Legends are true. Rumors have been close to reality. But who should you take with you to the island, where you even forget your name for sake of gold? In the glow of coins, even brothers can become the biggest enemies. But this is a job for the team, not for individuals. Who would you bring?
Pierre Buty has clear choice – he wants you! Or so it seems in the board game SOL. That was created with illustrations by Naiade. And its creation was oversaw by company Catch Up Games, which secured its release in 2016. We got it on Spiel 2016 in Essen and we bring you our impressions still hot.
Inside a classically big square box with a vision of the sun god, we will find a big game board. When looking on its layout, you can see island and its uncharted parts. For this purpose are enclosed large cardboard panels, which are spread by players to designated locations, stacking to form higher and lower ground. Some of those have places to place square pieces of temples. Players also put a pile of tokens around the island, according to terrain.
Participants themselves are divided into two teams and each party chooses their three or four champions (out of colored offer). But they always have to keep same number of heroes on both sides and team should never have more characters, than there is players. Every player gets one hero (surplus is controlled by entire team together) and together determine beginner or advanced version for the whole game (rotating hero card accordingly). Each of the team places their boat on one of the anchor spots, and stack their heroes on this spot. Both teams will get dice of their color. Besides the plan, a second small plate of treasures is places and equipped with tokens, cards are shuffled near its bottom, each team gets two common cards and one further is revealed as an offer.
Once per team turn, each character is activated by his controller after another. Everyone has to use movement and search, depending on capabilities of his hero. For those moving by sea and land, player has to resped terrain difficulty to cross between locations each time. They take into account differences in height, while a downward movement costs only one point, rise up the steep hill could easily cost even up to four points. However, instead of their favor, players can use their motion points to pull their team members towards them.
Movement may have another consequences. When a player gets to the point, where hero from opposing team stands, an immediate battle occurs. To their starting statistics (swords printed in capabilities) players add eventual swords from dice and also those, for which they are willing to sacrifice supply tokens. Hurt figure must turn its token to show the injured side and his team can also lose a sun locket, when it was in his possession. Wounded hero heals his scratches at the end of next turn. In the meantime, he cannot use special ability and enter location, where another rival character is.
Whenever character enters a place, where there is one of search tokens, he may use the appropriate action and look at him. With the exception of instant chips, other tokens are kept by players for later use. So can they increase movement or attack values in the future. Tokens with immediate effect are placed on treasure board on the appropriate place and type of terrain. Thanks to them, gamers can also attach token to their pontoon, which will be able to end game run.
Task is for all the same – to find a statue of the sun god. His position first has to be uncovered by using clue cards. They are gradually attached from hand under the board always, when someone finds a clue token on the board. Exception is the very first track, for which finder gets a medallion of the sun, and that gives his team an advantage. Once the seventh card is played, a combination of stairs, shape and color of the temple will determine exact location of that treasure.
Heroes are chasing after the most important treasure on the island. Once someone gets it, whole team will be trying to escape the island. However, any unsuccessful battle automatically means losing it to another team. Only when heroes arrive at the pontoon, where their team had placed a flag, they become winners of the hunt.
SOL is a thrilling adventure game about hunt for treasures. Its specialty is teamwork. So players do not fight for themselves and their plans, but they must jointly organize searching the island, trying to defend their spoils from opponents or vice versa stopping them from escaping.
There is always something to do in this game and nothing is certain. Until the treasure is safe on the pontoon, either of teams may still win. First part before the chase is really just a prelude, where you can build a better position, but it is not possible to insure victory in any way.
Moving around the map is important and both teams are trying to hold convenient places to be able to reach any point quickly. By playing clue cards, players themselves can influence exactly, where the valuable statue appears. Doing this, you can customize your game to your profit. Most elements can at least partly be influenced, but even so, it creates usually a sprinkling of luck (in search of tokens, battle and card draw).
The game really manages to transmit its adventure theme on the table and players will have fine experience from their battle. And this is true also because the characters have their own special abilities. And they will also help you to increase tactics and plan progress. These skills are only part of the advanced game version, which we mentioned in setup.
Game rules are very simple, making SOL accessible game for everyone. Its small controllability and randomness makes it especially adept for family or beginner’s game. However, as the relaxation, it can certainly be played also by experienced players, especially if they like a lot of conflicts in their games.
Scope of player numbers of this box is large. From two to eight, but most counts brings more characters to control by team. It can certainly some players perceive as a problem, however, it will really show only with two. Multi-member teams are controlling other characters together and everyone has really only one truly his hero. This is great news and because usually most heroes attend the match even game time is not affected largely. Game thus always stays within tolerable sixty minutes and often even less.
Processing can also be praised. Rules are very nice and have detailed illustrations. You can also appreciate thickness of the cardboard parts and clarity of graphics, including maps with transition boundaries and their prices.
SOL will not become famous as a thoughtful and tactical game. Its purpose lies elsewhere. Players are divided into two teams, who each promote their own interests on one island. Game provides fast and exciting conflict with enough progress and control. SOL is truly good choice for adventure lovers.
SOL is a crazy action team game. Heroes collaborate on one of two opposing sides, trying to be the fastest to reach their goal. First, they have to find a card with evidence, that leads them to treasure. They are common to both teams and negotiation is an important element of the gameplay. The game is decidedly random, but retains a particular tension, speed and simplicity. Pros finally dominate SOL and you can buy the game, if you like team playing.