in particular, are very thematic. Just combat is somewhat abstracted, but that is not a bad thing. It wouldn't be a Eurogame if you kept rolling dice all the time to resolve combats, right? I concede there might be some thematic explanation about the bans, but all in all, I think the theme is pretty well implemented.

Now, what was the deal with geekgold? Is it still available?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
xeromist wrote:
Side note: As violent and prone to strife as the human race is, why do so many games portray us as the political silver tongued race, talking our way out of conflict?

That does not seem to be the case here at all. You are taking the humanoid race for humans, but I believe the humans are represented by the players. Or you may be right, and the humanoids are, indeed, humans (or their descendants). Would the designer clarify?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrei Burago
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
GSReis wrote:

Now, what was the deal with geekgold? Is it still available?

We had the printer send us some samples so we could assess the quality of the manufacture and make some adjustments before the mass production started. I then put one of these samples up for GG auction on this site.

Sorry but the samples are all gone by now soblue

GSReis wrote:

You are taking the humanoid race for humans, but I believe the humans are represented by the players. Or you may be right, and the humanoids are, indeed, humans (or their descendants). Would the designer clarify?

Different interpretations are equally possible here, and I would not like to stifle anyone's imagination.

I can give you one version however The players represent galactic superpowers that are founded and run mostly by humans. But the humanoids they encounter in the game are of human descent as well. They may be descendants of some group of people who had broken away from the rest of humanity eons ago, settled here, on the fringe of the galaxy, and were living peacefully, excelling in trade and diplomacy. Thus you have both sides of our human nature represented here: expansionistic galactic superpowers on one side, and peaceful traders and wanderers on the other.
8 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrei Burago
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
GSReis wrote:
I concede there might be some thematic explanation about the bans, but all in all, I think the theme is pretty well implemented.

We had some text to that extend in the game manual, but eventually it was taken out to make the rules more streamlined and easier to grasp.

The basic explanation is this: every time you build a colony or a military base on a populated planet, there is natural resistance among the native species.

It takes time to quell the protesters and to make sure the locals got used to the idea of aliens living on their land. (Imagine that in your back yard!) While the tensions are high, there can be no more construction in the same sector; one has to wait until they calm down.

In fact, the above applies to expansion and colonization in general, I think, so having some mechanic to reflect it is quite natural.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Drake
United States
Arlington
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
GSReis wrote:
I'm looking forward to this game, too. I have only read the rules and seen photos here on BGG, but I have to disagree on two more subjective points, a pro and a con.

VixenTorGames wrote:

Pros:
Neat pieces and great art

The pieces seem to be your average wooden stuff. Detailed plastic miniatures, that would be neat! (I totally understand that plastic miniatures may be practically impossible for a small publisher, but I see no reason to praise wooden pieces.) There is nothing great about the artwork, either. It is barely OK, functional but not attractive.

I liked the wood pieces. They were nicer than your average wood pieces. Yeah, they were wood. But they had a nice finish on them, and the wood spaceships were awesome.

And I love the art. I think it's evocative, fun and really well done. Just because they didn't hire Larry Elmore doesn't mean it's not great art. I would read a comic book by that artist, just because his pictures tell a story and make you want to find out what happens next.

Quote:

Quote:
Cons:
Theme is a tad weak

From an Ameritrasher's point of view, maybe? Or perhaps it's the lack of plastic miniatures? I really appreciate the idea of creating a game of space colonization and conquest that is totally Euro-style. It's all there: you move your ship, meet alien races, found your colonies, conquer others with military bases. The races bonuses, in particular, are very thematic. Just combat is somewhat abstracted, but that is not a bad thing. It wouldn't be a Eurogame if you kept rolling dice all the time to resolve combats, right? I concede there might be some thematic explanation about the bans, but all in all, I think the theme is pretty well implemented.

No, the theme is a tad weak because it isn't related all that well by the mechanic. It could have been an abstract, or it could have used a different theme completely. It worked, but it could have been swapped out with fantasy, or historical stuff, or lots of other things. The theme is almost completely carried out through the Event cards - the game play itself is mostly just positioning and placement.

