Often referred to as Gloomhaven in space, Stars of Akarios was available for demo at SHUX and I was able to play a few rounds to get a feel for the game. Stars of Akarios is designed by Brendan McCaskell and Jonathan Thwaites, published by OOMM Games.
Players are cadet pilots, such as Starla, under attack from an unknown enemy and seeking a new home world.
Our demo mission was to guide friendly ships through an area of space under attack from several enemies. The miniatures were painted for demo purposes and will come unpainted in retail.
Players roll dice and allocate them on their ship boards to perform moves and attacks. Some actions will cost resources (little white cubes) in addition to placing a die.
The purple stress icon on the dice can be used in place of any symbol, but players will take a stress. Exceeding certain stress levels will add negative modifier cards to your attack deck.
If you don’t like a roll, you can also take a stress to re-roll all your dice. This can also be a good way to avoid taking a lot of stress in one turn if you roll many of those.
Modifier cards are revealed during a player attack to vary the damage outcome. This mechanism will be familiar to Gloomhaven players.
Player boards are dual layered with slots to mix and match cadets and ships, as well as upgrade actions and equipment.
Enemy ships also have dual layered boards. Attacks must penetrate their shields (blue) before doing damage to the hull (green).
Enemy ships are cardboard standees in the base game, but miniatures are available in The Ships of Akarios expansion. While unnecessary for gameplay, it definitely improves the visual experience.
Each pilot character has a unique character pad to progress through different skills and track currency.
Even after only a few turns, I could tell Stars of Akarios is a game I want to explore further. The demo was just the tip of the iceberg, as players will also be landing on the surface of hostile worlds, and there are many more scenarios to experience.