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What is this game about?
Sylvion is an Oniverse game designed by Shadi Torbey, which means it's set in the same universe as Onirim, Castellion, and Nautilion. Mechanically, however, Sylvion is its own game.
In Sylvion, you command an army of forest creatures fighting to protect their home from a raging fire. As you mount your defense, several different cards come in to help you. Various animals will perform actions on your behalf. For example, whales allow you to reposition the fire elementals approaching your tree line, while elephants can spray water with their trunks and destroy oncoming blazes. Fountains act as your front line of defense, attempting to cool and hopefully even eliminate the flames. Trees don't do much during the fire itself, but you need them to pay for action cards—one of the game's most interesting mechanics is that you pay card costs by discarding other cards from your hand—and eventually to renew your home when there is nothing left but smoke and ashes.
Your "forest" is represented by cards that create the boundaries of your play area and that act as your HP throughout the game. Every time a fire breaches your defenses and hits your treeline, you flip one over to signify that your forest has lost some health. Lose it all, and your forest will be nothing but a charred ruin.
Sylvion also has good variability, in part because you don't always play with the exact same army of flora, fauna, and fountains. Before each battle with the fire elementals, you will draft your deck—and some of the more cowardly animals will desert you prior to your epic battle.
How does it play solo?
Sylvion is explicitly designed for solo play, and it does its job well. There are some co-op rules tacked on to make room for a second player, but this game is meant to be played solo and it's best that way.
I love tower defense games, and I very much enjoy Sylvion. It's not quite as compact as Onirim—expect to spend longer playing Sylvion (30-40 minutes) and for it to take up more table space. But Sylvion is still a quick, portable, and delightful solo card game.
This game also has plenty of replay value. There is an introductory scenario for your first game or two, as well as a more advanced game. For added challenges, you can add different win conditions, and there are three expansions included in the base box. If you're looking for a challenging but still relatively mellow solo game, Sylvion might be an excellent choice for you.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. If you like tower defense games and are interested in a purely solo experience, Sylvion is an excellent choice.
Overall Rating: 4 stars
5 stars — I love it!
4 stars — I really like it.
3 stars — I like it.
2 stars — It's okay.
1 star — Meh.