Solitaire Games on Your Table - September 2013
Jack Bennett
United States
Rougemont
North Carolina
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Welcome to the September edition of Solitaire Games on Your Table! As we quickly approach the end of summer, you can let the guilt of not being outside subside. As the days cool, you can take more time to lock yourself away from the rest of the world and play some solitaire games.

And when you do, come tell us about it.

September is also the official start to the 2013 Solitaire Print-and-Play contest! Many designers have already thrown their hat into the ring, and are right now working on free solitaire games just for the likes of you! So let's support them.

Last month, Tracy did a Session Report contest, so this month let's do a:

Playtesting Feedback Contest!

Ok, so the name is not as exciting, but here's the deal. Many designers put their games up in the contest as a way of getting feedback and playtesters. So head over to the contest page, find a game or three that look interesting, and give 'em a whirl. Leave some feedback for the designer (this is key), and come back here and tell us about the game. If you've already playtested some of these games, those count, too. As long as you come here and tell us!

At the end of the month, I'll collect entries into a drawing for 150bag for the first name I draw, and all that is tipped to this thread for the second name I draw (and can't be the first person twice)! You get one entry for the first game you playtest, two for the second, three for the third and so on (so if you play 2 games [and leave feedback about them!] you'll get 3 entires). I'll gather up the names and pull a random winner sometime at the beginning of October.

So go play some free games! There are some really great ones this year.

[Full disclosure: I do have a game in the contest, but it's got plenty of playtesters already. When picking games, unless you really want to try mine, please try and pick games that don't have any feedback yet! I'm not doing this to drum up playtesters for my own games.]

I'd like to thank all those who came before me:

Albert Hernandez
United States
Greenville
SC
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Ryan
United States
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Lone Warrior
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United States
Downingtown
Pennsylvania
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Tracy Baker
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Omaha
Nebraska
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Thanks to all of them for helping keep these lists alive and active. Next month, Ryan will take over again.

Also don't forget that you can subscribe to these lists right here.
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126. Board Game: Space Empires: 4X [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:488] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Board Game: Space Empires: 4X
Calvin Baker
United States
Carlsbad
New Mexico
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Played this a few times on Vassal solo. It worked alright, but this past week I decided to punch out the counters and set up the board. It has a totally different feel and plays really well.
First go was the Doom Machine on Easy. I played pipelines wrong - not to terrible effect- and forgot I had move 2, but it still worked well and was FUN!
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127. Board Game: Dungeon Roll [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:2498]
Board Game: Dungeon Roll
John Hedges
United Kingdom
Penrith
Cumbria, UNITED KINGDOM
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Got the KS edition of this as part of a bigger trade and gave it a whirl tonight.

It's really not a bad little time filler. It will probably get played more than Friday and D-Day Dice as it has pretty much no set up time.

I scored 24 points with the Battlemage.

And then only 16 points with the Minstrel.
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128. Board Game: History Maker Baseball [Average Rating:8.33 Overall Rank:4065]
Board Game: History Maker Baseball
Judy Krauss
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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I just finished watching the Pirates game, and now I am going to play some History Maker Baseball, using all of the advanced rules and playing both teams fairly. I got an extra set of the Manager Strategy cards printed so that I can do that. The Plaay.com website has a bunch of free downloads (including the Manager cards, a detailed scoresheet, extra player-created teams, variants, and more).

HMB's a fun game if you like baseball and can imagine the happenings as they occur. I'm not sure that it produces realistic results in replays, but then what sports replay game does? It's different from a lot of other baseball games I've played because it doesn't rely on hard stats, but instead on player qualities like "slugger" and "whiffer" and the charts are set up to provide a wide variety of outcomes (and some flavor text).

The game came with 2 sample teams (Cincinnati and Boston, 1975) along with some sample umpires and ballparks, but I also have the Century Fictional League set (so that realistic replays don't matter!) which has a lot of flavor in the names of the players and parks.



EDIT: fixed a spelling typo
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129. Board Game: Police Precinct [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1657]
Board Game: Police Precinct
Erik Racer
United States
Urbandale
Iowa
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It was a June like no other in Commonville. The mercury was all but boiling as both the streets and people baked under the angry summer sun. While the normal folk sought comfort from the unusual heatwave, the criminal element seemed to expand - like some foul science experiment gone wrong, evil electrons excited by the heat. To make matters worse, a visiting dignitary's son has been murdered. Over-worked and under-funded, the CPD put two of their veterans on the case - Sergeant Stand Hartley and Captain Frank Odell.

In Police Precinct you are tasked with maintaining law and order while investigating a murder. You have a limited amount of turns to apprehend the murderer. During a turn you have to decide whether or not to deal with an emergency, street punks, or search for evidence to add to your bulletin board. The kicker is that if the criminal elements get out of hand (need to place gang bangers and there are none, need to place a gang card and there isn't one, or you failed to clear an urgent emergency before the next one arrives) then the crime track increases. Too much crime and it's game over. So, just like today's boys in blue, your characters are asked to do more than they can possibly ever accomplish. A lot of nail biting ensues as you try to ferret out the best way to deploy your resources.

