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Subject: First Game Solitaire (Normal Difficulty) rss

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Will H.
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"Notes" from my first time playing the game. Basically read the rule book, skipping the Mission Planning section, because I want to discover the "puzzle" aspect of the game, and I've played lots of "High Frontier".

Initial impression is that I LOVE this game! I'm so excited to play it again, and play it with other people, and get expansions for it...

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1956:

Looking at missions; Sounding Rocket (1):
1. Purchase 1 Juno Rocket for $1M,
2. Purchase Juno Rocket Advancement for $10M
3. Put 3 Outcome cards on Advancement, worst case all three explode, then automatic success, so buy three more Juno Rockets for $3M
Looking at missions to decide how to spend my remaining $11M. Working Probe/Capsule in Earth Orbit (2):
1. Purchase 1 Probe for $1M
2. Purchase Re-Entry Advancement for $10M

Out of money!

Assemble first spacecraft; 1 Juno Rocket for Sounding Rocket mission.

Maneuver
1. Calculate difficulty (difficulty = 3, mass = 1; 3 x 1 = 3)
2. Check Thrust (Juno Rocket thrust = 4; OK)
3. Discard rocket from spacecraft
4. Draw Outcome from Juno Rockets Advancement
a. Success!
5. Move spacecraft to Suborbital Flight
6. Take Sounding Rocket mission card worth 1 point.

My first journey into “space” is a success!

What else can I do in 1956 before the round ends? There are two medium difficulty missions worth 8 and 11 points. Completing ALL the easy missions will net me 10 points, so I will have to do at least one medium difficulty mission before 1976 to win according to the solitaire rules.

Can I get a probe into Earth orbit?

• Probe mass = 1
• At least 3 thrust to get into Suborbital Flight
• At least 5 thrust to get into Earth Orbit
• Juno rockets x2 mass = 2
• Total spacecraft mass = 3

I did not read the Mission Planning section of the manual. The “puzzle” aspect of mission planning is something I want to discover through gameplay.


• Spacecraft mass of 3 x 3 difficulty = 9 thrust. Taking my last rocket bumps the spacecraft mass to 4, requiring 12 thrust. The harsh reality of gravity and delta-V means this trip will have to wait for a better rocket.

End of turn
1. Automatic maneuver; my sounding rocket returns to Earth, but there is nothing left of it.

1957:

Take $25M (annual budget) and look at rocket components to get my probe into Earth orbit. An Atlas Rocket cost $5M and produces 27 units of thrust for a mass of 4. This would make my spacecraft mass 5, multiplied by a difficulty of 3 = 15 thrust to get into Suborbital Flight, with 12 remaining? Earth Orbit has a difficulty of 5, so that will require 25 units of thrust anyway. Not sure how “left over” thrust works, but I’ll just buy two Atlas Rockets and delve into the rule book later…
1. Purchase Atlas Rockets x2 for $10M
2. Purchase Atlas Rockets Advancement

Can I make it? Spacecraft mass = 9 x difficulty 3 = 27. Just enough for one Atlas rocket! But before I go, I have $5M left in my budget, which is “use it or lose it” in true government fashion. So I pick up Supplies x5 for $5M and I’m broke again.
1. Discard one Atlas rocket
2. Take 1 Objective card from Atlas Rockets Advancement
a. Major Failure; $5M to remove after effects (and this is why we don’t buy supplies for $5M we don’t need!)
b. Spacecraft is destroyed

Outcomes are not automatically removed from Advancements; successes cost $10M and major failures cost $5M to be turned into a success. (Easily missed rule?)

We learned how to manage our budget in 1957, but did not do anything else!

1958:

1. Purchase Atlas Rockets x2 for $10M
2. Purchase Probe for $1M
3. $13M remaining for Outcomes
4. Assemble new spacecraft
5. Attempt to maneuver to Suborbital Flight (9 mass X 3 difficulty = 27 units of thrust)
a. Discard 1 Atlas Rocket
b. Shuffle and draw Outcome off Atlas Rocket Advancement
i. (Kind of hard to “shuffle” three cards for solitaire game, so using “ASL random” DR for the Outcome stack.)
ii. Success! Now, do I spend $10M to “advance” my Atlas Rockets, and increase my chance of drawing a Major Failure from .33 to .5? (no; because that will leave me with $3M; not enough to change a major failure into a success.)
6. Attempt to maneuver from Suborbital Flight to Earth Orbit (5 mass X 5 difficulty = 25 units of thrust)
a. Discard 1 Atlas Rocket
b. Outcome = Major Failure. $5M to discard it

This does not change the outcome. Rocket is still destroyed. Maybe next year?

Going to lose $8M at the end of the turn, so why not get an Astronaut? Pick up Alan Shepard for $5M, and Supplies x3 for $3M.

