Solitaire Games on Your Table - June 2014
Steve N
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Macclesfield
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cool Welcome one and all! Happy June! cool

Veterans of the SGoYT geeklists will know what to expect. If this is your first visit then well done for finding the brightest corner of the 'geek - prepare to be amazed at the sheer scale of solitaire gaming. Feel free to post comments on any/all of the items (and don't hesitate to add your own). We love talking about our games and it's great to generate some discussion.

Please do consider a visit to the 1 Player guild which is the hub of the solitaire gaming community, and don't hesitate to join - it's a nice thing to do.

If you'd like to be notified of future SGoYT geeklists then be sure to subscribe to the Solitaire Games on Your Table Monthly Geeklist SUBSCRIPTION THREAD. You wouldn't want to miss out now would you?

Forthcoming lists will be hosted by:

July 2014 Woelf
August 2014 petegs
September 2014 Malaiser
October 2014 dr.wheatie
November 2014 garyrbrooks
December 2014 Ryanmobile
January 2015 bikefreak

Thanks to Ryan for the chance to host this month!

Geekgold Giveaway

One of the many great things about the SGoYT geeklists is reading about such a diverse assortment of games. I'm sure I'm not alone in confessing that many are entirely new to me.

To be eligible for this month's geekgold giveaway (entirely optional) please append your posts with three full stars (summarising what is so great about your game) and one empty star (highlighting a possible flaw, or why it might not be for everyone). If you wish to focus your comments on a specific scenario, a specific variant or any other detail (rather than the game at large) then please don't hesitate to do so.

I hope it will be fun.
We might be able to learn a bit more about each other's games.
We might be tempted to look at games that we would otherwise have passed on.
I could end up buying every game that is mentioned.

At the end of the month I will use a random number generator to randomly select an item from the geeklist. If the entry features the stars (as outlined above) then I will award that user 100 geekgold. If not, I will randomly select a new entry until we have a winner.

Have a good month everyone!

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151. Board Game: Hoplomachus: The Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:2196] [Average Rating:7.97 Unranked]
Michael Gerstbrein
United States
Granby
Connecticut
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Finally got to play something this month!

However, I only did one round of the three for a solo-game. As was mentioned in a previous post, this game is just fantastic when it comes to the feel of the chips. I wish I had the premium health chips, but the ones that come with the game are just fine. I had a few rule hiccups as I was trying to rush this a little bit. The rules are fairly simple and there isn't too much chance for getting bogged down in minutiae. The few hiccups I had I was able to "back-track" and correct them fairly quickly. I usually don't like doing that and would rather scrap the game and start over, but there wasn't anything that was affected. Simple things like criminals and beasts cannot move on the turn they come out (simple move them back) or I rolled a yellow dice because I thought I saw one, but it was just my champions loin cloth (I'm sure there is some kind of joke there, but too tired to think of one...). So I managed to take down the boss, but lost one gladiator and my champion was down to two health. I then realized that my boss was a beast and should have been moving like one. Oh well, moving him like a criminal made it harder for me, so no worries.

Clearly I need to play more often so I don't make these silly mistakes. I do want to pick up the add-ons and Hoplomachus: Rise of Rome when I can just to add some additional variety.
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152. Board Game: Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:1299] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
Dan Hutch
Australia
North Fitzroy
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Played through medium length Iran 2014 tonight. Blew a lot of SOs on more modern aircraft with (mostly) higher weight points than the FA18C

Scored 30 when needing 24 for great.

Fun since I finally got to use JDAMs a few times, muck around with stealth fighters and generally blow stuff up. Hit Irans infrastructure hard early on making it easy to complete later missions.

AIM120s are scary... Not much left of the bandits once they go off!

I think next play I should go random planes, or go for an older campaign. Not sure I can stomach the Marines yet though

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153. Board Game: Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:1299] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
Ryan
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Over the last many, many months I've been on a strong drive to play unplayed games at the expense of playing some of my favorites. However, playing new games takes more time and adds a slight bit of stress to game time when compared with playing an old favorite. I decided enough was enough and it was time to get my #1 out. I've been needing to tackle the WWIII (expert) scenario for a long time now.

Campaign beginning
I'm taking both E-2C Hawkeyes (Brick at Veteran and Eyes at Skilled). I really like to have their support benefits available though each takes the place of a strike aircraft I could otherwise send.

I choose 4 A-6 Intruder aircraft for my air to ground needs. I like to fly as many secondary missions as possible, so with two missions per day I'd like a couple A-6 aircraft available for each. Chili (Average), Cracken (Average), Extra (Average), and Dingo (Green) make up this contingent.

I choose 3 F-14 Tomcats to act as my air superiority fighters. However, they are all quite inexperienced so I'll have to augment them with some F-18C pilots with decent AtA skills. Kermit (Average), Maverick (Green), and Teflon (Newbie) make up my F-14 pilots.

I fill my last spots with 3 F-18C Hornets. These multirole fighters are designed for both ground and air targets, though the three pilots I chose are better at air to air than air to ground. Duke (Skilled), Wedge (Average), and Talon (Average) comprise my 3 F-18C pilots.

I will use the Night missions optional rule as well as the Replacement Pilots optional rule. Both are free. I choose not to promote any pilots so I begin with 54 SO points.

Day 1 (Primary)

Target: Carrier Defense

Aircraft: 3 F-14, 1 F-18C, 1 E-2C

The USSR isn't wasting any time on attacking the Navy's strongest force in the area. Intel intercepts show a flight of 6 bombers en route to target the carrier group. Eyes (E2C) is in the air to assist Wedge(F18C), Kermit, Maverick, and Teflon (F14s) intercept the bombers. Target bound event was Target of Opportunity, but I lacked the AtG munitions to take advantage. Two F-14s are loaded with AIM-5 Phoenix missiles. Three escorting fighters are destroyed by the Phoenix attack. The One M-29 that survived long range US missiles launched an attack on Eyes. Eyes evaded but suffered 3 stress. The bomber flight is destroyed without incident after the remaining fighter escorts are shot down. Homebound event of Charlie Foxtrot was not negated by Eyes and all pilots suffer +2 stress.

