Gravwell is a quick, easy to learn game for 1 to 4 players that takes about 20-30 minutes to play.
In Gravwell players’ ships are getting sucked into a black hole and must try to get to an open gate in order to survive. Thrusters aren’t enough on their own ships need to use what’s around them to try to slingshot themselves towards the gate, this means other ships.
At the beginning of the game each player takes a ship in one of 4 colours and places it at the centre of the board, at the black hole. Next cards are laid out on the table in pairs, one card face down, and one card face up on top for everyone to see. Players take turns choosing a pair based on the card they see until they have their hand of cards. These cards have an element denoted by two letters, a number, and a direction on them, the letters determining play order, the number determines spaces that they can move, and the directions moves them either towards or away from the nearest object.
During each phase all players choose a card from their hand and place it face down on the table. Once all players have placed a card the cards are flipped over and resolved in alphabetical order. The player that played the card earliest in the alphabet goes first and moves their ship the amount of spaces depicted on the card towards or away from the closest ship (at the beginning all ships move forward as long as they use a towards card). If there are ships equidistant from the players ship the side (in front of or behind) that has the most mass (ships) is the side they are either moving towards or away from. If Joe played a card that move him 3 spaces forward and his ship is both 2 spaces behind Danielle’s ship and 2 spaces in front of Scott’s ship but Danielle also has a ship in front of hers then Joe will move towards Danielle overtaking her.
Where this gets a little harder is the order in which each card is played. You can have every intention of moving forward towards other ships to try to get closer to the gate but if ships fall back, because of turn order and cards played, putting more mass behind you then you’re likely falling back as well. Players also have one Emergency stop card for use each round. This halts their movement instead of having to move the amount shown on a played card. Be careful when you use it though because you only have it once a round.
Once players have played through their hands the cards are shuffled and put onto the table in pairs again to have players choose from the pool. Play continues like this until you’ve played six rounds or someone has reached the gate. If no one has reached the gate, the closest wins.
My Thoughts: This can be incredibly frustrating and quite the brain burner but in the best way possible (if that makes sense) it’s hilarious to see things unravel for you and your friends. It gives you some cathartic schadenfreude. It’s a fairly simple game but with a lot to think about.
The components are nice enough, the ships are a basic but nice design and the cards have some nice graphics on them. Nothing is over the top fantastic but that would take away from it’s simplicity.
This might not be the game for you if you want to turn your brain off for 30 minutes, but if you don’t mind a little thought definitely check this one out.
For the Parents:
Sexual Content: None.
Horror/Occult: The thought of being sucked into a black hole is kinda scary but other than that you’re fine.