Solitaire Games on Your Table - July 2015
Justin
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Plano
Texas
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Welcome one and all the Solitaire Games on Your Table Geeklist for July 1-31, 2015


This is your one stop shop for reading, recommending, ridiculing, and revering all things solitaire board game.

As it's July and I live in the great state of Texas. There is one thing* on my mind at all times:



Notice the thermometer reads both Celsius and Farenheit. I won't be accused of American bias.


Now obviously, this is NOT on the minds of our southern hemisphere and higher latitude friends. So in an effort to be geographically neutral, I'm making this month EXTREMES month here at the SGOYT.

COMPLETELY VOLUNTARY CHALLENGE: Play your #1 game and give a brief description or thumbs detailing WHY it's your #1. OR... play the game in your collection you like the least** and do the same. Those that do will receive a little

Disclaimer: I'm guilty of occasional skimming (gasp) so if you do play your number one or number last, try to make it obvious within the first line or in your thumbs.

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SGOYT Rules and Procedures:
1. Play a board/card/roleplaying game by yourself
2. Post an entry on this geeklist and tell us as much or as little about your experience as you wish
3. Be nice

If you want to share your thoughts, but don't feel like typing up a story or analysis or whatever, the community here has grown to appreciate thumbs. If you wish, give a thumbsup and a thumbsdown that explains what you like and don't like about the game. We've seen a lot of them and many over the same games, but they're still valuable (speaking for myself anyway).

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Helpful resources for the solo gamer:

E1 Player guild: Join!
ESolitaire Games on Your Table Monthly Geeklist SUBSCRIPTION THREAD: If you're like me, this is how I know another month has passed.
E2015 SGOYT Challenges SUBSCRIPTION: Like a challenge?
E2014 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games: If you're new to this side of the hobby, this is a good place to start.
EThe Solo Games Chain of Generosity: Give! Receive!
E1 Player Guild Trading Post: One person's dud is another's future #1
ESolitaire Recommendations For Your Table: Some of the entries need to be updated by yours truly, but there are a ton of recommendations here based on game type.
ESolitaire Games on Your Table Spreadsheet: Super cool data!
E1 Player Guild / SGOYT - 2015 Solitaire Goals: Goal setting is good!
ESGOYT made me buy this!: Yet another place to find ways to spend money. Is there a pattern here?

*There are actually two things on my mind. The second involves meat... and raffles.
**My idealism wants to think you wouldn't keep a game you hate, but I suppose there could be some surprises.
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Koinsky
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To follow Mo's steps, I'll mention another Solo PnP Contest 's game, I've been playing this past week.
[after playing some 2013 and 2014 contest games, I finally reached 2015 few days ago... ]

The Court of Xiang Chi

The artwork is gorgeous - which is not a surprise for anyone who knows games or redesign by Todd Sanders - and uses old Beijing Opera drawings.



It's a deck building where you have to buy cards and build a royal court, strong enough, to defeat Daemon princes. There are 9 Daemon princes to defeat in a 54 cards deck to win the game.

The rules are straightforward and fit on 2 pages.
It plays nicely and fast enough to enjoy several games in an hour.

Each member of the Royal court - general, minister, poet, courtesan, tax collector - has a specific power and some interactions between members are really interesting.

The "auction" system is efficient : each turn, you can choose to buy one card out of 4 available cards (at most). On subsequent turn, cards you didn't choose previously, cost more and ultimately become unavailable.

I found it too easy to solve to my taste, in the current state (I may have misinterpreted some rules...) but enjoyed the atmosphere a lot.
The artwork is definitely very evocative and the main structure of the game is pleasant.
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2. Board Game: 2 Hour Dungeon Crawl [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked]
123 456
United States
Maine
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I ran my first test scenario today to see how well I understand the rules. I chose a party of one star and three grunts (I think that you are technically supposed to roll to see what profession the grunts have) and ended up with a rescue scenario with an Ogre as the big bad. I charted movement with graph paper and used my descent 1st edition stuff for the battle board and minis.

I ran into a rival party of adventurers and passed by amicably with a successful "talk the talk" roll, triggered a trap and found some armor, and ultimately ran into some ghouls, which was my undoing.