Results: Success.
Remaining SO: 50
VP: 3

Debriefing: The first target drawn was an important Government Building in range band 4, deep in the heart of the USSR. With the second target card (Carrier Defense) forcing me to scramble, I decided not to get to aggressive so I turned the target down. If I expended a lot of SO points I may have had a chance, but I've learned not to push my luck this early in the campaign. I think it's more important to keep stress low while steadily gaining experience on easier targets.

Day 2 (Primary)

Target: Missile Boat Fleet

Aircraft: 2 F-18C, 3 A-6, 1 E-2C

Again the USSR is playing for keeps. Intel intercepts show a missile boat fleet about to enter SSM range of the carrier task force later in the day. The target is escorted by 6 Bandits, 4 of which could strike on turn 1. Brick (E2C) used SA to direct both Duke (F18C) and Talon (F18C) to attack a Su-27 and a Mig-29. Each attack was successful leaving only Mig-25 x2, Mig-23 x1, and Mig-21 x1. One M-25 attack was foiled by an ECM pod, while the other attacked Brick and inflicted 3 stress after Brick evaded. One of the M-25 was subsequently destroyed by Talon with an AIM-7. Turn 2 saw Duke miss an attack on the remaining M-25. However ECM pods once again foiled the attacks of all three Bandits. Cracken launched all four of his AGM-65 munitions against the target and destroyed the Missile Boat Fleet in one attack. The US aircraft departed the target area immediately. They encountered a Long Range Threat on the way home, but Brick was able to vector air cover to handle the threat.

Results: Success.
Remaining SO: 50
VP total: 6

Debriefing: Again my first target drawn was a Supply Depot deep within the USSR. My second target (Missile Boat Fleet) once again forced me to scramble. Like earlier, I didn't want to push my luck so I would only be hitting on target today. I knew I could pull it off without using any SO points. I didn't analyze the target and my available aircraft and munitions thoroughly enough (it's been a year and a half, so I'm rusty as well). If I had I would have included one more F-18 or an F-14 at the expense of an A-6. I just didn't need 3 A-6 bombers with the advantages conferred by the AGM-65 missiles I used to destroy the Fleet Boats. My Site draw was pretty fortunate as most were not threats. I knew I could face tough opposition in the air, and I did, but I didn't plan as well as I could have for the air battle. I should have brought an F-14, though they were all stressed, solely so I could bring a couple Phoenix missiles along.

Looking forward to taking the fight to the enemy and not playing defense, if possible, tomorrow.

Day 3 (Primary) - 17 June

Target: Enemy Tanks

Aircraft: 1 F-18C, 3 A-6, 1 1 F-14

No incoming threats today. We'll be able to pull two missions, on against an advancing enemy tank formation and a secondary mission conducting a fighter sweep. Three A-6 Intruders (Chili, Extra, Dingo) are assigned to eliminate the enemy tank force. They will be accompanied by Maverick (F-14) and Talon (F-18C). While these five pilots are en route to the target, Brick (E-2C), Eyes (E-2C) and Kermit (F-14) benefit from some Rack Time. The flight doesn't encounter any problems as they reach the target area (Search and Rescue, no effect). Unfortunately the Soviets have committed a large number of dangerous bogeys to defending the tank force. Four of the Bandits have long range and will be able to strike on the first turn, while three more will advance and be able to attack on the second turn. AtA, AtG, and StA missiles flash rapidly across the sky in the short two turns over target. Maverick and Talon each down one of the more capable enemy fighters. ECM pods provide some relief for the American pilots but suppression shots are required against both air and ground units to negate attacks. Talon is unable to evade an attack by the remaining Mig-25 and goes up in a ball of flame. Maverick believes he caught a glimpse of Talon's chute drifting down. The A-6s press home their attack and destroy the Soviet tank force, though some of them weather some stressful attacks. Talon's emergency beacon begins transmitting on the homeward bound vector. Despite some Bad Weather, the A-6s are able to use their few remaining AtG munitions to assist Talon's rescue effort. Talon is recovered quickly and in good health, with a few new gray hairs to show for his experience.

Results: Success.
Remaining SO: 48
VP total: 9

Debriefing: A pretty unfortunate series of Bandit draws made this mission very dicey. The A-6s were loaded with AGM-65 missiles which made short work of the tanks. The additional bandit draws resulting from my Intel rating are proving a hassle. I purposefully hung onto some Maverick missiles to aid the search effort though some bad AtG attack rolls made the attack on the tanks fairly nerve wracking.

Day 3 (Secondary) - 20 June

Target: Fighter Sweep

Aircraft: 1 F-18C, 2 F-14

Duke (F-18), Kermit, and Teflon (F-14) make tracks for their designated Fighter Sweep location. Intel believes there are 2 Mig-25, 3 Mig-23, and 3 Mig-21 aircraft patrolling over an enemy ground force in this area. They need to clear the offending Soviets from the skies to make safe an attack by ground attack aircraft. They head into their mission looking forward to some Shore Leave soon. Over target an additional Mig-23 is discovered flying with enemy air group. Kermit cuts loose with his four Phoenix missiles, doubling up on both Mig-25 fighters. His attacks are very effective, and the most threatening Soviet fighters are out before they can fire a shot. The remaining seven MiGs don't make too much trouble for the Navy pilots. Kermit evaded one stressful attack, but every other attack was foiled by ECM pods or suppressive fire. With the last of the MiGs eliminated, the three fighters return home but get Radar Contact on their way back. One enemy fighter is driven off by missile fire, but the other gets a successful lock on Kermit who evades for further stress.

