Taken from Board Game Geek
Apologies to Douglas Adams: Space is big. Really big. Ultra Tiny Epic Galaxies is, however, not. Read on.
Gamelyn Games have made quite a business out of making big ideas small, from fantasy strategies, through mech area control all the way to zombie-infested table-top crawlers, and it doesn’t look like their momentum is going to diminish any time soon (with Dinosaurs and Pirates on the horizon for tiny-fying).
As an aside they have also begun to see how much smaller they can make their games without making them unplayable (you may well be able to write the bible on a grain of rice but… who’s going to read it?). These are the Ultra Tinies, and the first two are Ultra Tiny Epic Kingdoms and the one I have right here in my… wait a minute, where is it? Ah, under the holy grain of rice – Ultra Tiny Epic Galaxies.
My Gosh! It’s Full of Stars!
Planets actually, but we’ll get to those. The first thing you will notice is that the box is, as promised, really tiny – the same size as a box of poker cards – small enough to pop in your pocket. On opening the box, you may be surprised at how complete this game is – it has all the pieces that Tiny Epic Galaxies has, but everything is about a third of the size, which means that even a sausage-fingered ogre like me may find all the components small but not too small – half pint down to shot-glass rather than thimble.
In fact, it is more than complete as it includes an expansion that its slightly bigger brother doesn’t have – Satellites and Super Weapons, but more on that later. Everything fits nicely inside the box – it’s not the case that once you pop, you can’t… get everything back in again. The little cubes sit on top of the little cards and the bigger cards and instructions slide in beside them. Nice and neat. Now, rather than admiring how compact and bijou it is, let’s give it a play, shall we?
A Twist in Space Where Time Becomes a Loop… Becomes a Loop… Becomes a Loop…
If you are already familiar with Tiny Epic Galaxies, you might want to skip ahead, because it plays just the same. For everyone else, here’s what’s going down in this here stellar cluster. One to five players have a galaxy card in front of them and a secret mission beneath it. On that galaxy card are an energy and culture tracker, an empire tracker and a place to keep your two initial space ships. In the middle of the table are a number of planets, ripe for exploitation or colonisation.
On their turn, the player rolls a number of dice determined by their empire level and are presented with a set of actions to perform in any order they see fit. There’s move a ship, which allows you to land a ship on a planet and exploit its ability (gaining resources, sending ships back etc.), or begin to colonise it, a slow process that sees your intrepid little cube-ship move along a track – once you get to the end, you capture the planet and tuck it under your card for more potential abilities. You move along the track by either rolling diplomacy or economy – different planets take different coaxing.
The next two actions build up your culture or energy – these are dependent on where your ships are parked (if they’re still at home, they generate energy), but having plenty of these resources is definitely to your benefit as they allow you to re-roll dice (energy) or copy other player’s actions (culture).
Size comparison. Taken from Board Game Geek
The Subheading Where the Editor is Trying to Keep the Subheadings the Same Length as the Authors
They also allow you to advance your empire if you roll the colony action, or you might want to use one of your colonised planet’s actions instead. As mentioned before, you can sacrifice energy to re-roll (though the first one’s free), but you can also sacrifice dice to choose an action – pricey as this will cost you three dice! During your galaxies growth, you gain more dice in your pool and more ships to send out, and the more planets you get, the more points you gain – first to 21 points starts end game (you play round to the start player), but those secret mission (remember those?) could swing it for you – they could win you extra points for having the most planets, the most energy or being balanced in all things… as everything should be. The player with the most points wins.
And I Think it's Gonna be a Long Long Time, Until Touchdown Brings me Back Around to Find..
There is also a very nice solo version here too. You play against a rogue galaxy, described on the flip side of each card, and they range from beginner to epic – gameplay is much the same, but as you can imagine the rogue has something of an advantage over you. I am yet to beat beginner, but it really is one of the most fun/quick solo variations of a game I have played (and I’ve played quite a few of those by now, as you can imagine).
For those familiar with the original game, pop back in… NOW! As well as the core game, you get a neat little add on – Satellites and Superweapons. Satellites are unlocked as your empire advances – gain them, and you can place them on unclaimed planet and get them back as points if/when you colonise the planet. Either that or you can use them to activate the superweapons for their card effect (stealing from other players, gaining resources or gaining actions). You might prefer to knock them out by sending a ship to destroy it (in a similar fashion to colonising planets) as this gains you victory points and bonus energy from any satellites you find there. It’s definitely an ultra mini expansion, but adds an extra element of mischief to the multiplayer game.
I Like the Bit Where Someone Says “It’s Bigger on the Inside.” I Always Look Forward to that.
With Ultra Tiny Epic Galaxies, like Tiny Epic Galaxies, what you get is a nice, straightforward to learn Tuck and Roll (tuck the cards, roll the dice) with just a hint of 4X but none of the cut-throat ‘8 hours to build a fleet only to have it tricked into a pulsar – I’m out of here!’ that might make playing a 4X not so appealing. In fact, as proto-4Xs go, it’s pretty pacifist – you can knock your opponents ships back along the colony tracks, steal their resources or even copy their actions but you can never wipe them off the board (there’s no board) and you gain more from destroying the superweapons rather than using them.
It’s also quick to set up and play and takes up so little space that you can play it in solo mode on the train… on a chair-back table! (Not that I have tried this yet due to lock-down) It’s a lot of fun for one and I can imagine it’s more for two to four… five. I don’t think the pieces are too small (not like Microbrew) and game play wise it is a lot meatier than games of a similar size and price – I forgot to mention that: it is an absolute steal at the price. Judge by its size you will not…