Beyond the Black: Tiny Epic Galaxies

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Your galaxies have expanded to the extent of known space. You overlap with your rivals and fight tooth and nail for fertile planets. Now it is time to extend the horizons. Now it is time to upgrade your ships to the limits of today’s technology, and ready them with the brave pilots. Now it is time to go beyond the deep blackness of space into the truly unknown universe… In Tiny …
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Increases the player interaction.
  • Still quick to play considering the actions available.
  • Even more depth.

Might Not Like

  • Still a little bit fiddly to setup and play.
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Description

Your galaxies have expanded to the extent of known space. You overlap with your rivals and fight tooth and nail for fertile planets. Now it is time to extend the horizons. Now it is time to upgrade your ships to the limits of today’s technology, and ready them with the brave pilots. Now it is time to go beyond the deep blackness of space into the truly unknown universe…

In Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black, players have access to four new ships that they can upgrade their original ships to. To do this, they will need to hire specialised pilots. There are many pilots to hire, each possessing a unique special ability. Pilots are also specialised in what ships they are trained to use. Hiring the right pilot for a ship reduces that pilot's cost. The more ships a pilot is specialised in, the weaker their special ability is. Pilots are hired by spending unused dice that correspond with the four different ship types, and are worth victory points during play. Pilots are shuffled into a deck and splayed out like planets.

Additionally, Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black introduces a press-your-luck exploration option for players. This allows players to venture beyond the planets and into deep space where they might encounter dwarf planets worth victory points, or rare materials that yield resources... or they may encounter cosmic threats like solar storms, black holes, and even supernovas. Either way, exploring deep space provides a player with exploration badges. These badges are tallied up at the end of the game and players are rewarded bonus victory points based on who has the most of a certain badge type. They are four types of badges to collect.

Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black also comes with additional planets and new and exciting secret missions to explore!

Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black is the brand-new expansion for the base Tiny Epic Galaxies (TEG) game.

If you have read my review of TEG you will have seen how much I liked it. The only downsides were that it can be fiddly and the fact that there is not a huge amount of player interaction. Does this new expansion solve that and what else does it add? Read on to find out my opinions..

Inside the Box

Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black comes in the same size box as the original and is once again crammed full to the brim. New ships, tokens and cards are all present as well as a mini expansion called ‘drones’.

The box also comes with a sleeve that fits both the main game and expansion, keeping them together neatly.

Gameplay

One of the best things about the original game for me was the quick playtime, while giving you enough depth to keep you engaged. I was worried that this expansion would add too much and make the game drag on…. I was wrong

You set up the base game as normal but then:

  1. Shuffle the Planet cards from the expansion into the Planet deck.
  2. Shuffle the Secret mission cards from the expansion into the Secret mission card deck.
  3. Shuffle the Pilot cards and create a row of five in the centre of the table.
  4. Give each player a Hanger mat and the four matching coloured ships.
  5. Place the Exploration mat in the play area and place the exploration cards onto the mat.
  6. Place the scoring mat in the play area and place all players score tokens on the zero space.

You set up the base game as normal but then:

  1. Shuffle the Planet cards from the expansion into the Planet deck.
  2. Shuffle the Secret mission cards from the expansion into the Secret mission card deck.
  3. Shuffle the Pilot cards and create a row of five in the centre of the table.
  4. Give each player a Hanger mat and the four matching coloured ships.
  5. Place the Exploration mat in the play area and place the exploration cards onto the mat.
  6. Place the scoring mat in the play area and place all players score tokens on the zero space.

The gameplay for Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black is the same as the base game, which can be seen below:

  • Move a ship - This allows you to move a ship from your Galaxy (or a planet) on to a planet. Two choices are available when moving to a planet; you can either land and take an action straight away or you can attempt to colonize the planet by orbiting it and using a later action to take control of it. (see step 3)
  • Acquire Resources - This allows you to obtain either energy or culture from any planet you re on or orbiting. This is vital for upgrading your Empire.
  • Advance Colonization - Once you have taken the move ship action to have a ship orbiting a planet card, you use this action to move that ship one space forward on the colony track.
  • Utilize a colony - This allows you to use a special skill from either your Galaxy card or a planet you have taken control of.

There are however some new additions for the Beyond the Black expansion:

  • Hiring Pilots- Here, depending on what dice rolls you have made, you have the option of turning one of your available ships into an ‘Advanced ship’ that has its own special ability and scores your Victory points.
  • Explore Unknown space- When using the move ship action, you can place a ship onto the new exploration mat. Once here you will draw cards that can help or hinder you.

That’s it, two new actions with a lot of depth hidden behind each one. For example, you may want to hire a pilot but using dice to do so are no longer used for any other action on that turn. The ‘explore’ action also contains a lot of hidden depth; do you carry on exploring and risk losing resources or do you take the discovery card you revealed?

  • Hiring Pilots- Here, depending on what dice rolls you have made, you have the option of turning one of your available ships into an ‘Advanced ship’ that has its own special ability and scores your Victory points.
  • Explore Unknown space- When using the move ship action, you can place a ship onto the new exploration mat. Once here you will draw cards that can help or hinder you.

That’s it, two new actions with a lot of depth hidden behind each one. For example, you may want to hire a pilot but using dice to do so are no longer used for any other action on that turn. The ‘explore’ action also contains a lot of hidden depth; do you carry on exploring and risk losing resources or do you take the discovery card you revealed?

Final thoughts on Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black

I was apprehensive about this expansion as TEG was a game that played quickly, but had enough meat to its bones to make it worth playing. There is some luck but that could be mitigated and I was unsure if the expansion could keep that going.

Once Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black is added in, it adds no more than a few minutes setup time and I honestly don’t know how much overall to the game. This is because with the expansion the game is great fun and every time I have played it I get immersed in the game...... EVEN MORE THAN THE ORIGINAL!!

The pilots add some great depth as you decide whether it’s worth using dice to hire pilots or use them for the base game actions. The main meat is the new exploration action though and not only does it give you a thematic feeling of exploring the unknown, it’s a great way to score points.

Overall, Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black takes a great game and adds to the theme and enjoyment. The play time is only increased slightly but this does not matter as the actions are not only fun but also require tactical use. Player interaction is increased slightly due to the Exploration action (you can use follow action to explore too) and nothing in my opinion is made worse with any of the additions.

There is also a new solo mode included for those that like to game alone. I would love to see Gamelyn do an ‘Ultimate big box’ edition of this where you would get a board as I think this would get rid of the only downside - it’s still fiddly to set up and play but that’s fine considering how much fun it is.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Increases the player interaction.
  • Still quick to play considering the actions available.
  • Even more depth.

Might not like

  • Still a little bit fiddly to setup and play.