When I posted about LUNA Capital a week ago, it was veiled in excitement about the launch of Artemis. Alas, not everything goes as planned and the launch was scrubbed, rescheduled, postponed again and, well, you know the story. As of today, it’s still not a go. But that doesn’t mean we are stuck here on earth. We’re free to set off and explore whenever with games likes The Search for Planet X from Renegade Game Studios and Foxtrot Games.
While The Search for Planet X plays up to four people, if for some reason those plans get scrubbed too, there’s a solo mode to keep at least the most available adventurer appeased. But let’s make the assumption we have a group and are competitively playing. In that case, everyone pretends they’re astronomers surveying the night sky in an effort to determine the location of a hidden planet. The Search for Planet X is a logic game with minimal components but lots of gameplay. Before we talk about how to set it up, have all players download the companion app. Each time you play, the app will randomly determine the locations to ensure each game is different. In addition, it will be used throughout the game to facilitate gameplay. Place the solar system board in the center of the table and place the sun disc in the center. The earth board is set atop the solar system, rotating it so the visible sky starts with sector 1. Players select a color and take the associated pawns, screen, two target tokens and 12 theory tokens. The pawns, placing them in the first sector of the time track in a random order. Player screens are placed in front of each person with a note sheet matching the icon of their unique view (sprint equinox, summer solstice, autumn equinox or winter solstice).
Start by launching the app. Each player will be given a set of starting data to prepopulate their research worksheet. The number of clues varies and can even be different to accommodate players of varying experience. These notes are the foundation for how you’ll figure out what is where (or what is not somewhere). Once everyone has filled in their starting data, you’re ready to begin researching. The player whose pawn is furthest back on the time track is the active player. On their turn, they’ll choose one of four actions, take that action then advance their pawn based on the time required to take the action. Their turn wraps up by possibly rotating the earth board clockwise, but I’ll come back to that because it doesn’t always happen.
The four action options are to 1) survey for an object, 2) target a sector, 3) research a topic or 4) locate Planet X. All four actions require you to interact with the app then record the relevant information on your note sheet. When you survey for an object, you select a type of object and range in the visible sky to determine how many objects of that type are in that area. Targeting a sector reveals which object (if any) is located in one sector you select. To reveal information about a logic rule, you’ll research a topic. The final action option is to select the sector you believe contains Planet X and identify the objects you believe are in the adjacent sectors. Regardless of which action you take, you’ll want to make notes as to what you discovered. In addition, you may choose to make notes as to what your opponents do because it will give you some insight when they make predictions.
After you’ve completed your action, you’ll move your pawn clockwise on the time track. The distance you move will vary based on the action you selected. Researching a topic only has a time cost of 1 whereas targeting a sector costs 4. Surveying varies based on sectors and ranges from 2-4. Remember that the person who is furthest back on the track is the next active player so it’s possible that someone will get multiple turns before an opponent does.
The third step for an active player after their action and advancing their pawn on the time track is to rotate the earth board. This happens if the arrow on the earth board is not pointing directly at the sector which contains the pawn furthest back. It will only rotate one sector at a time, but when it does then examine the sector. If it contains a conference icon, players receive a new piece of information on the location of Planet X.
If it contains a theory icon, players may submit theories that are then scrutinized utilizing the app. Points are earned for correct theories, but a time penalty is assessed for incorrect ones. Theories, right or wrong, are public information and can help players narrow down their research.
The Search for Planet X is nearing the end when someone locates Planet X. Each player who has a pawn in at least one sector from the astronomer who located the planet will have one last opportunity to score points. This can be done by submitting theories or locating Planet X. After all have been completed, utilize the app to reveal objects. Remove incorrect theories from the board then begin final scoring. The player who contributed the most to the discovery is the winner. While the theme is space-related, it’s actually a very analytical game similar to Alchemists or Cryptid. If you enjoy these types of games, pick up a copy of The Search for Planet X direct from Renegade Game Studios, your local game store or on Amazon. Be sure to level up your experience by adding the New Horizon Upgrade Pack to your cart as well. Explore Renegade Game Studios on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and see what else you discover is in their lineup.
When was the last time you went stargazing?