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I am almost exclusively a solo gamer and look at the gaming scene seen through those eyes. I also literally like alliteration. TWITTER: @onesuponagame

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2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part IV

Kevin L. Kitchens
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And now we're finally to the my current Top 5 games for solitaire play. This of course means Single Player Only (SPO) games, games designed for one or more players/roles, games designed for two or more that have official or community-designed solo variants, and of course, two-player wargames that with limited or no hidden information are easily played by a single player playing both sides (not for all, but pretty typical for wargamers).

Before the final list, I thought I would add both some of the honorable mentions as well as games that I received and/or played after I compiled my list. This also includes games I don't yet have, but hope to have a chance to experience in the coming year.

So in no particular order...

HONORABLE MENTIONS

V-Commandos - Excellent stealth based WW2 themed action management game. Various missions, terrain layouts, and character combinations give this a lot of replayability. Hopefully will be able to get the expansion packs soon. Have recently played and most likely would have made my top 20 this year.

Lunarchitects - Worker placement game for 1-5 that solos right out of the box against two dice-driven AI that remove tiles. Your goal is to construct the best moonbase you can to conform to three known scoring criteria. Have recently played and most likely would have made my top 20 this year.

Thunder in the Ozarks: Battle for Pea Ridge, March 1862 - Followup to the wonderful Stonewall's Sword: The Battle of Cedar Mountain, I've not yet had a chance to play this one, but looking forward to the next in the system.

Enemy Action: Ardennes - This was an honorable mention last year and unfortunately never made it to the table for solo play. I played the two player against myself as recommended to learn the system, but that was so long ago that I've probably forgotten most of it (what did I have for lunch yesterday anyway???). 2016: #95

Warfighter: The WWII Tactical Combat Card Game - Just now breaking this one out and while the modern version is very good, hoping the WW2 theme might put this one over the top.

Lock 'n Load Tactical - Lock 'n Load Publishing, LLC. has licensed the Conflict of Heroes solo AI system from Academy Games, Inc. and will be releasing in 2017 a universal AI to play the existing games in the series like Lock 'n Load Tactical: Heroes of Normandy and Lock 'n Load Tactical: Heroes of the Pacific.

High Frontier (Third Edition) - Could 2017 be the year this becomes a reality? The KS management has left a lot to be desired, but designer Phil Eklund has drawn a line in the sand and if the developer fails will take the project over to insure it eventually gets fulfilled. Still worried though that this game is far above my capacity, but we'll see.

Nemo's War (second edition) - Looking forward to this one, though it will unfortunately not contain the excellent laser cut counters Victory Point Games is famous for. Their new printing strategy is becoming more "normal" (Hello China!) and like we saw with Dawn of the Zeds (Third edition) the components of a lower quality -- but still not so bad as their original ones (ick!).

The Goonies: Adventure Card Game - Simply a wonderful game that adapts very well to single player. Hopefully it will become more widely available soon. Have recently played and most likely would have made my top 20 this year.

Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire - Cannot wait to try this followup to Navajo Wars. Will it be better? Or will both make the list next year???


And now... The Top Five!

5. Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #16
This one killed the Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game for me (although the superhero theme and all that baggage didn't hurt). The Alien edition is just an excellent deckbuilder that while built on the original Legendary system, added new elements to make it far superior. The Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game Expansion is only going to make it better.


4. Star Trek: Frontiers
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #100
Review: Nothing Compares 2U - A Ones Upon a Game Review
For years we heard so many good things about the Mage Knight Board Game and those of us with objections to the magic/fantasy theme were left out of enjoying this genius of design. Fortunately that crisis of conscience is resolved with the release of WizKids adaptation of the system to the Star Trek IP. And all we heard about the system is correct: Vlaada Chvátil has created a masterpiece design that combines many gameplay mechanics to create a unique experience. Kudos to Andrew Parks for taking this and adapting it where no knight has gone before.


