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Subject: Ad Astra: My Impressions rss

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Paul Roberts
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Burton On Trent
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This game kind of snuck up under the radar but when I read about it my interest was peaked.

Components:
These are of a very good quality and the artwork is superb.

The shame is that the colours could have been more distinctive on the cards and score tokens. The other let down is the movement cards which use icons to represent the various Suns which are replicated on the Sun tokens. The problem is that you end up looking at the Picture of the sun not the small icon on the edge which causes a little confusion in the game.

Mechanics:
Each player has 11 action cards, 3 scoring, 3 movement, 3 Production, a Building card and a Trade Card. At the start of a round each player picks an action card then starting with the first player places it on one of the 15 (or 12 if 3-4 players) action slots on the main board. This continues until all the spaces are filled. The game then starts by revealing the first card an acting on it. The owner of the card gets an advantage for playing that action but everyone normally gets to do the same action in turn as well (Trade is only carried out by the card owner)
The idea is to explore various planets settling on some to generate resources to build or upgrade your assets. Then, and this involves careful planning, you need to start playing your scoring cards (which only get returned to your hand after you play all 3). You are unlikely to score high on all 3 so the trick is to minimise your loses on 1 or 2 of the cards and try to maximise on the 3rd so you can try and get a couple of good rounds scoring with it. The various planets produce either one of 3 different ores, energy, food or Water. Amongst these planets are Alien worlds that hide artifacts that give a variety of bonuses or special abilities usable during the game. The Alien worlds do not produce goods but you can score bonus points for building colonies and upgrading these to factories.

Each player colour has a different pairing of resources on each production card which means you need to plan carefully what resources planets you build on. Each player also has a different pair of systems on each movement card and has all but 2 of the systems represented on the 3 cards. This means that for the other systems you will be reliant on other players movement cards.

The rules are not that complicated and can be explained quite quickly, but there is depth here and further plays of the game will reveal different strategies to win with the ability to play with a different colour set adding to the games longevity.

Also, as a Douglas Adams fan, the Alien Artifact Card: “Omnibus Rebus Responsum” (Answer to Everything) where you win at the end of the game if you score exactly 42 points is just perfect

Winning:
When either the last planet is explored or someone gets 50 or more points the current round is completed, then simply the person with the most points Wins.

Conclusion:
This game plays extremely well and generally remains quite close until the last few rounds. The theme is well suited, the various mechanics work well together leaving a lot replayability.

I would recommend this game, with the caveat that it will take at least one game to get to grips with how all the elements tie together so that your second game you will be much better placed to use subtle strategies needed to play it well.

I will be playing this one a lot.
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Richard Dewsbery
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Interesting. You've posted positive comments about two games today, this and Endeavor. Yet both were heavily discounted at Essen this weekend (each at €20), suggesting that neither sold very well. I bought neither (I had Endeavor at full price, partially on your recommendation; and I'd already played and didn't like Ad Astra). Instead I went for Constantinopolis (also marked down to €20), in the hope that it was a hidden gem.
 
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Aaron Silverman
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Maybe he took the opportunity to get 'em both! It's not surprising that games that are a couple of years old would be discounted at Essen, is it? (I've never been, so I don't know.)

I can't comment on Ad Astra, but IMO Endeavor is a great game.
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Testy Testerson
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RDewsbery wrote:
Interesting. You've posted positive comments about two games today, this and Endeavor. Yet both were heavily discounted at Essen this weekend (each at €20), suggesting that neither sold very well. I bought neither (I had Endeavor at full price, partially on your recommendation; and I'd already played and didn't like Ad Astra). Instead I went for Constantinopolis (also marked down to €20), in the hope that it was a hidden gem.


I have both, and while Ad Astra was a little bit off for me, Endeavor was -amazing-. That game got more play out of me then almost any other game in my collection. Great gateway game/gamer game.
 
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Paul Roberts
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Burton On Trent
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RDewsbery wrote:
Interesting. You've posted positive comments about two games today, this and Endeavor. Yet both were heavily discounted at Essen this weekend (each at €20), suggesting that neither sold very well. I bought neither (I had Endeavor at full price, partially on your recommendation; and I'd already played and didn't like Ad Astra). Instead I went for Constantinopolis (also marked down to €20), in the hope that it was a hidden gem.


Well I guess the thing is I rarely impulse buy, I have occasionaly and thus far managed to pick well, but mostly I research here or sometimes actually play before I buy. I kind of know what I like and gravitate towards that kind of game.

I read reviews, comments here and weigh up opinions but mostly read about how the game plays, the breakdown of a turn how the game might progress and from all of that form an opinion if it will suit me.

There is a great community here and I like the variety of reviews both the detailed and the short, as I appreciate someones time to pass on their thoughts good or bad.

I like Constantinopolis, though I really have not played it enough.

Although I have had both games for a while now, I had previously posted these on my own site, along with many others, but I thought I should share my opinions here as give something back. I am not as elequent as others who post here but I try to give my thoughts as best I can.

Thanks for taking the time to read them and comment.
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