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Gamelyn Games: Tiny Epic Galaxies Deluxe Edition – Review

March 10, 2016

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Publisher Gamelyn Games
Genre Strategy Dice Game
Number of Players 1 – 5
Play Time 30 minutes
Initial Review Date 3/9/16
Last Updated 3/9/16

In this game you play as the ruler of a galactic empire who is competing with other empires. The goal is to expand and explore into a new solar system the quickest. The first player to reach a designated score wins.

The game boasts a short play time and a small footprint both when you’re playing and when it’s sitting on the shelf.

Setup

Each player is given a galaxy map along with matching miniature spaceships and resource markers.The resource markers are placed on their starting positions and each player gets to start with two of the four spaceship tokens.

A “control” board is placed in the center of the table along with a deck of cards each of which represents a planet. Several planets are dealt face up and placed in the center of the table based on the number of players.

After these components are placed in their starting positions, each player is dealt two “secret mission” cards. Each player picks one of the two cards and places it face down under their play mat. These cards award bonus points at the end of the game if the player has met the objective listed.

Basic Game Play

There are a set of seven dice shared by all players. On a given player’s turn they will roll a number of these dice based on their current empire level. At the start of the game you only get to roll four of these seven dice. As you upgrade your empire you will alternate between gaining more dice to roll and more spaceships to use. At the maximum level you will get to roll all seven dice and have full use of all four of your spaceships.

After you roll your dice you can then choose to either use, re-roll or ignore(discard) each die. When you activate a die you place it on the control board and then carry out related action.

You may choose to re-roll dice at any time, however once a die has been activated it can not be re-rolled. Each re-roll costs 1 energy, except for your first re-roll which is free.

There is also a die converter available on the control board. You can place two dice on the converter (without triggering their associated actions) and then pick a third die (which has not yet been activated) and change it to any side you like.

Once you have completed all of the actions you can or want to complete your turn is over and play passes to the next player.

The game primarily revolves around colonizing planets in order to claim the points and abilities granted by them. This is accomplished by moving a ship (via a move action) onto the colonization track and then using either diplomacy or economics in order to advance along it. The planet determines which is required to advance along the track. The first player to reach the end of the track gets the planet and all ships are sent back to their respective homes. Then a new planet is drawn and placed where the old one was.

Other than competition for the same set of planets there is another mechanic that makes the game more strategic (and is the reason that discard mechanic exists). When a player activates a role, every other player has a chance to “follow” that role. That is players who choose to follow also get to do that role. However, in order to follow they must spend a culture point to do so. Additionally, a player can only follow a specific die once.

In this way you may decide not to activate a particular action since it will actually help your opponents more than it will you.

Scoring

As mentioned above the game ends as soon as a player reaches a certain point total. Once this total is reached each player reveals their secret mission and earns those points if they have met the related goal. Then the player with the highest score wins.

Deluxe Edition Bonus

The deluxe version of this game includes an unlisted mini-expansion called satellites and super weapons. The expansion introduces satellites which are gained as players improve their empires. These satellites can be used to activate the current super weapon. Each super weapon in general inflicts a penalty of some sort against the player of your choice. Each super weapon also has a colonization track (like the planets) and can be claimed for points. Additionally, whoever claims the super weapon also gets to keep and use any satellites used to activate the weapon. Once a weapon is claimed a new one comes into play to replace it. Only one super weapon can be in play at a time regardless of how many players there are.

Conclusion

The game is deceptively easy compared to how complicated it may seem when setting it up. After your first couple of turns you realize that there is very little to keep track of and only a few decisions to be made each turn. Unfortunately, the time between your turns can feel like a long time, particularly if you have five players. The ability to follow can help a little, but unless you devote a large portion of your strategy to gaining culture points this basically translates into getting only one or two extra actions between your turns.

The dice mechanic in this game isn’t bad but the converter can feel stifling. A bad die roll is still possible and trying to use the converter to make up for it feels expensive. At the start of the game it means trashing two dice in order to make one of your remaining dice “right”. At the end of the game you are still giving up a third of your dice in order to get a single die wild. Several times I would end up with two useless dice. But since everything else was what I wanted it to be there was nothing I could do about it and the dice were simply wasted.

The game works well enough as a space themed medium weight opener for your game night. But by the end of the game everyone will probably be ready to play something else.

If you love space themed games and you want something that’s easy to teach but has some depth this is a good choice. If however, you loathe randomness in games you might want to avoid this game. It’s not a game of chance, but there is enough to be frustrating if that’s not your type of game.


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