Solitaire Games on your Table - December 2013
chris leko
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Brooksville
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Welcome to the Solitaire Games on Your Table Geeklist for December 2013

If you're curious as to what the community has been playing in previous months and want to subscribe to our notification thread, check out Solitaire Games on Your Table Monthly Geeklist SUBSCRIPTION THREAD.

For this month's giveaway I was attempting to come up with something appropriately holiday themed, but I couldn't think of anything really original!

So. For this month, I'll be giving away GG to anyone who writes about a game they received for a holiday gift (any ol' holiday around this time, be it Christmas, Secret Santa, or Hanukkah). If you know who gave it to you, please give them a shoutout and tell them how much you appreciate it (they don't have to be a BGG member).

To keep those who missed the Secret Santa (like myself), or don't get games as holiday presents, I'll also be running a GG giveaway from those people who write a mini review for their games. I've seen a lot of great thoughts about why the games we play are great, but I think it'd be great if we put some structure to it. So, feel free to use your own format, or use the following:
d10-1Overview of the game
d10-2Overview of the rules
d10-3Things you don't like
d10-4Things you really like
d10-5Summary + Score (use whatever scoring system you would like to use).

I have a bit of GG thanks to the generosity of Mo, and any and all GG that is donated to this thread will go as prizes for this month's GG giveaways (if I'm running them or not).


I'm repeating this word of warning from previous lists.

A Word of Warning:

Since
Albert Hernandez
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Greenville
SC
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had the initial idea for this kind of geeklists they have become on one side an invaluable resource for solitaire gamers, but on the other side - a wallet cleaning vacuum ;-)
Under the influence of these geeklists:
+some contributors have bought solitaire games they didn't plan on buying.
+some contributors have bought expansions for solitaire games they don't even have yet, because they happened to show up at a shop they visit.
+some contributors spend more time reading and updating this list than actually playing.whistle

So browse at your own responsibility.

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*Special Note*

If you feel like you'd like to run a GG Giveaway in this list, please do! Mo's RFTG giveaway last month was a big success considering it started at the end of the month. Anything like that would be welcome.
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76. Board Game: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:4910] [Average Rating:6.32 Unranked]
Judy Krauss
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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I'm trying this Cryptozoic dice-based game (there are several games, it seems, with the same name from different companies) tonight. Not sure how I feel about it, yet. It's kind of a cross between Lord of the Rings and Elder Sign but without the nice artwork, or much flavor, IMHO.



I'm playing solo, and the rules aren't that different than with multi-player. But I think with multi-player co-op, there would be a lot of player interaction, since character tiles can be used to help others, and there are limited resource tiles that need to be shared among everyone.

It seems very luck dependent, not only because of the dice, but because of the 16 event cards (one of which is drawn before every turn until the deck runs out). Unlike Elder Sign, the player only gets one reroll (and must have allocated dice to a mission in order to "save" them) unless s/he can use a tile to gain more rerolls (or affect the dice in other ways). The use of the hero and resource tiles should add more strategy to the game, and it does, but the requirement to allocate dice (without necessarily completing the mission) to save them from being rerolled makes it more like luck/guessing since the player can't re-allocate them based on the rerolled dice.

I'm still not sure how well I like this game. I guess it will depend on whether I get the urge to play it again. I'm not feeling the need to write a variant or use house rules, either...
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77. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game: Space Marine Pack 1 [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked]
Shaun Austin
Australia
Townsville
Queensland
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I decided to try out one of the new Marine sets from the Space Marine pack #1.
Shuffled the draw deck and resolved to play the first set of three that included either the Orange or Black Marines.

I succeeded on my second attempt by getting both the Black and Orange set along with the Purple (Magenta). This gave me the Chaplain, Cyclone Missile Launcher and Flamer.
That has to be a good combination doesn't it? thumbsup

We started fine. The marines easily got through the first location with no casualties. The Events were mixed between good and bad, so I couldn't really complain.

The second location was where it all went down hill.
soblue
I only revealed bad Events for the entire location.
I also stuffed up my marine placement and had my two most important marines stay next to the entry points. The Cyclone went down first, followed by my Flamer. Having some extra genestealers from a Spawn and not enough firepower to lower their numbers meant that I continued to lose marines every round.
True to form the chaplain was the last one to die.
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I have to admit that I really enjoyed the game despite the loss. The Cyclone really did some damage during the first location and the chaplain's ability gives you some much needed space to think. However I believe the Black, Orange & Purple combination wasn't very good. The Purple's effect was too close to Orange. However it has convinced me to permanently include the extra Space Marines into the draw whenever I play a game.

(The Deathwing expansion is now on its way!)
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78. Board Game: Clash of Cultures [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:251]
Shaun Austin
Australia
Townsville
Queensland
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Played a solo game using #3 of the A list of ways to play C of C Solo. The only change I made was not making sure all the Barbarian tiles would be in the initial draw. This was to reduce combat (an advantage to the player) and also reduce the available land for food (a disadvantage to the player).

Everything started well because I was not encountering any barbarians. Something different from previous solo games. This meant that I really had it easy.
It was no surprise to find myself able to build exactly what I required when I required it. There were a few issues with resources early on, but the advances were able to quickly overcome that disadvantage.
However even though it was easy I really had a fun time.
I was able to utilize a new game engine that a previous human opponent had discovered. And that is where this game shines. Finding those little combinations that do amazing things to your civilization.
This was also the first solo game where I was able to build a Wonder.

