Release Date: 2023Players: 2-4
Designer: Emma LarkinsLength: 30-45 minutes
Artist: Nim Ben-ReuvenAge: 10+
Publisher: Buffalo GamesComplexity: 1.5 / 5
Plastic (by weight): 25%Air (by volume): 65%

The sun had set, but we still had a few hours before the main event. Our telescopes were set up and we had a flask of hot chocolate and a few biscuits ready to see us through the night. Our thick coats and thick socks were going to keep us warm and cosy. We were hopeful that tonight we would be able to discover new constellations. It was really exciting. Luckily, there were no clouds, so we stood a good chance to see the wonderful Starry Night Sky by Emma Larkins from Buffalo Games.

Warm and Cozy

The game is as lovely and cosy as the introduction. You move your telescope across the sky, discover new stars and complete constellations. You can also complete additional goals to score extra points during the game. There are also secret end-game objectives, called Myth cards, for even more points.

While there is a race to find new constellations and get extra points, everything you do indirectly helps the other players. As soon as a constellation has been completely mapped, players can skip it to speed across the night sky and reach other, new locations that are further away.

Not only that, while trying to reach the constellations shown on your end-game objectives, you are likely to complete those of other players. So there is a lot of indirect positive player interaction in Starry Night Sky which makes it feel quite cosy and friendly.

That’s no surprise, because the game is clearly aimed at families. The components of this route-building, set collection and objective-fulfilling kind of game are lovely. There are plastic miniature telescopes that are your player pawns and gorgeous plastic gem stars that you collect and place on the star chart. You keep these in a wonderful cloth drawstring bag. The game board is really thick and heavy and so is the card stock. The box comes with a wonderful insert that keeps everything safe and in place.

The only slight criticism I have is the amount of air in the box. That is down to the size of the board, which really couldn’t be any smaller. It’s an issue intrinsic to many games that come with game boards. It’s the game boards that decide the size of the box and that decides how much air there is. So, there is nothing that could have been done about it.

a close-up of one of the telescope miniature player token and the gem star tokens
the components in Starry Night Sky are gorgeous

Not Long Until Dawn

What surprised me when I played Starry Night Sky is how slowly it starts and how soon everything speeds up. The game is over much more quickly than you expect. You think you have a few more turns to complete the constellations that you need to complete your end-game objectives, but suddenly someone triggers the last round. Now there is no more time.

I guess it does wonderfully emulate a real stargazing night. It takes a while to set everything up. Your eyes need to properly acclimatize to the darkness. You have to wait until the constellation you hope to see rises above the horizon. Then you need to adjust your telescope and as you look through it, you realize how fast the stars move across the sky. Within minutes your window of opportunity is gone. It won’t be long until dawn comes.

That change of pace in Starry Night Sky is what I think gives the game the spice it needs. Otherwise it would have soon felt too slow and especially younger players would risk getting bored. However, as it is, you take your time and suddenly realize you’re at the wrong end of the sky. You desperately dash across to the other side to fulfil at least one more objective.

In fact, the whole game is really tightly designed. The first time you play, you think you can easily finish your end-game objectives. Three Myth cards seem like nothing. Yet, you soon realize it’s quite a hard goal. Then you play Starry Night Sky again, believing that you can finish all three this time round, but despite making changes to your strategy, it’s still a tall order. It’s definitely not impossible, but it’s just the right number.

three Myth cards from Starry Night Sky which give you end-game points
three Myth cards from Starry Night Sky which give you end-game points

Falling Stars

One thing I did find strange was that the star map in the game has completely made-up constellations. I assume that was done to be more appealing to younger players. So while Strong Thread and Persuasive Tortoise might make children giggle, I do think an opportunity was missed to teach them about our night sky. I appreciate that the constellations vary with seasons and what hemisphere you’re in and that the game is based on star formations made up of between two and four stars. However, it would still have been nice to see Ursa Major, Orion, Lyra or any of the others in the game, even if only the main two to four stars from them had been used for the gameplay.

However, this and the air are my only niggles and neither of them had any effect on the enjoyment of the game. I’ve played it a few times now and even left it with our neighbours to play with their young daughter, who played it many times more. Every time it was really fun to try and complete your constellations and watch other players help you at the same time.

The rules seem a little bit complicated at first, but as you play, it is really clear and starts to flow very quickly. I think we only had to refer back to the rulebook once during a game.

So if you want a beautiful game with glittering components that appeals to all the family, then Starry Night Sky is definitely one to add to your list. It has plenty of variety and plays in well under an hour. So even younger players who may have a shorter attention span will be able to get all the way through. It is a really wonderful game that I will always be happy to play – whether it is dark outside or not.

Useful Links


Transparency Facts

I feel that this review reflects my own, independent and honest opinion, but the facts below allow you to decide whether you think that I was influenced in any way.
  • I was sent a free review copy of this game by the publisher.
  • At the time of writing, neither the designers, nor the publisher, nor anyone linked to the game supported me financially or by payment in kind.

Audio Version

Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (

Sound Effects: – © copyright 2024 BBC

Royalty Free Music:
License code: FACYGOWWLEPY0SM1


These are the songs I listened to while I was writing this review:


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