Circadians First Light: 2nd Ed. – Solo review

Name: Circadians: First Light – 2nd edition
Designer: S J Macdonald
Artist: Sam Phillips
Publisher: Garphill Games
Game type: Strategy
Players: 1-4
Playing time: 60-90 min
Weight on BGG: 3.44

Usually i am not so much into space/sci-fi/planets/aliens themed games. But i saw this game on instagram and i also saw 1st edition pictures and opinions from my friends and i really wanted to try this, mostly for the solo game. I play solo and i like games with solo mode especially if there is an Automa deck and i don’t have to beat my own score.

There are dice, worker placement and limited spaces to go, contracts, hidden actions, resources management …so yeah, had to try this out. Not to mention that the art is very cool and colorful…of course signed by Sam Philips.
Yeees, art is subjective but personally i really like Sam’s interpretation of the sci-fi genre and i like Sam’s artwork in general.

Soooo, i will tell you my conclusion about this game at the end of this review.

Quick overview of the game:
Players will find themselves in the role of explorers on the planet Ryh, where they will lead their teams as best they can to explore the planet, collect resources and negotiate with the aliens here who seem open but you never know how things can turn for the worse.
The game will play over 7 rounds and each round have 4 phases.

  1. Display the round event and roll your dice. Place them on the player board, behind the screen.
  2. Send your ships (dice) to desired locations on the mission boards. Each location has its own requirements /costs. Gather rewards/complete missions.
  3. Gather resources from harvester and/or from your farms.
  4. Cleanup. Get your dice back and get ready for the next round.

After 7th round, player with the most points will win the game.

Production/components/artwork: 10/10
As always, top components from Garphill Games.
Very nice wooden resources, thick tiles and of course an amazing Insert. Perfect I would say.

Rule Book: 10/10
Personal, i had no issues with the rule book, I didn’t feel the need to check other sources, everything was clear.

Mechanics: 8/10
Main mechanic is worker placement, in this case, dice placement… thus dice rolling.
A very nice aspect is the secret unit deployment. In secret, players assign workers on their player board and when everyone is done, the shield goes up and each player will deploy they workers to the main locations accordingly. With that, there will always be the question of “what will the other players do” so every decision and move will weigh a lot.

Players will also have to complete contracts and make set collection that will count at final scoring. And all of these while managing very carefully their resources.

And if we are at the resources part, another interesting part/mechanic of the game is harvesting. Players will move their harvester on the planet to gather resources.

Also variable player powers given by different characters.
And all these mechanics are well implemented and linked together.
Of course , because of the limited best spots and secret deployment part, some AP may appear so be aware :).

Gameplay – SOLO mode: 9/10

Solo mode in this game is very good.
One of those solo games that truly works. And is very challenging because you don’t have to beat your own score, you actually play against a bot, very well implemented that scores for it self and some times can be very frustrating :)) Why? Because it places all its dice before you and this way will recreate the feeling you can get when playing with another human that will take your desired spots 😬.

Bot is actually a deck of cards that gives you instructions where to place its dice and how will mess things for you. As the game goes on, the bot will get more powerful actions so…get ready for it.

Variability: 8/10

Without extensions, I think after some games you will feel that some “new stuff going on” would be a “nice to have”.
If you play the game from time to time it is more than enough.
I would have liked more characters to negotiate with.
And I am sure that the new expansion will bring more variability.


Good Solo mode with Automa deck

Cons or what I felt was missing or not good or could have been improved (in my opinion):

More variability needed after several games.
Maybe more locations to change them from game to game.
Maybe some player aids just to have them in the box.

Personal overall feeling and conclusion + my rating: 8/10
Only for SOLO mode!!!

I really liked this game. As I said I am not into these kind of themes…BUT…the game is on the line with other worker placement games. Nothing outstanding but a very good game with many good parts especially the solo mode. Very nice mechanics, implemented very well to work smoothly in order to get a very good and interactive gameplay.
Is on my short list of games when I want to play solo.

Disclaimer: Garphill Games was kind enough to provide me a copy of the game and the review is objective, all the aspects mentioned, the rating given, the appreciations and the negative parts are purely personal and honest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.