Solar Draft Card Game Review

Unlike video games, analog tabletop games require at least one player to be the console to run the game. They need to learn the rule, setup the game and making sure that everybody follow the rules.

These are in addition to make a strategy to play the game very well. So, there is a bit of barrier compared to video games where we can just turn on the machine.

Because of that, it is very common that sometimes we are just too tired to play the game with all of the things we need to do. I have been in that situation.

Then comes an idea of a relaxing game. In my mind, I thought that would be a game that doesn’t demand that much and we can play just to enjoy it.

Somebody pointed out that this next one is one of the relaxing game. It’s called Solar Draft, a card game with just 90 cards.

So, what is this Solar Draft card game? How do we play it? Can we play the game solo?

Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Solar Draft Review based on my experience on playing the game and what I can find from the internet.

Hope this helps. Is Solar Draft a good relaxing card game out there?

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Overview

Game’s Title: Solar Draft
Genre: Card Drafting, Tableau Building, Set Collection, Variable Player Power, Once per Game Ability, Space Theme, Hand Management
Designer: Zach Moore
Artist: Katie Welch
Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games
Number of Players: 2 – 5
Playtime: 20 – 30 minutes
Official Webpage:

Release Year: 2019
Price: $25

Contents:
1 Rule sheet
5 Player Mats
94 Cards (62.5 x 87.5 mm):
Bonus Point Cards (4)
Moon Cards (14)
Comet Cards (14)
Planet Cards (62)

About Solar Draft Card Game

Solar Draft is a card game about designing a solar system. The game says that we, as the players are the architects of the solar system.

We start with a Sun  as the center and we will assign planets from the closest to the farthest from the sun using cards. The cards are mostly Planets but we can also put Moons that will orbit the planet or Comets that we can put between planets.

Once a player already has 8 planet cards in their tableau, it will trigger the end of the game. We will count scores and whoever has the highest score is the winner.

Each of the cards we play has a base score if we play them. They will also give additional score or ability to get more score if we meet the requirements stated on each card.

Each planet has some attributes like color, size and number of rings. Based on these attributes, the planet can give more score.

For example, there are planets who only wants to be the only large/medium/small planet in the solar system. A planet may want or not want to be next to other medium size planets.

Some can also give score based on the position from the Sun. One planet may give more points if they are in certain position like being the 5th planet. There are also some planets that will give point if they are closer or farther from the sun.

Those planets may also interact with the Moons or Comets to give score. For example, there is a planet that will give score if we have 3 or more comets in the system.

Comets will simply give additional action when played like immediately draw cards or play another one from the hand. Moons are like Planets but they need the Planets to orbit them.

They also have scoring requirements that if we can meet them, we will get higher score. A planet can have one or more Moons. There are Moons that wants to be the first one to orbit the planet.

Another one might only give points if they are orbiting the largest or smallest planet in the solar system. There are also planets and moons that if we want to play them, we need to discard some cards.

In this game, we will try to build our tableau of solar system through the hand management mechanism. In general, we can only have up to 5 cards in hand but some Comets allows us to have more.

As mentioned before, we need to place the planet in order, from the closest spot to the sun to the farthest. Once we have placed them, we cannot change the order in general.

There is a way to Terraform the planet cards that we have placed previously. Maybe through the market, we find a better card for that position and only by this action we can replace it.

Instead of playing a card to build the tableau, we can draft the card from the general market. Hence, the name Solar Draft.

The market will have up to 5 face up cards. When the deck runs out of cards, it will also trigger the end of the game.

The game also gives a one time ability for the player. This allows player to discard all cards from the market to draw a new set of 5 cards.

There is also a unique player power based on which of the different suns we can use in the game. For example, one of the sun can rearrange the solar system so we can change all of the planets’ position.

I guess, the most interesting thing about Solar Draft is the emoji facial expression on each of these planetary objects. Instead of just circular colorful object, we can see angry or sad planets.

Comets are a bit different. They can either look like a cute puppy or kitten.

If I understand correctly, the planetary theme comes from Zach Moore, the designer. But the art with the cute facial expression comes from Katie Welch who also did the graphics design.

The designer also shared some diary on BGG of how he came up with this design idea. We can read more about if from the links here, part 1 and part 2. In 2022, the designer shared the third part of his design story that we can read from here.

Solar Draft is a competitive game that can support up to 5 players which just cards. Sadly, there is no solo mode for the game.

Here is an overview video by BoardGameGeek.com featuring Solar Draft.

Components

Solar Draft comes in a small box, slightly bigger than nowadays smartphone size. The size is about 15.2 x 10.1 cm, with 3.3 cm thickness.

It is basically a slightly larger than the width of 2 standard cards. and the thickness can hold more than 90 cards.

The art on the cover shows the planetary system with the Sun and 3 colorful planets. On the back they will tell us all of the components with illustration that shows how the player’s tableau will look like in the middle of the game.

The game also comes with a paper insert inside. Usually, in other card games, the insert will have a separator in the middle to separate cards into 2 decks or more.

Here, the insert has a higher point on both ends which serves two things. One is to keep the cards in the middle from moving, and two is so the big player mats can be put on top of the two higher ends.

So, the size of the box is a bit too big just for the sake of the player mats. I think they could have made the mat smaller so the box can be smaller as well.

While the insert is big enough for cards with sleeve, there will be a bit of overlapping area of the sleeves when we put cards side by side. I use the sleeve from Sleeve Kings with 60 micron thickness and the box is almost full.

That means, if we choose thicker sleeves, they may not fit in the box. The size of all cards is 62.5 x 87.5 mm, so we can use the one for standard card game (63.5 x 88mm).

The cards comes in two separate sealed decks. For the player mat, I don’t think there is sleeve for that size at this point. If there is one, we may have to remove the insert completely.

Here is a unboxing video by Mike DiLisio from the Dice Tower.

Rule Sheet

This is not the first thing we find inside the box but usually I will discuss any rulebook or rule sheet first. Unfortunately, the publisher didn’t upload any digital file for the rulebook on BGG. Since there is no official webpage as well, we cannot find any file.

When folded, the size of the sheet is about 9.3 x 9.7 cm. which is about a third of each width and length if we unfold it. The rule is on both sides of the sheet and each side will have 3 columns.

Here is the table of contents. Instead of page, I will be referring to which column we can find any specific section.

Title, Credits (Column 1). Here we can find the title, the name of designer, artist and publisher. They have a link to the publisher’s page but there is no official page for this game.

Components and Setup (Column 2). This section explains in detail about each type of component used in the game with illustration.

However, there is no illustration for the setup whether the market or the player’s area.

Gameplay Overview (Column 3). This actually explains the overall structure of the game play from taking an action, trigger the end game and scoring.

Gameplay in Detail (Column 3 – 5). This explains the 3 possible actions that a player can do during each turn. Each action has a subsection to explain further.

For the Draft action, this is where they explain the hand limit of 5. We can have more cards but the limit is whether we can do the action or not.

On the fifth column, there are  actually three more subsections: CARD’S ABILITY, THE ONE TIME ABILITY and END GAME TRIGGER. Instead, they only put it as separate paragraph for each.

While the main actions have an illustration of how to resolve it, the other 3 don’t have that.

Important note for the end game trigger is that players will have equal number of turns.

End of the Game (Column 6). This is more about the scoring phase. How we trigger the end of the game is actually on the previous column. There is also a tie breaker.

This section ends with an example of how the scoring works with illustration. While the picture shows which card they use, because the text on the cards is too small, we need to check the actual cards.

I think, overall, the rule sheet gives a pretty good idea of how the game works in general. However, most of the interesting or complicated things that can happen come from the cards which they do not give further clarification.

Most of the questions related to rule that have been posted on the forum are from these cards. Some card may have a clear ability but when coupled with another, it can create some confusion.

One big thing that the rule didn’t explain is about DISCARDING A CARD FROM SOLAR SYSTEM. This thread has the answer. I didn’t know that we can still manipulate our tableau further, especially the Planets in earlier position and that can the latter can become closer.

The biggest issue for me about this rule sheet is the presentation. I don’t like folded sheet. Folding will eventually ruin the sheet on the folded part.

While both sides of the sheets are fully loaded with information, I think they need a couple more pages or columns to present it properly. Personally, it is hard for me right now to read a big block of paragraph.

While they try to use some uppercase on entire words and bold font on some part, they miss it on other important points. This feels cheap and like they just want to save additional cost.

Sun Mats

These are the first things that we can find inside the box. I’m not sure about calling it a player mat but more like just a player’s character big card.

The size is about 9 x 14 cm. I think each of them is thicker than any standard cards with 0.2 cm for all 5 cards. Each of them are double sided and a unique Sun characters, and I guess, a name for each.

Both sides actually have the same character. The difference is that on one side, they only have one ability while the other side also has a unique power just for that character.

That one ability is called SOLAR FLARE, which the same regardless of the character. It is recommended for first play.

The unique power is actually a one time only or once per game ability. They have a name which I assume the name of the character.

I guess we need to play the game enough to know when exactly we should use that ability.

Each character has an illustration, depicting a SUN with a facial expression and hands. They hold a different drafting tools for architects like blueprint, ruler, or pencil.

Right below the illustration we can see the ability or abilities along with the explanation of how to resolve that ability. The rule suggests in order to remind us that we have activated any ability, we should tilt this card to either left or right.

If we have activated both, the rule suggests to rotate it 180 degrees. Either we have to pick it up or have enough table space around this card just to rotate.

At the bottom of the card, we can find a reminder of what action we can do during our turns and how to trigger the end of the game. That means, these player mats are also the player aids. Any character will have the same reminder.

I’m not sure that the player aid is good. While what they say on the card is important but I think they also need to remind us about how we build our tableau.

Like the difference between playing Planet, Comets and Moon cards. I think the hand limit is supposed to be on the drafting or first action.

They should also say that we can draw from the top of the deck, not just from the face up cards. The note about discard to draw for just specific situation should be on the aids as well.

Well, this is not a complex game, so maybe having a separate cards for player aids is not necessary. I guess I wish they do a better one. If the game is so simple, I think they could have come up with using icons instead of words.

Details for Unique Powers

As mentioned before, each Sun Mat has a character with a unique ability that only that character can use. This gives a bit more replay value as we can use different one and against different combination.

The abilities can be activated before or after the regular action. That means it is an additional action instead of replacing the regular one.

We can only activate them once in game. It’s better to get familiar with it and figure out the best time to use it.

Most of the time we tend to forget that we have them in the first place since we will be busy with the ability of the Solar system cards. The game already ends when we remember it.

I guess that the reason why this is more like an extra module that we can turn on and off.

Here are their abilities.

