Solitaire Games on Your Table January 2019
Dave Matthew
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Welcome to
Solitaire Games on Your Table
January 2019


The Home of “Together, We Game Alone”


Before anything else,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


and welcome to another year of awesome solo gaming.

Guidelines

1 PLAY a solo game, a solo variant, or a multiplayer game solo.
2 Add an entry to this GeekList and tell us about it. Get the most out of the SGOYT Aggregator by using at least one of the following tags:

1 Add the <summary></summary> tag to include a short overview.
2 Add the <rating></rating> tag to rate a game on a scale of 0.5 to 5.0. Only the most recent rating for a game is recorded.
3 Be nice, but most of all have fun!
4 See something you like? Give it a thumb.

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

Need a little help with formatting? Check out the Forum Formatting Guide and Tricks of the Geek.

About Me

Hi! some of you may have recognized me post in SGOYT and the 1PG forums, now here I am. I started joining this hobby on the last quarter of 2017 and sooner after that I found this awesome guild. Since then I've been lurking, occasionally posting and researching of what games I need to add to my collection.

So this month is the start of a new year and a new beginning.

Board Gaming Resolutions


Our theme for this month is of course, Resolutions, resolutions, resolutions...this may sound cliche but we all are man of habits, sad to say we may have developed some not-so-nice habits this year, and deep down we need to change some of that. Personally, my most obvious habit that I need to correct is my overuse of smartphone, I don't play games with it, I just browse for hours on end. So it's keeping me from playing board games and reading books. In line with this month's theme, I'd like you to share a bad habit that you will change in the coming year and shiny will be given to those who shared.

All GG donated to this post will be given away this month.



Upcoming SGOYT Hosts
February
Martin Dubovszki
Hungary
Budapest
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March
Derek Winning
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Missouri
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April
My Back Still Aches
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Gateshead
Tyne and Wear
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Interested in hosting a future month's list? Find out more in the first post of this thread and send a GeekMail to Ryanmobile to volunteer. If I can do it, anyone can!

SGOYT Resources

1 Player Guild - The home base for everything related to solo games
SGOYT Monthly GeekList Subscription - A subscription thread updated with the latest SGOYT lists
SGOYT QuickLinks - A collection of links to every SGOYT GeekList
SGOYT Made Me Buy This - A list to both thank and jokingly blame SGOYT posters for purchases
2018 Solo Challenges Geeklist - A subscription list of every past and current 2018 solo challenge
The 2018 Solo and Coop Unpossible Challenge - A place to set and achieve a difficult personal solo goal or challenge for 2017
1 Player Guild / SGOYT 2018 Solitaire Goals - A place to set and track personal solo game goals for 2018
2018 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games - An extensive list of the top 100 solo games as voted by solo gamers
Solo Gaming Awards - A list of links to various 1 Player Guild and solo game awards
SGOYT Aggregator - A site with detailed game and user data from every SGOYT list
SGOYT Spreadsheet - An excellent resource for SGOYT data from 2013-2016
Solitaire Recommendations for Your Table - A list of solo recommendations broken down by genre
SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek - A list of all SoloPlay variants to enjoy many multiplayer games as solo games
Solitaire Resources - A list of additional resources for solo gamers

1 Player Guild Trading Post - A place to buy, sell, and trade games with members of the 1 Player Guild
The Solo Games Chain of Generosity - A place to pay it forward with other members of the 1 Player Guild
Solitaire Games - Fair Trade It Forward - A place to pay it forward with solo games
1 Player Guild Hot Deals Thread - A listing of current deals and discounts on solo games
1 Player Guild Auction Watch - A thread with links to BGG auctions for rare and hard-to-find games

Sock Puppet of the Week Subscription - A subscription thread updated with the latest 1 Player Guild Sock Puppet of the Week
SROYT Monthly GeekList Subscription - A subscription thread updated with the latest Solitaire RPGs On Your Table (SROYT) lists

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1. Board Game: Middle-earth [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:1064]
simon cogan
United Kingdom
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I'm loving my return to Middle Earth with this fantastic game and blast from the past - 1995.

I've had lots of new adventures, created some new solitaire rules to enhance Sites, Factions, Quests and Characters - as well as creating and releasing some Playmats for Adventures.

