Forever alone: a solo gaming odyssey
Adam Perry
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Recently, a series of unlikely coincidences found me trapped in my house alone, and the electricity went out and all of my portable electronics stopped working spontaneously.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Yes, I should have cleaned out the freezer before everything melted. Unfortunately, I didn't think of that. Instead, I went on a solo gaming odyssey. Join me, friends.
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1. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Adam Perry
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I thought this was an obvious game to start with, since it's often described as "multiplayer solitaire." You just take out the "multiplayer," right?

Anyway, I ended the game with a pretty good score after picking up all of the Estates, Duchies, Provinces, Gardens, and Dukes, along with as many of all of the other kingdom cards as I could grab without ending the game prematurely and every coin card (gotta milk those Gardens!). The game increases in difficulty near the end, when you have to shuffle a deck of around 500 cards (but not too often, fortunately).
 
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2. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:70]
Adam Perry
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Playing Tigris & Euphrates solo was a huge relief, as I have the hardest time remembering the rules for internal vs. external conflicts. I was also able to place all of the wooden buildings, which is highly satisfying.
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3. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:42]
Adam Perry
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Another game whose fiddly rules were fixed in the solo game. No need to remember which direction to pass your cards! I thought the solo game would make things easier, but I ended up having a difficult time getting the materials I needed. On the plus side, I ended up with a nice cash surplus, and I never lost a single military conflict.
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4. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:185] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Adam Perry
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You know how nail-biting it is deciding when to decline your active race? Well, it turns out it's way more tense in the solo game, which is why I really can't recommend this one.
 
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5. Board Game: In the Year of the Dragon [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:220]
Adam Perry
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Dishearteningly, I found myself in last place on both Mongol invasions, but I did manage to snag a double privilege on the first round.
 
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6. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:282] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Adam Perry
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I managed Longest Road and Largest Army in this game, but I had a hard time deciding where to put the robber. I got a lot of mileage out of my trade ports in this game.
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7. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
Adam Perry
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Solo Ra maintains much of the original game's tension: do you take the lot now or do you risk some disasters getting thrown into the mix? Eliminating the possibility of getting outbid also makes this a much more pleasant experience.
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8. Board Game: Santiago [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:526]
Adam Perry
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I can't stress enough how much more enjoyable Santiago is as a solo game. It's always so heartbreaking to see your crops dry up!
 
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9. Board Game: Royals [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:846]
Adam Perry
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I find that majority control games are often frustrating, but I'm happy to report that this frustration is entirely eliminated in solo play. Highly recommended.
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10. Board Game: Risk Legacy [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:234]
Adam Perry
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After several uneventful games where I ruled the planet uncontested, I finally broke down and opened the forbidden envelope. The temptation was too great.
 
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11. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:215]
Adam Perry
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I played about fifteen games and only won two of them: once when the Princess card was out of the game, and once when it was the last card in the deck. Too luck-based. Pass.
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12. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:276]
Adam Perry
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At this point, it occurred to me that I might have a better time trying some solo co-ops, so I pulled out this little gem. My wife and I regularly pull out a perfect 30 in Hanabi (using the sixth color). The solo game is incredibly difficult: my highest score after ten plays was a mere 6.
 
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13. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
Adam Perry
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Many people complain that Pandemic suffers from the "alpha player" problem, a complaint that I never identified with before this experience. I must unfortunately report that the solo game suffers enormously from alpha player syndrome.
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14. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:322]
Adam Perry
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I found this game to be prohibitively difficult in my first few plays. The hand limit is restrictive, and with only four life points to work with, it's impossible to cover all of the quests.

I got a lucky break on my fourth playthrough when I pulled the Traitor role. What a relief!
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15. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:423]
Adam Perry
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Now, even in the best circumstances, Betrayal is not a well-balanced game. I found that the solo game was just plain impossible to lose, though, and what's worse, it ended immediately when the haunt started (just when the game usually starts getting interesting).
 
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