Andromeda

Review by William Keech as printed in Knucklebones magazine Issue #1

So what do we know about space? Well, it’s big, it’s full of rocks, and if you can get there first, its full of money. Unfortunately, someone else has beaten you to the punch. Oh, don’t act surprised, it’s not like it was your very own little secret. I mean, how can you miss space? Just look up. But there is some good news. Someone may have gotten there first, but fortunately for you, all they did was a survey of the planets. Looks like making money in space just got a little bit easier.

The Planetary Union has recognized that seven planets in the Andromeda galaxy have the potential of making someone a tidy little fortune. To keep prices up and those pesky colonizers at home, they have built three orbiting economic centers above each of these planets. Each one a little better than the last. This is where you come in. To use one of these economic centers you must build stations and place them on the planets’ surface. This is done by using and/or trading “Planet” cards and “Transport” cards. Herein lies the meat of the game. Where strategy will come into play above all else. But building stations on the planets surface is just part of the process. You’ve got to secure at least one of the three economic centers orbiting the planet to get your precious cargo back to earth and earn some money (points actually).

If you have at least one station on the planets surface, you can try your luck with the “Planet Ring.” This “hockey puck on steroids” looking device covers all of the stations currently on the planet, yours and there’s. Move the planet ring in any direction until a station pops out of the little doorway on its side. If it’s yours, you get to move it to one of the economic centers, if it’s not; you get to move it back to planet Earth. The number of tries you get is determined by the number of matching cards you play. The odds of you pulling one of your own stations can be increased by having more than one station on that planet.

You can also invest in bigger ships to increase your hand size or better technology to put a twist in your favor into the game. Oh and lets not forget the value of wild cards either. They are your friends, use them to fill in for a missing card or bank them for points at the end of the game.

In short, it’s a lot of fun. The learning curve is light, except for the trading part, but after a few bids, you realize how simple it really is. The board is drop dead gorgeous and the game as a whole is very well made, bright and colorful. Game play is never stagnant, you’re always doing something and the turns are quick. I found the trade phase to be the longest, but that makes sense. It is the most strategic part of the game.

Complexity: 3         Strategy: 3         Luck: 4         Overall: 4

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