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Subject: Solo and 2 player viability rss

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Thomas
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How come the box says 1-5 but everyone warns me the game is no good solo or with two? I just got Mage Knight and really want another one of Vlaada's games and this seems the most interesting because I would like to have it to play solo and with my girl friend.
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Andrew MacLeod
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Re: Solo or 2 players
I haven't played it solo: I, too, have heard that it's not great as a solitaire.

I do, however, play it quite regularly as a two-player game, and it's fabulous! My least favourite form of Space Alert is five-player, since (with players who know the game) I hardly ever see a defeat with five: it's just too easy.....if every one is a veteran!
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Christopher Ebert
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Re: Solo or 2 players
I found solo fun actually. Guess I'm a rare breed. I like it multiplayer as well of course, but solo is of course slightly different. In the solo game you have access to all the cards and program androids. It's just a different approach to the puzzle.
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Byron Campbell
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Re: Solo or 2 players
I haven't played the game yet (it's tied up with an order of the expansion, which is in the process of being restocked).

My understanding is that a lot of the "fun" of the game, for most people, comes from the table talk and never being given the time to fully coordinate with the other players, which leads to timing mistakes and hilarity. This is lost in the solitaire game, where you program the actions for all 4 "players." There is a fanmade expansion that tries to make the 1-2 player game more similar to the 4-player.

I've heard mixed reports about solo Space Alert, and most of the people who've said "It's no good" have never actually tried it. There are those who find it to be a fun timed puzzle with a different feel from the multiplayer game.
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Thomas
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Re: Solo or 2 players
kittenhoarder wrote:
I haven't played the game yet (it's tied up with an order of the expansion, which is in the process of being restocked).

My understanding is that a lot of the "fun" of the game, for most people, comes from the table talk and never being given the time to fully coordinate with the other players, which leads to timing mistakes and hilarity. This is lost in the solitaire game, where you program the actions for all 4 "players." There is a fanmade expansion that tries to make the 1-2 player game more similar to the 4-player.

I've heard mixed reports about solo Space Alert, and most of the people who've said "It's no good" have never actually tried it. There are those who find it to be a fun timed puzzle with a different feel from the multiplayer game.


There seems to be a lot of biased opinions floating around instead of people offering subjective views. It's like saying cake is no good without ice cream. Sure it may be better with it but I still love cake.

I have a few games that may be fun with more players but really doesn't matter to us because it's just the two of us.
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Re: Solo or 2 players
kittenhoarder wrote:

My understanding is that a lot of the "fun" of the game, for most people, comes from the table talk and never being given the time to fully coordinate with the other players, which leads to timing mistakes and hilarity. This is lost in the solitaire game, where you program the actions for all 4 "players." There is a fanmade expansion that tries to make the 1-2 player game more similar to the 4-player.


Kittenhoarder nails it with this quote. It's a fast paced game that emphasizes cooperative play like no other game I own. All the action happens at the same time and within a limited time frame. The fewer the number of people that play, the less chaotic it is, and the further away from the feel and theme of the game you're getting. The sweet spot for our group is 4. That's not to say it isn't playable with 2 or even solo but I absolutely guarantee you will be missing out on the heart of the game. So, yes, mechanically you can play the game just fine with 1 or 2 but thematically it will feel completely different - more like just figuring out a puzzle.
 
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Greg
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Re: Solo or 2 players
I've played a solo campaign and it was quite fun, but not as much fun as playing with friends. I don't think I'd choose to do it again over reading a book or playing a computer game.

Two player mode has been absolutely fine by me, I've had tonnes of fun playing with various people. Bigger games are good too. I don't think I have a preference one way or the other there.
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Greg
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Re: Solo or 2 players
I'd add that the expansion adds a huge amount to the enjoyment of the game, I'd strongly recommend it to anyone getting the core game.
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Andrew MacLeod
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Re: Solo or 2 players
Ender Wiggin wrote:
kittenhoarder wrote:

My understanding is that a lot of the "fun" of the game, for most people, comes from the table talk and never being given the time to fully coordinate with the other players, which leads to timing mistakes and hilarity. This is lost in the solitaire game, where you program the actions for all 4 "players." There is a fanmade expansion that tries to make the 1-2 player game more similar to the 4-player.


Kittenhoarder nails it with this quote. It's a fast paced game that emphasizes cooperative play like no other game I own. All the action happens at the same time and within a limited time frame. The fewer the number of people that play, the less chaotic it is, and the further away from the feel and theme of the game you're getting. The sweet spot for our group is 4. That's not to say it isn't playable with 2 or even solo but I absolutely guarantee you will be missing out on the heart of the game. So, yes, mechanically you can play the game just fine with 1 or 2 but thematically it will feel completely different - more like just figuring out a puzzle.


