Our preview post below was published on May 19.
Solstice is an expansion for Path of Light and Shadow, originally a 2-4 players deck-building and area control game, that will be getting a solo mode during the upcoming KS campaign on May 25. A reprint of the base game will be available as well.
The goal of the game is to control as many provinces as possible and earn Influence points that will determine the winner. Each province is associated with a given faction, and each faction comes with its own deck that you will draw from during the game to build your own deck. Provinces also have a base defense value, and an additional bonus defense represented by towers you place on them. Defense makes them harder to conquer, but also more valuable.
In the solo mode, you will fight against an Automaton, the Faraway Invaders, that uses its own deck of cards. To set up the game, you first pick a Leader, represented by a miniature, and choose a starting province to place it in. Your base deck comes with 8 starting cards, plus an additional two from the faction deck that matches your starting province. The game is then played in three cycles of four rounds each. At the end of each cycle, a scoring phase occurs.
Each round, the Invaders take their turn first. They draw a single card from their deck that might show a province or an action. If it’s an action, they simply execute it. If it’s a province, they will attempt to conquer it. The province may be uncontrolled, in which case they will automatically take it over. If they already control it, they will draw an alternative card. If you control the province, you may defend it by playing cards from your hand for their Strength value. The total strength of the Invaders will be given by the Strength value of their card and an additional bonus revealed by drawing an additional card from their deck. Your Strength is determined by the defense value of the Province, the Strength of the cards you played, and the value of the dice you roll. The dice can show 0 to 2 strength symbols, and some Ruins symbol. At the end of the fight, the defense of the province gets downgraded by as many Ruins symbols as you rolled.
Once the Invaders have resolved their card, it’s your turn! You start with five cards in hand. You can then take different actions, as long as you can support them with the proper card play: build structures that will permanently upgrade your forces (these structures cannot be destroyed and are shown on your personal board, not on the main board) by paying the corresponding Labor value with cards from your hand; promote a card by paying the corresponding cost with other cards; and cull cards by playing a card for their Strength to remove as many cards from your hand or discard pile. However, culling sets you further along the Path of Shadow and you will move to the Cruel side of the morality track! You can also play cards for their special ability and, once per turn, move your Leader to an adjacent province.
You may also attempt to conquer the Province your Leader is currently standing in. Similar to defending, you can play cards from your hand for their attack value. The strongest card will contribute directly but will allow you to roll as many dice as their strength. To conquer the targeted province, you must beat its current defense value. If the province is under the Invaders’ control, you must also draw a card from their deck to add the corresponding shield value to this defense score. As in defense, the Province defense gets downgraded by as many Ruins as you rolled.
At the end of your turn, you will add one card to your personal deck by drawing a card from the faction matching that of the Province your leader occupies, placing it in your discard. You can draw an additional one, which results in moving your Morality tracker one step towards the “Merciful” side. These alignments, Merciful and Cruel, may impact the effect of some of your cards. You can then discard cards from your hand if you wish so, and then draw cards from your deck to reform a hand of five cards. If the deck ever runs out, it is reformed by shuffling the discard into a new deck.
Once every four rounds, scoring takes place. You gain points for each Province you control, equal to their defense value, and additional points if you control several Provinces from the same faction. The Invaders score in the same way. At the end of the third cycle, an additional scoring occurs by summing up all the Points that cards, structures, etc. (this last scoring won’t benefit the Invaders as they don’t recruit cards or build structures). If you then beat the Invaders' score, you win the game!
The Solstice expansion adds a new faction to the base game, an expansion to the main board featuring an island with Provinces of this faction, and megaliths, that replace the usual towers on these Provinces. When these Provinces suffer ruin through a dice roll, you remove and reveal megalith tokens instead of tower parts. Under such tokens, you may find magical relics that grant you one-time use abilities. The new faction also encourages switching alignment on the Morality track. The expansion adds new cards for all factions of the core game, and “titles” you can choose from, that is starting cards with abilities to provide a more asymmetric setup.