3. Scythe
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #6
Was not sure that Jamey Stegmaier and Stonemaier Games would be able to top the success of Viticulture, but with the post WWI alternate history Scythe he certainly has. Including the excellent Automa system which can be used for one or more competing AI, the solo player has many options for enjoying this amazing and captivating world created by artist Jakub Rozalski.


2. Terraforming Mars
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #23
Science-themed games (especially ones related to Mars) appear to be on the rise these days and Terraforming Mars from Jacob Fryxelius and Stronghold Games is one of the best. With a built-in and excellent solo ruleset, the sheer number of cards and the variety of starting corporations insures a different challenge each session.


1. Combat Commander: Europe
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100)
Review: If You Love It So Much, Why Don't You Marry It Then? - A Ones Upon a Game Review
To quote Tina Turner: "You're simply the best, better than all the rest..." In terms of pure enjoyment while playing, this Chad Jensen designed WW2 card-driven game is just that: the best. While other tactical games add more chrome in various ways, CC:E keeps the focus on the small squads and infantry battles that comprised most of the skirmishes in WW2. The card driven game play perfectly simulates the confusion of command, limitation of supplies, and simply the chaos of the battlefield. So yes, in my opinion it is not only the best overall tactical combat system out there (others come very close), but the most fun and narrative creating game there is by session. While there is of course no solo AI for CC:E and does involve some hidden information in terms of what cards are held, playing the game solo is extremely easy to do for the dedicated soloist and/or wargamer.


Thanks for reading this series and to those who took part in the People's Choice voting this year. We're all different and have different tastes and getting an (ahem) aggregated look at what everyone likes is certainly helpful to our decision making process.

And harmful to our wallet.

SERIES INDEX:
My List 21-17: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part I
My List 16,14-11: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part II
My List 10-6: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part III
My List 5-1: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part IV
Official Results: 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games (+)
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Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:04 pm
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2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part III

Kevin L. Kitchens
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And the beat goes on... Today begins my top 10 games that can be played solo -- either by design or by variant or by split personality.

10. Gears of War: The Board Game
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #17
This is one I came to solely at the recommendation of other gamers. I'd never played the video games (and still have not, though I'm tempted to get the PC versions). Corey Konieczka has become a whiz at converting other IP to playable, replayable, and enjoyable board games and Gears is a masterpiece. Tense, fun, variable... and hard too! It's a shame that not only has Fantasy Flight Games let this one go out of print (get it if you can!!!), but also that this amazing system has not simply been adapted to other properties. In fact, it shocks me that our talented gaming community has not done something similar. Ooh... ideas!!!


9. Roll for the Galaxy
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100)
Now it may seem odd that I have Roll for the Galaxy a few spots ahead of the mature sibling Race for the Galaxy and perhaps the only reason I do is that it's a little faster and a little clearer to play. Unfortunately there is not a solo option included. Fortunately, there is an excellent solo variant from the community (Roll for the Galaxy Bot (Unofficial)).


8. Cruel Necessity
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #56
The pre-eminent game in the Victory Point Games States of Siege Series, CN is set during the English Civil Wars of 1640-1653. It takes the player on an historic journey in three acts and presents not only tough choices, but limited options to balance the scales in their struggle.


7. Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Operation Barbarossa 1941 (second edition) + Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front – Solo Expansion
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #53
Review: Solitaire's The Only Game In Town - A Ones Upon a Game Review
Last year finally saw the release of the long awaited solo AI for Academy Games, Inc. CoH series. While I did not wait near so long as others did (3+ years), the wait appears to be worth it. If there is any downside to the Solo AI, it's that it's only designed to work with the 10 firefights included -- and not the original game scenarios. Mitigating this minor disappointment (the solo missions are all replayable with different outcomes based on the AI and your own reactions) the Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear – Firefight Generator does allow for the creation of missions compatible with the solo system. But CoH alone has itself been a very easy game to play solo against yourself too, so this is just icing on the already iced cake. (The solo system is also being licensed and adapted for use with the Lock 'n Load Tactical series next year, so yay!)


