Where's the Explosive Space Modulator?--A Preview of Cosmic Kaboom

Today we're going to preview Cosmic Kaboom, a new dexterity game from Minion Games, on Kickstarter right now. It's for 2 to 4 players, and lasts around 30 minutes.

The Setup

Each player gets a triangle-shaped home base, and players use those to create a square or rectangle play space, with those bases being the corners. Everyone takes the Cargo Hold, Ship, and three Planets associated with that color, too. (In a 2- or 3-player game, distribute all of the Planets evenly.) 

Everyone takes turns placing Planets down into the playing surface. Each Planet has one, two, or three small dots on it, and you place the Energy Crystal for each color on the Level 1 Planet of that color. 

Finally, everyone chooses an Advancement card--this is always take-two-and-keep-one. The Advancement cards are special powers that let you break the rules in some way. 

 Prototype components!

Prototype components!

The Gameplay

The starting player flicks his Ship toward a Planet with a Crystal on it. If he hits nothing, his turn is over. If he manages to hit that Planet, he moves that color of cube onto his Cargo Hold and takes another turn. (The Crystal also moves to the Planet with the next number of dots, wrapping from 3 to 1.) If he goes out of the playing area, he ditches every cube out of his Cargo Hold and will start over next turn. 

Instead of flicking, a player can move back to base and drop off cubes onto home base--keeping them safe if he goes off the playing area. 

Once a player has all four colors of Crystal at home base, he can attempt to throw the Space Bomb. This is a tile he throws from behind his base, trying to land on top of planets. If he does cover one or more planets, he gets to remove and keep those--and then gets rid of the cubes on his base. If he misses, he keeps them and tries again next turn. 

A player who loses a planet gets an Advancement card for each. 

Here are some Advancement card examples:

  • Hyper Drive--Once per turn, if your flick does not collide, you may flick again. 
  • Matter Transporter--Energy crystals in your cargo are immediately transported to your base.
  • Diplomacy--Whenever you throw the Space Bomb, you may throw the Bomb from any player's base. 
  • Spies--Discard this Advancement to steal an energy cube of your choice from another player's base. 

This keeps going until all Planets of a single faction have been destroyed, or until seven Planets of any combination of colors have been destroyed. 

Scoring:

  • 2 points for each Planet of your faction left on the board.
  • 3 points for each 1-level Planet.
  • 4 points for each 2-level Planet.
  • 5 points for each 3-level Planet.

If you manage to destroy one of your own Planets with the Space Bomb, you don't get any points for that. You monster. 

The Verdict

Firestone--I've really enjoyed playing Cosmic Kaboom. 

The rules are simple, and the gameplay is fun. I played with my game group, and they weren't big fans of the unbalanced powers, and said they felt "meh" about the gameplay, but they were laughing a LOT as we played. No matter what they felt about the game, they were having a good time. 

Most of my games have been with family, and that's where Cosmic Kaboom shines. The powers are WILDLY unbalanced, but it's perfect for playing with family and nongamer friends. Even my 7-year-old was holding his own, and having a great time.

There's a fair amount of take-that with the Advancement cards, but in this type of game, it seems okay. I just need to play a Knizia game afterward to purge my system...

Moving the Crystals around from planet to planet is a little fiddly, but I think it's a good mechanism, and I like that you can sort of use it to your advantage. "Okay, it'll be hard to get my Ship way over there, but if I wait here, and two people can get that Crystal before me, it'll move right here next to me..."

My kids love playing it. There is so much laughter and cracking up, as flicks go wide, the Big Bomb flies off the table, and they destroy their own Planets. Their underdeveloped motor skills actually elevate the game. At least for me. 

Firestone's Final Verdict--If you want a balanced dexterity game, play Crokinole. But if you want a light, fun dexterity game you can play with friends and family, check out Cosmic Kaboom. It's the...bomb.

Check out the game on Kickstarter right now. Thanks for reading!