Solitaire Games on Your Table - March 2017
Suzy Vitale
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
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Welcome to
Solitaire Games on Your Table
March 2017


The Home of “Together, We Game Alone”


Hello and welcome - regulars and brand new visitors, we're glad to have you here! Take a look around, make yourself at home, and join in the fun. Feel free to post games you've played, comment on the games posted by others, and join the general discussion at the bottom of the page.


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SGOYT "Guidelines"
1 Play a game, solo.
2 Post an entry on this geeklist and tell us all about it (adding photos is always a plus).
3 Be nice.
4 Thumb what you like, GG what you love, and don't hesitate to ask or answer questions.



It's extremely helpful (but not mandatory) to include some thumbsup and some thumbsdown describing pros and cons of the game you have played. It's a great visual aid to summarize your post and also might help to keep the wallet damage down a bit!


March is Science Month


I love me some science. I might be biased since science is what I do for a living, but I have loved science since I was a little kid. Dr. Honeydew and Beaker were my early role models.



In high school, I was all about NASA and space exploration. Shout out to all the Canadian SGOYT'ers - thanks for the Canadarm!



To this day, I am a self-prescribed lunatic.



Now I spend most of my time on a FIB/SEM, harnassing electrons and ions while thinking about how planets are formed.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focused_ion_beam





bagbagbagbagbagMarch GG Challengesbagbagbagbagbag


This month, GG will be awarded to anyone...

who plays a game with a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) theme

bag who plays a game and posts of a picture of anything microscopy related

who plays a game and recommends a great sci-fi book

who plays a game and recommends an excellent beer (you thought I forgot about St. Paddy's day, didn't you?)





SGOYT Resources

1 Player guild: Home Base for solitaire gaming

SGOYT - Monthly Geeklist Subscription Thread: So you never miss future months

SoloRPGOYT - Monthly Geeklist Subscription Thread: For those of you that like role playing

2017 Solo Challenges SUBSCRIPTION: Join the rest of us in failing to get high scores whilst competing against each other

2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games: The biggest vote yet, as collated by kerskine

Solitaire Recommendations For Your Table: general recommendations by genre

The Solo Games Chain of Generosity: a wonderful way to pay it forward

1 Player Guild Trading Post: buy, sell, or trade with other 1PG’ers

SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek: who needs an official variant?

SGOYT Spreadsheet: all the SGOYT data you could ask for, as compiled by ShaunGamer

SGOYT Aggregator: Aggregation of each list's games by Ones Upon a Game (i.e. klkitchens), a wonderful tool!

Rules Questions for Solo Games: Ask your rules questions here, get answers from your friendly 1PG friends


Future SGOYT hosts:
April 2017 ian_07720169619
May 2017 maloma
June 2017 koinskyz
July 2017 & Beyond Available
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1. Board Game: 13 Minutes: The Cuban Missile Crisis [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:2741]
Eric Miller
United States
College Station
Texas
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Not sure where I came across this. But grabbed it, printed it (it's a PnP) and built it. It's 13 cards, a sheet of rules and a playmat. You don't really need the mat:



You also need 13 cubes each of two colors. Red and blue, of course.

It is a quick playing game and has lots of decisions to make. I played (mostly) the solo variant posted. It worked well. At least I think it did. I'm not 100% sure on the playing. The rules are basic enough- what threw me was the little nuke icons (that counts for science, right?) in three different colors. The purple and green looked identical in the lower light environment I was playing. And that made it hard to decide who actually won since I really couldn't tell the cards apart. I may need to add a code or extra circle or something to tell them apart.

If I can get that sorted out and a better handle on the flow, I can see this being a nice game to play- provided I have the needed 26 cubes with me. Might have to resort to dots or something a little more portable. And I might need to pocketmod the rules, then it'd be really easy to carry around...

The cooking of tonight's dinner was accompanied by:



It was gone by the time the chicken was cooked. It's from Colorado...
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2. Board Game: 1572: The Lost Expedition [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:6715]
Stefan Schneider
Germany
Stockstadt
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Your commander and entire company was killed after being ambushed in these mountains. The next morning, only six of you survive. Now you have to make it down the mountain and to the coastline where you can signal for help. The way is dangerous though; you’re short food and muskets. The natives will likely want you dead as offer any help..

Thank you Adam for mentioning this game, I decided to print it out today and give it a try. I usually like games that tell a good story so I was cautiously optimistic that I might enjoy it.
All you basically do is roll the dice. Thats it. But there are a few decisions to be made and its more about the experience with this game, not some difficult decisions to plan through carefully.