NEURON STAR allows us to draw a card for every Comet that we have in our Solar System. Since we can at most have 7 or 8 Comets in our solar system, we can draw that many cards potentially.

That means, if we already have 5 cards, this can bring our hand size to 12 or 13 cards. But having that many Comets means we are almost at the end of the game. Also, it will be confusing to manage that many cards.

I guess the better use of this ability is when we see several good cards from the market. We can take them all by using this ability, preventing our opponent from taking the rest.

This situation can also happen when we already have 5 cards and a good one just showed up. We cannot draw and discard, so, this is a good one to use.

On the other hand, there is a chance we may not get any Comet at all either because they are not used in the game or the opponents took it. Also, I don’t think focusing on just Comets for the sake of this ability is a good strategy.

Still, this player power can be the direction of the entire strategy. We also want to focus on Planets that gives bonus for having Comets.

PULSAR allows us to do 2 actions in a turn. That means any combination of drawing cards, playing cards or terraform a card. Both can be the same actions.

I assume that we still need to follow the hand limit. If we already have 5 cards from the first action, we have to do the other.

That may be not the best time to activate this ability. But then, sometimes, a good card just shows up consecutively.

For that specific combination, we might want to have like 3 cards or played the Planet card that allows us to have more than 5. Or when we have 5, play the card first to make room for the draw.

Another use that I can think is when playing a card where we need to discard cards. That means, we can first draw a card, possibly none valuable one just to discard it later for terraform or play another one.

This will be useful when we are about to trigger the end of the game. In fact, we can even be the one to trigger it by playing cards in a row even though we are behind. We need to be aware of that.

Some of the Planet cards also already allows us to have an extra action like playing or drawing more cards right away. Combined with this ability, we can have multiple possibilities of outcome.

QUASAR’s ability allows us to rearrange our entire Solar System. This one is a bit tricky for when to activate it.

The easier way is to just move the Moons from one planet to another or Comets next to a different planet. For the best use, I think we need to wait for a while like after having played enough cards in our tableau before activating this ability.

The problem is, I’m not sure we will make a huge change. Sometimes the planet cards even have a specific position as requirement to score extra points.

When we consciously play that card, we already know that we have played it exactly where it should be. If we somehow try to rearrange it, there is a chance that it may ruin the position of the other planets.

It will be easier not to rely on Planets that require specific position when activating this ability. I guess another way to look at it is to consider the entire tableau as an extension to our hand limit.

We just play a card as soon as possible and before we trigger the end of the game, we should activate this ability. Even for that, I’m not sure it will go as smooth as we might think.

We still need to have a good strategy overall. It’s not like we can exchange them with cards in hand. Even if we place them recklessly but we need to know that all planets can work together. If we also include comets, we still need to play them between two planets.

I guess this one has the biggest potential but the hardest one to pull off. Or we should just consider activating it as last resort.

SHELL STAR allows us to play all moons in our hand. I assume when playing any of them, we still need to follow the requirement like discarding the card to play.

I don’t know how beneficial can this one be. We still need to draw the Moon cards if there is any.

I guess the benefit is that we will spend less turn just to play those cards while other players can take the cards from the market. But that means we need to hold them in our hand and we cannot play other Solar System Cards.

Without planets, we cannot even play those Moons. So, maybe the idea is to just play planets while holding Moons then play them all using this ability.

SUPERNOVA allows us to discard all cards in hand and draw back that many cards. That means, if we have all bad cards, this can be a push your luck mechanism.

Maybe we can have at least one better card. The more cards we have in our hand, we can have better chance for good cards in return.

Most of the time we can only have up to 5 cards but there is an ability from the Solar System cards that can give us more. However, the card with ability may or may not be used in any session.

We can either from the face up cards or the top of the deck. There is a chance that if we do it later in the game, we may not have enough cards.

Solar Flare Ability

This is the ability that any Sun character has or the only one if we choose not to use the Unique ability. Solar Flare allows us to reset the Solar Row or the market hopefully we get a better set of cards to draw from.

The other use is probably to prevent the opponents for taking a card that is good for them. This is probably the meanest player interaction from this game.

On the other hand, there is still a chance that the new set of cards will be better than the previous one. The next player will get the benefit. If we don’t want that to happen, we need to find the right time to activate this.

For example, like when the opponent already has 5 cards in their hand. Theoretically, we probably also need to pay attention to their tableau. The problem is, we cannot tell for sure, which card will give what and how beneficial another card for the player.

When combined with the unique power and the right situation, activating Solar Flare and the Unique power one after another can have a great effect. However, mostly if the ability allows us to draw cards.

Pulsar, Neuron Star and Supernova have better effect when combined with Solar Flare. It really doesn’t affect Quasar.

For Shell Star, if after Solar Flare, the market provides enough Moons, it may be a good idea. But there is no guarantee and it doesn’t mean we can draw them all.

This is also one time ability per game. Most of my plays I forget to even use it. The reason is probably that I’m not a huge fan of the outcome.

Usually if from 5 cards, I can still think a good use for one or 2 of them, I will not consider to reset the market.

Bonus Point Cards

These are the four cards in Solar Draft with the blue color on the back of the card. They are BONUS POINT CARDS that we can get if we have the most planets of a color in our Solar System.

The top part of the card has an illustration of 2 planets where the Purple planet is trying to paint the other planet of a different color. Well, it doesn’t really mean anything other than which color of the planet that card will give points for.

At the bottom, we can see a star with a number 5 in it. Then it continues with the explanation. It says that during scoring, player or players with the most planet of those 4 color is awarded with the card.

Those players will get 5 points. We will be using all 4 cards in any game of Solar Draft. I guess this can encourage players to focus on just one or two color so they can get these cards.

By collecting a certain color, at the same time, we will also deny our opponent for doing the same. On the other hand, that means we can probably predict how likely the next player will take planet cards with the same color.

Players can win this card even if they only have one planet with that color in their Solar System as long as they still have the most.

In this game, the color of the planet is just an attribute of the card. It’s not something like a faction where each faction will have some characteristic and special way to play or score.

We will play the same game regardless of the colors we are collecting. Most of the time, we will probably play planets from all 4 colors. I don’t think I have ever played where I only focus on one. At least there will be planet with a different color even if it’s just one.

It’s true that there are Planet cards that will give extra score if the player has the most of that particular color but cannot be tied. So, there are more incentive for doing so.

The problem is that those specific cards may not come out early or ever in a session. This is a game where we will be shaping our strategy as the game progresses.

At the start, we only know the 3 cards from the starting hand, and the 5 cards in the Solar row or the market. We can make decision based on that but there is a chance we have to abandon that plan and go with different path.

I think there is an issue with these cards when multiple players are tied with the number of planet of a color. How do they expect us to share these cards anyway?

I agree it’s probably not going to happen that often. In 2 players, we can just consider them as cancelling each other out.

But when that happens, players will need to memorize them as part of the scoring. The scoring can also be very complex and sadly they do not provide any sheet to write it down.

I guess with this bonuses, the game encourages players to pay attention to the opponent’s tableau. Maybe it’s not that hard considering the illustration of the planet is very big compared to the card itself.

I also wonder why they didn’t give bonus for Comets or Moons. That will give more reasons for players to play them not just focus on Planets.

In reality, those 5 points is very small in a game where we can get more than 50 points. Of course, if the scores are close, they are enough to change the winner.

I just thought maybe we shouldn’t consider the bonus as main strategy.

Solar System Cards

These are the main parts of the game, the Solar System Cards. They are the rest of the components with the more colorful back of the card with the architectural drawing tools.

The Solar System Cards consist of three types of cards, Planets, Moons and Comets. There will be 62 Planet cards and 14 for each the Moon and Comet cards.

All of them will create a single deck. Depending on the player count, we will remove some of these as part of the setup. Here are the details.

2 players: 40 cards
3 players: 30 cards
4 players: 20 cards
5 players: 10 cards

There is no additional setup requirement. That means, in 2 player mode, it’s possible not to have any Comets or Moons or just a few of them in the game.

I guess, it is also possible to not have any planet of 1 color because all of them get removed. Maybe the starting hand of cards is the only one and we will see nothing else from the market. Or maybe they are at the bottom of the deck and the game already ends before we get to that card.

So, even if it seems the game encourages players to have a long term strategy, we still need to consider these possibilities. For the most part, we need to be tactical. The strategy is for using the unique player power.

The card quality itself has some finish but I don’t think it’s a linen finish. We will be shuffling these cards a lot everytime we start the game.

There will be no shuffling during the game. This is also a hand management game so we will be holding these cards until we either discard or play them.

I guess using sleeve is recommended. Since the setting is about Space, the background art is rather black or dark. Some says after multiple plays, the edges will start to get ruin and become white or so. Maybe the sleeve can help.

Regardless of the type, all cards have the same size. We may even use the one side sleeve. Only the Bonus Point cards will be different.

Even if the back side of the cards are the same, each of these Moons, Comets and Planets have its own characteristic. If we understand that, we can tell the difference.

Each card will have the same three sections. The illustration, which is at the center, the ability which is at the bottom, and the icons at the top right of the card.

Moon Cards

Each Moon cards will depict, obviously, a Moon, which is a circular object just like Planets. The difference is that the illustration of the Planets will be at the center of the card while Moons will be at the top left corner.

The Moon can either have a rather blue or yellow color. I want to say that the blueish one is a bit too close to the blue planet.

In this game, we will be assigning Moons to the Planet Cards. We do that by putting the Moon cards at the below the planet cards while leaving the Moon illustration showing up at the top.

This represents a Moon orbiting the Planet. We need to have played the Planet first before assigning the Moons.

Each planet can have one or more Moons. In general once we have assigned them, we cannot move the Moon. But we can still replace the Planet but keep the position relative to the other planets.

While thematically it is appropriate with how we place the card and can make a good table presence, I have an issue with this. During scoring we still need to read the bottom part of the Moon card as they can give extra points. Imagine when the planet has 3 Moons.

At the top right corner, we can find a crescent icon below a star icon with a number in the star. That number indicates the base points that we get for just playing the card.

The base point can vary from -1 up to +6 points. These indicate that the value is added to the Planet’s value. If somehow the planet’s value is doubled, the added points from Moons are also doubled.

We may lose a point and possibly double the loss. But that is not the only way to get score from these cards.

At the bottom, there will be a text to explain how we can get additional score. Sometimes this bottom part also tell us the requirement to play the card like we have to discard a card from hand or tableau.

That means those cards will not give additional point but it can immediately get higher score just by playing it.

Sadly, there is no name for each moon or numbers so it will be a bit difficult when discussing these cards on the forum. But here are some of the abilities.

Double any points earned from this Planet’s Ability. The points can vary a lot depending on the Planet. We really need to wait until the end of the game and examine the score from every single Planet.

