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Subject: Solo Playthrough - Scenario 2 rss

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Matt
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First off, some background. After trying this game at Gencon, I felt like the game was a lot of fun, and was the sort of game that would really generate stories. I LOVE games that generate stories. Stories that you talk about the next day, the next game night, and beyond. I felt this could be that type of game. I was also hoping that I could play it with our 9 year old (with some help probably), so I bought it and am giving it a shot. I end up playing a number of games solo, and thought I'd give this one a shot. I'm going to try and play through all of the scenarios (in the retail version), and report on them, both for my own fun, and hopefully to help others decide if it's for them.

Anyway, on to the session...

=====================================================================
Venus - Escape from the Slave Saucer
Ben Riggs woke up in his cell, groggy, but more aware than his cellmate. He tried to take stock of the situation, but had trouble even standing on his own feet. He made his way to the person sharing his prison, and shook him awake.

"What's your name?", Ben asked.

Shaking his head back and forth, he muttered "Pelham. Professor Pelham. You can call me 'Russell'. Where are we?".

Ben explained "You're never going to believe this, but I think we're on an alien ship".

"Believe it?", Russell replied. "I've been trying to tell folks for years that these things existed! I was hoping to prove it in a more removed way than this though... What do we do?"

Ben explained the plan he'd been working on since he awoke, and they put it into action...

The Captain looks outside of their cell, and notices a book, an alien, and a person who LOOKED like a "normal" human, but who was shuffling around pointlessly. He rigged the door to open, and moved through it. He immediately tried to stab the alien, but missed. He used up a little extra oxygen to swing again, this time connecting. He grabbed the book, titled Reference Book, while observing the "human".

The Professor looked around, noticed another of these "humans", along with another alien, down the hallway, and was shaken by unreasonable fear! He and Ben both lost some of their breath, seeing there were more of these aliens. He took his cue to exit the cell, and realized upon examining the being in the room that he could remove a wire from the neck of the thrall (his term for the human who was under some sort of mind control). He did so, and the human came back under his own control. He muttered something about "Where's my bus?...", but the rest was lost as the alien in the hallway opened fire. In the meantime, another of the thralls moved towards the escapees.

The Professor looked around, and noticed a giant leech, and another thrall, behind the group. He reacted quickly, and removed a wire from the neck of the thrall who wandered into his area, and found himself in the company of a football player, looking around, trying to orient himself. He also saw a chance to lock a couple of hatch doors, at the same time. Realizing how easy it was to subdue these thralls, he moved to the one behind the group, and removed the wire from the base of its neck.

Ben was peeking around the area, looking for an escape route out of this hell hole, but came up empty. He did notice, though, some sort of alien gun, and two more of the aliens they had seen earlier. He moved backwards with his teammate, stabbed the leech there, and then gave some plans to the Professor to be used later.

The aliens that Ben had seen earlier fired, and one hit him. The other two both missed, and the group continued.

The Professor looked further down the hallway and noticed the handle of what appeared to be a gun, but also saw another leech and alien in the area. He slipped ahead to the thrall and subdued it. He immediately spun with his knife towards the alien, and was able to kill it as well.

Ben continued his search for an escape hatch, but again had no luck, instead spying some helmet contraption, two more aliens, and a new type of alien, that seemed to be leading the others. "Come quick!", Russell shouted. "I think I found something we can use!". Ben accidentally opened the door where this new leader alien was, hurrying to Russell. There he found a ray gun, spun, and fired at the leader alien, who had noticed him running by. His hit connected, and he decided to use some more of his precious breath to try another shot, connecting on that one as well!

The aliens were all aware of the group escaping now. One alien fired, and missed. Another fired, and missed as well. Two other aliens came running through the hall, firing, but also missing. Things were going well for the group so far, but they wondered if their luck would hold...

Russell looked on down the hallway, because it was clear they couldn't go back the way they had come. He whispered to Ben that he saw some sort of radio contraption, and another thrall, but two more aliens as well. "Wait!", yelled Ben, but it was too late. Russell moved ahead, quickly subdued the thrall, and stabbed one of the aliens before it knew what hit him. He swung so hard that he used up a little of his extra oxygen, and hit the other in the same swing. Amazing luck!

