HARRIET COOPER TRANSLATIONS

Game Review: Cosmic Voyage

SAVANIA GAMES

Disclosure:

Savania Games provided me with a free copy of Cosmic Voyage to review. My opinions are my own.

Game components

Your ship is stranded in deep space and the only way back home is to reach a distant interstellar rift!

You represent a mission of science, so you can’t squander the opportunity to chart this strange corner of the galaxy on your perilous cosmic voyage!

Cosmic Voyage is a cooperative game for 1-4 players where you’ll have to work as a team to explore your surroundings, fight alien hazards and salvage for useful equipment on your treacherous journey, but watch out for deadly wormholes, solar storms and hungry black holes!

1-4 players. Age 14+


TL;DR: Lovely, brightly-coloured little co-op which encourages conversation. Fairly quick dice-rolling game.


FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The game components and illustrations are bright and inviting. The rulebook didn’t look overwhelming, is well laid out, and there is a nice chart labelling the various components. The mission cards have a practical look, the Advantage and Hazard cards look suitably industrial, and the Wormhole and Black Hole cards are nice and swirly and mysterious-looking. I was looking forward to trying out a compact co-op. Transparent coloured cubes are always a winner.

FIRST GAME:

All components

Our first game was a two-player game, lasting 40 minutes. The mechanics are reasonably straightforward, and basic play is easy to grasp: roll two dice to attempt a mission, in order to earn a collective eight Advance points, without letting the various vital statistics falling too low. We referred to the rulebook and prompt cards when a special events card came up – things get a bit more complex when you throw in the Black Holes, Wormholes and Solar Storms. I really like the fact that the event cards are reasonably infrequent, because it means they throw a complete curve-ball into the gameplay, and that adds a lot of variety. We got a solar storm towards the end of the game and so we lost all of our shields. You’ll be glad that there are only a couple of them in the deck!

We expected health points to be the problem, but actually shield points (a group tally) were the thing that nearly killed us off each time. We didn’t use the energy tally to increase our health points very much, probably because we always included a medic (we’ve got wise to that when playing co-ops in the past). The special cards have a powerful impact, and the Black Holes really pack a punch when they suck in neighbouring cards – for good or bad.

The atmosphere at the table was good, not too tense, and the game encouraged chatting: the strong co-op dynamic means that you’re working as a team. The wormhole option, where one player goes off on their own dice-rolling mission for up to three turns, is a nice extension for those who want an opportunity to shine on their own, and wormholes are also a good source of Advance points. I felt that the 14+ rating was a bit high for this game – MtG, for example, is 13+ and is much more complex. Because it’s a co-op, you could designate one person to lead the mission (i.e. read the rules), and then guide younger players in their decisions.

It’s a well-balanced game which has obviously seen a lot of playtesting, because the jeopardy level counterbalances the vital statistics tallies well, and the special event cards add a lot to the game – they really do feel “special”, due to their infrequency and their major impact. We found that the game was easier the more players you have, and we won nearly every game – probably because we regularly play co-ops – but there were still hairy moments, even so. Having said that, it can be nice to be fairly confident of a victory (I’m looking at you, Pandemic…).

Solo game layout

Solo game:

I found the solo game much harder. I nearly died about 5 turns in – perhaps that’s because I am the sort of person who could roll three ones in a row. I wasn’t able to tackle any Special Event cards because I didn’t have the capacity. However, I did manage to recover and actually win in the end.

Suggested House Rules:

  1. The game itself suggests aiming for a smaller number of Advance points if you want to play a shorter game.
  2. You could probably extend the game to include a couple more players, as the centre section wouldn’t be affected. You’d just need to keep a note of your health tally, and adjust the other tallies if the game became too easy/hard. Experienced co-op players could even choose a special ability for their new player.
  3. The vital statistics could be adapted to make the game easier/harder, like in the Forbidden Island series.

Verdict: Lovely little co-op which gets you talking. Reasonably short dice-rolling game, nice filler.

GAMES PLAYED:

4 player: 2 adults, 2 teens. 30 mins.

3 player: 2 adults, 1 teen. 35 mins.

2 player: 2 adults. 40 mins.

1 player: 1 adult. 15 mins

3-player layout

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Game Review: Cosmic Voyage

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