Journey to Jupiter’s GanymedeMay 12, 2020
Ryan reviews Lucky Duck Games tableau building sci-fi game, Ganymede
- 2-4 Players | Ages 14+ | 20-40 mins
- Designed by Hope S. Hwang
- Published by Lucky Duck Games
Ganymede is a sci-fi tableau building game in which players will recruit workers on Earth, move them to Mars, where they will board 1 of 2 ships that will be launching to Ganymede. Each ship has a different requirement (3 meeples of a color or 1 meeple of each of the four colors in the game). Once someone launches their 4th settler ship to Ganymede, the game end is triggered. Once all players have had an equal number of turns, you then score your 4 ships, score your reputation track and score 1 point per meeple that are left on the 2 settler ships. Highest score wins.
Of course that is not all there is to the game. Players have to have the right meeples that match cards to shuttle from Earth to Mars, same with Mars to the Settler Ships. On top of that, there is a lot of combo-ing going on in the game (by matching the same symbols on cards or tokens) allowing them to take actions or bonus actions multiple times.
Gameschool Aspect: What Does It Teach?
Though Ganymede’s box says 14+, it is more like 10+ age wise. My 11 year old has no issue playing the game. This game is all about planning ahead – I want this color (i.e. a red and a blue meeple) because I see that I can launch that color to Mars. Then I also see there is a card from Mars to the shuttles that will let me send the red one over to a shuttle, etc. Also there is pattern matching, in trying to match the combo symbols with one another. For example, if i have previously used 2 yellow cards (they are placed in a tableau once used) and I lay down a 3rd yellow card, and that card helps me gain a free meeple – I would gain 3 free meeples and not just 1 because I have 3 matching symbols cards in the yellow column of cards. You could of course use this game to talk with your kids/students about Jupiter and its moons (one of which is Ganymede).
What are our thoughts? First of all, I won’t hold you in suspense anymore. We really enjoyed Ganymede. The game is really fun, both my son and I really enjoyed playing it (I’ve only played 2-player). However, I do have one negative. I feel like the game ends a little too soon. Someone launches their 4th ship (even if it’s yourself) and you are thinking, “Ma,n I’m just building up my engine/tableau. I want to keep playing.” It feels like you should go to at least 5 ships launched. So the game ends a little too early. But as for positives, it is fast, plays smoothly, the combos are fun and satisfying to pull off, and you can always do something on a turn (thanks to discarding certain tiles which give you general actions). Also, another positive is the game uses a lot of icons to explain actions. However everything is so streamlined and understandable, after our first game, we didn’t need to look up the symbols in the rule book, which is always a plus in these types of games.
We’ve had a great time with Ganymede, I am glad it’s in our collection. We just wished the time would have lasted a little longer.
If you like to pick up a copy you can do so via Lucky Duck Games website at: https://luckyduckgames.com/games/ganymede.html
Thanks to Lucky Duck Games for sending a copy of the game for an honest review.