New to you January 2017 => Best New Solitaire Boardgame
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Now that our hopes and dreams of the New Year are dashed (that's right, you're gonna die as fat as you are now. Possibly fatter), we have more time to explore the solitaire boardgame world! What did you find last month?



Inspired by
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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 past 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 2017

Subscribe to the metametalist to be notified when each new year is posted: Solitaire New To You MetaMetalist

Subscribe to the metametametalist to be notified when a new variation on the N2U geeklists are added!

Solitaire New To You A Year Ago geeklists are posted mid-month! Follow the 2017 entries and the metametalist for each year!

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1. Board Game: DC Comics Deck-Building Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:731] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Mo
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Decision: thumbsup

This is a fairly straightforward deckbuilder set in the DC Comics universe. It's a lighter game in the genre, but one not without its merits. The game only has one "currency" (Power), so that keeps the complexity down. The challenge, like all deckbuilders I've played, is to build a deck that works cohesively and efficiently. That is certainly present in this game.

Just as with Marvel Comics and the Legendary game, I don't have a strong knowledge of the DC Comics universe, but I definitely enjoy the theme here. And moreso than with Legendary, I feel the artwork on the cards is an even bigger positive. I really enjoy just looking at most of the cards and am even tempted to pick up a couple issues of DC Comics because of it.



I'm exclusively using a solo variant of my own design, Nemesis Solo Variant, and I think it works quite well. It's very similar to the solo variants for Ascension and Star Realms. My variant gives the player an opponent to compete against and whose actions are determined by a card type in play in the Line Up. It plays quickly and has a minimal number of card errata. But, just like the Nemesis Beast in Star Realms, there can be some swings of difficulty. Hopefully, it's a fair challenge more often than not, though.

Before I wrap this up, a quick word on the Teen Titans card set (yes, I have a problem). I've only played this set once at the time of this post, but I like it a lot. I know nothing of the Teen Titans backstory...didn't know it existed until I bought the base game. Anyway, this set has an emphasis toward Ongoing Effects (cards that remain in play until used). This adds a nice (albeit small) step up in complexity and cardplay as compared to the base game. I look forward to exploring this set more in the coming months.

So, overall, I like DC Deckbuilder. It's a light game, for sure, but it's enjoyable. There is enough going on in the cardplay and deckbuilding to keep me interested when I don't want the hard-hitting challenge of games such as Shadowrun: Crossfire. My hope was for DC Deckbuilder to replace Ascension in my collection as the theme and art are much more appealing to me in DC, and this is a winner in that sense. It's of a similar style and complexity as that game, so it's a good swap in my collection. With my Nemesis solo variant, I've found fun and challenge in a solid super hero deckbuilder.
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2. Board Game: Artificium [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:4499]
Nick Shaw
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Ok, so this game isn't technically a new game to me (I've owned it for 3+ years). BUT, I've only ever played it multiplayer (as that's all it supports out of the box). But last month (well, a few days ago to be precise - 31st Jan) I developed a solo variant for it. Seemed to work well, so I posted it on the game's forum. So I'm counting it as 'new solo to me'.



Only other new soloable game to me was this one, which is an in-development solo PnP game (details here: [WIP] Blorg in the Midwest) which is an entry to The 2017 9-card Nanogame PnP Design Contest!, which has a number of solo PnP games with just 9 cards!). Great little puzzle to solve, this. Very much enjoying it.
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3. Board Game: Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:1739]
West Ward Hough
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Katy
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Okay, Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire is the real deal. I'm a huge fan of designer Joel Toppen's previous game, Navajo Wars, so I had high hopes for this one. With much more streamlined play and a very accessible playbook and rules, this one is easier to pick up. The gameplay is an amazing solitaire design, where one of four separate enemies from four different directions will execute a rolling list of instructions against you, and while those can be anticipated, they can't be guaranteed to happen (kind of like a real opponent). The game is deep and interesting, and I am ready to explore it further! The open question for me is whether it can replace Navajo Wars as my #1 game, though currently I am thinking no, as I haven't been quite as pulled into the theme (acting as more aggressive Comanche war bands than Navajo families) than I was with Navajo Wars.






