Outpost Luna review: a city-building board game for sci-fi fans

By , Dec 30, 2013

Outpost Luna 3Leave it to a bunch of MIT guys to make their own board game. According to the email we received at iDB, a group of MIT graduates gets together every Labor Day weekend to play games and finally decided to create their own. Put a couple of brilliant minds in a room together and they could end world hunger… or make a board game.

Outpost Luna is the end result of years of playing and tweaking a city-building game set in outer space, and then turning it in to an iOS game…

Design

Just like most board game apps, the center of the screen displays the board, while the sidelines show the secondary information, including the player area. In this game, you can’t see what your opponent has in his inventory or his playing hand. However, you can see what actions he is taking during his turn.

The board is made up of a grid of tiles. Each tile represents a different type of resource of rock, ore, brick, water, or gold. The landscape looks similar to an asteroid or moon, but the mined resources are the same as you would find in ancient Greece.

Your available resources are listed on the left side of the screen with colored circles next to it, representing player markers. The one with the gray dot next to it is the current player.

Your current hand is displayed across the bottom of the screen with the three upcoming cards on the left and the three interchangeable cards on the right. The discard section is at the far right of the screen.

The city blueprints are on the right side of the screen. There will always be at least three blueprints, but there will sometimes be more.

Outpost Luna 2GamePlay

To win the game, be the first player to build three cities. That may sound easy, but it is harder than you think. Not only do you have to earn resources to build factories, towers, and residences, but you also have to keep an eye out for invading enemies who will steal your stuff.

On your first turn, you will begin by placing a “Move Unit” card. This will allow you to flip over and reveal the resource of one tile and then decide to either move a unit to the tile, or move it to another one.

If it is not the first turn, players start by moving a card from the hand, (interchangeable) section, to Spot #3. Each player has three action spots and three remainder cards. When you place a card in Spot #3, it means you will use it in three turns. So, every time you play, you must be thinking three moves ahead. Spot #1 is the only card that you can use to perform an action.

After you place a card in Spot #3, you will use the card in Spot #1. Most cards have two actions, but some only have one, or have two that must both be performed in one event. For example, some cards have Move Unit or Build City but some have Move Unit and Build Wall.

With the action cards, you can place or move a unit, produce resources, challenge another player to try to win their land, select a resource to tax, get a shipment from Earth, build buildings, including housing structures, towers, and factories, and finally, build a city.

If you decide to challenge another player, you will try to move one of your units to their tile and obtain what they have built so far. The card you use to challenge an opponent determines the base strength of your attack. You can also add gold to your attack to see if you beat your opponent’s defense. When you are defending from an attack, the gold you have previously allocated during your turn, plus any number of structures you already have on the tile will determine if you hold the line against your opponent.

Next, you will allocate gold to defend your unit if you have any. Gold is not spent to set up a defense, but it is kept on hand, just in case you need it to defend against an attack. For example, if you have seven gold in your inventory, you can allocate as much as seven gold to each unit on the board. They remain in your inventory and can be used to purchase structures. The allocation is simply to add a point increase to your armor stats.

Players can only have three units on the board at a time and can only build structures and cities on a tile where a unit exists. When you build a city, the unit goes back into your inventory and can be played on the board again later.

Through earning resources, building structures, and challenging or defending land, players try to be the first to build three cities.

Outpost Luna 1The Good

This game is very easy to understand. It is one of the simplest city-building games I’ve come across. There are very few alterations to the basic rules of the game, so even someone who doesn’t fully understand the genre can easily figure it out.

The computer-generated opponents are not particularly complex, but they still provide a relative challenge, so they aren’t too easy.

The Bad

You can’t undo a move. If you place a card in Spot #3 on accident, you can’t fix that mistake.

The Challenge and Defend actions are difficult to understand. The game’s downloadable rulebook should be included in the app. After reading the rules online, I was able to better understand how to defend against attack.

Value

Outpost Luna costs $2.99, which is relatively inexpensive for a board game app. This game is fairly simple and doesn’t feature a whole lot of expensive graphics or game mechanics, so it is priced right. Since you can play alone, against friends in the same room, or with others online through Game Center, the replay value is very high.

Conclusion

This is a fairly simple city-building game, which may be a turn off for experts at games like Settlers of Catan. It is better suited for new gamers in the genre, but can still be a fun title for a quick pick-up game in the afternoon. It takes less than an hour to get through a whole game. Download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps

Catan is a city building game that uses resources to develop land. Stone Age is another city building game with resources as a main feature.

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • Ian

    Cool

  • mhchehade

    Guys winterboard doesnt appear after installing it from cydia! What to do? Using iphone 5

    • Paul Williams

      If you would take a minute or two reading before you install a bunch of stuff from cydia you will probably know that until Mobile Substrate is fix nothing is gonna work smooth. Keep calm and wait for Mobile substrate to be updated.
      No need to rush you probably wait a While for this jailbreak so a couple of more days is not gonna hurt. And is gonna save you a lot of headache!

    • Derp

      Winterboard doesn’t work. Why did you download it…

      • mhchehade

        Just figured out ! It’s working after installing winterboard you need to re-install mobile substrate et voilà

      • Paul Williams

        Remember that you have to do the same procedure every time you reboot your device.

  • ccoltmanm

    I don’t like that every review for this game is by the developers.

    • Ariton Games

      Just curious as to what you mean by every review? Lory definitely isn’t one of the developers, and in iTunes there are a ton of reviews from others.

      • ccoltmanm

        In the App Store on my phone. Every review is a hyperbole, but the first bunch or so that I scrolled down were definitely. Seems, inappropriate.

      • Ariton Games

        Well, hard to control what others write. And as a small developer, it is very common to put a review and make it known that you are a developer. Sadly, most of the larger game companies hire outside people to write reviews.

        Do you like these style board games?

      • http://www.sacramaniacs.com/ Lory Gil

        I guess that’s what you get for being honest in your reviews about loving your own game instead of hiding who you are or hiring hundreds of people to write fake reviews. You can’t please everyone. ;)

      • ccoltmanm

        I do. I apologize if I came across as cross. I meant “every reviewer” was a hyperbole. Obviously that’s not true. I want small companies to get noticed and I suppose that is one way to make it happen. Good luck with your game!

      • http://www.sacramaniacs.com/ Lory Gil

        Thanks for clarifying and noting your appreciation of indie game devs. My hat goes off to you for your comment.

  • Ariton Games

    Thanks for the review! Also, we will plan on including the rules in the next update as well as adding some new Computer Opponents for challenges. You can currently undo the moving of a card to the 3rd slot by tapping and then tapping on the right arrows, or by dragging it to the right. We will try to make it more obvious in the next version.

    • http://www.sacramaniacs.com/ Lory Gil

      Thanks for letting us know. Looking forward to the update.