Age of Wonders: Planetfall Tabletop Review

Age Of Wonders: Planetfall is an implementation of the video game with the same name by Paradox Interactive. If you are a fan of the game and expecting the same 4X style then I will tell you right now to turn the expectations off. This is a two to six player game that will take about an hour to play. It takes only a few minutes to set up and tear down the game as well, which for me is always a plus.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall
Game Designer: Stepan Opalev
Publisher: Arcane Wonders

Platforms: Tabletop (reviewed)
Release Date: 2022
Price: $44.99 USD

Age of Wonder: Planetfall is a set collecting card game. Each player has the same three stats: Experience, Strength and Energy. The game is played out in seven rounds with five phases in each round: Discovery, Income, Exploration Part 1, Exploration Part 2, and Migration. Turn order is determined by the Initiative number on your character sheet lowest goes first. Each character starts in a different space on the track at the beginning of the game they also have their own unique ability.  

Experience never goes away but is needed to capture certain cards. Strength and Energy are used to gain cards. Each turn you place your ship on a card you want to acquire. If you do not have the power to gain the card you can not place your ship on that card. However, there will be several cards on the field so you have options to choose from, and if you can not gain a card you can choose an operations slot which allows you to spend points and gain Victory point strength or experience. There are three different levels cards will appear on, and depending on the level the card is on, the cheaper the card, but lower level cards place you further back in the turn order. 

There are four types of cards you can collect in the game: Unit cards which you gain with strength, Technology cards which add permanent abilities to your character, Landmark cards use energy to purchase cards grant additional Victory points for getting a set of the same place, and Pick ups which are free to grab and usually give energy or can be used to annex and get energy income during the income phase. 

Each turn has you place a number of cards in each section depending on the amount of players in the game, and then each player gains income. Starting from the top of the turn order you place your ship on a space to gain the benefits of the card. After the first buy phase, you place your ships back into the new turn order and do it again. After the second buy phase, the board clears and the next planet’s set of cards are added. You do this until the end of the seventh round. At the end of the seventh round you gain points from any tech cards that give points at the end of the game, and then you gain points that vary depending on which goal sheet is out.  Whoever has the most Victory points at the end wins the game. 

I played a six player version of the game. Because this was our first time playing, the full game took about an hour to play through. The game is both easy to understand and play. Since you only have to worry about what you’re playing, and you can only buy up to two cards in a single turn, the game isn’t terribly complicated to follow nor does it require a lot of attention. You will still be able to have great sidebar conversations while actively playing without getting lost. 

Six player setup

The game has high replay-ability since there are two sides to each character and the odds of being able to get the same synergy of cards are high. This means there are plenty of ways to replay with different styles and strategies. If you want to play multiple sessions in a row, it’s extremely easy to reset and start a new game in a matter of minutes.

While the game itself is good, I had some concerns with the material. The cardboard this game was printed on isn’t great. The operations board folds in half and it is already starting to split on the seam, which is concerning since I’ve barely owned this game for a little over a week. That is not a good sign, since the components are extremely important to prolonging the shelf life of any board game. 

Overall, I would recommend Age of Wonders: Planetfall if you want a quick set collecting game that is not challenging to learn or play. If you want something that is a 4x game in the style of a board game or something heavier then this is not the game you are looking for I would recommend Twilight Imperium for that experience. Overall this is a good game to bring to a game night and wanting a quick game to play so you can play other games as well. 

Age of Wonders: Planetfall was reviewed using a copy provided by Arcane Wonders. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Age of Wonders: Planetfall is available directly from Arcane Wonders.

, ,

The Verdict: 7

The Good

  • Setup and clean up are quick
  • Games are short
  • Easy to pick up and play

The Bad

  • Fans of the 4X game are gonna be disappointed
  • Not much of a challenge for experienced tabletop players
  • Game materials are poorly constructed
Where'd our comments go? Subscribe to become a member to get commenting access and true free speech!