Ganymede – Lucky Duck Games – Review

"A nice simple rule set keeps this game clean and tight."

Rachael Blaske

8/10

Theme and What is it?

8/10

Space. The final frontier. Stardate 6919.5…wait, went a little Trekkie there.

Take me out
To the black
Tell them I ain’t coming back
Burn the land
And boil the sea
You can’t take the sky from me.

Wait…too much Firefly.

Nevermind. This game is set in space. Corporations are sending settlers out to colonize new planets and your job is to get them launched first!

Gameplay Mechanics

7/10

A nice simple rule set keeps this game clean and tight.
On their turn, the active player performs 1 action from 3 available options:

  • Recruit Settlers by placing a Settler tile on their Player Board
  • Use a Shuttle card to transport the indicated Settlers from Earth to Mars, then from Mars to Ganymede
  • Discard from 1 to 3 Settler tiles to perform 1 to 3 Basic Actions (Recruit, Adapt, Move, Gain Reputation, Draw a Settlers Ship)

I enjoyed the 3rd option because I could stock up all of my tiles and then have a crucial turn where I discarded all 3 tiles at once to really push my rep track through the roof.

Game end triggers when the first player launches all 4 of their ships.

Initial Impressions

8/10

I love the concept of space exploration and a game that does that is super cool. Add in the engine building that I have recently fallen in love with and it was a great fit for our family. 

Anything that Lucky Duck Games has given their stamp of approval on is usually a solid bet, so I was really excited to take a look at this.

Game Build Quality

6/10

Cards have a nice spring and linen texture. The chunky tiles are standard 2mm chipboard and easy to pick up! 

My only criticism would be that it would benefit from some shaped cutouts along the top of the player board to keep the settler tiles locked in tight.

 

Artistic Direction

7/10

Vector based art was a great modern feel for this theme. It felt clean and the color palette was thematic as well. 

The art really helped with the immersive feel. A great debut from new artist, Oliver Mootoo!

Fun Factor

7/10

This passed my immediate second play test. Everytime I want to play a game again the second the first ends is a great indicator of the engagement level that it has. 

It is relatively simple and has a fun discussion that could continue with afterwards with friends or kids that you play with.

Age Range & Weight

9/10

Easily a game that the whole family can enjoy. An industry “secret” that most consumers are unaware of is that there is a cost of testing to ensure safety regarding components and with such small margins in the board game publishing world, it is often easier to put 14+ on the box rather than pay to advertise to the lower audience on the box and opt to do that through word of mouth and reviewers instead.

What I mean by that little nugget is…this is a game your older kiddos can play. In terms of difficulty, the complexity is not so high that a non-gamer would shy away. I think honestly that it would fascinate them that there are multiple elements of scoring. This is a great opener for game night or an approachable family activity for the holidays.

I really enjoyed this game and will be keeping it on my shelf. If you’re a Wingspan fan, I would recommend taking a look at this. 

It’s a shorter, simplified playthrough that would probably be a great warm up play before you get your birding on.

8/10