I seem to make long-lasting friendships with board games about space, so I am not sure how this crowdfunded game flew so far under my radar. In all honesty, my wallet could probably stand to miss a few more crowdfunded games here and there, but being the board game addict that I am, I am sure that is far from what will actually ever happen.
Planet Unknown by Adam’s Apple Games is exactly the game that escaped my pledging and my view entirely. It wasn’t until after the game actually delivered and when I started seeing some pictures that it really caught my eye. Since then the game has….. rocketed up my Top 10 for the year so far.
Making Space…in Space
The mechanics of the game are fairly straightforward: polyomino tile drafting with tile placement onto your individual planet. The goal is to fill that planet with tiles to gain victory points in multiple ways. Every time you place a tile, it will have an associated track on your personal corporation board.
There are five tracks to control and each of these tracks will allow you to gain different abilities that may help your tile placement and scoring along the way. Those tracks consist of water, biomass (trees to terraform), civilization, rover movement, and technology. These are really simple to keep track of as they move up each time an associated tile is placed. There are bonuses along the way on all of these tracks and it is full of combo-rific movement.
One of the coolest tools in Planet Unknown has been sewn directly into the main mechanic of the draft itself and that is, S.U.S.A.N. A thematically named play on a word to define the system that presents you the tiles for drafting, which is an actual lazy susan. The lazy susan has 6 different pod sections that each contain two holding areas for a total of 12 styles of polyominoes.
You will be presented a pod section on every turn of the game providing complete asynchronous game play. This cuts player down-time out completely, which is always a welcome feature in my book. The caveat for this main mechanic is that whoever happens to be the first player for each turn gets to set the wheel to whatever pod section they prefer, which also determines the pod section placed in front of every other player. This is an extremely fun mechanic.
Don’t Look Up
Along the way, your planet will get pummeled with meteorites that will rain down on you, figuratively (you’re not actually going to get hit with meteorites; that’s in the coming expansion), as you place your tiles on your planet. These burning rocks will prevent you from scoring victory points for completing vertical and horizontal rows so you will need to make sure and place rover tiles to move your rovers around your board to clean up and collect the meteorites. There is just so much integrated space theme in this game.
Once you get fully familiar with the game mechanics and how everything functions, you can up the play strategy as the game offers eight different asymmetric corporations to master and twelve different asymmetric planets! A super space puzzle!
I am so overly excited about this game, and I have had too much fun even just teaching this game and watching everyone else get joy from it. I can not recommend this game enough. Planet Unknown is truly out of this world.
You can purchase Planet Unknown at your local game store or through Amazon today. You can try Planet Unknown digitally on Sovranti.com right now.
Editors Note: This review and the photos are of the Deluxe Edition of the game. The retail edition will play the exact same but components are different.
- Asynchronous game play
- No player down time
- Enjoyably tactile
- Some storage and component box space issues
- Shelf space storage issues(oversized box)