The Search for Planet X

Cover Art - Search for Planet X
Since 2016, astronomers have been searching for a distant planet to explain the unique orbits of observable objects in the solar system.

Do you have what it takes to find Planet X?
BGG Link
Designer(s) Matthew O'Malley, Ben Rosset
Publisher Renegade Game Studios
Player Count 1 - 4
Estimated Playtime 60 - 90 minutes

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Journal Entries

July 25th, 2022

Alpal has been talking about how much she has been enjoying The Search for Planet X. It was a game that had dropped off my radar quickly. I remember looking forward to it coming out, but was swallowed up by lockdown being announced all over the world. Luckily Alpal didn’t forget about it, and made the comment that she needed to send it to me to play. Being a logic puzzle, she thought The Search for Planet X would click with me.

It’s not often Alpal makes a comment about ‘making me’ play a game. When she lived up here, I would go to her place to find the game setup and ready to play. I can’t think of any game setup like this I haven’t enjoyed. So when I was looking for Century Golem games, I added Search for Planet X to my cart. I am glad I did!

The Search for Planet X is a deduction logic puzzle. Think Cluedo (Clue for the US) but on a larger scale. There are sectors each with a single astral phenomenon. Sectors can contain asteroids, dwarf planets, or nothing at all. Ultimately, you are looking for the mysterious Planet X. Search the skies!

20220725 - Search for Planet X - Most of the game isnt on the board
Player tokens are Observatories. Makes sense, as you search the night skies!

As The Search for Planet X relies a lot on hidden information, the board isn’t anything special. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a nice board, with some pretty artwork. It’s just not a board that will rope in anyone walking past. The bulk of the game happens on player cards, where you take notes and try to logic out what is where in the universe.

This brings me to one aspect that is divisive in the board game community – Search for Planet X is driven by an app. When you start a game, you can use the phone app or website to sync a 4 letter code to the same game. Then on your turn, you enter your action (research, survey, target etc) and the app reveals to you what you found. Take the note, clear the screen, and pass it on.

It doesn’t sound exciting, and ‘logic deduction’ can put players off as complicated. I haven’t even touched on scoring, which is the hardest aspect to convey. So app-driven, looks complicated, no visual hook? A lot of players will overlook Search for Planet X out of hand, which is unfortunate.

20220725 - Search for Planet X - The App
The app is a nice background with text information. Functional, but not exciting.

I had a ball playing Search for Planet X. And it was our most complicated setup for games day. I streamed the board on Discord for everyone to see, laminated some cards for Rabbit and I (Alpal has her own) and we all had the app. It worked well playing remotely over Discord.

I found Planet X first, but the scoring (that I haven’t touched here) meant Alpal wrecked me score-wise. It was still a lot of fun. Rabbit didn’t have as much fun, but by her own admission, she just may not have been in the mood. I thought she would have a ball, with games like Dinosaur Tea Party clicking with her so well. But Dinosaur Tea Party has a lot of eye candy to draw you in and doesn’t require extensive note-taking.

This is bought up because it feels like you will either enjoy Search for Planet X, or you won’t. It doesn’t feel like there will be much middle ground for players here. I enjoyed it, Alpal enjoys it, but Rabbit I think will mostly sit out.

20220725 - Search for Planet X - I found Planet X first but still soundly lost
My player sheet at the end of the game. If you don’t know about the game, it will look complicated and intimidating.

You may notice I haven’t gone into too much detail on the game itself today. Without going into a lengthy explanation, I can only really say I enjoyed it, and will likely play Search for Planet X solo soon. When I do, because I set up to stream the game for us to play, my plan is to make a solo playthrough video for YouTube.

Here I can go through a lot more in detail, and you can see if you might enjoy Search for Planet X yourself. Or maybe even the follow-up Search for Lost Species, coming out later this year. Lots of fun stuff to look forward to!

January 2nd, 2023

Setting gaming challenges can be a fun way to try and gamify what you get to the table. As long as you aren’t hard on yourself for falling behind or missing a goal. As long as you and the people you play with are having fun, that’s always the primary goal. That’s why I set my Board Game Challenges each year.

My 2022 Goals were a mixed bag. I made some, and I missed some. The challenges are there to prompt me to do certain things, not a serious ‘I have to do this’ goal.

But as I haven’t been doing reviews this year, this is probably the best way to show you some of my favourite games of 2022!

