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(Originally posted at: http://www.gamesontape.com/caught-in-a-black-hole-tiny-epic-...)



Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black

Designed by: Scott Almes

1 - 5 Players

Playtime: 1/2 Hour - 1 Hour

While this might be content I’d normally tackle in a Budget Board Gamer episode, I felt it more prudent to discuss it now, as my backlog is a bit extensive and I felt the need to voice my opinions on this one.

Tiny Epic Galaxies is a game I have yet to discuss, but I must say that I do find it quite enjoyable and engaging both from multiplayer and solo perspectives. The follow mechanic is a stand-out idea that encourages more thought-provoking strategies. Every game feels tight, with players within a couple of points of one another by the end. And while not “tiny”, a rather big game comes in an impressively compact package.

Enter Beyond the Black, a Kickstarter campaign that passed me by before I realized it was there. Luckily, here at Games on Tape we can rely on most games eventually finding its way to our doorstep, with Tim having backed the game a while ago and me borrowing a copy from someone I game with often. Needless to say, it isn’t too hard to find these days on store shelves, in a box basically identical to the original.

Within, players will find four Star Trek-ish ships and a points tracker in each color, a score track board, an unexplored space board, five spaceport boards, 30 pilot cards, 12 planet cards, eight secret goal cards, and a rulebook.

While the new components were the first things to catch my eye, it didn’t take me long to notice the thin nature of the rulebook, composed of barely seven pages. The explanation is easily grasped and succinct, clearly striving to add a handful of new options without derailing the original game, one of the best things an expansion can aim to do.

Once I reached the bottom of the box, I noticed, coincidentally, that the modified rules for solo mode could be found in the bottom well. In fact, this is the only place you can find it, an oversight in my opinion, especially for someone who likes to keep all his rulebooks as PDF’s generally. A small nitpick, yes, but I’d rather have had this as a part of the rules, especially considering how short it is already.

The new player components are the same nice, wooden pieces that you’ve already been playing with for some time now. If you enjoy how those feel, you’ll have no issue with these. Similarly, the card quality and art is just as good, if not better.

I find myself being drawn to having roles to play off of when experiencing a board game, so I was immediately excited by the wide selection of pilots this game presents, from the four-armed alien Bookworm to the serious and confident Monk to… Tim Shaffer? Yes, if you got your copy via the Kickstarter, there will be a handful of familiar faces, including the titular Gamelyn Games mascot, appearing as promos. I’ve never been a fan of celebrities invading the games I play (I’m having flashbacks to the countless Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day promos that were all the craze at the start of the decade), and these feel particularly out of place, but to each their own.

Perhaps the most surprising and perplexing for me was the sealed stack of circular cards, labeled simply as unexplored space. While a neat idea to help distinguish them and allow them to fit on the appropriate mat, the shape and slickness make these a slight pain to shuffle, and are the least interesting to look at, with many of the images feeling mundane and typical when standing next to the portraits of planets and the grimaces and grins of the crew members you’ve recruited.

So, what does all this amount to? What does Beyond the Black truly add to the Tiny Epic Galaxy experience?

… A whole lot of nothing.

I hate that I have to say that, but it’s true. This expansion, for all its polish and style, acts as nothing more but a brief distraction until you return to playing the game the way it was originally meant to be played.



Beyond the Black looks to add two new actions that players can take on their turn; hire a pilot and fly to unexplored space, but before I get into those, I need to explain how exploration badges work for the sake of explaining balancing.

Exploration badges appear at the bottom of every pilot and exploration card. At the end of the game, on top of all normal, points, players can get points for having the most of each of the four symbols, two points if they have the most and one if they have the second most. A nice idea, certainly, but something that’s incredibly hard to tell, from a competitive perspective, how you are faring as opposed to everyone else. In the base game, you have x number of points, they have y number of points. It’s easy to recognize and calculate, thus allowing the games to be closer and more competitive. Here, half the exploration cards will remain unrevealed until the end of the game, and it simply doesn’t feel interesting or witty; it feels like someone collected the most triangles by random happenstance, so they get two points. … Hooray?

