Solar Sphere is a worker placement and resource management game for 1-4 players. You work for a Mega-Corporation and have been assigned the task to build a giant Dyson sphere around a star to harvest its energy. The campaign for the game is live on Kickstarter and it will run for 30 days. You can either pledge for the standard version with or without Kickstarter bonuses, the standard version with expansions, or for the deluxe version with a playmat.
You start the round by rolling three dice. These earn you morale depending on their value, and can then be used as ships to visit locations. You can spend your morale as a way to earn bonuses: for each bonus you earn, you may either gain a resource of your choice (of which you can only hold up to six), recycle two drones, or gain one drone. When you gain a drone, you pick it from your reserve or from a location it was placed on and put it in your ready area. When you recycle a drone from the recycle area (this is where the used drones go), you can either put it back to your ready area, or permanently lock it in the repurposing area, winning one of three bonuses (resource, victory points, or morale). The more drones you repurpose for one of these bonuses, the better that particular bonus becomes. By getting three different bonuses, you also earn an additional die for that turn (although it won’t bring you any morale).
Then you may deploy your ships to different locations (8 in total). Each location has a specific requirement (e.g. the die must be of a particular value, or it must be of an odd value, etc.) that you must match to be able to deploy your ship there. You may change the value of a die by 1 multiple times by spending the corresponding number of drones from your ready area. When you visit a location, you may either take the associated benefit or place a drone there in orbit. That way, if you visit the location again, you will be granted an additional bonus on top of the benefit.
You may also deploy your ship on a hex tile of the Sunstar board to start building the solar sphere. The shipping value must be equal to or greater than the one shown in the location, you must pay the resource cost requirement, and you must be able to deploy a drone to perform the construction work and occupy the tile for the remainder of the game. You win the listed benefits of the hex, which are faction tokens that will be scored at the end of the game. Sun tokens grant you the favor of the Corporation you work for, which may increase the number of bonuses you get when spending morale. Building upon all hexes triggers the end game.
Besides this, if you go to the right location, you can hire up to three crew members by paying the corresponding resource. Crew members grant you victory points and come with a special ability you can make use of. If you hire more than three members, you must retire one (which will be scored at the end), which gives you an additional “discard” bonus.
You may also engage in combat against the Resistance. To do so, you must place your die on a specific location, and spend 1 crystal for each Resistance fighter you want to target. Then, you may spend as many drones as you wish on these fighters. At the end of the round, combat is resolved. A die is rolled that can add from 0 to 2 to the strength of the Resistance fighter. If your total of drones meets or exceeds this value, the fighter is defeated and you get victory points depending on your contribution to the fight (the AI may spend drones as well). If not, the drones stay on the card. Defeating a Resistance fighter also grants you faction tokens.
The game ends after six rounds, or if all hexes have been claimed. You then gain points from a variety of sources: the points you won during the game, points from the number of claimed Solar hexes, from your final Morale level, and each full set of faction tokens grants you an additional 5 points.
In the solo mode, you are facing an AI in a 2 player setting. The AI also rolls three dice, and throughout a round you alternate turns with the AI, placing one die at a time. When the AI deploys a ship (that is, a die), you draw a card to see which location will be targeted. The AI does not have to meet the requirements of the location to place a die on it. Location effects are modified for the AI. The AI will also score additional points during the game, depending on the difficulty level.