Type of expedition: Botany. Immun to fever icons. And add +1 to hunting score total, for foraging.

Day 1.
Only six conquistadores left. But we would make it out of here. The shore was to the east and it was far, but at the moment, we were hopeful. And the scenery is just amazing here. We stood on top of a mountain and looked around. More mountains to the southeast of here where we wanted to go next. But that was alright. We even thought we caught a glimpse of a mountain stream there, so thats where we planned to go. A stream meant fresh water, maybe fishes or animals to hunt.
Then natives approached. Covered in mud and paint, we didn't really see them at first. We were wary at first but they were very friendly. They even shared some of their food with us in their village. But before night fell, we bade them goodbye and moved on.

Day 2.
Okay, so we like mountains. Have I mentioned how great the scenery is? We wanted to follow the river, but came upon a Cataract, which blocked our way. Time to find another way...
And we did. A trail that we followed. To another village of very friendly natives. We stayed too late in the village and couldn't follow the trail we had found this day. So some of my conquistadores lost morale, but I felt confident enough that we would make it.

Day 3.
Mountains really are great. And big. And made moving around a bit tedious after a while. The other conquistadores started to grumble about that and morale could've been better. Good thing that we spotted a lake to the northeast and made our way there. We encountered more natives and even found a cache of food. It was good and the others were happy about it. What a beautiful country with so many friendly people in their villages. We made it to the lake and spirits started to rise again. We were moving again. And in the right direction. Well, the general direction at least.

Day 4.
We were getting ready to move. Flat terrain, we would make good progress! We saw another lake to the east, the stream we were following earlier seemed to flow into and through it..We managed to catch some fish while moving and this night, we feasted on some really great tasting fish. And were too full to actually keep moving. But tomorrow! The others were grumbling again but agreed that moving in the dark across unknown country would be too dangerous.

Day 5.
Early on we were getting ready to keep moving! The day was nice and beautiful and we made good progress till we came to the next lake. We caught some more fish and things were really looking good this day.

Day 6.
We decided to keep moving, but it has been some exhausting days and morale kept getting lower and lower. But I roused them again and planned out our day. But apparently some of them were getting a fever and I decided to stay here for the day and let them rest.

Day 7.
I so wanted to press on. But the others still weren't in good enough shape. So I guess we had to stay one more day on this lake. Morale was getting dangerously low.
I left all those too weak to move behind and decided to go exploring on my own. And that was the best idea I had all week. I found a ruined mission. The rest of it must've been reclaimed by the lake already as it was halfway in the water. But I found a crate of muskets and something resembling an old trail to the east. I hurried back and roused the others. This was good news and had them going in no time at all. We also managed to kill some animals which restocked our food supply plenty. And morale was getting better and better with the good fortune, moving east again and all the muskets and food.

Day 8.
We could see some more mountains ahead of us. But we decided to press on and follow the river even though that might mean, it could get more strenuous again. Which was great. The river flowed into some sort of cave. We followed in, more out of curiosity than thinking that there might be a way out. And what a sight! A vast cave, full of stalagmites and stalactites. The mountain must have some ores that might be worth mining for because when a ray of sun fell into the cave, the whole thing glittered and sparkled... It was marvellous! We just stood there for quite some time and just gaped at this natural wonder. Nothing like any of us had ever seen before.
We decided to stay here for a while and enjoy the beauty of the place.



Okay, since it was getting late, I didn't want to continue taking notes, but it was fun for such a small game, consisting only of one sheet of paper and 12 dice.
It might get repetitive after a while but once you know the icons and don't have to look up everything, it plays pretty quickly and easily. And its fun exploring the map and trying to move your expedition back to their ship.

<summary>Small PnP game about getting the surviving members of your expedition back to the coast. Tells some fun stories with easy rules</summary>
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3. Board Game: 1775: Rebellion [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:292]
Casey Nedry
Japan
Yamashina
Japan
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1st play, solo, intro scenario.

Rules are clearly explained and easy to comprehend. What to do with fled Native Americans and Hessians and what to do with your deck once it is exhausted were not immediately obvious to me- certain cards govern the inclusion of both factions back into play and no, you don't reshuffle. Good looking map and fine quality components.

