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Exploring the depths of Wormholes: A review of Peter McPherson's space adventure game


The box art from the game Wormholes . It shows a wormhole through which a saturn-like planet can be seen in the middle, and a space ship in the foreground about to enter the wormhole
Box art pics courtesy of AEG

Summary

Players: 1 - 5

Ages: 10 +

Game Time: 45 mins +


Wormholes is published by AEG and designed by Peter McPherson (creator of Tiny Towns). It is a fast-paced and exciting board game that will take you on a journey through a wormhole-riddled universe. Players take on the role of rival pilots vying for control of valuable wormholes and delivering passengers throughout the galaxy. With easy to learn mechanics and high replayability, Wormholes is a great game for both experienced gamers and newcomers to the hobby.


The game is set in a far-off future where humanity has discovered the secret to faster-than-light travel through the use of wormholes. These wormholes have opened up a vast new universe of opportunities, but they also come with spatial anomalies and competition from other space captains. Players must navigate the treacherous landscape of asteroids and generate wormholes to connect great distances all the while collecting and picking up new passengers along the way.


Gameplay

The game is played on a modular board, which is randomly generated at the start of each game, and features a variety of different space abnormalities, planets, and other space phenomena. Players must use a combination of strategy and luck in order to successfully navigate the board and claim first dibs on planetary wormholes for themselves.

With its easy to learn mechanics, high replayability, and exciting gameplay, Wormholes is a must-have for fans of board games and science fiction alike.



Varying map tiles from the game Wormholes . Each tile has a central hexagon, surrounded by six hexagons and then a third layer of hexagons
Varying map tiles (double sided) - picture courtesy of AEG

The objective of the game is to generate wormholes and deliver passengers to specific planets throughout the galaxy to score points . The game takes about an hour to play on your first game, allowing for the learning curve, after which you could maybe get it down to 45 mins.

Each player starts with a wormhole adjacent to the space station and a ship. On each turn, players can take several actions such as:

  • At the cost of 1 energy, moving their ship (by spending energy 3 per round) to explore new planets, wormholes, and other space phenomena

  • Generate wormholes - up to 5 in total (free action)

  • Claiming exploration tokens by placing wormholes adjacent to planets (free action)

  • Warping through wormholes (free action)

  • Dropping off or delivering passengers (free action)

  • Using a map feature if it has a free action (otherwise consult the rulebook).

Players also earn victory points by using wormholes controlled by other players (1point) and of course delivering passengers. At the end of the game, the player with the most victory points wins.


Wormholes is a game that combines strategy and a small degree of luck. The modular board is randomly generated at the start of each game and features a variety of different wormholes, planets, and other space phenomena, so each game is different, which I really love. The game plays well with two or more players and does have a solo variant.


Players need to make strategic decisions on where to place their ship, where and when to build routes in order to deliver their passengers, and when to claim control of a wormholes and when to just cut their loses and use a competitor to deliver that final passenger.



Player boards arranged modularly, and various components from an in-play game of Wormholes
Player boards and components - picture courtesy of AEG

Production

I am a little spoiled these days by deluxe board games with beautifully designed parts and screen-printed meeples, but sometimes these such games just fall short of the quick and simple setup function that allows you to just play.

Wormholes does allow you to get stuck straight in and uses simple elements to achieve this, which I can't fault. Whilst there is nothing wrong with the production of it, it's just not top notch like some deluxe games we've been spoiled with. The wooden little ships could have maybe been a little more extravagant, since it's the core piece you are moving around.

So what do you get in the box?

1 Rulebook 5 Ship Tokens 50 Wormhole Tokens 100 Passenger Cards 10 Space Boards 15 Energy Tokens 5 Pickup Tokens 10 Exploration Tokens 46 Point Tokens 1 Randomizer Token 1 First Player Token 5 Reference Cards 3 Round Countdown Tokens 1 Planets Connected Token


Conclusion

​So, let's break it down for you in our key areas:

Replayability - High, the board is different every time since you have a randomiser to choose orientation and sides of boards for the setup of the game.


Production Value - While it's not the best, it's functional and works. Like I mentioned earlier, we've become spoiled with deluxe versions of games and when entry level games come out, we are like MEH! If AEG came out with a deluxe version I would but it IMMEDIATLEY. I must say the graphics and space art are good and certainly capture the theme really well!


Theme - Who doesn't like a space game where you are building a robust network of wormholes to fine tune delivering passengers throughout the galaxy?


Complexity - Not at all, the player actions are clear and the strategy is straightforward.


Rules - The rules are clear and precise, I reckon some eight year olds could play this and have fun!


Uniqueness - It's pretty unique but I get some Ticket To Ride vibes, and its so much better than Ticket to Ride!


Value - Not bad at all, you can buy this directly from AEG (https://alderacstore.com/wormholes) and if you sign up to the mailing list you can get up to 15% off your next order!, or from Amazon priced at around £55, considering how much I have played this already, I would say its GOOD value.


A D6 die face showing five pips - each pip the head of DOALG's Ink the imp

I really like this game, since we were sent it for review I have played this easily ten times and everyone I have played this with has enjoyed it and agreed with me that it is BETTER than Ticket to Ride. A thoroughly fun game where you need to think your actions through a little. Only reason I am not scoring this a 6 is because of the wooden ship tokens (considering these are main pieces players move around) suck! AEG need to make a deluxe version and I for sure would BUY it. They could also maybe add in some rule variations for more seasoned gamers. Wormholes is a great example to teach the pick-up-and-deliver mechanic without any additional complex rules. If you’re looking for something like that, you want to expand your collection of space games, or you just love pushing the boundaries of interstellar travel, you might enjoy Wormholes!


Thanks to AEG for sending this over to us.

Your DoaLG Founder

Mr Chris


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