Embark on a celestial odyssey in Astra, where players become intrepid astronomers, unveiling the mysteries of the night sky’s constellations, home to mighty gods, legendary heroes, and enchanting creatures. Inspired by the 48 constellations chronicled in The Almagest by the ancient astronomer Ptolemy, players gather stardust to illuminate stars, uncover constellations, and gain boons and abilities from these astral formations, all while earning fame. The ultimate goal? To become the most renowned stargazer in the cosmos!
2-5 players, ages 10+
Playing time: 20 min./player
Designers: Patrik Porkoláb, Frigyes Schőberl & Eszter Krisztina Sas
Artwork: Csilla Fekete
Publisher: Mindclash Games
🌠 Astra features 48 constellation cards, each with unique attributes and linked to one of the four spheres. Players use a journal to track their advancement (pouch size, wisdom, and fame) and store resources (stardust and telescope tokens).
🔄 Players take turns in clockwise order, navigating through three distinct phases: the Ability, Action, and Discovery phases. During the Ability phase, players can use abilities from their active constellation cards by exhausting them. In the Action phase, players choose between two actions: Observe, which involves marking stars on constellation cards by spending stardust and using telescope tokens for additional actions, or Rest, which refills the player’s pouch with stardust, reactivates exhausted constellations, and moves the sphere marker. The Discovery phase is triggered when all stars in a constellation are marked, rewarding the discovering player with the card and allowing assisting players to select from the constellation’s available boons.
Boons grant various benefits, such as fame, stardust, telescope tokens, pouch size enhancement, wisdom, and constellation reactivation.
⏳ The appearance of the Game End card signals the game end. After the final round, players proceed to the final scoring phase, considering multiple factors. In addition to fame gained during the game, players score fame from their pouch size, wisdom track, leftover stardust, marked stars on undiscovered constellations, active constellation cards, and elements. Elements play a significant role in the final score: players count up all the elements on their constellation cards, marking them on their final scoring card, and score fame based on the depicted values of each row and column. The player who has amassed the greatest amount of fame in their celestial pursuits ultimately claims victory!
🌠 Astra, crafted by Hungarian publisher Mindclash Games, brings together the wonders of astronomy and engaging gameplay mechanics. Players assume the role of astronomers exploring the night sky, uncovering constellations based on the 48 described in Ptolemy’s The Almagest. The theme is seamlessly integrated into the gameplay, enhancing the overall experience.
🌟 Astra artfully combines area majority, push-your-luck, and set collection mechanics. Players strategically mark stars on constellations to gain abilities or rewards known as boons. The game fosters interaction and planning, as players must decide when to take a rest action, monitor opponents’ abilities, and evaluate whether to discover a constellation or claim a boon when another player secures a card. With no element of luck, Astra shines as a prime “thinky filler” game.
🎨 The game components boast impressive quality, particularly the sturdy and visually stunning constellation cards. Players use dry-erase markers to mark stars on the cards and in their journals, introducing a practical and inventive gameplay feature. While the durability of the markers is yet to be determined, the fantastic artwork and well-crafted components contribute to a visually appealing gaming experience.
📚 As a part of the Mindclash Play line, Astra diverges from the publisher’s typically more complex offerings, catering to players seeking a shorter and more accessible gaming experience. The clearly-written rules are easy to learn and teach, making the game suitable for both beginners and experienced players. Strategic choices and player interactions add depth, ensuring that Astra remains challenging for all.
👥 Designed for 2-5 players, we believe Astra is best enjoyed with 3 or 4 players due to its focus on player interaction. There’s also a 2-player variant that introduces additional rules. Game length varies depending on players’ gameplay styles, with quicker constellation completion and more frequent Rest actions shortening the game. Nonetheless, our gaming sessions consistently lasted around one hour, striking an ideal balance between engagement and accessibility.
💭 Astra is a thought-provoking, accessible game that delves into the captivating world of astronomy through a unique theme and well-crafted gameplay mechanics. Its high-quality components, striking artwork, and flexible player count make for an enjoyable experience. If you’re seeking a game that melds a fascinating theme with engaging gameplay and player interaction, Astra should be a top choice.
*Disclaimer: We received a review copy of the game from the publisher.