“Witch Doctor” by David Seville (I only know this song from “The Jettsons” (sp)

1959:

Getting good at blowing up probes on Atlas Rockets, so we’ll just see how this goes:

1. Suborbital Flight = Success! (pay $10M to discard it.)
2. Earth Orbit = Success! (Any reason ever discard your last card if it a success? Only have $3M anyway… another question for the rulebook.)
3. Take Artificial Satellite mission card. Now have 3 points!

1960:

16 years to put a man in space, survey mars, and put a lander on Ceres or Venus. Yikes!

Let’s see if we can get Alan Shepard to Suborbital Flight and back…

1. Purchase Eagle capsule for $4M (Alan needs a seat on the spacecraft!)
2. Purchase Atlas rocket for $5M
3. Maneuver from Earth to Suborbital Flight
a. Discard Atlas Rocket
b. Draw Outcome from Atlas Rocket Advancement
i. Success
4. $16M to spend before end of turn…
a. Start planning for Mars Survey; working backwards with a probe mass of 1 and looking at difficulties… (ANALYSIS PARALYSIS! Glad this is a solo game!)
b. 18 units of thrust for a 1 mass spacecraft to get from Earth to Mars Orbit. Rocket thrusters will add significant weight.
c. Buy Soyuz Advancement for $10M
d. Buy more supplies for $6M (Out of money again!)
5. End of turn
a. Automatic maneuver
i. Alan Shepard returns to Earth
ii. Take Man in Space mission for 2 points; 5 points now!

1961:

Can I get to Mars Orbit with just Atlas rockets? Let’s do the math:

• Probe = 1 mass
• Suborbital Flight requires at least 3 thrust; actually a Juno rocket is enough w/ 4 thrust, but is mass of 1 makes the spacecraft mass 2, resulting in 6 thrust required. Let’s try Atlas rockets
• Atlas Rocket = 4 mass (Spacecraft = 5 mass; Suborbital flight OK)
• Atlas Rocket x2 (Spacecraft = 9 mass; Suborbital flight OK, but cannot take any more mass. Only enough thrust to get to Earth Orbit. (“I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline; LOL)
• Soyuz to get to Suborbital, and possibly Earth orbit, then Atlas Rockets can take it from there.
1. Purchase Probe for $1M
2. Purchase Atlas Rockets x2 for $10M
3. Purchase Soyuz Rockets x2 for $16M ($4M left)
4. Spacecraft mass = 27 x 3 difficulty = 81 units of thrust! ARG! Soyuz = 80 thrust.
5. “Put back Soyuz rockets; get $16M ($20M left)
6. Buy Saturn Rocket for $15M
7. Spacecraft mass = 29 x 3 difficulty = 87 < 200

No Saturn Rocket Advancement, so I’m not going anywhere this year. Spent $5M > Suborbital Flight (mass 49 x 3 difficulty = 147 thrust)
i. Discard Saturn Rocket
1. Outcome = Success! (Struggle to discard or not; decide to keep it.)
b. Suborbital Flight to Earth Orbit (spacecraft mass = 29 x 5 difficulty = 145 thrust) <Music went psychedelic in 1967 in Pandora!>
i. Discard Saturn Rocket
1. Outcome = Success!
c. Earth Orbit -> Inner Planets Transfer (spacecraft mass = 9 x 3 difficulty = 27 thrust)
i. Discard Atlas Rocket
1. Outcome = Success!
ii. Add time token
4. End of year
a. Remove time token
b. Lose $15M (not buying ANY MORE SUPPLIES!)

1968:

1. Inner Planets Transfer -> Ceres (spacecraft mass = 5 x 5 difficulty = 25 thrust)
a. Discard Atlas Rocket
i. Outcome = Success!
1. Radiation, Lander, and Question Mark hazards
2. Radiation
a. Only astronauts care about Radiation
3. Lander
a. Draw Outcome from Landing Advancement
i. Outcome = Major Failure! <Impact with surface. Spacecraft destroyed!> (NO! Pay $5M to discard it.)
1969:

Can I build one or two more rockets and still get to Ceres before the end of the game in 1976?

1. Purchase Probe, Saturn Rocket, and Atlas Rocket for $21M
2. Lose $4M

“Chokin’ Kind” by Joe Simon (irony)

1970:

1. Purchase Saturn Rocket and Atlas Rocket for $20M
2. Let’s Go!
a. Earth -> Suborbital Flight = Success!
b. Suborbital Flight -> Earth Orbit = Success! (I wonder if both cards on the Saturn Advancement are successes?)
c. Earth Orbit -> Inner Planets Transfer = Success!
3. Add time token
4. End of year
a. Remove time token
b. Lose $5M

1970:

Try to land on Ceres again…

1. Discard Atlas Rocket; Outcome = Success!
2. Lander; Outcome = Minor Failure! Damage component
a. Only component is the probe. What does a damaged probe do? Mission cards specify “working”.

