At A Glance:
Moonshot: Lunar Solace has two to four players take command of a fleet of spaceships and guide them through the solar system and back home to the moon.
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- 17 x 17 game board
- 16 wooden jump ship tokens
- 4 custom D12 “Power Dice”
- 56 card deck of Solace Cards
- 4 Quick Reference Cards
- 2 moveable Wormhole tiles
- 1 Jupiter cloaking tile
- Full-color instructions
- 2 piece full-color box
Plus stretch goals
Moonshot: Lunar Solace is a space themed board game for two to four players set in 2142. With humans now living in lunar colonies, the anniversary of the completion of the settlements is celebrated by an annual Moonshot race in which the pilots fly around the solar system and compete to be the first to return to the moon. The game is mostly easy to learn and is aimed at families playing together.
Each player begins by selecting a color and claiming a corner of the board as their finish area. The position of the two wormholes is determined by rolling the two dice. Players move around the board by rolling four power dice (three black, one red) and consulting the movement chart. A single black power point allows you to move one ship forward one space or launch a second. Any two power point roll allows you to move a ship two spaces etc. However rolling a single red power point will move your ship backwards. Higher level rolls also allow you to take bonus rolls and bank their movements, allowing players to strategize the movements of their ships after taking all their rolls at the beginning of their turn. During the game, you have to move four ships around the board from the launch area to the finish area. This task can be eased by linking ships together when they land on the same space.
If one of your ships lands on a space occupied by another ship belonging to you, they must link (stack together) and become a single unit. This can reduce the number of rolls you have to make in order to move your fleet. If your ship lands on a space occupied by an opponent’s ship, you bump them. The bumped ship (or unit of linked ships) returns all the way back to the launch area and that player receives a solace card. Solace cards give players special abilities and can be used immediately, on your turn, on an opponent’s turn, or at any time depending on the color. They can allow you to take control of opponent’s ships, sabotage movements, separate linked sets and more.
There are multiple ways to move around the board and some are shorter than others. Landing on a planet allows you to turn and take a shortcut through the solar system and landing on a wormhole automatically takes you through to its other side – which can either be helpful or a hindrance depending on where the wormholes are currently placed. To win the game, move all four of your ships through the solar system and land them safely on the moon.
Moonshot: Lunar Solace is not the best game I have ever played, however, nor is it the worst. The gameplay itself is quite simplistic which makes it easy to learn, although our copy of the bonus roll instructions was rather vague and took us a few games to figure out entirely. Our prototype copy of the instructions it lists the age recommendation as 12+, but our six-year-old could play the card free variant easily and really loved the little spaceship playing pieces which stack together.
Some of the gameplay isn’t entirely logical. Regarding the movement dice, for the most part, one power point equals one ship movement, however, rolling a zero (four blank dice) actually results in the highest possible amount of movement (five spaces plus a bonus roll) which makes no sense within the story of the game.
Despite its additions, Moonshot: Lunar Solace often felt like little more than a roll the dice and move game. The solace cards certainly give it an extra edge and can change the outcome of games very quickly but factors like linking the ships together felt a little gimmicky and only served to make the game easier rather than adding any additional level of gameplay.
If you are looking for a complex strategy game flying ships around the planets then this is not for you. If, however, you would like a light-hearted short game that could easily be played with the whole family – then maybe give it a shot.
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