Hiring a pilot from a selection equal to the number of planets present is as simple as getting two dice of the same face and, instead of using them for their regular abilities, spending both to recruit a pilot that can fly the ship associated with those symbols. Some pilots can only pilot certain ships, but each give their own special abilities that only affect the ship they control, allowing you to collect extra resources, steal from others, colonize more efficiently, and more. Additionally, you can spend three of the same face to recruit any pilot for any ship type. Each pilot you obtain is worth a victory point, regardless if you replace them later in the game.

While these abilities can be fun and useful to have, a number of issues quickly surface, turning this seemingly useful option into more of a distraction. Firstly, players are required to spend two actions worth of dice to obtain a point and a passive buff when often you could better use those symbols to colonize or prepare your galaxy for the rounds to come. Yes, the pilots can be useful, but seeing as they only affect the one ship, their use is very limited. You’ll find yourself using a ship’s ability once only to leave it there because you have better actions available that actually move you towards victory. Because at the end of the day, pilots get you one point a pop for two actions. From a game-end perspective, you sacrifice a lot to get them with very little pay-off.



It’s not even like these pilots are all that balanced either; looking over the 30 cards, there are some pilots that provide better versions of abilities for the same cost, and sometimes with more flexibility.

Take the Kingpin vs the Agent; while the Kingpin lets a player take a free planet action when its ship successfully colonizes a planet, the Agent simply needs to enter a planet’s colony track to get the same effect, allowing for you to get the effect more immediately and plan around it as opposed to hoping you don’t get beat to the end of a colony track. On top of this, while the Kingpin can pilot two different types of ships, the Agent can commandeer any of the four, making it an easy card to scoop up. Oh, and the Kingpin only has one exploration badge while the Agent has three, making the Agent the most competitive not just in terms of abilities, but end-game points too.

Not convinced? Well, let’s look at the Marshall vs the Duchess. The Marshall, when colonizing a plent, gets 1 free resource of that planet type, whereas the Duchess gets 2 for doing the same thing. Also, the Marshall is limited to manning only one type of ship, whereas the Duchess can pilot two types, and each come with only one exploration badge. One card is LITERALLY better than the other in every given way.

On top of this, there are some cards that have crazy abilities. The Overseer can colonize with either economy or politics regardless of the planet, the Lightspeeder can launch with any die face, and the Peace Keeper prevents anyone else from moving their ship on the colony track past it. These can be pretty insane abilities, so much so that they feel unfair next to others. I mean, get the Peace Keeper out early enough on a colony track, and no one else can take it from you. That’s ridiculous, but most of these cards are not that powerful, not by a longshot.

All of this is indicated on a player’s spaceport board, which means the expansion is already doubling the amount of tablespace you need to play. And when you do get a pilot, you need to choose one of your current ships, replace it with the appropriate ship, and then use the old ship to indicate on the pilot card which ship the pilot is using by covering that symbol. But once you have three or four, you start to forget which ship goes to which pilot, meaning you’re constantly checking over your cards and where your ships are positioned, making each turn drag.

That’s not even to speak to how much text is on every pilot card. Most have three or four lines of text in small print, meaning players will spend an extensive amount of their turn reading over the descriptions of not just every planet action, but every pilot ability as well.

When we first pulled this out, one of the players had never played Tiny Epic Galaxies before, so we started with a game only using the base components, a close match that lasted about 35 minutes. After introducing the expansion, however, the game dragged to a dreadful two hours. TWO HOURS. Now, this likely isn't the most fair example, as everyone was new to the game, and thus had to both understand the game and constantly remind ourselves of the pilots and what they did, but regardless of that I think it's fair to say that this expansion certainly extends the playtime of the game by a bit due to doubling the amount of information on the table.

So we have a ton of pilots that cost two actions, provide one point, and have effects that affect that ship in question, and while some are powerful, they are few and far between and cost the same as just about any other ship, meaning you either get lucky with the selection provided or you never take pilots, simple as that. I wanted to like this idea so much, but it just doesn’t gel well with the game format, not to mention it becomes a chore to use. Off to a less-than-great start.

The unexplored space though… in my opinion, it’s infinitely worse. How this works is that rather than flying a ship to a planet in some way with a launch, players can send their ship to unexplored space.

What I can briefly note as a positive is that this space provides culture, allowing for a permanent location that consistently provides a much-needed resource, something the base game lacks.

