Far Away

As we play most games with the two of us and we love Co-op games, we immediately got excited by seeing Far Away. This is a game created for two players that is full Co-op and focused on exploration by tiles. You can imagine we didn’t need more convincing. Before we could start our journey, we had to go through the training manual and eventually a simulation of the Federation Alliance. But once we had completed that, we were ready for our adventure.

How to Play.

There are many rules in this game and they are all very well explained in detail in the rulebook (training manual). I will try and explain everything ass well as I can, but I don’t want to spoil anything. So for a more detailed explanation with good examples I refer to the rulebook.

The setup for Far Away can be different for some missions with special setup rules, but for the most missions you need the same components. You will need your C.A.R.E.S. Report along with four hunger and loneliness tokens, a spawn and selection die and action tracker. Place the E.C.O. System between you two and shuffle and place the DEN and WANDERING creatures next to the board facedown. Also place the C.A.R.D board nearby and place all the cards with corresponding names on the places of the C.A.R.D board. Also place the Mission Tablet and follow the mission instructions. They will tell you where to place all the mission cards on your tablet. Lastly is your starting area. Reveal one tile randomly where you place your crash site, then reveal six random tiles around your crash site. Unless a mission specifies otherwise, this is the basic setup before each mission. We also like to have all the components separated nearby so they are easy to reach. You also have to explore each tile you just revealed. This works the same way any time a new hex tile is revealed. Roll the exploration die to see what you will find on the hex and resolve it. This could be resources, landmarks, anomalies or creatures. The rulebook explains in detail how to place those items on the tiles.

Your goal is to complete the mission the Federation Alliance has given you in order to receive your paycheck. If one of you dies, you both fail. Both explorers may take three actions resolving them one at the time. Use the action tracker to see how many actions you have left. You can move any numbers of explored tiles in a straight line and you have to stop if you encounter a wild creature, hostile drone or an unexplored tile. If you move into an unexplored tile, roll the exploration die and resolve the result. You can also use items, landmarks, buildings, etc in the field. They could provide resources for example. Another action you can take is building. There are many things you can build or upgrade in Far Away. To build something, you will need all the resources specified on the building card, then the card you build is placed in the hex where you are present for one action. Unless it’s a gear, then it’s placed in your gear slot. You can also fight or scare creatures away. If you fight, you will gain one more hunger token but the creature will take one damage. If you scare them, you move the creature one or two hexes away in any direction of explored hexes. By scaring creatures, you will gain one more loneliness.

There are also some free actions you can take, these actions does not count for your three actions. You can trade or socialize with your partner if you are in the same hex. Socializing will take away all of your loneliness, but you can’t socialize if you’re not in the same hex. This also means you can’t discuss missions or strategies unless you are together. If you like a challenge, you can choose not to communicate at all unless you are in the same hex since the communication channels are limited because it saves the Federation Alliance a lot of money. You could also consume resources. Some will take your hunger away, others will remove damage on buildings for example. Lastly you can carry and drop items until your carry limit.

After the action phase, if you have any drones, they can now move one hex and perform one action. Then it’s the turn for the creatures. If you have rolled a creature symbol on the exploration die, you have placed a card on the E.C.O. System and placed a matching icon on the tile where you have encountered them. All the creatures can move one hex, going from left to right on the E.C.O. System, and can perform one action. Every creature has a detailed character explanation, telling you if it’s aggressive, friendly, if it eats plants, meat, likes to be alone or in a group, etc. Based on that information, you will move and act for the creatures once it’s their turn, like roleplay. They can fight, scare, consume, call other creatures (den only), or simply do nothing if you believe there is nothing for them to go after at that time.

Every round after the creatures have moved, new creatures will curiously come and see who you are and what you are up to. Roll two spawn and two selection dice to see what creatures you will meet. Depending on what number you will throw and what symbol, you either spawn a creature that is already on the E.C.O. System, or discover a new creature on this planet. The rulebook explains this in more detail.
Once you have spawned new creatures, time will advance. Meaning you will get one more hunger and loneliness token on your player board. Lastly check the mission objectives. You can complete a mission and flip the card in any time if the conditions are met, this phase is simply there to advance any round counters and to double check if you didn’t forget to complete anything.
If all of the above has been done. Another round will start repeating itself until the mission is complete.

As I explained briefly before. You can make decisions for the creatures based on their characters. A very detailed explanation and examples of those character traits and actions they perform can be found in the book and on one of the reference cards. You can also domesticate creatures into your pet if you fight a creature and master them for example. If you manage to do this, domesticated creatures will move before wild creatures. They can toil meaning they can use a building or resource landmark. You can also cuddle with them to drop your loneliness or even ride them. They can also carry and drop additional resources.

Gameplay overview.

We really love this game. Each mission is completely different but still fits to the story and theme. The humor in Far Away is awesome and the game has more then one way to surprise you. You have to be creative and work together in order to survive the sometimes harsh scenarios you face. One of the best parts about this game is the replayability. Even if you would replay a mission ten times, it would always be different because you pick up random tiles, creatures and resources. We had a couple missions we had to replay because we came across highly aggressive creatures who tried to fight and follow us whenever they got the chance. But we have also encountered creatures who are friendly and even want to help you, or are scared and run away until they find more of their sort. Everything is described on their cards which makes it easier to make a decision for them in the creature phase.

Other than that the gameplay is really smooth, the components are also of good quality. We would like to see a little more diverse art on the tiles like alien trees or flowers maybe, but that is a small detail. Another great part in Far Away is that you can build and expand your base. If you gather enough resources, you can build defenses, upgrades, gear, and so on which gives you a great satisfaction. You don’t necessary have to rush and get your mission done, you can also just explore, gather resources and build if your mission is complete or even focus on the side quests hidden in this game.

Final thoughts.

Far away is a two player Co-op exploration game where you have to survive and complete missions for the Federation Alliance. There is so much to do in this game, from exploring to building to even making wild creatures you encounter into domesticated pets so you can ride on them. The components are of great quality and the story of the game is awesome. There are many hidden features that make Far Away even better and it also has a lot of replayability. Even if you repeat missions, they will never be the same since you draw random tiles and creatures. We absolutely love this game and it’s currently our most favorite cooperation board game in our collection.

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