Beyond the Sun
Beyond the Sun is a game for 2-4 players, designed by Dennis Chan, and released through Rio Grande Games.
In Beyond the Sun, players compete to have the winning faction by building a space civilization. Players discover technology, resolve events, grow population, build spaceships, colonize planets, and hopefully complete the most achievements.
Players take turns by moving the action pawn onto any open action spot and claiming that action. Next, the player either produces population or ore, or trades resources that they own. Finally, at the end of a player’s turn they check to see if they have completed any achievements. The game will end in the round when a fourth achievement marker has been placed on any of the four achievement cards.
Each player receives a faction board. This faction board holds all of the player’s supply dice and all of their food and ore production tokens, and is home to each player's advancement track. Also on each faction board is a placeholder to store any population dice and/or ore the player may own. Each faction has two faction boards, one basic version and one advanced version. This helps keep the game fresh with new actions that provide some in game bonuses.
This is a dice game, however, dice will very seldom be rolled. In fact, there is a good chance you will not roll the dice ever during the game. Die faces are used to represent supplies, population, and spaceships’ power level 1-4. On each player's faction board, supply dice are placed into the five supply columns labeled A - E.
Column A holds 5 supply cubes
Column B holds 4 supply cubes
Column C holds 3 supply cubes
Column D holds 3 supply cubes
Column E holds 2 supply cubes
Under those supply columns in two rows are the Food Production track and the Ore Production track. Every two disks a player removes from the Food or the Ore track increases the amount of population or the amount of ore the player can produce during the production phase.
The Technology board will be shared by all players. It is on this board that actions can be taken. All players will have an action pawn. This pawn will be used to take the spot of the available actions. On turn one, there will be four Basic Spacefaring actions a player can take.
The first basic spacefaring action:
Allows a player to place one population die onto one of the four level 1 technologies. Each game all the four level 1 technologies will be placed on the board. There are only four level 1 technologies, but where they are placed on the board will be random each time.
From these level 1 cards the technology tree lines will mark to which technology level 2 each level 1 card is connected. From there the path is marked to the level 3 and finally the level 4 technology cards.
The second basic spacefaring action:
Allows a player to spend two ore and add a population die to a level 2 technology provided they already have a population die on the linked level 1 technology card.
The third basic spacefaring action:
Allows a player to convert one population die in his or her supply into level 1 spaceship and then perform a Jump 2.
Jump lets a player move spaceship(s) as many times as the Jump they earned. One spaceship can move two places, or two ships can move one place. If a spaceship ends movement on a system or a space port that is not Sol (the starting location) or deep space, that player will determine if control of that location has been earned. To gain control a player has to have the most spaceship power in that location. If they do, they must place one food production marker or one ore production marker from their faction board onto that location to mark that player now controls that location.
The fourth basic spacefaring action:
Allows a player to exchange one supply from the faction board and convert it into a population die, and then also gain one ore.
As the game progresses, players will discover technologies that will allow them to colonize systems, improve a players economy, build and improve spaceships, and move to control more locations, all while working toward those achievements.
I personally really like how this game uses the dice in the game, not as a dice rolling mechanic, but instead as a resource marker. The factions boards are embossed which allows for easy use control and placement of supply dice, production markers, and keeping tokens on the automation track. The game play is very straight forward, but the variety and timing of when the level 2, 3, and 4 technologies come out give the game a high level of replayability along with the diversity of level 2, 3, and 4 technology cards in the game also increase that variance from game to game keeping the game fresh and challenging. I highly recommend Beyond the Sun.
Bonus! The game is also available to play with your Board Game Arena (BGA) membership. BGA is such a great website to use to play a growing library of games online.
Hope you are able to find and enjoy Beyond the Sun, designed by Dennis Chan and released through Rio Grande Games.
Until next time, we’ll see you at the game table.