I rolled a profession for each ghoul separately (not sure if I'm supposed to do that) ending up with a spread of 5, 4 and 3 rep.

The majority of my combat results ended up being "-1 rep, immediately fight another round of melee". After playing D&D for many years it felt a little odd having each character locked in melee until death before the other characters would activate for the round. Perhaps I interpreted this wrong? Basically I would end up rolling handfuls of dice until my hero reached "0" rep and I counted him OOF (out of fight). I guess the 1st edition had some sort of knockdown mechanism instead of -1 rep. I'm wondering if I either misunderstood the rules or if I would like the knockdown rules better.

I get the impression that all of the characters move on the battle board when their activation comes up (so the move phase for spell casters would be during their spell phase, move phase for shooters during shooting phase, etc). I'm not sure if all of these characters move at once during the phase (for example, all melee characters move at once and then start conducting their melee rolls one at a time).

It seems like you can run a party of any size up to your star's Rep, optionally running a smaller party. The size of encounters vary from "party size -3" to "party size +3". I'm sure it's easier with a larger party but I'm not sure how much easier overall.

Overall, I'm not sure quite what I think about this game as I am still getting familiar with it. I'll take a crack at rating based on first impressions:

thumbsup Fast
thumbsup I like the way NPCs (grunts) are treated differently than the "star". This works well for solo play.
thumbsup Looks really easy to customize. I'm thinking about tying some of the random dungeon dressing from my 1st edition DMG to some of the rolls for extra flavor (the PEF roll, for instance). I would like to see the traps and items expanded.
thumbsup It's nice to have a solo system for the minis and dungeon tiles I have laying around
thumbsupthumbsdown Has that old school, loose D&D DIY feel. It seems like I may have to make my own rulings (perhaps this is the spirit of the game) and some rules are not clear or I must have missed them the first time around.
thumbsupthumbsdown Lots of die rolling and very random

I can't really speak objectively to the rules or longevity until I give this another couple of spins. Basically, this is kind of like running solo AD&D out of the back of the 1st edition AD&D DMG but with more focus and a much more streamlined ruleset. I guess 2 Hour Wargames has another ruleset called Warrior Heros Legends with more RPG elements.
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3. Board Game: 5150: Urban Renewal [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
Adam Gastonguay
United States
Pottstown
Pennsylvania
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Wanted to pull out my miniatures again, but due to lack of space and time, probably couldn't continue my Nuts! campaign, so I decided to start a 5150 campaign.

I decided to use 5150: PI and do a crime drama without the science fiction element. Just have a tough cop out to solve crimes as her main job. I created Karrin Murphy (yes, THAT Karrin Murphy, in case I want to add supernatural elements later) and began rolling on the gigantic amount of tables there are to set the stage for the first game.

For those of you who recoil at this, I could set the game as whatever I like, but when I have the time to roll everything I don't mind rolling everything.

So her boss tells her that the mayor has been breathing down her neck that the drug rings in the City have gotten out of hand. The only lead is a guy (let's call him.........Gary) living in the bad end of town: Go find him and "talk" to him and see if he can link to dealers/higher ups in the gang to take down the ring (ie. find a clue).

The way PI works, is you have to find so many clues in so many days. You can look for clues during each day segment. And because I rolled that it was "important" (hence the mayor thing), I have less than normal days to get the clues together.

Karrin wakes up early, hoping to catch Gary before he goes to work, or just as he's going to bed, depending on what kind of "business" he is in. I have to check for possible travel encounters as I travel to the slums of the city. I get one and several rolls later it turns out to be three guys who seem to have a dim view of police officers, but no one does anything stupid, so I make it to the block that Gary lives on.

The board is rolled up and it is rolled up as an alley, with me on one end and Gary's apartment on the other. I just have to walk through and enter the building to finish the encounter. I'm doing all this on paper since there's no point since tactics don't matter unless bullets start flying.

PEFs (potential enemy forces) are created and begin wandering the board (and get scribbled on my paper in a more or less abstract fashion), mostly going in and out of buildings. One, however, begins heading down the alleyway as I approach it. Great.

