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Designer: Don Eskridge  |   Players: 4-8   |   Playtime: 40 – 80 minutes

I was walking past the BGG.con library when I saw some people playtesting Abandon Planet – the newest game from Don Eskridge, the designer of The Resistance. I was so pumped to see this game out in the wild that I had to ditch my group and try it out.

Don was there teaching the game and he let us dive right in – we were spoonfed only these basic rules and left to figure out the game as it unfolded.

  • I can collect resources
  • I can’t collect enough resources without allying with someone – but I cannot ally with my neighbor
  • I can choose a sector to go to and collect resources
  • The leader of the round knows which sector will be hit by a meteor (destroying that sector)

Then we got to the game.

Abandon Planet is currently being funded on Kickstarter.

ROUND 1
The leader drew a card that determined which sector a meteor would destroy. It’s the guy next to me. He decides not to tell me where the meteor is headed. That’s ok, I think, because I don’t know how much it matters anyhow. Christopher is sitting across the table on his third bottle of wine and he assures me that he will take care of me. Excellent! I’ve made a partner for at least the rest of this game and I know I can use that to my advantage. Everyone chooses a sector they will move to and then the meteor hits. It didn’t hit the sector I chose so I got to pick up a scrap and a piece for my ship. Still not sure exactly what is going on, I start to worry if I’m going to like the game. Why am I collecting resources? How am I supposed to form alliances? What if I want to abandon the game before we abandon the planet?

ROUND 2
A new leader is raised up and decides to tell me where the meteor is going. This make me happy! I have some information – I know which sector isn’t safe for me. I decide to tell my neighbor where the missile is going, even though we can’t possibly be on the same team. What can I say, I just like people to like me. Some people land on the same space and they have a fun fight. Some people blow up but still get some good stuff. I’m still not sure if I like the game yet, but things are starting to happen.

ROUND 3
The leader of round 3, who could potentially be my ally, decides not to tell me where the meteor is going. What the crap?! Why won’t he tell me? Why would it be a good strategy to alienate a possible ally? Oh well, at least I can convince my neighbor to tell me where the meteor is headed – he tells me sector 4. I know I’m not going to sector 4 so I go to sector 5 and pick up some fuel and scrap.

Wait! What? The meteor hit sector 3?! My neighbor lied to me! I didn’t get hit, but he was caught in the lie so I called him out.  After a few good minutes of berating him, I told him I was an astronaut and there was no way he could get off the planet before me – you know, some good old space trash talk.

ROUND 4
I’m starting to understand. I can only carry a limited amount of resources so I will need a partner – someone with the resources I couldn’t get. I start telling other people what resources they should get and what I will get, developing a plan for me to abandon the planet with one other lucky person.

I’m starting to get it, and the game is afoot. I can tell people what to do and if they agree I’ll trust them a little bit. If they go somewhere else, they played me and are trying to partner with someone else. My early choices need to be based on getting resources other players haven’t. I need to keep as many people happy with me until I see the most advantageous partnership and get off planet with our combined resources.

ROUND 5 AND BEYOND
People are starting to make alliances and lose trust with others quickly. My adrenaline is pumping  – just like it does in the very best games of The Resistance, but this is a little different. I’m not worried about being found out, I’m excited about getting people to follow me and hoping my allies don’t get blown up. If my potential allies lose resources who else can I make a quick alliance with? What if I try to take off and get betrayed?

I am full of anticipation and can’t help but trash talk my filthy lying neighbors. I have deemed myself the American astronauts and they are the cosmonauts. They obviously don’t have the money and wits to get off planet first.

When I realized that I had a shot at winning the game I showed my neighbor, Travis, that I was going to sector 6 and set the card down (you can see this moment below – it was great!). I knew I wasn’t fully aware of all the rules, but I had just prepped my engine in order to Abandon Planet. I was fairly certain no one could stop me even if they knew where I was going. Don Eskridge saw what I was doing and told the whole table that he hoped I lost just for being so cocky. I still wasn’t sure if there were any tricks the cosmonauts could pull that I wasn’t aware of so while everyone plotted against me I was able to switch the tabled card. It was just as exciting for me to have duped my neighbor as it was to convince other people to join my cause.

And with that bit of cunning, I was victorious! Well, we were – my ally and me.

The game was amazing, and even though it took a few rounds to get interesting, it really took off. Pun absolutely intended!

There are a couple drawbacks:
Having a good game of Abandon Planet is highly dependent on the people you are playing with. It is also more mechanics-focused than The Resistance. This can be a strength but limits its appeal to a more gamer niche.

How is Abandon Planet better than Resistance and the like?
The ability to evaluate who you should partner with, and not having to hide who you can’t ally with is freeing. Many people have an issue with being deceptive in games like Resistance and this game completely eliminates the need to feel like you have to lie or get caught. It is completely possible to still be manipulative and deceptive, but only necessary for those skilled in these dark arts.

I really enjoyed playing Abandon Planet. If my experience sounds like something you and your group are interested in I would recommend you go back it on Kickstarter!

About the Author

About the Author

Wey

My love for board gaming is tied to my need to develop deeper connections with people. My collection keeps growing into the 100’s of games so that I can always have the perfect game to play with a particular group. I hope to be influential in progressing the hobby in new and interesting ways.

Favorite Games: Julius Caesar, The Resistance, Pit

About the Author

About the Author

Wey

My love for board gaming is tied to my need to develop deeper connections with people. My collection keeps growing into the 100’s of games so that I can always have the perfect game to play with a particular group. I hope to be influential in progressing the hobby in new and interesting ways.

Favorite Games: Julius Caesar, The Resistance, Pit