A little about me]: I am a fan of 4X games and recently also wargames. I made a print-and-play version of game Burning Suns and I played it in over 20 games.
Note: in this text I use images from print and play file of game, because my version of game is in polish.
This reviev was firstly published at http://www.gamesfanatic.pl/2016/06/29/burning-suns-czy-jeden...
At the moment crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, it's more a place where you can preorder the game from smaller or larger company, but a few years ago there were more visionaries who want to make the revolution alone.
One of those is Emil Larsen, creator of the Burning Suns, 4X strategy - a game that has the ambition to not only replace the "4X in three hours," Eclipse, but also threaten the king Twilight Empire. After more than 20 games I try to briefly describe how a bold intention succeeded.
What's new in the genre?
Persons wishing to learn all the rules please check https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/134072/burning-suns-ruleb...
In this text, and I would like to provide more answers to the question of whether the game Emil Larsen brings something new to the genre 4X?
Smallword in space
One of the most interesting elements of the game we can know before the start of the actual game. Each player receives 6 elements of his player board: 2 sheets of ideology, race 2 sheets and 2 sheets organization (structures), which then he selects a fraction of the properties that will be played. It is a mechanism quite similar to that used in the game Smallword, but more robust.
The end result looks like this
(These pictures was made from fan made polish translation and modification of the game by Sławek Michałowski.)
Choosing Race sheet, which will be played, is the main decision. This element is responsible for the statistics of our units. Ideology is a specific technology tree, which you use in the game to learn new, more powerful skills. The last element that we choose, the sheet of the Organization is responsible for issues such as range of moving, limit the range of diplomacy or special items that may have your faction in the game.
Each player has 3 leaders, which picks actions on a future turn. The actions are divided into 4 categories (exploration, development, military and special), each on a different sheet of the action. Important is the order in which the sheets are stacked, which is random each round, because it is responsible for the order of examining individual actions. For this reason, in the game they are both round, in which after the movement you will have a chance to attack, but you will not hace a chance to built anything before the combat (sheet with battle action will be just after sheet action with move, but before of a sheet with construction), as well as round, where before fight both players will have a chance to strengthen their forces (sheet order will be: movement, development and war). Adding to the reduction of the number of places on each Action and a "mission" - a kind of "joker", we gain an interesting mechanism that requires continuous adaptation to the stacking order of action sheets in the round, and planning for the next round.
Tom Clancy wrote in one of his books that diplomacy is the ability to repeat a "good dog", until you find a properly thick stick. In the game, Emil diplomacy is used to weaken an opponent without involving the army, before we decide on more strength solutions. With it, you can at a distance (depending on your coverage diplomacy specified on the sheet of the organization) to stir up rebellion or insurrection systems dominated by our opponents. The rebellion weaken the economy and the uprising result of a loss of control over a given territory. Each player can of course counteract the snares of the enemy diplomats diplomatic by using their agenda, but this first requires a sacrifice action, and secondly, not all races are equally good at this.
The creator from the beginning wanted the universe to its "live" and therefore created not only a game but also a background feature, timeline, biographies of leaders, descriptions of technology. The leased author has also written more than 300-page space opera space operapositioned in the world created for the game and a collection of free short stories called snapshots.
The road to victory
The goal of the game is to get a certain amount of points antimatter. Antimatter is for most systems (when have control over them), you can get the artifacts, agents, sometimes even buy in the galactic market, but the main means for her to gain a battle. For this reason, the game quickly becomes dynamic, because the place on the map come to an end, and the only way to win is to fight and acquisition systems with antimatter controlled opponents. You can always enter into a beneficial alliance together and try to conquer the galaxy.
Impressions of the game
Burning Suns is primarily a dynamic game, the goal of the game will fast enough force attacks on the enemy in order to gain antimatter, not only because of the rapidly shrinking area of the board, but also due to the fact that every successful attack against the opponent is the source of points to win. Cards artifacts, agents or special card races (4 to choose from 8) allow for many surprising maneuvers as changing the map of universe or teleport forces.
Battles in space because of the low hit points of most of the units are fairly quick and bloody. At the same time the possibility of upgrading ships, increasing the chances of hitting and the use of a special card race allow partially control the randomness skirmishes. In this title, you can quickly lose your armies and fleets, but also can quickly rebuild them. Even the player deprived of the army still counts in the game due to the diplomacy and the ability to use agents and artifacts.
This is a game where you have in each round to make many decisions on the choice of starting action, the cell to attack, upgrades to buy, use affects or agents, or activate special abilities of their race.
Examples of cards with abilities fraction (print and play)
In the game there are several random factors. First of all, variable stacking order of action sheets rolls for leaders of successful diplomacy and 3 other actions, random card agents, artifacts and finally the rolls in battles.