The solo rules (still a WIP) can be found here:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/2114120/some-new-solo-r...

The playmats and reference sheet can be found here:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/174072/adventure-play...

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/174099/solitaire-vers...

My latest adventure was based on the Saruman Challenge deck (with a few tweaks and additions to put it into line with my solo rules and deck format)and used all my playmats and solo rules.





(It's amazing how many things you see when playtesting that you DON'T see when writing rules... although I have to say the tweaks I use - especially the Quest Display and Site encounters - are working well.)

What I love about MECCG is that it's dripping with theme and storytelling.

Saruman (who was revealed in Turn 1) had great fun with Glorfindel, Anborn, Andrazar, Fatty and Sam in rebuilding Isengard, recovering the Sapling of the White Tree and then replanting the White Tree in Minas Tirith - thus turning the White City into a Haven. We also recruited the Men of Anorien whilst there.

Recovering a Hauberk of Bright Mail in the Glittering Caves, killing both Tom and William the Trolls (along with some Orcs earlier) and then recruiting Balin at Lorien made us gain our MP total in 10 turns.

A great way to spend an afternoon...

(And I even have an idea to enhance the theme even further in something I'm calling 'The Road Goes Ever On' for now...)
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2. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.27 Overall Rank:9] [Average Rating:8.27 Unranked]
Chris Street
United Kingdom
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Typical of me, I'm a bit of a latecomer to Scythe. Absolutely love the simplicity of play that has enough depth to keep me coming back along with the gorgeous art.

I went up against Autometta (I love the game, but I'm not so great at it yet). I can beat Autometta with some ease, but Automa takes bit too much of a step up. I'm now playing around with the starting position of cube. (On a sidenote, the Scythekicker app is also slick and a nice accompaniment if you want to randomise the factions/help with end game scoring/don't want to get the cards out).

I guess it's been a while, and I blame the holiday sleeping pattern/consumption on my stupendous blunders that led to a win by the Autometta. Shameful! Usually, this sort of Autometta that can substantially break the rules of the game can be a bit off-putting, but I actually find this one quite enjoyable to push against.

Sorry, a horribly structured gameplay report! I'm still relatively new to posting and haven't found a groove of how to offer a more structured writeup - plus I don't really remember the ins and outs of the game!
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3. Board Game: Deep Space D-6 [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:887]
Eric Hallstrom
United States
Minnesota
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Received my copy of the kickstarter version of Deep Space D-6. I have played the print and play, but really appreciate the attention to detail and expanded options in the KS version. I know the production took a lot longer than was expected, and some people were disappointed about that. But I think the final product is really well done. Looking forward to delving into the expansion as well.

Any other solo gamers start in yet?
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4. Board Game: AfterShock: A Tavern Game [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Steph Pearce
United States
Pennsylvania
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I've been in the Solitaire Guild for a long time but never posted, although I do enjoy reading about what you all are playing.

Anyway, I've found myself playing more and more solo games lately and really enjoying it. I've actually played a lot of solo games this month, but I'll start with one I playtested since it's one you probably haven't heard of yet.

Aftershock (the main game) is a trick-taking game. My game group was chosen to do some late-stage playtesting and we spent a lot of time playtesting the multi-player part of the game. We had a good time, and offered some suggestions (mostly on rules clarification), but it was the solo variant (called Cartographer) that really caught our attention.

You are laying cards to match terrain. Any completed ring of 6 (or 7 if the center is filled) can be removed and the remaining cards re-arranged. You're trying to complete a perfect map where all cards are used. It becomes pretty addicting. Out of 60 cards, my best score has been 48 so far.
Oops. I realized I posted the picture with the placement error in it. Notice the one water terrain doesn't match right.

Here's the corrected layout:

thumbsup Super easy to learn. The rules are a couple of short paragraphs.
thumbsup Easy set-up. Shuffle the cards and go.
thumbsup Small enough to be easily portable.

thumbsdown I find the hex-shaped cards hard to shuffle. Maybe that's just me. Since you only have to shuffle once, it's not really much of a downer.
thumbsdown If you're stupid about strategy like I was the first couple plays, it can take up a lot of table space. Once I learned to keep a tight formation this wasn't so much of a problem.

