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Subject: Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye. Na na na na, goodbye 7 Wonders goodbye rss

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Todd
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Information about the Reviewer: I am not associated with Artipia Games or the designer. This is a review copy of the game. I enjoy 7 Wonders and like games with a space theme. I have played this game with 3 and 4 players. You can look at my profile to see how I have rated other games.

Rules: The rules are available online and I do not tend to summarize them in my reviews.

Components: This is a card drafting game. The cards for the game are a nicely designed square shape, easy to shuffle and appropriate for the spatial mechanic associated with the game. The game also comes with 8 cardboard tiles for the different alien races, a turn marker, scoring track, energy cubes, player aids, and tokens representing credits (money).



All of the components are well made and the art is excellent. The one problem I have with the components is that I find the layout for the scoring track to be poor. I have observed various players move their scoring token in the wrong direction due to the layout of the track. Not a big deal, but I wish they had done it differently.



Theme: I think that the space theme works. It is not a deeply developed theme, but I like the powers of the various cards and how they interact. As I have said the art is very nice. This is an interesting game, but the theme feels slightly pasted on…like a Knizia game…but that is OK. I don’t need every game that I own to feel particularly thematic. I enjoy the space setting and building a space station is lots of fun. They included in the rulebook background history on each of the races, a nice touch.

I find it very interesting that Mr. Bagiartakis was originally going to have the game revolve around summer camps. With two young kids I can see the appeal of creating the best summer camp, but I think that the designer was smart to use a science fiction theme as it is more appealing to gamers (and kids).

What I like: One of my friends commented that Among the Stars is a mixture of 7 Wonders and Glen More. While I love both of those games, I think that there is something very special going on with Among the Stars.

1 Creating your own space station is awesome. You layout your space station in the manner that you desire. Having played the game several times you see how important your layout is to your overall success. It can be important to create holes in your space station to all for placement of buildings with bonuses for adjacent buildings. You have to see what other people are doing as that may or may not change what you want to build. When creating your station you have to leave places open for buildings requiring energy cubes or you will be unable to play a card that you were really really really hoping to play. Of course that NEVER happened to me.



2 This leads me to the energy resource and reactors. I love the addition of a second resource within the game. Mr. Bagiartakis stated “I wanted the players to have more options on their turns and introducing an additional resource would allow them to do so.” This creates some really interesting decisions as you build your space station. Do you discard a card to purchase another reactor? Do you attempt to build with only buildings that do not require energy? The two cubes you begin the game with won’t last forever and this really adds to the decision making.

3 The game comes with three optional rules to add to the basic game. First, I like games like Fresco, Agricola, and others that provide a basic game and then add within the box ways to add more depth. Fantastic. Among the Stars adds three elements that can be incorporated individually or all at once: objectives, asymmetrical alien powers, and conflict cards. The objective cards (1 per player) are placed near the scoring track and are scored at the end of the game. Each player can choose to which objectives to focus on and one player can win multiple objectives at the end of the game. Love these cards and will always use them when playing with gamers. The alien race cards are fun and allow for a little asymmetrical play. Love this in most games and it works well here. Of course the inevitable discussion of which power is better will take place and I do not think they are all equal. However, I like these powers and will opt to play with them. Lastly, conflict cards are included with the game in case you want to add more player interaction. These cards can allow a player to compare an aspect of their station with another player. Each player counts the number of card type and the player with the most of that set of cards gains points while the other player loses points. So if you were comparing blue administrative cards and John had 4 cards in his station while Lynda had only 3 cards, then John would gain a point and Lynda would lose one point. I will be honest; I have not played with these cards. I did not feel that they were necessary, but if you want to add this to the game then it is easy to do so. Perhaps I will play with this in the future.



Compared to 7 Wonders: Mr. Bagiartakis stated that he was inspired by 7 Wonders and used the card drafting mechanism because “drafting had some big advantages: It was simple and easy to learn, it was quick, and it was fun!”. I like card drafting and this mechanism did not originate with 7 Wonders, however I feel like the game works better because he went further. The addition of the second resource and the spatial aspect of the game really work for me. They add another level of thought and I will always ask to play Among the Stars over 7 Wonders.

Not everyone that I played the game with agreed. Some people were turned off by the variability of the powers on the cards, stating that they enjoyed the simplicity of the 7 Wonders cards. Obviously, 7 Wonders also allows for more people to play the game and there are few games that play well with 7 players. Personally I had always liked playing 7 Wonders with fewer people, but I understand the point.

To me they are two very different games. I lost interest in 7 Wonders after a few months and sold my copy. I think that Among the Stars will hold my interest much longer.


