3io - A Match Three Space Exploration Tile Game [In the Lab

Disk Around a Massive Baby Star (Artist's Concept)

3io - A Match-Three Space Exploration Tile Game for 2-4 players.

Welcome to the distant future, where you can create new planets, stars and even galaxies! You and your fellow players will fuse stellar dust to create new habitats for your galactic civilization. Each player competes to create the most ideal cosmic environment for the civilization. Let’s play among the stars!

» Download Boards and Tiles

Your goal is to have the most points by the time the board fills up with tiles.

The Tiles
The space tiles show features of the universe, ranging from dust to whole galaxies.
The civilization tiles show features of a spacefaring civilization, ranging from probes to singularities.
Each tile has a dark side and a light side. When you initially play a tile, it will always be on the dark side first. Later in play, the tiles may flip over to the light side.

The Board
The board is a 6x6 grid depicting the vast expanse of space. Each cell is called a sector. There is also a point track running along the outside of the board where you will keep track of your ongoing score.

The Crew
Each player has four meeples representing the scientists who help cultivate each sector of space.

Bonus Tokens
Occasionally there will be a call for bonus tokens in play. Keep these easily accessible for the whole group.

Place the board in the middle of the table. Place one meeple on the zero space of the score tracker. Keep your remaining three meeples. Deal one dust tile to each player. Shuffle the tiles in the box so they can be drawn blindly. The last player to fly in an airplane (or go to space) takes the first turn.

You may expand or score.

1. Draw: Draw a tile and put it in front of you.

2. Play a tile: You now have a choice between two tiles to play this turn. When you play a tile, place it on any unoccupied sector of the board. Remember, play the dark side face-up first.

3. Option: Assign crew:  Take one of your crew member meeples and place it on the tile you just played.

4. Fuse tiles: If you have created a contiguous, adjacent group of three or more tiles of the same type, they fuse into a new more advanced feature. The tiles in that group be adjacent to each other vertically or horizontally. Diagonally adjacent tiles do not count.

An example fuse: Three DUST tiles collapse to become a ROCK tile.
     Three or more...     become...
     Dust                 Rock
     Rock                 Planet
     Planet               Sun
     Sun                  Galaxy
     Galaxy               (See “Score”)
     Probe                Colony
     Colony               Station
     Station              Sphere
     Sphere               Singularity
     Singularity          (See “Score”)

Remove all the contiguous tiles from the board except for the tile you just played.
  • If that tile is dark, flip it over to be light. If that tile is already light, search the box for a tile of the upgraded type. Place it dark side up.
  • If this creates another contiguous group of three or more tiles, then fuse this group as well. Continue this chain reaction until there are no more contiguous groups to fuse into your newly played tile.
  • If you fused four tiles, place a bonus token on the remaining upgraded tile.
  • If you fused five or more tiles, place two bonus tokens on the remaining upgraded tile.
  • If you fused tiles with meeples or bonus tokens on them, move them all to the remaining upgraded tile.
  • If you fused three galaxies or three singularities, you immediately score points indicated on the light side of those tiles.

1. Remove a meeple from the board.

2. Earn the number of points indicated on the tile that meeple just left.

3. Earn one more bonus point for each bonus token that was on that tile. Remove those bonus tokens from that tile now.

4. Note if that tile was adjacent to a civilization feature that says “x2, x3, etc.” These will triple, double, quadruple your scores as noted. Add this multiplier to your score accordingly. So, if you just scored 5 points and that tile was adjacent to a space station, you would score 15 points total. NOTE: If adjacent to several multipliers, only the highest multiplier counts. Several multipliers do not stack. Only one multiplier counts at any time.

The game ends when there are no more spaces left on the board. The player with the most points wins.

I’ve been reading a bit of Dan Cook’s rationale behind Triple Town. He insists that the game is not simply a “match-three” game, but an exploration game whose development organically includes to a match-three mechanic. Thus, I wanted to make a game that held true to those standards.

In this game, the theme is really “powers of ten.” The score of the game expands from motes of dust to rocks, to planets, to suns and galaxies. The match-three mechanic is the foundation for a much grander theme.

This is completely unplaytested, folks. Going over this again, I suspect it may be better to use the civlization tiles as a pacing mechanic rather than a multiplier. When you achieve a certain level of civilization, the game ends and then you score points.

If you play this, I definitely want to hear about it in the comments. Thanks!
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.