Indeed, Space Alert is the king of co-operative games, and playing it solo kinda kills that. However, my experience has been that 2-player Space Alert is just as chaotic as 3-5 players (if not more so!) unless the three to five players are mainy noobs: then it's hilariously chaotic!

So how can two-player Space Alert possibly be as chaotic as five player? Because two players are trying essentially to do several things at once! In multi-player Space Alert, each player has fewer chores to accomplish, and so their task is easier. With only two players, you're just perpetually being overrun with problems, and you can't handle all of them, and you start screaming hysterically. Plus, you're responsible not just for your own actions, but for android actions as well. It is soooo easy to get confused as to whether you or your android is supposed to be doing a particular action! And this leads to, uhhh, unfortunate results....

As I said, if you're looking for chaos, certainly five-player with noobs is the best. But, in my experience, five-player with veterans is a walk in the park. Before the mission even begins, everyone knows exactly what duties have been assigned them, and once the flight is under way, the veterans calmly go around performing those duties (and usually win)....and it becomes more like just figuring out a puzzle!
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Thomas
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Re: Solo or 2 players
How hard is this game? I am in the middle of watching some videos and it seems like it may be frustrating trying to learn it since it's on a time limit. Is that part of the appeal? Is it very complicated?
 
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Andrew MacLeod
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Re: Solo or 2 players
One is brought into the game gradually, through increasing levels in a tutorial format (a highly amusing tutorial format, I must hasten to add). Once you're into the system, it's quite easy.

If you try to learn the whole game in just one sitting, you'll find it nightmarishly complicated, and will probably hate it!

I must say that one of the few things I dislike about Space Alert is introducing it to new players, since the veteran is playing at what to him is such a basic, easy level. The noobs, meanwhile, are pulling their hair (or tentacles) out, screaming, "How can you possibly win at higher levels?"

Incidentally, it's next to impossible for anyone to lose at the first tutorial flight...but don't tell the noobs that!

 
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Thomas
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Re: Solo or 2 players
amacleod wrote:
One is brought into the game gradually, through increasing levels in a tutorial format (a highly amusing tutorial format, I must hasten to add). Once you're into the system, it's quite easy.

If you try to learn the whole game in just one sitting, you'll find it nightmarishly complicated, and will probably hate it!

I must say that one of the few things I dislike about Space Alert is introducing it to new players, since the veteran is playing at what to him is such a basic, easy level. The noobs, meanwhile, are pulling their hair (or tentacles) out, screaming, "How can you possibly win at higher levels?"

Incidentally, it's next to impossible for anyone to lose at the first tutorial flight...but don't tell the noobs that!



Well I would be playing it solo and with my girlfriend so we could learn it together or I can learn it and gradually bring ease her into it.
 
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Andrew MacLeod
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Re: Solo or 2 players
A thought just occurred to me: I recall that in the rules, they don't recommend you playing Space Alert solo until you've basically mastered all the rules.

Given your situation, Thomas, perhaps you and your girlfriend should gradually learn the game together, before venturing off into solitaire? On the other hand, given that solitaire isn't recommended until one is well experienced with Space Alert, this may discourage you altogether!
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Matthew McFarland
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Re: Solo or 2 players
I'm literally in the process of learning it solo right now, so I suppose I can let you know later how it went. The rulebook says solo isn't easy, but it's mainly because you basically have to play four people by yourself (or four androids) so if you already don't know what you're doing I'd imagine it can seem overwhelming. Still, I plan on going through the introductory section in the tutorial rulebook solo and see no reason it would cause too much fuss.

People say it's not as good with less people (hell, even the rules say that) because you miss out on the communication aspect and the chaos and craziness that comes along with that--including the parts of the game meant to specifically hamper talking. Reading on the forums and glancing at the rules, though, it just seems like a different game rather than an inferior one. I enjoy solo gaming, but frequently there isn't a whole lot of tension so I specifically found one that would give me that. It also will provide a great time should I happen to have a larger group of people to play with.

One last thing: the introductory rulebook is one the funniest I've read. It remains to be seen how well it explains all the rules, but it's worth reading for entertainment value alone. It's been a good way to ease into the game.
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Thomas
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Re: Solo or 2 players
How many of the scenarios between the base game and expansion are able to be played solo? Is there any difference, are some designed for more or less players or are they just to offer different timings in the events?
 
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Byron Campbell
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Re: Solo or 2 players
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
How many of the scenarios between the base game and expansion are able to be played solo? Is there any difference, are some designed for more or less players or are they just to offer different timings in the events?