Results: Success.
Remaining SO: 41
VP total: 11

Debriefing: I'm feeling a little stressed by the skills of my pilots. They are at their most unskilled while the Soviets are at their strongest. I'm looking forward to some of them improving soon because I'm dealing with a lot of negative or zero attack modifiers. Day 3 was also a bit stressful because both E-2Cs were grounded to recover from attacks they endured during the first two days. Due to two fortunate events and no flying today, both will be at zero stress for Day 4. Hopefully their presence will buffer some of the Soviet's efforts.

Day 4 (Primary) - 27 June

Target: Close Air Support

Aircraft: 1 E-2C, 1 F-18C, 2 A-6, 1 F-14

We are tasked with a Close Air Support mission today followed by a mission to knock out some AAA Sites. With stress reduced to almost zilch across the squadron today after some favorable events and rest, Brick, Extra, Chili, Wedge, and Teflon take off in good health. Brick fails to acquire outside help to deal with some enemy shoulder launched SAMs en route to the target so a couple of Mk. 20 cluster bombs are used from the flight's strike package to negate the threat. Once over target the pilots were able to handle all of the Bandit and Site threats. Only one enemy attack was made and out electronic countermeasures foiled their SAM attack. Chili and Extra (A-6 pilots) each earned some stress for missing some of their attacks with ground attack munitions. Post mission intel showed that we didn't cause any friendly casualties and our boys made it through. Some AAA was encountered on the way home, but Brick was able to vector a nearby flight of A-6 bombers to deal with them.

Results: Success.
Remaining SO: 38
VP total: 14

Debriefing: Almost a milk run. I missed an SA-8B three times before destroying it with my last spare AtG munition. No sweat other than that. Teflon (F-14) earned a promotion from Newbie to Green, which is great news.

Day 4 (Secondary) - 28 June

Target: AAA Sites

Aircraft: 1 E-2C, 1 F-14, 2 A-6

Eyes, Maverick (for air threats), and Cracken and Dingo (each loaded with AtG munitions) launch to knock out a AAA site which has been established along a flight path which will likely be used to hit Soviet shipping in the Baltic. Due to a Good Briefing Eyes gets an extra point of Situational Awareness. Over target no bandits are discovered which is a welcome sight (I didn't pack any Phoenix missiles). The ground threats are dealt with expeditiously. Only one attack is suffered by my pilots and it is foiled by electronic countermeasures. Our strike force was able to eliminate ten enemy sites and returned home without accumulating much stress from enemy action.

Results: Success.
Remaining SO: 29
VP total: 16

Debriefing: I didn't have any Bandits to worry about and only one site with a range of more than 1. It was knocked out with ease on turn 1. Cracken came away shaken but I was able to give everyone some Priority R&R after the mission. The big wigs said we have some Political Limitations to look forward to next mission.

You get to manage your pilots from selection through campaign end. You see them improve, decide who needs to rest, and have to decide between sending an experienced pilot or a green pilot who can' contribute as much but needs experience to improve. Strong RPG element.

The mission planning is very tense. It's where you'll spend most of your time balancing stress accumulation, weight points, which targets to select, whom to send, how many special option points to spend (and on what), etc. Planning has never been so fun.

Lots of campaigns, each with three lengths. Each can be played either as the Navy or Marines which adds further variety. Each campaign has it's own set of targets. Those targets are drawn randomly through the campaign, ensuring each is different. Enemy forces are drawn randomly each mission, with the number (but not the specific enemy counters) being determined by the target card. Three events are drawn per mission which can be good or bad. Ultimately they add further challenge and variety. In sum - nearly endless replayability and variety.

Can't think of much. There is a lot of book keeping. For me this is not a problem. For others it may be a turn off.

Edited for typos.
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154. Board Game: Hostage Negotiator [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:888] [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked]
Tracy Baker
United States
Omaha
Nebraska
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Whoa, long time no see, all! I've been really busy for the past month, and this list consumes a lot of my time so I've been ignoring it. Until now, anyway, because I just played Hostage Negotiator and I'm here to tell you it's pretty special.

After hearing a lot about it and really wanting to try it I was contacted by A.J. who sent me a copy via Printerstudio. It looks absolutely fantastic and if I ever get around to designing something I know where I'm going to have prototypes made.

The game is so great that I'm working on a full review, but it's the best "light" solitaire game I've played since getting Infection, and it will likely have even higher replayability. There are so many variables in terms of setup that you'll never play the same game twice, and the press-your-luck elements in rolling dice to activate cards helps ensure there will never be any rote strategies. This game is incredibly tactical at the beginning but lets you develop a strategy as it progresses while still throwing enough curveballs to keep you wondering if what you're trying will actually work. The cards are genius, and the whole package does an outstanding job of staying true to its theme in every regard. As the tension mounts you are forced to make bigger gambles to compensate while also playing your cards without making any mistakes. It's amazing.

More later, obviously, and I've been working through a stack of VPG games that I'll also review, but I had to give this a shout-out. A.J. has made something really neat and I hope everyone has a chance to play it in the near future.
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155. Board Game: Hostage Negotiator [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:888] [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked]
Mikolaj Laczynski
Poland
Warsaw
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I decided to revisit the original abductors and ended up plating a total of 10 games, each abductor twice (old and new). I got 4 wins and 6 losses.

I made a more detailed session report on my Hostage Neotiating blog.

I still find this game fun.

And I'm up to 85/100 on The 100 Play Challenge.
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156. Board Game: Hungarian Nightmare [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:9993]
The play's the thing ...
Australia
Point Lonsdale
Victoria
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2nd choice was this.

Standard area-movement game with an overlong combat process that really made the game drag.

Each combat is of variable length and initiative can switch back and forth and there are 5 different things that you can do each round of combat and combat can end suddenly if a certain number is rolled and ...
If you play this get ready to roll a lot. I don't mind the rolling it's the long combat process that did me in.

