Carthoris Solitaire (November 2017)
Carthoris Pyramidos
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A list of my current favorite solo games, in order of ascending number of total logged plays to date.

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1. Board Game: Runebound (Third Edition): Unbreakable Bonds [Average Rating:8.43 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.43 Unranked]
Carthoris Pyramidos
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2 solo plays.

I only recently got around to trying the solo mode for Runebound (Third Edition) (supplied in Unbreakable Bonds). I always use minis from other games (usually BattleLore (Second Edition)) to represent the villains on the board when I play Runebound.

My first solo play pitted Headache Wizard Master Thorn against the Uthuk hordes. Despite getting the invaluable Staff of Light early in the game, and repeatedly fighting and stripping units out of the two warbands, the game ended in tragedy midway through Act II, as Master Thorn suffered defeat trying to protect Hunter's Circle against Malaana's Warband.



Later in the week, I tried again, sending Red Scorpion in for a run against the Corpse King. She just ran out of time and went in to fight Vorakesh half-prepared with only two companions on the penultimate turn of the game, so she was defeated. Frustratingly, she had three trophies and ten gold, but no time to redeem either for better battle-worthiness. In the picture above, she's out of sight in the southeast corner of a board full of zombies at the top of Act II.
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2. Board Game: One Man: Thrag! [Average Rating:5.90 Unranked]
Carthoris Pyramidos
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3 solo plays.

Here is a solitaire dungeon crawler played with piecepack. It's quick--20 minutes is indeed plenty of time. It's pretty fun.

As I did for Dungeon Solitaire, I've added some flavor to this highly abstracted solitaire fantasy game. The three wizards have identities, and particular monsters that they summon.
sauronredtrain The Wizard of Suns is Shamshamish, and he conjures an imp (1), a salamander (2), an efreet (3), a phoenix (4), and a fire-breathing dragon (5).
sauronbluetrain The Wizard of Arms is Xaddai, and his minions are undead: a zombie (1), a skeleton (2), a specter (3), a vampire (4), and a lich king (5).
sauronyellowtrain The Wizard of Crowns is Gadoo-Ladoo, and he sends whole troops of goblins (1), orcs (2), ogres (3), trolls (4), and giants (5).

I also made some improvements to the play tableau. I turned the board 45 degrees, so that it's a clock face, with the pawn starting at the top. I also stack the defeated beasts in the center of the clock, because it amuses me to imagine Thrag! accumulating a pile of his slain foes.
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3. Board Game: Jump Drive [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:974]
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6 solo plays.

This game is still new to me. I picked it up this month with the idea that I'd play it with my daughter and/or a co-worker. But the "campaign"-based solitaire variant has turned out to be very engaging. So far, I've only tried the Basic Campaign. I've decided to call each 7-turn play a "hand," identifying the "game" with the campaign as a whole, which can cover any number of hands. There are four goals per campaign, and only one can be fulfilled by a given hand, so any "dud" hands score against the overall win. I have yet to get a perfect campaign, but I've had some amazing solitaire hands, with one scoring 129 VP!

Jump Drive Solo Campaigns
Jump Drive Campaign Log
 
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4. Board Game: Cardinal's Guards [Average Rating:6.43 Unranked]
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8 solo plays.

I think this is the best of the piecepack solitaires I have yet played. It makes good use of the complete kit, has no randomness or hidden information after the initial setup, and plays in about half an hour. The result is a score, rather than a definite win/loss, but I'm always shooting for the relatively difficult goal of 50 points.
 
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5. Board Game: Luna [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:394]
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13 solo plays.

In the solitaire variant provided in the Luna rules, the player is in a contest against a virtual opponent, whose algorithm and starting position is rather different than those for human players. I found it quite difficult at first, and it took me a while to win my first game. However, since then, I've found that I can win pretty reliably, and I've been advancing the difficulty (using the means suggested in the rules). I still like this one solitaire, but I'd far rather play human opponents.

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6. Board Game: Elder Sign [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:463]
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42 solo plays.

Knowing that it could be played solo, I had no real interest in solitaire Elder Sign as long as I was playing with the base game and the first expansion (Elder Sign: Unseen Forces). Only after the second expansion (Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham) and its successors did this become a worthwhile solo game offering a real challenge. My very full Elder Sign kit now requires this little trunk to store it all:



I usually play solo with two investigators, but if I'm up for a special challenge (and probable failure), I'll go in with one at a time. You can see that in these pics of my most recent game, played against Dagon in Elder Sign: Omens of the Deep



Elder Sign is probably the game where I have given the most attention to upgrading components. I put feet on the clock so it wouldn't wobble on the center peg; I collected nearly a full set of investigators as FFG custom miniatures; I sleeved all the cards; and I replaced almost all the tiny tokens with dice. Most importantly, I made the CUSTOM GLOW-IN-THE-DARK REVISIONIST NEO-ORTHODOX LOVECRAFTIAN ELDER SIGNS.
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7. Board Game: Rune Age [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:862]
Carthoris Pyramidos
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Centennial
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72 solo plays.

Although many summaries of this scenario-based deckbuilding game list it as being for 2-4 players, the solitaire possibilities are part of the original design, and are worthwhile. The "Resurgence of the Dragonlords" scenario can be played solo, as the Dragonlords are quite capable of destroying a player's home realm before the player can defeat the boss dragon, and "The Cataclysm" is unsurprisingly as good for solitaire as it is for cooperative play, Also, there is a fan-devised solitaire variant of the "Monument" scenario which is perfectly viable, thus making 3 out of 4 scenarios in the base game that can be played solo.

I always play with the additional cards from Rune Age: Oath and Anvil.

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8. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:527]
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77 solo plays.

I have all the expansions for this game. It's really excellent solitaire, and brutally challenging. The little red die just says, "die, die, die."

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9. Board Game: Onirim (second edition) [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:457]
Carthoris Pyramidos
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78 solo plays.

After playing through all of the expansions, I wished I had tackled Dreamcatchers first, because it brings the shuffling down to a manageable level. I also favor the Towers and Happy Dreams & Dark Premonitions.

Lately, this one hasn't seen a lot of play, although I'm also curious about the other Oniverse games.
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10. Board Game: Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:7913]
Carthoris Pyramidos
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120 solo plays.

I've played nearly all of the many variants included in this game. I've only declined (so far) the campaign version, which requires record-keeping between sessions. The Dragon's Lair and Undead Hordes are both excellently entertaining scenarios, and strike a happy medium between the vanilla dungeon run and the long-form Mega-Dungeon.

I like to play with the Barbieri Tarot, which has excellently suitable fantasy art, and I also use the Luis Royo Dark Tarot mini deck as a tracker, with cups for HP; wands for level; and trumps, swords, and disks for hundreds, tens, and ones of gold.

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