Your spaceship has just come through a black hole and you notice a blinking red light on the dash. Looks like the ships engines are out. After tapping on that light to the point that your finger is sore, nothing changed the ship is just floating in space. Doing systems checks you find the tractor and repulsor beams are all working. Thankfully your not the only ship in the area. Will you be able to pull and push your ship past the other ships and debris to the other warp gate? Lets find out as we take a look at Gravewell second edition designed by Corey Young and published by Renegade Game Studios.
Players in this game all start at the center of the board at the Inner Warp Gate space. Unless you have plenty of friends then with 5-6 players you divide up between the Inner Warp Gate and the Outer Warp Gate with no more than 3 players at either. For the 2-4 player game setup you will use 26 fuel cards (remove the specially marked cards) and 5-6 there are 40 cards. Place the space junk tokens on the debris fields and the turn marker on turn one.
There are six different ships in this version of the game. Each ship comes with 4 cards 3 of the cards are unique abilities for the ship and one emergency stop. To use these abilities you need to charge them up. To charge up the special ability cards you have to meet the condition on the cards. When the ability is charged you flip it over to the charged side of the card. This allows you to use this ability when conditions on the card apply. If you use the these they only get charged when meet the condition again or at the end of a round then you can charge one ability only if you have not used your emergency stop that round.
So this brings us to game play. Each player is dealt 6 Fuel cards to use throughout the first round. The cards consist of three parts. The first part is the Number in the corner and that will be how many spaces something moves (we will get in to this more in a second). The second part are letters in the middle of the card, these will determine the order the cards resolve in each turn. Lastly is the card type the Fuel cards come in 4 types Standard Tractor, Standard Repulsor, Multi-point Tractor and Multi-point Repulsor. The Standard tractor
Once you understand how the cards work its part art and part luck to move your ship to the other end of the track to become the winner.
A Standard Tractor beam will move your ship the amount of spaces on the card towards the nearest object (other ships or space junk). A Standard Repulsor will move you the amount indicated away from the nearest object. The Multi-point cards work the same except rather than moving your ship they move every other object either closer (Tractor) to your ship or away (Repulsor). When doing the multi-point moves always start with the closest object and work your way out. Once you understand how the cards work its part art and part luck to move your ship to the other end of the track to become the winner.
There are two rules when it comes to moving. When your move would have you land on the same space as another object then you keep moving in the direction you started until you get to the next open spot. This is called Drifting. The next rule is if your tractor bring you past the object that was closest to you, well you keep going in that direction the amount indicated.
...the space junk (Which looks like the shipping containers with all of my kickstarters, at least I know what happened now)
As all the ships are in this battle of tug and war with each other and the space junk (Which looks like the shipping containers with all of my kickstarters, at least i know what happened now). The game can change quickly and makes for some really interesting choices and risks that can be taken for big moments.
Each of the 6 turns in each round is played the same, all players choose the card they want to use that turn and place it face down in front of them and then all reveal the cards at the same time. The players who's card comes first alphabetically goes first and so on until all have played. After all players have played through the 6 cards in their hand its time to start another round but rounds 2-6 are different in that players draft for sets of three cards (two face up and one face down) the player closest to the Merton Cloud mines(drafts) a card pile first, if there are 2 equally distant players then the one closest to the inner gate goes first. After everyone has a new hand of 6 cards you start the new round. The game ends immediately as soon as the first player gets into the opposite gate that they started at. If you go all six rounds (we haven't yet) then whoever is closest wins.
This game is great for a group of folks wanting a quick play that is full of action and has no downtime for players. I found myself fully engaged during each turn looking to see what the other players were doing and seeing how that affected what I thought i was doing. The game moves quick and for this game I say the more the merrier with six players when half are trying to move the opposite direction it only makes for a fun exciting game of this new and improved version of Gravwell.
Year Published: 2021
Recommended Ages: 10+
Time to Play: 20-45