The only thing I didn't do was reveal the whole board. My final explorer just decided to camp out, near a Barbarian outpost and not try to sneak past!

I used a fun "Cultural Influence" engine to cause the opponent to replace all his buildings with my Architecture. I then used my Armies to beat him into submission on the last turn, and win the game.

A very enjoyable game and my highest solo score yet!
(Although I probably won't count it as I didn't stick strictly to the rules)


End of Game
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79. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Massing at Osgiliath [Average Rating:7.91 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.91 Unranked]
Miah
United States
New Haven
Connecticut
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I've had this for a few months but haven't had a chance to play it yet since I got into Elder Sign and Mage Knight recently. For my return to LOTR I wanted to change things around a bit, so I built a shiny new Gondor deck using Tactics and Leadership. Boromir, Beregond and Imrahil were my heroes.

The Massing at Osgiliath is a very fun, immersive scenario. You are scouting around Osgiliath when you discover a large force of Easterlings and other enemies, led by the Witch-King of Angmar. Their scouts discover you at the same time, and immediately engage you while you attempt to get back across the river Anduin to Minas Tirith. Hidden in the Encounter Deck are Rangers of Ithilien who can help you fight off the enemy, but more and more of the dark forces are coming after you until finally the Witch-King engages and, of course, decimates your allies. When you play with a pure Gondor deck, as I did, you really feel like you are in the story. It's tense and exciting, and a great experience.

I lost my first game to Threat overload on the final stage, but it was a blast to play.

12/10/13 update: Okay, I just played my third game using the Gondor deck, switched a few cards out but still strictly Gondorian (Tactics/Leadership). Got off to a good start and fell flat on my face in Stage 4, with too many West Bank locations in the staging area for me to have any hope of making progress. I'm starting to think I'm banging my head against a wall sticking to Tactics/Leadership. These spheres don't have any threat reduction capability or any way to eliminate cards in the staging area, which seem like crucial traits for this scenario.

Of course, the question is which spheres would work better, keeping in mind that I have a very limited pool of Gondorian cards.

12/12/13 update: I've played this six times now and haven't won yet. Played three games with the strictest version of a Gondor Leadership/Tactics deck, which is woefully ill-equipped to deal with this scenario. Gondor has no questing power to speak of. Mighty in battle, wretched in quests. And Prince Imrahil gives you a lot of threat without much benefit in this scenario.

Yesterday I bid the Prince farewell and called in a few new foreign allies from the Spirit sphere. I used Eleanor as the Spirit hero at first, with a couple of Northern Trackers and West Road Travellers for questing power. The Spirit effects were helpful, but Eleanor was all but useless as a quester- I lost those games in the first couple of turns. So I retired Eleanor and called a real questing heavyweight - Eowyn. My deck was no longer a pure Gondor deck, but for the first time I felt like I was making some progress and would be able to do something in the critical fourth stage.

Except we never got to the fourth stage...

Massing is a really sneaky scenario that uses a "crossing the river" mechanic to make your heroes' lives difficult. Locations are divided into West Bank and East Bank. In the first two stages you cannot travel to West Bank locations, so they just pile up in the staging area. One of the locations you can travel to is the Morgulduin, a poisoned stream that does one damage to every character who commits to a quest while it is active. And the Morgulduin's shadow effect is that it instantly becomes the active location.See where we're going with this?

Yes, indeed. The Morgulduin came out as a shadow effect when I was already fighting multiple foes, while other locations kept piling up in the staging area. I lost this game as well. But I felt much better about my deck this time around, and feel that this loss was mostly due to rotten luck in my encounter deck draws. I think the Tactics/Leadership/Spirit combo is pretty effective, and will test it again as soon as I can.

And I think this scenario is becoming one of my favorites.

12/29/13: FINAL UPDATE:

I've managed to play this 14 times this month. I only started winning on the tenth game, after my deck went through several evolutions. The deck I ended up with was Tactics/Spirit, using Beregond, Legolas and Eowyn for heroes. The majority of cards are still Gondorian, and only one ally and one hero are actually non-human, but the pure Gondor theme is no longer there.

However, this deck is very successful at this quest. I won three out of five games that I played with the final version of the deck, and I consider the scenario pretty much beaten now. I've moved on to trying the same deck on other scenarios, starting with Journey down the Anduin. So far the results are not good.

I wrote a review of Massing here. To summarize for the tl;dr crowd, it's a really, really good adventure pack for LOTR:LCG. The encounter set design is one of the best I've seen in this game, giving you effects that really contribute to the feeling of trying to stay one step ahead of a huge army. The only shortcoming of the expansion is that it doesn't come with any player cards, and this may not be a shortcoming at all for those who already feel they have enough player cards. All in all, it's one of the most fun LOTR scenarios out there, and one that I think will be very good for testing new decks on again and again.
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80. Board Game: ApocalypZe Card Game [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:12667]
Rick Noetzel
United States
Duluth
Georgia
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My Kickstarter showed up this week, so I decided to put it through some solitaire games to learn the rules. I have all 4 starter decks, plus the extras, but to keep it simple I used the prebuilt Roadside Diner and Military Bases decks for each game. Soldiers vs bikers, plus zombies.

I learned real quick that there's a wrong way to defend your stronghold. I put down every possible defender - and there's a lot of them - and quickly ran out of supplies feeding them. Game Over.

Game two lasted longer and I mixed in some attacks along with my streamlined defense. I stopped this game when I realized missed some important card notes that really affected one side.

Game three went the distance with numerous attacks and scavenging runs. Both sides were struggling at the end, trying to hold on just. one. more. turn.

