Recommend
14 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Lunarchitects» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Review After One Game on the Final Prototype rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
flag msg tools
I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
badge
This happy cat is excited about new board games!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb




Preamble

In the early 90’s my Dad upgraded our Commodore 64 to an IBM personal computer and the first game he got for us was something called Moonbase. I liked it so much it was a few years before I bothered trying that SimCity thing everyone else was talking about.



It doesn't look like much now... but that moonbase is going to grow!


I loved building up from a struggling landing platform and habitation module to an amazing mining city on the Moon full of greenhouses, research facilities and tourist attractions... so I have a nostalgia for the theme of building a base on a largely barren planet which has been unscratched by good board game offerings. Thus I was quite excited to see demos of Lunarchitects offered at GameHole Con in Madison Wisconsin and it was the first thing on my list when I signed up for event tickets. The game hooked me in hard with its theme and a chance test drive a game with the designer before it launched on kickstarter was too good to pass up.



Apparently I was too subtle about trying to get Dan to smile at the camera with his game...


How to Play

As I’m typing this Lunachitects is within days (maybe hours?) of launching on Kickstarter so while my playthrough was on a prototype copy I expect there will be very few changes between what I played and the printed copy other than some minor balancing and aesthetic tweaks. Also, much of this may seem very familiar to people that have played Glen More as this is a re-implementation of that game (mainly the differences are hex tiles instead of square and variable scoring options), but if you are like me and have never played Glen More, Lunarchitects has a few new, fun mechanics to explore.



The game set up for two with what appears to be an earlier prototype than the one I played.


When the game is set up you have a single habitation module on a hex tile and an astronaut to man it in your personal play area. There is also a central board with a resource market and oval “Rondel” of new hex tiles to be acquired. The Rondel of tiles is central to the game and the first part of every turn is moving your pawn clockwise around the Rondel as far as you’d like and acquire the tile it lands on to add to your personal moonbase. The trick is the player furthest back on the Rondel always goes next. So if you jump too far ahead for a choice tile you might be giving your opponents multiple turns in a row to gain extra tiles while you wait for them to catch up and pass you. The Rondel also serves as a game timer as scoring occurs whenever the last player has completed a lap around the Rondel and there are only 4 scoring rounds in the game.

There are a lot of things to consider other than distance on the Rondel when choosing a tile. The first is cost. If you can’t pay the resource cost (generally 1-4 of air, water, moonrock, food, crystal or rockets) you can’t select it. Luckily many early tiles are free but as the later stage tiles appear (I believe there are 4 stages of tiles roughly corresponding to the 4 game rounds) it is important to have the right resources on hand at the right time. Of course the market can alleviate this but I’ll talk about that in a bit.



The game in progress as blurrily rendered by my phone.


The second component of a tile is whether it is a road, rail or blank tile. The road runs southwest to northeast along a tile while the rail runs from northwest to southeast. Blank tiles of course have neither road nor rail. When you place a tile in your personal area it must be built so that it connects to the preexisting road or rail… or if it is blank it must not be in the road or rail’s way. Further complicating this, any new tile must be placed adjacent to an astronaut meeple. This is easy early when your moonbase is small but as you expand your limited crew may not be in the right place at the right time for you to get the maximum effect from the tiles you want… or be in the right position for you to place them at all!

Once you know you can afford and place a tile its immediate benefit and activation action are what you need to know. These are largely straightforward things like gaining resources, moving meeples or converting things into points. The immediate benefit only happens when a tile is first placed but actions get interesting because you not only activate a tile’s ability when you place it, but also when you place any tile adjacent to it. This can lead to profitable action chains if you plan your tile placements well.



It didn't seem like there were a lot of opportunities for AP... but they did crop up from time to time.


