Tiny Epic Galaxies is an ambitious dice game about planetary colonization and development. The term ‘dice game’ is somewhat misleading. Most dice games usually take the Yahtzee mechanism as is. That is roll for up to three times and then use your dice. Tiny Epic Galaxies however intertwines dice rolling and action taking within a player’s turn. You can re-roll dice at any time before or after taking an action. This opens up a lot more options and sometimes complicates decision making.
The goal in Tiny Epic Galaxies is to get points by colonizing planets. The player who reaches 21 points will signal the final round after which remaining players take their turns and finally tally their scores.
The technicalities of managing tiny epic galaxies
On your turn you will be spending dice actions to either:
Launch ships – Move ships to, from or between planets in order to activate planet abilities or begin colonization.
Advance – Advance ships on the colonization track. Colony tracks come in two varieties (Diplomatic and Economic)
Gather Energy – Get energy, which can be spent to re-roll dice.
Gather Culture – Get Culture, which can be spent to follow up actions.
Colony action – At first it allows you to spend energy/culture to upgrade your empire. Later it can activate the powers of the planets you have colonized.
Each action is done in sequence, and all other players can follow up on them. The follow up mechanism raises the bar on interactivity. Players not only compete at colonization but also use each other’s dice to take actions. Not to worry though, you can always forfeit an action if you see that others might take too great an advantage from it. Additionally, following up an action costs one Culture, which is a moderately scarce ‘resource’. This being the case, the active player should usually wait a few seconds until every other player decides whether to follow up. This can drag on, especially at larger player counts.
The game supports 1 to 5 players. You read it right. Tiny Epic Galaxies has a solo mode. In it you will be competing against a Rogue Galaxy which acts rather differently than a player. It offers some interesting challenges. There are 5 rogue galaxies with varying difficulty. However, I did not found them very difficult so to speak. A decent opponent is usually much more challenging than a dummy galaxy in this case.
Although it might sound convoluted, the gameplay is actually straightforward. The planet abilities vary wildly in power and effects. Some regress opponent ships on the colony track while others steal energy. These keep things interesting and generate some tight decision space, especially when there are more players in the game. That’s why I do recommend playing with 2 or 3 until everybody becomes accustomed. I personally see it as a three player game. 3 players ensure that things move along quickly and there are enough interesting decisions to be made.
The Tiny Epic series from Gamelyn Games has gathered a lot of attention since its first instalment (Tiny Epic Kingdoms). Through the power of crowd funding, Scott Almes and his team managed to produce interesting games with a considerably small footprint. As anyone knows, playing a board game requires a bit more space than a coffee table. Well, Tiny Epic Galaxies can almost fit on a coffee table. Not only that but is also the best in the series.