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The Tabletop Game Review Thread


Eternally Learning:
So, I've been playing tabletop games a bit more and didn't recall (nor could I find) seeing any threads specifically dedicated to reviewing them so I thought it was well past time.  I have a few I'll be posting in a bit, but I'm also looking forward to reading about what you all are into.

I played Pandemic over the break and we actually won.

Eternally Learning:
Xtronaut - 7/10

This is a game all about building rockets that was designed by the Osiris Rex project leader.  The basic gist is that each player has a board with spaces for a mission card, cards for rocket components, gravity assists, and score and a deltaV tracker.  Each mission has a minimum deltaV required for success and each rocket component and gravity assist lends an amount of deltaV to the mission.  Each mission also requires a specific type of delivery asset (rover, satellite, etc) and any one of those assets can come in small, medium, or large sizes.  As the sizes increase so do the deltaV requirements and points for completing the mission; each rocket component also gives different levels of deltaV depending on the size as well.  The way you win the game is by completing enough missions to earn a score (called "Data Points") of 10 or greater first.  There are two decks of cards in this game; mission cards and playing cards.

The game starts with each player getting dealt one mission card and 5 playing cards.  The regular cards will either be components, gravity assists, or actions.  Each turn consists of 5 steps: 1. Draw a playing card, 2. Play up to 3 action cards, 3. Trade, 4.  Build/Launch rocket, and 5. Discard or draw cards until you have 5 left in your hand.  The action cards are mostly related to getting more cards, either from the draw pile or the other players (i.e. stealing a component from their boards, taking 2 from their hands and discarding 1, etc.) but there are some special actions too, such as forcing a player to scrub their current mission and drawing a new one.  Trading is 100% up to the discretion of the players and perhaps has the most room for creativity in the game, though in my experience, I very rarely felt like giving anything to the other players they would actually want and most of what they offered was of little value to me.  Lastly, building the rocket is about as straightforward as it gets; you place your components on the board in their respective stages and there are 5 components which are required (first stage, second stage, delivery asset, and 2 fairings) with optional secondary rocket and 2 gravity assists.  The rocket components are also made by two different manufacturers and must all match for a successful launch.  Once you've assembled the required parts with enough deltaV to match your mission requirement you launch, earn your points, and draw three mission cards face down and select one based on the vague mission descriptions on the back.

In general, this game is fine though I think it's more aimed at children who are interested in space and rockets as I found it a bit simple for my tastes.  My 12 year old son absolutely loves it though.  Some of the frustrating bits are that sometimes you can go through seemingly half the deck before finding matching components for what you need and other times you are drowning in cards you have no use for.  The five card hand limit does make you think about what you want to keep and what you don't, but there's no mechanism for discarding unwanted components meaning you often hang onto a bunch of stuff you don't need and don't draw very many cards to get opportunities to get the stuff you do want.

All in all, I do like the game, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who spends a lot of time playing tabletop games.  It's very good for a family night though, presuming an interest in the subject material.


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