Jovian Syzygy

Release Date: 
Friday, March 15, 2002
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Setup Time: 
Play Duration (experienced): 

by Jonathan Leistiko and Sharon Cichelli

Story

During the last leg of an astral race to Neptune and back, you and your competitors were caught in a cosmic storm near Jupiter. Banding together you survived the storm, but it sapped almost all of your psychic energy. Now you must harness and store energy created by lunar confluences to build up enough power to return to Earth and win the race.

Goal

To accumulate 16 or more Psi by riding on a satellite that begins a line of three or more satellites.

You Need

The Jovian Syzygy game board. You can have it in gray scale or a color board
Four pennies.
A dime, paper, and pencil for each player.
Some nickels.

Setting Up

The board has four lunar tracks. These tracks are divided into segments by bars on the tracks. Jupiter is in the center of the board. All of the bodies orbiting Jupiter are satellites.

  • The orbital tracks, from Jupiter outward, represent Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, the Galilean moons.
  • Place a penny face-down on a randomly-selected segment of the Io track. Do the same for each lunar track. When finished, no more than two pennies may be in a straight line.
  • Choose a vacant corner space and place your dime in it. Any section bordered by lines is a space. (The word “Jovian Syzygy” is decoration; it does not delinate spaces.)
  • Jot your name on a scrap of paper and write “3” next to it. This is your Psi Tracker. Whenever you gain or lose Psi, adjust your Psi Tracker accordingly.
  • Psychically divine which player went first by peering into the future.

Play

On your turn, you may move one space. If you are in a space that is adjacent to a segment occupied by a satellite, you can move onto that satellite instead of moving to an adjacent space. Any number of players can be on a satellite at the same time.

If you are on a satellite, you may move into any space that is adjacent to the track segment that the satellite occupies. You may choose instead to ride that satellite into its next segment.

If you are not on a satellite, you may spend one Psi to make an additional move.

You can never have less than zero Psi. You may not spend Psi that you do not have.

Cosmic Storms
If you’re not on a satellite, you can create a minor cosmic storm by placing a nickel in the space you’re in. Any player attempting to enter this space must flip the cosmic storm. If it lands heads-up, then it is removed and the player’s move is successful. If it lands tails-up, then it stays, and the move is wasted. You may create one cosmic storm per turn. A space can have more than one cosmic storm; each one must be tested against individually.

When your have finished your turn, play passes to the player on your left.

Satellite Motion
Once all players have taken a turn, each satellite moves clockwise to the next segment on its track. Satellites with players on them carry those players with them.

Accumulating Psi
Once all satellites have been moved, assess the Jovian system. If you can make a straight line through the center of three or four satellites that begins with the satellite you are on, then you get two or three Psi, respectively. You are allowed to move a satellite to any spot within its current path segment to get it to line up, but satellite must be centered over the orbital path, and it may not obscure a segment bar. Jupiter blocks line of sight to satellites behind it, interrupting any line it intersects.

  • If the line of satellites ends at Jupiter, add a three-Psi “eclipse bonus” to the total.
  • If you are on the same satellite you were on the last time you gained Psi, you only get one point, regardless of any other factors.

Adjust your Psi Tracker after calculating the total value and note the name of the satellite you are on. Once all Psi awards have been claimed, the round ends and a new round begins with the player to the left of the player who went first this round.

Winning

If a player has more than 15 Psi at the end of a round, the game ends. All players with more than 15 Psi at the end of the game win.

h3. Variants

Solo Jovian Syzygy, timed
You have 25 rounds. Try to get the highest score possible.

Solo Jovian Syzygy, scored
Try to get 20 points in the least number of rounds.

Full-color 3D Jovian Syzygy
Well, it’s not really 3D, but you can play with a full color board that was rendered in 3D.

Comets
Coming in the Year-End Review for 2002.

Origin and Credits

So we needed a game for GTS 2002 that would fit on an airplane tray table. While walking to work on March 4th, the idea for a game with uncontrolled elements changing in a regular pattern struck me. Sharon thought of the name and setting, and Jovian Syzygy was created. Sharon also did the research for the orbital periods of the Jovian moons. The names of the moons, their distances relative to Jupiter, and their orbital periods are all accurate thanks to her and Bill Arnett’s Nine Planets website. Thanks to Sharon for editing.

Oh, we didn’t manage to get it completed in time for the GTS, but here it is as the Game of the Month for March 2002. Enjoy!

Minimum number of players: 
Maximum number of players: 
Play Duration (new players): 
Minimum Age: 
13
Game Type/Context: 
Price: 
$0(USD)