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Leaving Earth» Forums » General

Subject: How is the solitaire experience? rss

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Tony M
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I've been a wargamer for 40+ years, but in the last few years I'm become frustrated at the [to me] relatively small number of dedicated solitaire wargames out there. I saw this game on a BG solitaire game list, and it sounds fascinating.

Is Leaving Earth a dedicated solitaire game? How well does it play solitaire? Can you choose to play as the Soviet or US space programs, or is the player's space program generic?

how replayable is it? How complex? How much FUN is it? I don't have a lot of money for games, so I want a game that I can play [and will want to play] many times over the years.

I was born the year Sputnik was launched, and have closely followed the space program all my life.
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Will H.
United States
Washington
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Hi Tony,

Leaving Earth is probably my favorite solitaire game. You can pick which space agency you want to play, but they are all symmetric--so there is no advantage to choosing one over the other.

The game has a lot of variability that comes from:

1. Different difficulty levels (which determines what type and how many missions you are using in each game).

2. Different missions (you play each a subset of missions each game).

3. Different locations (each location has multiple cards to be 'discovered', and at the start of the game you pick one at random).

4. Different outcomes for your untested advancements (research projects like different rockets, surveying, landing, re-entry, etc.)

There is also an expansion, but I played the base game for a year before the expansion came out, and the game never lost its luster.

I think you'll really enjoy the game. Give it a try!
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Jordan Booth
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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It is not strictly single player. It is designed for up to 5 players. However, the majority consensus is that the solo game is a better game because of the major downtime and thin interaction in multi-player.
There are 5 space real life agencies that you can play. They are all mechanically identical. You can choose whichever one you feel like playing.

I quite like the solitaire game because it is an engaging puzzle that is only slightly determined by luck. So you certainly react to the curveballs the game throws you, but you can control those chance events to a certain degree, control how detrimental it will be to your strategy.

It is highly replayable due to multiple location cards for each celestial body. You also pick a different mission set each game. The Outer Planets expansion blows this wide open with mission trees being revealed based on which bodies you decide to survey.

The game seems really complex because you do a lot of up front thinking about your missions before implementing them. This is because like in real space, you can't easily send a rescue mission if you mess up the initial math. But the math itself is not really that hard. It is addition and multiplication, and there is a really good reference card to make it as simple as possible.

For me, the fun factor comes from the elegant integration of theme. As a lifelong space race fan I think you'll really like the alternate history vibe that is at once dedicated to scientific accuracy and celebrating great heroes of space exploration while at the same time letting you take on the fantasy of what human spaceflight could have been if it wasn't just a militaristic posturing game with no real interest in continued funding for discovery. It is definitely targeted towards us hard science fans. I don't think someone who isn't interested in space exploration would find it engaging enough.
It may seem a little pricey, especially when you notice how small the box is, but the art is beautiful, the components are well made, laser cut wood, and it is sold directly from the publisher to support them as much as possible. Many people have mentioned how they are content with the base game for going on a year now, and not even ready to add the Outer Planets yet. I love the Outer Planets. The first time I played with it the game took me 13 hrs. The second time I got it down to 4 hrs. My point there is that it multiplies the decision points and modular combinations beyond what I can quickly estimate.
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Will H.
United States
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Didn't want to shamelessly promote my videos, but I did record some play through games that you might watch to get a feel for how complex the game is.

The graphic design of Leaving Earth is very good, so once you have the rules down, there is not really any need to refer to the rule book. (As opposed to High Frontier--which is also a great space game but very complex, and not as fun as a solitaire experience in my opinion, but great at 3+ players).

There is enough complexity to keep the game interesting, but not so much that it makes it feel like work. The only math required is addition and multiplication. The randomness in the game can usually be mitigated, or at least minimized, but unknowns are part of space exploration.
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Mike Hoyt
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In a word, awesome.
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Chris in Kansai
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All the above praise is highly justified, but the heart of this game is number-crunching. If you enjoy that aspect of games then this one is a great choice.

You should definitely watch some videos to make sure Leaving Earth is what you're looking for.
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Dave Daffin
United Kingdom
Ledbury
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This is the game I would have loved to have had when I was a kid, growing up at the time of the early space programme.

Solo, the game is a race to achieve a number of missions to gain points by a fixed year.

In my first game I tried to test everything so no components or manouevres would fail, but in doing that I didn't have time to achieve the number of mission points to win the game. Therefore, to achieve a win, you have to take chances, and risk that (for example) the Saturn rocket that is taking your astronaut(s) to the moon won't explode on take off, or a docking fails and destroys the craft (or just damages the craft, stranding your astronaut in orbit).

Because of this, your game will produce a great narrative for your space programme.

So, in summary, it is a great solo game. Wonderfully thematic, and an incredible experience from such a small box.
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Per Fischer
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Only to add to what other people have already said above: truly an astonishing solo game experience, I can't see how one could ever grow tired of it.

And then there's the expansion - also highly recommended.

(A minor thing, perhaps, but this game doesn't look like any other game - the art design is magnificent, I think it's the best looking game I own. Just unpacking it, laying out the planets and see the possible missions is an experience in itself)
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Tony M
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Thanks everyone, for all of the comments. I'm going to buy this game. It sounds like exactly what I'm looking for at this point in my life. It seems that Leaving Earth has an enthusiastic community and a supportive designer, and I'm very encouraged by that. People are actually playing and enjoying the game, and their reasons for enjoying it are reasons that I can identify with.

The comments here have inspired me to get out my old copy of "Red Star in Orbit."

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Tony M
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Being in a mood to celebrate due to a good piece of medical news in my family, I ordered Leaving Earth this afternoon. I hope it arrives quickly!
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Tony M
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Wow. That was fast. I received the game today!
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skipper 2206
France
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Tony M wrote:
Wow. That was fast. I received the game today!


And.. ? And... ? cool
 
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Tony M
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It's brilliant!
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