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Subject: As a solo only game? rss

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Hi,

Apologies if this has already been discussed but there is a lot of 'buzz' around this game.

I'm considering backing as I would like a complex solo space game (I don't have anyone to play complex/long games with). I had been considering Surviving Mars (Robson Crusoe, but on Mars) or High Frontier but held off awaiting for On Mars KS to launch (sorry).

So Before I back On Mars I was hoping some people more knowledgeable then me could offer there opinions on the solo version? As I do not want back a game with high price tag if the solo version compromises the game.

Thanks,
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Brian Hook
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I think the solo mode will be a separate expansion in 2020, and not included in this KS. I'm seeking info to back up my claim...

And I think you mean First Martian, by Ignacy Trewiczek, not Surviving Mars (the solo expansion for On Mars?).
 
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BG.EXE
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Edit: Solo was one of the first SGs unlocked. The rest of this post can more or less be disregarded, but I didn’t want to delete it.

I thought I had read solo would be one of the first SGs. Maybe I read that for another game or maybe plans changed. I guess I’m wondering about the solo now too! Had forgotten

I’m in either way but solo would get this more play time for me.
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Brian Hook
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I'm reviewing all my KS emails now, and the solo mode was indeed one of the first stretch goals unlocked, but the info about it is illusive.
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Vital Lacerda
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2010 - Vinhos, 2012 - CO2, 2014 - kanban, 2015 - The Gallerist, 2016 - Vinhos Deluxe, 2017 - Lisboa, 2018 - Escape Plan, CO2 Second Chance and Dragon Keepers - Maybe: 2019 - ROTW Portugal and On Mars, 2020 - Kanban Deluxe Edition, Mercato
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Yes, the solo mode will be on OnMars box.
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Wil
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I haven't seen a discussion on how the solo mode plays just yet, but I can share that I'm confident that it will be a great experience.

I'm basing this on the solo experiences from The Gallerist and Vinhos Deluxe Edition. Both are excellent and let you focus on your own game play with very little upkeep to manage the solo rules. Fun stuff.
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Parisian Dreams
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As mentioned, solo mode is included, it's the co-op expansion that will be in 2020 on KS. :0)

I own all of Lacerda's games and love them all solo.

Edit: there is a draft of the rules in the rulebook on Tabletopia, so you could read those and try it on there first.
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Jason Sesta
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I enjoy Lacerda games solo quite a bit. My experience with On Mars solo on tabletopia so far have been equally enjoyable. You should give it a shot yourself if you want to see how it plays since it's free.
 
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Andrea Ferrarin
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la_guillotine wrote:
...I'm considering backing as I would like a complex solo space game (I don't have anyone to play complex/long games with). I had been considering Surviving Mars (Robson Crusoe, but on Mars) or High Frontier...

You are almost exactly in my position. I haven't played any of these games, unfortunately, but can safely resort to the comments and reviews within this great community and this is my take on it:
I absolutely love Trzewiczek's Robinson Crusoe but in First Martians the same mechanics do not fit the theme, as it is ridiculous, to me, for the apex of human technological ingenuity to land on another planet and then mainly just run around fixing leaks and repairing routine break-downs of high-tech machinery (as opposed to wild animals and bad weather credibly destroying your make-shift improvements on a cursed island).

High Frontier is litterally just a too high of a frontier for me to tackle at this point: it is a very heavy game with a very steep learnig curve. Eklund is famous for his scientific simulation research and I've just started at his opposite end with Neanderthal .

Excluding all other Mars themed lighter luck-fest games available (including TM), my pick was On Mars: it will be my first Lacerda game but he holds great stature for high quality game design, mechanism both smooth and complex, excellent scalability to solo and serious theme coverage.

As a general solo Space game, not Martian only, you might want to focus on getting the basics right and train your math skills by Leaving Earth flawlessly many times before landing On Mars!

Edit: links
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Sam Lee
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la_guillotine wrote:
Hi,

I'm considering backing as I would like a complex solo space game (I don't have anyone to play complex/long games with). I had been considering Surviving Mars (Robson Crusoe, but on Mars) or High Frontier but held off awaiting for On Mars KS to launch (sorry).

So Before I back On Mars I was hoping some people more knowledgeable then me could offer there opinions on the solo version? As I do not want back a game with high price tag if the solo version compromises the game.

Thanks,


If you are really into a very complex solo, you must try Mage Knight, it will melt your brain out but once you get it, you will never leave it. There is a re-skinned version star trek: frontiers if you like space theme instead. Don't expect it to hit the table with your friends though.

I have played Crusoe, it's a solo/ co-op mode. Theme is survival similar to spirit island. It's not competitive so it's good for solo or 2 person but not with a large group. Normally play with spouse or a very close friend.