Karrin rounds the corner and finds a "norm" who turns out to be a cook. Okay, no big deal, but he has two people with them, who are (roll,roll) criminals! Now what would a chef be doing with two criminals in an alleyway? Being mugged of course! So now the moral dilemma. Karrin isn't here to be a street cop. She's not in uniform. Who knows what interfering will do? But c'mon, we're talking Karrin Murphy here. C'mon, Murph. "Freeze, Police!" A roll on the table shows that she didn't put the fear of god into the punks and they turn to her guns pointed. Luckily, she has initiative. Now I have to wait until I set up the minis.

I could probably do this encounter still on paper if I'm willing to fudge distances and not worry too much about particulars. But I've got paper rundown buildings and cars and stuff...why let it go to waste?

TO BE CONTINUED!
NOW CONTINUED!

Unfortunately got impatient and just continued playing on paper because I wanted to see what happened and I finished my book at lunch. So Karrin took a shot at the tougher looking (Rep 4) Ganger and fired. Took him out of the fight. Made a Man Down test for the other, who we'll call...Kevin. Fail: He wants to run. Now another connundrum. Does Karrin give chase? Again, she's not here for a bunch of petty theives, but to take down a crime ring. Not to mention there's a perp bleeding on the ground in front of her, and a scared civilian crouched behind some garbage cans. I'm sure if a police officer reads this they might be able to tell me what I should do, but I decided to have Karrin stay and call in an Ambulance to handle the downed Ganger. I got to add Kevin to my list of NPCs. The way the game works is that if I run into another Ganger, I can roll a d6, and on a roll of a 1, it will be Kevin again. Probably looking for revenge...or to thank me for setting him on the straight and narrow (yeah, right)!

After some thank yous from the chef, who was merely on his way to work, Karrin quickly continued to Gary's building, hoping the hubbub outside didn't spook anyone inside. He was home, and he was awake. I decided to play good cop and not go in with gun drawn or anything (though that could have given me a bonus), figuring I caused enough trouble outside. Sadly, though, he clammed up and refused to give up any useful information. Looks like a dead end for my first clue search.

Maybe I should have chased Kevin down, he may have known something. Perhaps the downed gang member knows something if he's from this neighborhood. She'll have to "talk" with him once he comes to.

The Investigation Continues.

I figure the guy will regain consciousness in D3 day steps, with 6's exploding. So he may be up by Morning, or out for days if I'm unlucky.

Sadly an anti-climactic ending, so I'm kind of glad I didn't bother with the minis. I'll continue my paper battles during future lunch lulls.
(edited for spelling in a hurry)
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4. Board Game: Able Dog Sky Raiders over Korea [Average Rating:6.92 Unranked]
Bolo75
United States
Stone Mountain
Georgia
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A crazy stretch of work and family responsibilities has really limited my time to be able to get in some solo game time, so I decided to try a quick PnP game, Able Dog Sky Raiders Over Korea, that I've had around unplayed for a couple of months.

I managed to get 6 of the 17 sorties flown for a campaign. I have had one aircraft shot out from underneath me (good 1 to be rescued) and had to ditch a second so good game action does occur! I hope to add the final tally to this before the month is out!

thumbsup Really like the ground attack concept for this era (watch the movie The Bridges at Toko-Ri for some pregame flavor)!
thumbsup easy set up/take down PnP game
thumbsup good game action
thumbsup nice effort, game notes and a good book suggetion on the topic on the A1 Sky Raider from the designer.
thumbsdown the rules needed some minor adjustments to make the attacks a bit less automatic (specifically I felt targets of opportunity need a 1 roll to even spot, particularly with low cloud cover, before being able to attack).
thumbsdown still a bit uncertain on the scoring system
thumbsdown wouldn't mind a bit more variety on the targets and perhaps a really tough target (high damage points >8) where a commitment to multiple attack runs will be essential
thumbsdown plenty of 1 rolling, but this is really not a negative for experienced solo gamers. Just info for non solo gamers who may consider an easy PnP game.

thumbsupthumbsup for designer Patrick Millin
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5. Board Game: Able Dog Sky Raiders over Korea [Average Rating:6.92 Unranked]
Bolo75
United States
Stone Mountain
Georgia
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Well, as hoped for I completed my 17 mission campaign for the month of July! I started this on 7/1 and got the final two flights completed on 7/30. I managed to complete the entire 17 day campaign with a single pilot, but I did lose four aircraft in the process.

