50 Shades of Cardboard, aka a List of Games I'd like to Play (some of which I've even managed to get on the table)
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Hi ya'll and thanks for stopping by. In the list items below I write about games I've played and games I'd like to try out. I also log each (or most) plays of my games. For many of the games you'll find multiple entries, one introductory one followed later by reports/mentions of me having played the game.

I'm a fan of simulations, historical simulations in particular. I like realism while sci-fi, zombie and vampire themes tend to turn me off. I'm also chiefly a solo gamer. Many of the titles listed below will reflect those interests. In my spare time I continue to tinker with a couple of game designs of my own that, hopefully, one day will be far enough to be presented to the wider public.

Please feel free to chime in with comments.
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1. Board Game: Cataclysm: A Second World War [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked]
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Having fun on a Sunday evening putting together a playtest copy of Cataclysm. Might this be the first physical version of the game this side of the Atlantic?


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2. Board Game: Formula D [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:429]
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I'm not a particularly big fan of racing games (although I do like Race! Formula 90). With my son I've played some of the classic racing game Formula D, or Formula De.

To make our games of Formula D a bit more interesting, I came up with a simple-ish solo variant. It's not a variant for kids even though I came up with it while playing with my kid. In some ways the variant is more tactical than Formula D itself.

You'll find the rules here.
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3. Board Game: Fire in the Lake [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:417]
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I've had a good few games of FitL lately, all solo, often against the bots but once also with me controlling all factions. Lengthier reports of these games can be read at

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/194479/item/4082321#item4...

and

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/194479/item/4091237#item4...


These shot show various details of the end state of my most recent game. NVA was victorious launching a red wave over the South just at the right time aided by VC's king making play of the Honolulu Conference event.

 
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4. Board Game: Cataclysm: A Second World War [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked]
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Here's another intriguing design forthcoming with the GMT Games (one the best publisher of innovative conflict simulations right now, IMHO).

This is "not your father's panzer pusher", says the GMT blurb. Rather, alongside fighting, there will be geopolitics, there will be war strain on the governments as they arms race toward a cataclysm, there will be diplomacy. Oh yes, I like the sound of that.

I'm particularly intrigued by the idea that the game is a sandbox for playing out your own version of WW2. Already the developer has posted a bunch of videos to introduce the game (video 1 here).

So, all that ticks many of the required boxes for me. At this moment, the only unchecked box I can see says 'solitaire play' next to it ... although the GMT profile for the game does rate it 'medium' in terms of 'solitaire suitability'.

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5. Board Game: Empire of the Sun [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:744]
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This is another very well-received design from Mark Herman (see the Churchill entry below) and the latest edition even incorporates bot charts for solitaire play. This has been tempting me accordingly, but so far I've managed to resist the urge mainly because I am not sure how much I will enjoy a straight-out wargame. With COIN, I've learned to love and to want to see a political / hearts and minds aspect in my conflict simulation.

That's why I remain on the fence about EotS while Churchill was a no-brainer.

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6. Board Game: Mr. President [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked]
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One game I'm very eager to see come out as soon as possible is a design by GMT Games' Gene Billingsley. The game is called Mr. President and was introduced in the GMT Games' blog InsideGMT at http://www.insidegmt.com/?p=2450

This is a solitaire-only design in which you play the president of the United States "attempting", as GMT put it, "to govern, with limited resources, in a complex and ever changing world".

The blog entry linked to above gives a very intriguing into the kinds of things you'll be facing as the US president in this game.

Edit: I had missed this other InsideGMT story on the game: http://www.insidegmt.com/?p=144

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7. Board Game: Soccer City [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:4429]
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This one, and the game below, are football (i.e. soccer) themed games and quite unique contributions to the genre. I love the sport and wish there was a brilliant board game version of it. These two games look to me like the most promising candidates.

Soccer City builds upon action selection and card driven gameplay, both unique mechanics in the genre.

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Update: just today the game successfully completed its Kickstarter campaign and I was one of the happy backers. I look forward to getting the game by Christmas. Congratulations to the team!
 
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8. Board Game: FUBA [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:5520]
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The other unique football (i.e. soccer) themed game along the game above. Perhaps a little unfortunately named game (for FUBA is not fubar), it sports a unique board and a ball control mechanic.

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9. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:4]
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A classic design with a very interesting Cold War theme to me. I've been wanting to play this for a long time now.

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10. Board Game: Wir sind das Volk! [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:535]
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Along with the game above, for its theme alone a must play for me. The game replays the Cold War with focus on the two Germanies.

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11. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:378]
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This is another respected design that I'm yet to experience first hand. The game takes us to replay the power struggles in Mexico in the early 20th century.

The game comes with solo rules in the box too, so I'm very tempted to go for it.

With the designer's own website at sierra-madre-games.eu selling the game for mere 27 Euro I am so very tempted to just go and place an order. Yet, up for preorder there is also the 46 Euro collectors edition shipping with extra goodness like a real nice looking playing mat. So, I'm like that donkey standing frozen in front of two equally juicy looking piles of hay not knowing which one to bite first. Problems, huh?!

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12. Board Game: Churchill [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:501]
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I've had my eye on this forthcoming GMT title for some time now. The game system seems highly original and intrigues me to no end. Will I be able to purchase a copy of this at Essen 2015?

Edit: So the game has been out for some time now but I'm yet to receive my preorder copy (ordered via a German distributor). My BGG subscriptions feed is FULL of Churchill forum discussions. (True, there now is that Vassal module around for this but I prefer to have my first plays on a real board.)

I keep reading that the game plays very well solo using the bots so that's really amazing news to me.