In terms of space solo, there are 2 games I enjoy playing solo & multiplayer, Terraforming Mars and Gaia project. Tfm solo is beat your own score using almost the same mechanic in multiplayer. No automa. Gaia project have an automa (similar to scythe). Gaia is an engine building game.

On Mars have a lot of elements from the games I mentioned above (in a good way). You have the time placement from tfm with a fixed map, automa opponent in solo game like Gaia project. The point to point movement is similar to pandemic for me, another game with good solo play.

I think lacerda's games have a very good solo mode and weighty multiplayer play. Highly recommended if you have a dedicated group of friends. I think it will be very different if you playing with strangers due to the complexity.


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Marco Herreras
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I backed On Mars and I hadn't realized Solo mode would be included; great news.

I will be instabacking High Frontier (KS launch planned in its 4th incarnation in Fall 2019), but because I love Celestial Mechanics and I would trust no other than Phil Eklund to embed them in a board game's mechanics, not because it is space-themed.


Despite having fellow aerospace engineers who also play board games (but they're not my usual gaming groups), I am pretty sure I will always play HF solo, out of its steep curve and weight. Whereas I am sure my mid to heavy Euro usual gaming group will like On Mars. Really different things IMHO.
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Mike Fitzgerald
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Look at GMTs Space Corp by John Butterfield. I am loving the solo play. Very rich experience.
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Nico
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Well, I need your help. Still on the fence for this one and the KS campaign is almost entering the last day...

Would you recommend this game for primarily solitaire play? I don't fully understand the solo game yet, there is no solo playthrough available and the solo rules aren't final. Also, I'm not familiar with any Lacerda game.

Just a few questions or remarks:
- What's the best way to describe the solitaire goals? Beat your own high score (I suppose not), beat an Automa player or win/lose the game? Or a certain mix of these elements?
- Does Lacerda (Automa) help with increasing LSS and interact with the shuttle? Does it even mimic a real player or feel like it's doing that?
- I prefer (heavier) solo games with a clear win or lose condition. Is this such a game?
- Do you think that the game was designed for solitaire play or is the use of the Automa player primarily for learning the game and teaching other players afterwards?
- Is it in any way comparable to Gaia Project (Automa)?
- I adore Robinson Crusoe, Comancheria (perfect AI) and Conflict of Heroes (although it's advanced AI isn't always clear) for solitaire play. I quite like Wingspan for example for a quick game against the Automa. I think playing Viticulture against the Automa is a bit boring as it's just blocking action or worker spaces. I probably like Scythe. Will I like On Mars?
- I don't have Terraforming Mars, Gaia Project or First Martians. The Mars theme has my interest.
- I have noticed that there isn't a lot of attention for Lacerda games in the BGG 1 player guild or SGOYT lists, why is that? Most of the time they aren't in the lists or recommendations for solitaire play.

Sadly, I didn't have time to try it out on Tabletopia with the solo rules.

Thanks!
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Amy Smith
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His games, Kanban and Gallerist, are excellent solo games and popular in 1PG. The posts aren’t as numerous because the games are expensive and haven’t been readily available.

I can’t speak to the quality of the solo in this game but his attention to detail and quality leads me to believe it will be good.

I play a lot of solo games and I have decided not to back this one. I watched the play-throughs and the choices just aren’t exciting. I LOVE Gaia Project and Terraforming Mars as solo games. I like the mechanics in thise games much better.

What mechanics do you like in a game?
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Pablo
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I have tried the solo mode a couple times in Tabletopia. I may have made some mistakes since the WIP rules were not perfectly clear to me, but I think I get the main picture:
RiderHat wrote:
What's the best way to describe the solitaire goals? Beat your own high score (I suppose not), beat an Automa player or win/lose the game? Or a certain mix of these elements?

Beat an automa player + complete a set of specific goals (a certain LSS level, achieving a personal goal, fulfilling a contract, etc). I have found the latter win condition to be the more challenging, although I'm still very new to the game.
RiderHat wrote:
Does Lacerda (Automa) help with increasing LSS and interact with the shuttle? Does it even mimic a real player or feel like it's doing that?

Yes. He has special rules that enable him to do some stuff a real player couldn't, but he does increase LSS, build stuff, and take blueprints, scientists, worker placement spots, and so on, like a real player would.
RiderHat wrote:
I prefer (heavier) solo games with a clear win or lose condition. Is this such a game?

Yes, either you beat the bot AND fullfill the objectives, or you lose. Your score does not matter that much as long as it is higher than the bot's.
RiderHat wrote:
Do you think that the game was designed for solitaire play or is the use of the Automa player primarily for learning the game and teaching other players afterwards?

