In EONS, stars form and planets give rise to life within a few turns. A few turns later, your opponent might make your star go supernova or obliterate your planet with a cosmic collision.
EONS is a card game at its core, although there is a game board used to track turns and the current state of the universe. Each player is a cosmic architect. You have a collection raw elements as well an abstract substance called "essence" that represents your ability to shape and create cosmic bodies. Each turn you'll play cards from your hand representing things like stars, planets, or nebulae, paying for them from your reserve of elements and essence.
What's interesting is that when you create a star, the elements you used stay with the star. Each turn you'll have to fuse some of those elements, creating new elements. Eventually, the star will run out of elements to fuse, and it will burn out. The central strategic idea of the game is to manage those resources – stars generate essence, and fusion lets you generate more advanced elements, which are required to play more powerful cards. It's one big cosmic balancing act.
Resource management gameplay gives EONS a very European feel, reinforced by the painted wooden cubes used to represent the elements. At times it feels a bit dry, but if you're a fan of Euro games it will definitely find a home on your game shelf.
It's a very interactive game, as you can play supernovas, cosmic collisions, and even black holes on your opponents, destroying the resource generating bodies they'd worked so hard to create. In the competitive game, players are working to have the most victory points when the universe finally collapses into entropy. The gradual dissipation of the universe is modeled by a general reduction in the availability of resources as the game goes on. You can also play cooperatively, using a number of scenarios that force players to work together to build the universe before the entropic clock hits zero.
This would make a terrific educational game although it is, of course, not strictly scientific. There are only a handful of elements, and the cosmic processes are vastly simplified. As a cosmic architect, you have certain godlike powers that aren't totally realistic. But it does a wonderful job of explaining, in a broad sense, how stars work (that is, are formed from elements and powered by fusion). There's also a fair amount of on-the-fly basic math required, and winning demands careful planning and management of your elements.
EONS was originally funded by a successful Kickstarter, and the creators are currently funding an expansion. They've hit their goal, and stretch goals could unlock even more. The expansion sounds excellent, adding three separate card sets which spice up the base game. There are new cosmic bodies, like binary stars and asteroid fields, while one card set focuses on the emergence of sentient life colonizing the universe. The last set includes new ways to destroy your opponents' stuff, like rogue black holes and red giants, which turn into black holes when they burn out. They're also printing the secret agenda cards, previously only available as downloads. These cards give architects victory points for accomplishing hidden goals, like having a certain mix of planet types or a certain number of black holes. Finally, a ton of new cooperative scenarios will be included as well.
I definitely enjoyed playing EONS, and the expansion card sets seem like they will address the "somewhat dry" issue by adding fun and interesting ways to create and destroy on a cosmic scale.