6. Pandemic: The Cure
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #35
Review: I Want a New Drug - A Ones Upon a Game Review
Best. Pandemic. Ever. Matt Leacock easily outdid the big brother Pandemic in this quick, fun, and easy to play (not to win) dice management challenge. And while I've not actually played Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, since it's essentially Pandemic with some destroyed cards, I cannot see how it would be better of a game than Pandemic: The Cure. Not that the evolving experience itself would not be fun of course, but the actual game sessions? The newly released Pandemic: The Cure – Experimental Meds expansion (just restocked in OLGS too!) means this superior version is going to have legs of its own for some time to come.


Monday, the list will will conclude with my top 5 selections.

SERIES INDEX:
My List 21-17: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part I
My List 16,14-11: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part II
My List 10-6: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part III
My List 5-1: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part IV
Official Results: 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games (+)
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Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:00 pm
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2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part II

Kevin L. Kitchens
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The saga continues...

16. Burgle Bros.
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016 #64
Designer Tim Fowers followed the success of the stylish and entertaining word game Paperback with a completely different game in theme and mechanics, while retaining the visual design aesthetic. This caper/heist stealth title offers a great deal of variety, strategy, and replayability.


15. This item has been removed from my selections following submission of ballot. (Prediction: Will Make the Top 100)

14. Space Cadets: Away Missions
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100)
When previous games in the "Space Cadets" line would appear on BGG or OLGS sales, I'd check for solo variants to no avail. Then this new mission based "crawl" came onto the scene with rave reviews and I'm thrilled they were all correct. With a 50s camp theme (expect Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo to offer commentary), but solid and strategic gameplay this release from Stronghold Games is a treat. Designed by: Dan Raspler and Al Rose.


13. Race for the Galaxy + Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #11
Review: Eminently Racing for the Gathering Domain of the Stormy Galaxy
I don't think this one ever gets old. Features one of the first and best in genius "bot" design. Sure the iconography can be daunting to new players, but once you learn it, you know it (and it actually makes visual sense). This Thomas Lehmann design published by Rio Grande Games is already a classic in its ninth year in-print. Hopefully they won't trendishly (and Cher-ishly) uniname it "Galaxy" for its 10th year anniversary like Catan did. whistle


12. MERCS: Recon
(Prediction: Will NOT Make the Top 100)
If MegaCon Games could improve their business-side of things to be half as good as their game designs, they'd be a major force to contend with. 2016 finally saw the release (to backers and some limited distribution) of the MERCS: Recon series including to two base games MERCS: Recon – Counter Threat and MERCS: Recon – Assassination Protocol along with ten expansion packs (forthcoming to retail). There is already a lot of game in this system for 1-5 players. In addition you can use the miniatures to play the MERCS 2.0 tabletop game. Unfortunately there has not been enough exposure to the gaming community, let along soloists for this to make the Top 100. This year. In this futuristic Brian Shotton design, players take on the role of a MegaCorp trying to complete a mission in an competing corporation's HQ. Truly soloable -- though not single-player-only (SPO) -- the game requires five Mercs to be controlled, so if you're one of the few who doesn't like to handle dual (pental?) duty, this won't be for you. But otherwise, grab this one while you can if you like tactical combat games against a great AI system with nearly infinite replayability.


11. Navajo Wars
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2015: #37
Joel Toppen's magnificent debut entry into the "First Nations" series (now followed by the just released (and already receiving rave reviews) , also published by [company=52][/company]) has been beloved by soloists since it's release in 2013. And with good reason. The low-key theme presents the lives of the American Indian from a perspective not normally considered. Add to it a brilliant game design and it's easy to see why this game is such a critical and gamer success. If you can get a copy, do so -- though they are scarce until a reprint (soon???).


Tomorrow we'll break the top 10...