Being a first play, don't have much insight into the game-play. A blend of area control and resource hand management. Need to use your troops to expand as well as protect your turf. You'll only use each card from your deck once so the timing of its use appears to be important. Quick pace and tactical, not much mucking about.
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4. Board Game: 1775: Rebellion [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:292]
Krista Donnelly
United States
Beltsville
Maryland
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I played the Campaign scenario two-handed, and the Americans eeked out a surprise victory in round 3. My 9 year old saw me playing and was interested so we then played multi-player. I was the Americans again and managed to win in round 6 due to a timely play of my 2nd Treaty of Paris card when I had the last turn in the round. He was disappointed, but took defeat well. And now I won't have to play 1812 solo to get it on the table.

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5. Board Game: 30 Rails [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:4019]
Really enjoying this simple but challenging Print and Play game. Building train tracks is a type of engineering, right?

I've played three games now:

Game 1. Epic failure as I let 'perfect' be the enemy of the 'good' and was utterly defeated when my junctions didn't come up.

Game 2. More of the same, although I got closer to success and was undone by bad luck at the end.

Game 3... it started to really click. I managed a "good" score of 55 by connecting all four stations to the Mine.

Simple rules, and the game does a really great job of ratcheting up the tension as the board fills and your best laid plans go to hell.

thumbsup Simple rules.
thumbsup Tension really escalates as the game progresses.
thumbsup Really makes you think ahead and play the odds, much like a good game of poker.
thumbsup Print and play, for free.

Beer recommendation: Surly Abrasive, from http://surlybrewing.com in Minnesota. Fantastic IPA made with oats. (Although, all Surly is great.)



Sci-fi book: Ringworld, by Larry Niven. A true classic and inspired the Halo games.

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6. Board Game: 30 Rails [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:4019]
David Arlington
United States
Summerdale
AL
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Sadly, my trajectory on this game lately seems to mirror my recent Terraforming Mars trajectory. When I thought I had the game figured out (51 points on just my second game), I keep scoring lower and lower. (38 points on my third game and 33 points on this latest game).



I didn't like where my mountains ended up and while I thought putting the Mine in the center of the board would make it easy to reach from all railroads, instead it just ended up being another roadblock for me. I also had my Bonus square in a bad place it appears (too close to the Mine I think), as I only got one line to run through it.

I'm going to try keeping the Mine more to the outskirts or away from my Bonus square next time and see if that helps.

For my sci-fi book recommendation, I saw someone had recommended Keith Laumer's Bolo series already, but the Keith Laumer series that I really loved was the series of Retief books. Reteif was an ambassador, a member of the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne (CDT) who had a supercilious superior, Magnan, who was totally inept but always ended up getting all the credit for all the diplomatic messes that Retief always ended up solving (usually using very NON-diplomatic methods!). Their main nemesis was an alien race with 5 eyes on stalks, called the Groaci. They had a very unique speech pattern that cracked me up, and I would talk like them as a kid, "To intimidate the soft ones. To make threatening gestures." which would annoy everyone who had no idea WHAT I was referring to...



(I never like the images of Retief on the cover of the books. I always had a different mental image of him.)

Dave
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7. Board Game: 51st State: Master Set [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:280]
Simon Maynard
United Kingdom
Exeter
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Just got this last week and initially fairly underwhelmed by the solo game that seemed ridiculously easy. Easy to beat your opponent that is. But the the rules also provide a table ranking system to rank your score and getting a high ranked score is a lot more challenging. The sooner I accept this as a beat-your-own-score exercise and not a challenging automated opponent, the sooner I will enjoy it more.

I've also had a few multi player games and I've found those much more engaging. The solo game just doesn't have the same feel to it. Consequently I don't think I could recommend this purely for it's solo play.

As for a SF recommendation, you could do a lot worse than "Stories of your life and other stories" by Ted Chiang. One of the greatest single author collection of SF stories ever.
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8. Board Game: 51st State: Master Set [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:280]
Jason Leidich
United States
Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
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Haven't had much time to game or post so I'll just do a little summary here of what I've been up to on the game table the last two weeks.

Thanks to Kevin's Fair Trade it Forward GL I've managed to swap out a few of the games I don't play any longer for other games I was interested in. I've been really good about getting them to the table right away as well.

First up is 51st State, I had played a couple of games of Imperial Settlers when it came out so I had a little bit of an idea of what I was getting into. I like the game, it was a fun exercise but I think I'm really going to enjoy getting this on the table with others much more.

