Ganymede is a two to four-player, card drafting, set collection game with a touch of tableau building from designer Hope S. Hwang and published by Sorry We Are French. In Ganymede you are transporting various settlers from Earth to Mars and then on to Ganymede where they will board a ship to colonise the stars. A review of the core game can be found here.
In this review, I will be mainly focusing on the expansion, Ganymede: Moon. Moon brings a number of additions to the core game, such as expanded player boards for the Moon, and the Ganymede Council Chamber. During the game, you have the ability to move your councillor from the Moon to Ganymede. Once your Councillor reaches Ganymede you can select one of the available councillor tiles to add to your Council chamber. These will grant you one-off abilities or ongoing bonuses. They are also worth victory points at the end of the game. The addition of the Moon board also gives you another slot for settler tiles to further expand on the combos that you can achieve.
The main gameplay does not change significantly, and you will still be doing the same actions, for the most part, that you did in the core game.
When I first played Ganymede I was pleasantly surprised. It is relatively quick; you can create some cool combos and it was a fun and satisfying game to play. The Moon expansion adds some additional elements to the game but retains the same core elements that made Ganymede enjoyable.
I like the addition of the Moon board and the extra slot for the Settler tiles. One of the interesting components of Ganymede was creating cool combos with matching tiles. This is further emphasised with the additional slot on the Moon board. In addition, discarding Settler tiles as a basic action has become slightly more powerful now. It is a small addition but one that I welcome.
The Council Is In Session
The addition of the Council Chamber board and the Councillor meeple is another aspect to the expansion that I really like. The special abilities and bonuses available are varied and will change your game plan. They give players some uniqueness to their game. You will effectively create unique player powers as you progress your Councillor. You get one free move each round, but you can push this further with the move action present in the core game. But balancing moving your Councillor or your Settlers to launch your ships is a fine line. It adds some interesting gameplay elements that elevate the core game.
However, I did find the iconography does not clear on some of the Councillor tiles. I was constantly referring to the rulebook (which, for the most part, does a good job of explaining the abilities) to figure out the abilities. I feel that this could have been an aspect that could have been improved. The iconography for the core game was clear and easy to understand but not so for the Councillor tiles.
Despite the issues I had with the iconography I think the Ganymede: Moon expansion is a great addition. I would even go so far as to say it is easy enough to include this in the game from the get-go. I don't think it adds additional complexity or playtime to the core game but increases the enjoyment of the base game.