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‘Ganymede’: Ready for Launch – GeekDad

Ganymede cover
Studying Time: eight minutes

On our journey into deep area, Ganymede is a method station: the massive settlers ships are launched from this moon of Jupiter, after settlers are shuttled from Earth, with a stopover on Mars. Recruit settlers with the best expertise to fill the ship rosters and improve your company’s popularity on this race to the celebs.

What Is Ganymede?

Ganymede is a tableau-building recreation from Sorry We Are French (which is one of the best writer identify ever) for two to four gamers, ages 14 and up, and takes about 20 to 40 minutes to play. In Europe, it retails for €27.00 and may be ordered from Sorry We Are French. Within the US and Canada, it retails for $39.99 and is presently out there for pre-order from Fortunate Duck Video games (and is predicted to ship on the finish of February). Based mostly on the theme, paintings, and guidelines, I really feel that it might be accessible to gamers as younger as 10, although there could be a little bit of long-term planning required that less-experienced gamers might not absolutely grasp immediately.

Ganymede componentsGanymede elements. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Ganymede Elements

  • 30 Settler tiles
  • 90 Playing cards:
    • 30 Earth Shuttle playing cards
    • 30 Mars Shuttle playing cards
    • 30 Settlers Ship playing cards
  • 52 Settler meeples (13 every in four colours)
  • four Participant boards
  • four Fame markers (picket cubes)

All the playing cards are half-sized playing cards, and the meeples are just a little smaller than normal, so the pictures is usually a little misleading, and also you may anticipate the sport to be bigger than it truly is. Nevertheless, due to the restricted quantity of data required on every card and the board, there’s not likely any cause for it to be bigger—it simply signifies that the playing cards is usually a little trickier to shuffle.

Ganymede earth shuttle cardsA couple of of the Earth shuttle playing cards, carrying settlers from Earth to Mars. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The paintings within the recreation, by Oliver Mootoo, jogs my memory a little bit of video video games from the ’90s, when the polygon rely on 3D fashions was nonetheless pretty low. It’s a cool aesthetic that matches the theme nicely, type of a retro futuristic look. The illustrations depict numerous spaceships in transit, and the settlers ships playing cards particularly have otherworldly backgrounds, typically with animals or crops that you simply don’t understand are large till you see the tiny ship flying previous.

The sport itself is language-independent, with icons for every little thing—meaning you do want to make use of the rulebook to study what every little thing means, however I did discover that a lot of the iconography was pretty intuitive, and there have been just a few issues I wanted to lookup. After a pair performs, I can play it with out referencing the rulebook in any respect. The varied colours of settlers tiles and shuttle playing cards are distinguished by colour and icon, which is useful for shade blind gamers, however the meeples themselves (and the meeple icons on the playing cards) would not have any particular indicators. The colour choice (purple, blue, yellow, purple) avoids the standard red-green drawback, however when you have shade blindness you might need to take a better look first before you purchase it.

Ganymede boxThe field might have been smaller. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The rulebook is in French, English, and Korean (in that order); I usually want when rulebooks are single-language so I can put aside those I’m not utilizing. Regardless of the pretty compact measurement of the sport (the most important factor except for the rulebook are the participant boards), the field is fairly massive. I want it have been somewhat extra compact, as a result of then it will make a pleasant recreation to tackle the go.

Tips on how to Play Ganymede

You’ll be able to obtain a replica of the rulebook right here.

The Aim

The objective of the sport is to attain probably the most factors by launching settlers ships and growing your fame.

Ganymede setupGanymede beginning setup. From prime to backside: settlers ships, Mars shuttles, Earth shuttles, and settlers tiles. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu


Arrange the central provide by shuffling every of the decks independently. Lay out 4 Earth shuttles, 4 Mars shuttles, and three settlers ships subsequent to their decks. Combine up the Settler tiles and type a draw pile, and set out the 4 beginning tiles. (Observe that they don’t have any particular markings to point they’re beginning tiles, however they’re the 4 tiles that present a meeple icon subsequent to a settlers ship icon.)

The variety of settlers (meeples) depends upon the variety of gamers—when you’ve got fewer than 4 gamers, you’ll take away a few of every shade.

