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Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Ease of play
  • Easy to set up and teach
  • A good amount of game for its length

Might Not Like

  • Can feel like it's over too quickly
  • The theme may not be for everyone

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Wormholes Review

wormholes

I love space, sci-fi and everything it entails, so when I saw a video of someone playing a 45-minute, family weight, pick up and deliver game set in the black void of space, you know I wanted to be in on that action! Wormholes, Designed by Peter McPherson, published by AEG and with artwork from Caring Wong, sees you zooming around the galaxy using wormholes to deliver passengers to their chosen planet.

You are the pioneers of wormhole technology and can seed the ever-changing map with time-saving corridors that bend space-time. Creating wormholes not only saves you time delivering folk to their destination but also, if attractive enough, can earn you points from other players using your well-designed routes.

Gameplay

Quick Setup

Wormholes is a pick-up and deliver game with a tad of hand and action management. At the start of the game, the hex-based galaxy is set up containing all the planets you will need to visit and a few other space-based shenanigans littering the map. It is slightly randomized depending on player count and a random generator disc that comes with the game makes every game slightly unique.

Each player gets a ship, a stack of wormholes and some reminder tokens, which I will be honest, we hardly used. A point stack of exploration tokens is created, cards are dealt to players depending on starting position and that's about it. Wormholes is a game that is quickly set up, making sure you're into your galaxy-hopping gameplay in minimal time. Beautiful.

Ever Increasing Turns

Your turns in Wormholes are simple, yet they increase in size as the game progresses. What do I mean by this? Well, your turn is made up of three actions, or energy if you will, which at first seems a bit restrictive. Every time you move one hex, it uses one energy. However, you have a stack of free actions to cal upon. Dropping a wormhole token is free, more on that later, as is picking up passengers, dropping passengers and using any player's wormhole network.

At the start of the game there are no active wormholes so your turns are quite small but as the network of wormholes increases throughout the map, due to wormhole travel being free, turns at the end of the game are greatly increased in size and scope. Instead of just moving 3 hexes as you did at the start of the game, you can now traverse the whole map, delivering to three planets and hopping all over the map in the process.

Building A Network

As I said, as a free action you can lay down a wormhole counter adjacent to your ship. You have ten of them and they come in pairs. So you have two with the number one on, two with the number two on and so on. When you lay down the first of the pair it is ‘inactive’ but when you lay down its partner token, you flip them over to their coloured side and the corridor between them is opened, providing free, fast travel between the two hexes.

What's great about these tokens is that they have little arrows on them so you can point them to the other end of the wormhole. This means that at the end of the game, when the board is littered with wormholes it's easy to track where they all go, they also have a massive number on them to help keep track and are coloured in the player's colour, so you know who it belongs to.

Profitable Portals

Free wormhole travel not only incentivises players to place wormholes in profitable positions but also, with you only having three movement actions, means players will happily use your wormholes to deliver their passengers. This grants you some juicy, sweet, sweet points in the process. The whole system is rather rewarding and it's great at the end of the game when you see this vast network of wormholes you have collectively built together.

The other positive about placing wormholes is that if you plant the first wormhole in a planet's orbit, which you will do a lot, you get an exploration bonus token and in turn, some points. This stack of tokens is the game timer too. After all of the planets have a wormhole in their orbit, you play three more rounds and you're done. It's over very quickly, especially at two players but you do get a satisfying amount of game within that short timeframe.

Hand Management, Passenger Management

At all times your passengers, represented by cards in your hand must be managed correctly to win. During the whole game you are trying to get a hand of similar cards to cut down on the travel and deliver as many at once as you can. You have a reminder chit in front of you, this is to remind you that you can only pick up new passengers once per turn. You can pick up from any planet in the galaxy or, even better, from the space station where you start the game from.

The reason for this is that at any time when you collect up to your hand limit of four, you can discard any number of cards to a shared market of sorts. This gives you a little way of trying to eek out a few extra points here and there where you can. If you collect passengers from the space station, instead of drawing these cards from the top of the deck you can take up to two different planets worth from the discarded cards in the market. This means if you are close to the space station, or a wormhole that takes you back there, then it may be worth the extra trip to pick a handful of the same card, especially if the market favours your plans.

Components

While there is not too much in this average-sized box, what is there is well made, makes the game easy to play and looks great. Your spaceships are little wooden meeples, your wormholes are chunky, bright and easily recognizable on the board and the cards are of a decent quality. It would be too easy when the board is full of tokens, for things to look messy and hard to read but the way the wormholes are designed, makes things very pleasant indeed.

Final Thoughts

I have loved my many plays of Wormholes so far of this quirky little pick-up and deliver game. It starts out slow and builds up to a crescendo towards the end where you are zipping through space at light speed. It's easy to teach, quick to play and enjoyable throughout. What more could you want? Right, laters folks, I have some passengers to drop off on the other side of the galaxy, I may take the long way round though, I don’t want to give Kieran any more points!

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Ease of play
  • Easy to set up and teach
  • A good amount of game for its length

Might not like

  • Can feel like it's over too quickly
  • The theme may not be for everyone

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