Game four was similar to game three and probably the cleanest, rules-wise. By that, I mean the mistakes I made were more subtle and not the glaringly obvious errors I made previously.

All of this took around 2 hours, so it is not a long playing game. With 2 players, I'd expect 45 minutes a game. Playing solo took the surprise of 'trump' cards out of the game and I could see myself building 'solo' decks that replaced most of these cards with more useful items.

It did leave me with several questions that I haven't uncovered from the rules, but that a topic for a different forum.
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81. Board Game: Carnival Zombie [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:1867]
Rich Dodgin
Scotland
Edinburgh
Midlothian
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Played my first game this afternoon. Wow. What a great game. Great theme, nicely done components, and gameplay that is challenging but not impossible.

The feeling of dread as the infected get closer to your barricades is tangible, and the panic as you try and work out how to cope with what you know will be a brutal attack is fantastic!

I got wiped out during the second night - but I was trying the Medium setting so knew it was going to be tough... next time I will definitely play the Easy setting!

Recommended!
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82. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:629]
Kuhns, party of four!
United States
Muncy
Pennsylvania
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...the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.
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I took a break from playing Bibliogamo (see above) to play this little gem. I scored a 61 which is near a PR for me. It's Civ yahtzee basically for those who don't know and can play 1-4. Quite fun solo and against another player (though the scores are way lower then since you can negatively effect one another). I don't know if anyone's tried it, but is there a way to make it so you lose outright? I mean thematically you have a civilization, and there are disasters that happen-can your civilization collapse? That would be fun, then I would want to play to more than just 10 turns and see how long I could survive or reach some kind of win condition.

Also, I see there's a sequel Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age coming, though it's on kickstarter for some reason and pretty expensive compared to what this game cost, so I'm waiting on that one.
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83. Board Game: Zero! [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2471] [Average Rating:6.96 Unranked]
Andrew Borgelin
United Kingdom
Bath
Somerset
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7th December....Pearl Harbour Scenario!

Played a solo scenario of the Pearl Harbour Campaign. Managed an outstanding result with the Japanese successfully sinking USS Maryland, and USS Oklahoma and crippling the USS Arizona whilst damaging the USS West Virginia.

Among the Destroyers USS Blue, Hull and Helm were sunk, whilst USS Chew was damaged. Finally The cruiser USS Helena was badly crippled.

The Japanese scored less well against Hickman and Ford Island airfields and Schofield Barracks. Lastly a flight of B17D's were badly shot up by a flight of four Zero's.

The day resulted in some 103 Vps against the loss of one D3A1 Val and the damage of another also the damage of a BSN2 Kate. Pretty successful day for the Japanese with an outstanding result.
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84. Board Game: Dungeon Roll [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:2226]
Flabbergasted Rhino
Japan
Osaka
Kansai
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After a bashing by Navajo Wars I decided to try something light and test just how bad my luck is today. Well, it's BAD! Randomly drew the Dwarf. Death to Dragon on level 4 of the first run, fled the dungeon after level 3 on run two and dead on level 5 in run three. Sheesh. Gonna go watch some Looney Tunes and identify with Elmer Fudd.
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Matthew Jones
United States
Forest Grove
Oregon
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I'm sorry if adding this again messes up someone's tally for the month. I am adding it again to get away from the ascerbic comments that seemed to take over the last post.

Just finished Scenario Two of Picket Duty.

Here's what went down on the day of May 27th, 1945, USS Braine (DD630- Capt Jones, commanding)

ABout 08.21 a Kikusui Raid kicked off. The Braine was targetted by about 7 planes in the morning. Due to alert crews and accurate fire, all but one of the kamikaze planes splashed into the ocean. The one hit ended up being in the Trunk (a secondary) room. One near miss damaged the aft stack as well.

A 2nd follow up raid appeared overhead at 13.41. 13 planes strong, this raid also failed to do any major damage and even the minor damage was relative. One near miss plowed into a destroyer escort alongside, reducing our Surface Fire. Another near miss hit the forward stack, and a third did only superficial damage. A plane that was shot down crashed into the the rudder, taking a sizeable chunk out of our maneuvering ability. The only hit was the water lines, which were damaged and repaired by work parties right away.

In the evening a final round of planes appeared, 11 in total. This flight was able to do more light damage through the many near misses that splashed down around us. One Near miss hit our aft equipment room; another had engine debris that penetrated our hull. A third Damaged the port screw, further ruining our already battered maneuvering abilities. The last hit in the aft fuel bunker, causing leakage of fuel. The two hits from this wave on the Braine included a hit on the E 40mm gun tub , just 'fore the 5" turret #4. This damaged it but did not destroy it and workcrews were able to get it inaction before the next dawn. A hit on the aft equipment room rounded of the damage this last wave made.

Totals:
Damage
-7 Maneuver, -1 Hull, -3 Fuel (includes the day's steaming), and -2 ammo
No damaged sections unrepaired.

Enemy Planes
19 No Damage (results from both Near Miss with No Damage and Shot Down)
8 Near Miss with damage
4 actual hits on vessel with nothing more serious than the gun tub amidships


Here's my 2nd Go-Round Thoughts:

Just as Chris Leko said, the rulebook as is... Well let's just say it's messy. Very Messy. Randy or Scott, if you're reading this, please don't think it's anything but constructive criticism because I really do like the game. I agree with Chris that a flowchart or something like it would really help play move along.

