About this project
Sol: Last Days of a Star is a game of solar destruction and salvation for 1-5 players. Each player controls one of the worlds surrounding a star facing annihilation. For centuries these worlds have been living in utopia, fed by the seemingly boundless energy drawn from their star through a lattice of solar harvesting infrastructure. Suddenly this infrastructure is destroyed and their worlds are cast into darkness, their inhabitants facing imminent extinction.
Amidst the clamor, each world has built an Ark housing some small fraction of their population. Each Ark is now waiting at the edge of the solar system for the energy required to attain escape velocity before the final devastation hits. Unfortunately, the only possible source of such a great deal of energy is the dying star itself.
In the game, each player will be launching sundivers to rebuild just enough of the lost solar infrastructure needed to harvest and transmit energy back to their waiting Arks. In a final twist of irony, the process of extracting this energy will further compound the solar instability and hasten their Sun's ultimate demise.
Sol: Last Days of a Star is the culmination of two brothers' lifetime passion for games, two and half years of development, hundreds of playtests, beautiful art and fascinating, unique mechanics.
Beyond making a great game with elegant rules and emergent strategic depth, we also wanted to create a work of art.
World-Specific Components (total for all 5 worlds):
- 5 Player Boards
- 5 Player Aids
- 5 Motherships
- 5 Arks
- 65 Sundivers
- 25 Solar Gates
- 15 Energy Nodes
- 15 Sundiver Foundries
- 15 Transmission Towers
- 5 Clear Movement Trackers
In many games, each player builds their own infrastructure and uses their own buildings and abilities, which can lead to an isolated game experience. In Sol, everyone shares infrastructure. If you build a gate to a deeper layer of the Sun, other players can cross it. If you build a node, foundry or tower, other players can activate it. The activator gets a reward, but the owner gets a bonus as well, so building infrastructure creates potential for recurring rewards throughout the game. This leads to a whole new dimension of considerations as you weigh how much you will use a station or gate and positioning it so that you get maximum benefit from other players using it as well.
Your Mothership is your base of operations and where all of your sundivers launch onto the board. Because the motherships are always moving, you will drift farther away from your own structures and draw closer to the things other players have built, encouraging everyone to use everyone else's infrastructure. That is, until you come full circle and arrive back at where you started. These cycles of timing provide endless variety to the gameplay.
The other source of variability is the Instability Effects. Before every game a mix of Instability Effects are chosen which change the feel and potential of the game. Each Instability Effect is a rule or ability that enhances what players are able to do on their turn — things like teleporting sundivers or moving stations across the board. This means each game has different potential strategies to discover and approaches to explore, and that every game will be unique!
The current rulebook is here! http://elephantlaboratories.com/sol-rulebook.pdf (not final) and the BGG entry is here: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/174837/sol-last-days-star. Also, at the bottom of this section is a "How to Play" video with the designers.
Sol: Last Days of a Star can be played by 1 - 5 players. The game board shows the Sun as it is poised to go supernova.
Each player has a mothership in orbit which is where they will launch sundivers onto the board. The motherships follow an orbital track around the perimeter of the game board, moving one space each turn, so your sundivers will emerge in different places on the board throughout the game.
On your turn you can either move sundivers around the board, convert sundivers into nodes, foundries, towers or gates, or activate those structures to receive different rewards. These include harvesting energy from the energy nodes, building new sundivers at the sundiver foundries, or transmitting energy back to your Ark at the transmission towers. This energy is converted into momentum, which will ultimately determine who escapes to salvation and who is left behind.
As stations are converted and activated they cause increasing instability in the Sun, which will ultimately trigger the supernova and the end of the game. The deeper the stations are positioned into the layers of the Sun the more of a reward they yield when activated — but also the greater instability they cause. All infrastructure is shared, with activators getting a base amount of the reward and the owner of the station receiving a bonus. Timing will play a crucial role as you weigh all of the tradeoffs between building shallow or deep, investing in your own infrastructure or using another player's.
As players convert and activate in the Sun, they will draw cards representing instability. Each time a solar flare is drawn, the marker on the Instability Spiral is advanced. When the 13th solar flare is drawn, the Sun goes supernova, and whoever's Ark has made it furthest away will escape in time, and the rest will be consumed in a fiery demise.
Every game will also feature a different mix of Instability Effects chosen at the beginning of the game. These effects will add new abilities and encourage different strategies, making every game feel unique.
