We played it for the first time in our game night last night and WE LOVED IT!
At first, some folks struggled, and one admitted she struggled the whole first game…and the struggle was simply understanding how the components of the turn phase are so finite.
For example, folks who play Catan are used to building, trading, collecting resources all on one turn. However, these are separate actions/cards. So players often got stuck with resource cards but forgot they needed a trade card, or wanted to build but realized that is a different action.
With all of that said, we plowed through the initial adjustments and it turned into a scoring nirvana and each player seemed to have their relative advantages.
One player even had the artifact that guarantees a win if they scored precisely 42 points and that player finished with 37 and was feeling she was one card away from hitting 42!
This game has some deep components to it in terms of thinking ahead and having a clear goal in mind. Players can achieve it many different ways and you have to adapt what you are doing to what others are doing. That is always, to me, what makes a great game. The artifact cards add some luck/chance to the game and game setup is much much easier than Catan ever was, exploring star systems and building components is fun.
I know not much is said about this game, but we loved it. We do play Catan, but also play Kingsburg and Shadows and many others. It is often compared to Settlers and I see the connection, however I felt there were aspects of Stone Age within it as well. We even made a Shadows over Camelot connection because folks were confused about starship movement, when they use fuel or when they do not and as it turns out, there is one point where movement is free and it is almost identical to travel to and from camelot.
Anywho, I just wanted to post positivity and help others who are thinking about it. There are lots of "mineral" resource types and lots of latin words being thrown around. My only negative is that the group refused to remember or associate those words.
So Zozothium turned into gold
Yoyothium turned into lava rock
and Xenothium turned into fraggle rock (Because it looks like fragmented rock)
Just about everywhere there was a unique or latin name, we butchered it and probably caused Serge and Bruno to roll their eyes subconsciously. Sorry, Bruno and Serget! We still love your game, though!