Edit: Now my preorder copy has arrived. And so I'm going through the ritual: sleeving the cards. Here's a shot of the 22 British cards, sleeved in the Fantasy Flight sleeves, stacked next to the 22 Soviet cards, unsleeved. The height of the stack has doubled but it's oh so nice 'n sturdy plastic:



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13. Board Game: Mound Builders [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:4268]
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Someone called this an underrated gem in the Victory Point Games State of Siege solitaire game series. I recently acquired a copy and am very keen to see what the fuzz is about! Stay tuned.

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Edit: but unboxed, see this geeklist item below.
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14. Board Game: Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:293]
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Another game with a highly interesting theme. It's soloable out of the box, too. Can I get a copy of this at Essen 2015?

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15. Board Game: A Distant Plain [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:667]
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After Cuba Libre and Fire in the Lake, this looks like the only logical choice for my next COIN game. The theme is beyond intriguing to me and the four factions dynamic seems like one of a kind. Can I get a copy of this at Essen 2015?

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16. Board Game: Rise of the Northmen [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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A viking-themed discovery, build and control game. A print & play title.

I stumbled upon the designer's development blog on this game here on BGG (see it here), subscribed to it and I kinda liked what I was reading. There's some discovery, some battle as well as an AI opponent ---or rather: player independent occurrences--- in the mix. The map looks amazing, too. One day I want to get around fixing me a print & play copy of this.

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17. Board Game: Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:820]
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This is another installment to the COIN series. It is on the topic of the American Civil War. This one I've actually now preordered (via ugg.de, a German partner of GMT Games).

I was going to wait for a future COIN title on a modern conflict (such as detailed here by Volko Ruhnke), but then I read the COIN bot master Örjan say this:

Quote:
the victory conditions in LoD are more tightly intertwined than in any previous COIN game, and it can be very difficult to pull your ally back in case they surge too far ahead of you, so the interactions between the players (as opposed to the player factions) is if anything even trickier to get the hang of than in the previous games. I.e., it can be even harder to figure out what you need to do - and maybe even more importantly, what you need to avoid doing. In a 4-player game, it is quite easy to accidentally push your ally into winning (which has been a major headache for the Non-player rules, BTW).

(here: https://boardgamegeek.com/article/19390979#19390979)

That did it for me because it sounds like LoD alters in a very interesting way certain core aspects of the COIN system (the so-called bash the leader phenomenon as well as the way the Propaganda/Coup cards work). And so I preordered the thing.

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18. Board Game: Time of Soccer [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:1811]
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This game came to my attention only very recently, thanks multiple entries in a number of recent SGOYT lists. It quickly lodged a spot in my want list, and now I've ordered the thing.

Time of Soccer is a football/soccer manager game. What got my attention were the facts that it's a solitaire design and apparently very thematic. Recently a BGG user posted very nice playthrough videos in English, too (video 1/2, video 2/2).

(I ordered my copy of this hard-to-get game at egyp.it, an Italian shop previously unknown to me, but seemingly very trustworthy, who had shipped my copy within like 6 hours of me placing the order.)

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19. Board Game: Oikodomos [Average Rating:6.20 Unranked]
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Oikodomos is a civilization building, print and play title playable also solitaire.

Back in the day I played the heck out of the first three or four installments to the Civilization computer game series. So there has always been a soft spot in me for games of this nature.

I look forward to putting Oikodomos together!

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20. Board Game: D-Day at Omaha Beach [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:475]
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While I like a serious political and winning-the-hearts-and-minds aspect in my war game, for a while now I've also been tempted to try this classic hexes and counters war game. It's in particular the fact that this is a solitaire game that caught my attention. It's either this or Ambush!

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Edit: So I went and got this one on the virtual Vassal table. More on my experience in the comments below.
Edit: The game is now finishhed. My thoughts can be found in the comments below.
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21. Board Game: Race! Formula 90 [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:1020]
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A very nice F1 simulation game, one of the most serious and original designs in the genre. If the solitaire system of the second expansion due out in Essen 2015 is good I might just die of sheer happiness.

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22. Board Game: Polis: Fight for the Hegemony [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:518]
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A two player game on the struggle for hegemony in ancient Greece between Athens and Sparta.

There's a ton of complex strategy buried in this deceptively simple design that I've only recently began to explore. I look forward to many more games of this!

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23. Board Game: Cuba Libre [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:486]
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My COIN trip started with this title and then continued with the next game below, Fire in the Lake. I love the exotic historical theme of Cuba Libre.

And I absolutely love, and hugely respect the COIN designers for the view of war and conflict that these COIN games afford. War is terrible, senseless, and probably mostly fought for the wrong reasons, and for me the COIN games excel at bringing out just that point. We need more war games like this and I hope and believe the future is going to see this point made in ever more refined forms.

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24. Board Game: Fire in the Lake [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:417]
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Everything I wrote above on Cuba Libre applies here too. This is a beautiful series of games that's being extended and refined as we speak. I very much look forward to new additions dealing with modern conflicts such as the Algerian conflict rumoured to be in development.

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25. Board Game: Navajo Wars [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:1119]
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This is an ambitious, a bit of a modern classic solitaire design with a very interesting theme.

I absolutely respect the designer's approach here to the story of the Navajo: it's what it was, a painful struggle against an allpowerful enemy. Perhaps even more so than the COIN series (described in the above three entries), this game takes conflict simulation on a new level of realism, a direction I very much like. More of this, Mr Toppen, please ---perhaps already in the forthcoming Comancheria?

PLAYED

Edit June 2015: got in a game of this, more details in this list item below.
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