Some Planets can give higher score but depends on the other planets as well. It will take a while before we know that for sure. The easiest one is probably to go for Planets that the ability will give immediate 5 or 6 points.

Double the base point value of the Planet this moon is orbiting but not from the Planet’s ability. We still double the value added by other Moons. The biggest base value a Planet can give is 10 points and after that 8 points.

If we can double that with this Moon, it can give like a third of the total possible points. Otherwise, the next Planet is the one that will give 4 points.

Score 1 point for each other moon orbiting this planet. While we can probably play as many Moon as we want on a single planet, it doesn’t mean we can actually have that many Moon.

This will be useful if we have the other Moon that will give points for being the first, second or third moon. If we cannot meet all of the requirement get enough Moon cards, this is the first to discard.

Score 1 point for each Ring on the planet this moon is orbiting. For this, that means, we can only get up to 4 extra points.

Four Rings is the most any planet can have. So, the total would be 5 points with this Moon. However, there are only like 3 Planet cards with that many rings.

About 9 cards with 3 rings and 2 rings and 10 cards for a single ring. The rest of them like 31 cards or half of Planet cards have no ring.

Score 2 points if this moon is orbiting the largest or Smallest planet in our Solar System. These come from 2 Moons which both will give 1 point as the base value.

It’s a bit tricky to play this one as we need to know the overall planets we have in our Solar System. If our focus is on Medium size planet, maybe it’s not that hard. Otherwise, we have to use Terraform action.

When played, we may immediately play 1 more card from our hand. This will be useful mostly towards the end of the game. We can have more than 8 Planet cards.

It’s a good ability to catch up with other players as well. Once we get this card, we need to plan ahead which cards should be played after this Moon. The Moon itself will give 2 points so we just need to make sure not to play it on Planets with negative points or so.

Score 2 points if it’s the first moon, 2 points if this is the Second Moon orbiting this planet or Score 3 points if this is the Third Moon orbiting this planet. Those are from 3 different Moons. The one with 1st moon requirement only give 1 point as base value while the other give 2 points.

It doesn’t mean that we need to play them on the same planet but most of the time, even getting enough Moon cards is already difficult.

Scoring for the 1st Moon is easy. The third one is probably not going to happen.

Score 1 point if this is the Only Moon orbiting this planet. This will give 3 points as the base value. It is not that hard to just play it in empty Planet and get 4 points.

When played, we may immediately play 1 more Moon from our hand. That means if we have no other Moon card, the ability is useless. We also need to be aware if the next Moon requires discarding other cards.

We can still get 3 points from the base value. Also, it doesn’t mean we need to play it on the same Planet.

To play this card, we must discard a Moon from hand or Solar System. This one will give 6 points as the base value. I think we should go for Moon that gives lower than 2 points as the base value, especially if we cannot meet the requirement for the ability.

There is one of them with no ability at all. This specific Moon will give 4 points as the base value.

Based on the numbers above, getting 4 points in total is not that difficult from a Moon. If the total is lower, maybe we should  think twice before investing on that. The 6 pointer and the double value are a must have.

Comet Cards

Comet cards also have the same structure to display their attributes. We have the illustration as the center point which doesn’t really tell the difference between one Comet to another.

I have to admit that the illustration for Comets here is probably the most interesting art in this game. The other type are just putting facial expressions on a circular object.

For Comets, the artist had to draw cute dogs and cats in motion. All of them are different.

At the top right corner, we also have icons. They all have a purple star icon with a number on it that represents the base value the Comet will give for playing that card. Right below that, there is a Comet icon, a circular object with a tail.

The base value can be from 0 point up to 4 points. They still have abilities at the bottom. Only 1 of them will contribute to getting extra score while the others will give extra actions or on going ability.

My issue with this ability part is that they put a reminder on every card that Comet cards cannot be played right next to another Comet. I don’t think it’s necessary.

Luckily, most of the ability’s description only takes 1 or 2 lines and leave enough rooms for that reminder. But those with long description get even worse with that reminder.

Other than the ability, I think the purpose of the Comets is to wait. Instead of being forced to play the next Planet, we can just play Comets.

Comet cards doesn’t count for triggering the end game. Only the Planet cards does. That means we will get extra score for playing Comets between Planets. We can also play Comets as the start right next to the Sun.

The Moons can also serve that purpose but less flexible than Comets because we need certain Planet criteria for the Moons. Some of the Comets can be a bit tricky as well for when to play it.

They can have on going ability that we can play it right away. But some will require more Comets to gain the best benefit and we want wait.

Here are the Comets’ Abilities.

4 points. Each time we TERRAFORM, we may choose to draft a card from Solar Row instead of discarding a card from your hand.

I think, this is a must have and we can play it right away.

We may not know when we will need to Terraform if we ever need to. I guess it is a possible that we may even forget that we have it. At least, that easy 4 points is a must.

I assume that with this ability, we can have more than 5 cards in hand as it is not considered as a Draft action.

4 points. When played, put all cards from the Solar Row into the discard pile ten deal 5 new cards to the Solar Row from the top of the deck. Then Draft a card from Solar Row.

I’m not sure about this one. I assume that activating the ability is not mandatory. If it is, this can be a mean thing denying our opponent from taking certain cards from the Solar Row.

For the active player, if the cards in the Solar Row are all bad, then this ability will be helpful like the Solar Flare ability from the Sun.

I also assume that with this, we can have more than the hand limit unless it is considered as another Draft action. Regardless, it is an easy 4 points.

4 points. During scoring, if the final score of the game is tied and you are one of the players tied for having the most point, you win the game. This occurs before checking to see who has the most total Rings.

We can also play this one right away and get another easy 4 points.

For the ability, I’m not sure we will ever use it. Based on my experience, the difference in score can be about 10 points not like 1 or 2 points.

We also cannot tell how good the score our opponents will get just by looking at their tableau. It’s a nice thing to have when it happens but I’m not sure it will.

3 points. Score 3 points for each planet with 3 or more rings next to this Comet.

That means, we can have a total of 9 points with placing 2 Planets adjacent to this Comet. This one is a bit less flexible when trying to play it.

We have to wait to find 2 of those 12 cards with 3 rings or more before we can play this one to get the most points. That will take a lot of space in hand.

If we choose to play right next to sun, we will only get 3 points. Still, 6 points is already high enough.

3 points. When played, you may DRAW 1 card from the top of the deck.

For this, if we already have 5 cards with this card as one of them, playing it will get us back to 5 cards. While it is optional, that means, we cannot draw again during later turn.

The problem is it is a blind draw. We don’t know what will happen. It is possible that we may end up have to play any Planet cards in our hand and that can ruin our strategy.

So, if we choose to use the extra draw, we have to make sure we have a good hand of cards to play right away.

3 points, During your turns, you may take the draft action if you have fewer than 7 cards in hand (instead of 5). During scoring, before scoring points, you may play 1 card from your hand.

So, there are two abilities here. The first one will increase the hand size which is very powerful. We might want to play it as soon as possible to be more flexible with the hand limit.

The second ability is to play 1 more card from our hand during scoring before scoring points. I assume that means that extra card will not contribute to the majority bonus from Bonus Point Cards.

Players will take the Bonus card first and before scoring, the owner of this Comet card can play 1 more card from their hand. This is a bit fiddly in execution.

Maybe the owner can eventually remember when they read the card while counting score. Then, they can play it.

This is definitely a powerful one. Even the base value is very high. However, we have to make sure that the extra card doesn’t really ruin the ability from certain Planets.

There are Planets that demand odd or even number of planets and our tableau can be affected by this Comet’s ability.

2 points. When played, you may immediately Play 1 more card from your hand.

Since we cannot play another Comet, we can only play Planet or Moons. Unless we have those, we probably have to wait for playing this one.

Or, just ignore the optional ability and get the 2 points.

2 points. When played, DRAW a card for each COMET in your Solar System.

For the most benefit of this ability, we need to play this one towards the end of the game when we have played other Comets. That way we can have up to 8 Comet cards and draw 8 cards.

I assume this allows us to have more than 5 in hand. However, in reality, there is no reason for having that many cards by that point.

This will be beneficial if we see several good cards from the Solar Row. But that is assuming we have enough Comets already in our Solar System.

2 points. When played, you may immediately Draw up to 2 cards from the top of the deck.

In this game, drawing more cards blindly can be a trap. We will get stuck with cards that we don’t want and eventually forced to play them.

In general, we cannot discard a card and replace it by drawing another card. The only way this ability can be useful is if we have a card that requires us to discard another one to play it.

That way, we don’t need to worry about getting bad card.

2 points. When played, you may DRAW a card from the top of the deck for EACH MOON in your Solar System.

This is another blind draw, similar to the previous one. The problem is that we need to have at least a Moon in our tableau to activate this ability.

Until we have played one, we should just consider this one for the base point.

1 point. When played, you may immediately DRAFT up to 2 cards from the Solar Row.

For this, we know the card we are getting from this ability. The problem is that we have to wait until the Solar Row has a good card that we can take from.

That way, we can play a card and take it as well. This can be tricky as well if as it happens, we just played a Comet card. We cannot play this one and possibly we cannot take that good card from the Solar Row.

1 point. When played, you may immediately play up to 2 more cards from your hand.

This one can be useful towards the end of the game and a good one to catch up as well. But it can lead to analysis paralysis as it opens to a lot of possibilities, assuming we have a lot of cards.

We cannot play another Comet unless one of them is a Planet cards. Another possible play is Moon cards for both or one of them.

We need to be aware that it can affect the position of Planets or the total number. They can also lead to more actions if the second card we play is another Comet.

If we don’t care about getting points from the abilities, at least we still get more points from the base value by playing more cards.

1 point. When played, you may immediately draft a card from the Solar Row, then may immediately play a card from your hand.

I assume that we don’t need to play the card from Solar Row right away. That means if there is no good card from the Solar Row, we need to have another one that we can play.

Because we cannot play another Comet, we need the Moon or Planet. That makes this card a bit tricky. We want to wait for the right time but on the other hand, this does not give a lot of point.

0 point. To play this card, you must discard a card from your hand or Solar System. During scoring, choose 1 Planet next to his Comet. That planet’s point value is doubled. Double any points added to the planet from its moons. Do not double any points from its abilities.

This could be the strongest one. The highest base value point we can get from a planet is 10 but that one will not give score to cards next to it.

Then the next one can give like 8 points and we can get 16 at least with this Comet. The thing is that we cannot expect to find that card and this Comet.

If we want to take advantage of this, we probably need to TERRAFORM the next planet. Just play any Planet next to this one and if we can find a better base value, we should terraform with a better value.

Planet Cards

The last type of the Solar System Cards is the Planet Cards. Like the previous two, the Planet card will have an illustration as the center, icons at the top right corner and ability at the bottom.

