ones upon a game

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

Archive for Kevin L. Kitchens

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Imperial Assault As a Solo Experience

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Picked up Star Wars: Imperial Assault on pre-order with the full expectation of only playing it solo. There are variants for other games using the same engine, so it will not be long before one works for this one. While those other games are hampered with a fantasy theme, SW:IA takes place in the (obviously) Star Wars universe. So big plus there.

I had already played (and lost) the tutorial example a few nights ago. Admittedly it only uses the basic rules, but with two characters it's hard to keep the Imperial from running to an accessing a terminal. You have no power to block their movement, at the very least they can pay an extra movement point to get through you.

So I played the tutorial one more time last night to try to get down the rules and flow. This time started with the two characters I didn't use before, but before my first turn decided to add a third, as it becomes very difficult to move to attack and cover the terminals that are (as noted) a victory condition.

As I type this, I realize that I probably should have given the Imperial one extra troop because of the third character, but oh well.

I also removed the "access a terminal" win condition (for the tutorial) because of the rush the terminal and access it ease.

-------------------

Tutorial Session Report
Characters: Diala Passil, Gaarkhan, Jyn Odan

Round 1:

Gaarkhan immediately opens the western door and closes on the imperials with his vibro-axe. Uses his charge ability to get in range of the Probe Droid and embarrasses himself on life-day by whiffing. The Probe Droid counters for 2 damage and then moves toward the open door.

Jyn moves through the base to cover the open door. Stormtroopers team up on Gaarkhan and hit him for 4 more damage and disperse, two toward the west door, one to the east. Diala opens the eastern door and moves toward the battle. The Imperial Officer runs for the cover of the bunker, then takes a cheap shot at Gaarkhan, adding another damage.



Round 2:

Diala quickly dispatches the Imperial Officer with her Plasteel Staff. One of the stormtroopers moves and attacks Jyn for three points of damage while the other two pick on Gaarkhan for another five points. Gaarkhan stumbled toward the troopers, straining himself in the process. He immediately kills one and then with a combination of attack and charge, eliminates the other. The Probe Droid move to a better vantage and hits Gaarkhan enough to wound him permanently. Jyn finishes off the last stormtrooper with a couple of well placed shots from her blaster.

Round 3:

Diala closes on the Probe Droid and uses her Precise Strike ability to hit it for three damange. The Probe Droid moves out of melee range and attacks Diala, but she saw it coming and mitigates the damage to only three. Gaarkhan is warmed up and closes in and takes another swing at the Probe Droid, this time connection for another three damage and Jyn Odan finishes him off with a shot from her blaster.

Base secured!


-------------------

This really is a fun game. I plan to move on to the skirmish mode. There is a canned team set up for the skirmish rules demo, so I will play that first... it gets Vader and Luke into the mix as well! That should be the easiest to solo as card draws are easy enough to handle blindly.

Stay tuned...
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Wed Dec 24, 2014 6:58 pm
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Merry Christmas to All My Solo Gaming Friends!

Kevin L. Kitchens
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The above is a photo composition of mine entitled "Ghosts of Christmas Past". Each of the dates is of significance to me for various reasons, but the thought of the memories captured each year within each ornament inspired the shot...

Anyway I want to wish all of my friends here on BGG, the 1 Player guild and both of my subscribers to this blog a VERY Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...
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Wed Dec 24, 2014 5:51 pm
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Final Day to Win One of Three Cool 36-sided Dice

Kevin L. Kitchens
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I backed the Kickstarter for the Merged-D6 (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/747049968/the-merged-d6...) at the beginning of the year... And after a roller-coaster, missing persons fulfillment process, I finally got in my dice. But I ordered too many, so I decided to give three of them away.

Two are currently in the Games for Geekgold (G4GG) - December 2014. Tip as low as 1GG for a chance to win one of those. I capped the GG per person to 50 to keep someone from stacking the deck.

The two geeklist items are:

Merged D6 G4GG Giveaway 1 of 2
Merged D6 G4GG Giveaway 2 of 2



The other requires you to join the fantasic 1 Player guild but all you have to do is Thumb the contest entry thread here:

What If We Give It Away? Merged D6 to a member of the 1-Player Guild!
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Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:45 pm
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What Solo Games Are You Most Looking Forward To In 2015?

Kevin L. Kitchens
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The Sixth Annual poll of the most anticipated games of the coming year is now accepting nominations.

Some of us in the 1 Player guild (if you're not a member, why not?) have nominated several games for the 20 Most Anticipated Board Games of 2015 - NOMINATIONS ARE CLOSED. The top 20 nominations will advance to the final voting. There are a lot of MP games, but we need to get solo games the respect they deserve!

Visit the main page and view them all and upvote the ones you're excited about! Or click the nomination links below to go straight to some of these awesome titles.