I believe the designer produced this independently and put it up for sale on "The River." I have absolutely no idea about international availability, or if there is a PnP option.

I do know that the designer is a BGG user if you want to ask him about it.
Marty Stack

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And now on to tackling the solo rules for Anachrony! The way that's going it might be May before you hear from me again.

Oh yeah, bad habit...I eat entirely too many sweets, so I am going to try and dial that back. I didn't have a single Christmas cookie all season (not bad)--but then there's chocolate.shake

Thanks for hosting the newsletter.

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5. Board Game: Ambush! Move Out! [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Kristopher
United States
Allentown
Pennsylvania
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I jotted it down in my Risk campaign book. I always used to do that so I could replay my moments of glory over a glass of brandy in the sleeping quarters. --Arnold J. Rimmer--
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Continuing the Ambush! Campaign Play Together 2018 (Held Over Second Year!) with Move Out Mission 9.

Edit: Mission 9: The Dawn's Early Light AAR is here. Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Mission 9. Re: Ambush Move Out Campaign Play Together 2019 MIssion 9: The Dawn's Early Light (***SPOILERS***)


A preview:

Gun fire and grenade explosions erupt in the quiet night. Only Cpls Susan, and Lane are aware. Panic strikes the squads, but Susan manages to INCAP two of them with his BAR. Sgt Roberts is wounded right away, along with Pvt. Anthony. Cpl. Joyce tries to get around them by crawling through a nearby building, but it collapses on him! He fortunately dodges out of the way in time. Cpl Kim makes a bold move and rushes the German line, wounding one.


Sgt Roberts and Pvt Anthony are panicked by gunfire and grenades.
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6. Board Game: Nations: The Dice Game – Unrest [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
Simon Maynard
United Kingdom
Exeter
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Since I got this for Christmas it's been hitting the table a lot. Mostly solo although I did manage to get a couple of two player games in.



Generally works really well as a solo game although I don't like one of the bonus tiles (at least how it is adapted for the solo game): Pass Last. In the regular game you get it if you are the last player to pass. In the solo game you only get it if the shadow player has taken all three of the pass first tokens. Something that is probably all but theoretically impossible in the solo game. I queried it on the forum and the designer said that his intention was that the shadow player should take another pass first token if it rolls for a column that has already been taken. This would make this bonus tile achievable but generally make the solo game harder.

Anyway, great fun and I think I will continue to enjoy this for some time in the future.
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7. Board Game: Battles of the Bulge: Celles [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:3398]
Frankie Bones
United States
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I recently got this game for my Father for Christmas as his first wargame. I'm hoping to be able to play with him by video chat.

Anyway, Christmas Day and elements of the German 2nd Panzer have reached the Meuse. Also, elements of the German Panzer Lehr are advancing on Givet to take it from the British 29th Armor.

Of course, the American 2nd Armor will have a lot to say about all of this shortly...

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8. Board Game: Tank Chess [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:7301]
Shaun Austin
Australia
Townsville
Queensland
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Happy New Year Everyone!!

I received my Tank Chess Kickstarter by Forsage Games just before Christmas, and played quite a few games 2-player as well as testing some solo rules I have developed.

I discovered it by chance way back in December 2017and put together my own PNP version to test and develop a solitaire mode.
It was always going to require some work, but the lack of hidden information made me think it was a good candidate for an AI, although I found it enjoyable just playing both sides.
I spent some time testing a priority AI, but the effect was very swingy and required some concentration by the player during the AI turn.
Nothing has resolved to a final solo product, but I still find myself going back to test ideas and trying for a true solo experience.

This is the starting setup of the pre-marked map. (I use Plastic Blocks for the obstacles, as it gave a better feel than markings on a map).


There is plenty of potential here and lucky for me I can interrupt solo version development to just play both sides and have some fun.
I have been playing on a lazy-susan so I get the right perspective and can forget about opponent tactics, however this game was quickly played, while waiting for dinner.
it took about 30 minutes to complete.
In this case White won, thanks to a brilliant combo that forced the Black command tank to try for an "Escape" victory.
(It was a legitimate tactic and would have succeeded, except that I miscalculated the Heavy Tank's movement.


