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Subject: Couple of concerns re solo play feedback appreciated rss

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Martin
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I am thinking of late pledging for this game this week and going all in. I love the ALIEN movie, love the premise for this game, the components, and the fact that the designer has clearly been working on this idea on and off for many years so must be a passion project.

If i buy this game it will be primarily for solo play i reckon. I watched the solo play videos and if i may say so i have a couple if concerns as follows:

1) ricky royal said this was an ameritrash style game and would create stories. I love this style of game the best, but in my experience in a lot of other games these stories are usually generated by having multiple large sets of card decks which provide hugh variability and randomness in the situations that can occur from one game to the next.

I notice that the the crisis deck does not have a huge amount of cards, and with the objectives and the map setup being the same (I think??) every game, is there enough randomness here to provide enough different stories? Or might the solo game get stale quickly after a few plays?

2) lookimg how the setup for the map seems to be the same each time, will there be a tendency for me to pick the same, what i consider to be the optimal route each time, and why would i not do this?

For this kind of investment i suppose i am lookimg for variability in the solo game and for this game to generate suspenseful stories each time where i am being forced to make different strategic decisions due to different situations being created by the game each time.

I would appreciate some feedback as everything else looks fantastic and im close to pulling the trigger thanks
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Ian S
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Hi Martin
Good questions / challenges, and I'm sure Mark Chaplin will post his thoughts from his playtesting / demos.

I've had that same feeling, that variable objectives might add to gameplay.

There is more to come from the expansions, with a 2nd exit point (Remora) and additional threat (asteroid storm) already announced, and IIRC these are compatible with the solo version (but Tristan/Mark will confirm).

I also read somewhere (Calibos expansion?) of a possible 2nd (different) alien lifeform threat - or was this what became the asteroid threat?

Having additional cards that support alternative objectives seems like a good option, assuming it offers a genuinely different experience to 'find the cat' / 'download data'. No point simply relabelling an identical mechanism. Perhaps having something like an option to *find/rescue a colleague (costing time / but increasing hand size and/or adding a 2nd counter). Variable player skills seems like an obvious way to add variation, though these aren't 'Heroes', so I agree with the player skills in the multiplayer game being minor influences. The same ought to be true of any player skills in solo.

Certainly multiplayer gives the additional diversity of team-mates / lifeform player making different decisions, so although I could see some common strategies emerge, it would be surprising if any game felt the same as an earlier one.

I'm aiming to play mostly mutliplayer, but will definitely buy the solo expansion when it's released, and will be giving it a go. I understand your concerns and for your mainly solo, I'd certainly be weighing up what expansions will offer in terms of solo variability.

Regards
Ian



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Mark Chaplin
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Here's a few things to think about.

A) I suggest playing the game multi-player before playing solo, to acclimatize to the game's systems - there's a lot going on.

B) With both expansions included, there are 60 unique solo cards (3 separate decks of cards) - that's plenty to be going on with.
The more cards that were added during development, obviously, the harder and longer it was to playtest. And the bigger the decks are, the greater range of probable outcomes - this is both good and bad.
(Fingers crossed, if there's still demand, I'm planning on including some extra cards, next year, in the Lifeform: Calibos expansion).

C) Don't forget, each Crisis card has 3 options - you can only pick one option on each playthrough. So, you might draw the same card in one game, but have a different possible outcome the next game.

D) Also don't forget, you will draw different hands of action cards each game, making a sizeable difference to your decisions.

E) The 13th PASSENGER expansion develops how the solo objectives can be completed.



With the player being able to manually release the docking clamps from the shuttlebay (if necessary), as the lifeform approaches.

F) There was talk and thought about having the ship's cat objective move about the starship, but this was shelved for simplicity and time's sake. Something like that may be included at a later date, but for some, this was too much complexity for an hour's solo experience.

G) The same as answer F with regards to variable player skills. I picked a more rigid system so that we could playtest the game with a good baseline. Using the base game skills broke the solo game, in some cases.

H)
Quote:
Perhaps having something like an option to *find/rescue a colleague
There's a Crisis card that features this.

I)
Quote:
was this what became the asteroid threat?
The asteroid cards damage the starship in solo - they play a greater role in the main game.

J)
Quote:
I also read somewhere (Calibos expansion?) of a possible 2nd (different) alien lifeform threat
There will only ever be one alien threat - I want to stay fairly thematically pure. I may include an alternate alien in CALIBOS...

K)
Quote:
looking how the setup for the map seems to be the same each time, will there be a tendency for me to pick the same, what i consider to be the optimal route each time, and why would i not do this?
Good question!
I tried variable setups, but these proved unsatisfactory.
Instead, the setup is changed using the Crisis cards - as you play the game (thereby less front-loaded work for the player).

