Moonshot: Lunar Solace
Designer: David and Micah Abelson
Publisher: Fisher Heaton
Number of Players: 2-4
Duration: 30-45 minutes
I was lucky enough to recieve a copy of Moonshot: Lunar Solace from David Abelson, who is co-designer with Micah Abelson. Moonshot is currently on Kickstarter until 12th August.
It would be worth noting quickly, that I have not played a roll and move game in a long while and that this style of game would not normally be my cup of tea (I need to get the but in quickly before I lose you all), BUT this game has elements to it that make it a lot more fun then a race round the board.
We played a two player game which has a slight variation in the rules but I will go through those when they come up.
Each player gets a set of 4 ships (6 in a 2 player game), and a player mat which is a Kickstarter stretch goal that I really hope makes the final cut. Two wormholes are placed on the board in a spot determined by a dice roll, the wormholes are there to speed up travel and also act as an attack if you get the right card.
In a two player game, players receive 2 solace cards (action cards) and have a hand limit of 2 to 4 depending on players. The solace cards are used throughout the game, and are gained when you bump another player. There are 4 types of solace cards which are either used immediately, on your turn, an opponents turn or at any time.
One of the stretch goals on the Kickstarter are starting characters which give you special abilities. If this game gets funded I really hope that they reach this stretch goal. Without these, this game once again just becomes a race round the board.
With the basic set up out the way, you are ready to play.
The game is a race around the solar system starting and ending at the moon, the board is made up of spaces “debris” which link the planets. Planets act as short cuts, so landing directly on a planet gives you a great advantage as you can cut across the board and get back to the moon quicker. The first player who gets all their ships back to the moon wins the game.
The way in which you move around the board is with 4 12 sided dice, which have 6 pips on them each. The moves are determined by the total number of pips you get.
Now the way I see it is that they missed a trick here that would have given this game a little bit more than just a roll and move. This would have been a perfect opportunity to add a little bit of push your luck. Players could choose to re roll a certain number of dice to get a better result, but as this is not the case you are left with your first roll and have to move that.
Movement of ships is your only real chance at decision making, and that is exasperated more so if you roll a move forward 4 or 5, then you get a bonus roll. This is where the only decision making in the game comes.
Players can only move one ship per roll. If you are lucky to have bonus rolls then you can move multiple ships on your go but you are limited to movement of each ship based on one of the rolls. So if you roll a move 4 and a move 2 then you can move one ship 6 or two ships 4 and 2, not 3 and 3. If a ship ends its turn directly on a space that you have another ship on you can stack the ships and then they move as one on their next move. This is a really good way of racing a load of ships round the board in one go, and also a risky way of losing all your ships back to the start.
Although I have been saying that this is a roll and move game, it is also a Take That game. And this is the most fun part of the game. As you go around the board deciding and then eventually choosing to stack your ships, you run the major risk of stacking too many and then having an opponent land on you. When they land on you you lose every one of those ships from the board and you have to start again. The anxiety level is massive! having 4 ships stacked with an opponent three spaces behind could send you through the roof.
Overall this game is fun, and that is down to the Take That. Although I have been bad mouthing the roll and move aspect of the game, the execution of what they have done is second to none. It’s a real simple game at its core, that I can see family’s playing – maybe mum and dad want a gateway for their kids into strategy and tactics which this game has. Or if you just want to take it at its core as a move around the board game that is easy to pick up and play.
Will I play it again, probably not. But that is more down to mine and my wife’s preference in games. It was fun as a one off, the same way Survive:Escape from Atlantis is fun, but that hardly gets to the table anymore either.