There aren't really different "scenarios," just different timing, as you hinted at, and variations in difficulty based on the threat cards you choose. Basically, you can play the game as a single mission or as a campaign, and the expansion adds in the ability to gain XP and level up.
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Thomas
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Re: Solo or 2 players
kittenhoarder wrote:
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
How many of the scenarios between the base game and expansion are able to be played solo? Is there any difference, are some designed for more or less players or are they just to offer different timings in the events?


There aren't really different "scenarios," just different timing, as you hinted at, and variations in difficulty based on the threat cards you choose. Basically, you can play the game as a single mission or as a campaign, and the expansion adds in the ability to gain XP and level up.


That's what I figured but I just wanted to be clear. So is there a lot of replay with the game or do you feel the strategies become redundant or predictable? Is there enough variety from thr different missions?
 
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Greg
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Re: Solo or 2 players
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
kittenhoarder wrote:
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
How many of the scenarios between the base game and expansion are able to be played solo? Is there any difference, are some designed for more or less players or are they just to offer different timings in the events?


There aren't really different "scenarios," just different timing, as you hinted at, and variations in difficulty based on the threat cards you choose. Basically, you can play the game as a single mission or as a campaign, and the expansion adds in the ability to gain XP and level up.


That's what I figured but I just wanted to be clear. So is there a lot of replay with the game or do you feel the strategies become redundant or predictable? Is there enough variety from thr different missions?


You'll develop a few go-to strategies, but the threat cards have a lot of variety and you'll often find yourself adapting on the fly to whatever the biggest threat is. The XP and level up system also adds a lot of replay value because XP is awarded for achievements, so finishing missions under novel constraitns to manage these adds further variety.
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Josh Trumbo
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LunarSoundDesign wrote:
That's what I figured but I just wanted to be clear. So is there a lot of replay with the game or do you feel the strategies become redundant or predictable? Is there enough variety from thr different missions?


Also there's a random mission generator app (at least on iOS, not sure if it's on Android) in case you get too used to the tracks that come with the game. But I agree that with different threats and trajectories each game it doesn't get stale; you can't always expect to do the exact same thing each time you play mission 4, etc.

And just to echo what some people have said, it definitely is a different game with more people-- I've played mainly with 2 (playing two boards each), but also with 4 and 5 players, and it's been a blast every time. Just dive into it and have fun!
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Thomas
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Trumboliscious wrote:
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
That's what I figured but I just wanted to be clear. So is there a lot of replay with the game or do you feel the strategies become redundant or predictable? Is there enough variety from thr different missions?


Also there's a random mission generator app (at least on iOS, not sure if it's on Android) in case you get too used to the tracks that come with the game. But I agree that with different threats and trajectories each game it doesn't get stale; you can't always expect to do the exact same thing each time you play mission 4, etc.

And just to echo what some people have said, it definitely is a different game with more people-- I've played mainly with 2 (playing two boards each), but also with 4 and 5 players, and it's been a blast every time. Just dive into it and have fun!


I realized there are different variations in the tracks/missions, Just wasn't' sure if that was enough to keep people "coming back for more". I worried the game would get stale fast. Have you played it solo? I want that option, I really like puzzle games like Pandemic and Ghost Stories.
 
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LunarSoundDesign wrote:
Trumboliscious wrote:
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
That's what I figured but I just wanted to be clear. So is there a lot of replay with the game or do you feel the strategies become redundant or predictable? Is there enough variety from thr different missions?


Also there's a random mission generator app (at least on iOS, not sure if it's on Android) in case you get too used to the tracks that come with the game. But I agree that with different threats and trajectories each game it doesn't get stale; you can't always expect to do the exact same thing each time you play mission 4, etc.

And just to echo what some people have said, it definitely is a different game with more people-- I've played mainly with 2 (playing two boards each), but also with 4 and 5 players, and it's been a blast every time. Just dive into it and have fun!


I realized there are different variations in the tracks/missions, Just wasn't' sure if that was enough to keep people "coming back for more". I worried the game would get stale fast. Have you played it solo? I want that option, I really like puzzle games like Pandemic and Ghost Stories.


Just reiterating that the game doesn't get stale, or hasn't in my experience, based on the variables. It's really very ingenious in its design (which we would all expect from Vlaada), and I can definitely vouch for 2-5 player games.

