Solenia is a fresh new pick up and delivery game designed by Sébastien Dujardin and published by Pearl Games (Asmodee) for 1-4 players. In Solenia, players will all start with the same 16 cards in their deck. Starting with a hand of 3 cards each, players will take turns playing a card from their hand and drawing one from their deck. There are two types of spaces on the board, one for gathering resources, and one for delivering resources. Players are trying to fulfill orders in order to gain victory points. Along the way, players will be blocking each other and manipulating the board to best suit their own needs.
#Solenia all set up and ready for a first play. @asmodee_northamerica @geekgirlauthority #boardgames #steampunk #GameDay
The components of Solenia (the cards and the board) have unique features which directly effect game play. The board is especially unique. It is made up of five strips of 5 locations and each strip fits together to form a 5 x 5 puzzle. There is an airship that starts in the center of the board which is the reference for where players can place their cards. As the game progresses, when a player places a “0” card on the board, the air ship moves one space forward. Any cards that have been played to the back-most (first) strip will be removed from the board and may score a bonus of resources or victory points. Then the first strip is removed from the board, flipped over, and reattached to the last strip of the board. One side of each board piece has a night side, and the other is day. Each has different resources and locations. In this way, the board keeps changing the layout of cities and resources, which cause players’ to adapt along the way.
As for the cards, they each have a hole in the center. When a card is played to the board, the hole allows players to see the resources or victory points they’ll be gaining from that space on the board. Each card has a number on it that tells you how many of that item you are getting. Place a “2” card over a stone space, get two stone. This is a clever mechanic and adds to the tight design of Solenia. And it is well designed.
While being simple and relatively short, there is enough to think about if you are going to succeed. With the board changing often, timing is important because you have to place cards adjacent to the air ship or a card you have already played (unless you want to pay precious resources to break the placement rules). Plus, deliveries are dependent on day and night locations, which will move often and even disappear periodically when their strip drops off the board. So it may become more difficult to fulfill orders the longer you wait. There is sufficient tension in the game, with a little bit of blocking each other’s card placement and grabbing of resources before opponents can get to them. Nothing terribly mean, though.
Solenia plays in under an hour and the game flows quickly. You play a card and draw a card and that’s it. No down time.The pieces are sturdy, with wooden resources and thick cardboard for the board and order tokens. The artwork is vibrant with a light steampunk theme. The airship miniature brings a nice touch as well. There is a variant which adds a bit of heaviness, allowing for less resources in your hold and varying the bonuses received during the game for making deliveries. Overall, however, the game is relatively light, and that is absolutely fine. This game is not meant to be epic.
Solenia should be easy to teach and learn, making it accessible to any gaming group. It has a couple of unique mechanics and introduces some euro style concepts in a safe setting. In that sense it is certainly a gateway game. But it’s also simply fun, and that is what we’re here for, right? In the current age of board gaming, when really good stuff is getting released all the time, there should be something for just about anyone to get hooked on this great hobby. Solenia is a game that shouldn’t need to beg for a place on your shelf. I think it may just earn its way on if you give it a try.
Thanks for reading. Keep nerding on.