Stellium review

19 November 2018
stellium-08751.png Stellium
A galaxy of marbles with universal appeal

Game themes seem to come in waves. Take 2010, when there was a sudden rush of Japan-themed games beginning with 'T', or the year in the mid-1990s when cavemen were all the rage. Right now it seems that games about the birth of the universe are having their own personal Big Bang, and Stellium is the latest singularity to... uh… let’s move on.

Four entities – that's you – are creating the universe by arranging stars, planets, supernovas and comets, and scoring points if they match patterns on one of the cards in front of you. This is a marble-based game with rotating board segments, but if you're hoping for some actual laws of physics the closest you're going to get is Newton's first, the one about objects continuing to move at a constant velocity unless acted upon by a force, as one of the marbles bounces off the table and rolls behind your Kallax bookcase.

There are four kinds of marbles, each with a different colour, texture and game effect. You have five seconds to draw one from a bag, working by feel. Then you place it and optionally activate its power, which can involve rotating a section of the board, switching two marbles’ positions or shunting a line of them. If you can arrange them to match the pattern on one of the 40 objective cards, you score. The game ends when someone passes a certain limit, but there’s some final scoring that may mean they don’t win.

It's partly clever spatial pattern-matching puzzle in the same genre as Labyrinth and partly groping in the cloth bag, trying to feel the marble you desperately need. It's pleasant to play and looks lovely, but it's a style of game that will likely be won by the person who is best at spatial-awareness puzzles.

The theme doesn't quite fit but that hardly matters: it's charming, involving and hard to dislike, right up to the moment when the person with an aptitude for this kind of thing declares a score three times yours. 


Buy your copy here.

Designer: Rémi Saunier

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Artist: Aurélie Guarino

Time: 30 minutes

Players: 2-4

Age: 14+

Price: £39

This review originally appeared in the October 2018 issue 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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