Ganymede player area setupBeginning setup for a participant board. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Give every participant a participant board and a status dice, which is positioned on the far left of the status monitor. Deal 4 settlers ships to every participant. Everybody chooses 2 to maintain, and shuffles the opposite 2 again into the deck. Place your chosen ships within the two areas on the best aspect of your board.


You’re making an attempt to fill your settlers ships with the proper forms of settlers: the highest ship requires three of the identical shade, and the underside ship requires considered one of every shade. The ships and the planets all have limits on the variety of settlers that could be positioned there—any further settlers despatched to these places are misplaced in area (and positioned again into the availability).

In your flip, you’ll do one of many following:

  • Take a settler tile
  • Take a shuttle card
  • Carry out primary actions

Ganymede settler tilesYour settler tiles go throughout the highest of your participant board. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Take a Settler Tile

Select one of many face-up settler tiles from the availability and place it on the prime of your participant board, discarding a tile if it’s worthwhile to make room. If the tile sort matches one or each of the opposite tiles in your board, you could use its impact twice or 3 times (respectively). As an example, within the photograph above, if I simply performed the tile on the far proper, I now have two “yellow gear” tiles, so I can use my new tile twice.

The tiles often allow you to take settlers from the availability and place them on Earth, however there are additionally different results that might be utilized, like shifting settlers round, growing your fame, and so forth. Then substitute the settler tile from the stack.

Ganymede Mars shuttlesMars shuttles transfer settlers from Mars right into a settlers ship. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Take a Shuttle Card

Take a shuttle card from the availability. Earth shuttles transfer settlers from Earth to Mars, and Mars shuttles transfer settlers from Mars to the settlers ships. The icons on the prime of the cardboard point out which colour settlers will probably be moved (white is wild); some shuttles additionally present an X’d out settler tile, which suggests you have to discard a tile so as to use that shuttle. Chances are you’ll solely use a shuttle in case you have the matching settlers to be moved (although they could be “misplaced in area” if there’s no room on the vacation spot for them).

Ganymede playing a shuttle cardShuttle playing cards accumulate on the backside of your board. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Place the shuttle within the matching column on the backside of your participant board. After shifting the settlers, chances are you’ll then use the impact on the backside of the shuttle card as soon as for every shuttle of that sort. For example, within the photograph above, I’ve simply performed my third “yellow gear” shuttle. After shifting the yellow, blue, and purple settlers, I’ll now use the impact on the backside to extend my popularity. Since there are three yellow shuttles, I improve my fame 3 times.

Carry out Primary Actions

As an alternative of taking a settler tile or shuttle, you might discard 1 to three of your settler tiles to take that many primary actions. Primary actions embrace:

  • Recruit: Take a settler of any colour from the availability and place it on Earth.
  • Adapt: Commerce a settler in your participant board with any settler within the provide.
  • Transfer: Transfer one settler alongside an arrow (from Earth to Mars, from Mars to a settlers ship, or between two settlers ships).
  • Popularity: Improve your popularity one step.
  • Draw: Take a settlers ship from the availability or off the highest of the deck and add it to your hand.

Ganymede settlers shipsRefill a settlers ship to launch it. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

On the finish of your flip, if any of your settlers ships are crammed with the required forms of settlers, then it launches. Return the settlers to the availability and place the ship card face-up subsequent to your board. Then, take a brand new settlers ship from the availability (both from the face-up row or the highest card of the deck), after which play a settlers ship out of your hand into the empty area. Some settlers ships award bonus actions after they’re launched, and a few require fewer settlers to finish.

Bonus Actions

On the status monitor, there are a number of areas with gear icons, representing a primary motion. For those who select to cease on a gear icon (somewhat than passing by way of it), you get to take one free primary motion.

The final area of the popularity monitor exhibits a launch icon—in case your status reaches this area, chances are you’ll instantly launch a settlers ship even when it isn’t crammed.

Lastly, every time you full a full row (one in every of every colour) of shuttle playing cards, you could instantly launch a settlers ship even when it isn’t crammed—there’s a small launch icon on the far proper of the shuttle playing cards space as a reminder.

Recreation Finish

If a participant launches their 4th settlers ship or one of many two shuttle draw decks runs out, then end the present spherical (so that everybody has had the identical variety of complete turns).

You rating factors for settlers ships that you simply launched, settlers left in your incomplete settlers ships, and your status monitor.

