10 June 2021
Everything about the game is lovely, wrapping up the simple mechanics in something worth spending a short trip with.
A fresh reprint of Celestia has drifted like a wayward airship onto our tabletop this month, and it’s worth taking a look at, if only for the view.
Celestia is a push-your-luck game of steampunk air travel that sees players taking part on a great expedition to the heavens – hoping to stop off at some of the fabled sky cities along the way and swipe some keepsakes (points) before the expedition falters. And by falter, we mean the airship crashes from the skies rather unceremoniously.
Players take turns as the captain, who has to deal with the events which crop up on the event dice – such as pirates, loads of weather, or birds. They pay for these using card in their hand, discarding them as they need to. But before this leg of the journey is paid for, the other players have to decide whether they reckon the captain has the cards to get through the upcoming trouble. If not, they would be wise to get off early and take some points where they are, rather than end up in another terrible airship crash.
Which makes for interesting bluffing. After all, how often would someone driving any kind of transport, steampunk or otherwise, try to suggest to you that they’re very ill-equipped and you’re probably going to die? Having bonus cards available to you (including some picked up from cities you visit) can mitigate many disasters – and it’s all undeniably funny when a captain tells everyone “it’ll be fine,” before leaving them all to crash as he flies to safety using a jetpack.
And all of this done by moving a charming cardboard airship (put together in a very IKEA kind of way) that contains your player markers one city at a time along the route. Everything about the game is lovely, wrapping up the simple mechanics in something worth spending a short trip with.
Christopher John Eggett
PLAY IT? YES
Designer: Aaron Weissblum
Time: 30 minutes
This article originally appeared in issue 56 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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