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New to You May 2016 => Best New Solitaire Boardgame
Moe45673
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It's June! Balmy weather, positive attitudes, my last month of free time until my wife explodes out a baby. Crazy times!
Inspired by
Andy
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amazing New To You lists.

This list is meant to be a concise perusal for those times we wish to browse for something new and don't have endless time to comb through the SGOYT list. Anyone can post an item but only one item.

Please share your experiences of the solitaire games you played for the first time this month.

In order to assist with collecting Statistics from these lists, please post an entry with your chosen game of the month, and if possible please use the "insert board game" feature to add other games you mention in your entry.

Here is an example template of a post:


Format is completely up to you but I reiterate the requirement of ONE GEEKLIST ITEM PER USER.

I have decided to make this geeklist not show up on the frontpage for two reasons:
1) To keep it to the Guild as much as possible
2) To not step on Grimwold's toes with a confusingly similar title

Subscribe to the metalist to be notified when each new month is posted: Solitaire New To You Metalist 2016

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1. Board Game: Deep Space D-6 [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:1341]
Nick Shaw
United Kingdom
Plymouth
Devon
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Deep Space D-6 - My kickstarter copy arrived mid-May. Technically this game isn't new to me, as I played the original PnP copy, but as the published version comes with 4 different ships, and an end-game boss, I feel it's a valid entry. Great fun, and super production quality, even if I haven't yet won!



San Juan - Well, this is an oldie, for sure. But I only acquired a copy this month, and got straight in playing the SoloPlay rules. Plays very nicely, and quickly too. Now if I can only get a base-line win...

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2. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Gaming Sherpa
United States
Muncy
Pennsylvania
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...the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.
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I added this expansion for the first time this month. It was quite fun. I think it really fleshes out the game nicely. Probably should have been included in the base game, or at least I won't play without it any more.

Report here
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3. Board Game: Micropul [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:2256]
Scribes
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Micropul #1 from a list of 2.

Played this Abstract 'Area' Builder after a couple of mentions in May SGOYT. Meant to look at it during it's previous 'hotness', but never got round to it. Whilst this was only played using an online app, it has gone on the wishlist. When PnP'ing this I will likely pass on the Original Theme for one of the more colourful fan-made ones.


Best New Solitaire Variant Limes: Die Bierdeckelknobelei Another 1 from a choice of 1.

Limes stripped down to an Open Information 3x3 variant. Using a limited number of tiles, workers & time, but the aim remains to get a best score.

Went for this due to it's speed and smaller than usual foot-print. Then in a fit of statistical driven madness, decided to challenge myself to play all 220 combinations. At my current rate will just be finished by New Year.

Edit: Remembered Deep Space D6 was also NTM this month, but didn't make as much of an impression as Micropul.
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4. Board Game: 51st State: Master Set [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:268]
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51st State: Master Set - I've never played the original version of this game or Imperial Settlers so not sure how this compares, but I loved it. Very thinky, with multiple uses for every card and a baked-in solo variant that is reminiscent of At the Gates of Loyang. New (official) solo variants were recently released that make the AI opponent behave differently depending on which faction you choose for them. Great components (especially in the preorder edition) and an awesome game!





Lagoon: Land of Druids - Got this in a math trade by giving up Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game and was very pleased. It is a very deep abstract tile laying game with beautiful artwork and great components. The theme is barely there but if you know that going in, you won't be disappointed. The solo variant is very well developed with three levels of difficulty. I think this game would be best either solo or two player because the AP it can give a player is pretty massive.





Galaxy Defenders - Another math trade pickup, this is a great, campaign-driven, tactical miniatures game with AI that feels similar to Gears of War: The Board Game. It's a bit more deterministic than GoW as each enemy has a static AI that you can take into consideration (/exploit) when planning your turns, though the enemy activations and events/environmental effects are still driven by card draws. This is a pure coop and depending on the scenario you can play one or more characters which can be upgraded with new abilities and equipment as you progress. I barely lost my first attempt at the first scenario and am looking forward to getting this back to the table soon!





