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Leaving Earth in Review
You know I had a big intro for this article written, about sinking aircraft carriers, finding grails and bagging chicks, but it’s all just a distraction from the real topic. It's a good one; let’s talk about Leaving Earth.
I've seen two people indicate that their copies have just sent a shipping notice, leading me to believe that Lumenaris has gotten new stock in to sell. So the game may not be as difficult to pick up as it was.
But -- the quick response to this is that at times Leaving Earth can be downright hilarious. In spite of the sanguine theme and setting there's a real opportunity for things to go wrong in ways that a lot of gamers may not be comfortable with. Each launch is a risk. If it's not, you're not doing it right. You have to press your luck, and the rules specifying that your funding is use-it-or-lose-it puts a pretty solid incentive on going earlier than you're ready for. That's all well and good, but it means shit is going to blow up, and you have to be comfortable with that. Some gamers won't like this. I hope that comes through in the article.
So there's a lot of arithmetic in this game and I'll recommend a notepad for each player just to help them keep is straight. But there's still a lighthearted aspect to it because failure is baked into the design. You're going to fail and fail plenty. That's ok. When you make the big run and pull it off it's that much sweeter.
We use the word “pure” in this hobby from time to time. Ascension is a pure deckbuilder, Intrigue is pure negotiation. Leaving Earth is pure math. Yes, that’s pretty thematic and it had some hilarious moments, but I also spent the afternoon doing more scribbling arithmetic than anything else. It’s certainly interesting and no doubt has an audience, but it was more of an “experience” than a game for me, and not one I want to return to.
To clarify, this isn’t a game that I failed to see the appeal. I totally get it, and as I said, the math is immersive. But that math dominates the design. It’s like 90% math, 10% playing the odds, if you’ve left any odds to play. That’s going to be fine for some people and it still had entertaining moments in my case. But I’m in no rush to spend my precious little fun time doing it again.