SERIES INDEX:
My List 21-17: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part I
My List 16,14-11: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part II
My List 10-6: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part III
My List 5-1: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part IV
Official Results: 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games (+)
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Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:55 pm
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2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part I

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Has it been a year already? The 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games (it's the third annual -- this is becoming a habit!) nominations are over, the results have been tabulated and the winners are slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwly being revealed over the next several days.

Like last year (2015 People's Choice - Compiling my Top 20 Solo Games - Part Uno) over the next four days I'll be likewise revealing my top 20 (or so). These are the ones I submitted for my one lone vote (out of several hundred or so I would presume). I'll also note my prediction as to whether I think the game will actually appear in the top 100 this year. This is not a list of just games that came out this year, but games of all time that are designed for solitaire play or have either an official or unofficial variant for them -- or simply just play well with a single player playing both sides. If you play it solo, it can be included.

My list will actually start at number 21, but there will still be only 20 games listed. My entry for 15th place I have since scratched for personal reasons. While the game itself is good, even great, I've since soured on it due to the public behavior of the designer. This is not something I do lightly, but in this case I feel is warranted -- and that's all I will say on the matter.

So without further ado... until the list is complete and then we can say "adieu" to this year's effort... my Top 20 games:

21. Dead Reckoning
(Prediction: Will NOT Make the Top 100)
Hermann Luttmann has been a busy designer this year (as well as developer on other games). This "Zombies invade a small town" game from Tiny Battle Publishing could have simply been another in a overcrowded and tired genre, but the gameplay mechanics including the impulse deck and diceless card based combat resolution make it a very fun experience. Unfortunately limited exposure will prevent it from reaching the Top 100.


20. In Magnificent Style
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100)
This press your luck game themed on Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg remains high in my collection. Simple to play, hard to win and beautifully produced by Victory Point Games it is the promised start of a series that has a couple of more titles in development. Get it while you can as VPG may be abandoning the lovely laser count counters in the future.


19. FUSE
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #86
Review: You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Baby - A Ones Upon a Game Review
If you like your games tense and frantic, then you'll love FUSE from Renegade Game Studios. This 2015 title seemed to come alive among soloists this year and for good reason. While I'm not a fan of required digital add-ons to games, Renegade did it right by creating a mood-setting, yet completely optional, countdown timer app.


18. Viticulture + Tuscany: Expand the World of Viticulture
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #5
I'm surprised this one didn't end up higher on my list, but didn't fudge things. Viticulture (in one of its many and confusing variations) from Stonemaier Games is an amazingly good worker placement game about making and selling wine. That it brought us the brilliant "Automa" AI mechanic by Morten Monrad Pedersen is just more fruit from the same vine of excellence.


17. Freedom: The Underground Railroad
(Prediction: Will Make the Top 100) 2016: #41
Academy Games, Inc. is known for games with much historic detail and I'm not sure anyone else could have produced a game that so properly handles a difficult subject. But this Brian Mayer design treats the issue of slavery in America with sensitivity and restraint, while staying faithful to true historic narrative. There is a real sense of pain when one of your rescuees is recaptured and joy when they make it through the Underground Railroad to Canada. A masterpiece!


SERIES INDEX:
My List 21-17: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part I
My List 16,14-11: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part II
My List 10-6: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part III
My List 5-1: 2016 People's Choice Awards - My Own Top 20 Solo Games - Part IV
Official Results: 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games (+)
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Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:56 pm
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The Role of Player Count & Playing with the Role Count

Kevin L. Kitchens
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While game publishers are starting to standardize on cute little icons to give shoppers features feedback about games, they still cannot settle on how to clearly convey the actual values to use. Especially on player count.

Sure we see the icon of a couple of stick figure gamers hunched over a board with a player count clearly labeled "2-4" or some such. However this is not always entirely accurate.

There is a difference between the number of players a game requires and the number of "roles" or sides the game needs. I suggest that for the sake of providing better information to gamers, both counts should be labelled.

This problem cuts both ways. Many times a game is labelled as being for 1-n players, but requires a minimum number of "roles" to be played. For a solo gamer this is going to require them to take on multiple hands in the game and while most are up to this challenge, others prefer not to do so.