Bottom of the 9th - Yet another math trade pickup, Bot9 is a light dice game that simulates the bottom of the 9th inning of a game of baseball. You build a lineup of batters and square off against the opposing pitcher(s) trying to score enough runs to take the lead before the end of the game. The solo variant works very well (though, definitely download the updated rulebook) and is a fun exercise in probability -- you try to predict what type of pitch will be served to you and draw from a small deck of AI cards to see the outcome. If you guess correctly you are given more tools to mitigate your dice rolls which determine if you make contact and get your batter on base. As the game progresses the pitcher "fatigues" the possibilities of what pitches they use are narrowed. Great components and there is an expansion on the way in early 2017!

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5. Board Game: Kingdom Death: Monster [Average Rating:8.84 Overall Rank:34]
B Wu
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
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This was the only new-to-me solitaire game that I played in May, but it basically dominated three weeks' worth of my time. I played a lot of 2-player The Gallerist, At the Gates of Loyang, and Dominion, but as far as solo gaming, this was the only thing on the table. I played through two campaigns - one that ended in everyone in my settlement dying by Lantern Year 13 or so, and one that ended with a victory over the Watcher in LY25. KDM scratches practically every gaming itch I have - interesting decisions to be made at every turn, ongoing campaign with persistent characters, building a progressively larger settlement, interesting card-driven AI opponent in the tactical combat, reasonably compelling story, etc. It's not perfect - there's a lot of swingy luck that can't be mitigated (outside of the tactical combat), and there's a lot of bookkeeping for a solo affair, especially later in the game when your settlement is bigger and you have lots of characters and gear to manage. After three weeks and some 40 plays, I burned myself out a bit and want to move on to something different. But it's pretty much a given that I'll be coming back for more later, with a few expansions thrown in.
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6. Board Game: Clacks: A Discworld Board Game [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:5146]
Glaya B
United States
San Mateo
California
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SGOYT Entry

I was excited to get a chance to play this game, since I've been waiting for it a long time. It's not a particularly strategic game, but it's a reasonably stimulating puzzle with a feeling similar to Patchwork.

As I ponder my impression, I'd have to say my one complaint about it is that the goal of the game is to draw two random word cards and spell them out with the clacks patterns, complete with a space between them and an end signal after them. This simulates a clacks message...but it isn't really a message.

For illustration, my words were "LORDS" and "THIEF." While those are both words that fit well into the Discworld theme, they don't have any particular meaning when jammed together.

I think it might have been nice if there could have been actual messages provided to give the words context. As an example, there could have been a card with the sentence, "Need EXTRA cabbages TODAY." Then the player would have to spell out EXTRA (space) TODAY (end). Such messages could have given the game a flavor boost.

As it is, though, the game seems good for occasions when I want to give my brain a bit of a workout without taking up a huge amount of time.
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7. Board Game: Paper 'Mech [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked]
Adayu
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Paper 'Mech

I was prompted by J F's challenge to try this game. You can read my humorous write-up here. Paper 'Mech is a tough little gauntlet pitting you against several waves of increasingly tougher enemies. I love how much this game lets you do, from the movement to the mech customization. The rules are innovative and well-written, but difficult for me to keep straight. It's a brain strain. mb








Shadowrun: Crossfire

I had my eye on this one for a while, but Anna H's challenge got me to finally liberate a copy from the local game store. It's my first experience with anything Shadowrun-related. I love both the game and setting. Each time I play, I use the same group of all-female, non-human characters and incorporate little vignettes about them into my SGOYT entries.

Though the rulebook is good, there is ambiguity in some of the cards and even in basic concepts such as how to allocate damage.

I don't play tabletop RPGs, but I was fascinated enough by the lore and art of this game to buy the fifth edition book. That reminds me, I still haven't read the novel sample that came with Shadowrun: Crossfire.
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8. Board Game: FUSE [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:559]
Stefan Schneider
Germany
Stockstadt
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May has been a very busy months for me. Hosting SGOYT, working long hours and the arrival of several new games kept me quite busy.

