I had so much fun playing Celestia at BGG Con last November that I bought a copy there. I mean, seriously, who can resist that adorable aircraft? Plus, I’m always on the lookout for fun games that can accommodate a medium-sized group of gamers. Celestia is a fun 30-minute push-your-luck game that plays 2-6 players. You are traversing the clouds of the kingdom of Celestia, and the adventurer who travels the farthest on multiple journeys wins the game.
All players start with a hand of equipment cards, depending on how many are playing, and place their pawn in the aircraft. The aircraft starts at the first city (space 1). Players take turns being captains.
During one journey, the captain rolls the dice. The dice show which obstacles must be overcome in order to move onto the next leg of the journey. The captain then declares — or not — whether he or she has matching equipment cards that match the symbols on the dice.
Now this is the fun part. In turn order, starting with the person to the left of the captain, that person can decide if he or she wants to remain on the aircraft or jump off. If you don’t believe the captain has the correct cards to play, you jump off and take a treasure card from the current city from which you’re jumping. Once you jump off the aircraft, you are out of the round for this particular journey.
The captain then plays cards — or not. If the correct cards are played, then the aircraft advances to the next city. This could mean more dice will be added to the roll, thus increasing the number of equipment cards required for the captain to play. But the longer you stay on the aircraft, you could potentially get higher value treasure when you finally jump off.
If the captain cannot play an equipment card, the vessel crashes and everybody left inside doesn’t take any treasure cards. But like the Titanic, the captain cannot jump off the aircraft until all his passengers have left. Also, the captain, once alone, can decide to continue going for as long as he’s willing to risk it.
When the aircraft crashes, the current journey ends. and the aircraft starts at space 1 again. The person to the left of the captain then is the new captain, and players jump back onto the aircraft to start a new journey. Everybody also takes one more card.
In addition to the obstacle cards, there are other cards in the deck that give you special powers. Among them, wild cards that can be for any symbol, cards that allow you to take a treasure when the aircraft is crashing, cards that allow the captain to re-roll dice, cards that force the captain to re-roll blank dice (thus potentially crashing the ship), and cards that force passengers to get off the aircraft. Lastly, there are cards that allow the aircraft to reach the next city without playing any equipment cards. Some of these cards can be played after players have announced their intentions to remain or jump off.
The game ends when a player reaches 50 points at the end of a journey, and the person with the most points wins the game. This game satisfies the push-your-luck itch that come from games like Incan Gold but I really, really enjoy how you can still mess with folks still on the aircraft and boot them off! Lastly, the artwork is gorgeous, and the components are well made. Even the propeller moves!
So what’s a push-your-luck game that you guys enjoy?