Apr 24, 2018

[Games] Tiny Epic Galaxies Review


The words "tiny" and "epic" don't seem be two terms that can work well together but the line of games that are a part of this odd little segment of games are more and more proving to be an interesting effort to balance both. The game does manage to cleverly capture the sense of galatic conquest using such a small set of components.

I wasn't sure how to take this game at first but it turned out to be quite brilliant indeed. And the way the game plays out with multiple paths to victory has made this one of the few dice games that I'm willing to play on a regular basis.

Tiny Epic Galaxies is a dice-driven strategy game created by Scott Almes. The game is a galactic exploration game of sorts that supports 1-5 players, which is rather impressive given its small size.

Each player controls their own empire and will work on expanding their dominion across the stars. The strength of your empire determines how many dice you will roll and the dice results will open up your possible actions in a turn. Dice will help you determine when you can move to new planets, advance your efforts to conquer those planets or copy the actions of others. And thus a single player turn can last longer than expected as spending Culture can give other players additional turns.

Conquering planets give you points but so do advancing your empire on your respective board and this unlocks additional ships to help in your exploration efforts. And you can focus on triggering the powers of planets that are up for conquering or you can focus on acquring them for yourself so you'll have exclusive control of those extra colony abilities.

What I Liked: I love how the game has so much serious strategic play in small box. This is the sort of strategic thinking that can rival big box games like Caverna and Tzolk'in despite its more limited size or whatever. Of course it's not exactly the same and those games are what they are for many reasons. But for a small box game, you have to show some appreciation for what they managed here. It's easy to underestimate games like this but I think we've learned that you can make an amazing game experience with just 16 cards like with Love Letter.

The ability to copy moves, albeit with a resource expenditure, was a pretty interesting move and it nicely shakes things up. And thus the dice mechanic doesn't feel so terrible since even though you don't get the results you want, there's a chance to copy the move of someone else as everyone else's rolls can still be useful to you provided your empire is cultured enough.

What Could Have Been Better: That said, this is still a dice game and you can feel how many different mechanisms they added to this game to help ensure you have a chance to get the results that you want. But at the same time it still means that you can still end up with bad rolls over and over again and without culture points you'll be dead in the water. And that can be more than a little frustrating.

And given the copying of moves and such, this game can also get pretty long as each player needs to decide whether or not they want to copy the move for every dice that the player rolls. And so as more dice are unlocked and culture reserves fill up, each player turn can take longer and longer as more decisions are triggered and branch out into infinite possibilities. It's still fun for the most part but at times the game can feel like it's starting to slow down more than you'd like.

TL;DR: Tiny Epic Galaxies is a great little game that totally lives up to the "epic" part of its name. Competition will be fierce and this dice game has a heck of a lot of strategy layered on top of things that will keep it pretty interesting every time you play.


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