Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Matthieu Lanvin


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Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Haven’t we always known that animals are one step ahead of us? Especially sheep seem to be more intelligent than our human race. The proof for that is Shaun the sheep: bright and clever and always with fantastic ideas, much more intelligent than the sheepdog Bitzer and the dull farmer. And so it should be no surprise that sheep were also already confronted by a exploited planet, a scenario that is still some decades ahead of us. Arridis was the name of that planet. Hardly a blade of grass was left by the sheep and so the flocks decided to begin a transhumance to the mysterious planet Edenia that was quite famous for its wealth of grass. But which path should they follow? The Galaxy was wide and a lot of different paths were open for the sheep...

Edenia is not only the name of the planet the sheep were heading, it is also the name of the new family game by BLAM! This game is designed to play with 2-4 players of 8 years or older, but there is also a lighter variant to play it with even younger children. In this variant you just don't use all of the material, so the game becomes less complex. Indeed my 5 year old son had no problem to play this variant with me (he even won the game).

We all begin with a flock of three lovely designed (space) sheep on our home planet Arridis. At the beginning we already know where to find Edenia, but we do not know the way to get there. In the game this situation is built up by “outer rim” tiles that built up our galaxy with Edenia in the one and Arridis in the diagonal opposite corner. Next to the outer rim tiles we place a black hole in the centre of the galaxy. The rest of the galaxy is still empty at the beginning of the game and must be explored by our sheep. Three different paths in each direction from our home planet can be used to travel through the sky, which of them is the best one can't be said, but must be discovered.

And so our sheep say goodbye to their homeland, making a last bet: the flock that comes to Edenia first, will rule the new planet and its player will win the game. Intrepid and forceful one by one the sheep race for the galaxy. To move you just pick up one of your sheep, choose a path (if you start on a planet and have the choice, otherwise you can only follow the track you are on) and follow it in one of the two directions until you reach the edge of the explored galaxy or an obstacle like a planet forces you to stopover. If a sheep reaches the edge of the inner galaxy, you explore it further. You do that by drawing a new exploration tile from a deck and placing this tile in the continuity of the sheep's path.

On our journey we can find various planets, relay stations and teleporters that influence our moves and let us find artefacts and other useful things. The simplest obstacle are other sheep that can be leapfrogged in return of a “turbo-clover” token. We already start the game with 2-3 of these useful tokens, but we can supply us with more tokens on habitable planets. Here we can also raise flags of our flock that are part of our bet and count as victory points at the end of the game. Dwarf planets on the other hand let us find seven different artefacts that are quite useful in the one way or the other. While the function of teleporters should be self-explaining, a relay station, that we only find on the outer rim of the galaxy, bounces our sheep back on the path they came from.

The black hole in the center of the galaxy spins our sheep around with uncertain outcome. Although it does not absorb our sheep, it can be dangerous to go there, if you want to go in a particular direction. So we must throw a die to determine which path we can follow to leave the black hole again.

Sheep on Edenia stay there until the end of the game. For each sheep that reaches the planet, a player receives a victory points token. Those tokens are sorted by number, so quicker sheep get more valuable tokens with higher victory points than slower sheep. The game immediately ends if one player brings his third sheep to Edenia. But a player can also win, if he manages to reach 42 victory points. 42? Yes that is still the answer to the “one” question from Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

With all the funny space sheep and the great artwork Edenia looks like a lovely family game. The only minor nuisance concerning the game material is the bad fitting of the outer rim tiles. Especially with smaller children these tiles tend to loose during the game. Only after the last tile of the galaxy has been added, the frame holds strongly together. But despite from this minor detail, it is not difficult to find players for a game or two. For new players the different paths are a little bit confusing, because they are thinly dispersed on the galaxy tiles. On the other hand this is quite interesting for smaller children, because you must follow the paths with your eyes very attentively to be sure where your journey ends. A lot of puzzles for smaller children follow a similar concept. Of course Edenia is not highly strategical. A lot depends on luck while drawing new galaxy tiles. You cannot be sure to be able to follow the same direction, before you reveal a new exploration tile. But with progressing time, the paths become more visible and left-behind sheep can catch up easily again.

In my opinion, Edenia is designed to play with children. Serious players will not really be challenged, but parents will like the game likewise because of the great graphics and the tender story. And it is also nice to explore the galaxy, finding different artefacts and see the sheep move along. But having said this, you will also realize that Edenia is not a gamers game. You will seldom really find players seriously planning their moves. But for families with children between 5 and 12 and the one or other casual players, there should be fun enough in the game. So take the game as it is. Play it with your children or just for fun and enjoy the theme and the artwork. So let us get our flock to Edenia, but let us be quick about it!

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Copyright © 2016 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany