Number of Players: 1-5
Time: Quick, 15-45 Mins
Game Type: Ticket Filling, System Building
Gamer Type: Casual
Complexity: 4 (Gateway)
Space games tend to fall into two categories: battle and mining. That gives us a pretty limited future for humanity as we move through space, assuming we can quit the mining and battling here on earth long enough to move forward as a species. AEG Games moves this vision just a little bit forward with the introduction of Wormholes, a game about space transport and moving between planets.
The story of the game is pretty easy to follow. You are a transport company and you are taking passengers from planet to planet. Obviously, your reason for doing so is because that is your business. The cool part of the story is that humanity now has the ability to create stable wormholes, which allow you to travel faster across the region of space within the game. It is a fun concept for a game and helps develop logistical skills in the players. 7 of 10 for story.
Space games run the gamut from having too much art, which draws attention away from the game, to having too little art, which does not add anything to the game. AEG has managed to find the middle ground and create a game where the art not only draws the player into the game, but is a major part of making the game functional.
The board is set up around movable tiles with hexes on them. While this does create a replay ability, more tiles would make the game more diverse. The cards are well done and easy to identify as you work your way through the game. One of the best integrations of art into the game is the wormholes themselves, which have arrows to point you to their pair.
The box is a standard small medium box, which should fit on your shelf quite readily. This makes storage easy. The game is also identifiable from all four sides, which makes finding it a snap no matter how it was put away. 8 of 10.
Wormsholes uses cards and the board as a randomizer. While the Euro-game crowd will likely dislike the use of randomized cards, the randomization of the board hearkens back to Settlers of Catan, where it is random but everyone knows it by the time the game begins. This adds to the replay ability of the game, which makes it a better game.
The process of the game is you have three moves each turn, and you use them to drop off as many passengers at their destination as possible. Because there is no currency, you are often “stuck” with your draw until you drop off. This can make long hauls (which are worth the same as short hauls) less appealing. Enter the interesting game mechanic, the worm holes.
The worm holes allow you to create connections between different points in space for instant travel. You can use your wormholes (and the wild worm hole) for free, but your opponents get a victory point each time that you use their worm holes. This can set up systems of parallel worm holes that you choose between using. It is a great feature which I have not seen in other games. 9 of 10.
There is not a lot of defense in this game; even if you “block” an opponent by building your wormhole where they want it, they can still use your wormhole and you only get one point out of it. In this game, rush and offense are the same thing, and there is a lot of it. Players rush to get as many tickets as fast as possible, because once all the planets are explored, the game only has three turns left.
The big element of this game is engine building. Build your network (alongside your rivals’ networks) to ensure you can make as many moves as far as possible to drop off passengers. You need to balance accessibility with making your worm holes tempting for your opponents so they are used as much as possible. When you get to the final turn, you often want to go to three planets in a single turn. 8 of 10.
As noted in the mechanics section, the wormhole feature is something I have not seen in other games. This gets the game major points for uniqueness. Other than that, it is an easy to pick up passenger game that anyone can play. I fully expect to see this game on the shelves of big box stores in the days to come, 7 of 10.
AEG is known for having great games. This is an excellent addition to its catalogue. With an overall score of 39, Wormholes starts the year off with a bang. This is a “gateway” game to introduce people to the hobby. It has the simplicity of Monopoly, but does not come with the 5 hour timestamp. If you are playing with people who have played before, you can have a game completed in under 30 minutes (it tends to go fastest at 3-4 players. Overall, a great game to add to your “shelfie” definitely do not want to miss this one.
Remember the AEG hashtag #wemakefun
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