It is no secret that I am a massive fan of Hive and take it with me wherever I can, so when another game in a cloth bag came across my desk I thought that it would tickle my fancy, but did it?
The Stars Align follows a pretty simple premise, draw a card then place your wooden stars in the constellation shown on the board (which is the bag). The next player takes their turn and so forth until there is no room to place the constellation that is picked up.
This is when the second phase of play kicks in, the night phase. This is where things get interesting and far more competitive as you are now allowed to flip your opponents stars in order to make your constellations. This adds an element of take-that (albeit light) and also a further element of strategy, as you must work out what it going to be best in future turns and hope that your opponent will not flip you right back.
This game is one like Santorini, where it can be learned very quickly, but the way it plays allows multiple strategies and play that will never be the same.
As to the components, the bag and tiny wooden stars are fantastic (being double sided means you don’t have to sort them at the start of the game). The only drawback for me is the constellation cards that may get damaged of they travel around in the bag with the rest of the game, this isn’t a major detraction, but just something to be aware of.
At strict 2-player, this game has been fantastic for everyone in the family in various constellations (get it)..The kids love playing the adults, but the rules are simple enough that the kids can easily set up a game and play with no parental supervision at all. The after work crash is also a big issue for me, I find that I want to play a game at night, but that I can’t do it after a big day – The Stars Align is the perfect antidote to that, it can be set up super quickly and you can be playing before you even realise your exhaustion.
I am told that the retail release for The Stars Align should be happening this very week, and if you are a fan of abstract games with great strategy that can be played by anyone, then I would highly recommend picking up a copy for yourself.