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Solarius Mission» Forums » General

Subject: No reviews yet? rss

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Juan Crespo
United States
Washington
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I'm very much looking forward to seeing a review (video or written) on the final production, in English!

A bit surprised that still no soul has ventured to tackle it!
 
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David desJardins
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juanma99 wrote:
A bit surprised that still no soul has ventured to tackle it!


While there are, of course, English speakers in the EU, there are many more in the US, so when the game becomes available here there will undoubtedly be more reviews in English. I'm one of those who has ordered the game but expects to wait several more weeks for a copy.
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Juan Crespo
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Fair enough. I also pre-ordered it through the FunAgain Games Essen mule service. I bit blind, admittedly, but mainly weighing on 3 reasons:

1) I love La Granja, my favorite farm game right now, and

2) This is a Spielworxx game and in my experience even though they're hit or miss, their small print runs pretty much serves as a guarantee of trade/resale value in case I don't like it.

3) The price point I found it to be fair, in relation to other offerings this year.
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Peter Gysemans
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We played it last night with 4 people and i can give you a bit of a review. (Beware: non-native English speaker)

We enjoyed our time with it and I certainly wasn't bored in the 3 hours it took to play, but it has 2 issues that prevent me from saying it's a great game. They both have to do with randomness and how it's mitigated.

The bad

The first one is inherent to dice placement games (Castles of Burgundy and Bora Bora come to mind). Sometimes the dice will be less than ideal for you and better for someone else. Yes, you can mitigate the result of the dice (color once per round and the pipcount with money), but that still means it's possible you will do suboptimal moves while your opponents get the die they want exactly. That will happen as often for you as your opponents over time but you only have 16 dice actions in 1 game. Also, unlike the other dice placement games I mentioned you have to mitigate the color on top of the pip count.

In other words: I understand that a lot of the fun of a dice placement game comes from the fun of figuring out a best move with the options the dice give you, but sometimes it felt like there wasn't enough luck mitigation possible, especially later in the game when you just want to complete certain missions and need somewhat more specific dice.

The second problem is that most of the randomness in the game has to do with how you get points. The bulk of that comes from missions and planets. Our winner had 36 points and the last person had 27. More than half of those points came from planets and missions and how you get those specific missions and planets is a bit too random to our taste:

Drawing cards is expensive since it will cost an action or a contamination (once per round). If you get a 2-point mission you're sad because they might be easier to do, but als require an action to play and an action to fulfill. Since those actions are precious you don't want to waste them on little missions. To make matters worse the tech-part of the lower-point mission cards seems to be worse too. You can house-rule this by making a market for cards or having every draw is a draw 3/discard 2 action, maybe.

With the planets randomness is also an issue but less so and mostly in the early game. Then you mostly just want to get resources from them and you'll be sad you flip over a 1. Later in the game you can zoom around and scoop up the planets that fit your configuration best. That creates some (possible) player interaction and is nice. At the start of the game it can be a bit frustrating.

The good

Mechanically this game played really well. After you get through the rules explanation (took an hour for 4 people including questions) the flow of the game is simple (take a die, fly around or don't, repeat) but every turn there's a myriad of options to go for.

The mechanism of shoving your dice and upgrading them to get better actions and better resources is very clever and satisfying.

It has exactly the amount of player interaction I want in a game: I love the player interaction on the map in this game. The outposts and the restrictions on how they can be placed form an interesting puzzle on top of your own resources/dice board.

Conclusion

The game was too 'weighty' to have so much randomness in the victory conditions.

If we weren't completely flooded by new Essen games (our group acquired some 50 new games in total) we might give this another shot, but since there are so many more awesome games out there I kinda doubt it.

It would also help if the component quality was better (yes, we spent a good portion of our banter on the ridiculously small colonization tokens and the not-seperate tracks for fuel and money.) but that's beating a dead horse at this point.

Beating the dead horse

At some point we joked we would happily buy the .pdf of the game and print the components ourselves. It would be cheaper and we'd have a better experience playing it.