On the trade pile.
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157. Board Game: The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:1109] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
Mike Stevens
United States
Nebraska
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I played 4 patrols of this last night and all I can say is that it is a fantastic solo game. Even though all you do is roll dice, check the charts and player aid cards, make some decisions, then move some chits around, this game does a fantastic job of making you feel like you are commanding a German U-boat in WWII. It feels so good when you locate a convoy and sink several tons of enemy shipping. It is also an awful feeling when you get detected by enemy escorts or aircraft and your U-boat starts taking damage or your crew members get wounded or KIA. The first print run sold out and I think they should be shipping the 2nd one in mid June. They are also releasing another game featuring American submarines in the Pacific Theatre.

Great components, chits and charts are high quality

Gameplay decisions are very important and meaningful. If you chance it and try to sink one more enemy ship while your electrical engines are damaged and you lose your second one, then you and your crew are heading to the bottom of the sea.

The game plays nice and fast. A patrol can be played in less than 20 minutes and you should be able to finish a whole campaign in an evening.

They did not print enough copies when they released this game so there are lots of wanna-be U-boat commanders out there who cant play this wonderful game until later in the summer.
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158. Board Game: The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:1109] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
Ron A
United States
California
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from the May SGoYT thread:

SBGrad wrote:
Time once again for my monthly entry of the Hunters into the SGoYT thread, going back to October I guess.

Just as in previous months, I am in another online tournament, this one is the The Hunters - Four Week Tournament I.

Link to all my plays of the Hunters in June

More new content:

Typically outstanding GMT physical productions values (box, counters, rules, etc). 2nd edition adding another die, a d20. Very good value for $$.

part wargame, part solo rpg-- your captain and some of your crew can level up (and down, war IS hell, after all). Not only good physical value for $$, but also good play value for $$.

HUGE community support: there have been BGG tourneys pretty much every month since the game came out; large, thriving Hunters forum on BGG; lots of helpful files and variants as well. Excellent VASSAL module as well.

Some people are not comfortable with the theme-- combatants ambushing civilian ships. Furthermore, this is more U-Boat GAME than U-Boat SIMULATION, there is a fair amount of abstraction going on.
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159. Board Game: The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:1109] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
Mikolaj Laczynski
Poland
Warsaw
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I played the last week in the Four Week Tournament.

The fourth week was going quite well. I was hitting the targets, barely escaping escorts and aircraft, getting my crew promoted.

And then as I was returning from (what seemed like the penultimate) patrol and a wave threw the Captain overboard!

Had he survived, he would be taking the last patrol in July of 1943 and I might have a chance of surviving the game for the first time ever.

Tonnage summary:
Patrol 1 - Jul 1942 - British Isles
3 ships sunk: 27,100 tons

Patrol 2 - Nov 1942 - West Africa Coast
2 ships sunk: 3,800 tons

Patrol 3 - Feb 1943 - North America
3 ship sunk: 24,300 tons

A great narrative in the game (see above). I was staring at the dice result and double, triple, quadruple checking the result. Then I got angry, but after a couple of minutes calmed down and was able to laugh at the situation.

Good system allowing for online/asynchronous tournaments. These tournaments are what makes the game very replayable.

Easy to "save" a game in progress. Just pack up the counters after a patrol.

Not really a disadvantage, but some small rules can be missed in first plays. Once they are learnt and remembered the game flows quickly.
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160. Board Game: The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:1109] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
Denise Lavely
United States
Carmel
Indiana
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Just got this today from Cardhaus, yay! Haven't read the WHOLE rule book yet, but did muddle through the first patrol for newly-minted Kapitanleutnant Lotte Plettner of the German Women's U-Boat Corps in her Type VIIA in September of 1939.

For her first patrol, she did really well - Lotte's first target was the unescorted small freighter Lehigh, which she managed to sink in the second round of combat with her deck guns. Then, she ran into a convoy - a small freighter, two large freighters, and a tanker. The small freighter was destroyed right away, and a large freighter was damaged - sadly, the torpedoes fired at the other two ships missed completely. Avoiding the convoy's escort and following on led to a second round of combat, but unfortunately the only torpedo that hit was a dud. A little more good luck avoiding the escort & one last try with the aft torpedo was a hit, and the large freighter sank. Lotte returns triumphant from her first patrol with 14,300 in sunk tonnage and not a scratch on her U-Boat.

HOPEFULLY that was what happened and I didn't mess up too many rules Gotta go read the rule book in more depth now that I have the idea of it, but so far so good!

EDIT 6/11 - Lotte's second patrol did not go quite as well, but was very exciting! After her previous success in the British Isles, she was sent this time to plant mines in the British Isles. Unfortunately, she was spotted by aircraft, took several hits over a couple rounds of combat, damaging the periscope, radio, deck gun, fuel tanks, and causing flooding, AND the engineer was slightly wounded and a crew member was seriously wounded. But, she did eventually manage to escape, the engineer was able to repair the fuel tanks despite his injury (whew!), and the mines did get planted - success!! And, just to ice the cake, she also sank an unescorted tanker, so still a very successful mission, despite the two months of refit needed afterwards...


pretty easy to understand and get into for a beginner

lends itself well to a narrative style of play

small footprint - you could basically play this on a TV tray

I hate playing the bad guys - so MY patrols are happening in an alternative world where the British Empire succumbed to the insanity and racism of Neville Chamberlain and HIS desire to create a Master Race and all that
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161. Board Game: The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:1109] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
Marc Maier
United States
Darien
Connecticut
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Type: IXA/IXB
Kommandant: FKpt Mackenzie Maier (KC/O)
Patrols (Success/Total): 10/11
Ships Sunk: 27
Total Tonnage: 241,500

Boat sunk during 11th patrol in June '42 while on station in North America.

Link to google spreadsheet with details:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AriV3UvvSOVRdHJ...

Kmdt Mackenzie Maier had a very lucky career until her luck ran out with a vengeance on U-41's final patrol off North America. The most remarkable aspect of her run is not that she sighted four capital ships, but that she sank every one of them, including the 31k ton behemoth BB Malaya. Since three of these were sighted early in the war, the boat had an easier time escaping detection by the escorts.

