Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Among the Stars

Product– Among the Stars

Producer– Stronghold Games

Price– ~$50 here http://www.amazon.com/Among-The-Stars-Card-Game/dp/B00KD4LN36/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413249689&sr=8-1&keywords=among+the+stars

Set-Up/Play/Clean-Up-One Hour (2-4 players)

TL; DR– Builds well on the drafting mechanic with a fun theme 97%

 

Basics– The galactic war is over, but how will peace proceed?  In Among the Stars players take the roles of different alien races building a communal space station to serve as neutral territory after an intergalactic apocalypse.  Players build their space stations over four rounds.  Each round a player receives some location tiles. Each turn, a player selects one tile and can either pay to build that location, discard it for money, or discard it to buy and build a reactor (some tiles need power that reactors provide).  Then, all players will pass the remaining tiles to either the right or the left.  The player then builds onto his or her station or collects money.  Some locations give instant points while others provide points at the end of the game.  A round continues until you only have two location tiles left.  After selecting your last tile, you discard the other, receive a new hand of tiles, and the game continues.  After three more rounds, the player with the most points wins.

 

Mechanics-I love drafting games.  I love planning and tile laying games.  This combines them booth beautifully.  Each choice you make maters and you never feel like you can’t do something.  Also, the alien races provide interesting powers that help you plan your moves.  This game feels like a combination of Suburbia, Carcassonne, and Seven Wonders, and that’s great company to be in. 5/5

 

Theme- The theme is good here, but not perfect.  The basic story is the alien races declared peace after a giant war.  The instruction book does an excellent job explaining all the nuances of the war and the races which I enjoyed.  However, the fact that this isn’t a co-op game loses some of the theme for me.  The story of cooperation is somewhat lost when the different races have to fight over who builds the better station.  I love the details and art that build this world, but the story and the mechanics fight at bit in the execution. 4.5/5

 

Instructions-The instructions are well written and easily describe the game.  The mechanics are not difficult to understand, and the rules explain them well.  After the rules, the book spends most of its time describing the game universe.  Since this world is well developed, it’s a nice addition to the game and the story you get to play in. 5/5

 

Execution-I like the tiles, I like the art, and I like the pieces.  The components are all well done.  I would have liked a bag to shuffle the tiles in, as it’s always harder to shuffle tiles compared to cards.  But, what is here is well done. 4.8/5

 

Summary– A friend of mine brought this game with him when he stayed at my house for a weekend.  I played once and asked my local gaming store to pick this up right away.  It’s a great game that has a lot of replay.  The randomness of the tiles and the different races all provide a different experience each time you play it.  The story might not be perfect, but it does draw you in a bit.  The mechanics are a combination of all the things I love to make something better.  You can’t go wrong with this game. 97%

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