That being said, when you land there, you must draw an unexplored space card. When drawing from the top of the deck, if a green card, players may either keep it or place it on the table and draw again. Players can continue to do this until they find a card they like, three cards are already available on the table, or you draw a red card. Alternatively, players can take a face-up card from the table without replacing it rather than trying their luck.

Green cards provide either one or two resources, and will sometimes rarely give one point. Red cards, on the other hand, force players to lose two resources, give two resources to other players, or trap that player’s ships temporarily until they complete a planet track through an asteroid field or black hole.

In other words, the best reward a player can get is two random resources, something that your normal actions can often provide more consistently, and there’s a good chance that you’ll screw yourself and even help your opponents by doing so. After checking, there are 11 red cards out of the 30 unexplored space cards, meaning you have slightly more than a ⅓ chance of screwing yourself in the process. Meanwhile, there are ten cards that provide two resources, six cards that give one resource, and three cards that simply give you a point.

And yes, it can be argued that this is made up for in exploration badges, with the negative effects and lesser positive effects giving you more, but here’s the thing; those aren’t guaranteed points, far from it. You have no idea how many badges of each type players have until the game has finished, meaning there’s no planning involved, no strategy, just dumb luck.

It’s also worth noting that, in the games I have played, players have always taken the top card of the deck rather than fishing for more. And why not? Why would you risk drawing into a bad card if you haven’t already when the odds are against you in most situations?

The unexplored space mechanic adds a press-your-luck element that doesn’t work in such a deductive and strategic game, simply cluttered the tablespace with a ton of extra components.

And when it all comes down to it, players who get hung up on these two new actions will lose. In the first game I played of this, one of the players simply played as he always did, and smoked everyone else by a landslide, even after the badges. While most of us had six or ten points due to our exploration expeditions or recruitment phases, this individual fully upgraded their galaxy and sat on a handful of planets, boosting him to 21 points easily with no competition to fight when colonizing.



A lot of you may be wondering how solo is then, that maybe with less components to manage, less cards cluttering the table, and a more focused game, that all this might come together into a great experience. And while the pilots do get a little more traction, this is only because the AI will likely meander. The expansion comes with five new AI opponents (on the backs of the spaceport boards) which include the new mechanics, and the rules in the bottom of the box briefly explain how they obtain pilots.

What really kills this as an option, though, is how now every time the AI upgrades itself, it gets a random exploration card for itself, basically getting a free action. Through this, the AI can quickly accumulate enough exploration badges to get a free eight points at the end of every game, and while some may find this addition to make the game more challenging, I find it annoying and obnoxious. Not that it gives the AI that much of an advantage; I can still beat Medium without much effort, but many of the opponents have abilities that earn them extra Pilots and Exploration cards for free, quickly stacking points against you in a way that feels, to me at least, less interesting or exciting.

Even the new secret goal cards and planet cards feel tacked on and frustrating to use. Some of the secret goal cards are especially difficult to achieve, such as Invincible, which awards you if you have the most red exploration cards at the end of the game. While possible, you’ll lose so many resources in the process you’ll screw yourself out of the win, while also supplying your opponents with great face-up exploration cards if you choose to sift through your options. Meanwhile, the Dwarf and Giant goals requires a player to have no or all of their planets, respectively, to be worth 5 points, by and large limiting what you can and can’t do, especially when the luck of the draw can make these options not terribly viable.

And the new planets are here to add the new mechanics into planetary effects, but half of them provide either resource, depending on what you’re collecting, making them feel a little too generous, regardless of their planetary abilities. Additionally, you’ll be hard-pressed to have more than one or two of them show up in your game, with there being so many planets in the base game already.

Lastly, the score track, while a nice thought, becomes a hassle quickly. Yes, you can track every single point a player gets in real time, but generally you can determine how many points a player has just by looking for their cards, meaning it becomes more obnoxious than helpful.

Simply put, Beyond the Black adds nothing of value to the Tiny Epic Galaxies experience. The ideas are mostly sound and interesting, but it all comes down to the new mechanics not being competitive enough. It’s a shame, really, as I had some incredibly high hopes for this game, even going so far as trying to play with just the pilots, removing the unexplored space and badges. But even if that was a viable way to play, it wouldn’t be worth the $25 price tag.
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John Armstrong
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Very thought out post!