Its been a while since I've had this on the table. Things looked pretty good this time. Sergeant Harley's special ability that let him search investigation stacks at the beginning of each of his turns was excellent as it freed me up from having to waste turns searching. Things were looking great with lots of time left. By the time the murder appeared I realized I had made a tactical error ... actually a bone-headed one. Somehow I missed that there were two spaces to be filled for each of Autopsy and Statements. Arg. Unable to focus on the crimes in a mad rush to get the remaining cards before time ran out, I ended up losing to the crime tracker.

Fun, even though its just a bunch of random criminal events (apparently I'm OK with some randomness). Speaking of randomness, I randomly drew these two officers, but I'll make sure I play with them next time ... see if I can make up for my oversight.
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130. Board Game: Cuba Libre [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:511]
Board Game: Cuba Libre
Albert Hernandez
United States
Greenville
SC
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Playing this so I can talk about it on the show. I've played 2 games now... sloooow going trying to understand the rules. I think I'll be needing an extra week for this game.
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131. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:2786]
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Mikolaj Laczynski
Poland
Warsaw
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I played three games of Endless Nightmare - an entry in the 2013 Solitaire Print and Play Contest by
Morten Monrad Pedersen
Denmark
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It is a quick, push your luck, frustrating (in a good way) game with some interesting mechanics in which you are trying to survive as many nightmares as you can.

I only played the Basic version and want to try the Active version next.
I gave some feedback to Morten.
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132. Board Game: Thunderstone [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:680] [Average Rating:6.94 Unranked]
Board Game: Thunderstone
Erik Racer
United States
Urbandale
Iowa
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I just picked up Thunderstone due to a tempting daily deal and some positive comments on these lists. I don't really have much experience with deck building games other than The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game and, to a certain extent, Mage Knight Board Game.

I played using the "Simple Solo Thunderstone" rules. Midway through my series of games I introduced a small tweak. These solo rules have you roll a d4 to generate the AI's light, and then a d8 for its attack rating. An 8 is considered a "critical" hit and can take out any monster with a life of 8 or higher. I changed this so that it was only considered a critical hit at the currently allotted light level. So, if the AI rolled zero light, the 8 was only an 8, not a critical hit. Or, if an 8 and a 2, then if was a critical at dungeon ranks 1 and 2, but not 3. This prevented the AI from claiming items in any position just because I rolled an 8 and it seemed to balance out the game play for me.

So, what did I think of the game? I'm not sure. While I find LotR brutally difficult, I feel that I had more meaningful choices in that game. In TS, it was awesome when I'd get a perfect storm of cards and had my choice of any beasties in the dungeon ... but it felt more happenstance that anything I had really orchestrated. With that said, I played it four times today, and will probably give it another go before the night is through. So, while this doesn't grip me like PACG, I'm thinking it'll see the table a good number of times. Set up is kind of a pain, but, otherwise its fast and simple. Too bad most everything from base TS series is OOP.
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133. Board Game: A Spoiled Victory: Dunkirk 1940 [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:8236]
Board Game: A Spoiled Victory: Dunkirk 1940
Chris Hansen
United States
Riverton
UT
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This month, I've been playtesting the new Hermann Luttmann and Paul Fish solitaire game on the Dunkirk Evacuation of 1940. After several rule revisions and a few component changes, the game is now in final playtesting and should be released soon. I've really been enjoying this one.
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134. Board Game: Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:2464]
Board Game: Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp
Mikolaj Laczynski
Poland
Warsaw
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Just made it! I started 35 minutes before midnight and finished one minute before October

I played with the "Lab equipment rental" variant - you have to pay $1 before using equipment (whether you pass or fail the roll). It makes the budget tighter and makes you think twice about using (or buying) equipment.

It was going quite well. I was completing molecules. I was hindered a few times, when a mutation prevented me from destroying more molecules, because new ones covered the empty spaces around the researched ones.
I had trouble keeping the death toll low, although I did manage to keep it at 9 for three turns. I lost in the end. I ran out of time having researched all the easier molecules (and M), but K,L,N and O were left (and Marvin didn't cycle through the deck fast enough).

The "Rental" variant is interesting, although moments when you pony up and then fail the roll are frustrating as hell

A funny situation happened. I has $5 and I drew a bad "Budget Cuts" event which subtracts $5 from the budget. I thought "That's great. I will only be able to harvest one free protein each turn." But right after that I drew the good "Celebrity Cause" event which increases funding by $5 laugh
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135. Board Game: Space Empires: Close Encounters [Average Rating:8.30 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.30 Unranked]
Board Game: Space Empires: Close Encounters
Calvin Baker
United States
Carlsbad
New Mexico
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I decided to give this a go. I really enjoyed what it adds to Space Empires 4X. The first time I played, I ended the game at turn 6 because I was using the Victory Point system from the 2 player game. AP had 10 points. Second time around, I decided to play a little further and saw in the Scenario Book that there is a different point scale for the solo game. I ended the game at turn 10 with the feeling that the game could go on for another hour or so. It was AP 6 points and soon to be 4 points.
I was doing alright, but I knew that attacking the AP homeworlds would bog me down.
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136. Board Game: Dungeon in a Tin [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:10623]
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In a hole in the ground there lived a
United States
Kalona
Iowa
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Got this built last night and played it. It took me several tries to win. I like the fight mechanic-I've never seen anything quite like it before, but then I am sort of a noob. There's all kinds of promise for this base game!
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137. Board Game: Urbion [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:2356]
Board Game: Urbion
John Farrell
Australia
Rozelle
New South Wales
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I had to stop playing Pathfinder! That's only because I went on holidays and couldn't fit it into my suitcase. My wife and I are establishing a pattern where each September we go to South Australia and I go to a gaming convention while she marks her students' papers, and then we travel to various tourist destinations around SA. Last year while she did her marking I ended up playing a lot of Friday, so this year I was prepared and had a few solo games with me. I'm not going to add entries for all of them.