Take MERCS: Recon for example. While the box correctly lists 1-5 players, in reality, the game requires that 5 distinct MERC characters are played. Soloists must then manage all five, two to five players can split the load however they see fit. Again, while this is completely possible for most, there were some complaints by gamers who mislead by the "1" minimum player count. They assumed that this meant they could play a single MERC and the game would scale down to that experience.

Technically any game CAN be played solo of course, but we're trying to stay at least somewhat realistic, right?

Grognards normally have no problem playing a two-sided wargame by themselves. However games where two or more roles are actually competing against the other role should never be listed as a minimum player count of "1". GMT Games and other companies are very good at listing the "solitaire suitability" of their games as a separate indicator. This is usually a factor of how much hidden information the game requires for each side (harder to solo) as well as chaos introduction mechanics like chit pulls or event cards (easier to solo). So while gamers may choose to play these alone, the real player count is should be expressed as more than one.

For all its faults, Star Trek: Five-Year Mission actually got the player count vs. role count thing right... at least with regard to the box text. I'm not sure if they were trying to be accurate or simply clever but on the bottom of the box lid it reads "A Cooperative Game for 3-7 Crewmates.". Had they said "players" instead of "crewmates", they'd be guilty as well as the game is fully playable solo (as are 99.99999% of all cooperative games). But by using "crewmates" they draw attention to the roles being played vs. the player count.

In the end we have a mishmash of player counts when they mean role counts and vice versa. The time has come to provide both nuggets of knowledge so gamers can make informed decisions. So my suggestion is to keep the current "player count" icon, but correctly identify the actual number of players required. As stated for most cooperative games, this would be "1" and up. For competitive games -- where each player is out for their own interest, this would be equal to the minimum number of roles required. Again, some may choose to solo this, but that's up to them.

To demonstrate the "role count" use a separate icon, in my example the standard "meeple" figure and beneath that display the number of roles required. For ST:Five Year Mission, this would be "3-7" and for MERCS: Recon, just "5". If a game is cooperative, you'd have two meeples in the icon, holding hands in peace and harmony ("I'd like to buy the world a Coke..."). For competitive games, a single meeple would suffice, to indicate the roles are self-centered.



My horrible rushed Photoshop example...


In the end, there are plenty of games available to cover every gamer's personal taste (though I'm still waiting for "Single-Die Yahtzee"). Publishers should be willing and able to convey accurate and meaningful information to the consumer so they in turn can make better buying decisions.
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Thu Dec 8, 2016 2:10 pm
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GMT Dropping the Ball?

Kevin L. Kitchens
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UPDATE FROM GMT

GMT Games wrote:
Hi everyone!

Sorry, we messed this one up. Neither Tony nor I realized that the cards were going to stretch the box that much. When I was at the warehouse yesterday, Elizabeth showed me that the games don't stack well because of the pressure on the box. So I told them to open everything, then break down and re-shrink the offending card deck so that it's two smaller decks. This should solve the problem for shipments from now on, although it's bound to delay shipping for a couple days.

For you guys who already have the game, box issues excepted, you should have an otherwise-playable game (game play is really cool - Joel and Mike did a terrific job on this game), so please, don't hesitate to get Comancheria to your table and use the excellent tutorial included to get right into the action.

We've had several customers tell us that their boxes arrived in good shape, which is great. But if yours was crushed or otherwise damaged and you feel you should get a replacement, just let the office ladies know. I'd really appreciate if you could wait a few days on that, to let them get the rest of the decks reshrunk and games assembled before they deal with replacement requests.

Thanks, and again, please accept Tony and my apologies for the trouble.

Enjoy the games!

Gene

You could probably say I'm a big fan of GMT Games. Their titles occupy much space in my collection, primarily because the quality is just so good. Or at least has been. But the recent P-500 release of the long awaited Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire (the follow up to the massively popular Navajo Wars) hit my door step today and needless to say I was very excited (and with the game itself I still am, so don't get me wrong on that score!).