Some of those on the list tagged as solo:

Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front – Solo Expansion [Nomination]
Fireteam Zero [Nomination]
Hostage Negotiator [Nomination]
MERCS: Recon – Counter Threat [Nomination]
V-Commandos [Nomination]


There are many other solo games that can be found here with the current rankings among solitaire:

http://www.rvinyard.com/20most/2015/nominations.html#solitai...

Also Cooperative games which usually can be played solo:

http://www.rvinyard.com/20most/2015/nominations.html#coopera...

And this link takes you to the current rankings (only the top 20 advance)

http://www.rvinyard.com/20most/2015/nominations.html
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Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:36 pm
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I'd Like to Fight Aliens, Please... Not Your Darn Rulebook!

Kevin L. Kitchens
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I had not heard of Alien Uprising during the Kickstarter phase, but when it was released it immediately seemed like the kind of game that was up my alley. Sci-Fi, minis, combat... hurray! Then this Video Review by BoardGameBrawl totally put the fire out.

But there was still a smoldering ember and then this review: The Purge: # 411 Alien Uprising: Castle Panic mixed with Starship Troopers and more rules stoked it back into a flame...

So I managed to pick it up in a BGG Auction with all the Kickstarter bits and could not wait for it to come in and get on the table.

So it did and I did and then started to read the "rulebook". The book should be titled "Random Thoughts and Disjointed Bulletpoints Concerning the Alien Uprising Board Game". It's a mess.



A mess supposedly "fixed" by the "living FAQ". This FAQ is simply even more bulletpoints and notes about the game that one is expected to mentally intertwine with the rulebook in order to play the game correctly.

I'm a little shocked about the lack of love this game has been getting from the community. It's not really a bad game in and of itself (assuming of course that I'm actually playing it correctly). There is a lot of waste to the game though (the minis are superfluous and add nothing to the experience, more about that in a final review). But on the whole, it's about a ship and crew in distress, the incoming waves of alien critters and the balance between fighting them off and getting the ship repaired. Not a bad theme and not a bad implementation.

However how the player is to learn how they interact with the implementation needs a lot of work. I want to play games by the rules. If a rule is stupid or doesn't work, I'm not against house ruling some changes as needed. But in general I want to experience play as intended before I make those decisions. I've had this on the table about a week, been through several turns, but still don't have 100% confidence that I'm doing everything right. Buried in the FAQ and Rules are some unobvious rule exceptions worthy of Advanced Squad Leader.

Back to the love... normally a game at this stage would have many more file uploads from the community. Learning curve reductions, cheat sheets, etc. This one has three files (two from the designers, one from the community). Has the complexity of the rules just kept people away? The Kickstarter had 977 backers, 920 of which were for more than the token $1 support. Of those 920 are there so few on BGG?

Perhaps they are all just super smart and understand the game and how to play it far better than I do? Perhaps I'm just dense?

What Alien Uprising needs is to have the rulebook rewritten, including the clarifications from the FAQ. Yes, it's a time consuming process to create clear rules, but if this is a labor of love for the designers, you'd think they'd want their game to be more than a flash in the pan faded into obscurity. And that's where this one is headed it would seem.
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Fri Dec 5, 2014 4:51 pm
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Yesterday... a Paperback Song Parody

Kevin L. Kitchens
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For obvious reasons, the game Paperback always makes me think of the song "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles. Well due to the recent dockworkers strike in Los Angeles, the second printing was delayed arriving in port. Supposedly until yesterday... But no update from the game's creator*.

EDIT: Apparently there was an update last night around 8:00...

Quote:
Just got word that it is released and we are arranging delivery to the fulfillment warehouse. Addresses have been sent and the packages should be going out next week. I did end up using direct mail for the EU packages instead of a re-shipper to try to get them there for Christmas. This won't get around VAT, so if you have to pay it, ping me for a refund for the VAT amount.

I'm a sucker for word games (hopefully will have my own word game design Lexidron to market this year), so I jumped to get in on this second printing. But yesterday came and went, leading to this song parody. Also of a Beatles song...



Yesterday

Yesterday...
My new copy seemed so far away.
Then the customs rules were stripped away.
Oh how I hope, 'twas yesterday.

Spelling words...
Not as fun as how it's going to be...
But there's a barrier betwixt it and me.
Oh Paperback, please come quickly.

Why we have to wait?
I don't know, but all the same.
This delay... Is far too long.
I want my game, like yesterdayyyy

Yesterday...
I was content with other games to play.
But Paperback was coming soon they say.
Are we to believe, 'twas yesterday?

Why we have to wait?
I don't know, but all the same.
This delay... Is far too long.
I want my game, like yesterdayyyy

Yesterday...
I was content with other games to play.
But Paperback was coming soon they say.
Are we to believe, 'twas yesterday?
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Thu Dec 4, 2014 12:55 pm
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Drifting Away From the Legendary Luck in Xia

Kevin L. Kitchens
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I love dice. I love rolling dice. I love dice providing randomization in games.