Cursing, Ben looked around, again, for some way to escape, and he found it! An elevator would be their way out. However, two aliens, and some new bug creature, were guarding it. Plus, they still wanted to get more of the wires from these "thralls", as Russell called them, to take back as evidence of what was happening. He shot one of the aliens coming up behind them, and killed it. The dying scream of that alien left another one stunned. He shot again, at a different alien, and this time he was able to stun three more aliens! Killing these things had even more benefit than he originally realized! He moved in with the Professor, and grabbed his handy radio that he had nearly forgotten about in all of the excitement.

The monsters all got up, groggy, giving the humans some more time to escape this nightmare. The bug pursued them, but did not catch up.

Seeing all of the pursuing aliens begin to get their orientation again, the Professor looked ahead and saw another of the guns that Ben now had, along with 2 more of the thralls, and another bug. Seeing how much luck Ben had with his gun, he ran in to grab his own. He subdued one thrall, and was so successful in doing so, that he now had a third person helping him out. This time, it was someone referring to himself as just "Sarge", who obviously knew a thing or two about motivating individuals. Russell pointed at a hatch ahead of them, and the football player rammed into it head-first, opening it. Russell opened fire, with the help of Sarge's excited chatter, and killed one of the aliens from earlier, in the process moving back to where Ben was watching the aliens behind them.

Hearing the shots fired, Ben whipped his head around, only to see the biggest, baddest alien they had yet come across, along with some other sort of alien gun-shaped item. He opened the door to this beast, and opened fire. He scored a hit, and caused the monster to stagger. He fired again, and causes the huge alien to stagger TWO MORE TIMES!

The aliens opened fire. One missed, another missed, and a third missed. One bug moved up to group up with his cohort, and the two of them together moved in to the hallway with the humans, ready to pounce. A thrall from the next room moved in as well, and finally the sentinel moved in, but was staggering so badly that he didn't even get to swing at the humans.

Russell looked around again, spying an opening towards the elevator that Ben had pointed out. He moved to that room, occupied by a leech and another alien, and ordered the football player to punch the door to the elevator with his head again. For some reason, the football player did as he was told, opening up a shot from Russell to the aliens protecting the getaway hatch. He hit one, and then fired a second time, this time missing. He remembered what Ben had told him earlier, and used that knowledge to fire one more time, hitting the last alien guarding the elevator. With his last breath he dove for the elevator.

Ben sees Russell moving towards the elevator as he had indicated earlier, and just saw him enter the hatch before looking around one last time, deciding his escape route. He dodged, weaved, and squirmed his way out of the hallway, where two bugs, a thrall, and a sentinel were all bearing down on him. He ran past a leech and alien, into the elevator, and with great satisfaction, pushed the button to finally be rid of these things.

=====================================================================

So, I played this scenario twice BEFORE winning. I had played the scenario once with a friend, and we breezed through relatively easily. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I finally re-read the scenario for the 8th time, and finally saw (and remembered) the rule about "replace the first alien on each of the inner ring tiles with a thrall". OOOOOHHHHH....that makes a little bit of a difference. Whoops... This still wasn't easy, per se, but it was significantly easier than when I forgot that scenario-specific rule.

Good times were had, stories were created, and I look forward to trying scenario three...
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Steve Moak
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Good job. So far, I have played scenario two three times unsuccessfully with two players. It always seems to end with the last player (who has a relatively decent number of hit points left) getting attacked by a lot of aliens at once. I'm not sure I like that the last person gets attacked by ALL the aliens (with players being equidistant that is). In Mice and Mystics, for example, the enemies will alternate attacks between different players at the same distance.

The closest we came was with the professor and the doctor (both with good IQs for subduing thralls). That replace alien with a thrall rule is easy to forget for me too.
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Dan Raspler
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Glad you guys are having fun with it! Great adventure story. Keep 'em coming!

