Review – Oceans: Solo

Feeling like a lone shark?

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Designer Marceline Leiman

Artist N/A

Publisher NorthStar Game Studio

Category Solo

Length 30-60min

Release Date 2023

Player Count 1

Oceans: Solo is a singleplayer expansion released for NorthStar Game Studio’s Oceans. You’ll take on a bot named Oceanic who will try to defeat you using a shark, a whale, and plenty of upgrade tiles. Is it worth venturing into the deep waters alone, or should you have stayed ashore?

New to Oceans? Check our original review and app review, as well as Oceans: Legends of the Deep review, another expansion that’s fully compatible with Oceans: Solo

Review 

Oceans: Solo introduces a bot named Oceanic. Oceanic has 2 species it will use to try and beat you: a shark and a whale. The shark will devour your species and the whale will bleed the reef dry. Throughout the game, you’ll draw upgrade tokens from different bags that will allow Oceanic to attack twice, leech, and more. 

To begin, decide what level of difficulty you’d like to play against. There are 4 different types included in the game, offering plenty options for player skill levels. You will then distribute the fish tiles so that the Cambrian explosion happens fairly early (only 10 are placed in ocean zone 1). You’ll get to go first, and your turns will look the same as in the base game. 

When Oceanic goes, you’ll need to place the tokens from its up-next board. Oceanic will activate the shark first, feeding on the best prey and leeching any of your species with a leech token. The whale goes next, and it will simply forage from the reef and gain fish equal to the population of your species that have a gains token on them. As the game progresses, the shark and the whale will become more powerful as more tokens are placed, increasing their attacking, foraging, and defensive capabilities. 

Oceans: Solo does a really good job of capturing the multiplayer experience in a solo package. If the next-up board has no tokens, you’ll draw tokens from the next bag up. So the longer the game goes, the more powerful Oceanic’s species will become. After the Cambrian Explosion, you’ll place 2 tokens per Oceanic turn, which increases the rate of evolution, just like the base game. The challenge of evolving my species one step ahead of Oceanic’s felt familiar. Even though Oceanic’s species grew more powerful quicker, I could anticipate how they were going to change because of the next-up board and plan accordingly. I also appreciate how simple the Oceanic bot is to use. I didn’t find myself re-reading rules over and over, nor did I think of ways for the bot to be simpler. 

If you enjoy solo gaming and wish you could play Oceans more often, check out Oceans: Solo. It’s an affordable, well-made solo expansion that’s sure to please solo players. There’s even a scoresheet in the back for those who wish to keep track of past scores. 

NorthStar Game Studio kindly provided a review copy. 

The Bottom Line

A streamlined, fun, and challenging solo expansion to Oceans, if you're into solo gaming.

 

8

spencer
Author: Spencer Patterson

I'm a teacher, writer, and board game reviewer. I especially love board games that pull me in like a good book. My wife is my favorite gaming partner.