The icons have several information. We can see a star icon with a number in it which represents the base value we can get just by playing this card.

Sometimes the Star icon has several circular white line. These represents the RINGS that the planet has. Any planet can have no Rings or up to 4 Rings.

We can actually see on the illustration but sometimes we can tell for sure. To be honest, for me I cannot easily tell from these icons either.

Right below that star icon we can see a letter either B, R, G or T. These represent the color of the planet for BLUE, RED, GREEN or TAN. That means for people with colorblind, they can just read the letter.

We can also tell that from the illustration. As mentioned before the notable part or gimmick idea of this game is using facial expression on the Planet.

Red planets always have angry face, Green for happy, Blue for sad and tan or brown for frowny face. So, it’s easier to see tell the color that way.

Other than that, the facial expression contribute nothing to the gameplay.

Then after the color type, we can see a letter followed by a number. This represents the SIZE of the planet. The letters are S (small), M (medium) or L (large) and the numbers are from 1 to 22 for S, 23 to 42 for M and 43 to 62 for L.

The size doesn’t indicates the scoring potential. However some of the highest base value or in the Large category. The art also doesn’t show the difference in size within the same category.

There is also a pattern so that each color can have equal number of planets. The order is always blue (1), tan (2), green (3), red (4) with the exception for number 22, which is a wild color. One more different pattern is between number 39 to 42 which is green, red, blue and tan.

I have to admit that knowing this doesn’t really help with the strategy or anything. I guess if we focus the strategy to collect certain color, this tells us that it will not work well with strategy for collecting only specific size.

At the bottom part is the ability. Most of them will allow us to score extra points if we meet the requirements similar to the Moon but more variety in the scoring requirements.

Some of them will just affect the scoring differently like from a single Planet card counts as two planets or so. Only a few of them will have ability similar to most Comets where it allows us to take another action.

Some of the ability will give definitive score with just 1 clear requirement like placing them in certain position. While from others we can increase the score with more cards that match the criteria.

However, it is possible to meet that 1 criteria and get a definitive score, we have to wait towards the end of the game. We have to hold it with a chance that we may fail to accomplish.

The other one will give lower score per card but we can add them slowly.

We definitely have to read the cards in order to know what to do in the game. Our starting hand and initial cards from the Solar Row can definitely shape our entire strategy. However, we still need to be prepared to change a different path.

With all of the attributes in every cards with color and size, we can say that all of them are unique with no identical copy. Some will be very similar with just different color.

While the arts are cute and great but I wish they can be more consistent, especially for telling the number of rings. Some of the rings may have a clear line while other can look like a debris. They need to use more bright color instead of dark.

DetailS for Small Planets (1 – 22)

S1 – 4  B, T, G, R
Base Value: 1 point
Ring: 0
Ability: Score 1 point for each planet with the corresponding color in your Solar System.

The ability includes scoring this card as well. In this game, we can have like 8 Planet cards before we can trigger the end of the game. That means we can have more probably not all from the same color.

That means, potentially, we can have like 8 points just from one of these planets in addition to the base value. Even if we don’t get all 8, it can still help us score from the Bonus Point Cards.

S5 Blue
Base Value: 1 point
Ring: 1
Ability: Score 1 point for each Planet with Ring(s) in your Solar System.

The number of Rings that a Planet can have doesn’t matter for this ability. There are almost half of all Planet cards will have at least 1 ring and give 1 score.

With 8 planet cards, if all of the Planets have ring, we can score 8 points just from this ability.

S6 Tan
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 0
Ability: Each time you play a Moon on this planet from your hand, you may immediately choose to either Draft, Play another card or Terraform a Planet.

This does not give any additional points unless we choose to play another card. I guess we can play all Moons in a single turn if the play them all on this Planet as each one will trigger another action.

Unless we have those Moon cards first, we probably shouldn’t focus on this.

S7 Green
Base Value: 3 point
Ring: 1
Ability: Score 8 points if you have the single most total number of Comets and Moons in your Solar System.

I assume we need to meet the two requirements. We need to have the most both Comets and Moons or we won’t get this ability like if we have only the most Comets but not Moons.

Those 8 points is great but it is hard to execute this plan especially in higher player. We may still do it with probably just 2 players. Then again, we don’t know if there will be enough Moons and Comets to catch up.

I think this should be the first candidate if we want to discard something or terraform.

Other planets with Comet related ability are #9, #11, #12, #27, #47.

S8 Red
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: 1
Ability: Score 1 point for every 2 Planets in your Solar System.

This counts the number of Planets not the cards. With even 8 Planet cards 4 of them can have 2 Planets each. That means the potential is about 12 Planets which will give us 6 points but very unlikely to happen.

At least, if we can have 8 Planet cards each with just a single planet, we can still get 4 points just from the ability.

S9 Blue
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: 0
Ability: Score 2 points for each Comet in your Solar System.

We can probably play 8 Comets so we can get 16 points just from the ability which is very high. The base value is already 3 and even with just 3 Comets that still give a lot of points.

If we want to add Moons that can double the score, maybe this should be one of them.

Other planets with Comet related ability are #7, #11, #12, #27, #47.

S10 Tan
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: none
Ability: Score 5 points if this is the Last Planet in your Solar System. Remember to only count planets not cards.

I guess from the second sentence, we can still play a Comet after this one if we didn’t trigger the endgame. For the most part, we can just play this one but there is a chance we might want to terraform.

That is only if the previous planet was also a Small Planet and that can affect the score from certain Moon. Another possible one is if there is other Planet that demands ODD or EVEN number of planets. Terraform will not change the total number.

It’s a bit tricky as we can mess up with scoring with the other cards. This one also encourages us to pay attention to other players especially if we are the starting player. We may not get a chance to play this one.

S11 Green
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: none
Ability: Score 6 points if you have the single most Comets in your Solar System.

That single word means we cannot be tied for the most with other players. To get that extra point we might want to take all Comet cards.

This can be a bit more difficult than it sounds. Assuming we can always take Comet cards, it doesn’t mean we can always play them. We still need to play a Planet between 2 Comets.

So, even if the Comets gives an ability to play another card, if all of them are Comets, then it will be useless. I guess the idea is not to play all of them but just to have more than other players.

We need to take the cards just to prevent the others from taking it. But we don’t need to play them all. Another card where we need to pay attention to other players.

Focus on Comets means we probably will get left behind other players. In 2 players the only opponent can just have 8 Planet cards and trigger the end of the game while we are too busy with Comets.

Other planets with Comet related ability are #7, #9, #12, #27, #47.

S12 Red
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: none
Ability: Score 4 points if you have at least 3 Comets in your Solar System.

That means, the total point we can get is 6 points. Having more than 3 Comets will not increase the points.

This one alone is probably not a very good one. We need other Planets with ability related to Comets.

Other planets with Comet related ability are #7, #9, #11, #27, #47.

S13 Blue
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 2 rings
Ability: Score 5 points if you have an ODD number of planets in your Solar System and this is the middle Planet. Remember to count the number of planets not cards.

Based on that, the card requires two criteria to be met. The first is the number of Planets and the second is the position.

This can be just 3 planets and this one is the second planet or we need 7 planets and this one is the 4th. The only way to make this work is by terraforming a card.

But it is still hard to keep odd number of planets. I mean, if we succeed, we get a total of 7 points from this card. However, there is a chance that we may ruin the scoring from other cards.

There is a chance that adding more Planets will also give higher than 7 points. Also, if this card come early, it will stay in our hand until we play it towards the end of the game. We probably have to decide right away if we are going to pursue it or just discard it.

This will definitely not work well with planet cards that demands even number like #49.

S14 Tan
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: 2 rings
Ability: Score 2 points for each planet with 1 or more Moons in your Solar System.

Potentially, if we can have 8 planets each with 1 Moon, we can get 16 points. However, that will take a while and 8 Moons means half of all possible Moons. So, it is very unlikely to happen.

I guess this will work great if we can play Planet cards with 2 planets each. Both planets on each card will generate 2 points each.

This definitely will not work well with Moons that demands several other Moons on the same planet. Also, it will not work well with other Planets where we can keep triggering the ability for each Moon we put on them like #6, #30, #31, #33 and #58.

Other Planet cards with Moon type ability that may work well are #7, #35, and #36.

S15 Green
Base Value: 1 point
Ring: 2 rings
Ability: Score 1 point for each Small Planet in your Solar System.

That means, we can get up to 8 or 9 points just from the ability, assuming we only play Small Planets. This will not work well with Planets that demands certain color.

Even if there are 7 Small Green Planets, there is no guarantee that all of them will be in the game, let alone to play them. This will work well with card #16 but not with #21 as it demands to be the only small planet.

It still may work with #32 if it is the largest one in Solar System.

S16 Red
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 2 rings
Ability: Score 3 points for each Small Planet next to this one.

The word next means we cannot have Comet cards between this one and the other Small Planets. So, it will not work well with cards that demands the most Comets or so like #7, #9, #11 and maybe #47.

At most we can only have 2 Small planets adjacent to this one and get extra 6 points, bringing a total of 8 points. This will not work well with #21.

S17 Blue
Base Value: 1 point
Ring: none
Ability: Score 3 points if this is the FIRST PLANET in your Solar System.

This is not that difficult to accomplish. We will at least play 1 Planet card so, we can just Terraform it later once we have this card.

The only problem would be #28 but it’s not that big deal. #28 will give more points the closer it is to the Sun and therefore being the 1st Planet is the best position.

If we have 8 planets already, #28 can give 7 points by being the 1st position while this one is stuck with 4 points total. I guess placing the #28 as 2nd doesn’t hurt.

We can also still play Comet first before this #17. It will count the Planets.

S18 Tan
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 2 rings
Ability: Score 2 points if this is the SECOND PLANET in your Solar System.

I think the second ring needs to be visually clearer. I thought it only has one until I saw the icon.

This is similar to #17 but for the 2nd Planet. They can work together very well and we definitely will reach 2nd planet.

The problem that I can think of is if we want to play Planet cards with 2 planets each as the 1st card. They will bring #18 as the 3rd planet but 2nd card.

The score is only 4 points total and work well with #28 as well.

S19 Green
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: none
Ability: Score 5 points if this is the SEVENTH PLANET in your Solar System.

The score we can get is 7 points which is almost good enough. However, it doesn’t mean we can reach even the 7th planet with other players can trigger the endgame first.

It is also become more complex the farther position to the sun. Mostly if we play Planet cards with 2 planets on it. We still just need to count the cards before we play this one to make sure it gets the right position.

If this card comes early in the game, it will stuck in our hand until we reach that 7th position. We will probably have to discard it, especially if other cards that demands other things don’t work well like not going for Green or Small Planets.

