Base price: $34.
2 – 4 players.
Play time: ~60 minutes.
BGG | Board Game Atlas
Check it out on Kickstarter!
Logged plays: 4
Full disclosure: A preview copy of The Search for Planet X was provided by Foxtrot Games. Some art, gameplay, or other aspects of the game may change between this preview and the fulfillment of the Kickstarter, should it fund, as this is a preview of a currently unreleased game.
And we’re back with another Foxtrot title! I’m super excited about this one, since it’s their Big Release (Spy Club being their previous Big Release, and I loved that one). They tend to do one every year or two, so I generally try to keep an eye out for them. Love an infrequent release. Anyways, let’s dig into The Search for Planet X and see what’s going on there.
In The Search for Planet X, players take on the roles of astronomers … doing just that. They know Planet X is out there, and they have some idea of the rules about where it appears relative to other things, so they’re going to go find the darn thing.
Naturally, there’s some prestige to being the person who finds it first, but you’re scientists; you can’t help sharing theories and speculating. You’ll have to suppress that urge a bit if you want to be the first to make this massive discovery and cement your place in cosmological history, though.
Will you be able to find the legendary Planet X?
- Player Count Differences
- Pros, Mehs, Cons
The game isn’t too challenging to set up. Set the board out in the center. It has two sides, one of which is the Standard Side:
The other is the Expert Side:
- Once you’ve set that up, have each player sit on one side of the board, and give them a player screen;
- The screens have a specific insert for Expert Mode, also:
Give each player a set of Theory Tokens in their chosen color:
And give them an Observatory Marker. These are 3D-printed ones for the preview, but who knows what the final version may have?
Place the Sun Board and Sun Token in the middle of the board so that half of the board is uncovered, starting at 1:
Place the markers on the space above the 1 (not the squares; place them on the ovals). Give each player a set of two Target Tokens:
Finally, give each player a note sheet corresponding to the side of the board they’re on. They’ll note Equinox or Solstices, make sure the symbol you have on your sheet is also on the side of the board facing you; it’ll make your life much easier.
The last thing to do is to set up the game; have all players download the The Search for Planet X App, available on both of your large-scale app stores. Configure the game as you would in the app, but try to avoid using the game code that you can see on the photos that I’m using for this review unless you really want to know where Planet X is before you play.
One important thing is that players should set their own difficulty level; the app will then provide hints (unless you picked Mastermind) that other players don’t get to necessarily know, which may become crucial as your deduction starts.
It’s Tokaido rules for movement, so the player with the piece that’s furthest back in the order (farthest from the 2) will start!
So, The Search for Planet X is a competitive deduction game; to win, you need to make sure that you’re correct about the state of the cosmos.
Finding Planet X may not be enough if you’re wrong about enough things, but locating Planet X will initiate the end of the game. Sort of a Viktor Krum catches the Snitch situation.
So deduct to your hearts’ content, but make sure you know what you’re doing!
On your turn you can take a variety of actions, but all actions cost Time, which will cause you to advance along the board clockwise.
The Sun Board also tracks time, and it always follows the player that’s farthest back. When that player moves, the Sun Board also advances until it hits the same space as another player.
When that happens, other events may activate, and I’ll talk more about Theories and Conferences in a bit.
Scan (2 – 4 Time)
When you Scan, you must note what area of the sky you’re scanning and what you’re looking for. Enter those parameters into the app, and the app will tell you how many of what you’re looking for is within that region.
It will not tell you where they are, though. Note that you can only scan within the visible sky, so regions that do not appear on the board currently are not scannable.
Keep in mind that using this consumes time, and how much you use depends on how much you scan:
- 1 – 3 Sectors: 4 time
- 4 – 6 Sectors: 3 time
- 7 – 9 Sectors (Expert Mode only): 2 time
Advance your token accordingly.
Target (4 Time)
To Target, you choose a sector in the visible sky and enter that into the app. Let your opponents know you are targeting that sector. When you do, the app will tell you what’s there. Keep in mind that just because it tells you that a sector is empty, doesn’t mean that it is! Either way, discard one of your Target tokens. If you have none left, you cannot use the Target action.