I played just two games, one as New York and one as Mutants Union. Both games were losses (the Mutants game was a tied score). The solo mode is a great way to learn the cards and how things can work together so I definitely see myself continuing to play it solo.



Next up, I acquired a copy of Star Realms & Gambit set which also included Colony Wars and Forbidden Island was thrown in as a sweetener. I was on the fence about grabbing Star Realms only because I have the App on my tablet but once Forbidden Island entered the mix I was in. Not so much because I'm itching to play FI but more so because I know it's a fun family game and it will definitely hit the table in a few years when my son is ready for that sort of thing.



I played 2 games of Forbidden Island and both were losses. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it solo though so maybe it will make the rotation once in awhile!

Star Realms has been fun, I ended up springing for the box that came with the Mercenary Garrison promo as a storage solution. I haven't sleeved it so everything fits in there quite well. I might have to sleeve it though as now that I have a physical copy to play and Colony Wars I no longer need to purchase that add on in the app and I can join in on the Star Realms Challenges that Shaun does.

I played 3 base games vs the Pirates with two wins and a loss and a game vs the Nemesis Beast w/Colony Wars that was a loss but just barely. A couple days ago I jumped in on SR Challenge #3 and played 4 more games, only one of which was a win but nowhere near the top scoring commander.



And of course, I played Rallyman to round out the month and get my times in for the March ISGOYTRA rally. The course offered a bit of a challenge with a mix of asphalt and snow and I'm told it was tricky & fun so it sounds like everyone else had a good time with it too!

meeple
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9. Board Game: '65: Squad-Level Combat in the Jungles of Vietnam [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:5103]
Max Jansson
Sweden
Trollhättan
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This arrived last week. It has a solo expanison that is AI driven, but it can just as easily be played controlling both sides. Beautiful Components.
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10. Board Game: '65: Squad-Level Combat in the Jungles of Vietnam [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:5103]
Koinsky
France
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I’m still looking forward to playing some sciences games before the end of the month… , but the novelty’s attraction won again.

I’ve been spending all my gaming time with '65: Squad-Level Combat in the Jungles of Vietnam.
Once you’re done with the rules (which would need some improvements, IMO; they make the learning process more tedious than it should be), it’s an easy and fast game to play. Exactly what I need to rest my brain after long working days.

The components are gorgeous and huge! It’s part of my pleasure to play the game. Everything is easily readable and rests my eyes as the same time as it rests my brain.



Although the base game is a 2 Players game, it’s very easy to solo (playing both sides to the best of your abilities, naturally). I didn’t really expect that from a card-driven game (you perform the actions using a hand of cards) and ordered the full solo expansion at the same time.
However, I’m still having a lot of fun playing the base game only and I haven’t played the solo expansion, yet. It looks promising, from what I read in the dedicated rulebook and works with a specific deck of cards which controls the AI (the communists). I’ll report later about the specific solo module.

For those who would be interested in reading more about the base game, I wrote an illustrated review which is available in the game’s forum (link)
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11. Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:16]
Hans Baer
China
Suzhou
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Plaid another game against my "Perikles" bot to test his resilience against military victories. He lost. It was close though. I was pushing hard military and therefore had leave him a lot of science cards. At the beginning of Age 3 he was one card short of a science victory. Only through clever use of the "take another turn"-wonders could I get the last three military points.
Probably still need to do a few more plays before I make adjustments but the most important goal for making this variant was to make the bot strong enough to allow military and science victories as I think they are a huge part of what makes the game interesting.


thumbsup This has become one of my favorite solo games that plays in 30 minutes or less.
thumbsup The variant works quite good and AI turns are very fast. Especially once you know the flowchart by heart.
thumbsdown Not sure if he's difficult enough yet. If by points every game has been very close (mostly in his favor) but he has yet to win by either military or science (although this is not Perikles's focus).
thumbsdown The bot is usually not building wonders because he can't get enough resources. Maybe I have to make it easier for him and reduce the required resources by one or two.

Here are the rules in case yo want to give it a try:
MadMihi wrote:
Perikles decision flowchart:

Age 1: Resource E Red (if +/- 3) / Green (if 2+ different) E Wonder E Blue E Red / Green (if player > AI) E Yellow

Age 2: Red (if +/- 4) / Green (if 3+ different) E Wonder E Resource E Blue E Red / Green (if player > AI) E Yellow

Age 3: Red (if +/- 5) / Green (if 4+ different) E maximum VP E Red

Tie breaker: maximum VP / military power E least uncover E cheaper E hate (i.e. bot will take whichever card the player wants more).