After a few games, the alien movement and combat protocols will become second nature... and you'll be able to predict and plan for their upcoming counter-attacks. It's important to review the player order and adjust the sequence as characters get damaged or discover useful new items. The Rocketeers' overkill options are very interactive.
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Matt
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smoak511 wrote:
Good job. So far, I have played scenario two three times unsuccessfully with two players. It always seems to end with the last player (who has a relatively decent number of hit points left) getting attacked by a lot of aliens at once. I'm not sure I like that the last person gets attacked by ALL the aliens (with players being equidistant that is). In Mice and Mystics, for example, the enemies will alternate attacks between different players at the same distance.

The closest we came was with the professor and the doctor (both with good IQs for subduing thralls). That replace alien with a thrall rule is easy to forget for me too.


I agree that it's rough when one guy gets beat-up on in one round. And a lot of it just comes down to luck of rolls. In one of my first failures, I just couldn't miss when rolling AGAINST myself, and couldn't hit when rolling against the aliens. It was just an awful slaughterfest. I actually rolled 18 dice at one point (across 3 rolls), and got one success. But, that's my luck at dice games.

What I found was important was exploring the inner circle as much as possible, not only for the thralls (which eases the fighting, and makes the scenario go faster), but also to get a ray gun or two as fast as possible. Those extra dice (over a knife), plus the flexibility of distance, PLUS the ability to move on an Overkill, made a HUGE difference.
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Adam Rabuck
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Thank you for this write up! It is helping to hold me over until my copy of the game arrives.
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Stephen Buonocore
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Nice session report!

Keep them coming! We'd love to hear about some of the really BIG scenarios/Missions and what you think of those. They get really intense.

Thanks,
Stephen M. Buonocore
Stronghold Games LLC
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Steve Moak
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evilone wrote:
Nice session report!

Keep them coming! We'd love to hear about some of the really BIG scenarios/Missions and what you think of those. They get really intense.


Uh oh. I am finding scenarios 2 and 3 to be rather intense.
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Matt
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evilone wrote:
Nice session report!

Keep them coming! We'd love to hear about some of the really BIG scenarios/Missions and what you think of those. They get really intense.

Thanks,
Stephen M. Buonocore
Stronghold Games LLC


I'm not reading ahead, so as to not spoil the surprise of seeing them, but I'm planning on posting them as I go through them. I'm about 1/3 of the way through scenario 3 now (hopefully the kids don't mess it up while I'm working...), and will post that shortly I hope.

Thanks for publishing such a great game. It was really great to meet you at Gencon, even if it was only briefly when you swiped my credit card. I had a great time playing all of the games at your booth, and look forward to getting more of them in the future. It was great seeing what was added in Among the Stars (and my wife and I will enjoy the 2-player variant introduced there very much). Diamonds was a really fun game that I really appreciated, coming from a euchre family (and being a person who normally gets awful hands that you can't do ANYTHING with). Dark Moon was WAY more fun and engaging than I thought it would be from what I'd heard before, and think it would be a lot of fun with the folks I normally play with. La Granja was the one I most wanted to play with my wife there, to see what she thought, but it didn't work out time-wise; the booth was always very busy, and we never got sat down in time. I think it's the sort of game she would just eat up, so I was bummed we missed out on it. But hopefully another time.
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Adam Rabuck
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Steve and Matt,
Are you guys finding that the choices players make are a big part of the outcome of the game, or does the game take the players for a wild-random ride? I enjoy both types of game, I'm just curious where Space Cadets falls in the spectrum. Thanks!
 
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Matt
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arabuck wrote:
Steve and Matt,
Are you guys finding that the choices players make are a big part of the outcome of the game, or does the game take the players for a wild-random ride? I enjoy both types of game, I'm just curious where Space Cadets falls in the spectrum. Thanks!


Having only played the first three scenarios, for a total of about 6 times (so take all of this with a grain of salt), I feel like to succeed, you HAVE to make good choices. I do think that the alien tiles you flip can impact the difficulty of the mission, but that's just part of the randomness. And I don't know that flipping the "bad" alien tiles makes a mission impossible to complete; I haven't seen that yet. But I'm trying to think of horrible situations, like flipping over a tile with 3 aliens on it, as the last guy to act that turn, and somehow the tile you flipped is right next to someone. So you don't have enough actions to kill the aliens, and they are going to stomp on someone's cranium during their phase. But if you're careful about which tiles you flip, that shouldn't happen, most of the time.