I'm not a randomness hater.

However, sometimes randomization that cannot be mitigated or limited can sometimes ruin a great game session. Such is the case in Xia: Legends of a Drift System. Die rolls can win the game, die rolls can lose the game. You can go from fine to dead in a mere roll.

FAME BONUS

First off is the fame point bonus. In Xia anytime you are called upon to roll a d20, if you get a natural 20, you gain a fame point (the criteria for victory). Rolling the d20s usually come about during risky choices, so this is fine as you sailed through the sector so far from harm that your exploits became renowned... Good for you.

But conversely the opposite should also happen. If you roll a natural 1, shouldn't it reflect a loss to your fame?

So I propose the following rule:

d20 rolls: natural 20 = +1 FP, natural 1 = -1 FP (min 0)

TRAVELLERING (I loved Traveller)

Then there are times when you take damage from flying into dangerous sectors. In one case, it's all or nothing... you are safe or you die. This can ruin a game fast.

To this end, I propose the following changes to sector-based damage:

Asteroid: Roll d20 and d6. If d20 = natural 1, take 2x the d6 in damage, otherwise if adjusted d20 = 1-10 take the d6 in damage.

Nebulae: Roll d20 and d6. If d20 = natural 1 take 2x the d6 in energy loss, otherwise if adjusted d20 = 1-10 take the d6 in energy loss.

Debris Field: Roll d20 and d6. If d20 = natural 1 and d6 = natural 1, ship destroyed, otherwise if adjusted d20 = 1-4, take 2x d6 in damage (may still destroy ship)

All cases assume the jump is to a known sector.
In the event of a blind jump a DM (die modifier) of -3 is applied to the d20 roll.

And as always...

Star: Blind jump, You dead. Known sector, You stupid. And dead.


What are your thoughts on luck in Xia or in games in general. Do you just detest die rolling? Why?
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Wed Dec 3, 2014 5:02 pm
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Improving the End Game - Agents of SMERSH

Kevin L. Kitchens
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FILE: Agents of SMERSH : Improved End Game Variant

DISCLAIMER: I no longer own the Cold War spy game Agents of SMERSH. This has nothing to do with the game itself, but more for personal reasons of which some of you may be familiar, but I won't rehash again here. When I got rid of it, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the game, so I removed my original upload of this variant from BGG and just washed my hands of its memory. While I still cannot bring myself to play the game again, it is still popular and still mostly a good game, so I decided enough time has passed to release this out into the wild again.

The biggest problem with the game Agents of SMERSH is that the ending is far too random. The players have no control as to whether they've actually achieved the conditions necessary to win the game. They essentially build up a bunch of Intel, trigger the end-game condition, and then hope the intel they have is enough to meet the current requirements.

Silly. Like a DA would go to court hoping he had enough evidence for a case (isn't that what the Grand Jury is for?).

So this variant attempts to give a lot more control to the players and give them a tangible goal to end the game.

Essentially the agents will still travel the globe acquiring Intel, but then when they get sets of the various intel types, they must travel to a predetermined location to secure the evidence towards the case against Dr. Lobo (not of the "I'd Love You To Want Me" or B.J. and the Bear variety).



Anyway, it takes a good game and IMO makes it better and more fun to play. Hope you do too.

FILE: Agents of SMERSH : Improved End Game Variant
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Wed Dec 3, 2014 2:47 pm
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War of the Ring: Pre-emption of the Fellowship

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Did not finish the game.

This has definitely got to be better with two different people playing each side. It might be ok solo if you have larger time blocks to play. But in the end the playing a couple of turns, then leaving it for 24 hours was just getting old. Finally last night, I decided that I'd had enough of the delay. It'd been on the table for 8 nights, over 1/4 of the month and I was ready to move on to something else.

I love playing the game though and developing a strategy for each side. But trying to play it out schizolo just was not working for me. I can see why it's so highly ranked for sure and would love to play against a real opponent sometime (and will try the Java client).

But as my chances to play physically against another player are rare, I see no need to hang onto this one. Bittersweet for sure, but I listed it on the BGG Marketplace so hopefully it will find a good home with someone who can play it regularly.
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Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:25 pm
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Happy Thanksgiving Day (in the US), Elsewhere, Just Give Thanks

Kevin L. Kitchens
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While the US celebrates Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of November, no matter where you are in the world or when you are on the calender, you can be thankful for all the have, be it much or be it little.

We can whine and complain about so many things (especially the day beforeduringafter sales), but to do so we lose sight of all we have that perhaps others don't. Like advance copies of Imperial Assault. Or maybe food. Or a place to live? You know, more serious things.

So hopefully, at least in the US, you'll be celebrating with friends and family today. But be careful who you open your door to.

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Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:30 am
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