My very not thought out answer?
We liked it

Although we only played it once and don't have the
experience you clearly have with TEG in general.

It'll be interesting to see if in future plays some of
your concerns manifest themselves in our games.

Thanks for your post!

Danog
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Removed from 'want' list. Hooray!
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Dave
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You make many good points. I kept them in mind as my sons and I began playing with this expansion. After three plays, I have to say I disagree with your assessments. The pilots, the unexplored space, and the badge collecting all add a lot to the experience for us, and make the base game much better. We'll keep including them. But I'm glad you posted your review.
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Carla Tate
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We've just played our first time tonight as this arrived today. We enjoyed exchanging our ships for the new styles and hiring pilots. What you say is true, the pilots are costly and unprofitable points-wise, and the deep space exploration felt a little anti-climactic, but that was before we starting playing the game with a bit of a narrative element. We can flesh out the characters with some storytelling, and we think deep space exploration is a press-your-luck activity in itself, and most pilots would continue to press forward, Captain Kirk style, so that's what we did. If a red card came up, that added the plot twist, and gave us a reason to retreat to orbit around a safer planet, or even go back home, once we'd worked our way around the track. I think Beyond the Black doesn't add so much in the way of points earning as added opportunities for thematic play, which you can engage in or ignore and just add up points. We always make ship noises when we launch a ship, so we're not the most serious gamers, I guess!

In other words, I see what you're saying, and it is a high price tag for what it is, but we like it enough that we don't think we'll play without it again.
 
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A well-written review, but I disagree wholeheartedly with your assessment that "Beyond the Black adds nothing of value to the Tiny Epic Galaxies experience".


I will quote my own post from a different BtB thread:


I played a 4 player game on Friday night and WON in dramatic fashion using the Explore Strategy.

At the end, before Exploration Badges were counted and Secret Missions were revealed, I was in 4th place with 14 points, The others all had between 19-22 points. I scored 7 points for Badges plus 2 points for my Secret Mission (having a fully upgraded Empire at the end of the game), putting me at 23 points for the WIN. The player in 2nd place had 22 points. It's worth noting that I only had a single colonized planet worth a measly 1 point; 5 of my in-game points came from Exploration Cards. Oh, and Gamelyn was one of my two pilots. It was a truly epic win, nobody saw it coming.

This isn't a guaranteed way to win (and I maintain that there isn't a single, foolproof way to win TEG, culture complainers be damned), but it's viable.

I loved TEG before, I love it even more with BtB.

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What is the Explore Strategy??
 
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Luke Muench
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Solanum wrote:
We've just played our first time tonight as this arrived today. We enjoyed exchanging our ships for the new styles and hiring pilots. What you say is true, the pilots are costly and unprofitable points-wise, and the deep space exploration felt a little anti-climactic, but that was before we starting playing the game with a bit of a narrative element. We can flesh out the characters with some storytelling, and we think deep space exploration is a press-your-luck activity in itself, and most pilots would continue to press forward, Captain Kirk style, so that's what we did. If a red card came up, that added the plot twist, and gave us a reason to retreat to orbit around a safer planet, or even go back home, once we'd worked our way around the track. I think Beyond the Black doesn't add so much in the way of points earning as added opportunities for thematic play, which you can engage in or ignore and just add up points. We always make ship noises when we launch a ship, so we're not the most serious gamers, I guess!

In other words, I see what you're saying, and it is a high price tag for what it is, but we like it enough that we don't think we'll play without it again.


That's a fantastic perspective to look at it from, and I definitely appreciate where you're coming from. I tend to categorize all board gamers into two camps, story-tellers and puzzlers. From what you're telling me, your group leans more towards the first, appreciating games like Tales of the Arabian Nights and Betrayal at House on the Hill for the narratives they create. I'm personally deep in the latter camp, obsessed with being given a challenge to defeat. So while I may not enjoy it, I definitely appreciate and am happy that you all find something great to embrace within it.
 
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Luke Muench
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kingmob75 wrote:
A well-written review, but I disagree wholeheartedly with your assessment that "Beyond the Black adds nothing of value to the Tiny Epic Galaxies experience".