Wonder draft:
maximum VP E additional turn E resources

Additional rules:
The bot gets all buildings for free.
The bot does not gain any money.
The player gets first turn in every age.
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12. Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:16]
J. @kinson
United States
Grant
Alabama
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Played Scott at the library this evening while waiting for my daughter to finish ballet rehearsal.

This was my second time playing Scott on the easiest level. I definitely did a better job of denying him resources he needed, so he was only able to build 2 wonders, while I got my 4 built. The "Law" token was out, so I made sure, Scott didn't get enough science to really be a threat either. The second age, I was able to acquire Masonry to help me build blue cards which helped me score a couple of good blue cards in Age 3. However, the kicker was me giving up my military lead of 5 pts down to -2 pts, so I could grab the guild that allowed me to score points on Scott's money (13 pts). I squeaked out a win of 73 to 69. Very satisfying and close win.

<summary>Scott is still sneaky even on basic level. Satisfying win</summary>
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13. Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:16]
J. @kinson
United States
Grant
Alabama
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Got another round of this in while waiting at the dance studio after reading The Harbinger Project rulebook. Thoroughly dominated poor Scott. I almost felt sorry for him... NOT. I kept him from building any of his wonders and built all of mine. I scored 10 military and got a couple of good guilds to boot. Final: 80 to 67. I may have to try to up the difficulty some more with the addition of random guilds for Scott.

<summary>Crushed Scott. Might be figuring it out</summary>
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14. Board Game: A.D. 30 [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:6206]
pax domina
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A Lenten tradition.

This year was a surprise Major Victory... I was prepared for a miserable showing since many attempts at Praying, Wandering, Performing Miracles, and Reducing Threats failed. The only thing I seemed to do well was Recruit. Never even attempted to Send an Apostle.

Go figure. I simply managed to keep all progress to Jerusalem at an even pace. And, voila.
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15. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1 [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:464] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
Joseph Youren
United States
Salem
OR
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Have had this on the table for over 2 weeks straight and I'm in no mood to replace it.
Took my time working with the absolutely fantastic tutorial by
Jay Richardson
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Lindsborg
Kansas
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Back and forth with the rulebook and the support materials as I pushed counters around, chucked dice, and consulted results tables. Now I am half way through the turn 3 of the first scenario:
I do not pretend to have any sense of what constitutes good tactics or strategy. At this point I just trying to develop a sense of flow with the sequence of play and cut down on reaching for the rule book or player aides. Thoughts at this point:

1 If you have ever done any research on this series and it's big brother you know I have definitely fallen down the rabbit hole. There is absolutely no end to what you can decide you need to add.
2 There is a rule for everything so there is never any sense of ambiguity. The rulebook is clear BUT I have do not really know if I could ever learn to play without the help of the tutorial.
3 No down-time. There is a lot to do on both sides ALL the time. Eight phases repeated twice each turn.
4 Lots of fans so lots of help available.
5 Went into this with no small amount of fear and trepidation but I am SO glad I pulled the trigger. Have already purchase Starter Kit#2 which includes mortars, high caliber guns, and expands the units to include the Brits and other Allies.
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16. Board Game: Aeon's End [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:83] [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked]
nick b
Canada
vancouver
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With a rare evening free, I decided to have another go at Aeon's End. In my last session with this game, I was left feeling underwhelmed. I didn't feel like I was under any pressure and the game felt fairly easy. I also found the setting a little generic with bashing away at a huge rage monster.
Still, I'd recently gotten my hands on the rather rare Nameless expansion as well as the less-rare The Depths expansion, so I at least felt like I would have greater variety.
I was also pleased to learn that the publishers had released a simple web-tool to randomize your heroes, nemesis and market offer (https://www.actionphasegames.com/pages/aerandomizer).

I used the randomizer to select my mages and market cards and chose the Carapace Queen as my nemesis.



Incidentally, I could not read "Carapace Queen" without thinking of this:



Anyway, I found this game to be far more engaging than my last sessions. This nemesis had a very different feel with swarms of little "husks" that had to be repeatedly cleared away. I felt like my mages, and town, were in far greater danger and there was a lot more pressure.
One of my mages was exhausted but I was able to wear down the Queen and launch a decisive attack to win the game.



I'm feeling much more positively about the game and I really enjoyed it more. I'm glad I gave it another chance. With the extra mages and nemeses from the expansions, I think that there will be a lot to explore here.