I got this because Jason was so fond of this game. And to be fair, I did back the kickstarter for a while but cancelled my pledge at some point because I wasn't sure I'd like it. But I really like horror movies, so I grabbed a copy of this. And what can I say, its a really, really boring game for me. Just like Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set. Flip a card, read the text, roll a die. Repeat. This one is actually a lot better thatn Pathfinder because the stories it tells are much better (to me) and the villains all play really different. Was nice to give it a try and am trying to sell or trade it now. Didn't work for me at all!

Rating:


I got this one in a trade. Never heard of it before, but Kathrin kept posting about it and when I had the chance to add it to the trade, I went for it. Its a tiny little game, very small cards and to be honest, when I received it, I was a tad disappointed. Just because such a small game couldn't possibly be that great. But I was proven wrong. What an amazing game! Really cheap, so even if it won't work for you, it'll only have set you back like 5$ and its more than worth it. You try to move cards from one corner of a 5x5 grid to the opposite corner and if you manage that, you score the card. Thats it. But its really great, easy to explain, easy to set up, easy to play. Not that easy to get a good score. In my first play, I scored 8 points. In my last, I managed 22 points. Really happy to have this and I will defenitely keep it!

Rating:


It was on sale with a 50% discount. It's a great looking ccop game. I hadn't known anything about the game before I bought it. So I was quite disappointed when I got the gorgeous looking box, great components but found the game play lacking quite a bit. From the box cover, I expected something completely different somehow. It's actually not a bad game per se, but pretty easy to win and play and I just couldn't shake the feeling I was let down by the gameplay.
I think this would work perfectly for people who'd never played a coop game before. Really simple rules, nice to look at and a great way to start exploring cooperative games.
But not a keeper for me either.

Rating:

I hate games that use a timer and play in real time. Escape: The Curse of the Temple? Had to suffer through one game and hated every minute of it.
I also got this because it was on sale, down from about 35$ (bloody expensive for what you get!) to about 20$. Great prize. So I was curious, the theme sounded fun.
I absolutely love this game. I've played it 21 times since I got it, 9 times with friends, the rest solo. What a fun game. Yes, its stressful, but somehow its positive stress.
The main thing that seperates it from Escape for me is that it's still frantic, but you only draw as many dice from the bags as there are players. You roll those once and then have to distribute them, every player takes one die. So its not as hectic as Escape, but there might be more pressure on you on which die to choose. Can you use up all the die? Is one of them ending up unused (thus rerolled and everyone has to put one die of the same color or number from their already placed die back into the bag) or can you find a way to distribute them among yourselves?
Love this game. Will sleeve the cards soon because I can see I will keep playing this for quite a while!

Rating:
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9. Board Game: Navajo Wars [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:1202]
Moe45673
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Toronto
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Finally have something to contribute!


Plays: 1
Navajo Wars is a complex and excellent game. It is NOT a wargame in the slightest IMO, despite the title and the publisher. It is a game about a people battling to maintain their culture despite increasingly sophisticated colonialists intruding upon their land. Everything is abstractly represented, including scale.

This is my third time breaking it out (in 3 years!) and my first time actually completing the walkthrough (though not the scenario). I had a long afternoon and a brain that was up to the task so I didn't let it get squandered. It was an effort to get through it but an enjoyable one. The rules are still foggy to me and the game is still setup over a week later. After my session, I have printed off the latest errata (ones I used were from Nov 2013) and a few player aids, all in color. I also marked the rulebook and playbook as to where the errata is. All this should help streamline everything considerably.

It's a well designed game and I want to get past the learning curve and really tackle the AI for what seems to be an incredible and unique design.



Plays: 2
Been interested in this one since it's appeared on SGOYT and was fortunate to borrow this from the Reverend, (a man I count myself privileged to know and that has nothing to do with our shared passion for boardgames).

I am very torn about Leaving Earth. I played two games, one in Normal and one in Hard mode, and won them both.

Positives:
d10-1 Very streamlined rules, once you grok them. Moving components around, taking actions, etc, all are very simple and quick to perform.
d10-2 Visual layout. I love how the location cards makeup a visual solar system, it adds that extra level of immersion. The art is simply beautiful.
d10-3 Mathy. I love mathy games. Reading the rules, I got the impression this game was like a non-realtime Space Alert and, in hindsight, I feel that there is an element of truth to this.
d10-4 Theme. Not that I'm a spacerace nut, but the game carries its theme extraordinarily well. You feel caught up in the excitement of getting your stuff to distant planets.