I will quote my own post from a different BtB thread:


I played a 4 player game on Friday night and WON in dramatic fashion using the Explore Strategy.

At the end, before Exploration Badges were counted and Secret Missions were revealed, I was in 4th place with 14 points, The others all had between 19-22 points. I scored 7 points for Badges plus 2 points for my Secret Mission (having a fully upgraded Empire at the end of the game), putting me at 23 points for the WIN. The player in 2nd place had 22 points. It's worth noting that I only had a single colonized planet worth a measly 1 point; 5 of my in-game points came from Exploration Cards. Oh, and Gamelyn was one of my two pilots. It was a truly epic win, nobody saw it coming.

This isn't a guaranteed way to win (and I maintain that there isn't a single, foolproof way to win TEG, culture complainers be damned), but it's viable.

I loved TEG before, I love it even more with BtB.



I certainly appreciate that you had a positive experience with the expansion, and I'm glad you enjoy it, but I definitely view your exploration "strategy" as more of a gamble than anything. Whenever you go exploring, you have no guarantee what icons you'll get or how much of any icon you'll end up having. Most of these cards are hidden from your opponents, as all of these are placed face-down in front of a player unless they provide immediate points for the end-game trigger. So players trying this means of victory tends to throw a lot of resources into cards that could force you to give resources to others and delay your ships extensively, and does so a little more than 1/3rd of the time. While this does "add" something to the game, it's randomness to an otherwise smart and full-information style game.

I think it's also worth noting that the promo cards, from what I've seen, tend to be a bit higher on the power scale than many of those in the base game. I touched on this with the base game examples in my review, Gamelyn and Tim Shaffer are both cards that have immense power, feeling imbalanced. Not trying to write off your victory, it's definitely a good strategy to go for, but I feel like the Gamelyn pilot is a good example of that issue I have with what Beyond the Black brings to the table.
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Solanum wrote:
What is the Explore Strategy??


Just an informal name I used to define the strategy of going 'all-in' on hiring pilots and exploring Unexplored Space, presumably while the other players are all off squabbling over Planets to colonize.

It garnered me a dramatic win in a 4-player game, plus a very close loss [by 1 stinkin' point] in a 2-player game.

Basically, there are many in-game points [8 total in the Unexplored Space deck] and post-game points to be had from this strategy, although it's quite risky... and if another player is also pursuing it, the strategy obviously isn't as effective.
 
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TFJ383 wrote:
Solanum wrote:
We've just played our first time tonight as this arrived today. We enjoyed exchanging our ships for the new styles and hiring pilots. What you say is true, the pilots are costly and unprofitable points-wise, and the deep space exploration felt a little anti-climactic, but that was before we starting playing the game with a bit of a narrative element. We can flesh out the characters with some storytelling, and we think deep space exploration is a press-your-luck activity in itself, and most pilots would continue to press forward, Captain Kirk style, so that's what we did. If a red card came up, that added the plot twist, and gave us a reason to retreat to orbit around a safer planet, or even go back home, once we'd worked our way around the track. I think Beyond the Black doesn't add so much in the way of points earning as added opportunities for thematic play, which you can engage in or ignore and just add up points. We always make ship noises when we launch a ship, so we're not the most serious gamers, I guess!

In other words, I see what you're saying, and it is a high price tag for what it is, but we like it enough that we don't think we'll play without it again.


That's a fantastic perspective to look at it from, and I definitely appreciate where you're coming from. I tend to categorize all board gamers into two camps, story-tellers and puzzlers. From what you're telling me, your group leans more towards the first, appreciating games like Tales of the Arabian Nights and Betrayal at House on the Hill for the narratives they create. I'm personally deep in the latter camp, obsessed with being given a challenge to defeat. So while I may not enjoy it, I definitely appreciate and am happy that you all find something great to embrace within it.



Actually, not really. My group consists of two, my husband and me, and our favourite game is Castles of Burgundy. We tried Dixit at a friend's the other night and we found it challenging and not fun. Maybe it's because we are both fans of space SF and films that we enjoyed meeting the characters and Captain Kirking around in deep space. Some games we just play for fun, not points, like Takenoko (building bamboo! Pretty coloured tiles!) or Game of Thrones: Hand of the King (I've got the Lannisters -- no, I'VE got them -- nope, they're mine!) I don't think I can put us in a category because we love Twilight Struggle and we also love King of Tokyo.
 
