First review of the new year goes to Space Planets, a little game I saw at the HABA booth last Toy Fair that I haven’t had a chance to play until now. It probably took me this long to getting around to play it because I didn’t get to test it out in the HABA booth as someone had swiped the die – who does that?!
The die is important to Space Planets because it is a die-throwing dexterity game! Everyone is “exploring” the universe and on your turn they throw the die at a 3×3 layout of cards and if the die lands on one they have the option of visiting that planet. To visit a planet, you must pay for the fuel gems it’s going to take you to get there – which is the 1, 2, or 3 gems that you rolled on the dice. Each planet is worth a different number of stars (which you can see in one of the corners) and if you don’t have the fuel gems necessary, or you don’t want to visit/take that card, you can just collect the number of gems you rolled instead. If your aim is terrible and you miss the cards entirely, you collect 1 fuel gem and your turn is over. If you land on a black hole card, you discard the black hole (saving everyone else from your fate) and then your turn is over.
Some of the planet cards also have special effects that allow you to collect bonus fuel gems, roll again, or to make everyone pay more on their next turn, which adds to the fun! The game ends when someone collects five planets. At that point everyone gets one more turn and the game is over. Players count the stars on their planet cards and then they get 1 bonus star for each pair of fuel gems left in their stash – and I’ll admit, it’s come down to this in a couple of our games!
Overall Space Planets plays in about 10 minutes and it was fun to play with a variety of ages. I don’t see a group of teens/adults pulling this one out, but it would be fun for a family with kids or just a group of kids to play (ages ~6+). One thing I would advise is to define what is “touching” before you start playing as the dice have curved corners and we had to say if the shadow/overhang of the corner counted or if it had to be physically touching. We also found that playing a game where the cards were really close was fine, but after a few rounds it also became fun to spread them out a little bit further so you really had to hone your dice throwing skills. Happy exploring!
Space Planets Stats:
~$12 Amazon, local game stores
2-4 players (2 was okay, 3-4 was more fun!)
Side Note: The image at the very top of the page and at right are from the NASA website and were taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope. At the Inventor Conference part of ChiTAG week this year was an amazing keynote speaker from NASA, Michelle Thaller. Her presentation was riveting and it included tons of beautiful photographs from the NASA website. If you have some time to kill and want to see some of the most breath taking images to remind you how small we really are, I highly recommend you check it out. Here’s a link to their Image of the Day section.