Final tally:

17 missions with a tour outcome score of 188 for a 'good' result. Earned one Airman's Medal. So solid if not spectacular!

After completing a full campaign I found the game quite fun. I did modify the rules slightly as I went along to reflect a few things that I thought made the game experience a bit better. BUT, overall a very nice PnP design!
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6. Board Game: Adaman [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:9940]
Kevin Eastwood
United States
Windham
New Hampshire
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I brought my Decktet with me, and I'm really glad I decided to travel with it. There's so many different games you can play with the deck, and I guess that's similar to a regular deck of cards - although I find the games with the Decktet to be more interesting.

I played 5 games of Adaman tonight and lost all 5 of them. I came so close to winning two of them, but just couldn't manage to get the last card off the table.


** and on a unrelated SGOYT note... all the posts of Hostage Negotiator from the past month or so finally made me cave in for it.
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7. Board Game: Adaman [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:9940]
Mike Hostetler
United States
Omaha
Nebraska
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Back to the original game I started playing on The Decktet.

I understand the structure of the deck better now so I feel more AP while playing but I still haven't pulled out a win. The first game today had me fill the top row early so I knew I was in trouble. And, sure enough, I soon pulled the sixth Personality card for that row and I went bust.

I then played another game and did better . . . but I had too many high Personalities in the end of the game to win it.

thumbsup Lots of choices and angst.

thumbsdown Lots of luck involved.

thumbsdown The tableau can take a lot of space so not great for an airplane ride.
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8. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:249] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
B Wu
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
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It’s been too long since I’ve had ASL at the table, considering it’s one of my favorite games of all time and the first wargame system I really dug into. Today I eased myself back in with a nice, quick infantry-only scenario: J103 Lenin’s Sons, from ASL Journal 7. This one has a reputation for being an intense dogfight that slightly favors the defending Russians. I find ASL entirely solo-able with only a few exceptions, one of them being the Hidden Initial Placement rule. In J103 the Russians are given one HIP unit, but by way of balance I just decided to leave that out.



It didn’t help the Germans, who have to make it across a board to capture at least 8 buildings in 7 turns. On their right flank is a wide-open space (mostly an out of season grain field); on their left is a densely wooded area, though the woods are shot through with trails that could make movement a bit faster. Basically all the units in play are elite, with high FP and high morale levels; the Russians have a 10-0 Commissar and a hero, and there are a bunch of special weapons (FTs and DCs in additional to MGs, and the Russians have a 50mm SW mortar to threaten any Germans at the edge of the woods).

Charging across 7+ hexes of open ground when the defender has an HMG and an MMG in their OOB seems like a bad idea, so I had the Germans plow through the wooded flank. The first few turns were utter carnage as Russian squads were falling like dominoes, many in close combat (I had planned for the Russians to do a fighting withdrawal by voluntarily breaking once or twice and routing back to the commissar, but never quite got the chance to do so). But by around Turn 4, as the remnants of the Russian forward defense withdrew from the woods into the village, it became clear that they had bought enough time that the Germans were in real trouble.



Forced to double-time almost everyone in order to have a chance at taking 8 buildings by the Turn 7 game end, the Germans weren’t able to mount a coordinated assault on the village. Their attacking units arrived in a fairly piecemeal way that the few remaining Russian defenders made short work of. After a rough rally phase in Turn 6 in which several key units (including the 9-2 leader) failed to rally, the Germans conceded, without control of a single objective building.

While this wasn’t a nailbiter of a game, nor were there any awesomely improbable happenings (the scenario has very low SANs on both sides and I never triggered any Heat of Battle events), it was a good reminder of why I love ASL and, at its core, how quick-playing it is once you have the basic rules down. Not having played for a while, I had to look up a ton of rules, which reminded me also of what a work of art the ASL rulebook is (at least Chapters A and B) – concise, clear, incredibly well cross-referenced – even if it is written in a style that makes it incredibly inaccessible on first read.

