Review - Mole Rats in Space

Posted by Rob Kalajian in review

Mole Rats in Space Designer: Matt Leacock
Publisher: Peaceable Kingdom
Year: 2017
MSRP: $19.99
Players: 2-4
Play Time: 20 min
Ages: 7+
Rules Available Online: Yes
BGG: Mole Rats in Space

Prelude

Matt Leacock is widely known through the boardgame industry for his amazing cooperative games like Pandemic, Pandemic Legacy, Forbidden Island, and Forbidden Desert. Now he’s teamed up with Peaceable Kingdom to create a cooperative family that even the littlest ones can enjoy.

It also features naked mole rats…in space.

Play

Mole Rats in Space is super simple to learn and play. It’s by no means easy to win!

The goal of the game is to get the 4 pieces of equipment on the board then get every mole rat to the escape pod. It’s the only way to win the game. There are, however, a few ways to lose the game

  • Everyone loses if a mole rat gets bitten twice by a snake.
  • Everyone loses if any mole rat gets sucked out into space.
  • Everyone loses if any player has no cards to play on their turn.
  • Everyone loses if a snake makes it into the escape pod.

YIKES

Each player starts with their mole rat on the corresponding color start space with a Medkit and a single, face up card from the deck. On their turn players play their card then draw a new one before the turn passes to the next player. They must take the mole rat action first and then the snake action, in that order.

Some cards will have you moving only your mole rat. Some cards let you move any mole rat. Others let you move all mole rats. The snake actions are similar, having you move one or all of a single color, one of any color, or moving one, all, or one of any to the nearest ladder.

That brings me to ladders and pipes. If a mole rat of a snake lands on a ladder, they move up. If they land on a pipe, down. Some pipes lead out into space. You certainly want to get snakes onto these spaces, but lose immediately if a mole rat ends up in one!

One last item to talk about. Remember that medkit you start with? You’re probably going to need it. If a mole rat lands on a snake, moves through a snake, or if a snake lands on a mole rat, it gets bit and has to move back to start. The medkit is discarded and that mole rat has to work their way through the station again. If that mole rat gets bit again…game over, man. Game over.

Careful management of snakes and planning between the players are needed to collect those items and get the heck out of Dodge.

Pieces

Peaceable Kingdom is well known not only for their excellent components but their environmentally friendly components. Mole Rats in Space is no exception here. All the cardboard and paper products, including the box, are top notch. The plastic mole rats are awesome, and even have a little backpack you can place the equipment tokens in when they’re picked up. Everything is packaged very professionally and in a way where nothing will tumble around when the game is on the shelf.

3D Pieces Peaceable Kingdom knows how to package a game

Perspective

All four of my kids and I have been having a blast with Mole Rats in space. It’s the first Peaceable Kingdom game that even the older kids have requested to play. My 3-year-old son loves it because of the mole rats, space theme, and snakes. The older kids love it because of the challenge.

Let me be very clear here. This isn’t your typical Peaceable Kingdom game where the players can win a majority of the time. Mole Rats in Space is brutal.

Curse you, Matt Leacock!

Don’t get me wrong. While the game is hard it’s still amazingly fun to play, and each time we get a little bit closer to winning. Just this morning we finally acquired all four items and were almost to the escape pod before we ran out of cards.

SO close!

We love all the Peaceable Kingdom games in our household, but Mole Rats in Space has quickly rocketed to the top as everyone’s favorite. That’s an impressive feat to sway a 3-year-old who really loves to Feed the Wooze.

A copy of Mole Rats in Space was provided free for review by Peaceable Kingdom.

Rob Kalajian

Father of 4. Husband to 1. Overall Geek. Rob is the owner of A Pawn's Perspective and an Editor over at Purple Pawn. During the day he's a Senior Web Developer for an ad agency in Avon, CT. In his free time...he has no free time. Games. Toys. Books. Scouting.