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Luke Muench
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Solanum wrote:
TFJ383 wrote:
Solanum wrote:
We've just played our first time tonight as this arrived today. We enjoyed exchanging our ships for the new styles and hiring pilots. What you say is true, the pilots are costly and unprofitable points-wise, and the deep space exploration felt a little anti-climactic, but that was before we starting playing the game with a bit of a narrative element. We can flesh out the characters with some storytelling, and we think deep space exploration is a press-your-luck activity in itself, and most pilots would continue to press forward, Captain Kirk style, so that's what we did. If a red card came up, that added the plot twist, and gave us a reason to retreat to orbit around a safer planet, or even go back home, once we'd worked our way around the track. I think Beyond the Black doesn't add so much in the way of points earning as added opportunities for thematic play, which you can engage in or ignore and just add up points. We always make ship noises when we launch a ship, so we're not the most serious gamers, I guess!

In other words, I see what you're saying, and it is a high price tag for what it is, but we like it enough that we don't think we'll play without it again.


That's a fantastic perspective to look at it from, and I definitely appreciate where you're coming from. I tend to categorize all board gamers into two camps, story-tellers and puzzlers. From what you're telling me, your group leans more towards the first, appreciating games like Tales of the Arabian Nights and Betrayal at House on the Hill for the narratives they create. I'm personally deep in the latter camp, obsessed with being given a challenge to defeat. So while I may not enjoy it, I definitely appreciate and am happy that you all find something great to embrace within it.



Actually, not really. My group consists of two, my husband and me, and our favourite game is Castles of Burgundy. We tried Dixit at a friend's the other night and we found it challenging and not fun. Maybe it's because we are both fans of space SF and films that we enjoyed meeting the characters and Captain Kirking around in deep space. Some games we just play for fun, not points, like Takenoko (building bamboo! Pretty coloured tiles!) or Game of Thrones: Hand of the King (I've got the Lannisters -- no, I'VE got them -- nope, they're mine!) I don't think I can put us in a category because we love Twilight Struggle and we also love King of Tokyo.


My apologies, I don't mean to put you in a category per say, I was simply commenting on a penchant in board gamers that I notice. I do believe everyone is a certain mix of these two categories, but that most tend to favor one side over the other.

It's interesting to hear that this is the exception for you and your husband, and do definitely see why the Star Trek themes would draw you, as my fiance had the same reaction the first time she saw the designs for the upgraded ships.
 
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As an avid lover of both the base game and the expansion, you really hit the nail on the head with this review. I still love the game and it's expansion, but these are it's flaws. That's kind of why I like it so much though! I know that going into unexplored space isn't good for me, but I still love doing it! It's so satisfying! One should definitely consider this review when deciding whether or not to pick up this game (of course, reading other reviews too, to see why people like it ).

I did have a problem with this whole discussion though:

TFJ383 wrote:
It’s not even like these pilots are all that balanced either; looking over the 30 cards, there are some pilots that provide better versions of abilities for the same cost, and sometimes with more flexibility.


I think the pilots having different levels of power is kind of the point. Everyone has access to them, so they don't need to be balanced like individual player powers would need to be. Since everyone has equal (or semi-equal, this is a dice-rolling game after all) chance to get the pilots, it actually makes more sense to me to have them have different levels of power. Otherwise there wouldn't be anything to figure out, just hire "a pilot, any will do". Part of the game is figuring out which available pilot is both the best available and best for your galaxy.
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massenburger wrote:
As an avid lover of both the base game and the expansion, you really hit the nail on the head with this review. I still love the game and it's expansion, but these are it's flaws. That's kind of why I like it so much though! I know that going into unexplored space isn't good for me, but I still love doing it! It's so satisfying! One should definitely consider this review when deciding whether or not to pick up this game (of course, reading other reviews too, to see why people like it ).

I did have a problem with this whole discussion though:

TFJ383 wrote:
It’s not even like these pilots are all that balanced either; looking over the 30 cards, there are some pilots that provide better versions of abilities for the same cost, and sometimes with more flexibility.