These factors, however, are under the control of a player, a random sequence of actions can be leveled planning to turn forward, throws the leaders can be strengthened by making additional payments to these crystals (currency in the game), artifacts and agents can be pick from opponents, and units can timprove chances of hitting at the market. Of course, there are always a change for critical failure (8 on d8), so I do not recommend this title to persons with allergies to the dices.
Looking at the number of possible combinations of initial conditions of the player (10 ideology, 10 races, 10 organizations gives the possibility in 1000), it is worth considering whether the creators did everything to appropriately balance.
Fortunately, after his 20 games, I can say that it did not discover any major problems with the balance of the game. There are occasions when someone receives a combination of home simpler to play, but the more you learn the game, the better can you take advantage of every ideology, the properties of their race or organizations in the pursuit of victory.
What was missing?
Despite the huge replay ability, dynamic gameplay and some interesting mechanic is felt in the fact that the game is the first title of "only one person".
First of all, the game is too complex, not only quantitative (over 400 different elements), but also mechanically. Two of the available 12 actions - exploration and colonization of the game at some point become unnecessary, because there is no way to use them. Failed diplomacy action gives no consolation prize, but such a mechanism is used in the scanning action and recruitment. Some cards of agents and artifacts are of little use and very situational, fortunately the players to decide whether they want to spend the actions on trying to get them. Another notable problem is a little bit artificial division of artifacts and agents belonging to the light, darkness or neutrality - it unnecessarily complicates the game.
See examples of artifacts (file print and play)
In the case of space battles we have 4 types of ships with special abilities, and 2 special units, while ground fighting has been simplified to the infantry and colossus. Such treatment accelerated the game, but the battle ground has become very simplified.
Accessibility improvements units in the market is very random, and upgrades units are limited only to strengthen the chance to hit, on the one hand, it accelerates the fight, the other leaves some unsatisfied.
For 2 players only I played once, but even after this one game you can see that a lot of special abilities races was laid out on a greater number of players than just 2 people.
Overall I thought the game Emil Larsen to be quite successful title, which is trying to introduce some new ideas into 4X gentre. It is not a perfect game, but most importantly, some shortcomings do not undermine enjoyment of the game.
Due to the fact that it is a title given by the platform Kickstarter to mention the important issue, namely the availability of the shop title. In addition to the 1315 games designed for backers the developer, the designer will make available 150 copies of the English version of the game at his website at 3rd quarter of 2016 year (preorder from 12 July 2016).
The second option is to purchase the game for $ 9.99 as print and play for self-printing (the file is in English and Polish language version) and print yourself models from card board or use STL files (which are promised to add by autor).
- Last edited Sat Jul 9, 2016 11:32 am (Total Number of Edits: 6)
- Posted Thu Jul 7, 2016 7:43 pm
Asger Harding Granerud
Early Flamme Rouge prototype
Thanks for the review, tried it some years ago and really liked it! Looking forward to receiving the club copy
I hope it becomes the hit it deserves to be!
Thank you for the nice review Robert - I really appreciate it
It's so close I can almost smell the cardboard print.
That's a lot of plays! I'm not sure I dare play against you in my own game ...but we'll have to manage that some day at SPIEL or similar. Looking forward to that.
@Asger > Thank you for your kind words Asger, I hope you'll be right about that - and then I'll come by the club for the delivery
Best regards Emil
we can always play in Tabletopia module
That's a lot of plays! I'm not sure I dare play against you in my own game
...but we'll have to manage that some day at SPIEL or similar. Looking forward to that.
Moreover many plays do not mean I'm good at the game
- Last edited Fri Jul 8, 2016 7:07 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Jul 8, 2016 7:07 pm
Great review! I've been looking out for this game for some years now and finally bought the Pnp files! I live in Brazil, unfortunately it would be just too expensive to ship the full game here =/
Rocy7, I am wondering if you still have the files for this Polish version. The design in the race boards looks amazing and, if I see it right, your version has the planets in hexagon shapes, which is quite easier to cut and make a good looking pnp! If you do have it, may I ask you to send these files to me? If it's not a problem for you or Emil, of course.
I know I'd have to replace the English text, but I have translated some games to Portuguese already, and it will be a good opportunity to translate the game to Portuguese too, since I'll have the trouble to put the English text anyway...
Great to hear
And I've allowed Robert to share his/their fan-made files on a personal level, so certainly something you guys can figure out.
Okay, just wanted to chip in - so that you know where I stand in this.
Have a great day,
Best regards Emil
Rocy7, I am wondering if you still have the files for this Polish version. The design in the race boards looks amazing and, if I see it right, your version has the planets in hexagon shapes, which is quite easier to cut and make a good looking pnp! If you do have it, may I ask you to send these files to me?
Hex files was made by my friend Pomysłowy Dobromir ,
He will give you the files write to https://boardgamegeek.com/user/p_dobromir
- Last edited Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:36 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:25 am