Easy? I don't know. I haven't played even a 2 day yet. I can see where my one-off scenario was easy, because it was. 31 planes in one day? However, the damage was starting to mount up. If I'd had another day of Kikusui Attacks, I might have been in trouble, especially in maneuvering. But, yes, in this one-off scenario, it was pretty easy.

Now that being said, I have no idea about the historicity of these results. Seeing as only 8 of quite a few destroyers were actually sunk off Okinawa, maybe these results were fairly accurate. Bruised and battered but not out is how I'd call it.

And the game doesn't do much to account for, what I imagine, must have been the sheer terror and absurdity going through these sailors' minds as these planes floated towards them. I don't know how many sailors were manning the 40mm guns that were hit or their fates. The game doesn't do that. It's rather like a pg/pg-13 version of it where we talk about damage in terms of structures destroyed rather that men killed or wounded. I would appreciate some charts that gave that info. The game does model morale, but I need to go read the source material to gain a better understanding of the crew's moods and emotions. And don't worry, I will be.

If this was normal results for a game, I have to say that this will lose it's luster after a while. This is game #2 with little in the way of work for my Damage control. Captain never left the bridge, Guns never left the CIC. I, like Chris Leko, was hoping to spring into action with my damage control parties and they, for the most part, sat on the top of the map near the listing/trim section, twiddling their thumbs, playing poker, and shooting craps.

Still a good game. Will be playing a campaign game in the near future, now that I have a good understanding of it, so I can see how this all works over a longer period...

Thanks for reading.


Edit for spelling: How can a gun be tragetting a plane? shake
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86. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:337]
Mikolaj Laczynski
Poland
Warsaw
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Played during the MikoCon 2013 - The Solitaire Half Day Convention - Edition 1.0.

Lem and Valeros tried the Perils of the Coast adventure. I already lost this once playing with a friend so I thought I could do better.

Lem and Valeros split up in the beginning, but that lasted only for 2 turns. Lem encountered a Satyr and then fled to Valeros and form then on they traveled together right until a gamble at the end.

The Farmhouse was closed quickly.
Lem and Valeros then traveled to the Woods. The Bandit was defeated but tea location was not closed.
Then at the Wooden Bridge the Jubrayl was encountered, defeated and the Bridge was closed.
Time was running out, so I decided to gamble. Lem went to the Waterfront to recover and to close the location temporarily, wile Valeros went to the Woods. The gamble paid off, the Last card in the Woods (on the penultimate turn) was Jubrayl. Lem, with the aid of a blessing, closed the Waterfront temporarily while Valeros defeated Jubrayl with a swing of his mighty Long Sword.

The game was close. Lem got the healing spell wit one card left in his deck and Valeros gained a Potion of Healing and used it immediately. If he hadn't he would have been killed.

On to The Poison Pill.

The characters went shopping to the General Store first. On turn one a Sage came up and after he was defeated Pillbug appeared. I defeated him but decided against closing the location, because with all monsters defeated I didn't want to lose the Stores special action (if a card is not an equipment or something else I forgot about the character can keep on exploring).

The exploration went on at the Village house. It was closed with two cards remaining.

Then the Town Square was also explored and closed.
So on to the City Gates to finish the adventure they went. To their surprise Pillbug was not there!! So back to the Village House they went and finished it with two turns to go.

This adventure had a few close calls, but neither Valeros nor Len were close to dieing. This was because...

...I realized that I missed the rule where you have to trim your deck after every adventure. So I went into "The Poison Pill" with large decks. That's why it went so well. Even though I did build the decks before Black Fang's Dungeon I decided to restart it again when I have play it again.

I will certainly play it again. I entered it into the 2014 Challenge: Play 10 Games 10 Times Each.
I like the way the characters interact with each other. Even deciding who goes first can be important.
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87. Board Game: Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:2143]
Mikolaj Laczynski
Poland
Warsaw
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Played during the MikoCon 2013 - The Solitaire Half Day Convention - Edition 1.0.

I played the Viral side (harder) with the "Tightening the Belt" variant - starting with $10 funds instead of $15.

Things started off rather well. After a few good turns and a few 6-s in the rolls I had 3 molecules researched and $19 in the bank. I had 5 molecules left to research.
Then the virus started mutating all over the pace. I was slowly researching the molecules, but the death toll went up rapidly and before I could finish humanity went extinct.

I found the variant tough at the beginning. It restricted me from buying equipment/hiring staff I would have otherwise purchased. I was able get funding by removing pairs of molecules twice, which gave me enough cash to lift the spending cuts.

I still enjoy this game a lot. It's quick to set up and play, and has a lot of thematic choices.
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88. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:316] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Mikolaj Laczynski
Poland
Warsaw
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Played during the MikoCon 2013 - The Solitaire Half Day Convention - Edition 1.0.

I started a game against Omnitron at the Wagner Mars Base. My team consisted of Wraith, Ra and Tempest.

It was going quite well. I had my heroes down to about 50% health, but Onitron down to 26. He is a nuisance with with all those drones of his. Once I figured out what to focus on I wad doing quite well. The environment is pretty harsh too. Luckily I had cards to destroy the environment without allowing it to build up too many cards.

The game is still a bit fiddly, even with the iPad helper app. Although this is only the second time I'm playing it, so I see it getting better with subsequent plays. I like the combos that are possible with the heroes. And these are only the easy characters, so it will be interesting to see what the more complex ones can do.
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89. Board Game: Bios: Megafauna [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2076] [Average Rating:6.96 Unranked]
chris leko
United States
Brooksville
Florida
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After seeing some list entires of this, and after learning that I like Sierra Madre's games (playing High Frontier on a PBF, and have played solitaire of Pax Porfirina, though I probably will try that one 2-handed again instead of the random "ai"), I decided to pick up this game.

