pic courtesy Wolverine1977, BGG
Anyway that preamble was just to say that here's a new game that I like a little bit, and you might too. It's called Quantum and it's like a faster Ascending Empires, with flicking replaced by basic math.
Admittedly that doesn't sound so great, - but wait! There's more. There's space, and planets, and fighting each other, and you win by building all your quantum cubes on the planets in question before anyone else does.
The dice represent spaceships, and can move as many spaces through the galaxy as there are pips showing. So it sounds like a die with six pips would be best, right?
Well, in terms of freedom of movement, yes. But in combat high numbers are bad, so there is a balancing mechanism in place. And each die has its own special power, which you may choose to use before or after moving it...
1's Can attack neighbouring ships
2's Can pick up and carry friendly ships
3's Can WARP and swap places with a friendly ship
4's Can change themselves into a 3 or a 5
5's Can move diagonally
6's Can be re-rolled.
You can only place a quantum cube on a planet if your ships in its orbit add up to a particular number (varying between 7 and 10) and doing so takes two actions of an availble three you have on your turn.
the main board can be rectangular, or a wide variety of shapes
pic courtesy Rashktah, BGG
Other actions are reconfiguring (rerolling a ship to give it a new value) redeploying (returning a ship beaten in battle into space) or improving your research. Get your research value up to six and you gain a 'breakthrough' - giving you a card with either a special power or a one-off event or improvement - build an extra ship, move all ships around one planet to another etc. Building a quantum cube also gets you one of these cards.
We've played this a lot over the weekend. Stanley isn't yet chaining cards or ships but has twigged the whole cube placement thing, and Joe just likes looking at it and placing cubes, picking up cards etc. It's a nicely-judged game that doesn't outstay its welcome, playing in under an hour.
Once a cube is down on a planet there's no removing it from the board, so it's a bit like a race where opponents can shoot at each other while they're hurtling toward the finish line. You can literally learn it in ten minutes as well.