Probably my most interesting experience was with Urbion. Before this holiday, I'd played 4 times and won 3. It seemed easy enough despite the complaints on the forums that it was too hard.

In my first hand, all of the chaos cards came out early and all of them were negative - I think across the game there were 7 negatives and just one positive - and that made them very hard to balance against each other. I lost.

In the second hand, the chaos cards refused to come out at all. I claimed a few cities and was doing very well until they finally arrived. I just didn't have enough cards to get rid of them all before the game ended.

In the third hand I made the mistake of claiming too many cities and couldn't play any cards at the end, so I lost.

I don't even remember what happened in the fourth hand, but I lost that too.

Anyway, I found out some of the ways to lose at this game. I still don't think it's hard, I just think I need to broaden the range of things I think about while I'm playing it.
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138. Board Game: Sylla [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1636]
Board Game: Sylla
jonathan schleyer
United States
Manhattan Beach
California
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So I dug this game out of my shelves this weekend.

I've only played in a couple times in the past with 4 people and loved the theme.

I was curious if there was a way to play solo because I wanted to relearn the rules in the hope of perhaps teaching it - or not. I tend to have a challenging time finding the right partners for games. Forcing my family to play tends to backfire.

So I re-read the rules and decided to try a "2" player game.

I thought it worked pretty well actually.

The first consul is decided randomly in the first turn.

For all the other auctions the rules say who should bid first so I tried to do my best for each side. Granted it's not easy to out-think myself but I tried to bid as much as each side would realistically bid.

For the great buildings, where auctions are supposed to be simultaneous, I decided that the non first consul would bid first giving the first consul the privilege of knowing the bid. Knowing this the first player would bid as much as he could yet knowing ahead if he would probably be outbid or not.

Everything worked fine. I think my lack of experience with this game helped because I did not know until the very end who would win as I could not foresee major mistakes ahead of time.

It all went down to the last turn where player 1 had had more health tokens and thanks to the bath great building was able to spend all his money to improve the poor sanitary conditions in Rome - giving him the win.

I can't wait to play again in solo mode. It's fun and I just enjoy the theme which comes out so strongly in this game. I love the idea of being senators vying for power in ancient Rome despite all the calamities that strike the city.

Sylla kind of feels a little like a precursor of In the Year of the Dragon, Lancaster and Troyes, if it makes any sense, as the players need to cooperate against common threats yet try to get the most credit for it!

Worth looking into if you've never played the game. Probably better with other partners but still enjoyable solo in a weird playing against myself kind of way.
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139. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:28]
Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers
Levi Hobbs
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
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So I pulled this out again tonight after months of not playing it (like most games in my collection). I had played the solo once before and the score wasn't very exciting (70-something, where the "magical" suggested high-score to beat is 100).

I pumped out dwarf children as fast as possible, one per round starting on the first round you can wish for children.

I also discovered the Office tile for the first time during this game...it lets you build your dual tiles (tiles that are shaped like rectangles, not squares) so that part of them overhangs your board, and every time you do that you get +2G! So I took this concept and ran with it...ended up with 5 more rooms/mines in my cave than would have otherwise been normal by the end of the game.

I did a lot of ore mining and ruby mining. Capitalizing off this, I got the ore storage, treasure room, and stone storage rooms, which give bonus points for ore, rubies, and stone, respectively. These got me a ton at the end.

I also got a tile that gave +10 if you had all 6 dwarves. Realizing that the special room that's only for a 6th dwarf gets you +5, I feel like getting a 6th dwarf is a great idea, especially in a solo game where you know you can get him with about 4 rounds after to get use out of him besides all those points!

For food I lived off animals and did a few strategic actions throughout the game as well. Letting things build up to 7/8 things and then taking the actions was important, but not always.

Anyways, I was pretty excited when I totaled up my score and got 134!

I have kept looking for how I might have inadvertently cheated, but I can't find anything I did wrong...the 6 dwarves...how resources get cleared (it's only when there's more than 6 at the beginning of a phase)...how the office works...I can't find any way that I cheated. Feel free to let me know if anything occurs to you.

Here's pics of the endgame:

From gallery of levininja

From gallery of levininja

From gallery of levininja

From gallery of levininja

From gallery of levininja

From gallery of levininja

From gallery of levininja

From gallery of levininja
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