The easy-hunting days of 1939 and 1940 were good to U-41, the period including a run of 5 straight successful patrols. One of U-41's most successful patrols was the second in Dec. '39. Assigned to the West African Coast, the first ship sighted was the CV Eagle, which was sunk during a night surface attack using a second salvo from the aft tubes. Despite all this and the escort bonus for capital ships, the boat escaped undetected! Three additional ships were sunk during this patrol, including two in a convoy. A tanker and large freighter were damaged during the initial attack, were followed and attacked again even though escorted. Both were sunk despite a few dud torpedo hits and again the escorts proved unable to detect U-41. The small freighter Shaftesbury was sighted without escort and sunk with the deck gun, and later, on the way back to port, the Ashby was sighted with escorts. Unfortunately, out of four torpedoes fired, 2 missed and the two hits were duds. The boat escaped detection, however. Refit took 3 months due to hull damage incurred by exceeding test depth during the convoy battle. Mackenzie Maier gratefully accepted her Knights Cross for sinking the CV Eagle and requested a newer boat, which would be delivered the minute the new type IXB's were completed in the following year.

The next patrol, also to the West African Coast, in April '40 saw the sinking of two tankers and large freighter. The first two were part of a convoy and the escorts here were better at their job, detecting U-41 and doing a good bit of damage before losing contact.

The second capital ship, the CA Belfast, was sighted during the next patrol off the British Isles in Aug. '40. It was already a successful patrol with two sinkings, but Mackenzie took the U-41 in to attack without hesitation. The first salvo damaged the CA and the boat escaped detection. Mackenzie followed and caught up with heavily damaged cruiser the following night, finishing the job with four torpedoes and again escaping detection by the escorting destroyers! A final small freighter was sunk on the way home as Kmdt Maier brought U-41 back to port with no damage and a second capital ship to her credit.

The third capital ship, the CV Courageous, was sighted in Feb. '41 in the Atlantic while U-41 was part of a wolfpack. The patrol had been just barely successful with a single 13,000 ton large freight sunk during a convoy attack, when the Courageous was sighted on the way home. Despite the wolf pack's assistance, the convoy escorts had detected U-41 and done a bit of damage, but Kmdt Maier directed her crew to move into attack position when the Courageous was sighted. She pushed her luck by deciding to attack on the surface during the night, and using a second salvo into the bargain. The six torpedoes were just enough to sink the CV and a low detection roll while exceeding test depth allowed U-41 to escape unscathed.

A very difficult Atlantic patrol followed in May '41 during which the boat was heavily damaged attacking a convoy. Only a single ship was sunk, which made the patrol a success, but the boat only barely escaped destruction. Damage was so heavy that no more attacks were made despite a few more sightings. The engineer managed just enough repairs to keep refit time down to just 3 months, which considering the damage incurred was pretty good.

Kmdt Maier sighted the fourth and largest capital ship of her illustrious career during U-41's next patrol to the British Isles in Sep. '41. After escaping an aircraft in the Bay of Biscay via successful crash dive, the BB Malaya was sighted the first night on station. Mackenzie Maier again opted for a daring night surface attack with a second salvo figuring that every possible torpedo would be needed to bring down such a huge target. Only two of the six hit effectively, but one of these did 4 damage to sink their battleship! The escorts did detect the boat, however, and did some damage before escape was effected. This sinking would earn Kmdt Mackenzie oak leaves for her Knight's Cross when U-41 returned to port after sinking two other ships.

During 1942, things became much more difficult, requiring more caution to avoid the increasingly effective escorts. Still, U-41 managed two more successful patrols before being sunk in June, '42 on station in North America. Perhaps frustrated after losing contact on two ships with escort by waiting for nightfall, Kmdt Maier made the rash decision to attack a convoy. After sinking a small freighter, the escorts detected the boat and did some damage. Unable to escape, the damage eventually proved too great and the hull cracked, sending U-41, Kmdt Mackenzie Maier and all hands to the bottom.
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162. Board Game: Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:2147]
Stu Garside
United Kingdom
Andover
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A short game of this where despite working the virus pretty well, it just seemed to stay one step ahead if the science team. The death track soon climbed to it's inevitable, and unfortunate, conclusion.
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163. Board Game: Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:2147]
Chris C.
United States
Yardley
Pennsylvania
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It had been awhile since I broke this one out, so I took advantage of a quiet, empty house to play a couple of rounds.

1st Play: Bacterial
Humanity was saved. I started out on bacterial to refresh myself on the rules and phases. Things went exceedingly well. The die rolls were very friendly, which helped keep the the Death Tool low. I got a good combination of lab equipment and personnel to work with which helped keep the molecules in check. I also seemed to have pretty good luck drawing protein/molecule combinations. All in all, a pretty easy session. I don't think I need to play at the bacterial level any more.

2nd Play: Viral
Humanity was lost. All of the things that made my first play through successful seemed to follow me to this session. Unfortunately, things just didn't work out for me in the end. I think my downfall was being to conservative with spending cash, which made destroying molecules a slow process. Eventually, my luck with the die ran out and the Death Toll maxed out.
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164. Board Game: Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:2147]
Jason Leidich
United States
Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
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And now I know what the "wipes-a-lot" napkin is for... The first VPG game I ever looked into was Zulus and I saw the napkin as part of the inventory. My assumption was that a washable marker or crayon was used to track something in the game - I didn't realize it was because of the game materials dusty nature.

This is my first physical copy of a VPG title. The components are nice (love the thick counters and puzzle game board) and I have learned a little more about VPG as a company now from the note included in the game. I'll have to go spend some time on their site checking out the other corners besides the catalog. I love quality components and while I prefer things like the linen card stock of various mass produced games I can and do appreciate the way this is put together. I can't say I was too keen on the charcoal-like dust that covered my fingers and table after I was done punching the game out but the stamped diner napkin is a nice touch and it wasn't hard to clean up. I was also surprised by getting not only the puzzle-like board I'd seen in some photos but a fold-able game board as well.

