IGDC Judge Comments
I liked this game. the only real drawbacks were the math involved ( a table for use after reading the rules would have been VERY useful) and once you find the winning formula the only challenge left is how fast you can draw the cards.
I agree. I'm planning on creating an advanced set of rules for those who hit the "how fast you can draw the cards" level of play. - Erik Dresner
Another great teamwork game. The required strategy becomes apparent after a few games, but it can still be fun with shortened time limits and the uncertainty of the die. Great party game.
Apophis is a wonderful game. The team table talk kept the asteroid and rocket theme always in mind. It definitely used the design restriction terms asteroid and team, and possibly high because you wanted to roll high, but it would have been nice to mention the terms explicitly before the wiki page was locked. However, I can interpret it using three terms and it is such a fun game that it gets the 10. I will use this game when Looney Lab Rabbiting. - DennisDuquette
Apophis: I really liked this; it reminds me Space Alert. My only suggestion is that I'd like to have been rolling dice for the fuel test phase as well. Seems to me that even if we have enough fuel, there should be a chance of the rocket exploding on the pad. Also, a question: if the timer goes off after launch but before full resolution of the rocket's results, do we lose? What if the rocket would have successfully finished off the asteroid? Also, I'm not sure it's really interesting enough as a solitaire game.
Yes, you would lose. The moment the timer goes off, the asteroid hits the earth. - Erik Dresner
I really liked Apophis and would enjoy playing it again!
I did not play Apophis, but observed the others playing. They seemed to have a pretty gripping time, playing more than once. It was clearly the best of the bunch that I experienced. I only wondered if the ideal rocket was pretty much exactly the same every time, with four colors of large, four colors of medium, and possibly four colors of small. Then it's just a race to see if you can draw the right cards and do math in time. I'm not sure about the long-term replay value, but certainly, of this bunch, it was the best, and deserves to win.
Once groups tried the full rocket ("the four colors of large, medium and small" you mentioned above) victory came swift. As I mentioned above, I'm going to devise a new rule set for advanced players. Some ideas I've come up with are upping the rolling quota (to remove automatic hits, possibly use 2 D6 for this) and restricting rocket size, either with a max number of points already set or forcing the rocket to require more fuel. - Erik Dresner
Apophis gain a great deal from a good, impartial judge, who moderates the game - keeping time, counting the 10 second shuffle, calling the target number before a roll. The flexible time goal keeps the game challenging as players gain experience. I can see our group playing plenty more of this one.
Great game. Nice use of the cards/colors, and the timer mechanic really induced a bit of a sense of panic. Our group of 4 played at Beginner level and made it with just under 3 minutes to go. I would certainly play this again (and so would others in the group), seeing if we could beat one of the harder difficulty levels.
Apophis - 7 Presentation (2 max): Nice intro and end-game "fiction/theaming." Properly wikified, except for categories. I'd like SOME kind of visual aide, even if it's of a rocket being built during a "sample launch." VERY well-written and clear, though: no question about how to play. (1.5)
Use Of Terms (2 max): "Asteroid" used to, basically, play (something akin to) Asteroids the arcade game with pyramids? AWESOME. "Diamond" used as just-another playing card suit. Not so awesome. "Team" play is the obvious use of tthe term. (1)
Playability (3 max): MAN, the timer pressure is the suck. I suspect once one gets better at know what's-what (and doing booster fuel math in one's head) then it will work with the times given. But the few games we played were... hard. Like any "color has meaning" Icehouse game, I suppose--took time to really get the math down, to know what minimum values for each color were worthwhile to pursue at all. Also found launching to be fruatrating or dull, sometimes: when the deck is just too cold and you're just skipping turns to get the DAMNED SPADE!! it's like watching folks play War, but with at least a LITTLE bit of thought, to get ready for the next rocket building. Finally, a lot of the tactical play is forced by the stacking rule (equal or smaller on top only)--maybe try a variant without that rule, to avoid "jam ups" becasue folks will hold out for three-of-a-suit to at least get the foundation of the rocket as a large? (2.5)
Fun Factor (3 max): OK, a bit random, but still fun: the timer vs. random deck makes it tense (or annoying--often confused with tension!). I'd play again, especially to demo the 'mids to folks who like counting/gambling-type games. Never gonna be a classic, but a solid game for the wiki: polish it up and get it on WCIP? and Existing Games. (2)
UanarchyK on BGG had a great idea: he used a subset of Phase10 cards so the colors of the cards match up with the colors of the pyramids. Uno decks could fill in as well.
2009 Ice Awards evaluation
Myers: Apophis has an awesome set of rules, and is a really nice balance of game and concept, but it doesn't really speak to me as a profound game. I could go either way, myself.
Stout: I like the idea and the feel of this, but I think the replay value is pretty low, even with the advanced rules.
Hackel: Felt very scripted, and that the best move I could make was very obvious. I agree with Bryan that the replay value is low. Apophis did not pass the "let's play again" test for me, not as well as 3-High.
Bentley: The best part about this game also happens to be the theme. As the game now stands, I feel there's a clear 'best strategy': Spend your early turns drawing the entire deck, build an 'optimal' rocket (I haven't worked the numbers, but it wouldn't be too difficult to figure out what set of pyramids gives you the best overall chance of success with a launch, and then launch that over and over again). There are some potential rules fixes that would alter that basic formula - like a hand limit, or having each player build their own rocket from the limited set of pieces. It might even be a good time to add a slightly competitive element to a co-op game - it costs pip count in cards to build a rocket section, but only one card to "requisition" a rocket section from another player. In any case, the optimum strategy in this game appears to be to simply move quickly and avoid obvious mistakes, like putting too much fuel in the rocket. In general that's going to be too simple for seasoned players to make mistakes with, even with the pressure of a time limit.