My 2015 10x10: Solo games from the Decktet, Looney Pyramids, and Piecepack
Erik Johnson
United States
St Paul
Minnesota
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I enjoyed my experiences with the 2014 10x10, but I felt that the biggest challenge was finding consistent opponents. This year, I decided to make two lists- one list with the same challenge of finding some willing gamers, and another list consisting entirely of solo games.

This is the solo list.

I have been fascinated by various game systems for some time. The first day I found the 'geek, there was a news item about a piecepack design contest. I'm intrigued by the possibilities in different systems and I want to explore them more.
To that end, I've chosen three systems to play solo games from. The Decktet, Looney Pyramids, and Piecepack. I've played multiplayer games from all 3 systems, but I want to delve a little deeper. One problem with web published games is that I tend to give them shorter shrift. They might rate one play or even just a rules read, and then they are discarded. Frankly, that's more then some deserve, but just like many of my commercially boxed games, some have depth waiting to be discovered on further plays. And that is what the 10x10 challenge is all about.
(There are 11 because I intend this to be the HARDCORE challenge.)

Hopefully I will also manage to post a review of each of these when I'm done, as I'm likely to have the most plays recorded on the geek of some of them once I'm done.
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1. Board Game: Gongor Whist [Average Rating:6.23 Unranked]
Erik Johnson
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St Paul
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I love the idea of a solo trick-taking game. I understand it is very difficult to win, so I expect there will be plenty of replayability.

1/10
What a fun game. There is luck, but there are fun decisions. I think not taking tricks has more skill involved, while taking all 7 can really come down to the flip of both the last card and the "twiddle" of the trump deck. But I really feel like this was tailor made for the Decktet. The opportunity to follow either suit really makes deciding how many tricks to go for each round an interesting choice.
1/11
1/12
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2. Board Game: Jacynth [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:7209]
Erik Johnson
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1/21 basic deck. It seems like it might be easier to rack up the score with the extended deck. Having a hand full of crowns just really sucks.
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3. Board Game: Adaman [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:9011]
Erik Johnson
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This looks like a great way to familiarize myself with the decktet before wading into some of the other games.
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4. Board Game: Quincunx [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:8469]
Erik Johnson
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5. Board Game: Head Solitaire [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Erik Johnson
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A game played entirely in one hand. No table!

1/1 + Bonus
Played 16 games while chaperoning my son's New Year's party. (All the plays were after midnight, so they are legit for the 2015 10x10) I played 10 with the basic deck, and 6 with the extended deck. I think it plays better with just the basic deck, as getting melds with the 3 suit cards gumming things up is very difficult. The Excuse card is a welcome addition, and can really break a jam, but overall it still doesn't work as well. My best score was 11, though with the extended deck, it went as bad as 36.

(Edit: see my update from 1/2) My main concern with the game so far, is that most melds are 3 cards. With drawing 6 cards, and discarding 6 cards, it is very difficult to offset the discard deck enough to make it significantly different on the second time through the deck. I'm not sure if that difficulty in a solitaire game is a bug or a feature, but one 4 card meld early can drastically affect the entire game as a result. I have tinkered a bit with tweaks to the rules (another 4 unrecorded plays) to see if I can change the cycling, but I don't think I've played enough yet to have any conclusive "fix."

Overall, so far I find it a charming game. Holding all the cards in one hand didn't feel gimmicky or difficult, but rather intuitive. I have yet to try to really memorize my discard pile and be able to coordinate further discards to build the deck for the next round, primarily because of the offset difficulties mentioned. As a result, the game feels light, yet satisfying. It doesn't offer many decisions, but for passing time in circumstances where there is no playing surface, it felt far superior to staring at my phone.

1/2
I learned not to learn rules at New Year's parties today. I missed a small but essential rule that you are allowed to discard one card before going through the second time. This fixes problem I was having before and makes the game better and more interesting. It allows you to set yourself up on the second run through the deck, and doesn't make it a huge memory hog. It also means that while the game still depends to a certain extent on the luck of the draw, reordering matters. Which means that there are more and better decisions to be made.
That said, I don't think that I can have enough influence on the deck that my skill can "win" the game. Even on good games, I am consistently winding up with a score of 10. When I looked at those 10 cards last game, there was no combination of them that would meld.
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6. Board Game: Volcano [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2868]
Erik Johnson
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7. Board Game: Ice Solo [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
Erik Johnson
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Interesting looking puzzle game.
 
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Erik Johnson
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Egyptian solitaire isn't in the geek database, so this will have to do for now. http://www.icehousegames.org/wiki/index.php?title=Egyptian_S...

1/1
3 full plays as well as some false starts. Best score is 3 so far.
This is basically a pegging game, where you hop over a piece and then remove it, trying to get down to just one piece remaining. It is very much more puzzle than game, but as I haven't solved it yet, I am enjoying it. Hopping takes 3 spaces, so on a 3x4 grid there isn't a ton of elbow room. I feel like I've found the obvious mistakes to avoid, but we shall see if I will solve it this year.
 
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9. Board Game: Piece Packing Pirates [Average Rating:6.61 Unranked]
Erik Johnson
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I like puzzles and wild mechanics, but I think theme an also take a game to another level.
 
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10. Board Game: Galaxy Express [Average Rating:6.22 Unranked]
Erik Johnson
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More theme
 
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11. Board Game: Cardinal's Guards [Average Rating:6.43 Unranked]
Erik Johnson
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I'm interested in trying it both as written as well as the variant by Octogreg
 
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