Audience: Gamers will enjoy Among the Stars if you use stay away from the basic game. Family gamers will love it. Easy to introduce and it does not overstay its welcome. You can start by teaching the basic game and add the other elements as you see fit. Teachers will not find this a game that is useful within the classroom. However, this is the perfect game for a school gaming club. I ran a board gaming club a few years ago for middle school students. This game would have been fantastic. I would preselect the cards to be used and I think I would play the game with a couple of the older students (teaching them how to teach the game). Once I had a few students that knew how to play I think it would be played every week. I would probably just use the basic game with the objective cards. Alien asymmetrical powers and conflict cards could create some unnecessary arguments IMHO.

Conclusion: Among the stars is a fantastic game. I thoroughly enjoy it and look forward to getting it on the table more often. If you are looking for a fast, fun game with interesing decisions then Among the Stars is for you!

After you read a review, written by anyone on BGG, please take a moment and send the publisher an email if the review helped you decide to purchase the game. BGG is a fantastic source of information due to the work of lots of great individuals. I don't know how many of the video reviewers and player aid designers like Universal Head find the time to create their projects. Thanks for reading!

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Clinton Coddington
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I can't wait to get my hands on this game, I've been wanting it since I heard of it. I missed the Kickstarter for it, any idea when we'll start seeing it show up in stores here in the states?
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Sylvester Stachovicz
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What level of interaction is there? Is it based on draft only or more?
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Todd
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There is competition for common goals (with objective cards) and some of the cards force player interaction. For example, the Galactic Research Facility states: Each other player secretly chooses up to 3 credits to pay and gains that amount in victory points. You gain VP equal to highest amount paid, plus one".

Plus you can add the conflict cards for more interaction.
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Stefano Castelli
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Let's say that it is a nice space-themed clone.

7 Wonders is 2/3 times better, though. Maybe a little bit more.

Also the limit to 4 players and the HUGE amount of table space needed for playing are two important problems of this game.

Again, is not bad and in fact I bought it.

Yet... "7 Wonders goodbye"?. Not by a mile.
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David desJardins
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Castef wrote:
7 Wonders is 2/3 times better, though. Maybe a little bit more.


If 7 Wonders is 0.667 times better, does that mean it's 33.3% less good?
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Stefano Castelli
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Vester wrote:
What level of interaction is there? Is it based on draft only or more?


The game has way less interaction than 7 Wonders, even if you use the most interactive setup.

For instance, you can't use other player's facilities and the direct war is missing.
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Clinton Coddington
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I opted not to buy 7 Wonders and just wait for Among The Stars.
Opinions, what ya' gonna do?
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Stefano Castelli
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Castef wrote:
7 Wonders is 2/3 times better, though. Maybe a little bit more.


If 7 Wonders is 0.667 times better, does that mean it's 33.3% less good?


I knew someone would have replied with math. My bad.
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Sylvester Stachovicz
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Less interaction than 7W ---> no buy for me.
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Stefano Castelli
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Vester wrote:
Less interaction than 7W ---> no buy for me.


Consider that you can add the conflict cards and play with them. Yet, they REALLY seem an afterthough. Did not like them much.
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Todd
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Castef wrote:
Let's say that it is a nice space-themed clone.

7 Wonders is 2/3 times better, though. Maybe a little bit more.

Also the limit to 4 players and the HUGE amount of table space needed for playing are two important problems of this game.

Again, is not bad and in fact I bought it.

Yet... "7 Wonders goodbye"?. Not by a mile.



I spoke of the fact that 7W plays up to 7.

I got tired of 7W. Among the Stars seems better to me.

Thanks for reading my review!
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If you're looking for attacking other players as a key element of the game, I would recommend games other than this or 7 Wonders. However, there is interaction since cards you take, your opponent can't draft, and cards you leave for your opponent, they can benefit from.

I think this is compared to 7 Wonders because it's the main other drafting game out right now, but they are only somewhat similar. See http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/829523/among-the-stars-revie... for the main differences.
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Mark Taraba
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Castef wrote:
Also the limit to 4 players...

I find that to be a strength. I really don't like 7 Wonders with 5 or more players so it makes you be a jerk and tell people that they can't play with you or you end up playing the game the way you don't want to play it. So even if it was just a straight 7 Wonders clone with a 4 player limit, that alone would make it worth owning over 7 Wonders IMO.
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Panagiotis Zinoviadis
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Castef wrote:
Vester wrote:
What level of interaction is there? Is it based on draft only or more?


The game has way less interaction than 7 Wonders, even if you use the most interactive setup.

For instance, you can't use other player's facilities and the direct war is missing.