Starting to worry. Thinking about those minerals on Mars for $50M. It takes two years at $25M/year to build a rocket, and two years to get to Ceres. If the last Outcome card on the Landing Achievement is not a success, I’ll need 5-6 years to make two more attempts. Not sure I can win if that card is not a success. We’ll see…

1971:

1. Purchase probe, atlas, and Saturn rockets for $21M
2. Lose $4m

1972:

1. Purchase atlas and Saturn rockets for $20M
2. Blast off
a. Success
b. Success
c. Success
d. Add Time
e. Remove Time

1973:

1. Landing Outcome = Major Failure! $5M to remove it. Landings are now an automatic success. I guess after three failures, we know how to do it now!

1974:
1. Repeat of 1971

1975:
1. Repeat of 1972 (Both Saturn Rocket Advancement Outcome cards are Success)

1976:
SUCCESS!

Ceres: Plentiful Water Ice, Supplies Available
Mars: Valuable Minerals, Sample on Earth: $50M

Potential Spoilers:

• Mission Planning section of the Rulebook
• Reverse side of unexplored locations
• Mission cards
• Mercury expansion
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Brad Richards
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Nice write-up. Also loving this game.

One question: For sounding rocket mission do you need a probe on your spacecraft?
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Will H.
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I don't think so. The Sounding Rocket mission represents a V-2 rocket launch in 1942 (pg 41).



I thought I saw something specific about this in the rulebook but can't find it.

You can get a PDF of the rules from the publisher's Web site and search it.
 
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Joe Fatula
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To see what a mission requires, check the mission card itself. Sounding Rocket requires putting a working probe or capsule in space.
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M Edwards
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gar0u wrote:

i. Outcome = Major Failure! <Impact with surface. Spacecraft destroyed!> (NO! Pay $5M to discard it.)

I've only read the rules, not played the game, but I'm pretty sure paying $5M only prevents you from getting that major failure again later. You can't change it to a success for the current check.
Rules wrote:

Paying to remove an outcome card does not change what happened this time; it simply removes it from the advancement’s outcomes so that it will not be drawn again in the future.


Although on re-reading I guess your "NO!" is an exclamation of disappointment rather than a change of the outcome...?
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Robert Manning
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Hi Will -- Fun write up! Do the probes in your copy really cost only $1? The probes in my copy cost $2.
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Steve Carey
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gar0u wrote:
Not sure how “left over” thrust works...


There is no left over thrust - use it or lose it!

gar0u wrote:
(Any reason ever discard your last card if it a success? Only have $3M anyway… another question for the rulebook.)


The rules state that you can remove a success card for free (no $10 spent) if it's the only/last card on the advancement. Afterwards, it's automatic success.

gar0u wrote:
1. Purchase Eagle capsule for $4M (Alan needs a seat on the spacecraft!)


You need Landing tech before purchasing an Eagle capsule (this is noted on the card as a reminder).

(I see later on you start drawing outcome for the Landing Advancement, just not sure then when you purchased it).

gar0u wrote:
3. Maneuver from Earth to Suborbital Flight
a. Discard Atlas Rocket
b. Draw Outcome from Atlas Rocket Advancement
i. Success
4. $16M to spend before end of turn…
5. End of turn
a. Automatic maneuver
i. Alan Shepard returns to Earth
ii. Take Man in Space mission for 2 points; 5 points now!


With a man in space, the Suborbital Flight location is now explored and must be revealed (depending on the result, it could affect Alan Shepard now and also future astronauts who could become incapacitated).

gar0u wrote:
No Saturn Rocket Advancement, so I’m not going anywhere this year.


I'm confused - how are you buying and drawing outcome cards for Saturn rockets without the prerequisite advancement?

gar0u wrote:
What does a damaged probe do? Mission cards specify “working”.


A damaged probe does nothing - if you had a mechanic and supplies with the probe, you could repair it. Otherwise, you're hosed - a damaged probe can't complete its mission.

Thanks for the session report - I enjoyed and learned from it...
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Robert Manning
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In addition to Steve's comments, supplies were purchased in 1957 without their prerequisite technology "Life Support" having been purchased.
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Will H.
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Thanks for the help, Steve. In some cases, I was discovering the rules as the situation came up. So you were right, I can't use the Saturn Rocket without the advancement; but I was out of money, so I could not buy the Advancement and went nowhere that year.

I plan on turning these notes into a better session report with pictures.

I learned a lot from your reply. Thanks!
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