There are lots of games where players explore and expand into space.  Tiny Epic Galaxies from Gamelyn Games lets 2-5 players utilize dice, develop or use planets, and advance their empire to score the most victory points and win the game.

Players begin with a Galaxy Mat (which keeps track of their Empire level, ships, dice, energy and culture points, plus the victory points from their Empire level), two ships, four dice, one culture, two energy, and choose one of two Secret Mission cards.  There are a number of Planet cards equal to the number of players plus two (except in a five-player game; that has six Planets).
On each player's turn, they begin by rolling all available dice.  A player can reroll any one unactivated die for free; others can be rerolled for one energy each.  A player can also use the converter to set aside two unactivated dice to turn another unactivated die into any die facing of their choice.

Die facings have several effects.  Move a Ship lets a player move a ship either onto or around an available Planet card.  Landing on a planet lets the player use the planet's ability.  Going in orbit around a planet puts the ship on the colony track.  Ships on the colony track can be advanced with either Diplomacy or Economy die results, depending on what the planet requires.  When a ship reaches the end of the colony track, the player gets the planet (and is the only person who can use its ability) and gets its victory points.  A new Planet card then replaces the taken one.
Energy and Culture results get a player one Energy or Culture for each planet that produces them, one per ship on and in orbit around that planet.  Players can't have more than seven Energy or seven Culture.  And a Colony roll lets a player either advance their Empire level (usually getting more ships, dice, or victory points) or use an ability from a planet the player has colonized.

Other players can get involved as well.  After each die is resolved, other players can copy that die's action by spending one Culture.  When a player uses their last die and other players have chosen whether or not to copy the die result, the dice are all removed and the next player's turn begins.

When a player gets 21 victory points, every other player takes a final turn.  After that, everyone checks their Secret Mission card to see if they earned the victory points from the card.  Whoever has the most victory points wins.

There's a lot to like in Tiny Epic Galaxies.  While players can't combat each other, the competition for planets can get pretty intense.  There are enough ways to change the dice to give players choices, while still having a large element of luck.  The Secret Missions add a nice element of mystery, and being able to copy a die by spending Culture keeps players involved when it's not their turn.  There's a lot of strategy and fun to be found in exploring the Tiny Epic Galaxies.

Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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