Will definitely be trying to get some more ASL scenarios in soon. Right now I have my eye on a Festung Budapest scenario I haven’t gotten to yet...
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9. Board Game: Adventure of D [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:6928]
Boomerang Phenomenon
United Kingdom
Gateshead
Tyne and Wear
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The Purge Plays #4

Sorry about the delay in posting this (I know you've all been waiting with baited breath ). However, if you've read my previous 3 purge plays you probably know how this ends.

I was tired last night so went to bed, then went out this morning for a bike ride up to Corbridge and then had some jobs to do around the house.

Anyway, played this after Tiny Epic Defenders last night.

After getting 3/4 of the way through it last night I realised I hadn't been drawing new events every turn and so abandoned the game. What a plonker! shake

Anyway, started again and drew The Scholar as my character. I played on easy level (it's not easy).


I focused on increasing my INT and the events that came out helped with this.

On the very last turn I moved to the Tower of Death, dealt with an event and then entered the tower. My fairy dust helped deal with the shadow and I managed a win. I had 2 cards left in my hand.

So will it be staying or going? It's staying.

Whereas TED doesn't test your brain too much, this does. You need to maximise the use of the cards in your hand to level up enough to win the game. It's tough and sometimes you really have to think through your turns and even push your luck a bit to get the win.

In that respect this game delivers some of the MK experience I love but in about 20 mins.

RESULT: Staying - it may be my best 'filler' game. I never really thought this would go.

thumbsup See my comments above.

thumbsdown Pricey for the components.

thumbsdown I would love a few more locations to pick from (I.e. Draw 12 from say 20 or 30) just to add some variety.
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10. Board Game: After the Horsemen [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Jason Doyle
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
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Ok following on my apocalypse theme, I couldn't resist picking this up.

Two Hour Wargames have a 20% off sale coming up but if you read their blog or go to the forums as a 'member' you can access the code right now. I won't post it since I think they deserve some attention so go read about some of their games and get yourself a bargain.
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11. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion: Scotland [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Brian Sturk
United States
Hudson
New Hampshire
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Got creamed 26 to 47 playing my computer AI after printing out this map and implementing the special rules for the map (which aren't too many).

This is a great 2 player map. I had focused on the upper right area and the AI favored the lower left. I didn't even get past a 4 engine. A rematch is scheduled for tonight!
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12. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:25]
Paul Clarke
United Kingdom
Norfolk
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The sun is shining, and the fields are golden. It's time to play Agricola!

Haven't played this for soooo long, and it really showed.

Ended up playing the game backwards, building the farmhouse first and then ploughing and sowing the fields afterwards.

My lack of play Showed in my score, a rather better than expected 36.
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13. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:213]
Nick Shaw
United Kingdom
Plymouth
Devon
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Playing using the solo variant here, for the solo challenge here. Didn't do too well! I clearly need more practice... Scored just 37.

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14. Board Game: Air Cav [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:9532]
John Pritchard
Ireland
Dublin
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Stumbled across this game on Ebay a while back, had to get it because of the cover!

As it turns out it's a great Wargame to play solitaire (IMO).
Took me a few hours to read through the basic rules and set the first scenario up, after a few turns I got in to the stride of things and really has a lot of fun with it.

In the scenario I'm playing, I have to get an infantry squad off the North edge of the map before the Soviets can eliminate them.
A Blackhawk utility helicopter enters the game (on a randomly determined turn)to attempt the rescue. Great Stuff!

Check it out if your'e looking for a cheap Wargame (Think I got it for 10 bucks) that plays well solitaire and you're into the theme.
A bit of chart flipping involved and perhaps some of the rules are a bit odd, but overall a great fun solo Wargame experience, recommended.



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15. Board Game: Airborne in my Pocket [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:4505]
Antonio B-D
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
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I printed this game from Artscow eons ago when it was a free print and play, together with some of the expansions. Being portable and quick I decided to give it a go and play a couple of games without expansions. Now I am really looking forward to start mixing things up with the expansions!
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16. Board Game: Albion's Legacy [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:4528] [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked]
Paul Aceto
United States
Fairfax
Virginia
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Saw this on the "new" shelf of my local game store a few days ago. First thing I noticed was how large/huge the box was, second thing was that it was fully cooperative and third was a price of $49.99. I did a quick BGG search with my phone and didn't find much, but I did see a description of the game as an "Arthurian-themed Arkham Horror." So I bit.