I think the pilots having different levels of power is kind of the point. Everyone has access to them, so they don't need to be balanced like individual player powers would need to be. Since everyone has equal (or semi-equal, this is a dice-rolling game after all) chance to get the pilots, it actually makes more sense to me to have them have different levels of power. Otherwise there wouldn't be anything to figure out, just hire "a pilot, any will do". Part of the game is figuring out which available pilot is both the best available and best for your galaxy.


If people had equal opportunity to get them, I would agree, but that's not the case solely because of how they come out of the deck. One game I played, I got 2 pilots on the first turn of the game, both of which were powerful, yet no one else had the opportunity to get them. Similarly, when a pilot is taken and replaced, that new pilot is one that might be better than the one I just took, but I'll have no chance to claim unless the other 4 or so players pass up on it in the meantime. This is expounded by the fact that hiring a pilot cannot be followed, a logical limitation but one that points to this issue, in my opinion.
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Carla Tate
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I don't have a problem with the pilots. Some are good some are bad, when you need sometimes you've got a glut of good ones, sometimes you have to make the best of a bad lot -- that's like real life. Look at poor old Obi Wan, having to hire a bucket of bolts piloted by a scoundrel whose best friend was a walking carpet. But that turned out all right. Well, except for Obi Wan. And Luke. And Han and Leia. But life gets you at some point. I'm not sure where I'm going with this.
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Greg W
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For what it's worth, neither the Agent nor the Marshall do what you say they do here - maybe because you got a prototype and they changed it before the final printing? But the new abilities don't have the same overlap as far as I can tell.

Agent: You can trigger a planet's action using the colony action if that ship is orbiting it. (No free action when you start orbiting though, it requires using a die - whereas the Kingpin gives a free action when you colonize.)

Marshall: Land on an opponent's galaxy and get one energy for each colony they have. (Nothing like the one free resource for colonizing you mentioned, or the 2 free resources for colonizing the duchess gets.)

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greenraingw wrote:
For what it's worth, neither the Agent nor the Marshall do what you say they do here - maybe because you got a prototype and they changed it before the final printing? But the new abilities don't have the same overlap as far as I can tell.

Agent: You can trigger a planet's action using the colony action if that ship is orbiting it. (No free action when you start orbiting though, it requires using a die - whereas the Kingpin gives a free action when you colonize.)

Marshall: Land on an opponent's galaxy and get one energy for each colony they have. (Nothing like the one free resource for colonizing you mentioned, or the 2 free resources for colonizing the duchess gets.)



Interesting to hear; the version I played with was my friend's Kickstarter copy, so that might explain it.
 
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David Molina
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TFJ383 wrote:
greenraingw wrote:
For what it's worth, neither the Agent nor the Marshall do what you say they do here - maybe because you got a prototype and they changed it before the final printing? But the new abilities don't have the same overlap as far as I can tell.

Agent: You can trigger a planet's action using the colony action if that ship is orbiting it. (No free action when you start orbiting though, it requires using a die - whereas the Kingpin gives a free action when you colonize.)

Marshall: Land on an opponent's galaxy and get one energy for each colony they have. (Nothing like the one free resource for colonizing you mentioned, or the 2 free resources for colonizing the duchess gets.)



Interesting to hear; the version I played with was my friend's Kickstarter copy, so that might explain it.


I'm looking at mine and Luke's description of the pilots do *exactly* what he describes here.

That being said I can't disagree with this review enough. You make it sound like you just have the option of choosing between all the pilots. You don't so you say Duchess is better than Marshall. If you could just pick one up over the other that maybe true. What if Marshall shows up in pilot row and Duchess doesn't at all during game? Is she better then? It has some randomness to it. You have to play with what is offered to you. It's not always going to be the best of the best.

You say:
Because at the end of the day, pilots get you one point a pop for two actions. From a game-end perspective, you sacrifice a lot to get them with very little pay-off.

That could be true, if you don't use their abilities. If you are just hiring pilots for the 1 point you are not playing the game right at all. You don't ignore colonizing planets but If I add the benefits of the pilots and go to unexplored space and you don't? I'm going to win.

