I have a group of co-workers that I meet with at lunch to play short games. Games like Fuse from Renegade Game Studios, Bang! the Dice Game from dV Giochi, Coup from Indie Boards and Cards, King of New York from Iello, and Star Realms from White Wizard Games. Since we all work for a technology dept at a school district, the summers are very busy for us, and we haven’t met since mid June. There are two of us, myself and Colin, that drive this group. We keep people invested and we bring the games. This morning, as we got assigned to pieces of a project, both our names got called out to support the same location. There was an instant nod from both of us as we knew: GAMES!
Just before we started out Summer work schedules, Colin had purchased Tiny Epic Galaxies from Gamelyn. It arrived the first day that we couldn’t play. He’s played it with various people, whoever is at his site when lunchtime rolls around, while I’ve been gathering dust on my lunchtime gaming habit. That all changed today.
After quickly picking up the closest fast food available (which I am regretting as I write this), I made it back to the break room in which Colin had set up shop. We had encouraged a few of our peers to join us and ended up with four people. I’m usually the rules lawyer, reading the rules front to back, watching a video, and maybe reading the rules again before I have to explain. This experience was different, not having watched or read anything about game-play before starting. I’m happy to report Colin concisely and effectively taught the game, and we happily played without a “you never told me…” moment.
As usual, I’m not going into all the details of the game, if you’re interested check out Watch if Played’s video.
In Tiny Epic Galaxies, each player will grow their own empire to achieve the most victory points. Victory Points are earned by colonizing planets using diplomacy or economy, and by upgrading your empire. On a player’s turn, a number of dice are rolled, based on the level of the empire for the active player. That player then chooses actions based on what was rolled. This includes moving, gaining energy/culture, colonizing, and activating colonized planets. When the active player selects an action, any other player may follow that action by spending one culture point. Each time a player does something that scores points, they have to announce their point total. When one player gets to 21 points, it triggers the end of the game.
I’ll warn you now, we didn’t finish the game. After needing to pick up food, and teach the game, we were one turn away from the end when we couldn’t refuse work’s beckoning call any longer.
I played first, and worked on getting my ships to planets, then started colonizing. The next two players mixed their turn between generating energy (to upgrade their empire) and moving ships. Colin moved for some quick colonization as well. The game moved along and it was easy to see that the order of how you placed your actions was very important. Also, using your culture, not to get extra moves, but to strategically use extra moves to set yourself up for an achievable combo when it came to your turn.
When we ran out of time, I would have triggered the end of the game with one additional turn. It’s impossible to say who would have won, much can happen in one round of turns, but I had a good chance to win.
Gamelyn describes Tiny Epic Galaxies as a Micro-game, but with the 30-40 minute play-time, and the depth of strategy, it feels like more than a filler. It’s not quite a game I would play on a regular game night, but it’s perfect for lunches, or a meatier filler.
This game feels like someone took Roll for the Galaxy, from Rio Grande Games, and stepped back the mechanisms to a lighter game. That’s not a problem for me. Roll for the Galaxy is in my top three games of all time. Here’s the rub: Tiny Epic Galaxies MSRP is 30.00 on Gamelyn’s website. There are certainly cheaper places to get it but they are all currently out of stock. Roll for the Galaxy is twice the MSRP, but with deeper game-play and mechanisms, in my opinion, Roll for the Galaxy is a better value dollar for dollar.
Don’t let that make you think I wouldn’t recommend Tiny Epic Galaxies, because I would. I’m hoping to play it again tomorrow, and would love to check out the other games in the Tiny Epic Series.