So yes, at US$25 I didn't go wrong getting the pocket set and Fun expansion.
At worse I own a pretty good 2 Player game, and a reasonable solo game, if you don't mind playing both sides.
I am still working on a Solo AI, so you never know what I may discover.

As a side note I also grabbed the Naval Battle in Archipelago Micro


This is another play both sides game, but only takes about 10 minutes.
I wish I had spent the money to get one of the larger sets, as the mechanics of play are very good (and also easy to play both sides).
Maybe the next Kickstarter.

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9. Board Game: Birds of a Feather [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:3378]
Monica Elida Forssell
Norway
Sandnes
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My first post of this year.

I scored 30, just one shy of being a Serious Birder.
As usual I needed to make some heavy decisions, and had to let some of the bigger birds pass me by. I still managed to find all birds in one color, and was *this* close to finding all the birds in a second color.

Upon taking in the cards, I notices some of my dark blue cards are of different hues. Not too bad, but enough for me to notice, and get a bit confused by it. I haven`t noticed before, I think I have a better lighting on my games today than I usually do...

My Solo Con rolls on, and will end this evening at some time!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
So, technically still 22 hours to go, minus some sleep time...
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10. Board Game: Crypt [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1669]
Monica Elida Forssell
Norway
Sandnes
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Sorry, daddy! I went looting your crypt again....modest

I did a new thing, so I played green, and let my dad`s ghost be purple.
Final score was 45 points; so I might gather a small fortune out of my cache. My poor servants were all exhausted. They did a great job, and poor things; I find myself making them sacrifice all on their final job.


M`man


Ghost will try to keep his stash with him, huh

I have the pretty little gilded version, for those of you who don`t know it yet. Look! :

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11. Board Game: Tide of Iron [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:688]
Ronster Zero
United States
California
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After finally getting into my garage and cleaning it, I was able to pull out a lot of my older games. Been playing Tide of Iron for the last two weeks or so. I do enjoy the system, but it's hard to find a mid weight scenario. They are either small or complex.

Here are some pics.





Michael Whitmann scenario

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12. Board Game: Songbirds [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:2348]
Monica Elida Forssell
Norway
Sandnes
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My other birdie game hit the table again. And I lost horribly...again....

I was waiting for a Red bird, but it never came, so I was left with two other, really poor, choices. There were so many minus points I chose not to count them.


All the pretty birdies...


The ending

Now I am taking a break from gaming. It`s 01.28 in the night, so I might go to bed...in a few hours...

This solo con will continue after a break!

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13. Board Game: Mr. Cabbagehead's Garden [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:3051]
Brie
United States
Colorado
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Not yet 2019, but I never know where to post when the new thread opens. Being in the Mountain Time Zone, 3/4 of the world is ahead of me.

Went on a spree playing Mr Cabbagehead’s Garden now that I have received t the Kickstarter copy.

Really enjoy the production values (for the most part) of this game over my PnP version. The neighbor tiles are nice: sturdy and smaller than cards, they fit great on a couple uberstax for easy reference. Once you know what the neighbor does, you don’t have to refer to the back of the card (Pomme-Frites is a bit small - go to the rule book).

Picked up the bag and the playmat. The bag is cute. It’s only 3x4” so you won’t stick a hand in there, but it still works great for sticking a couple fingers in to grab the neighbor tokens. Unfortunately, it is made of a material that frays easily, and with exposed seams in the bag, I ended up with my seam allowance being halved in 3 plays, at which point I ran the bag through the sewing machine to zigzag the edges.

The designer wasn’t really sure how to the handle the playmat, as the grid isn’t fixed until the player has 6 spaces x 3 columns defined by their play. But playing with the playmat, I realized, I pretty much define that space ahead of time and never have “floating” edges. So I unintentionally play a harder variant.

While I knew the game scoring was going to be rebalanced a bit, it wasn’t until I logged my plays that I remember it did. Now that blue ribbon I’ve yet to obtain is 15 points further away. Getting closer, though! I scored a 118 while Romancing Eudora.

Made a Random Neighbor chart. Roll a D12 and grab the appropriate neighbor. Need to turn this into a card, rather than a simple piece of paper.

Picking neighbors for Game 5:


What’s this random mark on all of the cards? Is it intentional?


