Played a couple of solo SE4X Games
OK the first solo game (Doomsday Machine) lets you learn the rules, but lacks the oomph that makes the game great. It’s like one of the Star Fleet Battle Monster solos (the Planet Eater, maybe?) where you can plot out what to do because the monster is totally predictable. You know when he’ll arrive, full stats, etc. Given that SE4X is about the fog of war, no big deal.
So I stayed up and tried the Alien solo game. This feels like multiplayer. Each Alien Power [2-3 depending on difficulty] only has one planet and roll dices to allocate points in fleet/tech/homeworld defense and when they launch invasions. The Alien fleet’s composition (and most tech advances) are bought when you reveal the fleet, which maintains fog of war. It’s got some paperwork and two pages of special cases (The Aliens have many “Don’t be stupid” exceptions to randomly buying technologies, like If the Human player has revealed that he has X technology, the Alien purchases Counter-technology first. If the Alien has already bought X technology and the Human has not revealed Y counter technology then the Alien’s fleet will exploit that advantage.)
In my first game (easy level) I played cautiously but repelled incursions with little loss, and I called it a victory (although I was starting to suffer some maintenance costs, I had a heft fleet size and tech leads). But I think it’s a nice challenge, and a good break in solo games