Xeno Sola in Review – formerly known as Starcassonne

Xeno Sola 1

There have been any number of variations on the theme of this game – placing tiles/cards on the field of play making sure to match all the sides. Waterworks is one example, Triazzle is another. What makes Xeno Sola stand apart and work so well is the sheer variety of cards/tiles available and the scifi theme. Without those things, however, it might just be a bland game of matching, but with them it becomes a game of chance and strategy against aliens to see who can gain the most money out of the construction of a space station.

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The tutorial does a very good job of walking you through the basics of Xeno Sola – but the real beauty is that the game can easily be learned on the fly. You start by choosing your opponents – up to four players – in any combination of human players and computer. Then the field is populated with a starting tile, and each player is given a turn in order to place the next tile given. You will be shown by the game itself what options you have for where that tile can be placed on the field, and you can rotate the piece to see other choices present themselves. As I mentioned earlier, there are 33 tile types, of various space themes such as conduits, power nodes and space platforms. There will be 40 tiles played by the end of the game, so if you are playing a four player game, it means each person will have the opportunity to place 10 tiles on the field.

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The strategy really comes into play in two ways. First, you need to place bets on the tiles you place on the field – betting that you can complete that particular piece of conduit or landing pad (or that some other player will complete it) and therefore winning money for it. You only have three bets available, so you want to be careful about when you use them and do everything in your power to complete the tile in question. Secondly, you need to be actively working against your opponents, keeping them from completing sections of tile they have placed bets on. The more you close in around them, the more likely it is they won’t ever receive the exact correct piece to fit into that space they need.

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At the end of the game, when all 40 tiles have been placed, the game calculates final scoring based on incomplete tiles, and then a winner is pronounced. Xeno Sola is a fairly easy game to learn, it changes with every play, and has a computer opponent which seems to be at just the right difficulty level. I always worked to win, and certainly lost plenty of matches – but it was never frustrating and just made me want to try again. It’s an easy game to pick up and play, and I can definitely recommend grabbing it, especially at its current sale price.

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App Summary
Title:Xeno Sola (v1.1)Developer:Cascadia Games
Price:$2.99 (on sale $0.99)App Size:9.0 MB
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Always a new/different game
  • Nice theming
  • Good computer difficulty
  • Not a deep game, no story or incentives

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  • http://www.rustysabre.com/ Eric

    I wasn’t really sure about this game, but after reading your review it actually sounds pretty cool. There was a time that I was really into deep, time consuming games, but these days I relish finding a solid game that’s “pick up and play”.

  • Gokunama

    Looks interesting. I’ve got Triazzle, great time waster. I’ll have to check it out. I can’t use the code as I’m not on U.S. iTunes. American monopoly on promo codes unfair I say!

  • http://www.palmheroes.com Jim

    didn’t really get the point of the game, but I like the graphics. Would be interesting to check it out.

  • Alison

    Looks interesting, and the fact that it’s a new game each time is a definite plus. Would love to try it out!

  • http://www.chordica.com Joash Chee

    I’m a big fan of sci-fi and when it’s put together as a game with strategy, I’m completely won over!

  • Brandob

    Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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