Published on May 7th, 2015 | by Ninjette Natasha0
Destination Neptune – Review
Average play time per game: 90 minutes
Suitable for ages: 12+
Number of players: 2-4 (Best with 3-4 players)
Mechanics: Area Control / Area Influence, Hand Management, and Pick-up and Deliver
Destination Neptune is a commercial space exploration game set in 2012. Players have resources to be able to explore, develop, and colonize worlds on different planets, by doing this you also earn victory points. You then move through four generations of space exploration shown as four decks of cards and the player with the most victory points wins the game.
What is included in the box:
- 108 cards:
- 73 cards for the regular game
- 4 Player Aid Cards
- 19 Location Cards (used with Optional Rules)
- 12 Event Cards (used with Optional Rules)
- 3 Construction Teams in each of four colors
- 140 Wooden Tokens (35 in each of four colors)
- 56 Fuel Counters
- 70 Credit Counters
- 4 Fame Markers
- 4 Victory Point Markers
- 1 Diversification Card
- 1 Intrepid Space farer Card
- Game Board
- 12 page rules booklet
To start off, each player has to choose a particular colour this is represented in the construction teams, victory points markers and fame markers. You then place your coloured fame markers on the 0 of the fame track, and the colour victory points markers on the 0 of the victory points track. The cards are then split into 4 generations according to the number in the bottom right hand corner 1-4. Deck number one is then split into 5 cards for each player and the remaining cards are placed in the draw deck.
Each card does a certain thing in the game (the descriptions below have been taken from the game manual as I found these were very clear descriptions of what the cards do):
- Attract Investors: The Active Player receives 5 Credits; all other players receive 2 Credits. In descending order of Fame points (clockwise if tied), each player may: Collect 1 Credit for each 2 Fame Points the player chooses to deduct.
- Build: In 3 rounds starting with the Active Player (clockwise, counterclockwise, clockwise), each player may: Build once per round. See Building section for more details.
- Factories Produce: The Active Player receives 2 Credits. Simultaneously, each player will: Receive 1 Credit for each their Factories. Additional Credits or Fuel may be received for Factories with Mineral or Fusion Fuel icons. See Factory Production section for more details.
- Fuel Broker: The Active Player receives 1 Victory Point. Clockwise starting to the left of the Active Player, each player may: Buy Fuel Counters by paying 1 Credit to the supply and 1 Credit to the Active Player. (For the Active Player, this means the Fuel only costs 1 Credit.)
- Research Missions: The Active Player may establish Research Missions; each costs 1 Credit plus the Fuel cost from Earth. In clockwise order, starting with the Active Player, each player may: Pay a controlling player 1 Credit (2 in a two-person game) to gain access to any existing Research, then collect 1 Fame for each Research Mission controlled.
- Technology: The Active Player may take control of an available Technology or gain access to an already controlled Technology without paying the controlling player. Simultaneously, players: Receive 1 Fame Point for each Technology they control.
- Scoring: Each player gains 1 Victory Point per Factory, and 2 per Colony. The player with the most Fame gains 2 Victory Points (1 each if there is a tie). The player with the second most Fame receives 1 Victory Point (none if there is a tie).
Each player also starts off with 5 fuel counters to get them from planet to planet, as depending on which planet you would like to visit depends on the amount of fuel you have available to you, a fuel track is shown from earth to each planet so you know how much fuel each trip takes. You also have 5 credit counters which you use as currency. You all start on the planet Earth.
To start your turn you firstly have an opportunity to sell a card to the opportunity track. This means that you can place a card that is of no use to you on the right hand side of the board and get 1 credit for it, then on your next turn you might be able to buy it back if another player hasn’t bought it already.
You can then play a card that you have got from the opportunity track or that is in your hand. When you first start the game you are not really able to do anything on any planet unless you play a ‘Research Mission’ card. This costs you 1 credit and whatever fuel costs from Earth to the chose planet, this then enables you to take control of the research on that planet. This is the same as if you play a technology card, depending on what technology you purchase you have control of that technology. You then place your counter on the part of the planet that you have taken control of.
If a player has already done a research mission or taken control of the technology of a planet that you want to research your counter is placed underneath their counter and you have to pay the player a certain amount of credits depending on research mission or technology.
Also depending on which card you play (shown above) depends on the amount of fame and victory each player gains.
There are many more complicated parts to this game that unfortunately I couldn’t quite get my head around but you can always head to the Griggling Games website to check it out.
Personally I found that I could only play this game for around 30 minutes, as I kept getting confused with the rules and multiple different counters and points that I had to remember and keep track of and despite loving science fiction and having an interest in space, I found this got boring quite quickly and the rules/gameplay quite tricky which meant that most of my time was spent figuring out the game play instead of playing the game. It was very repetitive. I did like the fact that there was many different parts to this game and it really did feel like you were exploring space, but exploring it in very much a business sense. As Destination Neptune is all about gaining knowledge and through this knowledge building on each planet and doing this before the other player has a chance. Having to keep an eye on things like fuel to get to certain planets is a good mechanic to add to the game as this adds to the realism. So all in all Destination Neptune is a good game and definitely has some good points to it, but I found it had more bad points than good, was a little too complex, and too repetitive to keep my attention. I see this game being a good buy for the space enthusiasts but I do think that the age should be 16+ rather than a 12+ due to the length and concentration needed, and due to the complexity to play the game.