I unpacked & set up the game before dinner but didn't get back to it until later in the night. Had some dad and hubby time in there as we had to get our son fed and to bed and my wife & I wanted to watch a couple more episodes of Orange is the New Black (almost done!).

The game is a snap to set up, and the rules are very easy to follow. I downloaded the set up and turn summary file from the game's BGG page to save me the trouble of thumbing through pages to get the turn order down once I understood the rules and started my first game on the Bacterial level.

I was able to defeat the virus with the Death Toll track on 7 due to the brave efforts of Marvin the rat. I had just one I molecule left in the dish and got lucky with two consecutive non-mutation turns. The K & L molecules were still in there and I was afraid I was going to draw one just as I was getting close. I couldn't use Marvin on that second to last turn because I was still at Stage II, I cursed my luck as I figured after moving into Stage III that the next card was going to make me draw a molecule I didn't have an antibody for yet.

I played at about 95% accuracy, forgetting once or twice that I needed to roll for the lab equipment. This game was a blast, I reset it before I went to bed and plan to get another Bacterial round in today at lunch before switching over to the Viral side. Money wasn't a big problem for me in my first game so I am anxious to face the challenge of scrambling for funding versus a small steady income. However, I decided on one more Bacterial run just to be sure I have all the rules straight.

Game 2
Easy peasy. Death Track was on 3 when I knocked out the Virus. Big help from early purchases of Dr. Eugene and the Homogenizers (what a combo!), made quick work of things in the dish. Time for Viral. Board is reset and I'll tackle that sometime after work today. Looking forward to the challenge!

Game 3
I've gone Viral, stay back! I was able to grab the Homogenizer early so I thought I was really going to make some quick progress from the start. However, a Critical Malfunction destroyed it just a few turns later - before I even had the opportunity to use it. Things looked bad, then they looked pretty ok again, then they looked really bad and then, hey maybe I have a shot! Sadly, even with help from Dr. EM around the mid-game and then Dr. MY toward the end all hope was lost. In the last couple of turns I was forced twice to move the DT marker up without a roll - including on the last turn where it hit the skull. Not even Dr. MY could help me there, plus she needed to go visit her mom at one point - DT is on 8 but you go do what you gotta do Doc. This was very fun and a much more intense experience than the Bacterial side! I'm gonna go again... brb!

Games 4 & 5
More of the same Viral madness. So close. Game 5 was heartbreaking though. I pulled the lab events that let me harvest 4 and harvest for free at one point and had Dr. EM for extra proteins so I was really cooking and had added the Homogenizer later for even more benefit. The dice just hated me though and I could not contain the virus early on (rolled 1s & 2s for several rounds straight). Per JG's suggestion I will try the OWP variant for my next few games to see how that goes.

Games 6 & 7
Tried the OWP variant. I liked it, doesn't seem overpowered but can be a game saver. I beat Viral in game 6, just on the brink. Not only did my last OWP token keep the DT from advancing, the next turn I pulled the Anti-Viral Cocktail and prevented the DT advance again. I had two molecules on the board and was almost done with K, N showed up the previous turn and I'd never seen it before - it was not looking good. The following turn N was replaced by D - an anti-body I had! I removed D and grabbed the final protein for K. Victory! I blew most of my tokens on bad rolls or 6s, I only really got help that one time from the OWP - it's definitely tougher that you have to choose to use them first.

In game 7 OWP wasn't even a factor. I only bought one token but then ran into a cash flow problem for the first time so that was then end of that. It really slowed me down and I just couldn't get it done in time. I had some good moments and bad, Marvin quit, I got to hire Dr. EM for half-price, I drew the Celebrity Cause event (yay!) and then immediately also drew the Budget Cuts (aww!)... but ultimately I wanted to try a different approach so I took a few risks that put me in a hole and didn't get the pay-off. I swear the deck knows just when to mutate the right hex to screw me up.

Games 8 - 10
Nothing to report that hasn't been said before, 3 more defeats, so close on the last two. Absolutely no chance on game 8 though, it was a perfect storm of mutations that did me in. I lost before I had to restock the molecule draw bag but in this particular game the virus mutations were insane. It grew fast adding 5 new molecules in the first 2 event cards and then after that it was a swap-meet. I had 12 molecules in the discard pile by the time it was all over, usually I only end up with around 6 before I need to shuffle them back in. I ended with just one antibody completed because it was jumping around so much and an event took my other one away from me. It was pure chaos and in fact I'm surprised I didn't run out of proteins instead due to constantly refocusing my efforts.


meeple

This game is going to make my "Dime" list by the weekend I think. I probably should get in on that 10x10 challenge, I have no 10s yet but I have about 5 games with 8 or 9 plays already this year. I do the Five & Dime list at the end of the year and usually have about a dozen games on the Dime side.

Quick to learn and quick to play.
Variable difficulty levels and variant rules will keep the challenge level high.
Fun Puzzler with enough random factors to keep it from being a game you can solve after a handful of plays.
Dirty fingers! laugh
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165. Board Game: Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:2147]
Ryan Mayes
United States
Gilbert
Arizona
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“Whilst I count my schnookels”
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This is my 100th GeekList item!!!*

I finally got to play Infection last night. I'm not sure why, but I've been struggling through this rulebook. I've tried to read it four times before last night, and I just kept putting it down. I'm not sure why but it just wouldn't keep my attention. I kept telling myself that I needed to have the game in front of me but really, the game isn't hard at all. So last night, I forced myself to sit down with the game and learn it already!

I had a very interesting game. I killed it. And by killed, I mean that I took it to the virus pretty hard. "Not on our watch!" my scientists screamed as they cured the last molecule.

I just cured the H molecule in the C12 space for $6. Yeehaw!


