Thematic Solitaires for the Spare Time Challenged

A blog about solitaire games and how to design them. I'm your host, Morten, co-designer of solo modes for Scythe, Gaia Project, Wingspan, Glen More II, and others.

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Meet me in Essen – and read my guide for SPIEL beginners

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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The best time of my work-year starts in two weeks.
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Fri Sep 23, 2022 8:56 am
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The 2022 People’s Choice Top 200 Solo Games No Prize Contest

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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The yearly People’s Choice Solo Games event has become a fixture of the 1 Player guild and the host, Kevin Erskine has kicked off the 2022 edition. As usual, I’ll be hosting a contest that runs in parallel with the event.

If you’re silly enough to think that you have what it takes to make the best predictions about how this year’s top 200 list will be, then please read on. If you’re in touch with reality and realize that you don’t have what it takes, then please read on anyway .
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Wed Sep 21, 2022 1:10 pm
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Why aren’t publishers doing better marketing?

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Sometimes when I look at the actions of people in another business segment than those I’ve worked in, I criticize them and say “why don’t they just do X, it’s so obvious that it’s much better than what they’re doing”.

Recently, I did just that about a company in my wife’s business segment and she explained to me why it wasn’t as simple as it appeared to me and I realized that my criticism had mainly been unfair because of my lack of knowledge.

Half an hour later I read a blog post about board game publishers from someone with a marketing background that started like this: “I see how publishers promote their games it’s makes me want to cry.”
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Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:39 pm
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Morten’s guide to the States of Siege series – part 11: Math attacks

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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The previous post set the foundation for the mathematical “ANAlysis” of the States of Siege games. In this post we’ll see how we can build on that foundation to launch math attacks to get a leg up against the games.

While this post contains a lot of math, you can ignore that it if you want to and still be able to understand the conclusions.
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Tue Jun 21, 2022 8:31 am
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Morten’s guide to the States of Siege series – part 10: The currency of the States of Siege

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Today’s post marks a milestone in this blog series: It’s the 10th post, if we don’t count the three interlude posts that weren’t about the games themselves and we’re well over halfway through what I think will be a 16-post series – again excluding interludes.

That aside, let’s move on to what I think is one of the most interesting and crucial topics for understanding the States of Siege games. Not only that, it’s also important for game design in general. So, I hope you’ll read along even though this post is more complicated and theoretical than any of the previous ones in the series.
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Thu Jun 16, 2022 1:06 pm
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Morten’s guide to the States of Siege series – part 9: Embedded minigames

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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With the 8th States of Siege game, Ottoman Sunset, a new feature was added that influenced several of the later games in the series: Embedded minigames. As with most other things in life we’re of course not talking about a clear binary distinction and some features of earlier SoS games could be argued to be minigames, but I think that Ottoman Sunset was the first game that had a minigame which stops the main game flow for a while to play out a minigame with its own set of rules.
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Mon Jun 13, 2022 6:48 am
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Morten’s guide to the States of Siege series – interlude 3: Release into the public domain

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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While writing the next post in my States of Siege blogpost series, I realized that I don’t know what the default copyright is for blogposts are on Board Game Geek and after some quick Googling I still don’t know. If you do, then please let me know.

Either way, I think that a blogpost series like this belongs in the public domain.

So, as the author I hereby release all posts on this blog whose name starts with “Morten’s guide to the States of Siege series” into the public domain in perpetuity.

This means that anyone at any time can do anything they like with it. Copy it, tweak it, sell it, or whatever they darn well please . I’d prefer to be given credit as the original author but that is not a requirement.

This of course does NOT extend to the images in the posts that are not made by me. I have made sure to include image credits for all images that aren’t my own, so that it’s easy to tell which go into the public domain and which do not.

To make sure that the waiver of rights applies in as many jurisdictions as possible the above-mentioned work is also released under the Creative Commons Zero 1.0 license.


Preliminary table of contents for the series

1) The boring introduction
2) Event deck structures
Interlude 1: Sad news about VPG
3) Designer control, storytelling, and pivotal events
4) Tension vs. variation
5) Dice, event resolution, and combat
Interlude 2: It's alive!
6) Track systems
7) Representation of player and enemy units
8) Sidetracks
Interlude 3: These posts are in the public domain
9) Embedded minigames
10) The Currency of the States of Siege
11) Math attacks
12) Defense against math attack.
13) Are the States of Siege games luck fests?
14) The three production processes
15) Sort of the end
Appendix: BGG rankings and publication order.
+ potentially a new series of posts with my ranking and mini-reviews of the games.
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Thu Jun 9, 2022 11:55 am
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Morten’s guide to the States of Siege series – part 8: Sidetracks

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Israeli Independence had five tracks for the enemy armies and that was basically it. Soviet Dawn expanded this by adding a non-enemy-army sidetrack representing the political power of the communists. If the counter on this track goes to one end, you immediately lose and if it goes to the other, you immediately win.

In some ways it’s like the normal tracks: 1 token moves along it, event cards can affect it, you can push it in the favorable direction by spending an action to make a die to roll and compare to a threshold number, and you lose if it reaches one end. All features of the normal tracks.

It’s a different in how it regresses, though, and the fact that you can win by getting to one end of the track is an important difference compared to the normal tracks.
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Thu Jun 9, 2022 6:25 am
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How to make AI scoring feel satisfying – part 2

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Instead of writing a long and boring introduction to this second part of yesterday’s How to make AI scoring feel satisfying I’ll just jump right in .
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Fri Jun 3, 2022 6:58 am
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How to make AI scoring feel satisfying – part 1

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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This 2-part blogpost series is a (hopefully) improved version of a post from 2019 merged with parts of a 2018 post.

I try to make my Automas (artificial opponents) feel like playing against a human player, but as mentioned in a previous blogpost there are exceptions to this. One of them relates to scoring and simulating the skill level of human opponents.
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Thu Jun 2, 2022 1:21 pm
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