Add new comment | Casual Game Revolution

Add new comment

Gravwell: 2nd Edition

Your engines are offline, you’re stuck in space, and only your tractor and repulsor beams are working. You’ll have to use your opponent’s ships to fling yourself to the warp gate and try to escape!

Published by Renegade Game Studios, this second edition of Gravwell introduces new ship abilities, a faster drafting phase, and some new component designs.

Gameplay

The board is placed in the center of the table. It shows a spiraling line of spaces with a warp gate at either end and two debris spaces at intervals on which space junk tokens are placed. In a two-to-four-player game, all players start with their ship at the same warp gate, while in a five-to-six-player game they take turns choosing which warp gate to start at — but there can never be more than three ships starting at the same gate. In order to win the game, you want to be the first player to reach the warp gate at the opposite end of the board.

When you choose your spaceship at the start of the game, you also take that ship’s emergency stop card and its three unique ability cards. You start the game with the ability cards flipped to their uncharged sides and the emergency stop button flipped to its charged side.

The fuel deck is shuffled and each player is dealt six cards. You are now ready to begin. The game is divided into rounds, with each round composed of six turns. Each turn, all players simultaneously choose one card to play from their hand and reveal them at the same time. Cards have two letters on them, representing different elemens. You resolve cards in alphabetical order based on the first letter and use the second to act as a tie-breaker. Most cards are tractor or repulsor beams. These move you towards or away from the nearest object on the board. Objects include either an opponent’s ship or space junk. But there are multipoint tractor and repulsor beams as well in the deck, which move all other objects on the board either towards or away from your ship.

If, while moving, an object would land on a space with another object, then that object keeps moving until it reaches an empty space. Also, regular tractor and repulsor cards, as well as the multipoint repulsor card, do not affect objects in warp gates.

Once per round, you may use your emergency stop card, turning it over to its uncharged side. When you use this card you may ignore the card you played this round. Each of your other ability cards becomes charged by specific actions listed on those cards, such as ending your turn on a debris space or five spaces away from another player. Once an ability has been charged, you may uncharge it to activate it, usually on your turn. An ability card can be charged multiple times during the game. At the end of the round, your emergency stop card is recharged. If you have not uncharged it that round you may instead choose to charge one of your other abilities.

At the beginning of rounds two through six, the cards are drafted instead of being dealt. Piles of three fuel cards equal to twice the number of players are dealt out, with one face-down and the other two face-up. Players then take turns selecting piles to add to their hands until all players have six cards.

If no player has won the game after six rounds, then the player who is closest to their warp gate goal wins the game.

Gravwell: 2nd Edition Components

Review

Gravwell is such an intriguing game with absolutely fantastic player interaction. Each turn you’re trying to predict how other players will act, turn order is crucial, and from round two onwards you always have some idea of what cards are in each player’s hands.

The core concept of this game is unique, fun, and engaging. The more players, the higher the chaos — and that chaos is thoroughly enjoyable. Consequently, it doesn’t work great as a two-player game, but with three and above Gravwell is a fantastic time.

When comparing this second edition to the original, it holds up well. The drafting phase between rounds is a little faster, which works well with the increased player count. The increased player count also works well, adding the potential for even more chaos, and the game adapts nicely to more players. The special abilities also add a nice touch that is easy to add or remove from the game depending on your preference, while offering some variety. It’s fun to try to figure out ways to charge your powers, and satisfying when you can charge multiple cards in a round.

The components are fantastic and also an improvement over the original. The game looks absolutely fantastic and has a great table presence with the unique ship models, the colorful board, and the tokens for the space junk. It takes a bit of practice to learn how to read the fuel cards, but there is a helpful player guide printed on the back of the rules booklet.

Gravwell is a great game, and this second edition only improves on it. If you have the base game already and you’re a big fan or you don’t have a copy yet, it’s worth an upgrade. But if you don’t enjoy Gravwell as it stands, this edition isn’t likely to change your mind.

Pros: Fantastic player interaction, component quality, increased player count

Cons: Fuel cards take a little time to learn how to read, not at its best with two players

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.