Universe Game, The Space Marble Board Game
|Game: Universe Game||Player: 2- 4|
|Publisher: Diletostra||Age: 12+|
|Time: 30 minutes|
Anyone interested in being an astronaut as a kid? How about now? Are you working on becoming an astronaut? (you lucky dog). Universe has you and 3 other astronauts in space as you all make planetary discoveries, avoid black holes, and rack up the most points after a chosen number of rounds. Equipped with 3 space ships (a dice, a token, and a marble) to explore the vast open infinite of space, you and your 3 ships will be racking up points by landing on habitable planets. Carefully flick, roll, toss, ricochet, or bicycle kick your space ships (dice, token, and marble) into space from a corner of the board to discover new planets. Watch out for inhabitable planets–those make you lose points. This is one of those interactive experiences that stimulates the physical aspect of gaming. While the game has a board with 44 planets and 44 stationary marbles to act as stoppers for your ships, the rest of the game incorporates how you’d like to play it. Like I stated earlier, you can flick, roll, toss, or take any means to get your ships into space (I prefer the bicycle kick) landing on or around planets that offer positive or negative points. We played up to 5 rounds (because we have found ourselves rather busy lately) and I lost by a whopping 55 points (I hit a lot of negatives–my luck).
Setup is very simple, unfold the board and pick a color and corner. To play the Universe game, you must get your ship past the first row of planets to have any points accumulated to be valid. You can use your ships to strike bonuses, hit big scoring planets, or push your opponents out of the planet they landed in. Bonus rounds are gifted to any player who lands in the octagon shaped planet allowing you to have a full round (of using your ships) to yourself for those extra points. How do these bonus rounds work? You may ask.. If a player is left on bonus/octagon tile then in the bonus round your d6 is replaced with d20. When you leave the round you are rewarded a ring to place on any planet for the remainder of the game. You get 5 points for each ring at the end of the game. The black hole also changes in the bonus round, in a regular round if a piece lands in the black hole then you lose that piece for the next round. In bonus, if any ship is left on black hole you get an extra bonus. So if you’re amazing at rolling or flicking you could be in Bonus forever(highly unlikely but possible) when using the rings it brings a different play into the game. when you own a planet it’s justified when other players land on it or you land on your own but since you chose it then luck feels sweeter.
I found the Universe game to be extremely large and unfortunately unable to fit on any shelf, table, or roof. So I am not quite sure where to place it after play. I also feel that after a while, each player will consistently push for the bonus round, which unfortunately gets tiresome. I feel as if the bonus planets could’ve been surrounded by negative points, which would create a bit of a risk for going for it. I did find the interactive bit of the gaming fun and it definitely created a strategy trying to keep our opponents out of the good scoring planets. The artwork is very nice and the black background paints the idea that we have our space ships flying across the endless universe. I’d suggest this game to a player who is tired of the same ole’ card game, worker placement gig and is looking for a game that acts as a roof as well as a game.