I tried playing the game today. The introduction text certainly sounds promising. A solitaire 4X game played with a standard deck of cards? I should definitely learn the rules for that.
I played three times in a row; but midway through the first game I realised I wasn't following the rules correctly. I still completed the game with the wrong rules, and then I started over with the correct rules.
...Then after playing I realised I had been playing incorrectly again. So I played a third time.
The mistake I made in the first game was to only move one card at a time to one of the three discards, rather than moving all available cards. This made the game waaaaaaaay too simple. Basically, I moved the first 10 I encountered to the Game Length discard, and the second 10 I encountered to the Victory Points discard, and every other card to the Battle Fleet, slaughtering an invader whenever I could.
This made the game so simple that it wasn't entertaining at all. The risk of being overrun by invaders seemed very low, I played all Events as Null events (why would I reshuffle my single 10 Victory Points discard into a draw pile?), and played till one of the four draw pile was exhausted.
In the second game, I played correctly that all four cards had to be played simultaneously. But I forgot the rule that cards had to be played to different discard piles, if possible. So again, I saved the first 10 for the Game Length discard, and the second for the Victory Points discard. I did throw a couple other cards in the Victory Points discard before I got to the second 10, for safety in case I encountered four invaders at once. But the first Ace reshuffled theses cards into the draw piles, so no problem there.
Since I was moving all cards to the battle fleet, this resulted in a lot of wasted cards, so I was less efficient than during the first game, and the risk of being overrun was slightly higher. But the game still wasn't very entertaining, because scoring 10 points was too easy, so there was not much of a game.
I was about to write this report and forget about this game... Then I realised I had read the rules wrong, and cards had to be played to different discard piles if possible. So I played again.
Now, we have a real game! I liked it. I will probably play it again, and definitely try to teach it the next time I see someone playing a solitaire card game. Thank you!
The rules are a little unclear, not to say self-contradictory, when it comes to Aces; sometimes it sounds like I could use them for points or fleet, and sometimes it sounds like I cannot.
Expand: (Mandatory). In any order, move those cards (A-10) to the top of the diagonally positioned discard piles. The face cards (J, Q, or K) stay on the draw piles where revealed as Invaders. You must place each A-10 on top of a different discard pile if possible, then afterwards you are free to choose any discard pile for any remaining cards.Okay. So I can move the aces to discard piles. If I don't, then those aces become Events.
Exploit: Events not played in the Expand step must be played now. You must use the Event or else skip it (it becomes a Null event and cannot be played later). There is never more than one occurrence of an Event. Truce must be played during Expand step.
Well, now it says 2-10 instead of A-10. So I cannot play the aces to other discard piles.
Each diagonally-positioned discard pile serves a different purpose:Victory Points 2-10 The top card (only) of this pile is your base Victory Point score.
Battle Fleet 2-10 All cards stored in this pile will be used to defeat invaders. See “Exterminate”. These cards will be...
Game Length 2-10 If at any time, the top card of this pile is less than (< the top card of the VP pile, the game ends immediately. Note that equals (=) is permitted.
Events A only Each Ace triggers a mandatory Event (play in Expand step or in Exploit step).
In addition, a fifth discard pile is required, for the defeated invaders and used up battle fleet. Since these cards need to be definitely removed from the game, and the cards in the Event pile effectively are definitely removed from the game, I decided to merge the fifth discard pile with the Events discard pile. This avoids taking more space than necessary on the table, and has the added advantage that the aces aren't alone together when the game is finished, which makes reshuffling the deck easier.