- Designer: Benjamin Schwer
- Players: 2-4
- Ages: 6-99
- Time: ~15 minutes
- Times played: 4, with review copy provided by HABA USA
Space Planets is quick dice rolling space exploration game. Each player starts the game with a spaceship (card) and four fuel crystals placed on that card. The deck of 40 cards is shuffled and a 3×3 grid is laid out on the table. Be sure to leave about a die’s width between the cards.
On your turn, the die acts as your interstellar probe ship. You take the die and roll it towards the 3×3 grid (therefore, you must start your roll from outside the grid). If you do not manage to land on a planet card, you take a fuel crystal from the supply and your turn ends.
If you land on a planet card, you have the choice to either take the card or leave it. If you take the card, you must spend a number of fuel crystals as shown on the die which landed there. The card will have some stars (victory points) in the upper left corner, and some of them also come with special abilities. Then replace the empty space in the grid with a new card from the deck.
Some of the abilities are:
- Immediately earn two extra fuel crystals
- Use the ability of this card to roll the die again (and possibly get another planet card)
- For the next trip around the table, all players must pay an additional fuel crystal to get a planet card
If you choose not to take the planet card, because you do not want it, cannot afford it or do not wish to afford it, you instead take crystals from the supply as shown on the die.
The game continues until a player has collected his fifth planet card which triggers the end game. Each other player will get one more chance to roll the die. After this final round, players total up their points. Players score points from their planet cards. Additionally, the player who has the most fuel crystals at the end of the game will score one VP per every two fuel crystals left over. The player with the most VPs wins the game.
My thoughts on the game
Space Planets is a different take on the dice game genre – it adds a dexterity element to the die rolling. Prior to playing, it’s probably best to decide on a fair and equal way to roll dice – to make sure that people are rolling from the same distance away. The rules specify only to roll outside of the grid of planet cards, but reading this strictly, it is possible to roll (or drop) the die on one of the closer cards each time.
We find that the game is a bit more exciting and unpredictable to roll from a slightly greater distance away – say the shorter width of the game box. Now, you really have to use a bit of skill to get the die to end up on the card that you want. I suppose that you could also use rolling distance as a handicap of sorts in case you have players that either can’t control their rolling as well or are preternaturally good at it.
The special abilities on the cards are nice bonuses, but none of them would make me go out of my way to capture a particular card. Anyways, as you only get to collect 5 total cards in the game at most, there is more of a premium on simply getting cards collected. That being said, it’s always good to keep your eye on the progress of the other players. There might be times when you’d rather pass on a low scoring card and instead take three fuel tokens to use later on more lucrative cards – you just need to be sure that you will have enough time to take advantage of those fuel tokens.
The game plays quickly, and the level of luck in the die rolling is perfectly suited for the game length. This is a nice game to start or end an evening with in my regular group, and the kids in the neighborhood seem to like it for any occasion…
Thoughts from Other Opinionated Gamers
Karen Miller (played 1 time): From the adult gamer perspective I didn’t find the joy in this game that I usually find in HABA games. I think children will have fun with it, rolling the die and seeing what bonus you get can be fun, but it got a bit repetitive for me.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- I love it!
- I like it. Dale Y
- Neutral. Craig V
- Not for me…Karen M