When I got home, I found that the box was mostly air, though I suppose it was sized to include expansions. But it is of a size that will not fit neatly anywhere on my shelves. This one is going up on top. It contains far less stuff than, say, Forge War, which has a smaller box.





One more nit - the plastic standing bases that came with my game defied all my attempts to insert the player tokens. In fact, I actually damaged the bottom of one. I eventually dug out the more flexible ones that came with Super Fantasy: Ugly Snouts Assault. I may end up using minis as a substitute.



The goal of the game is to complete a main story quest (there are three with the base game) and to have collected a number of quest tokens equal to three times the number of players. The story quests usually have you find a location, do something there, and often carry something back to the Round Table. You collect quest tokens by defeating challenges, mainly in the form of Roaming Threats that are spawned as you scout out new tiles.

The main board is Camelot castle, and has spaces where you can interact (e.g., heal at the hospital, repair armor/weapons at the forge, draw a new Relic card, etc.). There are three exits from the castle from which you begin to scout out new tiles, and place them so their openings connect. These tiles often have effects as well.



Combat involves rolling successes on a number of dice determined by the attribute needed in a challenge, such as Loyalty or Courage. Most characters have attributes of 4 or 5, but some are more skewed such as Sir Mordred Pendragon who has Courage of 6 and Altruism of 3. You get a success by rolling the symbol of the attribute you're using on a special die (each attribute appears once), and there is one wild card symbol (mana burst) that gives you two successes. In the play through videos I watched after purchasing the game, they were using a normal d6 with 5 a success and 6 two successes. I prefer that, in part because the game dice have gold symbols on dark red plastic cubes and they can be hard to read. I also fear they will begin to wear with repeated rolls. Plus, you have to remember that a crown is Loyalty, a lion's head is Courage, etc.



That's probably enough to give an idea of the game. I'll add here as well that I have found the game to be brutally difficult. I am almost halfway through the game and have found none of the four needed tiles for my story quest. At the end of each round one of the 10 beacons of hope on the castle is extinguished. And by the way, a round goes like this (3-player example): player 1, player 2, player 3 and then player 1 again before you do the "Key Turn" when NPCs activate, and you pass the first player token.

I'll show below the flow of the first few turns. I'm using the three female characters that come with the base game: Queen Gwenivere, The Lady of the Lake and Loathly Dame Ragnelle. Their character sheets show their attributes, their personal quest, their favored enemies and their special ability.





I drew Kadeir Teyrnon as the Story Quest, which requires us to find four tiles, complete their challenges and get back to the Round Table.



Note how crowded the tile is with three tokens. I assume they made the castle board deliberately small to accommodate the expansion of the board through the three exits, but I still think it could/should have been larger.



The Lady of the Lake began by heading to the Docks and scouting, and lo and behold she uncovered the Dozemary Pool. This is a location required for her personal quest, to get her special artifact, the Yew Sceptre. She passed the challenge, and put the sceptre into her special slot.







Ragnelle headed north to the Bergfried, where she drew a Virtue Plaque that will give her some bonuses. Note these are limited in number and some enemies can cause you to discard them. If they run out, you lose.





Gwenivere meanwhile headed out to fight some threats wandering the castle hallways that Lady of the Lake has spawned during her turn. She proved a spectacularly bad roller. Most characters are limited to two wounds. You can break (i.e., flip) your weapon or armor card to reroll all the dice, or spend a Destiny token to re-roll one with an added chance to hit. Gwenivere managed to break both her weapon and armor and still get a wound, so she ended her turn in the hospital, which she activated to heal. During the Key-Turn phase, that druid next to her moved in to attack.



Over the next few turns, I managed to trigger lots of wandering threats and the castle was soon crawling with dragons, Saxons and magic creatures. Ragnelle went down fighting them, to be replaced by Mordred Pendragon.



And look which tile the Lady of the Lake uncovered!



Here's the situation after the end of the fourth Key-Turn. Six to go.



