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Ora et Labora» Forums » General

Subject: O&L is a good solo puzzle. Please help me find a better one. rss

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Rick Scholes
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Philosophically I wish for solo games with no luck, total information, tile laying or other graphical puzzles, the logistics challenges of using resources to create other resources to begat yet others to earn VP's, lots of variations creating replayability, and a game AI or system that is not random, arbitrary, or involves playing against myself with "selective amnesia."

I realize that computer programs can easily fulfill this desire but in my board gaming I am, as always, difficult. I spend much of my work day using computers. My preference in leisure hours is to move "bits" physically and not involve a computer at all.

O&L as a solo game engrosses my attention . . ., for a few hours until I worked out a winning solution. [See post under strategy is you want a spoiler.]

This post is to request ideas for games that might meet the above requirements. I have never played Roads & Boats but my reading indicates it might be worth trying. Please add your comments and game suggestions.
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Humulus Lupulus
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Sounds like you would like Le Havre (also by Rosenberg) if you haven't tried it yet.
 
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Ken Dilloo
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Well, Le Havre, Agricola, and Loyang jump to mind. Le Havre probably being the closest to what you described.

Most of my other favorite games that can be solo-ed, are of the more thematic type (Ghost Stories, Death Angel etc), or use AI, like Labyrinth: War on terror.
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Matt Davis
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Roads and Boats is indeed a good one to check out. The variablity provided by changing the map is fairly high. Le Havre probably also works well because the variable building order precludes any "solving".
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Rick Scholes
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Thanks for your ideas.

I play Le Havre, Agricola, & Gates of Loyang. Like them all but not as much as O&L. That's why I pre-ordered it. None of them have the graphic placement of settlements that I like so much in O&L.

I've tried to adapt an 18XX game and Railways of the World to become solo games because those systems have track laying, a different graphical puzzle. No real success with either yet.
 
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Brian Sturk
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I have not played Ora et Labora, but I really enjoy At the Gates of Loyang for solo play. It's probably in my top 5 of solo games (I play a lot of them).
 
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Tom Shields
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Having just experienced O&L solo to learn it, I agree it fails as a solo experience outside of learning the game.

I strongly recommend Mage Knight Board Game. Looking at your profile, it's possible the 'Mage Knight' branding could put you off. It did me at first, but I'm glad I looked past it. And despite that branding, the bits & artwork are pleasurable rather than juvenile.

Each move offers amazing solo puzzles to solve that are not repeatable, and I think it layers Euro mechanics you may find familiar into a complexity successfully scaffolded by terrific theming & narrative arc.

If it helps, here is a GCL sequence that describes it a bit in a series of solo games while I was snowbound: Mage Knight solo sessions while snowbound.

If you research the game, I recommend the review by Jesse (doubtofbuddha).

Good luck!
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Tom Shields
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Aiii! Rick, I did not look carefully enough. It seems you have Mage Knight and rate it highly. I leave my post anyway, thinking that perhaps you haven't tried the Solo Conquest scenario with the solo rules.
 
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Yoki Erdtman
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Rick, have you tried the solitaire puzzles offered by Blokus, and Ingenious?
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Bruce Murphy
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bankrupt wrote:

I've tried to adapt an 18XX game


You should look into 1829 Mainline.

B>
 
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Clyde W
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I'm confused...are you saying you discovered the best possible series of moves for O&L that will score the theoretical maximum number of points..?
 
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Rick Scholes
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clydeiii wrote:
I'm confused...are you saying you discovered the best possible series of moves for O&L that will score the theoretical maximum number of points..?


No. That number, or those numbers, are, to my knowledge, undiscovered but with enough work discoverable. There are 85 or more actions in a solo game. Almost every one involves choices. The VP production trees are so convoluted that two or more approaches might yield the same number of points,

No matter how much variety and fun a game of multi-player O&L provides for its players, and I agree that is substantial, for solo O&L the key word in the preceding paragraph is "work."

Solo O&L is a determinate system. There are optimum solution/s to be discovered. However, ferreting them out is like calculating the value of π. You can repeat the process ad nauseum to achieve an increasingly accurate approximation of the result. But would it be any fun?

I quickly achieved a reasonably decent score. [Translation: high enough to satisfy me, for now.] It was extremely fun as a puzzle. It, unlike jigsaw puzzles, has some replayability. [I had looked forward to more than there is.] I know I can do better but the solo game design as published won't be fun for too many more plays. Even though O&L provides many of the elements I most enjoy in games, there are other mountains to climb.

//edited for sentence structure
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Jason Rupp
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Mage Knight is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of solo play. I also enjoy Friday... it's a pretty fun little puzzle.
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Rick Scholes
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thepackrat wrote:
You should look into 1829 Mainline.
B>


Thanks Bruce. That is new information for me. Finding a copy, even of just the rules, is apparently going to be a quest in itself. I e-mailed Blue Heron with fingers crossed.
 
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Yoki Erdtman
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My three favorite solitaire games feature luck (something I see as a given in solitaire games, or they become puzzles), but I still recommend them:

Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations - features outstanding campaign play.
Zulus on the Ramparts! - very thematic and tense.
At the Gates of Loyang - I love the aesthetics of this game.

I've also greatly enjoyed playing Sentinels of the Multiverse solo, either by playing multiple hands vs the game (it's a coop) or using the abilities of incapacitated heroes for a boost.
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