Also, just because a game has a more European style to the design doesn't mean the theme has to be weak. Check out San Quentin Kings - that's a Euro-style game about prison gangs that has a theme thick enough to stab with a homemade shiv.

But just so I'm clear - you haven't actually played the game, right? Or seen anything but pictures on a website?
4 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your answer, Andrei! That's a pretty good explanation - and quite diplomatic, as well.

While we are at it... The rules are probably final, but I wish to comment on the one thing - not mentioned in the review - that worries me about the gameplay. It seems to be a pretty good game overall, but I think the card playing may introduce a lot of luck and chaos into an otherwise very strategic game, possibly to the point of spoiling it.

The fact that you need to roll a certain face of the die to draw and even to play a card makes things very random. That means that playing a card when it best benefits you depends on luck, and you may even go through the whole game without a chance of playing a card. I understand that the number of cards one can draw and play must be limited somehow, but I don't think the roll of a die is the best way to do it.

Also, the cards themselves seem unbalanced. I'm particularly concerned about the wormhole event, that can move any ship anywhere. I can see a player settling his valuable colonies before establishing his military bases to protect them (or the other way around) and then suddenly being transported to the opposite side of the board.

But even the apparently least powerful events can alter the outcome of the game. Considering the amount of bonus points a player may obtain from loyalty pledges, an alien embassy may be devastating if it changes the ownership of a pledge in the last round. Of course, a player basing his strategy on a certain pledge should be prepared for that event, but it bothers me when the simple ability of playing that decisive card depends on a die roll.

The whole issue reminds me of Mission: Red Planet. It is another nice Sci-Fi game with a solid design that is marred by some extremely random card effects. Too many times I have seen a game be decided by a randomly drawn card that gives to or denies a player a lot of points.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
VixenTorGames wrote:
I liked the wood pieces. They were nicer than your average wood pieces. Yeah, they were wood. But they had a nice finish on them, and the wood spaceships were awesome.

Fair enough.

Quote:
And I love the art. I think it's evocative, fun and really well done. Just because they didn't hire Larry Elmore doesn't mean it's not great art. I would read a comic book by that artist, just because his pictures tell a story and make you want to find out what happens next.

Indeed, it might be good for comic books, but I prefer more realistic art in games, unless the game has a humorous tone. It doesn't need to be Larry Elmore (and among the D&D artists, there are others I prefer), but Michael Menzel or Franz Vohwinkel would have been very nice.

Quote:
It could have been an abstract, or it could have used a different theme completely. It worked, but it could have been swapped out with fantasy, or historical stuff, or lots of other things.

That could be said of almost any game, and specially if it is a game about expansion and conquest, unless it has lots of "chrome" or a specific geographic map. Sci-Fi and Fantasy are particularly well interchangeable most of the time.

Quote:
Also, just because a game has a more European style to the design doesn't mean the theme has to be weak.

I did not say or implied that at all. I only said that games that revolve around dice-based combats are not Eurogames.

Quote:
But just so I'm clear - you haven't actually played the game, right? Or seen anything but pictures on a website?

I thought I was clear enough when I said exactly that. And I did say those were subjective points.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrei Burago
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
GSReis wrote:
Thanks for your answer, Andrei! That's a pretty good explanation - and quite diplomatic, as well.

You are most welcome!

GSReis wrote:

It seems to be a pretty good game overall, but I think the card playing may introduce a lot of luck and chaos into an otherwise very strategic game, possibly to the point of spoiling it.

Well, I can only tell you that we looked at the events quite carefully, and I think they are just right. And that I do not like tons of luck in games either

The players roll the die every turn, and the overall number of cards played turns out to be pretty evenly distributed. Now, the events are structured in such way that you have to set things up right to play them with the maximum benefit. If you were not preparing, playing an event card does not give you much. If you were, you reap the reward.

Also, the events affect you the most only if you are taking risks. There are countermeasures you can take against all of them, and if you suspect that someone is getting ready to play a certain event, you can try to defend yourself. And, if you are playing risky, someone WILL use that event card you feared so much -- you can count on it!

