Among the Stars is a drafting card game where you play an alien race that is trying to build a space station and score the most points during the game. It’s become one of my new favorite style games and really replaces another, similar game for me in 7 Wonders. It’s theme is very strong and you really do feel like your building a space station. Yes, I know we love our Fantasy stuff here on WiscoDice, but the theme here is super cool and captured very well in the design of the game.
How many players? The base game plays 2-4 players, but with expansions goes up to 6 players. IMHO you need a minimum of 3 players, though the 2 player variant rules do seem to work pretty well, though it’s putting in 2 dummy players essentially.
How’s the play time? One of the best things about this game is that it has a relatively quick play time. Realistically, with experienced players a 4 player game should be able to be set up and finished in about an hour. If you have to teach the rules, it really isn’t a lengthy teaching/complexity kind of thing with most of the rules printed right on the cards and a great little cheat sheet card for the players.
So what is a drafting card game? Well, each turn you have a hand of cards. You will choose one of those cards to play, and then pass the hand to either the left or right depending on which game round it is. Once everyone has picked their card to play, these cards are then flipped face up to reveal what was selected and then the actions on them are taken or resolved in whatever way the game allows. In the case of Among the Stars, the card could be bought and placed in the space station you are building, discarded and you build a power station, or discarded and you collect 3 space credits. When players run out of cards in their hand this triggers the end of the game round where players gain some space credits and are dealt a new hand of cards. The rotation then changes to the opposite direction. I really like that this then goes for 4 rounds like this, as in other games like 7 Wonders, if you have a shrewd player and they sit in the right spot they can make it hard on you when they pass cards, making sure to discard things you need.
Will I want to replay this game? First, I have played this game a few times now, with just the base game, and I still want to play it. Without adding any of the optional rules/cards to add in player interaction I have had a lot of fun playing this. The fact that the deck is always a bit random with plenty of extra cards also changes the game up and gives this game great replay value.