I never had any troubles with the game. I easily cured the molecules and always had the funding I needed. It got to the point where I was buying lab equipment just so I wouldn't hit my funding limit. About halfway through the game, I started thinking that maybe I was playing something wrong. There were no molecules in the virus area so I was just curing molecules in case they came out of the draw bag. I started thinking that I was at a weird place because I was going to win eventually. I just needed to keep curing molecules and eventually the molecules would come out so I could finish them off. I had two turns in a row where I had no molecules in the virus area and my cards said, "do not place any molecules." By this point the game was staring to drag, but I finally cured the last molecule. Victory! I reached for the rulebook to double check the end game conditions and it said you win if you've "cleared the virus before the Death Toll Track reached it's final space." Oops. That means I won the game about 30 minutes earlier. I think. I cleared all the molecules from the virus area long before I cured the molecules. I think that means I kept playing even though the game was over.

I'm also pretty sure I also did something else wrong. I'm going to have to go back and reread the rules. Hopefully they will stick with me.

In the meantime, I had a blast. It was a very fun game and I like the challenge of curing the disease. It's a very fun theme that gives me things to really think about.

I love the theme.
The puzzly aspect of curing the disease is something I really like.
I'm really impressed with the scientists/lab equipment part of the game. It's cool that scientists get angry and petty with each other. I also found that I wanted to use more equipment than I was able. It gave me the hard choices that I love in games.
The rulebook has ambiguities and I just had a really hard time getting through it. Hopefully the second read through will be better.




*Technically, it's my 100th GeekList item on other people's GeekLists, but right now it says 100, so that's pretty fun!
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166. Board Game: K2 [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:496]
Sascha Döpke
Germany
48161 Münster
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I wanted to like this game but it doesn't work. I watched ricky royals Play through And when This Guy Said a game is good Solitaire, than i Buy it. But this One leaves me a Little Bit disappointed. I try it once more And perhaps it feels better than.
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167. Board Game: Kingdom of Heaven: The Crusader States 1097-1291 [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:2744]
The play's the thing ...
Australia
Point Lonsdale
Victoria
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Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
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I was away for the last two weeks of May on family business without an internet connection so lots of time in the evenings to play games as a way of winding down though limited luggage space meant only 3 games made the journey.

1st was this game. I played 3 times, 3 different scenarios and I'm not sure about this. I need to play some more but something was flat for me still not sure what though.
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168. Board Game: Kings of Air and Steam [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1573]
Kyle
United States
Up Nort' Der
Wisconsin
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DV: Anakin Skywalker was weak. I destroyed him.                 AT: Then I will avenge his death.             DV: Revenge is not the Jedi way.             AT: I am no Jedi.
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Way back at the start of the month I'd mentioned wanting to get this played, and it finally happened.

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

Solo 2-Player
2-Board setup (F & D)


I.S.A.A.C. and Eli Diamond were randomly drawn as characters.
Eli jumped out to an early lead with a few nice shipments that gave him a huge lead in funding. Meanwhile ISAAC ran a much tighter budget that included a lot of upgrades, which limited some of his options early but provided a steady increase in momentum that continued to build for the rest of the game. Eli managed to keep up in the shipping department, but with far fewer upgrades he started slipping behind and by the end had no chance of catching back up.

Scores:
I.S.A.A.C. (DaVinci)
Airship: 15
Trains: 30
Depots: 60
Cash: 68
Total: 173


Eli Diamond (Sky Castle)
Airship: --
Trains: --
Depots: 50
Cash: 64
Total: 114


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

Gorgeous components and artwork make this one of the best-looking games out there.
It brings together a variety of the things I really enjoy seeing in games: A well-designed modular board, variable player abilities, RoboRally-style movement programming, Euro-style pick up & deliver, a clean and intuitive upgrade system, loads of non-backstabby(mostly) player interaction, and the previously-mentioned exceptional components and artwork.
Remarkably easy to play as a solo-multiplayer game, despite the lack of any good solo rules (official or otherwise).
If you like the more "traditional" Eurogame solo method of chasing high scores, you can play it that way with zero changes to the standard rules.
----
The artwork has a very strong Steampunk theme, which can be good or bad depending on how you feel about Steampunk. If you like it, you'll love this game. If you don't, the game is still worth checking out. Just pretend the airships are actually sailing ships trading with islands in the Mediterranean during the Renaissance or something.
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The airships are a little bit oversized. That's a non-issue 95% of the time, but it causes a problem when two or more players are int he same space at the same time.
With almost zero luck and mostly open information, AP-prone players can have serious issues when it comes to planning out their moves and building in contingencies when there's a chance of others reaching a particular factory first.




Now, to finish writing up the header for the next month's SGOYT list...
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169. Board Game: Kyoto [Average Rating:5.33 Unranked]
Casey Nedry
Japan
Yamashina
Japan
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I passed this by several times but as I've just recently stated a gaming group in Kyoto I thought I would give it a shot. Additionally, roughly half the folks attending our monthly sessions are new to gaming and this game is easy to pick up and learn.

Basically it's all about chaining matching pictures on a tiles to score points. In the solo game you are limited to making a 5x5 grid of tiles and the goal is to beat your previous score. On my 1st go I scored 62 points and on my 2nd I did a bit better, scored 73. Tried it one last for the night and wracked 88 points. Woot!


Scored 122 on my most recent try. It's a nice little brain teaser to try and optimize your tile placement.
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170. Board Game: Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:324]
Justin
United States
Plano
Texas
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When I first started looking for solo games this kept popping up in my search given it's relatively high ranking on BGG. I kept putting it off though because of people's worry about gaming the flowchart. Why I ever thought I would be smart enough to figure that out is beyond me, but thankfully, the kind folks here on SGoYT assuaged that fear. When GMT did their sale a month or two ago, I bit.

I'm working through the tutorial. I can only take so much rule reading so I'm taking a break waiting for my daughter to finish her nap. I can already tell I'm going to like it, though. The cool interactivity of the mechanics is already apparent.

6-25-14: 2-Player tutorial finished. Solitaire tutorial now to commence!

