If you’ve ever stared up at the night sky and created your own constellations, with your own original legends and figures evolved from your own interests, Look at the Stars by Bombyx is a game for you. It manages to combine an almost meditative style of play with competitive elements in a surprisingly harmonious way.
At its heart, Look at the Stars is a flip-and-write game, where players flip cards and then attempt to draw what’s on the cards onto their personal gameboard. Each gameboard has a different artistic theme, but all are the same size and grow smaller near the top due to being shaped like an arch. The boards have a grid of small, four-pointed stars across most of their surface, broken up by fanciful drawings of hydra, foxes, moose, ibis, and dragons, all real constellations from different cultures. These existing constellations break up the grid, and you can’t draw your own constellations across or through them. There are also three planets on each card, ringed like Saturn.
Each card you flip has a simple shape, usually consisting of only a few lines which link stars together. You take those shapes and reproduce them on your own board, with the following limits:
- Lines can only link stars, not planets or other things.
- Lines cannot overlap.
- You can rotate the shape on the cards, but not draw a mirror-image or flipped version of it.
Other than these rules, the sky is the limit! Lines can cross each other, a single star can anchor multiple shapes, and you can chain shapes together to make larger, more complex ones. In fact, this is necessary to win, since you score by the number of lines in a single constellation, and you only score once for each number. For instance, if you have two constellations with 5 lines in it, you only get 5 points for the first one. You might still score for the second if both are near a planet, however.
Only constellations with more than two lines but fewer than nine lines are counted towards scoring.
The cards of shapes are put in three piles. When everyone has drawn or passed (not drawn) all the shapes in the first pile, the sun begins to rise, cutting off the bottom two rows of stars on your board. You then start working with the cards in the second pile. When all of those have been used, the next two rows up from the bottom can no longer be used (so the bottom four rows in total).
When the last set of cards has been drawn, players count up their scores to see who was the most successful stargazer and constellation-maker. There’s no need to rush, as each player can take as long as they need to draw in new lines, but they can’t erase the ones they’ve drawn so far; once you’ve connected two stars with a line, you’re stuck with that shape. The leisurely pace of the game, and the fact that nobody can disrupt your constellation-drawing, can be pleasantly relaxing, especially if you just finished a game that’s all about speed. However, since everyone draws simultaneously, the game still moves at a steady clip.
Up to 8 people can play Look at the Stars and, in spite of the leisurely pace, a full game usually takes less than a half-hour. There’s no need to communicate between players, so this makes it a great game to play in a quiet place where loud noise is discouraged, or in places that are really loud and it’s difficult to hear one another. The heavy emphasis on visual skills is very different from the usual focus on probabilities and the relative values of different resources. The combination makes Look at the Stars a wonderful change of pace and a palate cleanser for your game night. Talk to the stellar folks at your local Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy® today about adding Look at the Stars to your collection.
All Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy® locations are independently owned and operated by local folks. Not all stores will carry all games but will be willing to attempt to special order any that they do not carry. (And they’ll carry most.)