I dreamed of exploring space as a child. I loved staring at the stars at night. Growing up in rural Wisconsin allowed for me to have a good view of the night sky. Dreaming of that exploration can be made a little more real in Ganymede the board game.
In Ganymede you will play as a corporation that is seeking to colonize our solar system. Collect colonists of different types on Earth, use Mars as a stop off point, and then fly off to parts of our solar system!
- Players: 2-4
- Playtime (with Setup): We find it between 60-90 minutes
- Publisher: Sorry We Are French
- Designer: Hope S. Hwang
Ganymede was a game that I had the opportunity to play at Gen Con 2019. I hadn’t heard of it before, but my wife insisted we give it a try. When we sat down to the table the components and art didn’t immediately thrill me to be honest.
For the most part, the components for this game are ok. There’s nothing here that blows me away, but the game’s MSRP right now is $39.99 USD so I don’t expect anything too over the top. The cardboard tokens and player boards are made out of good material. The cards have a good finish and have held up well under numerous plays. The wooden meeples are exactly what you expect with vibrant colors and paint that doesn’t chip or anything after repeated use.
What I didn’t expect that day at Gen Con was how easy the game was to pick up and how much fun we had playing it. We actually were able to play through the game and all four of us gave the game a second play through. It was then I was hooked.
During the game, you will collect settlers which are the different colored meeples. These all come from Earth which is the left most planet on your player board. You collect them as you acquire Settler Tiles (one of the possible actions when it is your turn). You can have no more than three of these tiles at a time. It’s really good to get multiples of the same color, because when you take the second settler tile with the blue symbol then you also get the bonus of the first tile that you took.
When you collect these settlers you will need to get them going on their merry way to Mars and Ganymede beyond. To do this you have two rows of shuttle cards. The first row are shuttles that you can launch from Earth to Mars. The second row is shuttles you can launch from Mars to Ganymede.
As an action, you must have the appropriate meeples on your player board at the location you are taking a shuttle from. You then move the settler meeples to the next destination on their voyage and place the card under the appropriate color/symbol on the bottom of the player board. If there is a reward on the card you get to take that reward, multiplied by the amount of same color shuttle cards you have completed.
Once you advance your settlers to Ganymede they have to board one of two settler ships there. When you have the right combination of meeples on a settler ship the ship launches. Any settler ship you launch will count to your points at the end of the game. Watch out, there is a race to also be the player who has launched their 4th settler ship as this will trigger the end of the game!
I really enjoy this game. It’s easy to teach and game play is relatively quick. The set collection and transport of your meeples is all relatively under your control keeping the random elements really limited to just what cards and tiles come out.
It’s been a little more than a year since I bought this game and in that time I have logged at least a dozen plays at different player counts. I haven’t tired of the game at all which is a really good thing. It doesn’t have the most remarkable art or spectacular game pieces, but it is still a great game in the box.
This is a game that has a mild level of complexity and is a great game to add to your collection if you want something around the same level of difficulty as Catan or Ticket to Ride. For those of you who like a bit more complex game, worry not, as there is plenty here for you too. I find this is a great game to bridge non-gamers with gamers at the table. Likely this is one of the reasons it’s had as many plays as it has.
I give this game an 8 on BoardGameGeek due to all of these factors. It just goes to prove that a great game doesn’t need all of the bling.