In today's market you can get excellent deep games with great art and components for a reasonable price and in 5-10 years time everyone will have a 3D printer at home or know someone that does.

Spielworxx will have to do better in the future.





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Mikko Saari
Finland
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After two two-player games and one four-player game, I mostly agree with your review. I'll probably house rule the card draw a bit, in my previous game I was somewhat frustrated by lack of usable missions.

Perhaps having an open row of cards to draw from? Something like that.

Overall my impression is positive (I've rated the game 8/10 at the moment); there's plenty of things to do and very much a feeling of not being able to do everything.

Once I get the replacement colony and fuel/money tokens, I have no significant complaints about the components.
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Hi,

thank you for the first impressions. But I'd actually like to weigh in because I see some points I like to comment on. Especially the randomness.

There are many ways to mitigate the randomness. And because of this I like to call it more like risk management.

To me it seems you just did not find the ways to mitigate the randomness by now. Which is okay. We love games that are not decrypted after the first play. And since you have to spend so much money for this game I think it is our obligation to give you a game that has a high replayability.

I don't want to spoil the game. Let me know if you like some hints about how to make some good use of certain space stations or bonuses.

One last thought about your house rule suggestions: They would change the balance of the game. The space station that gives you cards is important if you want to go heavy on cards. Changing the supplementary action or having an open display will decrease the value of this space station. There are ways to cope with the randomness. Or you deceide to not cope with it and take some risks.
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Peter Gysemans
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I think getting hints from the designer might be considered cheating.

Halfway through the game we realized the 'card space station' would probably be a powerful one indeed and I'll give that one a go if we play it again.

I fully agree that there's lots of replayability in the game and there's lots of strategies we can still explore more and discover.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a good game. It just didn't click so well with our group for whatever reason. I tried to explain it, but in the end it's a subjective feeling and not hard truths.

It also won't stop us from buying more of your games. We're already looking forward to your next design, whatever it will be.
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ode.
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Please! Don't go easy on me! I can only inprove as a designer if people are telling me what they really think! And please don't think I want you to like the game. If you dislike it... Well, that's just life.

I was just weighing in, because I thought you liked the game but would not consider it anymore because of too much randomness. And I wanted to give some hint that there are in fact some set screws you maybe haven't found yet... ;-)

Have fun with whatever games you play!

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Bryan Thunkd
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bayerbube wrote:
There are many ways to mitigate the randomness.
I haven't played the game so can't comment on it specifically, but I just want to point out that randomness can be a problem even when they are ways to mitigate it. If one player consistently has to mitigate the randomness while another doesn't, that other player will often have an advantage.
 
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Thunkd wrote:
bayerbube wrote:
There are many ways to mitigate the randomness.
I haven't played the game so can't comment on it specifically, but I just want to point out that randomness can be a problem even when they are ways to mitigate it. If one player consistently has to mitigate the randomness while another doesn't, that other player will often have an advantage.


That is right. I actually don't consider this a problem per se. There is advantage and disadvantage on randomness. You need to level it out. It has to fit to the game at hand.

I maybe have a higher acceptance on randomness than other people. Could be. To me the randomness is important for an interesting gameplay. And for that I can live with some disadvantage. I am not saying that this is the case with Solarius Mission. Just a general thought.

I actually don't want to go deeper on the details of the randomness in Solarius. The thing I wanted to state out is, that there are ways. It could even be so, that you find those ways and still think the randomness has too much of an influence. It all depends on your taste in games.

But you can find ways to deal with the situation of having a bad choice concerning the dice. Or the cards. Or finding planets that seem to be not right at the given time...
 
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A K Vikhagen
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My impression from a few plays is that I can easily live with the randomness in this game. You draw two progress cards and choose one, you know from before what kinds of planets need which resources to be colonized, the dice can be modified etc. In fact, the charm in this game is linked to the pleasure of handling what is offered to you.

As a measurement for my randomness tolerance, I'd say that for instance Viticulture Essential Edition is too random to really be competitive (but it's still a good game, I just don't expect the "best" player to win all the time). But games like Grand Austria Hotel and La Granja has a pleasant level, in my opinion.
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