You make it sound like the "3-4 lines of text" is really complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth. The powers are straight forward and make perfect sense. Its no more complicated than pulling a card from Monopoly and following it.

I feel bad that this review actually made one person take this off their want list. This is an OUTSTANDING expansion to a GREAT game. Like just about every other TE game there is so much more than 1 or 2 plays will show you. You need to play the game and learn the nuances of it then it really shines and shows off how great and thought out these games really are. They are very easy to dismiss as easy/filler games at first. I think once the new TED with Dark Wars actually come out I'll be able to say "ALL" the TE games fill this description. For me the original TED (while fun and not knocking it at all!) is pretty straight forward.

These games really do have a lot behind them.

I am curious how many games did you play before writing this review? It sounds like 1 of TEG and one with the BtB expansion. Is this accurate?





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KingJackalope wrote:
TFJ383 wrote:
greenraingw wrote:
For what it's worth, neither the Agent nor the Marshall do what you say they do here - maybe because you got a prototype and they changed it before the final printing? But the new abilities don't have the same overlap as far as I can tell.

Agent: You can trigger a planet's action using the colony action if that ship is orbiting it. (No free action when you start orbiting though, it requires using a die - whereas the Kingpin gives a free action when you colonize.)

Marshall: Land on an opponent's galaxy and get one energy for each colony they have. (Nothing like the one free resource for colonizing you mentioned, or the 2 free resources for colonizing the duchess gets.)



Interesting to hear; the version I played with was my friend's Kickstarter copy, so that might explain it.


I'm looking at mine and Luke's description of the pilots do *exactly* what he describes here.

That being said I can't disagree with this review enough. You make it sound like you just have the option of choosing between all the pilots. You don't so you say Duchess is better than Marshall. If you could just pick one up over the other that maybe true. What if Marshall shows up in pilot row and Duchess doesn't at all during game? Is she better then? It has some randomness to it. You have to play with what is offered to you. It's not always going to be the best of the best.

You say:
Because at the end of the day, pilots get you one point a pop for two actions. From a game-end perspective, you sacrifice a lot to get them with very little pay-off.

That could be true, if you don't use their abilities. If you are just hiring pilots for the 1 point you are not playing the game right at all. You don't ignore colonizing planets but If I add the benefits of the pilots and go to unexplored space and you don't? I'm going to win.

You make it sound like the "3-4 lines of text" is really complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth. The powers are straight forward and make perfect sense. Its no more complicated than pulling a card from Monopoly and following it.

I feel bad that this review actually made one person take this off their want list. This is an OUTSTANDING expansion to a GREAT game. Like just about every other TE game there is so much more than 1 or 2 plays will show you. You need to play the game and learn the nuances of it then it really shines and shows off how great and thought out these games really are. They are very easy to dismiss as easy/filler games at first. I think once the new TED with Dark Wars actually come out I'll be able to say "ALL" the TE games fill this description. For me the original TED (while fun and not knocking it at all!) is pretty straight forward.

These games really do have a lot behind them.

I am curious how many games did you play before writing this review? It sounds like 1 of TEG and one with the BtB expansion. Is this accurate?



I've played the base game of Tiny Epic Galaxies about 15 times at this point, and with the expansion 4 times.

I appreciate that you disagree with my perspective, but it's rather rude and uncalled for to attempt to undermine my opinion based on your presumptions of how frequently I have or haven't played a game. Your perspective is valid to you, just as mine is to me.


 
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TFJ383 wrote:
I've played the base game of Tiny Epic Galaxies about 15 times at this point, and with the expansion 4 times.

I appreciate that you disagree with my perspective, but it's rather rude and uncalled for to attempt to undermine my opinion based on your presumptions of how frequently I have or haven't played a game. Your perspective is valid to you, just as mine is to me.


Easy there champ! Wasn't being rude and its not 'uncalled for' to ask how much you've played. As I suspected it hasn't been many times with the expansion. My point is once you get it down a little more, more comes to light that is easily overlooked. I at no point got "rude" with you. I at no point said your view was not "valid" don't put words in my mouth. I felt I very respectively disagreed with your review. That does not make me rude or your review not valid. I just hate to see someone pass on a great expansion due to not fully grasping the depths of the game.
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