Notify me if/when this item becomes available:
(you will be asked to log in first)
from 8 customer reviews
Please Login to use shopping lists.
A seething mass of darkness has appeared where Earth once was, and it's stretching out deadly tentacles towards the six homeworlds of the galaxy's other empires.
The galaxy has been thrown into chaos; colonies are rebelling, workers are fleeing their jobs, and old hatreds are threatening to foment into war.
Now, cryptic missions are being transmitted from the vanished planet Earth. It's up to you to complete those goals, banish the creature, and restore Earth to its place in the galaxy before your homeworld is consumed!
Vanished Planet is a cooperative strategy game for 1-6 players, who must work together to manage resources and complete mission goals to win.
In order to appreciate Vanished Planet, players must enter the Vanished Planet world as students. They must realize they have much to learn and be willing to take the time to learn it. If players think they can take the lid off the game and commence playing an exciting match, they will be disappointed. Each race in the game has certain functions. Different equipment and resources need to be acummulated in varying quantities to accomplish different goals which are selected according to where the races are in the game and the level of difficulty the players have chosen to embark upon.
Players can only choose the level of difficulty at which to play the game once they are familiar with what the levels mean (that is, they have to have experienced playing the game on the different levels). I believe this game is the hardcore strategist gamer's dream. It will never cease to challenge even its most experienced player. On the other hand, it will never interest those whose idea of gaming is a fleeting romp through Sorry, Phase 10, or Uno while simultaneously talking about their latest dating adventures, shopping trips, or engine repairs. This game demands the attention of Chess, and, as is so with Chess, the peculiarities of each race and resource must be ingrained in the player's psyche before the strategizing (and, subsequently, the fun) can begin. A few slow tedious games in the beginning will yield magnificent fun in the long run.
A family would do well to have the adults in the family learn the game and scale it for their children before it is played together. In this way, children learn cooperation from their elders at a level they can understand. Those who know the children playing the game are the ones who decide the level of play for them. A game designed specifically for the family playing it...is that not the best?!
When I first played Vanished Planet, I was dismayed at the poorly edited manual, and the fact that there are no gameplay differences between the different races. But after playing that first game (2 players, on 'nightmare' difficulty), we were intrigued, and played again. It is through repeated play with different numbers of players that this game really shines, for then you appreciate the brilliance of the scaling difficulty - not just of the number of 'creature growth' cards you put in the event deck, but also of the goals themselves.
Unlike other 'co-operative' board games (the much-touted 'Lord of the Rings' springs to mind), actual co-operation is a necessity in this game. Players have to discuss and strategize together in order to win, trading cards in a manner similar (but far less competitive) than in 'Settlers' games. There can be no competition between players if anyone is going to win, and this may be the source of frustration for some of the reviewers: there is no competition, only co-operation. So if, for your gaming satisfaction, you need to be able to lord it over the other players that you 'beat' them, this is not the game for you.
The other compelling thing about this game is how different the game is with different numbers of players. When you play the solo game, you are able to pick and choose which goals to pursue, and have a reasonable chance of success, since you only need 5 points to win, but the goals you will go for will be fairly modest in scope. With even just three players, you have to carefully consider ever goal, because the ten extra points needed make a HUGE difference...but at the same time, the increased number of cards allows players to accomplish some of the extravagant technologies that are completely impossible with fewer players. With six players, each one pretty much has to complete any goal that he or she turns over, because 30 points is outrageously ambitious! If, however, the game seems too difficult or too easy, you can adjust the difficulty by adding or removing 'creature growth' cards as necessary ('nightmare' difficulty, with all 'creature growth' cards in the event deck, is well-nigh impossible), which is another nice contrast to other so-called 'co-operative' games out there.
Finally, the thing that really draws me back again and again is the real sense of accomplishment when you do manage to win: you really feel like you have succeeded against insurmountable odds when you do win. In one two-player game, my home world Talis teetered on the brink of absorption for *four turns* while both of us worked on mines to hold back the creature long enough for my ship to reach the winning goal. It was a titanic effort, and while we were convinced that we couldn't succeed, we did in the end, and the creature was defeated!
All in all, 'Vanished Planet' is the most satisfying 1.5-2 hour game I can remember playing, ever.
I am a big fan of cooperative games. Not only is it nice to take a break from competitive angst, but my wife and multiple friends of mine really enjoy cooperative games (that is, it's easy to get a cooperative game going). So when I saw a cooperative game that won Game magazines family board of the year, I bought it without reservation. Vanished Planet has not disappointed me.
Both my wife and I have played Vanished Planet solo multiply times, as well as together, and we've played a couple of times with groups of four people. My wife now regularly asks to play this game (a big plus to me).
Another reason Vanished Planet is popular with my family is that it plays is similar to Settlers of Catan (a favorite of mine for nine years). The game involves building, limited trading, and resource management. Instead of building for 10 victory points, the player builds for individual goal points of 5 (or more) per player. The incentive to do this quickly comes from a giant black tentacle monster that will eat all the player's home worlds if the goals aren't completed in time. The difficulty of the game is adjustable, and right now we're doing pretty good with 'hard' (I'm working up the courage to try 'nightmare').
Unfortunately, this game does have its flaws. In terms of components, the black creature disks are a little to big, the spaceships are domed wooden disks, and the rules could use some editing. My wife thinks the game plays a little long, and I could see people have some difficulty with the complexity of the building (there are 16 different 'things' that can be built).
However, I still think this game is very worth while, and consider Vanished Planet one of my better game purchases. I strongly recommend it to families and cooperative game enthusiasts.