A vicious attack from the true Nemesis.
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17. Board Game: Aeon's End [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:83] [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked]
nick b
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This game is really starting to get under my skin. After being underwhelmed by my first few games, it went back on the shelf for a few months.
I took it out for another spin and, for some reason, something has just started to click.
I played one game against the Carapace Queen and then went back and played two games against Rageborne, the easiest nemesis. I lost all three games! This is heartening as I had initially found the game unchallenging.
Rather than using the suggested market setups, or laboriously choosing my own, I set up all three games with the randomizer on the publisher's web site (https://www.actionphasegames.com/pages/aerandomizer).
Like any deckbuilder, the card offer is a huge factor. It more or less determines what your strategies will be for that game. Using random setups made for really interesting games. In some games, the cards synergized well with each other. In others, it proved quite challenging to figure the most effective combos.
The nemesis decks are also holding up quite well. Some games throw up hordes of minions while others have the nemesis launching attack after attack. While you will see the same cards over and over, they are quite situational and timing is important. Under the right circumstances, a particular nemesis card may be relatively harmless or devastating.



I also used different mages in each game (always playing two-handed) and I am learning how to best make use of their exotic special abilities.


In this case, a mage's special ability allowed her ally to launch a flurry of spells.

I'm really glad I gave this game another shot as I am finding it more and more interesting. I haven't even incorporated any of the expansion material and I've only tried two of four nemeses in the base box but I am finding each session quite different.



After a somewhat lackluster start, this one is definitely a keeper.
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18. Board Game: Aeon's End [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:83] [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked]
Charles Darlage
United States
Columbus
Indiana
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Played solo with Kadir and Phaedraxa as my Breach Mages vs. the Carapace Queen.



Wow, this was tough. Half way through, I thought there was no way to win, I had a poor market set up, only 1 heal card and the Queen's husks were everywhere. The game came down to 'who's turn was next', if the Queen went, I would be swarmed by husks and lose, if either of my mages went, I would win. Luckily, I drew for Kadir to go and she finished the Carapace Queen with her 2 spells. Both my mages finished with 1 health, and Gravehold finished with 8. A hard fought victory.
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19. Board Game: Aeon's End [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:83] [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked]
Luke
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This was unexpected.

For one, it isn't Gloomhaven. Not in the slightest.

A quick note on that. My time with Gloomhaven is now spent designing, thinking about design, or playtesting.

Hopefully my focus remains on Gloomhaven long enough that I can finish some of that.

But here is Aeon's End.

I was in my FLGS today, my favorite one. I walked in unsure of what I was looking for.

Two of the long time employees were there, they asked me how I'd been, we chatted, and then I said, "I'm going to take a look around and see if my impulse to buy works out in your favor."

He smiled, "It often does."

They know me well.

I saw Roll Player first, then found this in the basement. This was $10 cheaper and I suspect I'll play it more than I would Roll Player. If I'm doing dice allocation, it's probably going to be One Deck Dungeon.

I was drawn to this because of the no shuffling.

I like that a lot. Gives the order of actions some weight.

I played the suggested set up two handed. It's pretty smooth.

I didn't need to consult the rule book that often. I think this is a keeper.

Which is going to be a problem for at least one of my games. I've hit the point where other games really need to go.

I beat the scenario, and I'm assuming that's standard for the first game. Or maybe it's not and I messed something up. I have played a bunch of deckbuilders though, so that might help.

I really like not shufflng decks. After close to two months of Gloomhaven, it feels like I've spent at least one of those days shuffling mini cards.

I didn't need to sleeve it much either. Just turn order cards and strike deck.

I figure everything else I can do a bunch of pile shuffles with some side shuffles and call it a day.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Hello.


Do I want the expansions? Do I need them right away or do I have lots of game here already?
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20. Board Game: Aeon's End [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:83] [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked]
Luke
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So this is pretty good.

I'm going to need the expansions eventually.

That leads to a different issue entirely.

I've learned to be firm with deckbuilders. They continually pump out new cards and if I'm not careful, I'll end up with one expansion too many. Either it doesn't fit in the box, or it makes it too cumbersome to setup, or the cost to sleeve it all becomes prohibitive.

Star Realms. You get Gambits, Colony Wars and that's it. Don't come around asking if you can have promos or United or whatever. There just isn't room.

Hero Realms? You watch yourself. Just because all the hero packs are here doesn't mean I'm going to buy every single campaign deck.