Some correct points here but my main concern with 7 wonders is the more limited draft. What I mean is the fact that the longer in the game, the less cards you can actually play. So this leads to less options. In Among the Stars, because of the less resources, you can build almost all the cards in your hand every time so more choices.

The thing that they have in common is the draft. Other than that they are a lot different and I happen to like Among the Stars better, much better.
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Chris Miller
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I can see some similarities but they are fundamentally different games - 7W is more about resource management IMHO.

I do really enjoy Among the Stars and see it getting more table time than 7W.

I HIGHLY recommend printing out the label sheet with numbers for the score track - it makes a HUGE difference (it is in the file section).
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Matt Shinners
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Horrid Beast wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
Castef wrote:
7 Wonders is 2/3 times better, though. Maybe a little bit more.


If 7 Wonders is 0.667 times better, does that mean it's 33.3% less good?


Since when is 6.67 equal to 2/3???


I used to have a problem with conversational mathematics, but then I turned it around 360 degrees!
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Todd
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An aspect that I failed to touch on in my review was replayability. The game comes with 44 Special Location cards. At most, in a 4 player game, you will use 24 of these cards...less if using the Conflict Cards. This allows for nice variety.

In 7W the variety comes from the Purple Guild cards.

I give Among the Stars a slight advantage in the replayability department.

Also, I think 7W Is a good game. I give it a 7.5, down from my initial 9 when it first came out. 7W was unique and exciting, just got tired of it over time and dislike the Leaders expansion.

Among the Stars is an 8 and I think it might go up in the future.

Thanks again for reading. Please let Artipia Games know if you found my review helpful.
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Jack Francisco
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Another great review Todd! I look forward to playing this with you soon!
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Arthur Peterson
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Quote:
Also ... the HUGE amount of table space needed for playing are two important problems of this game.


Worth noting that ATS takes the same or less table space than 7 Wonders. The quoted commenter has some spacial perception issues, I think.
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Jerome Lapointe
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Falcons wrote:

Components: This is a deck-building game.

nope
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Gerrit G.
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Falcons wrote:

Components: This is a deck-building game.

It is not a deck-building game. It is a drafting game. That is a huge difference. You don't even have a deck to draw from in this game: Every card you pick ("draft") is directly placed onto the table.

Castef wrote:
Let's say that it is a nice space-themed clone.

7 Wonders and Among the Stars belong to the same gaming genre (drafting games), but that doesn't make one the clone of another. That's just like calling every single deck-building game a Dominion clone. And Dominion is at least the genre founder there, while 7 Wonders is not the genre founder of drafting games. Fairy Tale is a game about drafting cards and collecting victory points that is way older than 7 Wonders, for example.
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Todd
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Star Slayer wrote:
[q="Falcons"]
Components: This is a deck-building game.

It is not a deck-building game. It is a drafting game. That is a huge difference. You don't even have a deck to draw from in this game: Every card you pick ("draft") is directly placed onto the table.



modest Yes, I realize this. I am thinking a lot about Briefcase as I am working on a review of that game as well. I guess that came through in this review. I edited for my obvious error. Thanks for pointing it out. Hope you enjoy the game.
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Falcons wrote:

In 7W the variety comes from the Purple Guild cards.

Nope, the variety in 7W mostly comes from different hands, then from different players skill / style.

Thanks for the good review, BTW. I'm following the game closely. It's sad that from the review and the rules it looks like the design clearly goes beyond "influenced by 7W" - it feels too much alike, almost a "space clone of 7W". If I'm bored with 7W I'd rather play RftG, Catan or Dominion.

Again, thanks for the review.
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Todd
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6element wrote:
Falcons wrote:

In 7W the variety comes from the Purple Guild cards.

Nope, the variety in 7W mostly comes from different hands, then from different players skill / style.


I guess that we are saying different things. Obviously the cards that you are dealt and select determine your strategy for that game. However the cards are mostly static from game to game. You know what to expect in the mix: military, science, etc. Those cards don't change, you just use the cards based on the number of players. The only cards that you don't know for sure are in the game are the Guild cards. These cards are different each time you play the game as they are randomly selected.

So if I play 7W three times in a row with a total of 4 players each time the deck will be the same for each game, except for the purple cards.

In Among the Stars, the deck of cards will be very different from game to game due to the Special Cards...the deck will be different each time.

I was looking at replayability, and stating that Among the Stars has the edge compared to the base game due to the different deck set-up.

Yes, 7W has different civilizations with asymmetrical powers...but Among the Stars has different alien races...so that is a wash.

Sorry for the long answer, I am overtired.
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