Research (1 Time)
To Research, tap Research into the app and choose options A – F. Let your opponents know that you are Researching and what option you chose. The tough one here is that you should record the information you’re given on your player sheet under the corresponding option. Most players forget this and instead just put it on one of the Research boxes, which leads to confusion later.
Research generally tells you a relationship between two of the objects in the night sky. It doesn’t take much time, but you cannot use Research twice in a row. On your next turn, you must choose a different action.
Locate Planet X (5 Time)
If you’re sure, you may attempt to Locate Planet X on your turn for 5 Time.
Be careful, though, as knowing where Planet X is isn’t enough! You need to be able to triangulate it by also knowing what is in the two sectors adjacent to Planet X.
If all three pieces of information are correct, you end the game! If any piece of information you provide is incorrect, you do not find Planet X. Either way, advance 5 time.
When the Sun Board passes or ends up on a space with a Theory Icon, all players may submit theories on what’s located in the sky.
When that happens, in player order, each player may place one Theory Token (up to two in Expert Mode) face-down on the outermost square space of a sector that doesn’t already have a revealed Theory Token (face-down ones are fine). If two players place in the same sector, place them on top of each other.
Once all Theory Tokens are placed, advance all theories one space towards the center.
If any unrevealed Theory Token is now on the red boxes at the center, it’s time for Peer Review! Have one player reveal the token and then hit the Peer Review button on the app to verify that token. If it’s correct, reveal all other tokens in that sector.
If it (or any revealed tokens) is incorrect, remove it from the game and advance the player who placed the incorrect token 1 time. Correct theories will be worth points at the end of the game, so it’s always good to submit!
Planet X Conference
At the halfway point on the board (and at the top of the board again in Expert Mode), players will be invited to the Planet X Conference, where leading researchers will share their findings on Planet X.
This allows players to learn about how Planet X relates to other objects in the sky, and in doing so learn a bit more about where it could possibly be.
For the first conference, write the information down under X1 on your Note Sheet; for the second (Expert Mode only), write the information under X2. After that, no more conferences!
End of Game
Once a player locates Planet X, every other player gets one more turn. They may do one of two things:
- Locate Planet X: If you want, you may also attempt to Locate Planet X using the action as though it were your turn action. Whether you find it or not, don’t advance additional time, but do not if you found it.
- Place Theories: If you don’t want to try to Locate Planet X, you may add one or two Theory Tokens depending on how far behind the player who located Planet X you are:
- 1 – 3 Time: You may place 1 Theory Token.
- 4 – 5 Time: You may place 2 Theory Tokens.
Once every player has done so, the game is over! Reveal all Theory Tokens and remove incorrect ones (no penalty), and then score:
- First Bonus: 1 point for each sector where you submitted the correct Theory Token first (or you’re tied). All tied players will get the point.
- Asteroid Fields: 2 points for each correct Theory Token.
- Dwarf Planets:
- Standard Mode: 4 points for each correct Theory Token.
- Expert Mode: 2 points for each correct Theory Token.
- Comets: 3 points for each correct Theory Token.
- Gas Clouds: 4 points for each correct Theory Token.
- Planet X: 10 points for locating Planet X first.
- If you didn’t locate Planet X first, gain 2 points for every sector behind the first player you are. (1 sector = 2 points, 5 sectors = 10 points).
The player who scored the most points wins!
Player Count Differences
The Search for Planet X | Board Games
Estimated Release Date: June 2020.
The Search for Planet X @ 1:33:07
The Search for Planet X Rules School
The Search for Planet X Allegro Review
The Search for Planet X Review
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At the edge of our solar system, a dark planet may lurk. In 2015, astronomers estimated a large distant planet could explain the unique orbits of dwarf planets and other objects. Since then, astronomers have been scanning the sky, hoping to find this planet.