I've always been interested in Dominant Species, but haven't gotten a chance to actually purchase it. Seeing as it's currently between print runs, I don't know if I'll get to it any time soon. On top of that, I don't know how well it plays solitaire.

Seeing that B:M has no hidden information (other than plans), and I found a copy of it on the 'geek for 25$, I figured I'd give it a shot.

I was very happy with what this game after my first play. I'm sure the original rulebook wasn't great, so I bypassed it for the living rules. My first game went very smoothly with only minor referencing the rules (I had read them cover to cover before I decided to start playing).

Game 1 was a two player affair of Mammal vs Mammal (orange vs white).

My shuffling skills are apparently very poor as the different era decks (think that's what they were called.. maybe period) were not well distributed. The first deck was mostly Genotype cards. The second, mostly mutation cards with Roadrunner DNA. So my herbivores had a tough time migrating out for both players. White grabbed an early BGG/A card and used it to piddle about in the upper latitudes of the continent. They were off to some good early expansion. Coupled with the fact that I was never able to advance the Era, so I kept drawing from the first bag Mesozoic). Pretty quickly, the entire southern part of the continent started to flood, and orange cats (forget what it was) had to mutate into an aquatic species just to survive. They flourished down there quite well in the second and third scoring rounds, winning both rounds. During these rounds white had to content with some aggressive immigrants taking over prime feeding spots, or kicking them out of the carnivore triangle.

Fortunately for white, that first scoring round was enough. The game ended early due to no disaster events being drawn (!) so the mesozoic bag emptied, triggering the final scoring round. Orange was close, but the aquatic kitties didn't close the gap enough.

Final scoring:
White: 14
Orange: 13

Very close game.

I like the euro feel, though I'm not decided on the amount of randomness in the game. It seems that, for the most part, players can deal with it. But due to tile placement, I was really unable to expand into other species for each player. At the end of the game, Orange only had 2, and White couldn't expand past their archetype. This was probably more due to the distribution of cards into the piles than the tile placement. I imagine having the second display would help "fix" this issue, and I might consider playing with this variant in all player numbers (the rules suggest only to do it with 4).

There did seem to be a lot of decisions, and most of them seemed to matter. Like the COIN series, each turn went relatively quickly, with players making (somewhat) small moves. I'm not 100% sure yet (need to play it more), but I think this one is a win. To top it off, I only spend 38 dollars with shipping (and it arrived in great condition... with only one or two of the spikey bits of the dino-meeples and mammal-meeples broken off, but seeing as it looks like they're made of balsa wood, that's to be expected).
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90. Board Game: Navajo Wars [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:1336]
Jared Wilson
Canada
Port Perry
Ontario
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Played the Mexican scenario entitled "A Broken Country." Wow, what a difference between the Spanish and the Mexicans. The Spanish mount much bigger Raids against The People, but rarely make any inroads with their Outposts. Even when they do get an Outpost or two, you can usually drive them back. Not so with the Mexicans. Once they get on the board, they are there to stay.

Here's some of the highlights from my game (which resulted in a Major Loss btw).

- The Mexicans seem to get way more AP's than the Spanish. I think part of that is the Mexican Independance card stays on the board for a long time (giving at least +1 AP per turn), and the fact that your cubes don't stay in the Raided box very long. They seem to keep moving to the Recovery box, which gives the Mexicans anywhere from +2/+3 more AP's every turn.

- The Mexicans are much more willing to fight the Navajo than the Spanish were (The addition of the green cubes means you'll be fighting them more often, or giving them a +1 Morale instead).

- Something that goes hand-in-hand with the last point; I couldn't get the Mexican Morale down. It was hovering near 10 when the game ended. That may have just been bad luck on my part, 'cause the Mexicans didn't mount too many Raids against me. If they did, and hadn't been able to capture any Families, that would have brought their Morale down over time, but they mounted very few Raids in this game.

- The Mexicans seem to just keep expanding in this scenario. I'd just get their Outposts down to one or two, and then they'd Build or Expand, and I'd have to start all over again. This kept me from doing a lot of Raids agianst New Mexico, and my horses and sheep suffered the whole game. And I don't think I planted more than 1 or two corn; I just didn't have the time for it.

- The Utes were a huge problem in this scenario for me; I don't know what it was, but there were two Utes counters in the AI box, and they seemed to come up quite often. Sometimes I fought them, and sometimes I tried to run away (Unlike the Commanches, the Utes are beatable).

My starting Culture cards were Horsemanship level 1, Masters of the Mesa levels 1 & 2, and Cunning level 1. I added Masters of the Mesa level 3, Horsemanship level 2, and Wisdom of the Ancient Ones level 1 during the game.

Anyway much tougher than the Spanish scenario. I think I'd like to try starting with Weaving or Sharp Traders at some point. Tribal negotiation is very effective, but I didn't have many Trade Goods all game. I wonder what being a trading/ evading type of people would result in?

Anyone else tried this scenario?

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91. Board Game: Mosby's Raiders [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:3830]
Andrew Borgelin
United Kingdom
Bath
Somerset
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Started a game of this tonight. Lots of rule look ups as activations of Union forces always causes me some problems just can't keep it in my head. Consequently the game was a little slow to get going.