All this planning would probably bog play down if it wasn’t for the market (I told you I’d get to it!). There is a grid on the central player board depicting the four basic resources (air, water, moonrock and food) which you can buy from at any time by spending points. These points will stay in the market driving up the price for the next purchase of that type of good. This helps you acquire and/or activate important tiles even if you haven’t been able to get the resources you need through your tiles. Of course if people buy too much of a good it will run out in the market. This is a fine opportunity for people with a surplus of goods to sell their excess to the market for the points other people (or they themselves) have spent buying goods in the past. This makes things available again and drives the price back down.

That’s all well and good… but how do you win? Well, this is a Euro game so you’ll be scoring points. A number of tiles’ actions involve gaining points in various ways. There are also four scoring rounds and two end game scoring goals. How you score in each round and at the end of the game are determined by tiles drawn at the very beginning of the game so each game’s scoring opportunities are different. In the game I played every red thing in your colony (rockets, crystals and red ‘special’ tiles) scored 1 point each scoring round. This meant getting them early made them worth 4 points over the course of the game but less valuable if built later. Our two goals awarded us points for completely surrounding tiles and for not having red resources. The first was desirable since that meant you activated that tile a full 6 times… but the second was at direct odds with the round scoring which made for some interesting strategies of what to focus on around the table.


My winning 108 point Moonbase from the Con Demo! Yes I'm bragging.


What do I think of Lunarchitects?

I think Lunarchitects is a very good game. It plays smoothly and gives plenty of opportunity for interesting short and long term decisions in a relatively fast playing time. The various in game and end game scoring combinations should give Lunarchitects strong replayability which coupled with quick set up, clean up and explanation should make this easy to get to the table both with new and seasoned players. If I have a quibble it is the aesthetic choice to make the tiles blueprints instead of seeing an actual full color moonbase appearing on the table in front of you… but the gameplay is good enough for me to overlook that and I’m planning to become a day one Kickstarter backer. I don't know if I can give a game higher praise than "I'm planning to buy it as soon as possible" but for people that really like a rating at the end of a review I give Lunarchitects a solid 8 on the BGG scale.
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Cunningham
United States
Edgerton
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good review! As the designer, I'm glad you liked it And over the course of the whole Convention, you scored the highest in your game, so well-done.

The choice of art was a tough one, but since players are architects selecting building plans off the conference table (not actually building the base itself, like it was in your game "Moonbase"), I decided that a nice sciency-looking blueprint-like image of the buildings would be less distracting than fully-rendered art on the tiles. There's a lot to communicate on the tiles that are only about 2" edge-to-edge, and I felt the simpler the better on the middle art. But I totally understand your desire, sometimes at the end of the game I wish I could just see what my final base would look like in its full glory!

Again, I'm glad you enjoyed the game, and thanks for the review.

PS the kickstarter HAS launched, and going well so far
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
flag msg tools
I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
badge
This happy cat is excited about new board games!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
gipyls wrote:
And over the course of the whole Convention, you scored the highest in your game, so well-done.


Launchers gotta launch! laugh

My quibble is a minor one and I do think the blueprints look fine while definitely not distracting from gameplay. Glad to hear the campaign is kicking off well... and see that the video was silly yet effective as promised. Good luck with the campaign!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ozzy perez
United States
Hialeah
Fl
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
gipyls wrote:
Good review! As the designer, I'm glad you liked it And over the course of the whole Convention, you scored the highest in your game, so well-done.

The choice of art was a tough one, but since players are architects selecting building plans off the conference table (not actually building the base itself, like it was in your game "Moonbase"), I decided that a nice sciency-looking blueprint-like image of the buildings would be less distracting than fully-rendered art on the tiles. There's a lot to communicate on the tiles that are only about 2" edge-to-edge, and I felt the simpler the better on the middle art. But I totally understand your desire, sometimes at the end of the game I wish I could just see what my final base would look like in its full glory!

Again, I'm glad you enjoyed the game, and thanks for the review.

PS the kickstarter HAS launched, and going well so far




Totally agree on the decision to make the artwork look as it does. I think it looks awesome, and it fits perfectly with the Theme.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.