Don’t you have somewhere else to be, Karl? Quit throwing grasshoppers in my garden! (Mid game 4...Didn’t draw any Peapods until the third round, but had not problem drawing Karl or the Grasshoppers (all four grasshoppers were out by draw 7).) Ended up failing attempts at both promenade and mixed plot to get a White Ribbon with a lowly 63 points on Game 4.





Pomme-Frites is my favorite neighbor, he’s so benign. (Game 1 with O’Corncob, LeafyGreens, Ferwig-Radishers, and Pomme-Frites, the four neighbors that overwhelmed Neddance is my game of Mr. Cabbagehead is Away and Neddance Saves the Day)


I’m really liking this setup of the game. It works well for me. I put three choices in a row down the left side of the playmat with “give a bee” on top and “get a bee” on the bottom.

(End of Game 3, red ribbon)


(End of Game 2, a example of poorly thought out play, white ribbon)


Highest scoring game: 118 - getting closer to that blue ribbon (Game 5 with the Romancing Eudora expansion, cut off the top of the photo, Sallie grabbed a Rutabaga)


thumbsup Quick and easy to play
thumbsup If you like the style, the art is quirky and fun
thumbsup (Retail copy) Components are great, except the bag issue noted above.
thumbsup I love the characters names/art and how they seem to fit the neighbor abilities.
thumbsdown For bare minimum bag construction, less frayable material should have been used.
thumbsdown Rutabaga is one word, not two like the card says.
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14. Board Game: Brikks [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:3209]
C S
Austria
Vienna
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OK so, my first solo play of the new year is Wolfgang Warsch's new roll and write called Tetr... uhm... I mean Brikks. Scored pretty miserably at 43 points.

If you've ever wondered what a certain classic video game would play like as a roll & write, then this is pretty much that. Seriously, Brikks is not just Tetris "inspired", it literally IS Tetris adapted to be playable on a score sheet. You generate falling polyominoes using a d4 and a d6 and stack them on a grid by marking boxes, using the exact same "physics" as Tetris. And yes, it's about completing horizontal lines. The major difference here (aside from the game being turn based) is that completed lines don't get "cleared" and you just play until you get to the top of the grid and can't place a block. Rotating blocks works via an "energy point" mechanic. You accrue new energy points by covering dots that appear on fixed places on the grid.

I originally compared this game unfavorably to Warsch's other RNW That's Pretty Clever and wrote a rating comment for where I said it felt like a prototype rather than a full fledged game. I think may have to retract that statement. I got a rule wrong for my first 2 plays (relating to how many energy points you get) and to be honest, I was too busy with Christmas stuff to give it a fair shake.

After a few more plays, it turns out that Brikks is actually one of the deeper roll n writes out there and might even be deeper and more replayable than Ganz Schön Clever. I mean, I guess it's not surprising that a game based on one of the most replayable video games out there would also be quite replayable.

Most RNWs are about using the results of dice rolls to fill out some predetermined score track or grid. Ganz Schön Clever falls under this: there are a couple different tracks and the decisionmaking often comes down to which track to invest your rolls into. Brikks is superficially similar, but its grid is far more "open" and its use of Tetris stacking physics combined with random block generation means the "board state" is a lot more dynamic than in your typical RNW. Stacking your blocks badly in the early game can have negative repercussions on the late game, as "messy" lines are much harder to fill out. It really does feel like a new puzzle each time.

Another thing this does is take attention away from the roll itself. There are no yahtzee-derived mechanics here and no pushing your luck. Instead there are only 3 simple rerolls, called "bombs", you get per game and the Energy Points serving as a mitigation mechanic to bad rolls (luck definitely is a slight factor in this game). However, most of your time is not going to be spent thinking about how to transform the block you just rolled into a better one, but where to fit it in your growing stack And there's almost always more than 1 option, making this one of the "thinkier" RNWs.

I'd say Brikks is a light but very good and surprisingly deep adaptation of Tetris mechanics and I'm looking forward to playing it more in the coming days.
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15. RPG Item: Scum and Villainy [Average Rating:8.89 Overall Rank:2544]
Reverend Uncle Bastard
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Windsor
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It's been too long since I solo'd an RPG. This is not designed as a solo game, but it works very well solo if you use a Gamemaster Emulator. I am using the Sci-Fi themed deck of The GameMaster's Apprentice cards as a GME.

