Theme and What is it?
You ever built a planet?
Yeah, I have. And you sir, are missing out. Like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, somebody had to build planets, it is either us, or mice. I pick us.
In Planet you are building a literal D12 planet, tile by tile. It is a drafting game, not unlike BlueOrange’s KingDomino, but with a 3D element that is unique. Will your planet meet all the goals that are laid out before it, or will it become a barren waste land?
Each round is a pure drafting game that forces you to choose among tiles in a snaking order throughout the game. To score, you need to match the requirements on the cards. Here, the planet with the most amount of desert, not touching a forest, will win that card. If it is not your main goal (you might be the water goal for example), you would score two points. If it is your goal (you have desert) you would score one point at the end of the game.
If there is a tie for a card, it moves to the next round. Ties must be broken. Most points wins.
Planets is a VERY visual game. When you see it, you either love the idea, or not. I was the latter.
It just seems cool. I was initially drawn to it from across the room at NYTF in its incomplete form, and now complete, I feel very much the same. It is neat to see.
Game Build Quality
The game is necessarily built to the nth degree. It has magnets, metal, cards, and planets. Seeing this game, makes you wonder why other games cannot be built to the same degree of coolness in a financially prudent manner.
The one complaint I had about the build, is that there is no place to stick your fingernail under the planet, to make sure the magnets are not damaged when you remove them. I think, this may lead o a game that does not last as long as it otherwise could.
The game is very abstract, and therefore while the box art is awesome, the actual game is kind of meh insofar as art.
With that being said, it is exactly what it needs to be, as more complex art could make it very difficult to see what you were building.
I would have liked to see better symbology on the cards, and more thought as to color blind folks, we played with one person who cannot differentiate green from brown very well, and a small pattern could have helped him tremendously, on the tiles and on the cards.
Here, everyone that played thought the game was fun, and cool. I was surprised by one of the players, as he generally does not like abstract games.
However, with the drafting mechanic, his strategy needs seemed to have been fulfilled. This says to me its appeal is fairly universal.
Age Range & Weight
8+. The number is just about right. My 7 year old (a genius), plays quite well, but has a hard time visualizing end game points. Therefore, I would say give her a year, and she will be beating adults handily.
I 💓Planets. I like the idea, the execution, and the frustration of not getting the perfect tile, and settling for something else that ends up being better.
If you have a itch, for something new, that will bend your brain a little, Planet is a pretty cool game, that has some staying power, with the right group. It is not overly complex, but that just means, you can play it as a filler, and still hit all sorts of gaming needs.