I'd say neither: I do not believe the game was intented to solitaire play primarly, nor I think the solo mode is a learning exercise. I haven't had the chance to play it with a real person, but I think I'd enjoy it more than playing solo.
RiderHat wrote:
Is it in any way comparable to Gaia Project (Automa)?

I have not played it, sorry.
RiderHat wrote:
I adore Robinson Crusoe, Comancheria (perfect AI) and Conflict of Heroes (although it's advanced AI isn't always clear) for solitaire play. I quite like Wingspan for example for a quick game against the Automa. I think playing Viticulture against the Automa is a bit boring as it's just blocking action or worker spaces. I probably like Scythe. Will I like On Mars?

I'm a big fan of Crusoe as well. I'd say they are different experiences. Crusoe is more narrative and luck-dependent to an extent, while this one is, in my opinion, less complex in terms of rules than Crusoe, but heavier concerning the decision space.
RiderHat wrote:
I have noticed that there isn't a lot of attention for Lacerda games in the BGG 1 player guild or SGOYT lists, why is that? Most of the time they aren't in the lists or recommendations for solitaire play.

Can't say either.

I'm just like you, on the fence. I haven't made up my mind yet about this one, so I think I'll just drop $1 and make a decision later in the Pledge Manager.
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Parisian Dreams
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Sky851 wrote:

I'm just like you, on the fence. I haven't made up my mind yet about this one, so I think I'll just drop $1 and make a decision later in the Pledge Manager.


Not a huge difference but there was update today or yesterday that said if you were backing at $1, the game would be $4-5 more in the PM. And if I remember for EP, after x amount of time the price boosted up to $140 to add on/pre-order. I'd keep an eye on that.
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Jason Sesta
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It is comparable to Gaia in that the AI functions as a fairly competent opponent and the goals help create the extra challenge to stretch you beyond your normal strategies. It also runs on a deck of cards; however I would say there’s a bit more rules overhead for this one where in Gaia a lot of the rules are presented directly on the cards once you learn the iconography.

I love Gaia Project solo and it’s one of my all time favorite heavy games. I’ve played On Mars on tabletopia twice now and it’s been a very fun and different kind of experience. I can’t say that On Mars specifically as a solo game will beat out Gaia Project but to me it’s a worthwhile addition to my collection.
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Sam Lee
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RiderHat wrote:

- I have noticed that there isn't a lot of attention for Lacerda games in the BGG 1 player guild or SGOYT lists, why is that? Most of the time they aren't in the lists or recommendations for solitaire play.


BGG 1 player guild is based on vote by each player, it correlates with those that owned/ played the game. Vital’s games have lower number of votes than other heavy games. Not to say it’s bad, from for it. It’s more like Vital’s games are niche even amongst players. If you familiar with headphone comparison, Vital’s games are like sennheiser compared to the more popular Beats.

I recommend you to follow this link:
https://boardgamesland.com/how-to-pick-the-perfect-board-gam...
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Matt Smith
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I'm also on the fence as the end of the campaign approaches. I was convinced I'd go for it based on previous Lacerda solo games but the half-baked, poorly written solo rules in Escape Plan have seriously put me off. Escape plan has an otherwise excellent rule book and I expect the multiplayer game is great but the solo game seriously underwhelmed me with absent rules and cards which didn't match the rules. I'm not happy to throw this much money at another game for solo only play if it has only been half thought through.
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Thanks all, I see I'm not the only one considering this as a solo game.

There are some good ideas hear for other games too; I'm not sure how I missed leaving Earth? High Frontier 4th KS - am I brave/competent enough? Can enjoy Star Trek frontiers despite never investing in the Star Trek universe?

So perhaps this is not the solo space game I'm looking for.. But as I have never played a Lacerda game before if I don't back this I'm considering getting another one of his games, probably one that I will be able play with other people.
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samlms wrote:
If you familiar with headphone comparison, Vital’s games are like sennheiser compared to the more popular Beats.
This is gold. Because I have a Sennheiser which I truly love I should have rephrased my question. Will I like On Mars if I prefer Sennheisers to Beats?
 
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Thanks all for the very helpful answers and added information!

I think I'm going to skip this one (for now). I've watched the Heavy Cardboard rules and playthrough video and while I really like the artwork and weight and the mechanics thematically made a lot of sense, the playing seems to be very mechanical (even repetitive) and it felt lifeless? Because I'm not really fond of optimization puzzles and need some tension for a solitaire play I sadly have to pass this one.
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Richard
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There are so many games out there, never feel bad about passing on one!
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