“It’s like Among the Stars, but in space,” is how one of my friends jokingly summed up New Dawn, Artipia Games’ follow-up to one of our favorite games of last year. Of course, what he meant is that apart from the gloss — the same color scheme, a few recurring faces, and a setting that could best be described as a pan-galaxy alliance of alien races getting all passive-aggressive about building the best space station — New Dawn has pretty much nothing in common with Among the Stars.
Unfortunately, that largely includes compelling gameplay.
In all honesty, I get bored reviewing expansions. As with the assembly of a cloak-seeking photon torpedo, it’s only fun once — which is why, across all of Star Trek’s many series and movies, they only did it the one time. The Federation could have obsoleted cloaking technology altogether, but one man had already boldly gone there before.
So today I’m going to rapidly launch a full three expansions reviews out my aft torpedo-tube, which is just one of the many phrases I use to refer to my bum. These are all expansions for games I enjoyed — Core Worlds, Space Cadets: Dice Duel, and Among the Stars — and as happy coincidence would have it, they’re all set in outer space. They’re also all published by Stronghold Games, but that’s not quite as interesting as the first coincidence.
Here we go:
Among the Stars seems to have been designed to push nearly every one of my nerd buttons. An alliance of aliens working together? Egalitarian Future Button! Assembling a unique space station? Deep Space Nine Button! Card drafting? Drafting Button! Designed by a dude whose name is so unpronounceable to my thick English tongue that it might as well belong to an alien? Alien Board Game Designers Button!
Here’s a situation for you to puzzle through. You’re a wealthy patrician seeking to consolidate your power over a kingdom that was recently annexed by a great empire. The surest route to success is to control the spoiled heir to the puppet throne, but there are two problems. First, the boy’s childhood governess is trying to do the same; and second, you don’t actually know the brat — though you do know a Socialite who knows a Florist who knows a Monk who knows the Prince.
How do you go about influencing the Spoiled Heir?