Published by: Passport Games Studio
# of Players: 2 to 5
Apollo XIII is a card driven cooperative game. The cards are thick and have a linen finish that makes them feel high quality. The artwork and text on the cards give Apollo XIII it's theme and story. If you are a fan of space or the Apollo XIII mission, you will love all the flavor text that deliver the story in this game. The main board is Mission Command and has various tracks on it that wood cubes will move along. The game also comes with a cardboard Earth, Moon and Spacecraft. These pieces have no use in the game other than showing who the first player is. The rule book is detailed and has a lot of illustrations. There is even a page that goes over some of the spacecraft technology. The rules themselves were confusing to understand at times but after multiple readings I was able to understand the rules.
Apollo XIII is a cooperative game that is story card driven. A player's turn will have 4 steps and then move to the next player. The first step for each player is to draw a History card from the proper event deck. Events follow a time line of A-G and each has their own history deck. You will read aloud the text on the history card which will tell you the story currently happening and on the bottom will have some type of effect on the mission control board. Your 3 crew members may be mentally or physically stressed or the rocket may have issues or even pressure on mission control. This is kept track by wooden cubes on various tracks. After you adjust the cubes according to the card, you will draw a card. After you draw a card you can perform one of four actions. You may move 1 of the cubes including event cubes back 1. You can play a card from your hand that has various effects, or place 1 card beside mission control. If you place a card that contains the current event letter, it will go on the left side of the board and if it does not match it will go to the right of the board. Once you have 2 cards of the left or 3 on the right, you will discard those cards and make two status cube moves. The last action you can take is drawing a card. You may discard a card from your hand to perform a second action, but it must be different from your first action.
Apollo XIII tries to deliver the suspense of that fateful mission while also giving a history lesson. I thought they did a good job at telling the story of Apollo XIII and having alternate event cards was an interesting way of adding extra plays. The actual gameplay was disappointing. You are managing cubes on tracks and hoping to get the right cards to play. A large number of the cards can only be played during certain event times. Drawing a bunch of A event cards later in the game is not very helpful. While the randomness of the cards will make each game play out differently, it still feels like the same game. This game did not keep my interest and will not be staying in my collection. I would recommend this game if you are a fan of the Apollo XIII story or space in general. This is also a great way to teach kids about the Apollo XIII mission. After playing a few times, I just do not feel the need to play it again.
+ Art and story text on the cards
+ Great way to teach kids about the Apollo XIII mission that doesn't involve Tom Hanks
+ Card Quality
- Bland gameplay
- Does not feel like you are managing a crisis, but just pushing cubes instead
- Most will only want to play it once