Tonight I created two characters and a ship for an adventure using this excellent sci-fi RPG based on the Blades in the Dark system, which is an evolution of the Powered by the Apocalypse system. It focuses on "heist" style jobs, with quick entry into the jobs using flashbacks to set up advantages mid-heist, rather than using extensive pre-heist planning. It also uses "playbooks" like PbtA for quick character creation, plus a playbook for your crew's ship.

I have played Blades in the Dark (see here), and loved the system, but I am excited to try this in a sci-fi setting.

My crew consists of:



Fox Bartok a.k.a. "Sly" - a human scoundrel who grew up on The Cove (a space-station consisting of a bunch of ancient ships strapped together by The Maelstrom, a crew of pirates who work the shipping lanes) and spent time working as a Scrapper for the Wreckers (a crew of scavenging pirates)



Praxis a.k.a. "Bolt" - a robot muscle created as an enforcer for the Ashen Knives (a crew of assassins), who was released from service after saving the life of a key member. He met Sly while also working as a Scrapper for the Wreckers.



They are piloting "The Manta", a Scarab-class freighter most frequently used for smuggling and blockade running.
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16. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:23]
Dave Matthew
Philippines
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I spent yesterday (New Year Day's eve) and today playing this game, well thankfully to Daedalus insert, the set-up time is reduced, so you spend more time playing rather than sorting all the cards and tokens, I don't need to take out the tokens which save some space for my small table. Here it is and beside that is the dice tower my wife made for me, it is Tangled-inspired as requested by my daughter.



I played Norowas in both conquests and Artyhea as the dummy player. Both are successful campaign. The first game wasn't easy, taking cities as always is a struggle and my hands are filled with wounds. Albeit severely wounded, on the 6th round (3rd night) the 2nd city falls. Score is 108.

On the second game, I started quite slow, only took down a single keep and mage tower and couple of rampaging orcs, have not yet recruited any unit. Revealed two monasteries but left unconquered, it's New Year though, time to be nice.

On the 3rd day, saw an opportunity and conquered the 2nd keep and recruited these guys:



With the Keep right next to the White City (lvl5), it is the perfect spot to launch an assault, with the added cards in my hand. It did not fall easily, it took me twice to conquer it with one Altem Guardian left. A highly resistant unit plus the +1 armor from the White City, I have to double my attack to take him down and eventually he fell to my second assault.

At the start of the 3rd night (6th round), I headed to the Green City (lvl8). Like an eagle swooping down on a prey, I took down 3 of its 4 guardians. The Altem Mage fought back, which is pointless, he did scratch me but that was it. Score is 118.



Here are the unlucky ones who stood on Norowas' way



<summary>In a game of Mage Knight, it is easy to miss a rule/s while you play, I think that's okay otherwise you won't finish a single game. Just proceed and take note of the mistake next time you play. Besides we are solo gamers, who would know</summary>

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17. Board Game: Sprawlopolis [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:1096]
Israel Waldrom
New Zealand
Dunedin
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First game of the new year ended up being another lunch time session of Sprawlopolis (a time slot that it suits perfectly).



I've hit 'Go Green' quite a few times in the last while, and it can be quite a challenging card. I left too many Industrial zones out on the board, so I lost this session with only 30 points to a needed target of 34. I've gotten better at this game than when I started, but still lots of learning to do.

This is an enjoyable wallet sized game, and I would hazard to say an essential addition to everyone's collection. My copy is the PnP version, and it is serving me well, and I can see this game easily reaching over 100 plays during the course of this year.
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18. Board Game: K2 [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:501]
Kevin Shaud
United States
Harleysville
Pennsylvania
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Started off my new year of gaming with a score of 17 VPs on the summer board/summer weather. I needed three movement on the final turn to summit the second climber, but only had two. I was still happy with the score.