But GMT has been slipping even more of late with regards to shipping and now it seems it's fallen down on the actual packaging of their games too.

Forget that they charged an inconceivable flat rate of $19 for shipping in the US. The game was shipped in a medium flat rate box for $13.45 (which any savvy online seller knows can be purchased for about $11.60, especially one with the volume GMT does). So chalk the $5.55 perceived overcharge to "handling" and things would be bearable.

But my package arrived inside of the medium box with a only thin sheet of bubble wrap to protect it. The game had way too much room to slide around in the box and offered no structural support in transit. So, as expected the shipping box was a little crushed. But ok... the games are usually pretty secure in their own box, so all should be well, right?

(Let me interrupt here to say if that this was simply a problem of the game damaged in transit, I would not be posting here, but chatting with the ever helpful office staff at GMT who I'm sure would rectify things. They are normally aces.)

However, before I opened the game -- I'd planned to do an unboxing video -- it appeared the game shrink had been too loose, contents had shifted in shipping and something was wedging a deck of the cards up and pushing up on the box lid (sort of a reverse "dishing"). There was a clear bulge in the lid. Instead of waiting to do a video, I decided to go ahead and open the box and figure out what was wrong.

Turns out it was I that was wrong. It wasn't that the game contents shifted in transit. The game had intentionally been packaged poorly! As can be seen in the photo below, the large deck of development cards is way too big to allow the lid to properly close. Note the ruler spanning the edges of the box bottom and the wrapped card deck nearly 1/4" above that!



Rather than split the deck and wrap it into two separate stacks that would fit, GMT decided it was ok to cram the box lid on and shrink wrap the entire game to hold it all in place. This resulted in an unstable and wobbly package that when shifted around in transit (improperly packed as noted above) actually damaged the inside of the box bottom as one corner was crushed.



It is quite frustrating the comedy of errors that GMT shipping has become, but now their normal care in packing of actual games is slipping too. Hopefully their promised shipping system in the new year will alleviate the shipping problems, but it will take more than that to make sure the products are prepared correctly. Maybe they will be able to correct this before other copies are shipped out like this.
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Tue Dec 6, 2016 1:21 am
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Time to Be (not so) Terrible: Turning Two is (not so) Tough

Kevin L. Kitchens
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I was a little shocked last week when I realized that this blog would be turning two years old today. Even though I'd dabbled before with my previous BGG account that I closed (HawkeyeLonewolf anyone?), using an old "handle" from my early internet days, I wanted a fresh start with a "real" userid. Unfortunately I forgot to save all the old stuff I'd posted before -- reviews of Freedom: The Underground Railroad, Maquis, Ars Victor. The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 and more were lost for all time (stupid me not saving them as backups offline!).

But the past, as they say, it prologue... and this version of the blog turns two today. So Happy Birthday! Or Happy Anniversary! Or Happy whatever you say to a silly little column on boardgames from a solo perspective. Happy That!

I have enjoyed doing this greatly even though at times I've thought of just letting it drift off into memory. I've relished the ability to virtually meet all of you and share thoughts and comments and disagreements. I am thrilled with every little thumb I get and every comment. It tells me that it is appreciated and that keeps me from just letting it fade away.

So thank you to everyone who reads here and my posts out in the BGG wild (where it can be PvP sometimes). Thanks to the members of the 1 Player guild for their support and encouragement (even when they don't realize they've done it). Thanks to all the designers and publishers who have lent their support as well.

I appreciate each and every one of you.

Yes, even you. Even though you cause me so much grief.

No not you (you're so vain). You, over there. Yes, you. Sheesh.

So as Thanksgiving week begins tomorrow (in the USA, no offense meant to anyone outside the USA, batteries not included, may cause drowsiness), what a perfect time to coincide with this anniversary. With God's blessing and your support, may there be many more.

Thank you.

Now have some cake.

The cake is a lie.
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Sat Nov 19, 2016 3:40 pm
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Remembering

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Sun Sep 11, 2016 2:07 pm
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All Rise!

