Tiny Epic Galaxies is a dice game by designer Scott Almes and published by Gamelyn Games. It is the most recent game in their “Tiny Epic” line, preceded by Tiny Epic Defenders and Tiny Epic Kingdoms. Currently the next title, Tiny Epic Western is available on Kickstarter (campaign ends on 2/4/16). Tiny Epic Galaxies plays 1-5 players and a game runs about 30 minutes long. Each player tracks their empire and resources on their own player mat. On their turn each player rolls a number of dice dictated by the current level of their empire. The different symbols on the dice are activated to do various actions; generate culture or power, launch a ship to land on a planet, activating it’s power or launch a ship to put it in orbit around a planet, increase your position in a planet’s orbit, or upgrade your empire. The goal is to earn twenty-one or more victory points which are gained as you upgrade your empire and whenever you colonize a planet (move your ship around the orbit until you get to the final space). When you colonize a planet it moves off of the center row and stacks under your empire board, and the planet’s ability becomes a choice whenever you activate the empire die (which initially only upgrades your empire). Whomever gets twenty-one points triggers the final round. Once all players have finished their turns, the game ends. Players then reveal their hidden goal, and the player with the most points is the winner!
I’ve backed quite a few Kickstarter games in my time. Some are better than others, but Tiny Epic Galaxies is among my favorites. This has been stated about a great many games, but they really pack a lot of game into a little box. Most dice games are fairly un-interactive. You roll, take your actions, and the next player then takes their turn. Tiny Epic Galaxies has one action that you can do which solves this problem. It is called following. Whenever a player activates one of their dice I can spend a culture point and “follow” that action. When I follow an action I get to use that same action as if I activated that die face myself. I don’t have to do this in the same way as the player who activated the die initially. For example, if my opponent activates the launch face of a die and puts one of their ships into orbit around the planet Helios, I can follow and also launch a ship. I could put that ship into orbit around Helios, but I could also land it on Helios or land it on another planet, or put it into orbit around another planet. The follow action removes the down-time that accompanies most dice games as well as truly giving the players interaction and increases the tactical decision making aspect of the game. As the end of the game nears, you have to really pay attention to who has culture and who doesn’t, and be cognizant of which players can follow your actions and steal points right out from under you. TEG may have been my first Tiny Epic game, but it certainly won’t be my last.