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Celestia is a ‘push your luck’ game for 2-6 players. The game features six individuals on a grand voyage to visit a series of cities. They each take it turns to be captain and steer the good ship Celestia from one city to the next.
There are many hazards between the cities, from bad weather, to irritated wildlife, to pirates. Did I mention the Celestia is an airship so all of these adventures take place in the sky? Well it is, and they do.
How it works
Players take it in turns to act as the ship’s captain for the voyage to the next city. The captain rolls a number of dice needed to reach the destination. The first cities require only two dice, but later cities require three or four to be rolled.
Dice can give a blank result, which is good! Otherwise they can indicates hazards of weather, wildlife, or piracy. Once the captain has rolled the dice the other players must decide, having looked at the results, whether to stay on board or leave the ship.
Each player has a number of cards that can combat each of the perils you encounter, however only the captain may do this. So a good captain can bluff the other passengers into staying or leaving once the dice are rolled.
Anyone who leaves takes a points card from the starting city (later cities give greater points). Once you leave you must wait for a new voyage to begin.
For those who stay, either the voyage is successful (well done, captain!) and the process is repeated at the next city, or unsuccessful (who put you in charge?) and the ship crashes, leaving those on board with nothing.
Once the ship has either crashed or reached the final city, a new voyage begins for all the players, including those who left the ship.
How to win
The winning player is the first to reach 50 points. Once this happens, the current voyage ends and the player with the most points wins.
Celestia is a game that improves with numbers. With 2 or 3 players, there is not much bluffing going on. Once you have 5 or 6 the shenanigans can really get going.
There are some special cards which can be played out of sequence to force a captain to re-roll his blank dice. There are cards that allow the captain to abandon the ship to its fate, or throw a chosen passenger overboard.
The game works best when players can bluff one another off (or on!) the ship.
Overall I enjoyed this game and would recommend for all players. Younger or new players will find the mechanics easy to learn and follow. Older or experienced gamers will enjoy the fun diversion that Celestia offers.