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Gainesville
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Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:38 pm
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June 2016 - Top Played Solitaire Games

Kevin L. Kitchens
United States
Gainesville
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Below are the top 10 played games for June 2016 based on their activity on the SGOYT Aggregator. These are based on unique entries for the month where a unique entry is one entry for a game counted per user each month. So while one gamer may have played and listed multiple times, the count is based on only one entry for that user.

Top Played Solitaire Games for June 2016 (LINK)
(rank. uniques - game)
1. 26 - Bowling Solitaire
2. 16 - 30 Rails
3. 13 - Dawn of the Zeds (Third edition)
3. 13 - Friday
5. 9 - Gears of War: The Board Game
6. 8 - Cuba Libre
6. 8 - Hostage Negotiator
6. 8 - Shadowrun: Crossfire
9. 7 - Castellion
9. 7 - Imperial Settlers
9. 7 - Leaving Earth
9. 7 - Pandemic: The Cure
9. 7 - Rallyman

For the month of June, a 47 year old classic and a print and play newcomer ran away with the top spots on the list. Sid Sackson was one of the most respected and prolific game designers in boardgaming history and his 1969 Bowling Solitaire took top honors this month with an amazing 26 unique plays and 49 total registered plays for the month. Prior to June, the game had only seen 23 total plays since the SGOYT began in May 2013. The solitaire game of bowling (hence its name) saw public recognition with the recently Kickstarted (and already shipping) combo pack of Elevenses for One (with Bowling Solitaire) by Eagle-Gryphon Games. In addition the 1 Player guild is currently running a Bowling League that has proven quite popular and certainly drove up the numbers. (You can find my counter-based version here as well: Getting Down in the Gutter and Converting a 47 Year Old Classic)

The annual 2016 Solitaire Print and Play Contest is in full swing and many great games have come from that one in the past. Its sister contest, the now completed 2016 One Page PNP Contest calls for games to be printable on a single sheet of paper. The 3rd place winner this year won the hearts and minds of soloists in June and 30 Rails took second place with an impressive 16 unique plays and 22 actuals in its first month appearing on the list. This simple and strategic train themed game has picked up a lot of steam (yeah, I said it) and should be riding the rails to many more months of popularity. Don't get sidetracked, be sure to check it out.

The super-dee-duper deluxe third edition of Dawn of the Zeds from Victory Point Games and Hermann Luttmann arrived this month following its blockbuster Kickstarter campaign. Copies made available for general sale after the fact were also quickly snatched up. It's a "no-brainer" then that this one placed high on the list with 13 unique plays (23 actual) recorded to tie for third with another -- albeit different type of -- survival game Friday by Friedemann Friese.

Monthly challenges kept several regular games on the list this month, including Gears of War: The Board Game, Pandemic: The Cure, and Rallyman. Self-published space explorer Leaving Earth showed it still has an out of this world following, keeping on the list tied for 9th place. Hopefully this one will get the attention of a larger publisher and some retail exposure.

GMT Games release a new COIN Series title last month with Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar but also reprinted two of its more popular titles in the series: A Distant Plain and Cuba Libre. The latter reprint is one of the more popular COIN titles due to its ease of (easier?) play and the revolution sparked allowed this insurgent to infiltrate the list in 6th place.

And what would a top 10 be without Van Ryder Games Hostage Negotiator making the list? My guess is that it would be November 2015, the last time this one didn't appear. For June it also had 8 plays to tie for 6th place. Of course their newly released Salvation Road may pull the Van Ryder groupies away as they too battle to survive in a Max Max (ish) world.

If you're enjoying these top 10 lists, let me know with a thumb if you would (I'm easily pleased) or add your comments below. To keep abreast of gaming from a solitaire perspective, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow me on (Twitter @onesuponagame) or Facebook

View all the previous Top Played Games monthly summaries.
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Thu Jul 7, 2016 2:04 pm
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