My 2022 Board Game Challenges

Goal 1: Record 200 Game Plays ✅

Progress: 211 Plays

Goal 2: Play 25 New Games

Progress: 19 New Games

Goal 3: Get specific games to the table

My City ✅
Return to Dark Tower
Chronicles of Crime: Millenium Series

Goal 1 – Record 200 Plays

I managed to make this lofty goal thanks to digital gaming. Between Board Game Arena and implementations like Cartographers, I played quite a few board games digitally this year.

The number one played game? 7 Wonders Architects! 43 games with Alpal and Rabbit on Board Game Arena this year, and I can’t wait to play a few more soon!

20220221 - 7 Wonders Architects - Science gives you various bonuses
Science will help you but isn’t a single path to victory

Super quick to play (especially on Board Game Arena) and plays brilliantly with 3 players. When the biggest issue I had with the game was I was tired of being assigned the Colossus of Rhodes, that’s a pretty small quibble overall. Still BGA – let users pick their wonder! 😋

Some people may say digital board games don’t count, and I don’t agree with that. As long as you are playing the same rules as the physical copy, or the gameplay isn’t sufficiently different from a physical game, then I don’t see an issue.

For example, Cartographers the app and physical Cartographers/Cartographers Heroes play the same. Playing on the app counts to me as a solo board game, I just record the location as Digital.

That said, I am tweaking my ‘number of games’ goal for 2023. I am going to split the total between digital and physical games moving forward. Digital games will be the primary way to play again in 2023, with Board Game Arena helping the three of us play interstate. I want a little nudge to spend some time away from a screen next year though, hence the split.

Check out my thoughts on all the 7 Wonders Architects gaming sessions here.

Goal 2 – Play 25 new games

I was so close to this one! Thanks to the delivery of Paperback Adventures in mid-December, I nudged this up to 19 games for the year. In a busy time, it’s easy to fall back on old favourites where you don’t have to learn new rules. This challenge exists to try and push this familiar mindset, and I think it did well.

So even though I didn’t quite make the goal this year, I will leave this in place for 2023. With more games coming out and all of Board Game Arena to explore, I should be up to the challenge!

If I have to pick a favourite new title this year, it’s a hard call. 7 Wonders Architects and Isle of Cats are both new games to me this year, with Isle of Cats coming in at 25 plays for 2022. But the number of plays doesn’t always reflect how much you enjoy a game. And for that reason, I am going to say my favourite new game of 2022 is The Search for Planet X!

20220725 - Search for Planet X - I found Planet X first but still soundly lost
My player sheet at the end of the game. If you don’t know about the game, it will look complicated and intimidating.

The Search for Planet X is not a quick game like 7 Wonders Architects. There is a lot of deduction, which some people do not enjoy in their games. There is even the fact that an app runs the game for you that can turn people off.

This year, The Search for Planet X had me both the most excited to get to the table, and the most excited to try and play again. Unfortunately, the setup for remote play is so fiddly. Same for solo gaming – although that may change this year!

For more information on The Search for Planet X, click here.

Goal 3 – Get specific games to the table

If there was a challenge that I was disappointed in my performance this year, this is it. Backlog gaming is a challenge for all players, but I was hoping to do better this year.

Rabbit and I did start playing My City, but I didn’t even get Destinies or Chronicles of Crime to the table solo. Return to Dark Tower will be fun, but I need a group of people to play an intricate game, and probably best if I lock Enzo away. I don’t want him ‘helping’ chasing skulls across a table!

20220502 - My City - Very simple components
Some tiles, a board, and a deck of cards. All your attention is on your game only.

So for 2023, the challenge list will remain pretty much the same. I still want to get these games to the table, and I want to finish the My City campaign. But I can’t pick a favourite from this category, as we only played one title – My City!

My Game of 2022

2022 was an interesting year, but I can definitely recommend 7 Wonders Architects and The Search for Planet X. Isle of Cats is a lot of fun as well, and I am hoping to play the Draw and Write version with Rabbit early in the new year.

But given all that, I would have to give my number one game of the year to 7 Wonders Architects. Not only did I first play it in 2022, but almost a quarter of all games played were 7 Wonders Architects!

Cover Art - 7 Wonders Architects
My 2022 Game of the Year – 7 Wonders Architects

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know! 

If you think another game I played should have taken the game of game of the year, shout out! You can reach me on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter, Hive and Instagram! And don’t forget you can get random gaming and pet pics on Instagram as well. 🙂

Until next time,