Thursday, December 8, 2016

Celestia (Quick Simple Fun Games)

I've come to the realization that I love games more than my wife does. I could learn and play a new game every week for the rest of my life, and that would be awesome. My wife, however, does not like learning games that often, so when I teach her a game, I have to make sure it clicks on a lot of different levels if I want it to ever see the light of day again. One such game I recently played that clicked for her was Celestia from Quick Simple Fun Games (My wife loved the name of that company, so it was already off to a good start.) Celestia is a game for 2-6 players, age 8+. It takes approximately 30 minutes to play and retails for $30. The game takes place among the clouds. You and your fellow adventurers will embark on a journey to explore the various cities of Celestia and collect as much treasure as you can.
Setup
1. Assemble the Aircraft before you play the first time.
2. Place the nine City tiles in ascending order on the table.
3. For each City, shuffle the matching Treasure Cards and place them in a face down pile next to the City.
4. Place the Aircraft on the first City tile.
5. Have each player, choose an Adventurer tile and place their Adventurer pawn of the same color on the aircraft.
6. Shuffle all the Equipment, Power, and Turbo cards together into a single deck of cards. Deal each player a starting hand from this deck (8 cars for 2-3 players, and 6 cards for 4+ players).
Game Play - A game is played over several journeys (rounds), with each journey consisting of a number of legs. (Note: Players will take turns being Captains and Passengers.)
1. The captain rolls the number of dice on the next tile to determine what challenges must be faced to advance to the next city.
2. Each passenger chooses to stay aboard or disembark from the Aircraft. If the passenger thinks the captain has the cards to overcome the challenges, he will stay on the Aircraft. If the passenger this the captain does not have the cards to overcome the challenges, he can remove his pawn from the Aircraft and draw the top Treasure card from the current City the Aircraft is in. He is no longer a passenger for the rest of this journey.
3. The Captain must now use the required Equipment cards from his hand to overcome the challenges on the dice. This is not optional, and if the Captain has the cards to face all the challenges, he must play them. If he only has some of the cards, he does not have to play any, and the Aircraft crashes.
4. If the Aircraft did not crash, it advances to the next city, and the Passenger to the left of the Captain becomes the new Captain. Repeat steps 1 through 3 until all Passengers have abandoned ship or the Aircraft crashes.
5. When a new journey begins, place the Aircraft back on the first City tile. Return all Adventurers' pawns to the Aircraft, and each player draws one card from the Equipment deck.

Before the beginning of a new journey, if any player has reached 50 points, the game ends. The highest score is the winner.

Review
The art in this game is very beautiful to behold, both on the front and the back of the cards. This makes playing the game even more appealing. The aircraft is also ridiculous, in a good way! It would have been simple to just have players move their pawns along the different cities by themselves. Instead, they created a gorgeous 3-D aircraft with a spinning propeller just to move pieces. Simply decadent! The game play itself is fun and keeps all players engaged throughout each turn. The game is a beautiful mix of press your luck and reading your opponents. Do you think your captain has the cards to keep the aircraft afloat, or do you think he is going to crash and you need to get off ASAP. You'll have to figure that out each turn.

The only thing I didn't like was the luck of the draw with treasure cards. Within the early cities, there are primarily values applicable to the cities. However, there is also one to two higher value cards, which you would find in later cities. Therefore, someone could get lucky for bailing out. Yes, it gives the game imperfect information on what could be in each deck, but it does add a random element, which I'm not overly keen on. I look forward to the coming expansion for this game and can't wait to see what elements it adds to it.

This game was provided to me for free by Quick Simple Fun Games in exchange for an honest review.