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Before the Earth Explodes» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Pleasing on the eye, mean on the feelings rss

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Travis Morton
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I like “filler” games. I like fantastic production value. So I backed Before the Earth Explodes. Here are some early thoughts from someone who has a final copy and paid for it.

The Look
If you knew nothing else of this game, you noticed the visuals. They are awesome. As a child of the 80's, these are reminicent of Sci-Fi novel covers. The kinds of books where the cover is the reason you bought the book only to feel like the novel didn't live up to the awesome art. A++[/]

[b]Production

45 standard poker-sized cards, a draw bag, some gems in 3 colors, and the little blue starship tiebreaker all come in the typical Green Couch Box. That also means, I don't use the box. I use sleeves, as I protect my Kickstarter purchases. They will not return to the box, let alone side-by-side. But if you do not sleeve, easily fist back in and matches the box size of typical euro card games like Coloretto.

The cards are a good quality, the gems are acrylic in 3 distinct colors, and the backs of all the cards have the same clear icons and different colors to keep things easily sorted.

The Rules
The rule book is short. Has a glossary of icon translations in the back, and does a good job of being easy to reference. There are only 2 minor issues:
-Resolution of Planet Actions is mentioned in the same paragraph, un-bolded or referenced.
-No mention that 3 of the Planets have a Colonization cost of Technology points rather than the typical gem resources.
The former is potentially problematic as chaining, and exploiting combos is the “come-from-behind” strategy.

However, I found this a straightforward read.

Gameplay
Here I will make some bold statements. This has everything you Love AND Hate from 7 Wonders Duel style games. It also uses a Simultaneous Action Selection mechanic with “Canceling”/”Punishing” opportunities.
Example: Card A cancels card B, and they take 1 point of Damage. Card D cancels Card A, and they take a point of damage. Card B only exists to grief Card C and Card D, as it cancels and copies their abilities.

I like this, but as for a Couples Game, you gotta be able to handle the double-think and they Canceling Effects; or it WILL NOT WORK.

Win Conditions are abundant! 3 basic ones: 7 Technology, Inflict 7 Damage, or Colonize 7 Planets; easy. However there are alternate WinCons in the deck: Deal 6, Take 7, Have 10 Resources, etc. So there is always “another way”. This may aggrivate those who felt predestined to win only to watch a come from behind victory. I have heard grumblings from 7WD players about how 1 of the 3 paths is 'broken'. They are just not seeing the big picture.

On Board Tricks
Colonized Planets have a 1-shot ability that can be flipped to activate There are also Ship Cards that are grabbed, mostly via Card A (Scout), that have 1-shot abilities but are also the source of the Alternative Win Conditions.. What brings some balance to the game is Card A. Its unstoppable use is to grab a ship card. It can also penalize Card D (Mine), and if resolved move you up a Technology. That is a lot. But if anyone has any CCG experience, the uncounterable ability is a good check to players being able to use mind games to stop you at every turn.

Final Say
I really like it. I also really like Eminent Domain: Microcosm. There is some similarities beyond the starship Sci-Fi theme of Colonize and Invade. There is a communal draw pool, the back & forth of classic abstract games, and being in the game till the actual end. Being played well under 30min helps a lot in my book.

Where this game fits is in the crowded realm of 2 player conflict games. Games where you bump heads, cut off the options of, and otherwise crowd the opponent. I very much enjoy these. But will this convert you? That is a soft maybe.. I have not yet won or lost due to damge (or military for my 7WD players). I have seen a swift conclusion via AltWinCon and Colonization. The ramp here is fast. If you try to slow-roll an unstoppable engine, you will lose before you crank the handle. You need to be denying and progressing. Not sneaky and cunning. If you can shut them down and steal the juicy, low-hanging fruit, you can win.

Where this fit in my collection is the stunning art on a faster, yet cutthroat game. Melee a few years back is here too. I find a rapid-paced boxing match is best in under 30min as you can move on and not feel like you were being dragged and bludgeoned. So if you like these direct confrontation fillers:
-this is one of the better ones as it is well rounded
-looks great
-plays fast
-teaches fast
-gets addictive
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Morten Notodden
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So you have received your copy then. I'm also a backer and haven't seen any sign of even a shipment notice yet.

Glad you like it and, by the sound of your review, it would seem I would like it as well.

One question though...

Are you saying cards won't fit back into the box when sleeved at all? Or will they fit if I remove the insert?
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Travis Morton
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Poker sized cards never fit back in these Euro boxes. There is no insert.

This is the Coloretto, No Thanks, Tichu, etc size meant for side-by-side Euro or American sized cards.

There was no shipping notice. My postage date said 5/23. So take that for what that is worth.

**Side note:
You do have included pouch for storage of everything though
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Morten Notodden
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Thanks for the info, man! I may construct a bigger box for it then
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Morten Notodden
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Just received my copy. I made the cards fit in the box while sleeved with a little lid lift.

Here's a comparison pic:


I filled an air gap in my shelf very nicely

Looking forward to playing it now
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