I only got my feet wet with Onirim, but enjoyed my first experience with it. I can see it fitting a good spot for me when I am looking for something lighter while watching TV.
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4. Board Game: Paperback [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:380]
Timothy Mattes
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Hellertown
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I am New to this so when I mess up just shout at me until I get it right please. At the end of 2016 I made the decision to start playing games solo. I am a reviewer by trade and therefore have a fairly large collection, most of which have solo rules or variants. I also have a spouse that refuses to play games with me outside of our weekly gameday so I have taken it upon myself to play a solo game each night before I retire to my bed. January was a busy moth in this respect, a lot of games were played and most were New to me (as far as solo is concerned).

I am choosing Paperback as my game of the month because I played it seventeen times within the month and still love it. The games listed below are great but the strategy and mental strain that paperback provides is the perfect distraction from the world. The solo rules can be modified to make it easier or harder and while I have yet to clear the pyramid, I have improved my score each game. I will not be making this one any easier and look forward to mathing out a victory so I can up the strain even more.



Hostage Negotiator I have owned hostage negotiator for some time and have never gotten around to playing it. That changed for me this month as I jumped with both feet right into it. I thoroughly enjoyed the game play and I feel that I will give expansion a game of the month nod due to the tough choices this month provided. The best part of this game for me was the almost forced role playing. at no point did I speak while playing, but in my head I was running the numbers and the odds and weighing the abductors motives and demands. Over all this is a well crafted game that deserves the praise it is getting from the solo community.

Tiny Epic Galaxies This was a staple at our table for a few months and I am ashamed that I never gave the Solo play a chance. It was a great time waster of a solo game in that everything you do can be thrown by two back to back rough turns by the rogue galaxy. I mitigated this in the beginner game pretty well but lost tremendously against the easy mode. I look forward to continued play until all of the rogue galaxies are defeated. This is one that I am happy to carry around with me even if the RNG is a pain sometimes.

One Deck DungeonI feel like this is the poster child for solo gaming. With an easy to learn rule set and an intense risk/reward system One deck dungeon felt heavy and light at the same time. There are only a few games that I have played that make me feel the way I did after losing on the first floor to One deck dungeon. i will be sure to include a note in future posts as to when I won this brilliantly tough game.

That was it for January. February will ahve a lot more because I have set a goal for the year. I want to play 100 solo games. I am in the process of making a geeklist with the games that I currently own that are solo playable and will include it in February's post for those that are interested. Please let me know what you think of this as it is my first time participating in something like this and feedback can only help to make me better.

Cheers!
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5. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:231]
Moe45673
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Just one game this month


Plays: 1
I'm a big, big fan of Samurai Spirit, which I've heard referred to as Ghost Stories-lite. I've known about GS for a long time but heard it was brutally difficult. Additionally, the theme of Chinese ghosts didn't do anything for me. But when this game came up on the Fair Trade geeklist (thanks, Maya!), I jumped at it because I do love Bauza's work.

I've only played it once, so I might seem like I'm gushing from little experience. The truth is, though, that I have since bought it on iOS just to learn the basics of strategy so I have played a number of games (still suck at it, though!).

I now see why people call SS to be Ghost Stories-lite. The funny thing is, Ghost Stories isn't a heavy game itself. While there are more components and it takes up more tablespace, the turns are equally as lightning fast as in SS. I really enjoyed playing this (on iOS, not as much but that's more so I can come to grips with basic strategy and then return to the cardboard to appreciate it more).

I have since bought the White Moon expansion, which I've integrated but haven't played with yet. I heard it makes the game a bit easier, which is really no bad thing whatsoever.

My only issue is that my copy of GS seems to be the 1st edition; 2nd edition came out a year or two after release and updated a few things. Nothing major but there will be a few different symbols meaning the same thing depending on where the card came from, etc.

But yeah, GS is a cool game. Highly, highly recommended!
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6. Board Game: Z War One: Damnation [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:5495] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
Stefan Schneider
Germany
Stockstadt
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A couple of new to me games in january. All of them pretty good ones, at least I had fun with all of them. Some might not have enough staying power to keep me interested in them after a while, but lets see.


