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An epic space adventure where you explore any planetary system and experience everything from alien life discovery to warp romances.
An epic space adventure where you explore any planetary system and experience everything from alien life discovery to warp romances.
389 backers pledged $29,511 to help bring this project to life.

Expedition Zetta: Day 5

Posted by Ion Game Design (Creator)


Another two days of the journey has gone by and now we have reached 60% of the funding! With 24 days still left on the campaign the rest should be no problem as well as room for some juice stretch goals.

Not only that, we have also been able to add a couple of new cards to the game. Thanks to backers at the Zetta Inventor and Zetta Pioneer level we now will have 8 extra cards added to all games, 1 new exo product and 7 new crew cards.

 In this update the designer of Expedition Zetta Jon Manker will go through his design process of the solo modes of the game. Read bellow for the whole text.

For you who maybe already have read this text in his blog over att boardgamegeek it could still be interesting to read the design diary as Jon has added some more text on the subject since the blog post.

If you want to help spreading the word about the project there are some posts that good posts over at twitter and facebook. Thanks.

Onwards we go with this venture! Thank you every so much in contributing to this adventurous project!

/ The team of Expedition Zetta

Expedition Zetta Design Diary - The Solo Journey 

I have been very encouraged by the many comments I've got from people who like the solo rules of Expedition Zetta, or who think the game would suit well as a solo experience. This has made me even more convinced that a solo version of the game (and any game really) deserve extra care and deserve to stand on its own feet. I have been able to do so with Expedition Zetta. It actually has two solo rules variants. The first, more straight forward one, use bots that you can add as AI-players. The bots consist of three to four different sets of instructions and they are put together randomly so there are many many bot combination to meet. Bots help each other and if you want a real challenge you can let them combine their fame at the end. Choose to play against one to four bots, for increased difficulty.  

The other solo variant is the Lone star, and it is a clearly separate game version. From the very beginning the idea has been to make Expedition Zetta a 1-4 player game. The one player variant was to be a bit more harsh and difficult, and in the first couple of versions of the game it was a bit harsher for the multiplayer variant too, where it was possible for all to lose. The Warp tokens (at that point called computer tokens) were used to manipulate the Warp drive. You could either help the Warp computer, or make it harder for it to find its way home. The mechanic was meant to be both a thrill and a catch up. The player ahead could try to rush the game by focusing on helping the computer and the player(s) behind could try to stall the computer's calculations in order to make the game run one or a few turns more, giving them a chance to catch up.   
The progression was tracked on the Warp Navigation Track on a separate board called the Mothership Board. (If anyone of you tried the early prototype of Expedition Zetta at Essen Spiel 2015, then you played the game using the Warp Navigation Track. At that time the game’s name was EXO by the way, but the release of the game Exoplanets made me change that name). At the end of each Warp stage (prior to generating the next planetary system) a dice throw told you if the computer had found the way back to Earth. The higher you were on the Warp Navigation Track the higher the probability of you returning to Earth and the game ending with a scoring stage.
The Warp Navigation Track on the Mothership Board of an early prototype. Then the Mothership Board also tracked the number of Warps and the player’s current score.
The Warp Navigation Track on the Mothership Board of an early prototype. Then the Mothership Board also tracked the number of Warps and the player’s current score.


There were a maximum of 5 warps, after which the Warp drive fuel was gone and all players lost in space, stranded at some random planetary system. This was a flavor thing. You still calculated the score, but you only got half the fame for everything since you got your fame post mortem, when the remains of you were discovered, some thousand years into the future. The winner was still the winner but when you compared games the score for everyone after a “lost in space” ending was relatively low.  

This was mostly for flavor and the warp computer race in the game never took off the way I wanted it to do between players. But it took a while until I addressed it. A year ago this was still a factor in the game and at that time I developed the solo rules. Over the last year I have changed the multiplayer variant of the game quite a lot on this point. It is now a 1-5-player game with a fixed number of warps and you use the warp tokens to modify the outcome of the warp by discarding unfavorable cards from the Zetta PSG. However, I kept the lost-in-space mechanic in the solo version of the rules. I named “The Lone Star” variant and had you travel with only your own crew, in the Mothership, and the warp computer tokens was used as your means to find your way back to Earth.  

In the Lone Star variant, the goal of the game remains the same, to collect the most fame, but it is overshadowed by the fact that you need to get home to Earth, and this is not guaranteed to happen. The warp tokens are now representing your knowledge about warp space and you need to find them all to find your way home. Another difference is that warp costs energy so you need to find enough to be able to run the warp drive. The systems has a timer, as in the multiplayer game. After a set number of turns your crew start taking damage from radiation and the general hostile environment. This is similar to the Damage module of the advanced rules in the multiplayer version. So you can't search for energy more than a few turns. The amount of energy needed to warp is different from turn to turn and depend on how far away you are in space, or how complex away maybe would be a better way to put it.If you are not able to collect enough energy to get through the whole warp journey your warp drive breaks down, you are exited at some random planetary system, and you are trapped there. Your only change is to seek refuge at a planet and perhaps you manage to found a colony of humans on a planet there. Bit this is another story.  

It has been a great to develop this solo version, as it borrows from the older version of the game and brings not only solo play but also a bit different experience to the game. I hope it will bring joy to may solo players as they explore our vast universe.
Radu P, Leo Borg, and 9 more people like this update.


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    1. Leo Borg Collaborator on

      @Anna Schmitter: And so are we. Really looking forward to play the game when it's finished, that is produced and sent out to us all :)

    2. Anna Becker

      sounds like a great solution :) I am looking forward to the solo game now!