- Designer: Urtis Sulinskas
- Artist: Sabrina Miramon
- Publisher: Blue Orange Games
- Release Date: November 2018
Disclaimer: The game was provided to us for review by Blue Orange Games.
Luke: Planet is a subtle little title.
Phil: It sneaks up on you.
Luke: Surprises you.
Phil: Leaves you wanting more.
Luke: Despite the simple premise, tiny rulebook, and light premise, it’s easily one of my favorite games made by Blue Orange, possibly one of my favorite games, full stop.
Phil: It’s quite good.
Luke: In Planet, players are provided with a beautiful 12-sided orb of opportunities.
Phil: … Well, it’s not an orb if it has twelve sides.
Luke: But it’s a planet.
Phil: Thematically, yes, but it has edges, so… not an orb.
Luke: Look, I just liked the alliteration-
Phil: Fine, go on then.
Luke: Your goal? To have the most tantalizing earth for all the animals to take up residency on. At the end of the game, you’ll earn points based on how much of your secret terrain type you collected, and each of your animals is worth points.
Phil: But, if that animal is of your specified terrain type, it’s only worth 1 point. If not, it’s worth 2 points. This provides you with a reason to diversify your menagerie as best you can while also hoarding the tiles featuring the land masses you’re looking for.
Luke: Each round, players reveal a selection of 5 tiles, drafting and placing them on their magnetic globes in player order. Each tile can be placed anywhere on your planet, but by combining tiles, you’re more likely to have a better chance of scoring an animal.
Phil: Or you could end up disqualifying yourself from earning an animal.
Luke: Too true; looking ahead at the wide expanse of creatures is integral to success, as all the wildlife you’ll be fighting over is laid out turn 1, meaning you have a lot to consider and think over, but you’ll be hardpressed to play a game where someone doesn’t curse under their breath, realizing a misplay 5 turns ago that means they’re not picking up the shark in round 8.
Phil: I taunted you with that shark mercilessly.
Luke: Don’t I know it. What’s worse is that, if players tie, the animal waits around during the next round, seeing if someone takes the time to woo them properly.
Phil: 10 discarded tiles will show up in the final rounds of the game, whereas the rest are thrown away, never to be seen again. Play continues for 12 rounds, at which point everyone checks their scores and see who wins.
Luke: It’s simple and straightforward, but gives you a lot to chew on. The fact that all the information is public knowledge from the get-go leads to some interesting mind games with the other players.
Phil: And you need to be paying attention to what other people take. If Luke’s taken 15 grass tiles, likelihood is that deer is going to be very interested in making its home on his planet, meaning I shouldn’t even bother trying to collect it and instead focus on other options.
Luke: Animals are either interested in:
- Who has the most of a terrain in general
- Who has the most connected terrain of one type touching another type
- Who has the most connected terrain of one type not touching another type
This means you always have to pay attention not only to who has the most water, but if it’s touching ice or not. Every play matters and can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Phil: You would know.
Luke: *sigh* Yes, well, a tie is a tie is a tie.
Phil: Even though I won the tiebreaker by having more animals than you?
Luke: I think what my cocky compatriot is trying to say is games can be very close, but even when they’re not, scoring is pretty obscure until the end, since how you score at all is based around your hidden goal card.
Phil: So everyone stays invested to the very end.
Luke: But my favorite aspect would easily be how tactile the game is. You’re holding these big, chunky globes, spinning them around in your hands, placing magnetic tiles all over them, it’s great.
Phil: I almost never put down my planet when playing; it just feels natural twisting it around in my hands.
Luke: If I could provide any form of criticism, it would be that some players might find it too light for their taste whereas others will find themselves shut down by analysis paralysis. It’s odd to see a game have the potential for either problem, but Planet is just that special a game.
Verdict: Planet is a game for everyone. It’s light and straightforward for families, has an interesting bite and strategic elements for adults, it has the tactile bits to play with for everyone, and all players are kept in the running for victory until the very end. And while some games are one-time experiences, I find this is a title I just keep coming back to again and again. A must-own, in our opinion.