If this comes later, we simply just Terraform it. That is if nobody hasn’t trigger the end of the game. Again, with terraform, we probably need to check whether we can screw the other scoring by replacing the existing 7th planet.

S20 Red
Base Value: 4 points
Ring: none
Ability: Score 4 points if this is the EIGHTH PLANET in your Solar System.

Like the previous one, this is a bit difficult for various reason. There is no guarantee that we can even make to the 8th position.

Usually, since this will trigger the end game, we probably will try to put another card in the hopes that we can play more than 8 planet cards. This one will not give that combo. Playing this one will be like the last card.

I think while 8 points is a big value but, the base value with 4 points is quite good. We can just forget the ability from this and try to score more from other Planets that demands Small or Red Planets.

S21 Blue
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: none
Ability: Score 8 points if this is the ONLY SMALL planet in your Solar System.

That means, we have to ignore the other 21 Small planets which could be our starting cards in both hand and Solar Row. Getting 10 points is huge but if we fail, we only get the base 2 points.

If this comes later towards the end of the game, the chances are we probably have played several small Planets. While we can still Terraform each of them, it will take a couple turns. Not to mention, we probably will mess up with the scoring a lot.

It will be easier to make decision if this comes early like even the starting hand. Still, we can end up wasting turns because we want to avoid other Small Planets.

S22 WILD
Base Value: 4 points
Ring: 4 rings
Ability: This planet is considered to be every color for all purposes.

It is the only planet with WILD color. Also, this is the only few planet with the most Rings.

This will give 3 extra points for the #34 as that one once different color. It will help getting the Bonus Point Cards. There is a chance that nobody is playing one of the 4 color at all and by having this, we can win that Bonus card for that color.

This will work well with Planets that demands to be the most of 1 color as well. That 4 points as the base value is quite good for just playing the card.

DetailS for Medium Planets (23 – 42)

M23 – 26 B, T, G, R 
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: none
Ability: During scoring, this counts as 2 Medium Planets of the given color for the purpose of obtaining Bonus Point Cards, scoring abilities on other cards and determining how many planets are before after or adjacent to others in Solar System. It is still only 1 Planet card for endgame trigger.

I assume if we put Moon on any of these, it counts as 2 planet with Moon each. If that is the case, we can score a lot with #14. For #8, each of this will immediately give 1 point.

These will be tricky when there is a planet that demands either ODD or EVEN number of planets. We definitely want to check again when replacing these cards or other cards using these as they will change the number.

But it works well with #50 and #51 as both demands at least 6 and 8 planets respectively. Although, the point we can get is not that much. It also works well with #29 and #30 for more planets before and after.

These are definitely more for the majority bonus or majority type ability. Once we play one of these, we should pursue other planets with the same color.

M27 Blue
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 3 RINGS
Ability: Score 4 points for each Comet next to this planet.

That means, we can get up to 8 points just from the ability by having two Comets adjacent to this one. It is also not that difficult if we always try to have Comets between planet cards.

We simply just terraform any of the Planets with this one. The question is more about whether we can get those Comets.

Also, what makes this complicated is more about when to trigger the ability from each Comet. Usually we want to wait until the card is good so we can take extra draw or play action.

M28 Tan
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 3 RINGS
Ability: Score 1 point for each planet after this one in your Solar System. Planets after this card are further from the Sun than this one.

For this one, we want to play it closer to the Sun to get more points. If we can have 8 planets, that can give us 7 extra points or 9 points in total.

We can simply just terraform the first planet if this comes out later in the game. The problem is whether we can trigger or reach the 8th position.

6  or 7 are most likely but having 8 or more really depends. This will also give 2 points from each of those double planets (#23 – #26).

M29 Green
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 3 RINGS
Ability: Score 1 point for each planet before this one in your Solar System. Planets before this one are closer to your Sun.

This is the opposite of #28. We want to play this one the last. It doesn’t have to be the 8th or more but the further back we can get for this, the more points we can get.

That means, we will be keeping this one until almost the end of the game. We need to pay attention to the other players to make sure we can still play it if we are not the one to trigger the endgame.

For this we really want to rely on those Double Planets (#23 – 26). Maybe if we already have like 5 planets, it’s not bad to just play this one to secure some points if not the maximum.

There is a chance that we also have Planets that demands certain position like 6th, 7th or 8th planets. If we have the 8th, we can only play this one as the 7th while the others are more flexible.

M30 Red
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 3 RINGS
Ability: Score 6 points if this planet has exactly 3 Moons.

That will give us a total of 8 points. It’s not bad but I think the issue is whether we can get 3 Moons.

If this comes later, we probably have to hold those Moon cards or just go for different strategy. Sure, we can just play 3 Moons on a single planet assuming that this one will show up and terraform the existing one. But it is not a good strategy.

It’s more like just when the situation comes, that is what we should do. But it’s very unlikely to happen.

It is not going to work well with other Planet that demands Moons except maybe #35 and #36.

M31 Blue
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 0 ring
Ability: Score 4 points if this planet has exactly 2 Moons.

This is similar to the previous one (#30), but only 2 Moons and give lower points. However, it is easier to complete this one.

If somehow we can have both cards and we think we cannot complete the #30, we can just terraform the planet using this one. It is not going to work well with other Planet that demands Moons except maybe #35 and #36.

M32 Tan
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 0 ring
Ability: Score 10 points if this is the SMALLEST OR LARGEST planet in your Solar System.

That points from ability is huge. While it’s not impossible, but more likely we have to spend a lot of turns just to draw cards and terraform.

This is basically almost the median Planet in size. If we want this to be the smallest, that means we can only play the other bigger Planets and vice versa.

This definitely will not work well if we want to collect more Small or Large planets or with the same 1 or 2 colors. Even if we can just terraform, usually it is very easy to ruin it like just having just 1 card not from the same group of size.

It’s very situational. We should just focus on other Planets with easier scoring.

M33 Green
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: 0 ring
Ability: Score 1 point for each Moon this Planet has.

Another Planet that demands more Moons for its own. It’s easier to score on this one as we can just add more Moons as we find them.

But the score is relatively very low. Assuming we can find and play 3 Moon on this one, we can only get a total of 6 points.

M34 Red
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: 0 ring
Ability: Score 1 point for each Color of planet present in your Solar System.

So, if we only have planets with just 1 color, we get a total of 4 points, 5 points for 2 colors and up to 6 points with 4. This will definitely not work well with Planets that demands more Planets of 1 color.

I guess, it will work well with the only Wild planet, #22 as that one card will complete all colors.

M35 Blue
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 1 ring
Ability: Score 6 points if you have the single MOST MOONS in your Solar System.

This one is easier to work well with other Planets that demand Moons. We only need to have more Moons compared to the other players and get a total of 8 points. Tied doesn’t count.

Again, the problem with Moons is that we don’t even know if the Moon cards will show up. Even if they will, there is a chance that will happen during the opponent’s turn.

While we can tell how many Moons that a player have, but it is possible that they will hold it to the last turn before the game ends. Like, we thought that we already have 1 Moons more than the opponent and the opponent suddenly play that one card.

In that case, the owner of this card will not get the points as they are tied. So, it’s very easy to get screwed with this one.

M36 Tan
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 1 ring
Ability: Score 4 points if you have at least 3 Moons in your Solar System.

Another planet that doesn’t ask too much with Moon. We only need to play 3 Moons and we can spread them out to multiple Planets and get a total of 6 points from this.

It works well with other Planets that demands Moons. We also don’t have to worry about other players having more.

Still, getting three is not a guarantee. That means, we probably have to hold this one a bit. If we fail, and we have played this, we probably should terraform this one.

M37 Green
Base Value: 1 point
Ring: 1 ring
Ability: Score 1 point for each MEDIUM planet in your Solar System.

If we can have like all 8 planets with Medium size, we can get a total of 9 points from this card. The medium planets contains the 4 double planet cards as well, so that can give extra 1 point per card.

In lower player count like 2 players where we have to remove 40 cards, it is possible not to have any medium planets at all. It is very unlikely to happen but it is not that difficult to score very high with this one.

M38 Red
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 1 ring
Ability: Score 3 points for each MEDIUM planet NEXT to this one.

From this we can get a total of 8 points by having 2 Medium planet cards next to this one. If those 2 planets are double planets, we can add 3 more points for each and we can get a total of 14 points.

This is a very powerful one.

With Moons we might want the one that doubles the ability not the base value. It’s the one that has -1 as the base value.

M39 Green
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: 1 ring
Ability: Score 3 points if this is the THIRD PLANET in your Solar System.

This is also not that difficult to accomplish as we will definitely play like 4 or 5 planet cards at least.. We can simply just terraform any third planet with this one if this comes later.

Before doing that, we also need to double check the other planets so we don’t screw the scoring from other planet’s ability. Also, be aware for playing any of the double planets.

We can get a total of 6 points, which is not that much but very easy one.

M40 Red
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 3 rings
Ability: Score 4 points if this is the FOURTH PLANET in your Solar System.

Similar to #39 but for the 4th planet. We can just play it at the right position or terraform it later.

The total is also 6 points, which is decent but very easy. This one also has 3 Rings which is almost the highest number of rings.

M41 Blue
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 0 ring
Ability: Score 6 points if this is the ONLY MEDIUM planet in your Solar System.

We can get a total of 8 points. However, that means we need to ignore the other MEDIUM Planet and focus on just the Large or Small.

While it’s not impossible but most of the time, we will get other Medium planets which is easier to score. In that case, we either have to discard this one or terraform it because otherwise we will only get 2 points.

M42 Tan
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: 4 rings
Ability: Score 6 points if this is the ONLY planet with 3 or more rings in your solar system.

If we can achieve that, we will get  a total of 9 points. There are 11 cards with 3 or more Rings that we need to ignore, #22, #27, #28, #29, #30, #40, #55 #56, #57 , #60 and #62.

Some of them can give very high score maybe even better than this one. Moreover, they are also easier to complete.

Of course, we can rely on other cards as well but this one is very situational. It really depends on when this card will show up. Maybe it will be an easier decision when this comes later even if we will choose just to discard it.

It’s just that if we play this one early, it’s like losing the flexibility just to pursue this card.

Details for Large Planets (#43 – 62)

L43 – 46 B, T, G, R
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 0 ring
Ability: Score 5 points if your Solar System has the single most Planets of any given color.

These 4 cards give the same value for the base and the ability. That will give us a total of 7 points and securing the Bonus point card for additional 5 points. But if somehow there is an opponent that can match this number, we will lose the extra 5 points from ability while the opponent still gets the Bonus Point Card.

This will not work well if we try to collect just Planets with certain size as all colors have equal distribution for all size. I don’t know how many Planets we need to have to have the most but we probably have to ignore the other 3 colors which is like 45 cards.

