Review: Edenia – born a space sheep

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At the beginning there were – believe it or not – sheep. Not one, but a whole herd. Standing outside space and time, when everything started to shake. Big bang came and with it the birth of our universe. And because there was no life, sheep wanted the whole expanding universe only for themselves. And they started looking for a home planet, which in their dreams was named .

Game about world, which is ruled by sheep, was created by designer Matthieu Lanvin, who gave his game a kickoff with logo of a small company  Game. But its distribution is done by . It all looks very nice thanks to illustrations by Chaussy Camille. All stakeholders got together to present it at Spiel in Essen.

Blue classic box shows sheep ready for space travel. At its core are mostly cardboard components – it all starts with a square frame made of four outer segments. These are connected to create a whole galaxy with home planet Arridis in one corner and a dream Edenia in the opposite corner. Bonus turbo tokens are placed on designated points on the edges and center of the universe is filled with a black hole.

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All other exploration tiles (more than twenty) are shuffled and three starting are placed on top of this pile. Destination planet gets few trifolium tokens, while all artifacts tiles, sabotage dice and other tokens are placed aside. Players will each pick up three sheep according to their chosen color and immediately place them on the starting planet in the lower right corner. Everyone also gets three flags in his color and two starting clovers (turbo tokens).

During the game, players take turns, and everyone can choose one sheep to move. Instead, they have a chance to skip turn and give opponents a chance. Sheep move along different paths through space, whether through meteors, stars and nebulae roads. Any path goes from planet to planet initially, but it also can end in emptiness (when there is no tile added there yet).

Only when a player’s sheep reaches edge of revealed space, where nothing is beneath, he can turn top tile from shuffled pile, take new exploration tile and attach it. Sheep may continue with their flight and its movement ends up in the moment, when they should turn around second tile. This ends player’s turn. In addition, flight of a sheep terminates, when it arrives on the planet.

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For newly occupied habitable planet (three in the game), player gets one clover token. It contains three from moment, when its discovered. But explorer also gets seven points. As a sign of his success, player can raise flag of his color there, but only temporarily. When someone else arrives there, he may replace flag with his and not only owner changes, but also those seven points are temporarily moved to his possession.

But what about all these clovers? Players will use them, when sheep caught up some other space rival. He may jump over for a small fee (clover) and continue his journey onwards. But if player does not pay, then his movement immediately stops and will not jump. When moving sheep, all participants also can use edges of the galaxy, where all paths turn around or branch. Whenever a sheeponaut encounters an intersection, he may himself choose a direction to continue.

Galaxy has also another interesting element in it. There are dwarf planets, that reward their visitors with artifacts of different skills, black hole sends sheep in a random direction sheep and there are even teleports. Their use is free, if outlet hole bears same color, otherwise player must again pay a cloverleaf.

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Game continues with chasing sheep in space until one of players reachs target planet Edenia with all three his sheeponauts. Winning is possible even through number of points obtained or highest score, if there is no trifolium left on the planet. Winner may be determined by one of these three conditions, whether its speed or seizing planets.

Edenia is really interesting racing game about flying in space. Its target audience would probably be families with children, but it comes with list of small rules, that may confuse beginners. This makes it slightly complex (only for beginners!) and can thus discourage some candidates already, when reading rules. And that’s probably the most important problem, that we encounter during its evaluation and we are saying it at the beginning of our evaluation part of review.

Actual gameplay, however, is beautifully elegant. Movement of sheep is seemingly endless, just like their flight in vacuum. But when their hoof start brushing against some of the planets, sheeponaut must stop until the next round.

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Planets do not serve only as obstacles. They make also second victory option and provide players with tactical choice. All participants explore regions of the galaxy, chase very quickly, use curves and turns, and thanks to it, there is a relatively hard fight for control over these habitable worlds. Players must always bear in mind this possibility of victory next to the basic speed one.

Despite specific style of movement along trajectories through space, players have some control over their movement. Except, of course, at the beginning of the game, because there comes luck into play with random drawing tiles. Until then, player does not know, where his sheep is actually flying to through uncharted space. However, this exploration also results in variability, because each game has different distribution of planets and paths between them. And because all three road types lead out of every side of a tile, players always have a lot of options in placement.

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We have already mentioned, that the game has a lot of small rules. This means special skills of the planets, other celestial elements, different uses of four-leaf clovers, but above all a pile of various artifacts. Fortunately, game can be played even with smaller audience (which is requested given theme and processing) through discarding of artifacts, flags and only two sheep on Edenia being enough to win. This is the official children version and is mentioned in the rules.

Game is pleasantly fast. Entertainment can done within twenty minutes of your time, if you are fast players. But usual game time moves around half an hour, but this is still a nice time. Match does include significant blocking and skipping, but the most important is the struggle for supremacy planets. The more opponents, the faster changing of the flag and control becomes the more difficult way to win. Even so, there are two end variants remaining, so there is still enough uncertainty. So its good in all numbers in the end.

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Edenia is a game, that not only looks beautiful, but also offers nice fun. It all starts very simply, if you read the first two pages of rules. Game is therefore targeting less experienced players, but it surprises them with special rules for artifacts and locations on a map. Exploration is a pleasant change to the game, but it brings an element of luck with it. Edenia is still a very fun game, which also has a very successful processing on top of all.

DesignerMatthieu Lanvin
ArtistCamille Chaussy
PublisherBLAM !
Year Published2016
# of Players2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3 players
(1 voters)
Playing Time30
Mfg Suggested Ages8 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(1 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(2 voters)
CategoryRacing, Space Exploration
MechanicTile Placement
FamilyAnimals: Sheep
Primary NameEdenia

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Edenia – born a space sheep
Final word
Edenia is beautiful game to look at and does not remain just there. It is also fun, because you control sheeponauts flying through space paths and trying to occupy planet, where they stop. Their final goal is to arrive on their dream world. There are several possible endings and paths lead through a lot of interesting trinkets, including randomly acquired artifacts. Players explore the universe, which makes the game different every time. Edenia is a slightly more complicated for its target audience, but players should be able to swallow that, because they will be rewarded with very good game.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
simple basic mechanisms
graceful movement through space
three endings
version for younger players
beautiful processing
space exploration
lots of variability
Cons
random exploration
minor rules
4
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