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On this week’s Short Bite we’re talking about a math and physics game called Orbital Velocity, designed by Pratap Ramamurthy and Swetha Ganapathi Raman. It’s a great way to interest kids in Space Science and rocketry.
🎂 Ages 8+
👨👩👦 2 or 4 Players
⌛ 30 min
📐 Skills: mental math, strategic thinking
In this game, players are controlling rockets whose aim is to launch satellites into orbit. The game is played in rounds with players both controlling the same rocket (or rockets depending on the round). Players use cards to move the rocket(s) forward and backward on the number track and the player that reaches the target orbital velocity will get to place their satellite into orbit. Each successive round will add another rocket to the mix and lower the target orbital velocity by one. Whoever has the most satellites in orbit at the end of five rounds wins. Sounds simple enough, but what results is a game that is deceptively strategic with lots of mental math and an intriguing springboard to further study on satellites and rocketry.
This game surprised us. It’s a play and move mechanic which is usually very straightforward and isn’t often the type of game we choose to play. This game wasn’t what we expected, however. Which rocket you move and how far is a very strategic choice. By having all players move the same set of rockets and only allowing one player (or team) to claim each orbit it becomes a highly strategic game. You need to position your rocket such that you can attain the target orbit, but your opponent can’t. Winning an orbit is a combination of strategy, probability, and luck. We felt this was a nice balance. The game can also be played in teams of two with team members sitting opposite one another. The added complication to a teams game is that players cannot talk. We’re excited to try this out at our next game night and see how well we can work together to attain each orbit.
From a components standpoint, the pieces and cards feel sturdy. The specially designed satellite holders are clever and fit well. Overall it feels like the game will last for many repeated plays. The styling of the game is perfect for its subject matter and we appreciated that in this game the theme is not window dressing. Space Science is embedded in this game from the factual orbital names, to the concept of decreasing orbital velocities as orbits are farther from Earth, to the acknowledgment that macro rocket acceleration is easy to achieve than micro-adjustments. We think this game serves as a good way to pique your child’s interest in learning more about rocketry.
This game has earned a spot on our shelf, which says something when you have as many games as we do. Shelf space is always at a premium. Overall, we enjoyed the game quite a bit and are looking forward to playing again.
Find Orbital Velocity – https://amzn.to/3hmTMsW
Note: This game was sent to Homeschool Together by the publisher for a fair and honest review. As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com. This occurs at no additional cost to you and helps to support our efforts for our website and podcast.
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