First: Z War One: Damnation
Anther Zombicide clone, do we really need that? Yes, we do! And its not a clone. It has Zombies, Action points and large boards that you place together but its much more tactical and strategic than Zombicide.
You always have to play four characters, no matter how many players but its not difficult to keep track of each character, because you only have one sheet of paper for all characters together to mark ammunition, rounds, xp and skills.
Yes, you can also level up and buy new skills in this game. I really enjoyed. Partly maybe because I really liked the idea with a short comic strip and then playing through a scenario that got set up by the comic. And then another comic that leads to another scenario. And so on. Pretty neat idea. Plus, I like comics...
Not relevant for solo play, but you can also pit players against each other, with one controlling the zombie horde.
Really intersted in what they come up with in the future.

For me, this game gets: thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup


Next, we have Cavern Tavern:

A pretty straightforward worker placement game. You work in Nastys inn and try to get drinks to patrons that frequent the inn. The drinks need different ingredients. You place your dice on the cellar space and collect the corresponding ingredient. The longer it takes for you to make the drink, the less points you score because the patrons get impatient. If you take too long, they leave, costing you a lot of points.
I said its a pretty straightforward game but thats, at least in this case, really not a negative thing! The rules are pretty simple (pick an order to fulfil, gather the ingredients, advance on the kitchen or chore track, keep in Nastys good graces).
The dice placement works a bit like in Kingsburg, you roll them, every space has a number on it and you can only place the dice with the corresponding number on that space.
As I said, it works very well and in the solo game, you roll dice to see which spaces are blocked, making it a bit of a puzzle to work your way around those. Really well done game, maybe not the most innovative mechanisms but a very well designed game.
Works well solo and multiplayer!

This game only gets thumbsupthumbsup because I think its a bit too expensive for what you get. But I don't regret buying this.


And we move on to: Police Precinct
A cooperative game in which you try to solve a murder case, arrest thugs and clear emergencies. Again, pretty simple and straightforward rules and an easy win the one time I played it.
The components are good and the color coded emergencies really keep you on your toes, making it Urgent to resolve a specific emergency when you also want to look for clues and evidence. Works really well!
The murder board where all the evidence is gathered makes for a nice touch!
Though I think it was a bit of a wasted opportunity to keep the evidence cards so bland and boring. That might've made an awesome looking evidence board with more flavor text and graphics.
The board itself is huge, which suprised me quite a lot, it could've been a bit smaller. Apart from that, replayability should be really high, you'll never get the same events in the same space and same color, so every game really is different.
I can see playing this quite a bit, especially since I like the theme a lot better than vanilla pandemic. Though the first game was really easy, but there are ways to increase the challenge.

At the moment, this one gets one very solid thumbsup


And at last, we come to Hit Z Road:

I like dice games, I like zombie apocalypse games. I like the artwork of this one, the 50s (I think), the roadtrip you take.... But it turned out to be a really bland and boring game. At leat for the solitaire!
I only played it twice, won both games easily and, though the components are actually pretty good with some nice touches, I just don't really want to play this again.
Maybe multiplayer, when there's some bidding on who gets to be first player, that might spice things up but to be completely honest, the gameplay wasn't that great that I would ever actively try to get this to the table when playing with others.

Sorry, but this one gets two thumbsdownthumbsdown
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7. Board Game: Ghost Stories: White Moon [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
Ilja Preuß
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Karlsruhe
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Tried a few new games this month, and a couple of "old" games solo for the first time.


Don't know why it took me so long to finally try Ghost Stories solo. I just enjoy the richness and challenge of the game. It never feels easy, but always (borderline) doable.



Could say the same about Pandemic. Played with mutation and virulent strain. Somehow sequencing doesn't sound attractive to me. Don't own Pandemic: State of Emergency yet - should I get it?



Pentaquark arrived from Kickstarter. Very portable - literally always carry it in my back pocket, only takes a few minutes to play virtually zero setup time. Can easily be played on a train, which is a big plus for me. First I thought it was too easy, but I guess I was just lucky during the first games.



Very positively surprised by Tiny Epic Western. Nice mix of interesting mechanics. Nice game length. I assume that it's even more fun multiplayer (I hope that it will at least add bluffing to the poker mechanic), but I find the solo variant very enjoyable.



