Tiny Epic Galaxies- Playtest Review

Name: Tiny Epic Galaxies- Playtest Print and Play Files
Type: Card Game
Publisher: Gamelyn Games
Players: 2-4
Age: 14+
Playtime: 30 mins
Rating: 5.0 Stars (5.0 / 5)

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing Kickstarter and happened across the Tiny Epic Galaxies project. I thought it looked interesting and like good value for money so I elected to pledge for a deluxe copy. A little bit of further reading revealed that Tiny Epic Galaxies is actually the 3rd Tiny Epic game, after Kingdoms and Defenders but I’ve neither played nor heard of them before this project so I’m approaching it with my mind completely open as to what I’m getting.

Given that I’m throwing down my hard earned cash (complete with high international shipping costs, no offense Gamelyn, it’s not your fault), I figured actually trying one of the games might be of benefit and, fortunately for me, Gamelyn have provided basic Print and Play rules for just such a situation. So 20 mins later with printouts, glue and some white card I have a basic set of Tiny Epic Galaxies ready to go.

Tiny Epic Galaxies is a card and dice game that will be for 1-5 players. The object is to grow your galactic empire bigger and faster than the other players and this is accomplished through colonising planets and harvesting energy and culture. The Print and Play version is only for 2-4 players, both the 5th player and solo mode have been added as stretch goals through the project and so aren’t included. What you get in the Print and Play files is 4 Player Mats (Home Galaxies), the Control card, 24 Planets and a sheet with enough faces for you to customise 7 dice for use in the game.

Tiny Epic Galaxies, Playtest Contents

In terms of the Print and Play I didn’t want to glue the new faces onto my dice so I just cut the sheet out and used it as another control card, labeling the various results between 1-6 so that we could just use normal dice. I also didn’t print out in colour, despite the files being in colour, because I forgot to change the settings and couldn’t be bothered to print the files again.  For tokens we used a whole host of dice grouped together by colour.

So how does it play? Well I got a full table of 4 together and we cracked on with it. I was the only one who had read the rules in advance and I’d read them twice. My group are well versed in games of all types and play weekly as a group in addition to each belonging to 1 or more roleplay groups and also playing games separately on other nights of the week. I’d say we probably classify as hardcore gamers and that means we tend to grasp how to play games fairly quickly.

Tiny Epic Galaxies, Actual Play

The rules are simple and easy to grasp leaving little room for ambiguity.  On your turn you roll the dice and then take actions, in any order, as indicated by the rolled dice, locking them into the control card as you do so. After you take an action another player can spend some of their Culture (one of the games 2 resources) to take the same action thereby advancing their own position. You never need to take all of the actions indicated by the dice and in fact tactical play would suggest that it’s advisable not to some times.

Tiny Epic Galaxies, Actions

The actions are, Move a Rocket, Harvest Culture, Harvest Energy, take a Colony Action, Colonise a Planet using Economy and Colonise a Planet using Diplomacy. Moving Rocket is self explanatory, Harvesting Culture or Energy provides resources to allow you to expand the influence of your Home Galaxy (which lets you roll more dice, therefore giving you more actions) through Colony Action. Colony Actions also let you use the action on any planets that you have claimed through colonisation.

Taking actions also allows you to colonise planets using either Diplomacy or Economy. When you have successfully colonised a planet (indicated by spending enough Diplomacy or Economy actions to move up the track at the side of the card), you can add it to your galaxy. This gives you access to the Colony Action indicated on the bottom, and earns you the indicated amount of victory points.

Tiny Epic Galaxies, Playtest Planets

The endgame begins when one player reaches 21 victory points. At that the other players get one more action, moving clockwise around the table, until the turn gets back to the first player (not the person who reached 21 points) ensuring that every player will always get the exact same number of turns.  Once everyone has had their final turn they add up their victory points and the player with the highest score wins.

The gameplay is smooth and simple and we managed to play through our first game in about an hour, which isn’t bad considering that the advised playtime is about half an hour and we were learning a brand new game.  About 45 minutes in we actually realised that we’d been harvesting Culture and Energy wrong and harvesting much less than we should, which had slowed the game down a bit and once we rectified that everyone suddenly managed to upgrade their galaxies much faster and the speed of play picked up considerably.

Tiny Epic Galaxies is half card game/half dice game with resource management elements thrown in. It’s a well-balanced game that allows for numerous strategies to develop your galaxy and enable you to colonise planets. There are only a few ways in the Print and Play game to directly affect your opponents, such as moving them back down the colonisation track and sending rockets back to home galaxies but there are many ways to indirectly influence your opponents by not taking actions or taking them in specific orders.

Tiny Epic Galaxies is very easy to learn but has a surprising amount of tactical depth that isn’t instantly apparent. We only played the one game and I’d say we barely scratched the surface of what you can do regarding dice and planetary combinations. Considering that the deluxe box will also ship with a Super Weapons expansion as well there is a huge amount left to explore in this game.

I downloaded the Print and Play for Tiny Epic Galaxies because I wanted to see if the game is worth my support on Kickstarter and it became readily apparent within 10 minutes of starting to play that it was more than worth the £23.00 or so  it will cost me for the deluxe version. I have a strong suspicion that Tiny Epic Galaxies will become a stable of the gaming group once it arrives in (hopefully)  September. As it is I’ll likely break the Print and Play out a few more times between now and then.

The Kickstarter ends on 07/02/2015 (that’s the 7th of February to any Americans reading) and I wholeheartedly think you should back it, it’s awesome.

I’ll review the game proper when it arrives.

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