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  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • · Space is Big & Beautiful
  • · Cosmic components
  • · Modular add-ons you can miix and match
  • · Bonus Actions chain
  • · Handles player count well including competent AI

Might Not Like

  • · Eats table space like a giant Black Hole
  • · Having to wait for the good stuff
  • · Depressing dystopian story narrative
  • · Legacy style can make rules confusing
  • · Needs commitment
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Solar 175 De Luxe Review


Solar so Good

Exploring an expanding Solar System, travelling to new worlds and exploiting them for your Mega Corporation? If that’s what floats your space ship then Solar 175 is for you!

Described as a Mega Legacy Euro Game with RPG elements Solar 175 de luxe is a beautiful big box full of gorgeous components, stunning artwork and dozens of enticing flip boxes and envelopes to unlock. It plays with up to 5 players and any of them can be handled as an AI with an elegant solo system. There’s a Point Salad system of scoring with an intriguing election outcome to skew the result and all your VPs (or Influence Points in Solar’s terminology) are faithfully recorded in the campaign log as you push on unlocking more delights and variations until one corp gets crowned the mega-est of them all.

Lots of components, lots of development, lots of mechanics but does it all hold together as a great game design? Let’s find out.


But first let’s just look at it and drink in it’s beauty. The giant game box, decorated on all sides, with its double layer custom plastic insert is chock-full of quality components. 5 smaller and 5 large well-sculpted space ships, hundreds of wooden tokens in bright colours and smart graphics, cloth draw-string bags, chunky cardboard erasable voting tokens to go into the special hinged ballot box and, my personal favourite, double layered indented playerboards. These boards will hold your worker tokens snugly as you decide where to allocate them. Why don’t all games come with these?


Then there’s the Solar System itself represented by an expanding deck of square cards each featuring a planet, moon or asteroid spiralling out from the central glowing orange sun. Before I got Solar 175 DeLuxe (S1D ?) I was not sure about the lack of an actual board but this system of cards looks really cool and works well as it unfolds as the game develops. Also educational as you can learn the names of the larger planets major moons etc. Of course relative size and spacing are stylised but it does look the business.

There is also a super glossy 80 page bookazine Lunar issue 0077 (the earlier 76 issues are not available to back order!) which gives a huge amount of background flavour to the world(s) of S1D and a full 22 pages to score your first 35 playthroughs! That’s right, if you’re going to fully explore the Solar system the nice people at Cogito Ergo Meeple expect quite a commitment from you. (But fear not, gentle reader, because I may offer you some short cuts ) The magazine ties in to the unfolding story narrative of the campaign, fleshed out in the rule book and mant pages of text and videos accessed via QR codes.

The Solar System

What about the game itself? Well It’s difficult to totally assess a game that is only going to reveal itself over repeated plays with the gameplay and potential scoring changing as it develops. I often found things I felt needed improving were, in fact, improved in the next play. It is also difficult to talk about these developments if you’re paranoid about not getting any spoilers but they are all laid out in the rule book and associated envelopes and flip boxes with just a warning not to look at them in advance. Then as it says on P 39 of the rule book “do you always do the things you’re told to?”


So Game 1 gives us a 2 zone solar system going out as far as Mars in Zone 1 and Jupiter and its moons in Zone 2. All players – Corporations – have the same abilities, start with 4 different workers, one of each type, 17 outposts and 4 Bases to build. In a straightforward worker placement game you can recruit more workers, spread your influence, contribute to building a megastructure, send troops off to the peace keeping force, build bases and vote in the elections.

There are planets, one of which, for example Earth, will be the Hub for that Zone while the others and their larger moons will support bases and then minor moons and asteroids which provide Mining Tokens used to build bases and Megastructures. Zone 1 also contains the 3 key Hubs that hold the HQ of the base building Hensler Corporation, the military Hub on Ceres and the UFSS Hub which controls the Megastructure building program.

Game turns consist of 3 phases: 1st draw workers from your bag; 2nd assign them to Actions on your board then when all players have done this move to the Action Phase and complete the actions. A neat mechanic sees you get a bonus action each time you recruit a worker.

You score: for having the most presence in a Zone; for each base you’ve built multiplied by the value of workers in the Hensler Hub; for each Megastructure token times the value of workers in the UFSS Hub and for each Military token times half the value of workers on Ceres.