Negatives:
d10-1 Mathy. I spent 90-120 minutes in my second game writing and rewriting my planned missions to Mars and Venus to return samples; all this without taking a single turn. This may go down with more plays but the math is equivalent to building a deck in LotR LCG; you have to be prepared to be prepared
d10-2 Luck. Testing is huge. On the one hand, it's a big boon to replayability; you can't test everything. But I was fortunate enough that by the time I launched my two probes to Mars and Venus in 1970 (my missions would each take 6 years so that was D-Day), if my Ion Thrusters had failed before I could test them I would have lost horribly. Also, all my missions primarily had to do with Mars and Venus so getting a sample from each of them fulfilled multiple objectives; luck was with me there.
d10-3 The budget. I simply do not like how you get a static budget each year. It works well but it also feels a bit like what critics say about Communism: there is no motivation to excel. I get that it's thematic for gov't funding but I also feel like I can simply blow the money on exploding rockets until I've fully tested them, without producing anything new, and not be punished for it. No matter how badly I do, I get 25m dollars a year.
Again, it works but it doesn't rub me the right way (and not for any partisan beliefs, I want to make that clear! I simply feel that progress should be rewarded and failure results in lack of reward; something that doesn't happen here. But again, gov't funded programs and all the pros and cons that go with that shake)
Small note but I also feel that if you get those planetary samples that you can exchange for money, that can break the game (in your favor). I haven't experienced this myself but it's a feeling.

Having said all this, I do want to break the game out again. There is something there drawing me to it, to see if I can conquer it again in Very Hard mode. The Outer Planets expansion also feels like it would be really cool.

At the end of the day, this game can either fall on the Rallyman side of things for me (plan out your route beforehand and hope the dice cooperate) or the Space Alert end of things (very predictable in hindsight but during the game, a frantic bout of trying to hold 85 permutations in your head).

*edit* forgot to add, I played with the mercury expansion






I think Navajo Wars is the better game but not by much. It gets a lower rating because of how difficult it is to grok the rules. Leaving Earth is amazing and fun, just be prepared to set it all up and then not touch the components for an hour or two as you start writing what you'll need for your planned missions.
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10. Board Game: BATTALIA: The Creation [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:2034]
Kyle A
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
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BATTALIA: The Creation

Finally got this to the table for a solo play using these rules

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/119850/solo-scenario-call...

I like deckbuilders, and this game provides a couple extra layers that most deckbuilders do not such as:
-You can mulligan every turn
-Area control
-route building

I also really enjoy the way you can upgrade your cards, and change the faction of cards, allowing more control over your deck and increased chances of synergies.

The solo play rules were a good introduction to the basic mechanics but essentially leaves out combat. Without combat, a couple of the cards are not as useful.

I would like to find a good way to incorporate combat into these rules. I also was not a huge fan of the Entropia movement in the solo rules.

Again, these solo rules provide a great framework for learning the game mechanics and some card interactions, but I will be working on another solo rule set for Battalia.

Great game, amazing components. A US distributor really needs to pick this one up.

I know many people missed out on the KS for this game, but the expansion for Battalia will be on KS sometime this year (allegedly), and Fantasmagoria has said you will be able to pledge for the base game as well.
------------------------------

Keyflower - I also recently tried the solo variant for Keyflower shown here

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1301500/simple-keyflower-so...

I went a year in between plays, so this was another good reintroduction to the game. A nice little optimization puzzle that I want to try out again with the expansions!
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11. Board Game: Apex Theropod Deck-Building Game [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:2167]
 
The Voice of Reason
United Kingdom
Gateshead
Tyne and Wear
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A few new games in May but nothing blew me away and only 1 is still in my collection.