L47 Blue
Base Value: 1 point
Ring: 2 rings
Ability: Each time your play a Comet, you may Draft a card from Solar Row.

This is probably the weakest one as this gives only 1 point. There is no additional point from the ability. It just allows us to draw more cards.

This assumes we have Comets and enough turns to play them. However, this one may become a very powerful combo as with the right combination of cards.

Usually a comet allows us to do additional action like play or draw more. We already get the draw part from this planet, so we can probably focus on Comets that allows us to play them immediately.

Still, this will works assuming there are good cards from the Solar Row and the Comets in our hand. We still need to play planet between 2 Comets so, we will eventually stop.

L48 Tan
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: 2 rings
Ability: Score 3 points if you have an ODD number of planets in your Solar System. Remember to only count the number of planets, not cards.

This is easier than #13 as this does not need to be in the middle. However, having ODD is a bit tricky. If we have 7, we do not trigger the end of the game. By that point, we either wait or go for 9 which is more difficult.

If we want to do that, we need to play the double planet card as the 8th cards. The total point is also only 6 but 3 of them from the base value which is not bad.

I think it is easier to play the Planet that requires Even number.

L49 Green
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: 2 rings
Ability: Score 5 points if you have an EVEN number of Planets in your Solar System.

This one is easier than the previous one. We can easily play the 8th planets which will trigger the end of the game and fulfill this requirement. Just be aware when using one of the double planets.

I don’t know why but this gives 2 more points compared to the Odd one.

L50 Red
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 2 rings
Ability: Score 3 points if you have at least 6 Planets in your Solar System.

I have an issue for the illustration of this one. The second ring on the right is not very clear. They could have used a lighter color and not a debris to represents the ring.

For the ability, if we can accomplish it, we can get a total of 5 points from this Planet. I think other Planet can give like 6 but this one is not that difficult to achieve.

There is no guarantee that we will play 6 Planets but we can push it, unlike playing 7 or 8 planet cards. It is also easier with the double planets as this doesn’t count the card.

L51 Blue
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 0 ring
Ability: Score 5 points if you have at least 8 PLANETS in your Solar System.

This is similar to the previous #50 but this demands 8 planets at least. The total points we can get is higher which is reasonable as this takes longer to achieve.

So, more or less, they are both similar. But still, it is easier with the previous one. For this, we probably have to be the one to trigger the end of the game.

We have to rush out or it will be difficult to catch up.

L52 Tan
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: 0 ring
Ability: Score 6 points if this is the ONLY LARGE planet in your Solar System.

The total points we can get from this is 9 points which is quite good. However, there are other high scoring Large Planet cards that we have to ignore.

The problem is not that we cannot achieve this. It’s just that it is easier to screw this up with just 1 other Large planet.

L53 Green
Base Value: 3 points
Ring: 0 rings
Ability: Score 7 points if you have the single most planets in your Solar System.

That means, to secure the bonus from this ability, we probably have to trigger the endgame. Tied doesn’t count. So, if we play slowly and our opponents have almost the same number of Planets, they can take a leap and be tied and we will lose the point.

This definitely works well with #51 or other cards where we need to rush to the end.

L54 Red
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 0 ring
Ability: Score 1 point for each LARGE planet in your Solar System.

If we can get like 8 large planet, we can get a total of 10 points. But by doing so, it will not work well with other collection of colors or size.

We will be ignoring 2/3 of all cards and the chances are, the opponents will be trying to use some of the Large Planets as well. Not to mention, some of the Large planets may not be used in the game.

The base value is actually 1 point higher than the Medium and Small Planet counterparts. I think the Medium one is the best option.

Like the other counterparts, we can gradually increase the score as we put more Planets.

L55 Blue
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 3 rings
Ability: Score 3 points for each Large planet next to this one.

That means, we can get up to 2 planets next to this one and get a total of 8 points. It’s not that difficult to score but we probably need to wait until we have at least two more Large planets.

We probably don’t want to play the #62 as it will deny the scoring for the card next to it.

L56 Tan
Base Value: -2 points
Ring: 3 rings
Ability: During scoring, choose a planet that is NEXT to this one. That planet scores either its point value or it’s scoring ability a second time.

This is the only planet with negative point as the base value. I assume if there are Moons that gives double the base value, we also lose more points.

The card says only score two times for Planets. It’s not going to work for Comets. Also, if we put it next to #62, it will cancel each other out.

If we want to double the score from ability, the scoring may change since that planet may work well with the subsequent planets. It will be easier if we just rely on the base value. But most planet will give like up to 3 points.

We can go for the #57 or #61 if we are lucky and get another 6 or 8 points. So, if we rely on the ability, we need to make sure that the ability will give as much.

L57 Green
Base Value: 6 points
Ring: 3 rings
Ability: To play this card, you must DISCARD A CARD from your hand or Solar System.

The total point is just 6 which is decent and we definitely get it right away. While other cards can definitely give more points but we can also fail to do so.

For this, we just need to get 1 card to discard either from hand or the Solar System. If we have this early, we can just play the bad card in our hand to our tableau to make rooms which we will discard later for this one. We just need to make sure that all planets will be in the right position after we discard it.

I think it is safer to just discard from hand.

L58 Red
Base Value: 1 point
Ring: 2 rings
Ability: Each time you play a MOON from your hand onto this planet, DRAW  a card from the top of the deck.

This is also the weakest one. We only get 1 point and the ability only allows us to draw random cards that we probably cannot play with no additional point.

Even getting a Moon card is not a guarantee. We may get a good card from it but it’s a gamble.

If we want to use this to be discarded later after we have played in our tableau, we might not want to play any Moon on it.

L59 Blue
Base Value: 2 points
Ring: 0 rings
Ability: Score 5 points if this is the FIFTH PLANET in your Solar System.

If we can meet the requirement for the ability, we can get a total of 7 points. It’s not bad and we probably can reach this position in our tableau.

The problem is, if this one comes early, we have to wait and hold it. If this comes later, we can just terraform the existing one.

L60 Tan
Base Value: 1 point
Ring: 4 rings
Ability: Score 6 points if this is the SIXTH PLANET in your Solar System.

Similar to the previous #59 but for the sixth planet. But the base value is only 1 and the ability will give 6 points. While the total is the same with 7 points, if somehow we screw this one, we will lose more points.

This one is also one of the Planets with the most rings, with 4 rings. That can give extra 4 points with the right Moon.

Another issue with this one is that we may not reach the 6th position if one of the opponent just rush to trigger the end of the game.

L61 Green
Base Value: 8 points
Ring: 1 ring
Ability: To play this card, you must DISCARD A MOON from your hand or Solar System.

This is the planet with the second highest base value with 8 points. It doesn’t give more points from the ability but the total is already higher than the other planets.

We just need to play it and get all 8 points right away. However, we need to have a Moon or have played a Moon so we can discard it.

It’s possible that we may not find one after holding this for a while. Also, we might not want to play this next to #62.

L62 Red
Base Value: 10 points
Ring: 3 rings
Ability: This planet cannot be placed next to your Sun. At the end of the game, cards next to this one DO NOT SCORE any points for their point value or abilities. Other abilities (including those that double the value of other cards) still work.

This is the planet with the highest base value with 10 points. However, cards next to this one will not score from both the base value and the abilities.

I assume cards next to this means not just Planets but also Moons on those planets and Comets. It will only deactivate the scoring abilities, not abilities that allows us to get more actions.

Usually I try to play this between two Comets. That means we can still lose up to 4 points per Comets. So, it may not seem like a very high score. But if we can combine it with a Moon that will give double the base value, we can still get 20 points which is like a third of the overall score.

That is it with all the components to play Solar Draft card game. Now, we can learn how to play with them.

How to Play

Solar Draft is a competitive game for 2 to 5 players. The estimated playtime is about 20 to 30 minutes.

This is basically a multiplayer solitaire and the player interaction comes solely from drafting the cards from the general market. Regardless of the player counts, the gameplay is the same.

The only difference is the setup as we will remove some cards for based on the number of players. There is no official solo variant for this one.

This next video by Rahdo from Rahdo Runsthrough channel is showcasing the gameplay of Solar Draft for 2 players.

Setup

1st. Each Player choose a SUN MAT randomly and put it on the table in front of them. The rule suggests to use the side with single ability for the first play.

On the table, the mat will be on the left most and we will be adding cards to the right side of this mat. So, we should leave enough rooms for at least 8 cards to the right of this mat.

2nd. Place all the 4 BONUS POINT CARDS face up on the table where all players can see them.

3rd. Shuffle all 90 SOLAR SYSTEM CARDS and deal 3 of them to each player as the STARTING HAND.

4th. From the remaining cards, deal 5 of them face up to create a SOLAR ROW. Place these cards in the middle of the table so every player can reach them.

5th. Remove a certain number of remaining cards based on the number of players. We return these cards to the game box without looking at it.

2 players: 40 cards
3 players: 30 cards
4 players: 20 cards
5 players: 10 cards

Then, the rest of the cards will create a single deck face down. We place the deck right next to the SOLAR ROW. When a player choose to do draft action they can also draw from the top of the deck.

We might want to leave a room for DISCARD PILE which can be right next to the deck. Since we will not create a new deck when the deck runs out of card, we can also just put discarded card back to the box.

That’s the setup. We can choose the Starting Player and start the game.

Gameplay

The game will be played over multiple rounds. Each round, players will take turns doing 1 of 3 possible actions until any of them trigger the endgame.

Once the endgame is triggered, we finish the round so that each player will have the same number of turns. Then we proceed to scoring to determine the winner.

On player’s turn, players can either DRAFT A CARD, PLAY A CARD OR TERRAFORM A PLANET CARD. We will also resolve the ability after play a card.

Before or after taking those action, players also have a chance to activate the ONE TIME ABILITY or ABILITIES.

Here are the details.

Draft A Card

This action means, we take one card from the Solar Row or the top of the deck and put it in our hand. We cannot choose this action if we already have 5 or more cards.

It’s possible to have more cards from activating the ability. The limit is just for taking this action alone. There is also a card that allows us to increase the limit to 7 after we play the card.

If we choose the card from the Solar Row, we immediately refill the market by drawing the card from the top of the deck.

NOTE: In general, we cannot draw to discard or replace the existing one in hand. If we already have reached the hand limit, we need to play them to make rooms.

However, the rule says there is a possibility that none of the cards can be played. The situation that I can think of is all cards in hand are Comet cards and we just played one.

For that situation, we can discard one then draft a card. I assume in a single turn.

Play A Card

This action means we choose a Solar System card from our hand and put in in our tableau or Solar System. There are 3 types of Solar System cards: PLANET, COMET AND MOON CARDS. each has different requirement of how we can play them.

