Note: This preview uses pre-release components and rules. What you see here may be different from the final, published game. This post was a paid preview, you can find out more information here.
You’re a member of the outlaw crew of the starship Atlas inbound to the wrecked space station Andromeda. The job is simple, get in, find the precious resource Silicon, and get out. It should be easy and a big score. Your mind wanders as to what caused The Andromeda to be evacuated but you quickly push those thoughts aside to focus on preparing for this job that hopefully will be the last one you’ll ever need.
This brings us to today’s preview of the sci-fi dungeon crawler Silicon Saga: Wreck of the Andromeda from Rusted Gear Games. It’s intended for 1-4 players (ages 14+ and up) and it plays in about 90 minutes.
Players first need to decide what mode they want to play. Silicon Saga: Wreck of the Andromeda has three different modes that players can choose from: competitive, cooperative, or solo.
Players then choose 1 of the 4 crew members to play and corresponding character board, figure, marker pool, and starting gear, skill & assist-engage cards. Each crew member receives 1 food and 2 ammo tokens and places their figure on the starting Hangar tile. Lastly, players are each dealt 1 random objective card for additional rewards if they fulfill the requirements.
Players then decide which of the 2 Threats they will encounter—The Siren or Peacekeepers. Each has a unique Threat Board and set-up rules. Then the Crew Status Board, the Skill Index, and corresponding Skill Library is shuffled. Players then prep the remaining decks of Tiles, Event, Search, Gear, and Survivor decks are setup and gameplay can begin.
Silicon Saga: Wreck of the Andromeda is played in rounds and each round has 3 phases.
- Crew Phase: each player takes turns performing 1 action: either Search, play a Skill or Gear Card to explore or engage, Engage-Assist Survivors or Threats, and Trade Items or Gear with another player. Players may Pass once during the turn but if they Pass twice, they lose all remaining actions.
- Threat Phase: any Skill or Gear cards played in the Crew Phase remain in play. The Threat Level on the Threat Board is checked which might trigger nothing, an encounter with the Threat, or the last track which initiates the end game as the Atlas Departs.
- Recovery Phase: players total XP gained from Skill and Gear cards as well as successful encounters. Players will spend XP to increase their level and buy Skill cards listed in the Skill Index which are placed on top of their discard pile.
After the Recovery Phase, this initiates the end of round clean-up. All Entities, Survivors, and Threat cards are removed and reshuffled into their decks. The Crew Die is rolled to see if any Gear broke during any encounters, and all Skill and Gear cards are placed on Crew’s discard pile.
The game ends depending on the following play mode conditions. A player will win in competitive mode when their crew member reaches Hangar tile before the Atlas leaves and with 5 Silicon in their pack. All players will win in the cooperative mode when all crew members reach the Hangar tile before the Atlas leaves and meet the Silicon quota depending on player count. A player will when Solo mode while playing The Navigator and revealing 15 tiles.
I must admit I was impressed that Silicon Saga: Wreck of the Andromeda came in 3 different game modes. This is something that you don’t typically see, and which wisely appeals to different player and group’s tastes. My group and I tend towards coop games, but we played the competitive mode and still had fun with it. I really liked that each mode was not a new game that you needed to learn but rather that each uses the same mechanics but had different victory conditions. So, hats off to Rusted Gear Games for creating an excellent variety that increases the replay value of their game.
I really loved that Silicon Saga creates a unique map during each game as players draw and place tiles. Some dungeon crawlers use set maps which after multiple plays can make the game become stale because there’s no variety or surprise. This preview came with 18 tiles and I know there’s more that can be added during the Kickstarter so that can create a large and varied space station for every play. The unique and free-form map also helps the replay value and adds great variety to this game.
There is a learning curve with Silicon Saga but overall, it’s not too complex. The rules are involved and there’s a lot of iconography to absorb, but after a play or two, the game is straight-forward and logical. I was surprised how fast the gameplay is but since each player is only taking one action per turn it should be. Each round has almost no downtime and each player is typically engaged waiting for their turn or wondering what the next tile or Search card will reveal.
I was very happy to see that Silicon Saga has multi-use cards. Most of the Skill and Gear cards have both an Explore or Engage option. This gives players varied options when trying to explore the Andromeda or when they have a Survivor or Threat encounter. It also gives players a nice sense of control since they can select their card for an action. Now every hand might not be great but with regards to Survivor and Threats, that’s where other players can use their Assist-Engage cards to help other crew as needed. This again gives the player’s a great sense of control and helps mitigate some bad luck.
The Skill, Gear, Survivor cards also provide players with XP which is a nice advancement mechanic. Gaining XP is not difficult especially since you will be playing Skill cards every round. Players can increase one level during the Recovery phase and purchase one skill if they have enough XP. It’s key to increase your level because this will add to the number of cards you will draw and actions you have each round. New skills also have better Explore and Engage than the starting ones. It’s important to level up because this helps with a crew’s chances to overcome Threat encounters. Each Threat Encounter is challenging especially for the Peacekeepers. The Threat Track on the Threat Board clearly shows when they will occur, so players need to be ready for them.
If you’re a fan of sci-fi games or dungeon crawls then Silicon Saga: Wreck of the Andromeda is absolutely worth checking out. This game provides 3 modes of play and a unique map that will give players and their gaming groups great variety and replay value. Silicon Saga does have a slight learning curve to absorb all the rules and iconography but once you get it to the table the game moves fast, is super engaging, and has little downtime.
My group and I definitely had fun with Silicon Saga: Wreck of the Andromeda. We really loved gaining XP to level up our crew and buy new skills and also the Skill and Gear cards had multiple options for Explore or Engage actions. It’s a great sign that this preview version had polished mechanics and that the production values were as slick as they were. I’m excited that to see what the final Kickstarter version and stretch goals will be for Silicon Saga: Wreck of the Andromeda.