The slammer is the result of the Election which doubles the points for either the Bases, the Megastructure tokens or the Military tokens thus producing a huge swing in the final result. It is vital to keep voting for the party that supports your chosen strategy. Elections matter!

So-so Lar

Your Game 1 options are fairly limited and it’s mainly a training exercise to learn the rules. For example there are only 8 locations to build 1 of your 4 bases so with anything more than 2 players you are not going to be able to build them all let alone buy any more. But it is an entertaining worker placement exercise nevertheless and moves along relatively quickly.

The trick is to remember the difference between Outposts, Bases and Workers. Outposts and Bases contribute to your presence in a Zone as do ships and you score points for having the most Presence but to make this worthwhile you must keep removing workers to the appropriate Hub. Similarily if you’ve chosen Base building, Megastructure funding or supporting the Military make sure to keep sending workers to those Hubs. It’s galling to have built Bases all across space, for example, and then find they’re worth next to nothing because you’ve not added workers to the Hensler Hub.

Solar Express


The game picks up speed and options as the Legacy unfolds and by the time you get to Game 4 you’ve got what I would consider the decent base game.

Spoiler alert: the next few lines refer to unlocks. If you really don’t want to know even the basic details skip to the end of this section.

Ah-hah! So you do want to know . By Game 4 you will have an expanding Solar system with 2 more Zones and more to come, you have access to better ships and to automated workers that stay permanently assigned, extra benefits for supporting a party and the biggie is after Game 1 you get Hub bonus tokens. These provide a bonus action or credit every time you place a worker on a Hub. So not only are you boosting your final score but you can ripple a chain of Actions together. This is literally a game changer. After game 4 you get to pick permanently applied additional Player Powers. This finally gives some different flavour to the Corporations, which up to now have all been identical clones.

Personally I’d say that if you are a seasoned gamer (and let’s face it if you’re reading ZATU blog you probably are) I’d start with the first three games worth of add-ons right from the start. As Solar 175 says itself all these add-ons are optional so why not add them early?

So Far as it Goes


The Campaign encourages you to play many, many games with space to record up to 35 plays and cards for each Corporation to record their achievements and the determination of an over-arching victorious Corporation at the end. Now don’t worry if you think you’ll struggle to get a group of opponents to be with you through all that or if you need 4 or 5 to make it worthwhile. Generally 3 Corporations competing at a time is probably the best and most manageable.

There is a straightforward automatic solo system that can be used to replace any one or more of them and it has multiple levels. I played with it twice at Medium and it came last and once at Hard and it won. Also you can mix and match Corporations as their final score will be an average of the the number of games they’ve been in. So opponents can come and go and play the same or alternative Corporations as they like.

Solar Mio

Solar 175 has a lot to it, is beautifully made, has a lot of flavour and you can tailor it to suit yourself. For example it is a table hog, so they suggest you can leave out Zones if you like, as long as you have the first two. Also the Unlocks are all effectively little add-on modules so you can use or not as you wish.

My one concern is whether the theme is only a superficial veneer. The smart model spaceships don’t actually do a great deal. The move around in the early game scooping up mining tokens and have to be at a location to build a base but after that tend to just sit around and leasing the bigger ships doesn’t really seem worth it. Maybe they could have some combat abilities ala Scythe?

I’d like to see Outposts have more use too. I’m thinking they could influence how much Mining Tokens you could get out of an asteroid but, hey, Ergo Cogito Meeple actively encourage house rules so I’m going to experiment!

There are a few Rule glitches. The most notable being where it says you can only build 4 bases in a game but you can trade with Hensler to buy 2 more and IPs gained for having 2nd most influence in a zone are half the total rounded up according to Page 15 or down according to Page 19! You can resolve these easily though and house rules are encouraged.

Solar 175 looked wonderful from the off, was a little underwhelming to begin with but developed into a great space worker placement game with an interesting if somewhat depressing storyline to bind it all together.

P.S. By the way (at the risk of another spoiler) one of the unlocks sees Mars Terraformed into a habitable planet – now that’s an idea for a great game theme!

Zatu Score


  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Space is Big & Beautiful
  • Cosmic components
  • Modular add-ons you can miix and match
  • Bonus Actions chain
  • Handles player count well including competent AI

Might not like

  • Eats table space like a giant Black Hole
  • Having to wait for the good stuff
  • Depressing dystopian story narrative
  • Legacy style can make rules confusing
  • Needs commitment

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