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Loam solo rules

One book to rule them all: week May 22 - 28


Loam is a game about making plant happy by creating the perfect environment for their growth. You’ll be attracting microorganisms to help with that and all that with lovely clay sculpts.

Loam: clay sculpts
Image source: Gamefound page

Summed up

Game is played over three rounds. You start with three input (action) cards and single creature card. There’s also six creatures and three behaviour cards on display.


Each round you play all three input cards, choosing one of two actions. These help you put out creatures or change displays/hand. For example with green input you can either play two creatures, or refresh behaviour cards and play one creature. The order in which you play inputs matters, because you have to resolve as much of the action as possible before resolving next input. Creatures have three levels, six types and each gives soil stats. They form communities, level one creature can start by itself, level two has to follow two level one creatures and level three needs to be last (7th) in the community. The number of communities is unlimited.


If you pass eight in any soil stat, your corresponding input card gets upgraded. By placing creatures you can earn behaviour cards, each needs two creatures to be placed, but the same creature can help with multiple behaviour cards. These give you additional actions to perform on your turn.

Loam: player boards
Image source: BGG

After three rounds you tally the scores. The discrepancy between lowest and highest soil stat needs to be minimal (you want to achieve balance) to score, but the main source of points are your creature communities. Both type and level of creature matters, each in their own way.


The main solo mode is BYOS with a corresponding score table, but the game also offers scenarios. These provide special rules for each round and a score modifier based on difficulty.


My thoughts are revealed

Rulebook

The rules have some proofreading ahead of them, minor mistakes. One confusing part is using round and half way through change that to turn. Visually very well done, helps immensely with explanations, good structure. Solo BYOS table is provided as well as (so far) four scenarios with possibly more unlocked via stretch goals.

Loam on the table
Image source: BGG

Overall

I didn’t expect this game at all, but I was instantly hooked by the hand sculpted clay creatures. I was immensely pleased to find out the game has solid scientific background (the lead designer is apparently soil ecologist) and tries to “simulate” healthy soil ecosystem creation. The rules are quite simple, the game seems very short, but I can already see the potential not only in strategies based on displays available, but mainly in the scenarios. I’m very pleasantly surprised and want to see this project come to fruition.


 

Loam has launched on Gamefound and the campaign will run for 34 more days. Apart from the game, stickers with the clay sculpts are available.


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2 Comments


Zerbique
Zerbique
May 27, 2023

I'm also backing it for now, but as for all games I pledge on KS, my decision is not final until I dive into the rules myself. It looks pretty interesting and right the level of complexity I enjoy. Ecosystem games always draw me in!


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SnowDragonka
SnowDragonka
May 27, 2023
Replying to

Same, ecosystem has my interest. I know I'll keep my pledge, personally as much as I always complain about lack of space and time, this is the kind of game I'd like to support anyway. Small, compact, interesting and to an extend educational.

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