Looked like I was going to have the nightmare start again when Mosby drew only 1 strength for the raiders and on the turn of the first event card lost that 1 strength point due to sickness in the ranks! That ended turn 1 somewhat prematurely!

Turn two played out a little better. Managed to kill off a few couriers and sulter's wagons. Having attended a wedding and gaining some fame from that Mosby went on to do some work on the Union lines. His raiders tore up the rails at Vienna and Halltown and fought of a Union attack beating a force of some 50 or so Union troops. Having just done enough to keep the game going by reaching a notoriety of two in turn two Mosby disbanded his force.

Turn three saw a lot more activity by the Union which kept Mosby on his toes especially as he once again only had around 25 raiders with him. Didn't manage to do much in the way of disruption to the Union effort and was attacked by a Union force of some 75 plus troops but, managed to beat them killing or wounding around 50. Again having done enough to secure a notoriety of four Mosby disbanded his force.

Due to the rule look ups it will take another evening of play to finish this one off I think. Will up date tomorrow.
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92. Board Game: White Death [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:5097]
The play's the thing ...
Australia
Point Lonsdale
Victoria
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Dusting this off for another go. A wargame that rewards multiple plays of it.

Edit: Though this list makes me realise I need to get to some of the other games in my collection. Ghost Stories I'm looking at you.
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93. Board Game: War of the Ring (Second Edition) [Average Rating:8.43 Overall Rank:12]
Justin
United States
Plano
Texas
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I said I was going to do it and thanks to an exhausted wife who passed out around 7, it's done in one evening!

This will have a mini-review to follow and I'll try to be as succinct as possible. I took a few pictures during the session, but I may not post many of them simply because I'm not sure they add much to the narrative. This session and review is only on the base game. I like Lords of Middle Earth, but unless you're breaking this one out consistently, they add more complication than it's worth.

As far as soloing. I just play both sides. There's hidden information, but the game is structured so that everything is played in a set order. Once the game gets rolling, it's so tactical, that you rarely run into a situation where you feel like you're doing something because of what you know about the enemy's hand. Both sides tend to respond to the situation at hand.

We begin...

TURN 1: Not long after the fellowship leaves Rivendell, some pesky crebain reveal them to the enemy stalling their progress.

(fairly uneventful opening turn)

TURN 2: Saruman emerges from his tower.

Faramir's Rangers take out two of Sauron's units in South Ithilien and join the ranks of those defending Osgiliath.

In just a short time, Saruman has mustered a formidable force with eyes set on Rohan.

The Haradrim have also shown up in large numbers to the South of Gondor.

The Fellowship were revealed again just outside Moria. They choose to enter the mines to avoid further detection.

TURN 3: Gandalf gets separated from the Fellowship within the mines. His fate is unknown until Treebeard discovers him as Gandalf the White in Fangorn Forest. The forces of Isengard have begun attacks on the Fords of Isen. Gandalf hopes to gain the aide of the Ents.

Unfortunately, his efforts come too late. The Uruk-hai have overrun the Riddermark and laid siege to Helm's Deep. Only a handful of forces made it there to defend it.

TURN 4: The defenses at Helm's Deep hold. The enemy has been defeated for now.

The Fellowship safely exits Moria.

In the south, the Corsairs of Umbar have laid siege to Dol Amroth. The Corairs outnumber Gondor's forces 5 to 3.

Some hope for Gondor comes when Strider and Boromir brave the Paths of the Dead and gain the help of the Dead Men of Dunharrow. They take Pelargir back from the Haradrim and prepare to help defend Dol Amroth.

But alas, a new foe has arrived in Middle Earth. The Witch King of Angmar.

TURN 5: The enemy regroups to the south of Gondor. Aragorn leaves Boromir to defend Pelargir while he goes to help the forces at Dol Amroth. Boromir's army is decimated by the Haradrim. Pelargir is lost and Boromir has fallen.

The Witch King takes Osgiliath.

TURN 6 The Rohirrim have regained their strength and put Orthanc under siege.

Meanwhile, the Witch King has laid siege to Minas Tirith.

TURN 7 Aragorn, along with a couple of elite Gondor units, attacks the Witch King's forces from the south forcing the enemy to retreat. The victory is short-lived, however, when Aragorn discovers a massive horde in the fields of Pelennor.

The Witch King sieges Minas Tirth once again. Aragorn joins the defense.

The Rohirrim have met heavy resistance at Orthanc. The Uruk-hai hold fast and eliminate the siege with a well-timed sortie.

Meanwhile, back at Minas Tirith, the Witch King has brought out Grond, Hammer of the Underworld, allowing him to conduct an extended siege of the white city. Aragorn and his followers fight valiantly, but are no match for the onslaught.

Minas Tirith falls with only one enemy unit left standing.

No loving arms of an elf princess for you my king.

Technically, the game is not over, but with Orthanc defended and Minas Tirth in enemy hands, it's all but lost for the Free Peoples. I find I have more fun with this one when I stop at the story's logical conclusion rather than trying to play it out to the endgame condition.

MINI REVIEW

d10-1Overview of the game

The Third Age of Middle Earth in 2-3 hours

d10-2Overview of the rules

The rules for War of the Ring are a bit of a bear, but like anything else, once you know them, you're fine. Any exceptions to the standard rules are clearly defined on the cards. In fact, given just how many things are going on in this game, I'm amazed at how LITTLE I've had to clarify in the rulebook. The book is laid out fairly well. It's something like 30-40 pages, but it's broken down well enough that it's not hard to find what you're looking for.

d10-3Things you don't like

Yikes. I'm not sure. This is my only 10 and I stand by it. I could complain about a few rules things here and there. Why doesn't Treebeard get his combat bonus in Orthanc? Why add Elrond and Galadriel in the expansion when you could have added the Eagles, or Faramir, or Theoden?