 


A decent, if unspectacular deck builder. The art is amazing and the theme is different and interesting. I wasn't wowed by the gameplay, it was a relatively standard deck builder IMO with a few nice touches. I beat it on easy and normal the first two times I played it too, which isn't a good sign. That said, there are lots of expansions and all the apex predators work differently. Need to explore this more before deciding if it's a keeper.



A great tableau building game.... if you are playing multiplayer. Solo way too easy and so straight on the trade pile.



A good game with some variety due to different solo and co-op scenarios in the big expansion. However, good isn't good enough for me right now. This was just a little dry. I didn't click with the theme at all. Traded. Bag building is a great mechanic though so I will keep my eyes out for something that combines it with a theme I prefer.



Tried it using the official solo variant and another player made one. The official one was tough (perhaps a little arbitrarily so IMO) and the other wasn't challenging enough. The multiplayer experience looks great though but I traded it as I'm still not doing much of that yet.



Enjoyed it (played using the fan made solo variant) but found it a bit samey. Then realised I had been playing a rule wrong which means I'd made the game easier. The fact that I wasn't interested in trying it with the correct rules was a sign I was done with it. Traded it to someone at the UK Games Expo.
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12. Board Game: Pocket Pro Golf [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:8360]
Andi Woods
United States
Cedar Falls
Iowa
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It was my only new game, however I find Pocket Pro Gold to be a nice simple golf game that I enjoy. I like the idea of a random golf course to play through. I played through 18 holes and had fun, I see myself holding onto this game. I would like to come up with more advanced rules perhaps to allow for a deeper gameplay mode when a golfer desires.
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13. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:67] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
Mo
United States
Downingtown
Pennsylvania
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I'm a little late posting this month. Not sure how it got away from me. Last month, I didn't add anything as everything new-to-me I played was multiplayer (gasp!), except for Heart of Ice. But that falls under the RPG side of things, and these lists aren't set up for that. It's the first gamebook I've read, and I found it really interesting and fun to pass the time. Not sure how replayable it is after the first few reads, but I've enjoyed it enough so far to consider purchasing another in that series.

Anyhoo...Consulting Detective was the only new game for me in May. It's an amazingly thematic game, but I'm torn on how much enjoyment I've gotten from it. It's both incredibly immersive and frustratingly....well, frustrating. I did a full exploration of it over here if you want to read the long, rambling version of my thoughts (there are no spoilers in the main item). But if you want just the concluding thoughts, here you go:

Wow! What a highly thematic, immersive experience Consulting Detective provides. Not only are you involved with the story as it progresses, you are in it, making the decisions as to what is important to note and what direction to head next. It's quite impressive how this thing is all put together, with the basic setup of a story, the long and winding puzzle of the narrative, and the intertwining of the newpapers and map of London with the case being solved. Yes, there are both moments of frustration and success when it comes to your own mastery of deduction. But the good thing is, you can go back and look for those juicy tidbits of information that you missed the first time, and see just how it all comes together in the end.

My Current Rating: 8/2
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14. Board Game: The Big Book of Madness [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:674]
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The Big Book of Madness:


Picked up this interesting and thinky deckbuilder. It is a very attractive game, even if the theme is a little pasted on. With five difficulty settings, only a subset of cards used in the book and spell offer each game, and a wide selection of different curses to overcome, there is a lot of replayability in the box. Being able to place cards into a shared pool, and using spells to allow other players to act out of turn, both add strategic and tactical choices into the game. I can see this one hitting the table a ton.




The Gallerist:


Borrowed this one from fortheloveofdice. Played a couple of games and quite enjoyed it. An interesting Stock Market style Euro game based around the Modern Art Industry. Very thinky but with an easy to execute solo variant. There is a ton of randomness in set up so I suspect there is a lot of replayability in the box. Need to play a few more times to determine whether I want to spend the close to $100 for my own copy, but it is a well-designed and very attractive game.




Wings for the Baron (second edition):


And finally this game that I picked up on a whim. I am glad I did. It is an interesting, soloable stock-market/push-your-luck/tech-tree game with a lot of replayability due to the different asymmetrical companies, one of which you play and two of which you choose to play against. Love the theme of producing WWI aircraft as well, very unique.

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