Factions of Sol Kickstarter: Starriders, Show Me Where You Are

Mick Jones has very few lead singing credits in Foreigner, but one of the most memorable is Starrider, off their self-titled debut album. I actually discovered Foreigner during the Double Vision / Hot Blooded craze, but double backed to their initial offering and was hooked on first listen. As a young space travel fanatic, I loved the dreamy sounds of the guitars and compressed drums and Lou Gramm in the background echoing the main line: “Starrider, rider, rider….take me to the stars.”

A new game company from Chicago is out on Kickstarter right now with a project that made me think of those lyrics right away. It’s called Factions of Sol, and I was definitely intrigued with the concept behind the game. Picture Ready Player One but in space — a rich megacorp owner wants to leave his tremendous fortune built from taking humankind into space and leave it to whichever player can build the best space faring engine and score the most points. And it’s all done in a tongue-in-cheek “this happened back in the 50s” style.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/markivgames/factions-of-sol

But even with the interesting theme, I probably would not have even given it more than a second or two, except I saw that it also comes with player factions that have “wildly powerful and different” asymmetric powers. You know by our blog and by our play throughs on Twitch Tuesdays that Jerod and I really dig games with asymmetric powers — Root, Merchants Cove, and Free Radicals, to name a few of our recent experiences.

But let’s be careful here. While Factions of Sol is billed as an asymmetric power game, it’s not a true asymmetric game as far as I can see. It’s a euro game with point to point movement where players each have game-breaking powers that are completely different from each other. Merchants Cove and Free Radicals are also euro games, but that leverage the fact that each faction plays completely different to give those games something fresh to look forward to each game. It looks more like Factions of Sol is more about maximizing the powers that each faction has, more than how they play, because everyone seems to play the game the same.

Of course, I don’t need every game to be completely asymmetric. I still love any game that gives my character or faction something different from others. So, score one for Factions of Sol for at least getting the foot in the door of my interest, because I want to play a game where I have the ability to create wormholes and bounce around the solar system while your character can move planets around. (What would that do to life on Earth if we boinged it over next to Pluto. <Shudder>)

I haven’t played Factions of Sol yet, but judging by the videos and project page, I’m getting more of a vibe of a game with puzzly movement-and-upgrades and euro-y resource management mechanics with a cool “space corp meets the 50s” theme. I’m definitely interested in any game that is going to give me a puzzle to solve, and when you combine the game’s theme, the euro elements, the look of the board after round littered with “space trash” we tried to avoid, and the puzzle of moving your ships around on ever more expensive routes, all of this combines to give me some interest in the project.

I haven’t backed it yet, but the good news is that the project is fully funded and they are already moving on to some cool stretch goal upgrades. Any thoughts on this project? It’s a first from Mark IV Games, a collective of former Northwestern students from Chicago interested in board game design, so you are definitely helping to make a creator’s project come to life.

Until next time, laissez les bon temps rouler!

— BJ from Board Game Gumbo

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