A few weeks ago we were able to present the new publishing house inPatience. At the SPIEL in Essen we were also able to collect the first publication from the young publisher. With Stellarion, the Oniverse is reaching for the stars. In the test, we show how good the novelty is and whether it can become the new star of the Oniverse.

With a game mechanics that of the predecessor Aerion inspired, the novelty is also reminiscent of the first title of the Oniverse. The latter is actually an excellent sign. multiple will Onirim called the best title of the Oniverse. At least it is Onirim the best-known title in the series and the only title to date that has been published in German but has been out of print for a long time. The novelty makes the first game in the series this "title" but at least in dispute. In early 2023, both Onirim as well as Stellarion appear in German.

To the stars

"You are the director of the observatory. Your telescopes are trained on the stars, planets and nebulas of the Oniverse and you are ready to launch the waiting spaceships into the sky."

The game comes in a box of the usual Oniverse size. Once again, the beautifully designed interior of the box has everything you would expect from an Oniverse game. If you open the two sides of the inlay and take out the rules and a game board that is included for the first time, you will find almost 100 cards, a game piece and a few tokens in the box. The cards always belong to a galaxy (“color”) and to a type.
With these few game materials, you can create an excellent game with simple rules.

box and inla

As always, the hinged inlay is an absolute eye-catcher. Image: Jonas Dahmen

The base game cards are divided into eight decks of eight cards each. The composition of each deck is always the same. Each card exists a total of four times. Twice in their galaxy's deck (black, purple, blue, and orange) and twice in their type's deck (rocket, nebula, stars, and planets). The top card of each deck is visible. Depending on the desired difficulty, you can still take shooting star tokens. With these, the start of a mission is simplified.

Navigate the Oniverse

In each turn you have the choice between two actions. You can start a mission by discarding a face-up card with a rocket, nebula, star and planet from the same galaxy. You can replace a card with the shooting stars. The token is then removed from the game. For starting a mission you get a travel map of the corresponding galaxy. The goal of the game is to send two missions to each galaxy.

set-up

The basic structure: one stack per galaxy (top) and one stack per card type (bottom). Image: Jonas Dahmen

If there are no suitable cards on the eight stacks to start a mission, you can influence the decks with coordination actions. To do this, you discard two cards of the same type and may carry out the corresponding action. Two rockets allow you to search a deck for a card. The Nebulas allow a discarded card to be shuffled back into their deck. Stars can be used to shuffle a deck twice and choose one of the top two cards to place on top. The other card goes under the deck. With the help of the planets you can place a card in the “Outpost”. There you can collect cards of a galaxy until you use them. If one of these coordination actions is performed with two identical cards (same type AND same galaxy), the effect is doubled.

(Almost) endless expanses

If it is not possible to start a mission or carry out a coordination action in a turn, you lose the game. As soon as all eight travel cards have been collected, you win immediately.

Stellarion wouldn't be an Oniverse game without expansions. There are four in the box. 

One of each of the black holes is shuffled into his deck. In addition, there are five more travel cards to complete. The composition of these five cards is random. A maximum of four trips to a galaxy are required. As an additional action you can now "cross". For this you have to discard four black holes. This action allows you to take any three travel cards. 

Two other levels come into play through the Theory and Breakthrough tiles. In each game you use a random breakthrough that boosts one of your coordination actions. The four theory tiles are stacked and “proved” one after the other. To prove a theory, you must have three cards of the requested type face up on the decks. The cards do not have to be discarded for this, just observed. Proving all four theories is an additional victory condition here.

expansion

Stellarion includes four small extensions. Image: Jonas Dahmen

The mirror cards act as jokers when triggering the coordination actions and allow more actions to be carried out. In order to still increase the difficulty with this expansion, the journey cards are placed in two rows and you can only complete the two completely visible ones. 

The largest expansion in terms of game material is the Icy Sun. The four meteor tokens are placed in their places on the game board. The Frozen Sun pawn is placed on the starting space. For each start and for each coordination action, the figure moves forward. If you let the effect of a coordination action expire, you can move the figure back again. By stepping back you can collect the meteors. If you discard two, you receive a travel card of your choice. With this expansion comes another defeat condition. If the figure reaches the end of its path, the game is lost.

Each expansion can be played individually or in combination with any number of other expansions.

Infobox

Number of players: 1-2 people 
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: good
Genre: Kennerspiel
Core Mechanisms: Deck Management, Set Collection

Author: Shadi Torbey
Illustrations: Elise Plessis
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2022
Language: English
Cost: 22 Euro

Summary

After the longest break between two releases, the Oniverse is in touch Stellarion back in all its glory. Anyone who loves the games of the Oniverse gets along Stellarion perhaps the best representative of this series.

The games are always exciting on paper. In the games, this is rarely noticeable. It's no different here either. The artwork is of course designed in the classic Oniverse style. This sets wonderful accents with its high-contrast colors and is certainly one of the most beautiful of the series.

All components are of very good quality. The cards feel nice and are stable. They will survive many mixing processes without damage. The quality of the game board, the tokens and the tiles cannot be faulted at all. 

The rules are clear and concise as usual. They leave no questions unanswered. Only the overview of the coordination actions, the different ways to get travel cards and the movement rules of the Frosty Sun would perhaps be better placed on an extra card than on the last two pages of the rule booklet. In order to really internalize the different effects of the card types, you need a game.

The game mechanics work great. Due to the small decks and the possibility of looking at the discard piles of the individual decks at any time, the luck factor is pleasantly low. 

With a playing time of 20-30 minutes, there is always time left for this game. Thanks to the various extensions, new challenges can always be put together. The Frozen Sun expansion in particular plays really well and is a nice new element that hasn't been seen in the Oniverse before. 

There is enough replay appeal and thanks to the various extensions it is noticeably higher than in other (solo) games of a similar duration Friday or Eternal Light

Overall is Stellarion a more than worthy addition to the line of Oniverse games. Mechanically on the predecessor Aerion building up, the game creates both memories of Onirim to awaken as well as to develop a charm of their own. With all these positive aspects, the novelty is a strong contender to be the best title of the Oniverse so far and definitely a new star in the solo gaming sky.

Last updated on 8.02.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API