Airborne Commander and Friday are fine because they're small and self-contained. I think a Friday expansion is unlikely.

But Dominion got fired. Too big. So many options it all blurred together.

Even Thunderstone got sent upstairs. It's the 1st edition so it's pretty much obsolete anyway.

Legendary got desleeved, then put in a longbox with LOTR LCG. It might not come out again.

Baseball Highlights 2045 is probably going to be traded as well. Mostly because its Game to Box Size ratio is off in the wrong direction for my collection.

But this, this could stay. Only need to sleeve Turn Order and Rageborne's strike deck. I dislike shuffling stacks less than 40 cards without sleeves. Far too fiddly.

I imagine the first two expansions will fit in with the base set, yes?

thumbsupMultiple characters which, upon reflection, seem to be the inspiration for Hero Realms character decks.

thumbsup Multiple bosses with differing mechanics.

thumbsup No shuffling. The order in which you cast spells/pay for things/buy things matters because it lets you set up hands for the next round. To a degree.

thumbsup Multi stage deckbuilding. Econ - Get cards!, Midgame -Focus Breaches! Get Spells!, Endgame - Deck is finished, play it until you win.

thumbsdown It is not Gloomhaven. Seems like a real missed opportunity.

thumbsup Better than Hero Realms.

Rageborne was easy, Carapace Queen ate my face.


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21. Board Game: Agent Decker [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:4666]
David Arlington
United States
Summerdale
AL
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No pictures from this session last evening.

This is really a good game for a deck of 54 cards and a couple tokens (which can be pennies) that I can really take anywhere.

It makes me feel like Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid. No cardboard boxes but pretty much everything else, sneaking, fighting, rescuing people.

First time I played, I lost on the second of five missions. Last night, I won the game and beat all five missions. I think I was happier when I lost, because in winning, I *think* I have a pretty good strategy, if I can get past Mission 3. This was a criticism I think others had as well. If you can get past Mission 3, the last two Missions are not going to be a problem.

I'm going to try my strategy again next time I play and see if I have really "solved" this game. My strategy:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Key Cards:

One BIN to discard all my low value starting cards.
Two Interrogates to get extra cards in hand.
One Gear Up! along with as many Keep cards as I can get.
Keep cards that remove a certain Obstacle.
Some high value Combat and Stealth cards.

Everything else I just knock out in Line.



Obligatory Sci-Fi Book Reference: The Lensman Series by E.E. "Doc" Smith



Probably the first classic "Space Opera". 'Nuff said.

Dave
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22. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:25]
Tom Nielsen
United States
Illinois
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Continuing the farming theme after La Granja-time for some Agricola. I was a bit unsatisfied with the solo variant after playing with the Automa in Viticulture, but I played this with some coworkers last week and I got the itch again. So I decided to try my hand at creating an Agricola "Automa" deck.

It was a lot of fun! My main gripe with the built-in solo variant is just that it's too easy to let resources accumulate and plan ahead-it takes a bit of the chance and strategy out of it. I played with the 2 player rules (only 2 food per family member), and I ended up getting a better score than I usually do solo with 55 points. I may try again but up it to 3 food per family member, as it felt a tad too easy to feed my family.


My farm at the end-got to a three stone room house and filled all my other spots. Everything worked out fairly nicely.


My homemade "Automa" deck. This was a lot of fun to put together-to use the card, you just start at the top and take the first action that's available to take. On average, I put the more desirable actions up near the top, so early in the game when those aren't flipped yet, you just skip down to the next available action. And then by the end, it'll steal some of those great late-game actions away from you.

I really enjoyed how this worked out-probably some tinkering to be done-how much food to feed the family, a mechanism to take Major Improvement cards, etc. The Automa began as starting player, and if I got starting player it could still take it back by getting the "starting player" action. It definitely blocked my strategy a few times and just the threat of it taking large piles of resources kept me honest.

thumbsup Classic worker placement game-Feels like you're making progress as the more lucrative actions appear.
thumbsup Fun to develop an engine and watch it crank out food for the family.
thumbsup Occupation/Minor Improvement cards keep strategy fresh each game.
thumbsdown Lots of little bits and pieces, can be a bit of a hassle to set up and take down. Also cats enjoy knocking these sorts of things off the table.
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23. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:25]
Tom Nielsen
United States
Illinois
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I've been watching the World Baseball Classic and NCAA Tournament all week, so I set this up last night to make sure I get a game in this morning. This is my second play against a little bot I made. Scored 46 points after 55 in my first play-cards didn't go together as well as last game. The bot was really pesky, taking family growth without room and a nice haul of 5 sheep from right under my nose.