6-26-14: I feel a little lame, but it's clear to me that this is a game that's going to be set up for a week or so while I pick through my initial play or two. I'm not really feeling like doing that right now so I'm packing it up with a basic understanding of the rules and will mess with it more later. I'm feeling more in the mood for stuff that I can finish in a sitting.
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171. Board Game: Last Frontier: The Vesuvius Incident [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:4642]
George Pattison
United States
Odenton
Maryland
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I am playing the Invasion of Feynman Scenario and doing a photographic essay of the whole disaster. It's the scenario where "everybody dies." It's been on one of my tables since last January, and I recently returned to it.

The situation when I left was that the aliens had come on board from the returning shuttle, killed poor Eastwood, taken his body, and disappeared. A team of off duty crew members had slowly made their way to the corridor outside of Expeditionary Equipment Room where the weapons are stored. It was there that luck intervened, and they got ambushed. Out of the four that made it there, only Lichter escaped. But, Hernandez managed to kill an alien with his bare hands before he to was slaughtered. Meanwhile, down(or up if you consider the gravity vector) in the Astrolab, Colovisto and Sarma were ambushed by an alien. It got Sarma, but Colovisto got it with the flare gun and pushed the alarm.


After that disaster, I was demoralized and took a break to play Navaho Wars. After a few false restarts due to forgetting major portions of the scenario specific rules, I finally got the game back on track. We managed get a team to the weapons and armed up. I still am in the process of linking up with the last isolated survivor in the command pod, and I still have to find the bodies of four missing crew members before I can try to leave. There is slim possibility that I could win, but I have 8 bad guys left to bag. The most positive end is probably to lock in somewhere and await rescue which would be a draw.

Re-playable. Every game is different.
Usually plays fast due to different turn time scales.
It has plasma guns and critters that bleed acid in it.
The additional rules for Invasion of Feynman scenario can be confusing and slow the game down.

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172. Board Game: The Last King of Scotland [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:8199]
Steve Kennedy

New Hampshire
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I'm planning to give this one a try some more this month. I've managed one fit-and-start intro game. My last attempt at the end of May was a bit better as I'm still a bit new to the format/style of this sort of game. I picked this up on sale when I bought Ottoman Sunset: The Great War in the Near East 1914-1918 which I have played some 20 times since it arrived in April. So it may reappear this month too. And I always try to get in at least one game of Navajo Wars. It's time for me to try the middle scenarios now I think.
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173. Board Game: The Last King of Scotland [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:8199]
Jacob Coon
Germany
Riedlingen
Baden-Wuerttemberg
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This was my first play of this game too and also a wargame where you play both sides. The jury is still out as to whether I like to play both sides (because I am always rooting for one side), but I destroyed the competition, so maybe I enjoyed it because of that?

I have heard that playing as the Ugandan forces is much more difficult to win, than as the Tanzanians, so that is my plan for the next play.

Quick and easy set-up
After reading the rules, quick and easy play.
Good intro to wargaming, complexity-wise
You play as both sides
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174. Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:614]
Jason Moore
Germany
March
Baden-Württemberg
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Perhaps not a game that I'd picked up for its solo experience per se, this has proved to be equally entertaining as a solitaire as from my first two-player game at the weekend. I've been wanting to get hold of it for a while, and I'm really becoming a huge fan of Portal's output - I'm happy to say it hasn't disappointed at all.

An unusual theme of constructing your family tree, it has two solitaire variants built in: the first is a replica of the main game, which has you developing your family through three generations; the other (which I have yet to try) is more of a detective game, in which you try to trace your lineage from the clue cards.

The regular game, which mirrors the multiplayer, is great fun, as you are trying to create useful alliances, marrying well, selecting suitors based on their skills, wealth and benefits. You need to balance points for finance, and honour, which goes on to inform your family's prestige (the victory points of the game). You have your own play board, to play your limited "worker" tokens, but also a shared board which allows for specialised jobs to be completed (and these are hotly contested in the multiplayer game). Every societal card has unique art and benefits, and many work in synergy with others - it's up to you to optimise your family, which is simple enough, but tricky to master. On top of that, you can contribute to society, earn titles, dabble in questionable fertility rites, undertake missions (which are nicely thematic and add benefits and points to your family). The game plays in nine rounds, offers a huge amount of choices, and seems to have caught the eye and interest of everyone who has seen it so far... it's obvious what your are doing, as you draft the tableau of your family tree - and it's all very pretty when spread out.

In this game, I had an usually good run of luck, only seeing three birth complications through the three generations. My patron was Madame de Pompadour, who rewarded me heavily in the end game for having so many children, and for arranging the future marriages of several children to scientists, heading into the (unexplored) future generation. I managed to do my bit for society, holding a Grand Ball, a Banquet, and having some of my forebears gain titles to hold sway with the nobility.

That said, sixty points didn't feel like a monstrous payout for my end game score... But at least my family tree didn't look like a stump.

Typically gorgeous card art and a very well designed game.
An unusual experience, certainly something that I haven't seen other games tap into.
Very accessible to non-gamers, in concept, but there are a lot of synergies to consider, so it may need a game or two before everyone is playing as well as they might.
Complications. There are a small number of cards that represent the dangers of childbirth at this time. Occasionally, someone will draw a card that states that either mother or child died in childbirth, and you adapt to the game accordingly. It's entirely thematic, it isn't insensitive, but you can imagine that it is possible that some players might be uncomfortable with it. You can, of course, take these cards out, with no detriment to the experience at all.
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175. Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:144] [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked]
skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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Cary Grant, 1904 - 1986
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How old Cary Grant? Old Cary Grant fine. How you?
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I joined Season 3 of the online league, and I am realizing that I almost prefer this solo. It works quite well for me solo, and many games do not.

So far, I have 3 games under my belt in this season. For June, just one:

Blade, Silver Surfer, and Iron Man vs. Styfe. It was a close one with only 10 cards left in the villain deck, and 5 of 7 twists out.

I also spent last weekend working on better dividers. I now know where everyone is easier now.
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