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Excavation Earth (Solo Option)


A century from now all that remains of Earth is the detritus that humanity left behind.

The races of a neighboring solar system have a penchant for artifacts left behind by extinct races.

In Excavation Earth, you lead one of these races of alien explorers on their quest to excavate rare human artifacts and curate the ultimate art collection to sell off.

Excavation Earth is divided into three rounds, each of which starts with players drafting a hand of multi-use cards that will be used to perform actions.

Players then take quick turns playing actions that allow them to move their explorers around the world map, excavate for artifacts, and deploy traders to bazaars and influencers to affect prices and wheel and deal on the black market.

The artifacts you dig up can be either sold to the bazaars housed on one of the aliens’ ships that landed on Earth or added to a collection that will be sold off as a coherent art collection to museums back home.

Excavation Earth ends after three rounds and the player who makes the most money during the game wins.

Excavation Earth includes a solo mode by Nick Shaw and Dávid Turczi.

—description from the publisher

Solo Play

The game can be played in solo mode by using an official set of rules with an AI called Zu.

Zu is brutal. In solo mode, the AI plays a robust and challenging game that makes the AI in Race for the galaxy look friendly.

Each turn, Zu flips two cards from its action deck, and takes two actions. It keeps doing this until it runs out of cards.

It excavates, buys, sells, smuggles, and manipulates the market.

When it takes actions, it feels rational and reasonable. It feels like playing against another experienced player.

The Zu AI is a little bit complex, and you will want to keep the rulebook handy to figure out its next move. The dedicate Solo rulebook in the Files section of this post will help a lot with that.

If you are looking for a rich, fast-changing economic game and a complex AI, then Excavation Earth is what you are looking for. (Of course you can still play multiplayer with others, as this game supports up to 4 players)

Excavation Earth Solo Mode Review

A 2 hour solo playthrough!


A selection of files from BoardGameGeek. Links will open in a new window or tab.

Excavation Earth Rulebook v1.9 Solo Only

Rulebook v. 1.9 for the solo mode of Excavation Earth

>> Click to download PDF <<

Solo Player Aid

I found it a bit annoying to flip through the rulebook constantly to find the order of operations and priorities for the Zu AI’s actions, so I made this.

>> Click to download PDF <<

Excavation Earth Rulebook v1.9

Version 1.9 of Excavation Earth, full rulebook

>> Click to download PDF <<