My sheepless farm. The Conservator helped me get a stone house without going to clay first, and I was also able to pay an extra food to plow an extra field when I took that action.


The bot will take the highest available action. The better actions tend to be closer to the top, so it will take them pretty soon after they come available.

The files for the bot can be found here. It's pretty basic, but I feel like it's an improved solo experience over the default. If anybody tests it out, I'd love to hear feedback!
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24. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:25]
Slovakia Steph
United States
Muncie
Indiana
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A few sessions with one of my favorite games; I played Caverna over the weekend for the first time, and it made me want to play Agricola. I got this in 2007 and was my first preorder, so it came with animeeples, etc. I used meeplesource meeples for people markers.



I had forgotten how light this game is (possibly because I've played so many time?); not too much planning is involved as long as you get those people fed. Went with the campaign where you keep an occupation from the previous round, and I hadn't tried that before. I liked what it added to the game and how I was able to form more of a strategy from game to game. Out of the 6 games, I only achieved the recommended score once. That's okay, it was still fun and I liked having a tense goal to aim for.
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25. Board Game: Agricola (Revised Edition) [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:82]
Marcus Bartlett
United States
Athens
Georgia
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Started playing a game last night and decided to give the solo campaign from the manual a go. This would be the second time that I played this game and scored a 66 the first go around, however after playing it I do believe that I realized that I was not playing by the solo rule that the wood pile only gets refilled by two each round, and I was putting 3 new wood in the pile.

The first game of my go at the campaign did not seem to be going too well in the first half of the game. It seemed as if I was not making much progress other than trying to get enough food to feed my two family members. It was not until after the first harvest that I made any progress to my board and built the first two additional wood rooms. I did however in the first few rounds acquire some good occupation cards that ended up helping me later on in the game. I was able to skip the clay rooms and build straight to the stone rooms, which was a pretty good skill to have from the Conservator occupation card. I was pretty thankful to have the seasonal worker when food was getting short as well as the firewood collector due to wood being a scarce necessity in the solo games. It allows you to acquire more than the 28 wood pieces that you get from the standard game.

The threshing board ended up being a pretty good life saver in the end, after I took the urgent wish for children action in order to gain another family member there at the end, and needed to gain enough food during the last harvest to feed 5 family members. This allowed me to keep all of my resources that gain me points in the end. The last card flipped looked to be the farm redevelopment card which allows you to renovate your house and build fences all in one action. This may end up being the best way to go about building your farm. You do miss out on animal mating if you wait to the very last round to do this, but you can renovate your house, build fences, and scoop up all of the accumulated animals if you have four family members, which to me seems to be the sweet spot as long as you get the free worker from the urgent wish for children to be used in the last few rounds. I will probably use this strategy in the next game and worry about getting food, occupations, fields/crops, brick and stone during the first part of the game. I will also spend more time trying to gather as many of the major and minor improvements that gain victory points





I ended up scoring 53 points this game. Just over the required 50 points for the first round of the solo campaign. (If someone counts differently by looking at my board please let me know, I do believe that I counted everything up correctly though) Thus I will start the next game with 3 food which will be a lot of help. I also decided to keep the Firewood collector occupation card for the next game as I thought that this was the most powerful occupation that I got the first game. Allowing me to acquire more wood than the game gives by default will help me cheat the system of the solo play rule set.



I have left the game set up on my desk and will play a few rounds at a time when I get the time in passing. I have acquired many solo-playable games over the past year, and grad school has kept me from focusing and sitting down to play as much as I want. Thus trying to focus on knocking 20 or so plays out of one game at a time will let me focus on one game before switching gears. Let me learn one really well and gain a good understanding of the mechanics, but back off before I get burned out on the game and won't want to return to it for a while. I really enjoy Agricola solo play, it does seem to be an optimization problem, however as I learn the game I can twist the play around and come up with an automa player, or use some of the other solo campaigns or solo variants I have seen on BGG. I have bohnanza, which we love to play with the kids, and At the Gates of Loyang, which I have not gotten to play yet but I can already tell that I am going to like all of Rosenbergs games. Oh, we also have Patchwork, which I have not gotten to play yet either.


A quick beer recommendation. I am from Atlanta, and Sweetwater is one of our local breweries. If you ever get the chance to try it I would recommend the Georgia Brown!

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