Constellations was the second game published by Xtronaut, a publisher that has a deep background in science and space education. Constellations puts the players in the role of building out the night sky using different star types. I’ve got to say that this game has impressed us since the first time it hit the table.
Gaming Meets Science
The basic gameplay of Constellations is built on gathering different star types that are represented on the cards in the game. These star cards each have a letter classification along with some really interesting facts at the bottom of each card. Players are given 3 options on their turn:
- Draw a star card (out of 5 in the middle of the table)
- Reserve a constellation
- Play a constellation
Star cards can be played from a players hand to claim a constellation and play it in the center of the table. Points are awarded using tokens which are the players victory points. Players gain points for the value of the constellation they build, along with bonus points for matching gems on the edges of the hex and placing them next to their actual neighbor in the sky.
If you’re trying to collect stars to claim a specific constellation, a player can reserve a constellation in order to keep other players from completing it. Constellations is very easy to teach and the gameplay is very smooth. It really reminds me of a game like Century Golem Edition, a game our family loves.
Some stars are rarer than others because of the number of times they show up in the deck. Each constellation clearly shows what stars are needed to claim that specific hex tile. Xtronaut did a great job of color coding and giving letters to each of the stars for quick identification.
Optimizing the Night Sky
Just because you have the star cards needed to claim a constellation doesn’t mean you should. Each of the constellation tiles have gems that surround the border. Bonus points are awarded when you can match up these gems with other constellations that have been placed on the table. This can mean a swing of up to 6 to 10 points at times. Players that pay attention to these bonuses will maximize their points in Constellations.
I really like the attention to detail this game has. A very cool touch is that the constellation tiles have glow in the dark stars that look really impressive when playing at night. The star facts at the bottom of each of the cards are a really nice touch and could actually lead to learning something new with each play of the game.
A single game can last as long as you want because the play time is adjusted by adding or removing constellations from the supply. We’ve been short on time before and played in 20 minutes by adjusting the amount of hex tiles that were available and leaving the rest in the box. The rule book has a small chart that helps you adjust the playtime based on the player count.
By the way, the rule book has a stargazing guide in the back that is pretty great for anyone who wants to learn more about enjoying our night sky. This has excellent value for anyone who has an interest in astronomy or the science behind the game.
Our Final Thoughts
When you first teach the game, we’ve found it really helpful to point out some items on the constellation hex tiles. Each of the constellation tiles contain a lot of information which can feel a little crowded. Giving a rundown of the most important content on the hex tile will help players not to become overwhelmed.
Everything Constellations does, it does really well. It’s a game that probably isn’t on your radar unless you’re a fan of stargazing or science games. In our opinion, this game is a great one for families and couples. The gameplay can be challenging and will appeal to a wide range of gamers. The game contains additional advanced rules along with solo and team play rules that will keep you coming back to see this beautiful starry sky.
You can pick up Constellations on the Xtronaut website or from Amazon today.
Xtronaut provided us with a retail copy of Constellations. This in no way influenced our opinion on this game.
- Simple to teach and great for families
- Science facts on the cards and stargazing guide is a nice touch
- Play time and difficulty are all adjustable
- Glow in the dark stars are so cool
- Takes up a lot of table space