Mechanical Gamer posts a review of Gravwell

By Anonymous

In case you have not picked up Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension, make sure you check out the new review on BoardGameGeek.com by Mechanical Geek aka “mech_geek”.

"Gravwell is a game based on an idea.
It’s high-concept board gaming. And the idea is this: what would happen if your movement was entirely based on where your opponents are in relation to you?

And it’s a great idea."

In the review the author walks you through the various gameplay mechanics as he learns the game. Below is an except explaining his experience with the trademark “spiral” in Gravwell. From the review:

Spiral

When at all possible, I try not to flat out explain rules in these reveiws - it’s not really the point. But if you haven’t played Gravwell this is going to take a little concentration. Most of the fuel cards move you a number of spaces in one direction. That direction is determined by your closest opponent or derelict ship. So, if I have an opponent two spaces behind me and a derelict ship one space in front of me, I’m going to be flung in the correct direction (out of the deadly spiral, towards the Warp gate).

If the opponent is one square away (behind me) and the derelict ship two in front, then bad luck. My boosters are going to fire, and I’m going to boldly go straight back towards the “singularity” or “starting square” to use board gaming parlance. Once I’ve collected my $200 for passing Go (this is a joke) then next turn I can head out again.

There are cards other than boost which can be used for other situations. Repel is as it sounds - rather than sling-shotting towards your nearest ship, you instead spring away. This can be useful when you are out in front, but they are limited and often weak. And finally there are the tractor beams, which pull every other ship (including derelicts) towards you a certain number of spaces.

This is your brain on Gravwell

Here is how your brain works during a first game of Gravwell:

  1. This is odd.

  2. This is random.

  3. Oh, I can use big numbers safely when he is far in front of me.

  4. Oh, I can mess up his plans if I swap my position.

  5. I need to never be where my opponents think I’m going to be.

  6. Ahhhh, the early letters and late letters are really useful for that.

  7. I seeeeee, I can pull someone closer , they’ll go past me, and fire the wrong way! Whheeeeeeee.

  8. All the letters can be used well in the right situation.

  9. So if he’s played a boost, he’s going to stream past me but if I play a low alphabet card then I’ll go on the other side of him first but if he knows I know he’s going to try that I need to do the opposite. Also I need to build up a resistance to iocane powder.

  10. Is there ever an advantage to being in the lead?

  11. Yes, there is, because the swing effect is broadly symmetrical. If you’re in the lead, then your opponents have to play their big cards early to try and catch up, and you can save up for a big push later in the round. It’s sort of about maintaining momentum. Literally!

  12. Well, not literally, but almost.

  13. I’m going to bed.

 

Read the full review on BoardGameGeek.com.

Pick up your copy at your local hobby store or in the Cryptozoic eStore.


About the game

In Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension, players command spaceships that have been pulled through a black hole, transporting them into a different dimension. With each ship lacking fuel to get home, each player must collect basic elements from surrounding asteroids, using the gravity of the dimension and what little resources they have in order to reach the warp gate that will take them home. But in this dimension, moving ships will travel towards the nearest object, which is usually another ship, and when those objects are moving either forward or backward, reaching the warp gate isn’t always easy. Time is running out to save your crew and your ship! As a grim reminder of the cost of failing to escape, the frozen hulks of dead spacecraft litter the escape route – but with careful cardplay, you can slingshot past these derelict craft and be the first to escape from the Gravwell!

This easy-to-learn game uses 26 alphabetized cards to determine movement order and thrust; most cards move your ship towards the nearest object, but a few move you away from it. Players will draft fuel cards in each round – picking up three pairs of two cards, with only the top card of each pile being visible – giving you some information as to which moves you can expect from the other spaceships. During a round, each player will play all of his fuel cards in the order of his choosing. During each phase of a round, each player will choose one card, then all cards are revealed and resolved in alphabetical order. When your opponents move in ways you didn’t expect, you won’t always be heading in the direction you thought you would! Each player holds an “Emergency Stop” card that he may tactically play only once per round to avoid such a situation.

Whoever first reaches the warp gate wins, but if no one has escaped after six rounds, then the player who is closest to the gate wins.