You'll notice those two gripes have to do with expansions. This review is about the base game (Treebeard notwithstanding)

d10-4Things you really like

How long do you have? This game is Lord of the Rings. Every last teeny tiny mechanism, card, character, map space is designed to bring out the theme like nothing I've ever seen before. Sure, the combat mechanic is rolling dice, but I'm not sure what else you do for that that isn't deterministic and determinism would suck all the tension out of an incredibly tense story.

d10-5Summary + Score

Summary: If you like Lord of the Rings and don't own this game, you're silly.

If you don't care about Lord of the Rings, you might just want to get a standard military conquest game. It's the movement of the Fellowship and the influence of the Companions/Minions that really set this game apart.

11/10
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94. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:569]
Flabbergasted Rhino
Japan
Osaka
Kansai
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I had the day off and was intending to host the first ever Flabber-Con (even though I think it sounds kind of dirty) but I heard attendance was going to be down as the sole participant in this solo-con needed to take the car in for a new muffler. Added to that the house was in really bad shape and I had a half built cabinet to finish up and Flabber-Con was postponed until tomorrow.

What I did do before heading off to coach soccer was manage to get in a game of Death Angel with the Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game – Deathwing Space Marine Pack. I don't often play with the expansion, always feel like I am betraying the old teams, but with the Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game: Space Marine Pack 1 and Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game: Tyranid Enemy Pack on the way I thought I should get to know these guys better.

Random draw saw Yellow, Blue and Red teams enter the hulk. First room went smooth and with three tokens on the door to thin out the baddies when we headed to room two we were looking pretty sweet. Two was rough though as they came up strong from behind and dragged down our two men at the tail. Room three struck off another from our team though the enemies numbers were down as well. Three of us charged into the last room. It looked clear. Suddenly from nowhere three Genestealers popped and at once our team was no more, dragged away into the shadows.
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95. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:41]
Mo
United States
Downingtown
Pennsylvania
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I got in my first session of this one over the weekend – woo hoo!! I have been excited about this game for over a year now, and I was lucky enough to snag a copy during its brief late summer release a few months ago. However, it still took me this long to get it to the table…shame on me. I really enjoyed it. It’s a very thematic worker placement game. And despite its many moving parts and lots of little bits, it’s not a complicated game. You explore the island, revealing one tile at a time. You gather or hunt for food, collect wood, build a shelter, and make various items in a tech tree style of gameplay (you to make a shovel before you can build a moat, learn how to make fire before making a lantern, etc.). There are several event/adventure decks that all relate to actions you choose to take on your turn. It all comes together quite nicely, I must say.

The game comes with six scenarios, I believe, so I began with the first, Castaways. Your goal is to build a large enough bonfire to attract the attention of any ships that may be passing nearby to get yourself rescued. Sounds simple enough…gather some wood; the end. Not so much.


Robinson Crusoe, Setup of my First Game


In the solo game you play as one character who receives help from Friday, an island inhabitant, and a dog. Friday can take all of the same actions you can, but you don’t have to worry about feeding or sheltering him. And the Dog will help you only for Hunting or Exploring. So, even though you’re playing three characters, you only need to really manage one of them. (Alternatively you could play two, three, or four “regular” characters cooperatively as a solo game as well.)

There is a mechanism in the game where if you place two of your worker pawns (actually, they are nice, chunky discs) on an action, it is an automatic success. If you only place one, you must roll three dice…one to see if you are wounded while taking your action, one to see if you actually succeed or not, and one to find out if you must draw an adventure card (most likely a bad event).

So, needless to say, I tried to roll the dice a little as possible. It was slow going for the first half of the game. I took my time, did some exploring, gathered some food, made myself a shelter, and began to build my rescue bonfire. As you can see here, I only added three pieces of wood to the fire by mid-game, but I still felt good about my chances.


Robinson Crusoe, End of Round 6


I had set up a campsite where I would receive additional wood every turn and I would soon build the Mast which would add three additional wood to the fire. Along the way, I did have to fight a nasty Gorilla; I got Lost while exploring; and a nasty Hurricane blew through the island causing me a bit of trouble…and would eventually come around again to bite me in the butt.

I continued to build my fire, making nice progress through my campsite location and gathering resources from nearby island tiles. The weather gets worse the longer the game lasts including rain and even snow. I built a weak roof for my shelter, but with some good dice rolling, it was enough to not harm me too much over the long haul. By the final round of the game (there is a time limit of 12 rounds in the first scenario), I only needed one, single piece of wood for the fire and I would be rescued. ONE PIECE.

No problem.

Some of the Adventure cards you draw while exploring or taking other actions actually have two events on them. One occurs immediately, and then you shuffle the card into the main Event deck to draw it later, resolving the other part of the card. That Hurricane card I mentioned earlier is one of these cards. At the time, I resolved the top half of the card and chose not to read the future event, instead blindly shuffling it into the Event deck.

Well, to begin my final turn, I must draw an Event card and there was my previous Hurricane card. This time, I needed to resolve the bottom of the card, “It Was Stormy Again.”


Robinson Crusoe, A Stormy End to my First Game


Noooooo!!!

