Under The Dome

Tiny Epic Galaxies
published by Gamelyn Games

Tiny Epic Galaxies is a cute little title where players are rolling dice to launch ships onto distant planets, hoping to harness their cool abilities. You’re choosing whether you want to touch down for a “quick fix” of power, or invest in the long game, colonizing them and having access to their abilities into the future.  Each player has a “secret mission” that they’re trying to achieve as well, which means that if players are close in terms of victory points, the win can easily be decided by a condition your opponent has met. It also has a nice mechanism of incrementalism, where you are making investments to help you unlock more ships and more dice, which also offers a nice pace to this title.

How we came to play this game:
This was in our very first Board Game Bento box, which had a space theme and was the first one we broke open.  Susan was excited to try it, having backed Tiny Epic Westerns on Kickstarter not long before. And just a little plug here for Board Game Bento, we really love it! It's like Xmas comes every month! If you can afford to do it, DO IT!
This reminds us of:
Susan: The balancing of dice rolls is vaguely reminiscent of King of Tokyo, but it’s a pretty unique game nonetheless.

Mike: This game has familiar elements found in other games. As Susan points out the iconic dice are reminiscent of KoT, the “hidden mission” mechanic seems to be very popular in the New Golden Age of Board Gaming (Suburbia, CoMKL, etc..) resource management is virtually a game genre now, it ticks many boxes. However TEG is designed and plays out in an uncommon manner making for a fresh gameplay experience!

It's dice with PICTURES on them!

Game art:
Susan: I really like it!  The planets have cute, quirky names and the tiny little player mats are really functional for their size.

Mike: I like the art. The planet cards are nicely designed if not terribly interesting. The idea of outer space” is effectively communicated. The ship “meeples” are one of the coolest things about this title. LOVE those! While essentially utilitarian overall, the game sells its motif adequately enough to be engaging. I will add however, that I don't see the "cute" that Susan sees! To me this is a simulation of a domination of the cosmos! Susan: The little ship "meeples" are totally cute.
Final frontier-ish. Not cute!
Best part:
Susan: I love the balance between strategy and luck all wrapped into a quick portable little game - I mean, honestly, what’s NOT to love?  It’s also forgiving in places.

Mike: BALANCE! That is the beauty of this title it's fantastically tweaked to assure that each time you play there’s gonna be a satisfying battle of wits and luck. Some games can have a fatal loophole that can be exploited to insure a win if you take hold of that loophole. I’ve found no such loophole here.
There is a play mechanic in this title that is fascinating and I think it is my favorite part of the game. Players may “follow” or in effect enable for themselves, an action that another player has taken if they have enough culture points to do so. It’s very effective at putting pressure on players that take the lead quickly to perhaps hold back on an aggressive action that may open the door for another player to take. Of course Susan rarely responds to my intimidation tactics and usually just keeps barreling along anyways like a bunch of Vikings with a battering ram! Still, as you play more and more you’ll find it a very useful tool!

Susan: What? Those were intimidation tactics?
I certainly though so!
Worst part:
Susan: It is a tiny game after all and thus one of those titles that we live in fear we’re going to knock off the table and lose everything.

Mike: Ok, I suppose in the grand scheme of things, what I’m about to bitch about is less than consequential, but I gotta rant here…
Once you have colonized a planet, you remove and return the ships to to the owners’ galaxies then slide the planet card underneath the galaxy card so that the special ability is showing. You continue to do this with all subsequent colonized planets to create a chain of special abilities that are then available to you.

Sounds simple right? Try it… IT’S NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO DO!!! I mean, it’s a total s**t-show trying to add a planet to your galaxy without wrecking everything in your galaxy. It drives me absolutely crazy. It’s especially maddening because your galaxy card is used to track virtually all of your progress in the game. Lifting it up inevitably results in markers and ships sliding all over the place! It makes sense for what the game needs, but I just wish it were physically more forgiving. Maybe galaxy cards shouldn't be cards at all but rather a constructed plastic “scoreboard” of sorts that  have slotted areas keeping the ships in markers in place and is slightly raised so that cards can fit beneath. I don’t know, I feel like I’m whining, but it does make me a bit wild.

We used the Teresa Giudice table flip in the last review, sooo...

Mistakes we made:
Susan: I remember us not doing the upgrades correctly the first time - they take cumulatively more energy or culture every time you do one, so we started way too easy on ourselves.

Mike: The rules state that you are supposed to announce your score to the table every time it changes, we never do that! Because you can easily get lost in this game trying to achieve your goals, what inevitably happens is Susan reaches the end trigger threshold and announces it before I’ve realized we are even close! This is a rule breach on both of our parts but she uses it to her advantage almost always! Gotta get better at that. She seems all bubbly on the surface while plotting to kill!

Susan: Oh stop. I just don’t pay attention. I’ve never schemed a day in my life.
See the schemer here in her natural habitat NOT scheming!

Play again?

Susan: I really like this game and often choose it to play. Would love to try with more than 2 players.

Mike: YEAH we’ll definitely play again, it’s risen in our rankings of go-to titles when we really wanna get something in but don’t wanna start something new. TEG is in the family for sure!
...but, you would not BELIEVE how hard this is to do! 
Times played: More than a little, less than a lot? Game record: OK, OK, I give up, this part is a bad idea. I reserve the right to pick it back up when we actually do better tallying of wins and losses! Dammit! Susan is right again!

Launch a ship away
Touching down on a planet
Colonize this one!

Click play on the video below to learn how to play then immediately go forth and BUY IT!