To play a PLANET CARD, we simply put the card in a single row or line on the right side next to the Sun Mat or the previously played planet or Comet card.

There is one card (#62) that we cannot play right next to the Sun. We can still play it after a Comet or another Planet.

To play a COMET CARD, it is similar to a Planet cards with the exception that we cannot play a Comet right after another Comet. That means, after a Comet card, it should be a Planet card.

To play a MOON CARD, we can only place it on a Planet which represents the Moon is orbiting the planet. So, if there is no Planet card yet, we cannot play the Moon.

We take the Moon cards and slide it below the Planet we choose from above in a way so that the Moon illustration is visible at the top. Any planet can have multiple Moons. Each subsequent Moon should be placed above the previous ones.

The position of the card matters. This includes the position of the Planet to the Sun and the position of the Moons to the Planets that they are orbiting.

In general, we cannot change the position of the played cards unless we choose to discard them or with the one time ability.

Some of these cards also have additional requirement that we need to meet before we can play them. Each of them also has an ability that may give us additional action right away or tell us how to get more points if we meet the requirements.

Discard to Play

This is one of the possible requirement that we need to do before we can play certain cards. Usually we can either discard another card of specific type from our hand or from the Solar System.

Discard a card means just put the card to the discard pile.

If it is a card from our hand, we simply choose that card and put it on the discard pile and play the card we want in our tableau. It is a bit different if we want to discard a card from Solar System.

From the Solar System, we can discard any type of card in any position. If we choose to discard a Comet or a Planet, all cards on the right side of that position will move closer to the Sun.

For planets that have one or more Moons, we also have to discard those Moons. It’s different from TERRAFORM action.

If we choose just to discard a Moon, Moons from the higher position go closer to the Planet.

After we have discarded the required card, we can play that requiring card in our tableau and activate its ability.

Terraform Action

This action allows us to replace one of the Planet Cards that we have played in our tableau. We do that by discarding the existing Planet Card and place a new planet card from our hand into that position.

By doing so, we don’t play a new one and place them on the right most but we maintain the position of each Planet in the existing Solar System. In order to do that, we also need to discard a different card from our hand.

We cannot take this action if we have no card to discard at the beginning of the action. Then we put the those discarded cards into the discard pile and activate the ability of the replacing one.

This action is useful if later in the game we draw a card that can give points but only if we play it in a certain taken position. On the other hand, we take away a chance of getting any points from the existing one.

The existing one may have some attributes like color, size or rings that can contribute points from another Planet cards. Which is why before we choose to replace it, it is recommended to thoroughly examine the entire Solar System.

Activating the Ability

There are 3 types of abilities that we can find from these Solar System Cards. The first one is ongoing ability, the second type is for end game scoring and the last one is the one time ability.

After we play the card, the rule suggests to read the ability so that other players can hear. Then, we may have to resolve it immediately, especially if it’s a one time ability.

If it’s a one time ability, the ability usually starts with “WHEN PLAYED” or “TO PLAY THIS CARD”. We cannot keep that ability and activate it later. Most of them are optional if there is a word may, while the others will be mandatory.

If the ability allows us to DRAW OR DRAFT, it is not considered as taking a regular draw action which the regular one will be limited by hand size. That means, by these abilities, we can have more than 5 cards.

Planet #: 47, 57, 61.

For the endgame scoring, most of the abilities will start with “DURING SCORING” or “SCORE # POINTS”. We only activate this at the end of the game as long as the card stays in our tableau.

Planets: #1 – 5, 7 – 21, 22 – 26, 27 – 46, 48 – 56, 59 – 60, 62.

If it is an ongoing ability, they may start with “EACH TIME” or “DURING YOUR TURNS”. The ongoing ability will always be activated as long as the card is still in the tableau and we meet the requirement.

Planets: #6, 58.

Most Comets will be in the third category and Moons in the second category. Only a few of both will have a bit of the first category.

Sun’s Ability

Each player can also activate their Sun’s ability or abilities BEFORE or AFTER their action. These abilities are once per game only.

Each Sun Mat explains what to do to resolve the abilities. I guess the rule should also suggest reading the Unique abilities as well so the other players know.

To indicate that we have activated the ability, the rule suggests to turn the Sun Mat sideways in the direction of the ability that has been used. If both ability have been activated, the rule suggest to turn it upside down.

Most of these abilities will allows player to draw cards from the deck either into their hand or to the Solar Row. It is possible to trigger the end of the game by using these abilities.

End of the Game

The endgame of Solar Draft can be triggered by two ways.

One. If after a player has done taking their action and activate any abilities, that player has 8 Planet CARDS in their Solar System, the end of the game is triggered.

Two. Another trigger is if by the end of a player’s turn, the deck runs out of cards. Even if there are still cards in Solar Row.

Either way, players will continue and finish the round so each player will have the same number of turns. Then, we can proceed to the Scoring Phase.

Scoring Phase

For scoring, we start by giving the BONUS POINT CARDS to players with the most Planets of the given color. We only count the number of Planets not the cards.

Tied players will all get the Bonus. That means, each player has to take notes for those bonuses. Each card is worth 5 points and any player can win multiple of these cards.

Then each player will get score from two things from all of the Solar System cards in their tableau, including Planet, Moons and Comets. THE BASE VALUE which is at the top right corner of Solar System Cards and THE ABILITY, usually when they say DURING SCORING or SCORE A NUMBER OF POINTS.

The Base value of the Moon is added or substracted to the Planet that the Moon is orbiting. This will matter because there is an ability that will give double points but only to either the Planet’s base value only or the ability only.

If it’s going to double the base value, the added points from the Moon will be doubled as well. The similar goes for ability that negates the scoring of another card.

1 Comet card will double the base value of a planet next to it but not the ability. It’s the one Comet with 0 base value.

1 Moon with +0 point will double the base value and 1 other (-1) will double the planet’s ability. From Planets only #56 and #62 will have ability that affect the scoring of other Planets.

After all players have done counting their scores, whoever has the most points wins. If there is a tie, the player with the MOST PLANETS around their planet wins.

In case there is still a tie, the player with the MOST PLANET in their Solar System wins. If there is still a tie, the player who when last in turn order wins.

That is it with how to play SOLAR DRAFT.

My Experience & Thoughts

I think there is a fundamental issue with Solar Draft. If we play with 2 players, I think 1 player can just rush to the end of the game by drawing and playing card and there is a big chance that they will win.

This is if the other player is still trying to figure out their strategy and keep drawing more cards. It doesn’t necessarily make this game a bad one because maybe that is what the designer want.

However, I don’t think that is the case. If we try to do that strategy just being a runaway leader, we essentially ignore like 80% of the game. We don’t care about terraforming, Moon and Comets are irrelevant. All we need to do is just draw and play card.

I think the problem is that most of the ability from Solar System cards requires strategic play with planning for long term. This will give a huge jump of points from just the base value.

However, in the case of the runaway strategy above, the second player still hasn’t reach anything but the game already ends. The first player may not score that much but is probably enough just to stay ahead on the opponent.

For that matter, I don’t think with more players this issue will not happen as well. I feel like the endgame trigger of just 8 planet cards and the all strategic abilities encourages players to just finish the game immediately.

Again, assuming that is true, of course the other players can just do the same. My point is that, they have to ignore all of the interesting part that this game has.

I think they should remove that rule for triggering the end game. Just let the game ends after the deck runs out of cards. This way, players will have more time to play more cards and plan more strategically.

So, all players will have 8 or more planets cards. Or, if some of them are the Moon and Comets, it can become more meaningful.

Maybe this is not a big deal if all players are trying to score as high as possible instead of just trying to win.

Playing more cards will give better chance to score very high. I had one play with 2 players where one player manage to get all of the Bonus Point Cards. That is mostly because the player has more Planet while the other was too busy with just one plan.

Again, maybe that is the idea of the game. Just to play as quickly as possible. But I don’t like it. I would rather just take my time and play like beat my own score.

This is also a game where we have to move forward. Because in general we cannot discard to draw, once we have reached the hand limit, we eventually have to play a card.

That means, the game could end automatically. Again, if one player is too busy with Comets and Moons, the other can just mindlessly play the card and win the game.

Based on my experience so far, I almost never terraform any planet. Maybe I just plan all the cards correctly but when I do that action, it messes up the other cards.

I may have succeeded meet the requirement from the ability but then the color or size didn’t work well. Of course, that is part of the gameplay. But at the same time, there is no meaningful incentive for doing so. I would rather just stick with my original plan and ignore that the action is even there.

I think the Sun’s abilities are even worse. They are very situational that I’ve never used it. Pulsar is definitely the easiest but even that requires to have the right type of cards.

While the others are either I don’t have a the Comet or Moons to get the full potential. Those cards may not even be in the game or buried at the bottom of the deck.

Rearrange is interesting but because of too many attributes that the Planet can have, we can only change minor things like Moon without screwing the other cards.

I also think that the Moon is quite useless. I get it that the Moon expand the spatial puzzle of the game from linear or one direction to 2 directions.

But that means, we have to invest a lot on a single Planet. We take the same amount of turns to play a Moon as to play a Planet or a Comet. However, there is a chance for a Planet, not only we increase the value of that planet but also from another Planet.

Compared to that, the score we can get from the Moon’s abilities are way lower. The base is almost the same as Comet but with Comet we can get extra actions. Even if it allows just taking another card but we are saving turns if we play it correctly.

So, I feel like Moon related strategy should be avoided unless it increase the score of multiple Planets. Even then there is still no guarantee to get enough Moon cards.

Also the Moon doesn’t contribute to the number of Planets, overall or for colors. Somehow I think Moons should be like Rings, where they are already integrated with the Planet cards.

Another issue that I have with the game is this card game can take a lot of table space. If we keep playing more Comets and Planets, we can have at least 16 cards. I eventually have to overlap the cards a bit and spread them out again during scoring.

I already mentioned above how scoring is annoying, especially if we play the Moon. We have to lift the Planet card to find out whether we can get more score from the Moon’s ability. It gets worse when we play multiple Moons on a single Planet.

Aesthetically, I get it what they are trying to do. It looks very nice when we see Moons orbiting the Planet. But it kind of annoying a bit.

The facial expression on these Planets are really just gimmick. But I thought they could have used it differently. For example, they could say that for Planet with sad face, the Planets needs to be adjacent with the happy one.

Or like if we put 2 angry planet adjacent to each other, we will lose a point. With the way they work right now, sometimes I feel like those facial expressions are distractions.

It is also kind of annoying a bit that we need to read every cards to understand how each card works. I get it that, based on the designer’s diary, that was what he was going for. Make a game that if we read the card, we will play it instead of we give it to another player like other card drafting game.

