Life On The Moon
The year is 2142.
Two generations have passed since we left Earth to begin anew on the Moon. That world is now behind us, the war-torn destruction abandoned to become dust. The last days of Earth are only but a whisper now. Today, we look forward, working hard to never make the mistakes of our ancestors.
When we left Earth, the surviving people split into four factions. It was decided that in order for this new world to succeed, each faction would have their chance to govern the populace. Every year, a new governing power is decided with a spectacular event. This is the event the people see as a symbol of hope and moving forward in fairness. The annual Moonshot Race is what the people of the TerraLuna most look forward to every year. The four factions send their best pilots to race around the solar system and back to the Moon. The winning faction is granted the power to rule the populace until the day of the Moonshot Race returns again.
The first project from Fisher Heaton Games brings light strategy to the roll and move genre, gives variable play options, and has a just enough “take that” to keep things competitive, but still fun.
On Your Mark…
- 2-4 Players
- 30-60 Minutes
- Age 12+
Moonshot: Lunar Solace is a roll and move game, that incorporates strategic card play and “take that” mechanics. Players are in control of a fleet of four ships trying to make their way around the solar system and back to their Moon bases. On their turn, players will roll dice to move through the solar system, collecting Solace cards and bonus rolls to get them back before the other players. If their ships come in contact with rival ships, those rival ships are bumped back to their launch pads. Players may also link up their ships in the hopes to return more of their ships at once.
The Setup (for a 4 player game):
Place the board in the center of the table and have each player choose their colour: Purple, blue, green, or orange. Once players have gotten their ships and picked a corner of the board to be their base, shuffle the Solace deck and place it on the designated deck space. Players receive no cards at the start of the game (the case is different for a 2 or 3 player game). The final step before play is to place the wormhole tokens on the board. To do so, roll the D8 die and place each wormhole on the x space, where x is the number rolled. The first wormhole gets placed counting from the launch space, and the second gets placed counting from the space after Neptune, heading towards the finish. Skip Venus and Mars when counting spaces.
How To Play:
The goal of the game is to be the first player to get all of their ships back to their base. To do this players must roll the power dice to move them around the solar system. The amount of spaces a player moves is determined by what combination of power they roll. Certain dice combinations will earn you bonus rolls that allow you to move more than once on a turn. For example, a roll of 4 symbols or 4 blanks will earn you a bonus roll in addition to the movement you gain from the original roll. Bonus rolls can be stored and used to move multiple ships, or move one ship multiple times. Rolls may never be split between ships; one roll = one ship’s movement. Bonus rolls must be used on your turn, or they expire. In the game, you may only turn left if you have landed on a planet; you may not turn in the middle of movement.
During your movement through the solar system you may encounter the ships of other players. If you land on a space occupied by an opponent’s ship(s), you bump their ship(s), causing it to go back to their launch pad. When you bump an enemy player you will earn a bonus roll to use on your current turn, and they will draw a Solace Card. If you land on a space occupied by one of your own ships, the ships will link. Linked ships move as one unit from that point on. If a set of linked ships gets bumped, all ships return to the launch pad.
Solace Cards add a strategy aspect to the game. As a player gets bumped from the race, they will obtain Solace Cards. These cards can be played at certain times during the game:
- Purple: At any time
- Dark green: On an opponent’s turn
- Red: On your turn
- Olive green: Immediately (as it is drawn)
Players may use these cards throughout the game to help get them ahead, or to hinder their opponents. In a 4 player game there is a hand limit of two cards. If a draw causes you to go over the limit, you must discard one of the two cards you already have; you may not play a card from your current hand in response to drawing over the hand limit. If you are at the hand limit and you draw an “Immediately” card, you will not have to discard. However, it may have you draw more cards, which will cause you to discard a card to accommodate the new card(s) drawn.
Winning the Game
The first person to get all of their ships around the board and back to their base will be the winner.
Note: The Moon is the final spot on the board, not your base. So, you must roll one more than the moon to go straight to your base.
And The Winner Is…
Now when most gamers hear the words “roll and move,” there always seems to be a groan or a sigh in response. Modern board game hobbyists are generally looking for games that rely less on chance and rely more on strategy. But let’s be honest here, there is nothing wrong with a “roll and move” game, especially if it is well done. Moonshot: Lunar Solace is one of those well done games. If you were to strip away all the additional mechanics, and just kept the basics, this game would still be fun. Growing up, my family didn’t play games like Catan or Ticket to Ride. We played Ameritrash games until we were all too giggly to even concentrate. My dad was always a crooked cop in The Game of Life and I was always a shrewd negotiator in Monopoly (often, manufactured tears were involved). What I love most about Moonshot, is that it’s a game that I can play with my family members who just can’t quite grasp Euro game mechanics. It also does really well as an intro to strategy, while still maintaining a nostalgic feel.
One of my favorite things about this game is that it can easily be tailored to who you are playing with. You can go with the simple version, by excluding the Solace Cards, or leave them in and enjoy some light strategy. I taught my folks how to play without using anything other than the dice movement and bumping system, and they really enjoyed it. We played a second time, using the Solace Cards, and they found that although they liked the simple version, the cards added really great depth to the game.
There are also some components to the game that I have not yet discussed, but they will be available through stretch goals. One of the stretch goals will be to add in a set of commander role cards that will give each player a special ability. I’ve had the opportunity to play with these, and they are going to bring a whole new element to the game, plus they offer another way to tailor the game to your player audience. Each commander’s ability will be unique and will enhance the options a player has on their turn. Below I have included some pictures of possible commanders and their abilities. These are still being prototyped, so this will not be the final art and these might not be the final polished abilities. I am really looking forward to the commander role cards and what their final art and abilities will be.
My first time playing Moonshot, I had expected more from the dice roll movement system. After a few plays, I realized that adding in penalties for rolling reds or having a movement cancel system would unnecessarily overcomplicate the game. This game shines in its ability to remain simple to learn and play, while still giving players strategic options. This goes without saying, but this game won’t be for everyone. Fans of more casual games will definitely love this, players who hate randomness will not, and there is nothing wrong with that. Moonshot is a game that I have enjoyed every single time, whether I have won or not (I haven’t won much).
One thing I would like to see changed, and where I think there is a bit of lacking, is the immersion of theme. Though I like the idea presented in the back story, it is rather generic. I’d like to see the factions have names and what their core ideals are. This is obviously something nonessential, but I think it would be an improvement. Another stretch goal to the game are the player boards. I definitely prefer these to the simple reference cards that players will get in the base game. These come with a tracker for your bonus rolls, which makes remembering what you have rolled so much easier. I also love the way the movement chart is presented here, it’s big and easy to read. Again, these are nonessential, but they definitely are a component improvement and make keeping track of rolls infinitely easier.
Overall, Moonshot: Lunar Solace is a fun and simple game, that I can play with my family, as well as my friends who are into lighter strategy. It has plenty of ways to make play variable and competitive, while maintaining high replayability.
If you’d like to get a copy for yourself, the Kickstarter is now live. You can check it out here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/387005457/moonshot-lunar-solace-a-fast-paced-dice-driven-rac
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