Gave this Kingdom Builder solo variant a chance. It's interesting, in that it forces you to look at the game from a different perspective (while you play to maximize your points, you also play your opponent, trying to minimize his points). While I enjoyed it, difficulty seems to depend a lot on the victory point conditions - from laughably easy to very, very hard.



Another Kickstarter arrival. While I very much enjoy Neolithic: Advanced Cultures as a two player game, I find that the included solo variant loses a lot. Instead of strategizing how to best optimize your hand, while keeping an eye on the worker placement of your opponent, the solo variant very much feels like a puzzle to me. Not my thing.



Tried the tutorial mission of Mechs vs. Minions solo. Was a good way to learn the basics before introducing the game to friends. Felt a bit overwhelmed by getting four new cards each turn, though. Could probably be houseruled. But it's just so much more fun multiplayer, anyways, so why care?



Herbaceous is a nice little two (or more) player game. In a solo game, you basically just try to get an as high score as possible, which is not my favorite game mechanic. Might still play it without my wife once in a while.



Was a little bit disappointed by Dungeon Time - solo it basically turns into a memory game. Hope it's more fun multiplayer.
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8. Board Game: Pandemic: In the Lab [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
Justin
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Plano
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I had this entry half typed up a week or two ago and something pulled me away. Bummer.

In no particular order...

Pandemic: In the Lab - This much lauded (by Moe) expansion lived up to the hype. I've only played it once, but it was very satisfying. It feels like the lab mechanic adds a missing piece to the game I never knew was missing.

Fireteam Zero - Gears lite? Kind of seems that way after a couple missions. This isn't a bad thing per se. I enjoyed my plays of this, but the game just doesn't offer the super tight experience that Gears does. I think I need to separate the two in my mind when I try this again. It shares some similarities for sure, but also quite a few differences. I like the theme and there were definitely a handful of 'wow' moments in my games, mainly provided by Rat.

One Deck Dungeon - Couldn't get over my curiosity. It's a neat game, but I need to log more plays to see the strategy. It kind of feels like Friday to me with the way you take on obstacles/enemies. In fact, that's exactly what this game is. It's Friday with dice allocation instead of deck building... complete with three levels of difficulty that ramp up into a final boss. If someone else has made this observation, I didn't see it. I promise.
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9. Board Game: The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:208]
I might be Brain though
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Gateshead
Tyne and Wear
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I was really excited to pick this up and it's gameplay is beautiful. So smooth and everything links together brilliantly.

The solo mode has a win condition too and so it's not just high score.

So what's not to like? It's too easy solo.

I beat it on my first play (just) but changed my strategy slightly in the second game and destroyed the 100 point target easily (as well as having no problems meeting the other 2 conditions for winning).

If you have people to game with I highly recommend this, for solo it's simply OK.

One Deck Dungeon


Walked in to local game store looking for a bargain on the last day of their sale but bought this instead.

It's been getting a lot of buzz so I thought I would give it a go.

I played it a handful of times and whilst it's OK it didn't get me excited. Despite it's quick set up and relatively short playing time I just couldn't see me wanting it to play it over my preferred short dice game VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game, despite the better theme.

Eight Epics


Another short(ish) dice game that just didn't hit the spot solo for me.

Just didn't feel like the theme came through at all.
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10. Board Game: One Deck Dungeon [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:550] [Average Rating:7.18 Unranked]
Kuhns, party of four!
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Muncy
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Game #1: One Deck Dungeon
This was the "big" new game over the last month or so, and I jumped right on the hype train! It has been very well discussed on SGOYT, so I won't describe it much. My photos are at my SGOYT post here.

But I did like it, which is surprising, since I'm not a fan of games with a lot of dice randomness. However, I'm finding that I do like games with dice allocation. It's a good way to mitigate the randomness of dice and give the player a lot of agency.

Game #2: Lunarchitects
I picked this one up because I like the space theme and tile laying and I wanted to make sure to get it before it wasn't available any more. I just wasn't a fan of it. It felt too abstract and like I wasn't really doing anything cool and space related. I mostly felt like I was running the AI. Here's my second report with links to the first for photos etc.
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