So I picked up a copy of this game a couple of days ago. I haven't had a chance to play it with anyone yet, but I've skimmed the rulebook and punched out all the pieces. I have to say it looks like it will be a lot of fun. The components and the rules are both equal parts simple and complex from what I can see. I like that in a game. Simple rules are easy to learn and easy to remember. Couple that with surprisingly deep game play and strategy and you have yourself a winner. This has certainly been my experience with past Faidutti games and this one doesn't look like it will disappoint either.
I also like the story, such as it is. Not terribly detailed, but it sets the stage well and doesn't get tied up in irrelevant minutiae. That's fine by me; I didn't buy this game to read it like a book anyway.
I've never played any of Serge Laget's games before (that I know of), but I suspect I will be looking into them shortly. I really like this Nexus idea of FFG's to spotlight a game designer and give us more information about the brains behind the game. It makes this game feel more personal, more intimate. As if the guys who designed Ad Astra designed it specifically for me. I also like that - judging by what's written in the liners of this rulebook anyway - they aren't shy about mentioning games published by other companies. I can see how some corporate types might not like the idea of giving their competitors free publicity, but the fact that FFG is not among those types buoys my soul somehow. I eagerly anticipate the next game in this series, whatever it may be. If it's as unique as Ad Astra appears to be then it will be something to cherish, and the opportunity to educate myself about other game designers will be welcomed as well.
I guess there's not much of a point in this post. I just wanted to express how excited I am about this game and to thank FFG for coming up with yet another ingenious way to revolutionize the board gaming community. If you guys keep going like this, then history will certainly remember you well.