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What if I don’t want to go to that M class star?  What if I was told that Stefan, the poor guy tasked with putting together the wonderful program I’m using has put an update together AND it has the new PSG on it, would I use it.

Can I get a heck yeah?

*listens, realizes he can’t hear anyone, moves on*

Expedition ZettaMap

Look at all those cards and numbers!  It shows me the type of star, the size, how old it is, if it’s a part of a cluster, the type of galaxy it’s in….OH THE NERDY JOY!  There will be a resource document at the back of the rules that will explain what all of these bits will mean (I’m told), so I’m really looking forward to that.  The other thing this does is give me a REAL cost in energy to go to places.  Once I’m done making my new star system, I’ll be flipping the “H” card over and using the number there right beside the letter.  Now that I’m seeing a 12, this solo game may be more difficult than I thought.  So let’s roll some dice:

8,8,1,2,4,6,6,6,8,7,8

You can just roll once and use that number for all cards and you’ll STILL have a plethora of random locations and probably never have the same one show up twice, but why not make the chances (ahem) ASTRONOMICAL?  So I rolled for each card.  The card shows 1: Which orbit it’s referencing, 2: which Discovery Value it’s referencing (Substances, Exoproducts or Life) and whether there’s a planet there (and what type if there is), so let’s hop on through and see what we get.

A shows our star, and it’s a type G, nice and Yellow.  And 8 shows -2 to Yellow, which is Exoproduction.  The stat starts at 2 (all stats do), so we drop it to 1, which is as low as all stats go.  And we move on to the next.  Card B tells us to raise Exoproduction up to 2.  Ho hum.  C bumps it up to 4, finally, a chance to build things!  D cranks it to 7 AND shows GGI, which means there will be a Gas Giant in orbit D.  I place the planet down, roll to see where (11) and put the Trojans before and after it.  E moves our Substances check up to 4.  F drops it down to 1, yuck.  G brings it up to 2 and adds a Gas Dwarf in the G orbit.  Again, I roll and place it on the board.  H knocks our Substances down to 1 again, but puts a Planetar in its orbit.  I drops our chance of finding life to 1 (Yikes!  Tough neighborhood), J brings that back up to 4 and adds another Planetar (which is double good since you can always find life on Planetars, even outside of Goldilocks zones).  Finally, the last card shows where the Mothership appears, and that’s in Orbit A, but it also adds 3 more steps to finding life!  So my final board looks like this:

map

Few bits of note, the Mothership “Model” is actually in the A 4-6 space.  The vector of the model is in the ship itself, not in the base, which makes it look a little strange on the board.  You get used to it.

Anyway, here I am, with search values of 7, 1 and 7 for Exoproducts, Substances and Life, respectively.

Glad I got Substances last Warp.

So let’s flip my card and take a look at how much energy it took to bring me here.  Can’t flip it in the program, but I can look at the next card, and it shows 8.  Ouch.  I’m down to 4 energy.  I guess I should get rid of my Radioactive substance for 4 energy now so I can breathe easier (and because there’s no point in holding onto it).

So, I have 4 actions here before I Warp again, and possibly not have enough Energy.  Ziggy says I won’t Warp until I break up with the woman he’s cheating with an….woops, wrong thing.

Am I dating myself with that reference?

ANYWAY.

I think I can spend a turn doing a research action because a) It might get me a warp token which will lower all future Warp costs. b) It doesn’t cost any energy at all and c) I haven’t done it yet, so why not?  It’s not like I know a strategy or anything yet.

So Turn 1, I don’t move (and don’t spend energy), and then draw from the knowledge bag.  For full disclosure, when you start the Lone Star scenario, you can remove from 0 to 12 different normal discs.  0 for a challenging game, 12 for an easy one.

I removed 12.  Ain’t I a stinker?

So let’s see what I get.

A Warp token!  Boo ya!  One seventh of the way to victory!

