Living in the city, I don’t get to see the stars very often. The light pollution makes only the moon and a few of the brightest stars and planets visible, so I really enjoy having the chance to see the night sky in all its glory when I go traveling – and a perfect pairing with travel and stargazing is The Stars Align by Sean Fenemore and Matt Radcliffe.
We were provided a review copy of The Stars Align by publisher Breaking Games. We weren’t otherwise compensated.
Composed of a set of constellation cards and wooden star tokens wrapped in a cloth bag, The Stars Align can be played just about anywhere that you have a flat surface. The game mixes tile placement and spatial puzzle solving in an accessible and entertaining way.
The goal of the game is to fill rows or columns with your stars to score points. When a row or column is filled, the scoring player adds a shooting star to their points and the first player to earn 5 shooting stars wins.
During the first phase (the Dusk phase) you will use the bag as the board and select which color star you are using. On your turn you will draw a constellation card and then place stars in your color onto the board in a shape matching the card. You can place anywhere on the board so long as you do not overlap any other stars placed.
Play will go back and forth this way, filling the board, until no other stars can be placed without overlapping. Then the game moves into the night phase where you can overlap. You can place over any number of your own stars, but can only overlap up to 3 of your opponents stars. Any stars that are overlapped change color. In this way, by covering their stars, your opponents placements can net you a win.
Andrew: It also sort of scratches the same itch that an abstract like Othello does, which I enjoy. On the other hand, it’s not deep or engaging, but that can be a good thing if you want a quick game you can chit-chat during.
All in all we really enjoyed The Stars Align as a great travel-friendly, filler game. The game is straightforward and quick, which make for a fun little diversion!
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Suggestions based on The Stars Align…
- For those looking for another fun abstract game: Azul – A gorgeous tile laying game where players draft brightly colored tiles to add to their board. Players score points depending on how well they complete their sets.
- For those who need another travel game to toss in their luggage: Codinca – Fitting in a tiny box, Codina packs a lot of strategy. Players control a set of four matching symbol tiles and must attempt move their tiles into four specific patterns. The first to match all the patterns, wins.
- For those looking for a great spatial puzzle game: Barenpark – Family-friendly and lots of fun, this tile-laying game has players competing to see who can design the best animal sanctuary exclusively for bears.