Next, I’ll move on to the summer board with winter weather.
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19. Board Game: Nemo's War (second edition) [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:360]
Squeak 'n' Squawk
United States
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It has been quite some time since I enjoyed this delightful game. This time I am using the new Nautilus Upgrade cards from the first expansion. I just dealt out 10 random Upgrades rather than pick any. I am quite fond of this game and spiced it up a bit with little gems, House Greyjoy sleeves, Donkler's 3D printed resource sliders, painted in metallic colors - and of course a painted Nautilus.


Return to the sea




A better look at the House Greyjoy sleeves and some gems.






I also used some custom made decks to generate Action Points, and also handle 1d6 and 2d6 die rolls, pursuant to my variant,

Diceless card-based Action Point variant


Tired of bad dice rolls? This variant's for you!





Dice are still used to place ships, and to determine the "Doubles Ocean" on turns when you get - or choose - a Lull.

The game delivered a brutal pounding right from the start - the first two adventure card draws were "A Capital Encounter" and "A Frigate's Demise," along with a helping of failed Tests on other cards. Nemo teetered on the edge of madness very early on. As usual I was presented with a fascinating parade of decisions - where to go, what to do, when to utilize resources and when to save them, possibly for the end game.


The Nautilus gets ambushed by a big nasty warship.





My Motive was Explore. The emphasis here was definitely not on sinking ships. Treasures were the name of the game, along with a smorgasbord of VPs from Adventure cards and unusual ships, and Upgrades, which often brought Science points. I could not resist using Clockwork Cipher, one of the new Upgrades, to flip the Sea Serpent to its "Sea Serpent and Baby" side so I could hunt it - even with the -1 VP penalty that Warship points have for Explore, it was still a 10-point token!


The action well under way.





I got Steam Torpedoes early on, and promptly got a "4" when trying to use it to sink a merchant ship for the first time, forcing me to burn "Troubled Dreams" in order to keep the Torpedoes potent. They served me well for most of the game. Of interest about this unusual Upgrade:

- DRMs do not apply to Torpedo attacks, they are always unmodified. This means they are ideal for sniping a ship in a sea full of warships, since the -1 for warships being present does not apply.
- Emergency Help, however, does apply to them, so they can benefit from DRMs - but only the kind available after the roll.
- They cost no Action Points to use, nor do you get a Notoriety penalty if they miss. But the target, if a warship, still gets to fire first.


Obligatory "Batman, the room is tilting" artsy shot.





The 1870s were an interesting era for ship design.


What a strange looking ship!





I drew "As Master Wishes," and it requires Conseil to still be in the game, or it goes to the Fail pile. As a result, while I put off using it until I had 3 Action Points to spare, I could not use Conseil to reroll any of several disastrous rolls. Finally though I got a breather and spent 3 APs to give him his chance.


Conseil, I knew you wouldn't let me down.





Another Upgrade of interest is the new Clockwork Cipher, which lets you flip a revealed ship once per Action Phase. This is a peculiar power and has a lot of applications. For example, you can flip a grey warship back to its white merchant side to instantly "turn back the clock" on the seas filling up (it un-does the result of a ship placement roll) - also, since this removes a warship from the sea, it can eliminate penalties which are based on a warship being there, or a second one being there if you attack another warship.

Another use is to flip a high Notoriety merchant to a zero Notoriety weak warship. While it seems odd to convert merchants into warships, since normally the placement dice are doing that on their own, it can be useful if you want to sink a ship - to clear the space, or get salvage - but don't want to pay a Notoriety penalty. Sometimes the "tougher" side of a ship token is actually better to fight.

I used it to flip the yellow Sea Serpent to its purple side so I could get the more valuable side for VPs (after a battle of course).


Magnetic Mines appeared right near the end, which is typical for me - if it even appears at all. I Upgraded to it nonetheless just in case - and it was a good thing I did, because the Finale card was sitting on the very bottom of the Draw Deck. Due to the composition of the last part of the deck, there can be anywhere from 0 to 4 turns' worth of cards before you hit the Finale after the end of the Act III deck - and each turn at this point means another 4 ship placement dice to deal with.

It was brutal trying to stay alive till the very end, with the seas filling up rapidly, and I had to play a very active defense and keep clearing out clogged areas. Steam Torpedoes, Magnetic Mines (remember, they only work against certain warship types!) and the always-valuable Hydro Drive played key parts in this mobile defense.