Ganymede Settlers ShipsSettlers ships will rating factors based mostly on numerous standards. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Settlers ships have numerous scoring varieties: some are merely value a sure variety of factors, and others will rating based mostly on specific standards reminiscent of what number of purple shuttles you’ve, or the variety of settler tiles you’ve on the finish of the sport, and so forth.

Why You Ought to Play Ganymede

Hope S. Hwang can also be the designer of Guildhall, a card recreation from 2012 that has a really totally different theme, however you’ll be able to see a bit little bit of the identical DNA. Each video games embrace a approach to make talents simpler by enjoying extra of the identical factor, and in addition a means that these reset once more. In Ganymede, the settler tiles are handiest for those who hold taking the identical sort, and also you’ll get to set off it 3 times on the most. Nevertheless, when you spend any of these tiles to take primary actions, you lose the bonus for the subsequent time you’re taking a brand new tile. Additionally, taking the identical colour could also be nice for activating it a number of occasions, however it additionally might imply that you simply’re loading up on the identical colour of settler, which could be of restricted use relying on which settlers ship you’re making an attempt to fill.

The shuttles, then again, are engines that construct up bonus actions however don’t reset. In case you hold enjoying the identical shade ship, you’ll get increasingly more bonus actions every time you do. Counteracting that, nevertheless, is the truth that you get a launch bonus for enjoying considered one of every shade. You’ll need to determine which is extra advantageous: extra bonus actions, or launching an additional ship without spending a dime?

Every of the settler colours represents a kind of job, as defined within the rulebook, although I all the time overlook their precise names as soon as I’m enjoying: blue is advertising and communication, purple is administration, yellow is engineering, and purple is social and healthcare. What that interprets to is that the tiles and shuttles of these colours are likely to have a specific sort of motion. Blue helps you get extra settlers; purple allows you to commerce settlers; yellow permits you to transfer settlers; purple will increase your fame. That’s not true of each single tile and shuttle, however it does loosely tie the settler colours to specific kinds of actions, which may help drive your technique.

Ganymede player areaA recreation in progress: I’ve launched two settlers ships to date. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

I like the best way that it’s a must to chain collectively tiles, and shuttles. Settlers tiles put individuals onto Earth, and you then use shuttles to maneuver them alongside—however you all the time need to have the proper individuals obtainable. Typically you’ll work backward out of your settlers ships: “I want a yellow settler right here, so I have to get a Mars shuttle that may transport a yellow individual, which suggests I have to get an Earth shuttle that transports a yellow individual, which suggests I want a yellow settler tile.” However I could possibly get that yellow settler one other means, both through the use of an “adapt” motion to commerce for a yellow, or through the use of “transfer” actions to switch a yellow settler with out utilizing shuttles. And people actions might come both from tiles or shuttles which might be additionally shifting different individuals alongside, or from discarding my present settlers tiles.

I additionally like the best way that the settlers ships will drive your selection of shuttles and different actions. If in case you have a settlers ship that provides you one level per purple shuttle, then you definitely’ll in all probability be taking numerous purple settlers so to take extra pink shuttles. However, in the event you get the settlers ship that provides you 6 factors per full set of shuttles, you then’ll be diversifying as a lot as potential.

Even though the objective in Ganymede appears closely tied to launching your settlers ships, the scoring depends on different elements, which signifies that there are a variety of methods to strategy it. You possibly can rating as much as 6 factors on your popularity alone, which is value greater than most settlers ships. You possibly can determine if it’s higher to go for lower-value ships that provide different bonuses or make it simpler to launch, and attempt to finish the sport early, or if it’s higher to pursue extra invaluable ships that require loads of further actions to attain. One among my players likes to take the technique of hoarding as lots of a single colour as attainable: it doesn’t usually get him numerous factors, nevertheless it makes it fairly troublesome for different gamers to launch their backside ship.

The sport performs fairly shortly; 4 settlers ships isn’t so much, and the top can sneak up on you when you’re not taking note of different gamers, notably in the event that they handle to make use of a number of the bonus launch actions. However inside that brief time-frame, there’s some actually nice engine-building and motion administration. I actually take pleasure in Ganymede, and for those who’re in search of a small, space-themed recreation with a number of paths to victory, I like to recommend checking it out!

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Disclosure: GeekDad acquired a replica of this recreation for evaluate functions.

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