review | Tiny Epic Galaxies – Blast Off – Conclusion + rating + pictures from the game
With the “Tiny Epic” series, “Gamelyn Games” has built a veritable gaming empire. From zombie apocalypses to robotic arenas to epic adventures set in a fantasy world, there’s hardly a theme that hasn’t already been explored in a Tiny Epic game. One of the earlier and at the same time most famous games was and is “Tiny Epic Galaxies”. With “Tiny Epic Galaxies – Blast off” “Gamelyn Games” tries to build on this reputation, but at the same time makes the game easier and more beginner-friendly. Here we take a closer look at how well they succeed and how much “Tiny Epic Galaxies” is in “Blast off”.
That’s what the game is about!
Before the gameplay is discussed here, it must be said that its essence does not differ from the original “Tiny Epic Galaxies”. The smaller deviations from the original are explained in more detail in the conclusion so that people who know the game can confidently skip this part.
But now to the “canned”. In Tiny Epic Galaxies – Blast off (hereafter abbreviated to “Blast off”), the playgroup takes on the roles of competing civilizations whose goal is to colonize diverse planets to increase their power and influence. When a person has reached a prescribed number of victory points, the final round is initiated until all have played an equal number of rounds.
At its core, Blast off is all about dice. At the beginning of each turn, a certain number of special dice are rolled, depending on the status of your own civilization. While everyone can only access four dice at the beginning of the game, they can increase this pool of dice by expanding their civilizations. Each of these dice has the same six symbols representing the different actions that can be taken during a turn. In this way, a planet’s resources can be captured, colonization can be advanced or one’s own civilizations can be expanded. But the most important action is to send your own spaceships into the depths of the universe. If a person chooses a rocket launch as an action, she must choose a spaceship from your own game board or a spaceship on a planet (in later turns) and place it on a planet in the face-up display. There are two options here: either she places the spaceship on the colonization track or she lands on the planet. While the spaceship on the colonization track can only be advanced by activating other action dice, landing on the planet brings an immediate effect that differs from planet to planet.
If the active person cannot or does not want to use the rolled dice, they can end their turn immediately or spend resources to roll the dice again or to change special dice to a desired result.
During a person’s turn, everyone else has the option of copying certain actions that the active person is performing. By spending a certain resource, when activating a cube, the others can copy it and then carry out the action in the same way as the active person. This works not only for one, but for the first three dice activated by the active person.
Tiny Epic Galaxies was one of my first games in the series, so it’s very close to my heart. For this reason, when I got “Blast off” on my desk, I was extremely pleased to be able to dive back into the small world. As mentioned at the beginning, nothing changes in the basic gameplay from the original to the simplified version. The center is cubes, planets are colonized and others can follow the actions of the active person. So is everything the same? Not quite. The first thing that catches the eye is the updated artwork and game material. In “Blast off” this looks much higher quality and the graphics also appear fresher and softer than was the case in the original. One of the biggest changes, however, is that “Blast off” is playable completely language-neutral. Once the rules and symbol explanations have been read, it doesn’t take a single word in “Blast off” to explain all the effects of the different planets or areas of the game board. This makes the flow of the game smoother, since longer texts or explanations no longer have to be read, as was the case with the original.
But the reason for this is less positive. “Blast off” looks slimmer and sleeker in design, but has lost these pounds in game depth and game mechanics. Yes, the game material is of higher quality, but from now on the game can only be played with up to four people and no longer with five. The rules are language-neutral and can be explained/understood better, but it lacks its own solo mode and the option to bring secret goals into play, as was the case with the original.
Every step “Blast off” takes forward, it seems to be taking in the opposite direction as well. Compared to the original, it is therefore in balance. There are areas that have improved and just as many areas where it is weaker than its predecessor. Bottom line, this changes the target audience of the game. The great depth of play that characterized Tiny Epic Galaxies has been overshadowed by Blast off due to the simplification that makes the game better playable with younger or more inexperienced playgroups. While the original playgroups still demanded something, “Blast off” tries the “cuddling method”. There’s also a lot more focus on the dice in “Blast off,” which is good and bad at the same time. So the active person must now decide which dice are activated first in order to no longer give the others the opportunity to follow the actions. At the same time, this enables a kind of “snowball effect”. Because people can be excluded from following an action (by simply taking actions first that don’t benefit a particular person at all), it’s harder for them to get a foot in the game while others just roll over them.
Game groups that find easy dice games with a shallow strategy factor interesting could find an interesting game for in between here. Strategists who prefer depth of play and a controllable luck factor should go for the original. I don’t see Blast off as a replacement for the original, but I see its place in getting new people into this type of play, or having a good time with younger playgroups without having to constantly explain rules or words.
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