I think you have to be super efficient (and somewhat lucky in your dice rolls) to do your best. For example, I had a situation last night where I wanted to have the Professor open a hatch for another group ahead of him, move to the next tile, and attempt an IQ check. But if I took those three actions, in that order, I'm not maximizing my (potential) effect on the turn. I decided it was better to move, try the IQ test, and hope for an Overkill, which I could then use to open the hatch, leaving me a 3rd action to do something else. It didn't work out, so in that case it didn't matter, but it absolutely could make a huge difference.

At the same time, I thought about doing the same thing with (I think?) the First Officer. If I had HER act first, and SHE got an overkill, then she could order the Professor to move, saving him an action. So I could get an Overkill with her, move the Prof for free, have him try his IQ check with his first action, and if THAT caused an Overkill, he would have TWO MORE FREE ACTIONS! And who doesn't love free actions????

So I think that there is a lot of decision, but luck still has some to do with it too. Trying to plan around "what if?" scenarios, especially with Overkill rolls, and comparing that with "but the last person to act this turn gets attacked by everything" creates a lot of tense decisions, and even more tense die rolls.

That's the kind of thing I find myself thinking about throughout a turn. The fact that you can change turn order every round makes a huge difference. I really enjoy the freedom it has, generating both important choices, and fun stories, at the same time.
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Adam Rabuck
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Thanks for the detailed response. Making use of the overkill actions and activation order seem to be key. I really hope this game arrives between grad school quarters so I so I have some guilt free play time.
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Al Rose
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mjortman wrote:
What I found was important was exploring the inner circle as much as possible, not only for the thralls (which eases the fighting, and makes the scenario go faster), but also to get a ray gun or two as fast as possible. Those extra dice (over a knife), plus the flexibility of distance, PLUS the ability to move on an Overkill, made a HUGE difference.


This here is some mighty good advice, Rocketeer.
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Steve Moak
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Got so close to winning the Venus scenario last night. We subdued/rescued all the thralls and my wife's professor made it to the elevator but left my weakened captain behind to fend for himself against attacks from a leader, two thralls, four saucermen and two bugs.
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Matt
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smoak511 wrote:
Got so close to winning the Venus scenario last night. We subdued/rescued all the thralls and my wife's professor made it to the elevator but left my weakened captain behind to fend for himself against attacks from a leader, two thralls, four saucermen and two bugs.


Ouch! Yeah I haven't found the best way to manage hordes of aliens. I've found that attacking all you can, and hoping for Overkills to do the other stuff you need to do (depending on the character, weapon, etc), is pretty important. Many times I want to use someone's ability, like the Professor's to open a hatch, but will attack instead, and hope for an OK to use to open a hatch. If I don't get one, then I just worry about next round. But keeping the aliens at a manageable level seems paramount in my play so far.

I lost scenario 3 yesterday and was TOTALLY BUMMED! I was about 3/4 of the way through it, but Red Alert had kicked in, and aliens back on the shuttle smoked my two guys I left back there to defend it. But I learned, and will try again.
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Steve Moak
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A group of 5 of us tried scenario 3 and had a similar experience. We got into the red alert stage and tons of aliens were showing up in our shuttlecraft. An interesting thing that happened (although we still lost) is that a brain in a jar appeared on the shuttle. We shot at it and used its overkill to stun all aliens in and around the shuttlecraft. That would have been really useful had we been on the shuttle, but one of our guys died trying to get there. I'm not sure what happens thematically when we have escaped on the shuttle and all the aliens wake up a turn later. Perhaps we ejected them out the airlock or something.
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Jonathan McGowan
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Absolutely agree on exploring the inner ring and it might work out best to go opposite directions, I had the 2 rocketeers on the same space as I went, seeing as the knife was only good on the same tile as the alien
However the big downside is it meant starting off, one rocketeer will scan the next inner tile but the second Rocketeer will have to scan the outer tile which can be devastating, especially if you don't have the Ray Guns yet!
 
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