In The Search for Planet X, players take on the role of astronomers, using observations and logical deductions to search for this hypothetical planet. Each game, the companion app randomly selects an arrangement of objects and a location for Planet X following predefined logic rules.
Each round, as the earth travels around the sun, players will use the app to perform scans and attend conferences. As they gain information about the location of the objects, they'll mark that information on their deduction sheets. As players learn the locations of the various objects, they can start publishing theories.
This is the way that players score points.
As more and more objects are found, players will narrow down the possible locations for Planet X. Once a player believes they know its location and the objects on either side of it, they use the app to conduct a search. The game ends when a player successfully locates Planet X, and all players have a final chance to score some additional points.
The Search for Planet X captures the thrill of discovery, the puzzly-nature of astronomical investigation, and the competition inherent in the scientific process. Can you be the first to find Planet X?
- Ages: 13+Players: 2-4Game Length: 60 minutes
- STAY ORGANIZED!
In Search of Planet X
by Dale P. Cruikshank and William Sheehan University of Arizona Press, 475 pp., $45.00; $32.00 (paper) by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon Polity, 122 pp., $45.00; $12.95 (paper) NASAPluto, July 2015; photographed by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, with enhanced color
Nearly every civilization has recorded celestial events, partly in the hope that they might explain terrestrial ones, but also to place themselves in the grand cosmic scheme. The Nebra Sky Disk, a twelve-inch bronze disk with gold inlay, dated to 1600 BCE and discovered in the Saxony-Anhalt region of Germany, depicts the sun, moon, and what appears to be the star cluster Pleiades. By the second millennium BCE, the Babylonians knew of the inner planets—Mercury and Venus—as well as the outer planets—Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
An understanding of the organization of our solar system, however, is relatively recent. It was only in 1543 that Nicolaus Copernicus radically reordered the cosmos with De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, upsetting the geocentric model that had been in place since antiquity.
For Copernicus, the universe was finite and bounded, with the sun surrounded by the planets of our solar system and fixed stars. Today we know that our own galaxy is one of perhaps trillions in the universe, and that the universe is not only expanding but that its expansion is accelerating.
Moreover, we have many independent lines of evidence suggesting that dark matter and dark energy—two mysterious entities whose nature remains elusive—shape the universe as we know it, and that the matter and energy we can observe make up just over 4 percent of all the contents of the cosmos.
Such disorienting revelations have been typical of modern astronomy and cosmology over the last century, as technological advances have increased our ability to gather data, probe greater distances, and reconstruct events that took place billions of years ago.
These major refinements in our knowledge have required the continuous redrawing of our cosmic map and extended our vision well beyond our solar system.
Two recent books, Discovering Pluto: Exploration at the Edge of the Solar System by Dale P.
Cruikshank and William Sheehan and Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon, offer ringside views of the exploration of the outer solar system, from the discovery more than two hundred years ago of planets beyond Saturn to the launch in 2006 of NASA’s New Horizons space mission to study Pluto’s environs. Discovering Pluto begins with the discoveries of Uranus and Neptune, the seventh and eighth planets from the sun. The former was first identified by the English astronomer William Herschel in 1781. Later observation revealed that Uranus, whose orbit takes eighty-four years to complete, did not follow the course astronomers had expected it would take.
First, there was an astrometric anomaly: the measured position in the orbit deviated from the predicted orbit of Uranus as determined by Newton’s law of gravity. By the 1830s, it was established that the orbit of Uranus also seemed to diverge from Johannes Kepler’s second law,…
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The Hunt for Planet X – Now. Powered by Northrop Grumman
Dimly lit by a far distant sun, a planet much larger than Earth may orbit in the vast outer reaches of the solar system, eluding our telescopes for more than 400 years. But its presence may leave telltale traces. And as new and more powerful probes join our space exploration armada, even the immensity of space may no longer afford Planet X a hiding place.
The evidence for Planet X, also called Planet Nine, remains circumstantial. The outer reaches of the solar system are a frontier that we are only just beginning to explore.
