Trolling on Fantasy Flight’s website, I came across “news” from April announcing Ad Astra. I may not have had my ear to the ground on this time, but I have eyes like a hawk on the game now. Ad Astra is a new game from Bruno Faidutti and Serge Laget, designers of Mystery of the Abbey, and has immediately shot to the top of my must-haves list. It is being pegged as a Catan style game of space exploration. It is slated to be released this summer, but with no firm release date, I can imagine we will see it in August at the earliest.
Fantasy Flight has revealed enough about the game to give a good idea of how it plays. In an interview, Bruno Faidutti dropped the name of the Catan games several times as an influence. As an overview, the board is a randomization of stars and their planets, the players collect resources, and you explore (in starships) for new colonies to set up bases on. Faidutti directly compares Catan’s roads to Ad Astra’s spaceships, and the same with settlements and bases. The game separates itself from Catan, however, by using action cards and forgoing dice. These cards seem very reminiscent of Race for the Galaxy. In fact, it sounds exactly like RFTG’s system, but I’m sure once it is released we may see a few distinctions. I would like to see all of these concepts succeed in play without feeling too derivative.
Ad Astra looks like it incorporates elements from some of my favorite games, uses a theme I love, and may be simpler than some other fare of its genre. Twilight Imperium and Starfarers of Catan always interested me, but they were always too complex and expensive. I always have to look for card games about outer space, and those usually don’t maintain enough depth. Ad Astra should hit that medium, and there will hopefully be a glowing review of it within the next few months right here on Guilt Free Games.