Age of Wonders: Planetfall review — Europe goes to space

It seems the tabletop industry is determined to turn every Paradox game into a tabletop game. Age of Wonders: Planetfall is the latest and comes to us from Hobby World and Arcane Wonders. Rather than trying to mirror the 4x gameplay of the PC version, the tabletop game takes a different approach with the Planetfall theme.

If you are familiar with the PC game, you may be surprised to see the smaller-than-normal-sized box this comes in. How can you cram a massive space 4x experience into this box? Easy, you can’t. Planetfall is an open drafting, set collection, euro-style game that plays fast. There are seven planets to “explore” throughout the game with players drafting up to two cards per planet. For the math whizzes out there, that means you will get exactly fourteen turns during the game. I say “explore” in quotations because the discovery happens all at once when the planet’s market of cards is dealt out at the start of the round. Your actions during the round are to simply choose one of the cards from the array. 

The cards are laid out in three levels with decreasing options as you descend. Each level also features a constant Operations action that you can take when you have no other options. The level of the card corresponds to the cost of taking that card. Typically the higher the level, the cheaper it is, but with a tradeoff of earning a later turn order for the next turn. Turn order is determined from top to bottom and left to right in the array and can be hugely impactful when resources are so tight. 

With the low number of turns and costs to take cards increasing each round, managing your limited energy and strength is half the battle. Pickup cards can be taken for an immediate energy boost or saved to generate income each round. Enemy cards require experience and strength to defeat but reward big points. Landmarks will reward bonus points if you match them across multiple planets. Technology cards provide passive bonuses and discounts on planets 1-4 and end-game scoring options on planets 5-7. Operations give you a pool of points to spend on end-game points, strength, or experience. 

Defeating an enemy, researching a technology, or exploring a landmark is reduced to choosing to take that card and paying the resource cost by moving your cubes down the tracks on your player board. The core of the game is really about making efficient choices when drafting the planet cards and focusing on managing your resources so you don’t have a dead turn. After all seven planets have been explored, the game ends. Players will add any end-game points from technologies and the shared goal sheet to their points and determine the winner. All of our games were very close in final score so the end game bonuses will likely determine the winner. Best not to ignore them. 

Variable player abilities, a pile of goal cards, and a random offering of cards from each planet give Planetfall a veneer of variability. Still, every game ends up feeling the same. In one game, strength might be more important and another time it’s energy. The game unfolds the same.

The artwork and production are great. All of the art is vibrant and nice to look at. The cards have a linen finish that shuffles nicely. The players get custom wooden meeples to represent their spaceships which is a nice extra touch. It looks great on the table.

While there is nothing technically wrong with Age of Wonders: Planetfall, there isn’t anything particularly interesting about it either. The theme might as well be anything and there is no connection to what you are actually doing during the game. Underneath the pretty space-themed artwork is a dry resource management euro game. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy euro games. Planetfall just doesn’t offer many interesting choices or any reason to pull it off the shelf over many other better options. 

Lead Tabletop Editor | [email protected]

A life long video gamer, Mark caught the Tabletop itch in college and has been hooked ever since. Epic two player strategy games are his favorites but he enjoys pretty much everything on the tabletop, just no Werewolf please. When he gets a break from changing diapers and reading bedtime stories he can usually be found researching new games or day dreaming about maybe one day having time for a ttrpg. Some of Mark's favorite games are Star Wars: Rebellion, A Feast for Odin, and Nemesis.



Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Review Guidelines

Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a simple card drafting game with resource management. The Planetfall theme is a mask for relatively dry gameplay with few interesting choices beyond which cubes move up and down.

Mark Julian

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

See below for our list of partners and affiliates:

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now


To Top