Here is a good primer on how to play Sol: Last Days of a Star
"I always say there's nothing new in board games, but the way Sol plays makes me feel like some core mechanics are so fresh that I've never seen them before -- and Sol's game play is not just new; it's intriguing and exciting." - Anthony J Gallela, Game Developer and Chair of the KublaCon Game Design Contest
"As I delved into the mechanics of the game I realized this was something kind of special... Even though the game has a very very simple ruleset it's deceptively deep and deceptively complex." - Lance Myxter, Undead Viking
"I have literally played Sol dozens of times, and quite frankly it never gets old. The variability in the rule set, built on a solid base, allows me as a game master to adapt the game to the group that is playing"- Chad Nichols, Dungeon Master at Geekline 415
"Intense and nailbiting to the very end." - Andrew Tullsen, Founder of Print and Play Productions
"Sol has some real meat on its bones and an underlying elegance that made it a standout at BGG.con. I can't wait to get this to the table again!" - Mischa D. Krilov, Board Game Hero
"Sol: Last Days of a Star effortlessly blends theme with mechanics, providing a rich and unique play experience. This game is good on so many levels but what really makes it shine is the dynamic player interaction driven by the shared use of space stations, warp bridges and solar harvesters. No player can win on their own, but only one will succeed in escaping solar annihilation." - Tim Eisner, Weird City Games, Designer of March of the Ants
"Sol is great! You are constantly trying to plan the perfect set of moves while balancing that with an ever changing board." - Chase Van Epps, Print and Play Productions
"The beauty of Sol is that the players build the board together, opening new strategies each game. I keep coming back to try out new tricks." - Mohammad Ali, Member of Stumptown Gamecrafters
Undead Viking reviews Sol!
Patrick from Just Got Played!
Review from Jonathan Liu of Geekdad!
Cole Wehrle (designer of Pax Pamir) reviews Sol: Last Days of a Star!
Shipping. No one likes shipping. As project creators, we feel this pain as keenly as you do.
We are not going to hide shipping from you. Many projects say "Free Shipping!", as if such a thing is possible. Instead, we are going to reveal the secret of shipping, and how much it is going to cost to get the game to you. Then, we can go into this with eyes open:
- US Shipping - $10
- CA, UK, DE Shipping - $13
- EU Shipping - $35
- Everywhere Else Shipping - $45
That said, the best value in shipping is to order four at once! Check out our ARK pledge level and find some friends to go in on it with you. Then we can face shipping in the best way possible: Together.
Ryan Spangler and Sean Spangler are brothers who grew up playing and making board games from their earliest memory. Raised in a laboratory of creativity, they still play games together every chance they get. Now they are designing the games they want to play that don't yet exist.
Jodi Sweetman has spent a great deal of her time wrangling artists and creatives of all types to produce tangible, finished products. Her expertise and guidance in orchestrating the great project that is Sol is the key that brought this project from a cool prototype to a working product.
Mark Dusk is a designer and artist in Portland, OR. Inspired by playing a prototype of Sol one day at Ryan's house, he lead the creation of the visual incarnation of the game.
Jon Mietling of Portal Dragon met Ryan and Jodi at GenCon 2015. As a graphic, 3d artist, and game designer, Jon has helped to bring a fresh look to visuals of our game. Jon has designed our new plastic player pieces as well as assisted with the game's graphic presentation.
Risks and challenges
Sol: Last Days of a Star is the first Kickstarter project from Elephant Laboratories. For us this is a dream years in the making, but we know this can make potential backers nervous, which is why we have gone through a huge amount of preparation to make sure we are going about it the right way.
First, we have made sure the game is solid. After hundreds of play tests with hundreds of different people and countless hours of development and refinement we are confident this game is fun and endlessly replayable. We care about the depth of gameplay emerging from elegant and streamlined rules. We have worked hard to make a clear and concise rulebook so players can dive into playing, and we have iterated on the player aids so that it is immediately clear what options players have on their turn.
Second, we have sought out guidance and advice from designers and publishers who have been through the Kickstarter process before. We have been in contact with the manufacturer for over a year now planning out all of the details of production. We have researched shipping options to make sure that every game arrives on time and unscathed.
That said, issues are sure to arise, and we have no reason to believe that the countless lessons we have learned up until this point will stop once the project is funded. That is where our passion and commitment to the project will ensure that no matter what, we will see this through and deliver a spectacular game to all of our backers. Thank you for your confidence and support.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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