Moon Kickstarter Review

Polyhedron Collider Moon Board Game Review

Moon is a pass and play board game of building the most fantastic base on the lunar surface, a place where the denizens of Earth will flock to explore and experience the sun cresting the curve of our planet, to feel weightless and something else.  Some folk will say this game is like another well-known drafting game, but those people are idiots.

Moon isn’t about terraforming, at no point are you trying to change the lunar surface, this game is about making the moon a premium tourist destination and you are trying to make your moon base as desirable as possible to the folks back on Earth.  For this, you are going to need to build your base to include as many tourist traps as possible, represented in this game as flags (yellow cards).  

Over three eras you’ll gradually build up your base, one card at a time, scoring at the end of each era before moving on to the next, more advanced round.  You start with a basic moon base, each is different and provides you with some starting resources.  Grabbing a hand of cards you’ll make the best choice as to what you can build, as well as playing a special Expedition card, granting a special ability, before handing the remaining cards to the next player.  Round and round you go until you have no cards, do this three times and you’ll have an array of cards of different colours in front of you and hopefully a bunch of points.

Polyhedron Collider Moon Board Game Review in play base

The flags are a key means to gain popularity (victory points), at the end of each era the player with the most of each of the five flag types wins a pile of popularity.  You’ll also need to build production structures (blue cards) which provide key resources to build all the structures in the game, amenities (grey cards) are victory points for sale and the pink cards…thematically I can never keep in my head what they are, but they grant the owner special actions.

The Lunar Rovers add a little bit extra to this game, these little meeples allow you to temporarily gain a flag (for purposes of building) or give you a chance to bag some much-needed resources, all you have to do is park your rover on an opponent’s empty rover-parking-space and you get the benefits immediately, but you will have to say goodbye to the rover as it will become theirs in the next era.  Now, this isn’t the end of the world, as the game progresses the ability to harvest your opponent’s resources becomes less important, but the rovers are also used to break any ties when it comes to either scoring end-of-era flags but also the end of the game.  In the earlier eras, there is a flow of rovers whizzing around the board and one of your opponents will likely need at least some of your resources but they quickly become a valuable commodity later for their tie-breaking ability.

Polyhedron Collider Moon Board Game Review Rovers

One aspect of this game that has impressed me is the variety of ways in which a player can accrue victory points, flags are just one way to do it – they score consistently throughout the game, and the grey cards too can provide big bonuses – especially if you can synergise with your base, but there are also there are a host achievements up for grabs.  The achievement cards can be collected by any player who meets the assorted requirements in their turn, picking one up will not only provide victory points but may also provide the player with ongoing abilities.  The mix of these cards, along with the flags and the amenities provide an assortment of ways to score points, and best of all, it’s not always easy to tell who is in the lead; in most of the games I’ve played, the winner has often been a surprise (and to the winner themselves too).

Polyhedron Collider Moon Board Game Review - Achievements

Now, the elephant in the room:  Moon does have some similarities to 7 Wonders.  It's a lot like the England football team during any major international tournament.  It is fundamentally impossible for England to play an international football match without the 1966 World Cup coming up.  It doesn’t matter that it was nearly 60 years ago, it doesn’t matter that since that victory England has played some truly amazing and exciting matches (probably, I don’t know anything about football), and it even doesn’t matter that the vast majority of England football fans alive and watching the games today have never seen that historic World Cup win.  Still, that 1966 game is talked about.

So too with Moon.

As a drafting game played over three eras, people will liken it to that famous and highly awarded drafting game played over three ages.  Yes, when [insert player name here] scored it was similar to when [insert player name here] also scored.  Yes, the second era adds higher value and production cards, just like in 7 Wonders.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

7 Wonders is a good game, but it is of its time.  Moon likewise is of its time.  It is zippier, it has greater interaction, it has modern, stylish art and end-of-game scoring doesn’t take fifteen minutes.  Moon has a solo mode, it can be played at lower player counts and still works and flows like a four or five-player game, there are diverse and multiple routes to victory, in short, Moon is a better game, and dare I say it, a better “version” of 7 Wonders.

Polyhedron Collider Moon Board Game Review - Hand of Cards

It’s not without its faults, the achievement cards (mainly the bonuses they provide) are a little hard to read – especially from across the table and it is not a very thematic game.  Drafting games can also be a pain in the arse if your gaming group; or just one person, suffers from analysis paralysis as it can slow the game down terribly – but that is an issue with the mechanism, not the game itself.

If you like 7 Wonders or drafting games in general Moon is a belting addition to your games library, it adds variety and interaction to that game system.  If you’ve enjoyed the previous games from Haakon Gaarder and Sinister Fish (Villagers & Streets) Moon will feel at once familiar and like an improvement on those.

Moon is live now on Kickstarter

This Kickstarter preview is based on a prototype version of the game provided by the publisher; the final product may look, play or smell different to that used in this preview.
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