Preview: Factions of Sol
Megacore has been Earth’s store. Megacore sells everything from groceries to rocket fuel. With the successes of Megacore great wealth has been accumulated by its owner Mark Megacore. Now at 120 years old Mark is on his deathbed and has put out a challenge. The person to impress Mr Megacore the most by building machines and exploring the Solar system will inherit his vast fortunes. The upcoming game Factions of Sol has you run the middle of the scrabble. Factions of Sol Created by Elam Blackwell with art by Samara Malik and Roxanne Panas and published by Mark IV Games is coming to Kickstarter this fall.
Factions of Sol has 8 asymmetric factions to choose from and each of them has a special ability and a unique machine to build. Between one and four players can vie for Mr Megacore’s Riches at one time. The first ting you will notice when setting up the game is the round board, it really puts you into the mindset of whats happening. There are 8 concentric rings on the board that the planets orbit in a very familiar way.
There are 2 major phases in Factions of Sol, the Main Phase and the Upkeep Phase. The Main phase is divided up into three parts. There is trading, Movement and Actions. Each player starting with the Leader takes all three actions then its on to the next player. After a player has done everything they can or want to they may pass and after all players pass then its onto the Upkeep phase. Upkeep is exactly what it sounds like there is cleanup of the board determining who is first player and production of resources and battery charge.
The main mechanism in this game is resource management You have 2 resources on your ship Battery level and “Resources”. Resources allow you to recruit explorers and explore new exo-planets amongst other things. Battery level will allow you to move across the board. You really have to pay attention to the battery level, you can get stranded and there is a big penalty to get rescued when this happens.
"I'd play that again." - Mary
As you explore the solar system you will encounter planets and asteroids. Each of the planets has a unique action that can be taken. For example on Venus you can recruit explores that you will need to explore the exo-planets. And speaking of the exo-planets you can get the exo-planet cards when you interact with Jupiter. To interact with a planet you will move into a sector adjacent to the planet and preform the interaction for example on Mars you will need to burn(spend) 2 resources to gain an upgrade. There are also 8 asteroids that you can mine and each can only be mined once per turn. The asteroids have a random number of resources that can be mined.
"...building a few machines and getting your engine going early is going to lead to more exo-planets explored..."
At the end of the 3 game turns its time to add up the victory points. The game has 2 basic paths to victory. One path you can build machines and the other has you exploring exo-planets. Playing the game a few times I think building a few machines and getting your engine going early is going to lead to more exo-planets explored and hopefully a victory. Factions of Sol is a great game that presents exploring the solar system in an easy to understand way that is also fun. Factions of Sol reminds me of a simplified family friendly version of High Frontier for All.
Exploring the solar system in Factions of Sol is a rewarding experience that does not take a degree in astrophysics. My wife Mary wanted to play it again and said we should back it. Mary is not into heavy games. I enjoy most things space and complex games and this one is a place where the two of us can meet and have an enjoyable experience together. Check out Factions of Sol when it hits Kickstarter later this year. Signup at factionsofsol.com to get an email updates on the Kickstarter.
Year Published: 2022
Recommended Ages: 12+
Time to Play: 120 minutes
A preview copy of Factions of Sol was provided to Bert's Tabletop Games for review purposes and returned after the review.