I'm still forming my opinions on this one. As mentioned it seems extremely difficult to win based on my experience. Perhaps I needed to spend more time buffing up in the castle before exploring and unleashing all those threats. I must admit that I was making really bad rolls as well, forcing my characters to waste turns visiting the forge and armorer to recover. I'm also wondering about all the bonuses, which sound cool in theory but end up usually just giving you one more die to roll for certain challenges. This tends to make the game more euro than thematic, as you must really plan which character, with which bonuses, you will use to do things each turn. Finally, I have no idea how much more variety and depth is provided by the KS extras.

I'd be interested to hear other views on it.
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17. Board Game: Alhambra: Big Box [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
Kevin Eastwood
United States
Windham
New Hampshire
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All this talk about playing my #1, and while this isn't it, it's the #1 game that brings fond memories of my honeymoon in Spain. I gave the solo variant a play tonight and I'm VERY rusty at the game. I lost horribly and wasn't able to buy enough tiles with exact change - in fact my score was so bad I forgot to record it. I'll play it again in the coming weeks as I love the game, but it just wasn't my night... so I settled in for a play of my actual #1....
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18. Board Game: Alien Uprising [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:6232]
Charles Darlage
United States
Columbus
Indiana
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Played solo using 5 crew members on Scenario 1: Zothren Raiders (Easy). Very challenging game, started out playing too conservatively before realizing that was not going to work. I got more aggressive and came close to winning. The rescue ship was within 1 of rescuing the crew before the Gestation Cards ran out and we were overrun and lost.

thumbsup Fun and Challenging
thumbsup Great theme
thumbsdown Set-up and tear down
thumbsdown Lots and lots of rules
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19. Board Game: Ambush! [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:760]
Andy K.
United States
Sacramento
California
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I began the long journey into Ambush! this week.

Getting through Mission 1 took me three tries. The first was a total disaster and slow because I was learning the system. I did better the second time around but still had most of the squad wiped out. My third time I won the scenario, with one soldier KIA and one incapacitated but surviving. I don't think I would have won without the first two run throughs. My winning score was only because I knew where a few extra VPs were located that I wouldn't otherwise have found.

The game is smarter than I expected. The same German soldiers popped up in different hexes and the flow of battle was different in each play. That's more replayability than I expected.

The game is also harder than I thought it would be.

I'm beginning Mission 2, and I've already lost one soldier to a sniper shot. And he had built up 4 CPs from the previous mission. Grrr....

Really having fun with this. The 8 missions in the base game will keep me occupied for many hours.
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20. Board Game: American Megafauna [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:3295]
Morten K
Denmark
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American Megafauna has been on my shelf looking evilish at me for several months now. I've played Bios: Megafauna a couple of times and liked it. But this seemed a totally different beast. Perhaps the simple artwork, low production value and mass of tents in the soft box scared me. Yesterday, I decided to face my fear. It turned out to be quite ungrounded. Armed with the living rules and a tablet to look up stuff on BGG - and of course Callasmar's videos - I dove in.

I decided not to play with the standard solitaire rules but a mock 3-player solitaire with simulated bidding and I'm glad I did. Perhaps I was lucky because all three players had some interesting decisions to make and the narrative through the game was great. Poor dog-face did get shut out a bit and just as it seemed like a peculiar heavily armoured, and armed, speedy species of 40-ton brachiosaurs were set to conquer the World, a series of late-cenozoic cataclysms wiped out all life. Apart from a few turtles in Iberia and one generalist amphibian genotype that could spread out once all the monsters were gone.

Next up a game of Greenland.
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21. Board Game: And Away [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Avri
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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Well, that was one of the strangest gaming hours of my life.

And Away is a PnP Tabletop Novel sent out as a surprise reward to backers of last summer's Spell Saga Kickstarter on Black Friday and subsequently shelved by the designer.

But having already printed, cut and sleeved it, I wanted to take it for a spin anyway.

Where Spell Saga is a huge, sprawling game that can consume an entire bed, And Away can generally be confined to two small piles of cards. The aim of the game (beyond exploring the world and piecing together the beginings of this story) is to have your Hero - The Wanderer - reach the Moon.