We can, however, confidently pass on one piece of good news from Space.com: Planet X, if it exists, has nothing to do with the so-called Nibiru cataclysm, a long-running tabloid media story about a giant planet on a supposed collision course with Earth.
The Killer Planet
Nibiru’s origin came from a 1976 book of amateur speculation about ancient Sumerian astronomy.
A few years later, a self-described mystic claimed that this planet — which Sumerian astronomy experts never heard of — was headed for a collision with Earth. That was enough to launch a hundred tabloid stories about the Nibiru cataclysm.
But if Nibiru existed, says Space.com, it should be easily visible in a small telescope, yet no astronomer has seen any hint of it.
The Long Search for a Distant World
The search for a Planet X is not new. Space.com reports that the hunt for a giant outer planet goes back more than 100 years. In 1930, the search led to the discovery of Pluto, which turned out to be much too small to cause the gravitational effects then attributed to Planet X.
The search for new giant outer planets went on the back burner for a few decades. Meanwhile, new discoveries showed that the space beyond Neptune was far from empty. Pluto turned out to be simply one of the largest and closest members of the Kuiper belt, a host of objects ranging from dwarf planets downward.
New discoveries continue to push outward the limits of the solar system. Last year, Carnegie Science reported the discovery of an object, designated 2015 TG387, on an elongated orbit that extends out to approximately 0.03 light-years from the sun.
But 2015 TG387 doesn’t just push the frontier outward. Its orbit — along with the orbits of other newly discovered mini-worlds at the edge of the solar system — shows some distinctive and curious patterns. Their orbits, as Sky & Telescope reports, are similarly aligned in space, with “argument of perihelion” close to either zero or 180 degrees.
This sort of alignment does not happen by accident. It suggests that some force is tugging on all of these distant objects. The only real question, according to CNET, is what the force is — whether it is best explained by a single giant planet, or may point instead to the influence of a disk formed by many smaller bodies orbiting the sun.
Getting back to the real outer solar system, even if the culprit is a single giant planet, says Sky & Telescope, there are differing theories about how large and massive the planet may be, and how far it orbits from the sun. One view argues for a Neptune-sized planet, about 10 times Earth’s mass, orbiting up to 100 billion kilometers from the sun.
The Search for Planet X is the next board game from Between Two Cities designers
Scan the stars for a mysterious new world in The Search for Planet X, the next upcoming board game from the co-creators of Between Two Cities.
A puzzle board game for two to four players, The Search for Planet X has players assuming the role of astronomers attempting to discover a hypothetical planet hidden somewhere in our solar system. By using revolutionary technology and their own deduction skills, players must try to locate this planet before their opponents do.
Every round the Earth will gradually travel further around the Sun and players will gain a new opportunity to perform a scan using the board game’s mobile companion app. The app picks a series of random objects that will provide some information about where the planet might be, as well as the location of Planet X, at the beginning of each game.
A turn can also be used to attend an astronomer conference, that enables players to gather more information from other experts in the field.
Players are encouraged to note any and all knowledge they receive down on their deduction sheets, which can eventually be used to present theories on the whereabouts of Planet X.
The more information a player gathers the more they can deduce regarding the location of each of the objects and, eventually, Planet X itself. Once a player is confident that they know the location of both the planet and the objects either side of it, they can publish a theory and use the app to conduct a search.
- The winner of The Search for Planet X is whoever publishes a successful theory, with the other players able to score points – depending on how close their theories were – to vie for second place.
- The Search for Planet X was designed by Matthew O’Malley and Ben Rosset, the creative team behind tile-placement board game Between Two Cities, its crossover spin-off Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig and craft beer-themed board game Homebrewers.
- Publishing the game will be Foxtrot Games – the company responsible for two-player board game Fox in the Forest and co-op board game Spy Club – and Renegade Game Studios, which has published the North Sea and West Kingdom trilogies of strategy board games, as well as deckbuilder Clank!
- The Search for Planet X will be released in June 2020 with a retail price of $40 (£30).