With regards to an optimal route, many of the Crisis cards deny you passage - forcing you to find an alternate route. This was done to counter your exact question - everyone (including me) has a favourite route through the starship.

These two aspects counterspell those concerns - they were also MY concerns!







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Martin
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Thanks for your considered replies. It's really helped.

I see so much potential for this game for the solo player. The map of the ship and the minimalist components, no minis etc., has really nailed it for me.

As a solo player, I would love to be able to control all crew members and perhaps the alien could be controlled by an app. It would be good if the aliens movement could be more unpredictable somehow. For example, when the alien is close by, you know its nearby because you can see it on a tracker, but youre not sure which direction it is coming from.

Anyway, just ideas because this concept has got my imagination going..

When I was a kid I played this game it used to shit me up how the alien used to pop up from nowhere and pick off my crew members one by one. Anyone else remember this lol? Would love to have that in this board game one day.

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Mark Chaplin
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An App would be fantastic!

I thought of something else regarding the optimal route:



As the self-destruct timer works its way down toward explosion, the solo rules have you place a terror token (26,21,15, and 11) along the shortest route between the cockpit and the shuttlebay, starting with Docking Hub-1. Each of these tokens are a great hindrance to the player - using up (potentially) your 'Fear' commodity.

What does this mean? Well, if you want to travel down the most obvious pathway, it's gonna be tough. Your character will start to get terrified, and may end up using more flamethrower fuel, harpoon-gun bolts, etc, than if you took a longer, slower path.





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David Lesouef
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slim17 wrote:
As a solo player, I would love to be able to control all crew members and perhaps the alien could be controlled by an app. It would be good if the aliens movement could be more unpredictable somehow. For example, when the alien is close by, you know its nearby because you can see it on a tracker, but youre not sure which direction it is coming from.
Play Alien: Blackout!
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Francesco "RasMas" Chessari
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Yugblad wrote:


E) The 13th PASSENGER expansion develops how the solo objectives can be completed.

Wait a moment...

I don't add the 13th PASSENGER exp to my pledge because the description says "more and optional for gamers".
The true SOLO expansion was the DRAGON'S DOMAIN...

what's happen here? Now the 13th exp contains solo gameplay? O_O
 
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David Lesouef
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It's not contradictory...
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Francesco "RasMas" Chessari
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Ok, but since the expansion descriptions tell:

"Dragon's Domain - the solo mode for Lifeform - is a totally unique, bespoke experience for the solo player with extra rules, components and thematic card decks. This expansion sees the player take on the unstoppable Lifeform single-handedly in a desperate battle for escape and survival. You can add this unmissable solo expansion to your pledge by selecting the Starbeast pledge."


"The 13th Passenger expansion for Lifeform is a totally optional modular, plug-in expansion for hardcore players who want even moar! Two new characters join the Crew team The new rules for asteroids add a yet another terrifying threat to the already beleaguered Valley Forge star ship And the extra Remora shuttle board provides a brand new and unique endgame showdown experience. You can add this brilliant but totally optional expansion to your pledge by simply increasing your pledge total by just £9 GBP (rrp £12)"

...maybe not contradictory, but I suppose the second exp is only for MP and it not contains any SOLO content. I'm wrong?
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David Lesouef
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ciccius wrote:
the second exp is only for MP and it not contains any SOLO content. I'm wrong?
nothing says that. The only things I understand is that the first extension is essential to play solo, and that the second extension adds elements and difficulty to the game. Nothing says that it is only for the mp.
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Mark Chaplin
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ciccius wrote:
Yugblad wrote:


E) The 13th PASSENGER expansion develops how the solo objectives can be completed.

Wait a moment...

I don't add the 13th PASSENGER exp to my pledge because the description says "more and optional for gamers".
The true SOLO expansion was the DRAGON'S DOMAIN...

what's happen here? Now the 13th exp contains solo gameplay? O_O
Don't panic!

13th Passenger includes elements that allow that expansion to be used solo.


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Francesco "RasMas" Chessari
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Yugblad wrote:

Don't panic!
13th Passenger includes elements that allow that expansion to be used solo.
You are the best! Love.
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Balmer David
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Mark Chaplin said

if you want to travel down the most obvious pathway, it's gonna be tough. Your character will start to get terrified, and may end up using more flamethrower fuel, harpoon-gun bolts, etc, than if you took a longer, slower path.

It 's a wonderful idea of design !

In the movie "Alien" that's what happened when Ripley left the cat, because of the monster coming at the corner, she goes and tries to stop the countdown, then came back to fetch the animal's cage with a terrible fear to find the alien again…she is terrified and lose precious seconds
frozen on place...


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