Asteroyds – Review
No, not asteroids. Asteroyds. Meaning they are cooler and/or hipper.
In Asteroyds you take control of one of the top six pilots in the universe. The stakes are high as they race through an erratic asteroid field known as the Lost Swarm. This game has a very different style than I’m used to.
The main game consists of racing across a hex map to pass through four gates. To incorporate the erratic asteroid field and to add some challenge, all the asteroids change locations on each round. You roll a six sided die for each of the three colors of asteroids and move them accordingly. Each type moves in a slightly different manner. After rolling for their trajectories, but before the asteroids move, the players have to plan out their moves across the board. You’ll quickly learn that the board will have changed drastically when your trajectory takes you into a straight on collision with a flying rock. A smart individual can plan out his strategy according to where they will be going, but this is where the game gets tricky. As if you were really out there flying yourself, you only get a limited amount of time to set up your movements. The timer is set at 50 seconds if you are a beginner or all the way down to only 20 seconds at expert level. I left it at 30 seconds and found that to be quite a challenge. Every time I felt I had chosen a perfect path, the asteroids would bounce around in an unexpected manner and you’d find yourself getting smashed up real good. Your ship can take only so many blows and then it’s game over for you.
Another style it sets up is target shooting which has you attempting to shoot one of each type of drone before the other pilots. This can be even more hectic because there are only 4 drones out at each time (1 of each) and if they shoot the one you want before you, you have to rush back to the spawner to catch the next one that comes out before somebody else does.
I appreciate and hate the facet of a time limit on planning your actions. It is beautiful because it rewards quick thinking and fits in with the feel of flying through space at high velocity. It also is handy when you have a speedbump player. A speedbump player will slow the game down every time it comes to them because they either didn’t think ahead to plan their move or they have to plan out their strategy to the letter to make sure they are taking full advantage of every item. With the timer, you get neither of those. They will quickly find that they will either be throwing down their markers and crashing face first into asteroids or that they will be only making a couple minor movements each turn to prevent damage.
Some of the game pieces were a little simplistic in some ways such as the markers for your actions card being basically cheap plastic tiddlywinks discs. The stopwatch doesn’t seem to have a countdown feature so you basically have to have someone watching it to make sure they stop the timer at the correct time. A countdown timer would have been a little better. I just used the app on my phone in place of it. The ships and the planet drawings were good however and had much more flavor to them.
I do have to make a comment on the manual because if a game manual isn’t clear or
easy to read, you will find yourself delaying play for a while to figure out what they mean. I had this issue due to the manual not necessarily being in the most ergonomic and efficient order. I found I had a question early on but had to continue reading a few pages later to find the answer. It didn’t leave anything out, thank goodness, but I felt that it wasn’t in the best order.
Overall, a nice addition to your game closet for a different style of game besides war game #17 and card game #36.