I haven't yet played it solo, so I can't make a definitive statement on that. My speculation is that it would still be a great game, but for me a lot of the fun is derived from player interaction and the whole "I really hope you have that Fighter ship under control, because I'm up to my eyeballs in Interstellar Octopi over here... Oh crap, did anybody take care of the virus that's going to knock us all unconscious? Hold on, INCOMING THREAT. I NEED ANOTHER 'A' BUTTON! COMMUNICATIONS DOWN; EVERYBODY SHUT UP!"

If going solo I'd probably rather play a round of Ghost Stories or Mage Knight, but if you enjoy co-op/puzzle games, in my opinion, Space Alert deserves a place on your shelf.
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Christopher Ebert
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I'll see if I can give you a comparison as best I can. I have played solo, 2-player, and 3-player, and enjoy them all the same. What I can tell you, is that do not, DO NOT, just read the rulebook and jump into the game and play missions. No matter how experienced you are in games. The rulebook, is more of a reference manual for when you are experienced in Space Alert. It comes with a tutorial that I highly stress going through. It teaches you everything and adds a little on with each tutorial to ease you into the complexity of this game. I learned this game mostly solo.

So here are the main differences between multi-player and solo as best as I can remember. (I haven't played for a while but do want to get this back on my table)

Androids: These are basically non-player characters that are played by everyone.
In a 4 or 5 player game, androids will not be used. (There is a variant for a 4-player game where you can use an android as a 5th crew member) You need a minimum of 4 crew for each mission. So in a 3-player game, there will be one android, and in a 2-player game, two.
In the solo game, you play as 4 androids. And 4 androids only. This has been misinterpreted as you play as a player with 4 androids (total of 5). This is not the case. I figured this out when I looked at the rulebook for the expansion which introduces the experience/achievement system. It reads, " Although the rules in the basic set are written as though you are playing four androids, you should consider your explorer to be the captain, with three android helpers"

Cards: In the multiplayer game, cards are dealt to you and you have to do the best you can with what you get. Each "phase" has cards you pick up, so you will get more for a later phase. You use these cards on your board (face down) or also on androids (face up), which anyone can do. There are times when you can trade cards and hope to get something better. Also, once a card is placed on an android, it cannot be moved or removed or replaced.
In the solo game, all cards are available face up to use, they are not dealt out (with the exception of heroic cards). I just sorted each card by type to grab easier. Cards can be moved around and replaced however even though they are androids.

Communication: In the multi-player game, everyone has a role/job and does their best to take care of it, and communication is extremely important. Obviously this is absent in the solo game so a lot of things will be ignored, like "Communication System Down".



Overall I enjoyed both the multi-player and solo games equally, but for different reasons. The rulebook says the solo game is harder, cause you are planning for 4 androids within the same time limit as the multi-player game. While I agree, I do feel that since you don't need to communicate with anyone, it balances that out. It's still a puzzle game both ways, but the solo game has less of the chaotic feel that the multi-player game has, but to me, not that much.
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Sean Turner
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LunarSoundDesign wrote:
How hard is this game? I am in the middle of watching some videos and it seems like it may be frustrating trying to learn it since it's on a time limit. Is that part of the appeal? Is it very complicated?


Did you ever get a game in? I have been trying to set up an initial play for awhile, but it is pretty complicated.
 
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shacky22 wrote:
Androids: These are basically non-player characters that are played by everyone.
In a 4 or 5 player game, androids will not be used. (There is a variant for a 4-player game where you can use an android as a 5th crew member) You need a minimum of 4 crew for each mission. So in a 3-player game, there will be one android, and in a 2-player game, two.
In the solo game, you play as 4 androids. And 4 androids only. This has been misinterpreted as you play as a player with 4 androids (total of 5). This is not the case. I figured this out when I looked at the rulebook for the expansion which introduces the experience/achievement system. It reads, " Although the rules in the basic set are written as though you are playing four androids, you should consider your explorer to be the captain, with three android helpers"


Another important note about androids is that they play slightly differently to regular characters. With your own character you can change your mind about your actions (at least until the phase ends) but with an android its decisions are fixed as soon as they're placed. Since new information about your enemies comes out throughout the phase there's a balance between playing quickly enough to resolve the threats and not playing so quickly that you end up locking yourself into a plan that turns out to be a bad idea once you have more information. This also changes the balance of two player and solo games as in a solo game you know that any cards you place on the android will coordinate well, but in a two player game if you play a card onto the android there's a chance the other player will suddenly cry "That ruins everything!" Of course you can check with them first, but you only have so much time so need to decide whether that's the best use for it. Personally we tend to agree big details ("The android is going to shoot at the stuff on the left this turn") but not double check every individual card.
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Cadrick Loh
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Just found out about this game, so does this games provide a good/addictive solo experience?
 
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