In today’s game club we played an awesome game called Ad Astra!  This game is where players compete to control the most of deep space, and earn the most victory points!  The game has a very unique form, and this is how it is played.  In Ad Astra, there are six resources;  water, wheat, gold, energy, red rock, and small metal [red rock and small metal are not the real names for those resources, but the real names are extremely long and nobody bothers to memorize them 🙂 ].  These different resources can be used to build extra spaceships for flying around the galaxy, colonies to put on planets, terraformers, and factories to put on planets.  To obtain resources, you have to play a producer card.  Producer cards have resources on them, and you must chose one of the two.  Everybody then produces the chosen material.  Well, everybody who has a colony on a planet producing that resource.  You need to put a colony on a planet with a resource to make the resource.  Having a spaceship on a planet gives you one of that resource, as well as having a colony on it.  Having a terraformer does nothing except earn you points, and upgrading your colony to a factory will earn you two of that resource when that producer card has been played.  Every person playing starts out with a home planet, a spaceship, and one of each resource.  Each home planet is in the home galaxy, in the center of the game board.  There are many other galaxies to be explored, too!  One of the resources, cannot build anything.  This resource is energy.  Energy is what you use to fly around the universe in your spaceship.  To fly from deep space (any position in where you are not on a planet in a galaxy) to a galaxy does not cost you any energy.  Flying from a galaxy back to deep space costs one energy.  Flying from planet to planet in one galaxy is also one energy.  However, flying from a planet in one galaxy to a planet in another galaxy is two energy!  Energy is a very valuble resource, and it is suggested that you use it wisely when playing.  The game is won when the first person gets to, or over, 50 points.  To gain points, a scoring round must appear.  The player of the scoring card chooses what will be scored, out of the two options on the card.  These options vary with different scoring cards.  You can be scored on the amount of terraformers you have, the amount of colonies you have, the amount of spaceships you have, or the amount of different galaxies that you have something of yours present in.  You earn points for each of the objects that you have, and the person who has the most earns an additional 3 points!  How the cards are played is the most unique part of the game.  Off to the side of the game board, a board numbered 1 through 15 should be present.  Players take turns placing one of their cards on that board, in any of the number slots.  Once all of the slots are filled up, each card is flipped up in number order, and the effects of the card take place.  It will be a producer card, a scoring round, a building phase, a trade phase, or a movement phase.  In building phases, each player may build a colony, spaceship, terraformer, or factory, on a planet, using the resources required (note:  Factories may only be placed after a colony is present on that planet).  The owner of that card may build as much as he/she would like, but others are restricted to one building/spaceship.  A trade phase is simply a phase where players can trade resources with each other, and bargain over deals.  However, players may only trade with the owner of the card.  The owner may also trade to the bank, but at a 2:1 ratio.  A movement phase is where players have the opportunity to move around galaxies.  You may make one movement, either into deep space from a galaxy, or to the galaxy that the owner of the card chooses, from anywhere.  These are all the rules of gameplay.  But there is one final twist!  In some galaxies, there exist alien planets, that do not produce a resource.  Placing colonies on them though earn you instant points.  Also, if you choose to fly to an alien planet, you receive an alien card.  Each one has special effects that can be used to your advantage during the game.

Although slightly complicated, Ad Astra is an extremely fun and exciting game, that can be played over and over again, with new outcomes every time!  This game is one of game clubs many awesome games, and I hope everyone who plays it enjoys it as much as I did!

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