So, I kind of want to get way out to Orbit J.  You see, if I land there, I get a White Gas Substance.  With that, I can combine that with the Black Metal substance I already have and build Sol-Gel-based Ceramics.  The reason?  I can finally land on Gas Giants!  Which would be nice because the Gas Giant that’s only a few spaces from me would give me Radioactive Substances just for landing on it.  But it’s a whole lot of energy just to get there, and I don’t want to burn it all just to get there.

So instead, I’m just going to burn 1 and get to the Trojans in Orbit D to start with (which doesn’t cost anything to “land” in because they have little to no gravity themselves) and do a Scavenge action there.

I found some gems floating out there.  I can’t fuel anything with that, but they’re a big part of a lot of Exoproducts, so at least that’s something.  I move the planets again for the Trajectory model and look at Turn 3.

It’s 8 steps to get to the planet I want to get to!  So effectively I will burn 2 energy to get there, 1 energy to land to get something that will give me 4 energy.  Which is net 1, sure, but….JEEZ.  Of course, I could also find life, which can make things interesting (and give me more skills).  And I could also fail at finding life and get more knowledge.  Or I could just say to heck with it and gain 2 knowledge and leave this system knowing I can’t get much from it because I lept in too far away from the “good stuff.”

Where’s the adventure in that?  I’m here for science, dangit!  Burning 3 energy, let’s land on that rock!  I immediately earn a Gas Substance for doing so.  And now Rutger puts some Slight Wear on Exo Life Device A so he can roll his 1 die to find life on a moon around this Planetar.  Of course, because of the +2, I’m actually rolling 3 dice to get a 7 or less.  I like those odds.

6 – 4 – 12

Boom.  I have found LIFE OUTSIDE OF EARTH!  And let’s see what it is!  Could it be an intelligent civilization?

life

Nope.  It’s goo.  Something I can’t even get to survive in Bios: Genesis.

Ah well.

Looking at the map, there’s not many places I can go without spending more energy than I want to, so I’m going to sit down and do some research and hope I pull another Warp token and hope I can survive the next Leap, er, Warp.

The fun bit about knowledge tokens is that in multiplayer games, you don’t show them to other players until you use them, so if I drew a, say, Gas Giant skill, other players may write off my ability to land on them and ignore a Giant for a few turns to go to other prey that I could steal from them, and BOOM, I swoop in and grab the glory and fame before they do because they didn’t know I was reading up while they were busy watching old Scott Bacula reruns.

Well what do you know, I drew another Warp token!  That ends the turns here, I could stay longer and damage my crew, which actually might not be a terrible idea considering I NEED fuel, but I don’t know how desperate I am, so I’ll just go by the seat of my pants.

One more energy gets me back to the Mothership and off we go!

Our new start is against a hot burning, blue star which only gives us 2 turns before we Warp again.  And this time, the card states it costs 6 energy, but due to our Warp knowledge, that knocks it down to 4.

And I only have 3.

So here is our ship’s final resting place.  I think we would take up residence on that Desert world that appears to be tidally locked to the nearby Gas Dwarf?  Perhaps eons of pelting from its smaller moons has caused its surface to become so eroded that it appears to be sand to our new human dwellers.

Well jeez, now that I know how rare energy is, I’m going to have to be more careful with it.  If only this were real and not virtual I could sweep my hand over the table and start over again.

Sadly, I think it’s going to take LONGER to start it in virtual space than it will in meat space.  But I suppose it’s time for me to call it a night, anyway.  I’ve been trying to get this game in during every spare second I had, so I hope this did at least a small service to all of you readers out there who are curious about the kickstarter.

I may have not shown all of the intricacies of the multiplayer version (though you can see a bit with the Preparation phase and the hidden knowledge tokens, be sure to read about the Warp module in the rulebook, though, for some REAL fun), but maybe if I can get in a game tomorrow I’ll talk more about what would be done with multiple players.  For now, let’s look at what my final fame would have been, had anyone been alive to tell our tale:

Life+Exoplanet cards = 10

Gas & Metal tokens = 2

Gems & Radioactive tokens (2pts each) = 2

Leveled crewmembers = 0

Bonus for fully leveled crewmembers = 0

Final score = 14

Will your final score be less pathetic?  Let me know!

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