On the other hand, it creates some downtime for each player. This happens everytime a new card comes out. They need to read and make decision whether the card can have synergy or not with their tableau.

Overall, I don’t think this is a bad game. It does have a lot of interesting idea which also try to work with the theme.

However, I do think some of those ideas don’t work well with each other. Maybe it actually has too many ideas that the designer tried to put on this card game.

Every card is unique which can be great. It can increase not just the variety but maybe even the replay value. But I feel like some of them are rather meaningless, like they cancel each other out.

Some people say that this game should be considered as a relaxing game. If I understand correctly, it’s about a game where we don’t think too much when making decision. Not that the game doesn’t offer interesting choices but not something that makes us stressful.

Maybe that is what Solar Draft was meant to be. It’s just that I thought it offers something more.

My Solo Variant

In my opinion, Solar Draft is mostly a multiplayer solitaire game. The only interaction is about the cards in the market or Solar Row.

We have to draw that card right away or other players can take them or wipe them out from the market. What we do with our tableau will not affect what the other players are doing with theirs.

Based on that idea, I thought maybe it’s not that difficult to have a solo variant just to affect the market. The game doesn’t have any official solo variant it doesn’t seem like it will. So, here is my idea for the solo variant.

We only need one extra component to play this variant and that is just 1 D6. The solo player will play the same as in the regular multiplayer mode.

The way it works is, we roll the dice and it will determine which card to discard from the Solar Row. We use 1 to 5 for each card in the Solar Row. If we roll 6, then in that turn, nothing happens.

We will setup the game as in 2 player mode, removing 40 cards. The only way to trigger the end of the game is when the deck runs out of cards. So, we can keep playing even if we already have more than 8 planet cards.

Since we play Solo, we cannot really compare the number of Planets. Because of that, I think we should remove any Planet cards where we can score by being the Most on anything, like Most red planets.

Of course, we can just ignore those cards if they are in play. I do think we shouldn’t be using the Bonus Point Cards.

This is basically a beat your own score variant. I don’t know what a good score is. Maybe just a reference, we can consider 60 or 70 points as the minimum to win the game if we don’t really care about getting more points.

Again, this is just an idea from a regular player, a non designer. Maybe there are more things that need to be adjusted with this variant.

Conclusion

Solar Draft is a competitive card game for 2 to 5 players. The theme is about designing a Solar System. We start with a Sun and then we will be adding cards to our tableau of solar system.

These cards can be Planet cards, Comets and Moon cards. It’s a hand management game where we start with 3 cards in hand. Each turn, players can either draw a card from the market, play a card or replace a card from their tableau.

To play the card, each type has requirement. Comets cannot be played right next to each other while Moons needs to orbit a Planet. We can only play a Planet from the position closest to the Sun and going further away in a single line.

There is a way to Terraform or replace the existing card, but we need to discard another card from our hand.

Each of these cards has a base points value that we can score just by playing the card but it also has an ability. For Planets, most of the abilities will give extra points if we meet the requirements.

The requirements can be about the position of the Planet in the Solar System, the total number of planets, the object adjacent to the Planet, the color, size or number of rings. Each planet can have one of the 3 different sizes and 4 different colors. Planets can also have no ring up to 4 rings.

With all of those attributes, each card is unique. We will be trying to find synergy between those cards. There are cards with high base value but almost no score from its ability. Some even cancel the scoring from adjacent cards.

Playing Comets can help us get additional actions after we play the card. It is also useful if we want to hold on from playing any Planet card.

Each player also has a one time ability from their Sun Mat. If we play with the other side of the mat, we can even use additional ability which is unique from one Sun character to another.

The game will end after one player has 8 Planet cards at the end of their turn. Players can get bonus for having the most Planets of any given color.

I guess the biggest selling point of Solar Draft is the cute illustrations for each card. Instead of just circular object with colors for the Planet, they put a facial expression. That is mostly just a gimmick with no affect to the gameplay.

There are a couple of issue that I have with this game related to the art and graphic design. Some parts are inconsistent and the icons are a bit unclear.

I also have an issue with the gameplay. It seems like players can just rush to be the first to trigger the end of the game and win. Not that it is a bad thing, but somehow, players can just ignore most of the interesting element that the game has to offer.

Maybe the game has too many ideas. From all 90 unique cards, we will remove some of them based on the number of players. There is a big chance that some cards that might work well with the cards in our hand may not be in the game.

Overall, I don’t think Solar Draft is a bad game. It does offer a lot of interesting choices. Maybe it just needs a couple of tweaks.

More Similar Games

There are many tabletop games out there whether a board or card game like Solar Draft. These are games that I have played that share some similarities. Some of them can be as good as Solar Draft or even better.

Set Collection, Card Synergy

I think the most interesting part of Solar Draft is about the Set Collection. We will be trying to look for the right combination of cards that can work together instead of screwing each other.

In other games, the combo can work so well that usually can feel like an engine building game. Solar Draft is not quite like that, but it could have. In an engine building type game, we can see the synergy from the goods generating and conversion during the game, not just from scoring at the end.

For that experience, I think Walking in Burano has the closest similarities. In this game, we will be looking for 15 floor cards to build the facade of housing in Burano.

Like in Solar Draft, the buildings has colors so we need to match the floor with the same color in a single building. They also have attributes or elements like windows, cats, plants that if we can show it to the right people in the game, we can get higher score.

The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game is another game with set collection and a bit of card combo element. The combo is mostly because that the whole game is very rewarding. We get extra reward per small accomplishment that can lead to another action.

Tybor the Builder is another card game with set collection element. The difference is that each card is multiuse card. They can be a discount, give extra resource or convert it into building cards. Like in Solar Draft, we may choose to keep and eventually play the card or discard it for different use.

For a bigger game, I think Architects of The West Kingdom has this element as well. Instead of Planets and Moons or Comets, in this game, we have to find synergy between buildings and Apprentice.

If we don’t mind the heavier side of resource management that can lead to engine building feeling, we can also try another card game like Oh My Goods!. In this game, we are building factories which each will generate different kind of goods.

Those goods can be spent on another factory to get a different product for higher value. Just having the right factory cards is not going to be enough. We need to manage the resources very well so that the synergy become meaningful.

For slightly bigger game, we can try Gizmos. The theme is about building a gadget or Gizmos. We will be trying to find the right Gizmo cards like finding the right gear for the machine.

However, it’s not going to run itself. We still need to activate it in the right order to get the combo that can give more points.

For even bigger and heavier game, Imperial Settlers is another one. In this game, we will have to build and manage 3 type of engines from producing goods and convert them into points. Like Solar Draft, each player can play as different factions with unique player power to build the civilization.

Hand and Tableau Management

The next interesting part of Solar Draft, after we find the right card is figuring out when to keep and play the card. We have limited hand size and eventually have to play them into our tableau. The tableau itself has restriction so we have to manage the cards between the two.

For the hand management part, sometimes we need to choose whether to play the card or discard it to play the other. It gives some interesting choice.

I already mentioned some games in previous section. Almost all of them have this 2 storage systems.

Another one that I have played is Quests of Valeria. This is not necessarily a tableau building game but we do have two storages like Solar Draft, the hand and the tableau for hired characters.

In this game, we eventually have to discard all of the cards in the tableau in order to complete Quests to gain points. In addition to that, we also need to find a way so the card we play allows us to get more cards. That way, our tableau and hand will get cycled very quickly.

The prequel, Villages of Valeria is also another card games with tableau building and hand management mechanism combined with multi use cards.

Another game about hand management and tableau manipulation is Mandala, for 2 player only. What makes it interesting is that we will manipulate the tableau collectively with our sole opponent.

We will play more cards from our hands to the 2 Mandalas to either increase our control over that Mandala or to increase the value o the card. Figuring out the time when to just close or complete the Mandala and start a new one is the key in this game.

Jaipur is another one with this shared tableau or market. Sometimes we want to exchange cards between our hands and the cards in the market. There is a risk though, that our sole opponent may take it.

For a fantasy theme, Goblins vs Zombies also have these 2 storage system and multi use cards. It’s a tower defense type of game and we need to play the right Goblin cards to defend against specific type of Zombies.

Fleet is another one but with auction mechanism. The ship card can be played as ship in our tableau, or the captain of the ship or to pay for the auction.

Spatial Puzzle

Solar Draft does have that spatial puzzle, more specifically a linear one where the order of the card really matters. Some cards require to be in certain position in order to gain more points.

We also need to play the card in the right order. There is a way to change the previous one but there is a risk of screwing the combination with other cards.

It’s a part of the tableau management and manipulation but this one requires to play the specific card to the specific position.

For that specific experience, maybe Finished! is another one that I can think of. It’s about sorting numbered files. Each card has specific number and we have to sort the shuffled deck so they will be in ascending order.

For non linear spatial puzzle, I have played Circle the Wagons and Café. Both of them use cards with icons in grid that we can play by partially overlap some parts of the grid.

Usually we are just trying to connect the same type of icons to score higher points. Specifically in Circle the Wagons, there is a scoring condition that may require having the same icons in the same row or column.

I guess we can say that Targi also has a bit of the spatial puzzle. It’s a worker placement game where the position of the worker matters to either block the opponent on the other side and to create intersection in the middle part.

Another 2 player only game with spatial puzzle is Seastead. This is a game where we can build 3 types of building in a section of hex island tile.

If we can build a Port type, we can extent the island and it will define the bonus for the other section. In order to get bonus, we need to build the right type of building as stated by the Port.

For roll and write genre, I think there are a lot of games with spatial puzzle. So far, I have only played The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game. It’s not necessarily about playing the right number in the right position but more about the direction.

If we can choose the right direction of our tableau we can open another opportunity of different type of hexes. This will give different bonus action and flexibility.

These are just games that I have played and written a review up to this point. I may have added more games on this website.

Find out the latest update from this Complete List. If we are just looking for portable games that we can play anywhere, there are more games on that list.

Final Words

That is all I can share with you about Solar Draft, a card game. This is one of the less popular title and may not longer be reprinted again because the publisher went out of business.

I probably have missed something that I should have discussed regarding the game. Please don’t hesitate to point that out and share what you know related to this game and I will update this article.

I keep saying that these tabletop games can be a good way to spend some time without looking at the screen of our gadget.  If we do have someone close, that we can play with, there are other games where we can play cooperatively or competitively but with a lot of player interaction.

The game can be very fast or like a filler type or it can take hours to play. Some games can also be played in solitaire mode and they are still more engaging than other entertainment activity.

So, what is your experience on playing this game? If you know other games similar or even better than this, please do share via the comment section below. I would love to learn and play that game, assuming I can get a copy.

This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody who reads it.

Thanks for reading.

 

Mark M.

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