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Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star» Forums » General

Subject: Playing Solo rss

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Alex
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Wondering what this game is like to play solo. Watched a bit of a solo play through and it kind of reminds me of an old school hex adventure game (could be just making that thing up).

What sort of mechanics are involved? How much gaming can you get out of the solo campaign? What is an average length for a play through and what determines how it ends? And of course any other interesting points, I'd be happy to hear them.

Thanks!
 
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Ira Fay
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Have you played the multiplayer version? Or read the rulebook? You can check out the rules from here: http://faroffgames.com/xia

If you play a standalone game, you can choose the length, and a 5 FP game could be quite quick, less than an hour, easy. A longer game to more FP obviously could take longer, but it's up to you. For campaign mode, there are 10 goals you need to complete over at least 10 games (or more, if you fail to complete a goal one game, which is likely to happen). For those games, it's 1-2 hours per game, given that most FP limits are 10-15 points, but a lot of it also depends how much you think about your moves.

There are lots of mechanics in play, including exploring a modular board, customizing your ship with a mini-Tetris game, mission delivery, mining/harvesting resources and selling them, ship to ship combat, etc. There is a decent amount of dice rolling, as well as using cards for ship powers and missions.
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Steven Townshend
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Having played Xia almost exclusively solo--apart from a brief two-player 5 point intro game my wife humored me by playing on Christmas--it is so far the most satisfying solo version of a tabletop board game I have played.

I've found it very challenging. There's a lot of luck involved, but that's part of the fun. The story elements on the ships and missions feel immersive, and without other players I feel I can take my time reading the materials.

Like other solo versions of tabletop board games, playing Xia solo is great for learning the rules. There are so many little rules; they aren't difficult, and they make sense, there are just a lot of them.

In Xia's solo version you are competing with a sort of artificial timer, like in many other solo versions of games, but perhaps the difference is that in Xia I feel like a story's being told and so I'm engaged on that narrative level.

My biggest annoyance was how long it took me to set up and put away, but I picked up the Xia Station from Meeple Realty and now it takes 2-3 minute to set up and 8-9 minutes to put away, so I've been doing a solo play almost every day.

The campaign mode gives the solo game legs--introduces new and interesting challenges, and makes the solo game so much more engaging than any other solo version I've played, though honorable mentions go to ESCAPE, which is totally playable solo, albeit really hard, and TERRAFORMING MARS, which I still find enjoyable as a solo game.

As much fun as Xia is in solo mode, I can't wait to play with real people. I feel like it's hard to go after titles and missions in the solo game, due to the NPC "timer," and I suspect the real game will make that easier since presumably other players will also be trying for them and there won't be as much racing the clock. Can't wait!

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Alex
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Interesting, thanks for the reply's. So is the base game solo-able as well as the campaign mode in the expansion? I'm curious about this time limit too. I remember playing Runebound and finding the time limit too predictable and it gave the game more of a puzzle feeling more than an adventure. How does it work here? Do you still get a space exploration feeling with lots of freedom or is it fairly structured?
 
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Ira Fay
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Solo mode was designed with the Embers expansion in mind, and the solo-specific cards come in the Embers box. So you basically need the expansion, though the rules are online and you can get a good sense of it that way. If you don't have the expansion now (which is currently sold out), it seems appropriate to mention that there's going to be a kickstarter very soon, which will include the option to get the expansion.

Regarding length of game, it is variable. You have some sense of how the game is going, so the end isn't completely random, but there's also some randomness so you can't predict it precisely. I feel like any solo game includes puzzle-y elements, but it depends how much you want to think and strategize before your moves. There is definitely a strong space exploration feel every game - that's just the nature of xia and a modular board, and one of it's biggest strengths (IMO).
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