The storm not only returned, but it literally wiped out that particular part of the island causing it to become inaccessible. Any tokens on the tile are removed and the tile is flipped over, never to be seen or explored again. Unfortunately, my camp was still on that tile, and along with everything else, poor Robinson, so close to being rescued, was swept away with the mighty storm, cursing the player in charge of his life and well being.

Sorry, little buddy. Maybe next time.
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96. Board Game: Space Empires: 4X [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:448] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Steve Armitstead
United Kingdom
Gravesend
Kent
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I have had this game since September and was waiting for a

clear space in my head to learn the rules to play it.

I have made a start on the rules now and decided to play

the Doomsday Machine Solitaire scenariorobot

In the Doomsday Machine scenario you have to destroy three Doomsday Machines sent by an Alien aggressor to destroy your home world. The game ends with the destruction of the three machines or your world. The rules for the Alien AI are simpler in this than in the Alien Empires Solitaire scenario, so it's a good place to start.

I am champing at the bit and cannot wait to get started. I will post up a session report when done.

Due to lack of time I have only part played so far, so here is a Part report:

Set-up of the Doomsday Machine solitaire scenario
You are only playing with the basic tokens, so that removes about half of them, and of course only using one player colour. So once the tokens have been sorted it looks quite manageable.

First you place your Home world with 3 scout ships, 3 colony ships, a miner and 4 ship yards on the correct hex in your home system. Then you place the 26 home system markers face down in the rest of the hexes in your home system marked on the map. Next (although the rules don’t explicitly state it but I assume) you need to put aside the three Doomsday Machines from the Deep Space counters, and then you put as many counters as needed face down randomly on the rest of the map being played on, leaving five entry points blank.

OK ready to play!

Economic phase 1
Turns 1-3 of each Economic phase are tracked on the board.
Turn 1 – only my Scouts can move by themselves into unexplored space, so I move all three into hexes around my Home World. After moving there is no combat to resolve so I can explore the hexes my Scouts are in. I get a Mineral deposit, a barren planet and Andromeda. Good!

Turn 2 – I send a Colony ship to Andromeda and colonising starts immediately. My Miner goes to the Minerals. My Scouts move out again. Exploring I get more Minerals, a Nebula and Prometheus. (Nebulae and Asteroids only affect movement and combat.) Going well!

Turn 3 – My Miner brings home the Minerals worth 5 CP (Construction Points) and I send my second Colony ship off to Prometheus. My Scouts move further out. Exploring I get Minerals and two Planets.

Economic Phase 1 – record 20 CP for my Home World and 5 Mineral CP (one off). Deduct 3 CP for maintenance on my 3 Scouts, leaves me with 22 CP. Great I can now develop (purchase technology Ship Size 2 for 10 CP) and build a Destroyer for 9 CP. I place it with my Ship Yards.
Next my colony is established worth 1 CP. Lastly, I carry over the 3 CP to next Phase.

That’s it for the first Phase. Easier than I thought and I really enjoyed it! Onto my next one.

Economic phase 2
Turns 1-3 – explored more home system space getting Minerals, Planets and some Asteroids.

Economic Phase 2 – record 21 CP and 4 maintenance, carry of 3 leaves 20 CP to spend. I spend 15 CP for next Ship Size of 3 and 5 CP on another Miner because there is quite a lot of Minerals unclaimed. Lastly my colonies grow, so I have a 3 CP colony in Andromeda and a new one in Prometheus.

I am slowly building my military capacity to take on the first Doomsday Machine to come on in EP 7. I am on Easy level, so the first DM comes in at level 1 (of 10).

Dangers of space exploration
Turn 2 – discovered a Black Hole and rolled a 5 for no effect (phew!).
Economic Phase 3 – have Colony Income of 24 plus 5 for Minerals less 4 maintenance.

Now shall I buy Cruisers or upgrade and wait for Battlecruisers? I could do with some Colony Ships too. Tough decisions!

If I am going to buy Cruisers they may as well have Exploration technology, so I opt to get that and build a Colony Ship too. Total cost 23.

Turn 1 – another Black Hole escaped!

Decision re colonising: do I build close together to defend them or spread them out to slow down the DM getting to them? Spreading out a bit to stop them coming straight at my Home World is also a factor.

Turn 3 – a Scout destroyed, cause unknown!

Economic Phase 4 – have Colony Income of 28 plus 10 for Minerals less 3 for maintenance. I built 2 Cruisers with Exploration technology. At end of phase all 3 original Colony ships have built colonies. So far, so good.

Turn 1 – another Scout got lost and blundered into a Black Hole; I am still waiting to hear from it.
Turn 3 – Scouts (including the one that was lost) are being withdrawn from the increasing dangers of Deep Space to let the more advanced Cruisers take over exploration. They will form a last ditch defence of Terra, the Home World instead.

Economic Phase 5 – have Colony Income of 28 plus 10 for Minerals less 3 for maintenance.

Had to take a break there, getting late and getting tired.
Even though I haven’t encountered the DM yet, I have really enjoyed the game so far.
To be continued...

The whole of the report is too big to post here, so it is with Session Posts Thread Doomsday Machine solitaire scenario
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97. Board Game: B-17: Queen of the Skies [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1338]
John Hedges
United Kingdom
Penrith
Cumbria, UNITED KINGDOM
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I was quite pleased to get a copy of this on eBay for £20 recently.

I took a training flight out over the channel and was instantly mobbed by 6 ME109s. The did some superficial damage and put some holes in the wing roots before some nice chaps from the RAF chased em off.

I decided to fly back to the airfield and actually load up on bombs for the next flight. Training is over boys...
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