Apparently you can acheive this by moving all 41 of the cards in the deck (of which 39 begin face down) face up.

I found myself stuck for quite a while around 20 cards face up, with many turns consisting of flipping the next card and immediately cycling it face down to the bottom of the deck.

It was somewhat frustrating, but the interesting thing was this:

I just couldn't stop playing.

Eventually, I ran across a card combo which flipped all the remaining cards into the active zone - a temporary state between up and down - allowing me to get over the 20 card hump to 25 and beyond. And just when I thought I was about to be triumphant, with the 39th card face up, a card describing my Wanderer standing high on a cliff edge viewing the whole world and the Moon close enough to touch . . .

I had no way to flip the last two cards.

Far from being anticlimactic, it was the narrative highlight of the whole game.

In hindsight, there is probably a way to manipulate a pertinent card out of my face up pile, back to the face down so as to reclaim the final two cards, but that is not the point.

The point is that it is amazing the amount of fine tuning that needs to go into a finished gaming product.

The point is it is amazing the amount of enjoyment you can get out of even a game which is not fully formed.

The point is that it is amazing how polished Spell Saga is as a game, and how much a flawed gem like And Away shines a light on the huge scope of possibility there is in the realm of the "Tabletop Novel".
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22. Board Game: Andean Abyss [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:815]
John Splittist
Switzerland
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Arrgh!

I really really want to like this game.

In my distant youth I was a modern period miniatures wargamer (with a side helping of S&T etc.). When I came back to the hobby the FLGS had quite a selection of wargames that I looked at again and again. My first plunges were this - I had an independent interest in the topic of insurgency in Colombia - and C&C Ancients.

I have set up and played through the examples multiple times. I have watched videos, followed PBFs and read and re-read the very good, and very slim, rulebook. The game looks great.

And I just can't get into it. I've played multi-handed. I've played with the old bots. And now I've tried with the new bots. But something just gets in my way. I draw the card, I follow the chart, but... March - how does it work? Sweep - where does it go? So many cubes, so many clauses, so much confusion!

I persist, and I can see the game happening on the board - the government ramping up its presence and spreading out; the FARC infecting; the Cartels being opportunistic (I was playing the AUC). I can understand how the periodic Prop cards refuel the factions and bring focus to the situation, ready for the next phase.

But, but, but...

In the end I call it. And sticker my Imperial Rome blocks.
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23. Board Game: Andean Abyss [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:815]
John Splittist
Switzerland
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I couldn't stay away.

As recommended, I went back to playing this multi-handed. It was better. Much better.

The Govt rather shot their bolt in an over-ambitious first rally action, with MANPADs limiting their subsequent options.

FARC was on track for a win at the first Prop Card - the Cartels had had no chance to get their economic train running - but was pipped by the AUC pulling off an early victory (on tie-break!).

By the time anyone noticed it was too late...

thumbsup Each faction does seem to have its own, unique feel.
thumbsdown Still pretty rule-flippy after all this time.
thumbsdown Playing against myself I feel particularly stupid for losing so early...
thumbsdown Now I'll have to keep this and play more.
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24. Board Game: Android [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1140]
Kristopher
United States
Allentown
Pennsylvania
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I jotted it down in my Risk campaign book. I always used to do that so I could replay my moments of glory over a glass of brandy in the sleeping quarters. --Arnold J. Rimmer--
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Well, it's been a while since I got ANY game to the table (Though I played a great game of Wizard's Quest yesterday with my next door neighbors, who are RISK fans.)

I just got this in the mail yesterday with the printed Android:Hunters solo rules. I don't know if this is a EXTREME CHALLENGE or my #1 or whathaveyou.....

I guess I'm just lucky to get a game on a table this month. (Ive been taking an involved online class so that's been eating up my free time.)
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25. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:45]
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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Played my 1st game with N/A solo flowchart and rules.
Used 2 learning decks I have which pits Gabriel against HB.
Gabe won both games which probably says more about the decks than the solo rules.
Lots of fun though I was using cards from the expanded pool of cards rather than just core set so there were a few ambiguities, but easily fixed by putting on my player hat and thinking how would I play this if I was in this situation in a match.
Will definetly play again though.
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