To protect yourself against a wormhole, set up your bases early (then, being transported away does not hurt, since you can finish colonization without your flagship present. In fact, I would welcome being transported in this case!). To protect against alien diplomacy, strive to have your tally of colonized sectors greater than everyone else's by at least one. And so on.

While the events do introduce some random factor, and some tension, it's not all luck, and often there is some non-trivial gameplay associated with them.

We spent a lot of playtesting hours trying to make sure that the event cards, as well as bonuses from alien loyalties, are well-balanced, and none is overwhelming or totally insignificant. I think we did a pretty good job here... now we'll see what the players will say!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I will take your word for now, Andrei, until I play. I still dislike the dependence on die rolls to play a card, but I will buy the game anyway. It seems we have similar design philosophies, as I also enjoy Eurogames with typical American Fantasy and Sci-Fi themes, and this is a game I could have designed. But regarding publishing, I haven't gone beyond print-and-play yet (see my game Kingdom of Heroes).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Drake
United States
Arlington
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Yeah, the event cards are about perfect. They're not unbalancing, but they do add a great element of flexible strategy and unpredictability. Plus they really help with the theme.

And I think an upcoming Drake's Flames rant about armchair quarterbacks is in order.
7 
 Thumb up
0.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Will
United States
Fresno
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
adagio_burner wrote:
We had some text to that extend in the game manual, but eventually it was taken out to make the rules more streamlined and easier to grasp.

You could always upload the version with the text to BGG file section of this game for those of us who want to read it Or just copy paste it into a post like this? It would be like one of those dvd movies with deleted scenes
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kelley E.
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
He went that way
badge
I used to have AP. Now I'm not sure.
mbmbmbmbmb
GSReis wrote:
I will take your word for now, Andrei, until I play. I still dislike the dependence on die rolls to play a card, but I will buy the game anyway.


Given that Andrei has spent a good deal of time playtesting I'm not too worried. If worst comes to worst you could always adopt house rules with some sort of cost-based method instead of dice. Or, use a dice deck to ensure fixed distribution I suppose.

Then again, I don't get too worked up when the dice turn against me in Risk, so what do I know?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
xeromist wrote:
If worst comes to worst you could always adopt house rules with some sort of cost-based method instead of dice. Or, use a dice deck to ensure fixed distribution I suppose.

I'm usually adverse to house rules, and I'm not sure a dice deck would be a satisfactory solution. I will try the original rules before deciding what to do, and I may just stick to them. Now it has just occurred to me: What is the distribution of symbols on the die? I assumed two of each, but that might not be the case.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrei Burago
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
GSReis wrote:
Now it has just occurred to me: What is the distribution of symbols on the die? I assumed two of each, but that might not be the case.

Two of each is right
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Tullsen
United States
VANCOUVER
WA
flag msg tools
designer
Prototypes in 48 hours!
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Sometimes it's a bit annoying, trying to roll that card symbol, but it balances out. In our first game, we all had about 3 cards and had played about 3 each.

The bans were a little hard to understand - why exactly did we have to place these big octagons that block building installations? But your explanation makes it clear.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Howitzer_120mm wrote:
The bans were a little hard to understand - why exactly did we have to place these big octagons that block building installations? But your explanation makes it clear.


Indeed. Now he has to explain why the bans are big octagons. Well, probably they are supposed to resemble a stop sign. But they look cumbersome and probably block vision. Why not a simple cylinder or cone? The shape could even be octagonal, but more like a tower, or a pawn from Tikal.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Tullsen
United States
VANCOUVER
WA
flag msg tools
designer
Prototypes in 48 hours!
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
GSReis wrote:
Howitzer_120mm wrote:
The bans were a little hard to understand - why exactly did we have to place these big octagons that block building installations? But your explanation makes it clear.


Indeed. Now he has to explain why the bans are big octagons. Well, probably they are supposed to resemble a stop sign. But they look cumbersome and probably block vision. Why not a simple cylinder or cone? The shape could even be octagonal, but more like a tower, or a pawn from Tikal.


Pro - They are very easy to spot. And they didn't seem to block vision in the game I was playing. Perhaps the table was a bit low.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.