I upgraded to Adventurer's League near the end just to have an upgrade I could throw away to avoid losing a Nemo at the last minute from his Diaries if I failed the roll. I passed the Finale, Modus Vivendi, but then I blew the Diaries roll, finally burned Conseil for a re-roll, blew it again, and then used the First Officer to pass it at great cost.


Final board position, with Fog Machine having been used and destroyed:





Since it had been awhile, I was rusty and had to re-acquaint myself with the modifiers for the various Tests on the left side of the map, as well as for combat. You really have to check it every single time you do a roll, because it differs quite often. Warships help other warships to hit you. They also interfere in a lot of the Test Actions, but even merchants ships can put the kibosh on Searches and Incites. Always check! It is easy to mess up the DRMs for the various rolls.

I ended up with 253 points - Success, but not a Triumph. I was not expecting a Triumph anyway since I failed an unusual number of Tests - even using the cards instead of dice, it is possible to draw a 4 when you need a 5, then a 5 when you need a 6 etc.

In retrospect, I spent a number of Treasures to help with Rest, Repair etc rolls, and I probably shouldn't have, since for the Explore Motive, Treasure VPs are +1 each. I did not realize how many VPs I was actually spending. Always be aware of the cost of spending Treasures, cards, or characters - often you are better off saving them for the end scoring.

I also spent a fair amount of effort on reducing Notoriety - with Incites, and later Upgrading to, and spending, the Fog Machine - after I had already reached the point where the blue ships were added to the bag. That effort was probably a mistake, and could have gone elsewhere for more points. I might have had a turn or two of the green ships being in the bag, but I don't think it would have hurt me as much as the lost actions did. Once I failed to keep the blue ships out of the bag, I think I should have stopped worrying so much about Notoriety.



Each game brings new insights into this fascinating puzzle. This time I noticed the end game positioning. The game can end suddenly if a hunting warship has no place to be placed. This means often you want to clear out some spaces in your sea so there is room for a hunting warship generated elsewhere to be placed there. But the wrinkle is this: ship placement is done in order, from lowest rolled sea to highest. This can have a large significance.

Let's say you roll ship placements in Oceans 1 and 4.

If you are in, say, Ocean 4, and clear out a space there, and a ship is supposed to be placed in Ocean 1 and can't fit, it appears in Ocean 4 as a hunting warship and you can instantly fight it - before it comes time to place the ship for Ocean 4. If you sink the hunting warship, the space is still there for placing the ship rolled for Ocean 4.

But if you are making your stand in Ocean 1, the rolled ship for Ocean 1 is placed there first - as, say, a Hidden Ship Marker - and the spot is now full. When it comes time to place a ship rolled for Ocean 4, and there is no room there, the hunting warship that is generated as a result now has nowhere to go - and you lose the game. Moral of the story is, all other things being equal, you want to make your final stand in a place where the ships will be placed last - the higher the ocean number, the better.

Subtle. Who knew the numerical order of the oceans could have such an impact on winning or losing?


All in all, a very fun game whose strategic depths keep being revealed to me a bit at a time.



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20. RPG Item: Scum and Villainy [Average Rating:8.89 Overall Rank:2544]
Reverend Uncle Bastard
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Continued from this post.

=======================================================

Sly and Bolt landed on Warren (a moon of Aleph-1), having been hired by their friend Rin (a smuggler) to deliver a sealed package to a contact at a bar. The job was for an anonymous client.

Warren is a filthy, neon-lit moon, entirely covered in a massive city filled with the least reputable folk in the system.



Arriving at The War Horse Brewery, our crew found their contact in a booth at the back. Unfortunately he was dead.

Hearing quiet but intent footsteps behind them, they turned to find the guardsmen of House Malklaith approaching with their weapons drawn.



Behind them was a staunch House Malklaith ally, the Nightspeaker called Ismassa, a robed and mysterious presence who crackled with mystical power.



Sly resisted the psychic attack from the powerful Nightspeaker. Raising a fist, Sly bluffed that they had a detonator, "tossing" it into the crowd to create a distraction so they could duck out the back door. In the alley awaited Deke, their occasional getaway driver.



The Malklaith guards hopped on their hoverbikes and began a pursuit, with Ismassa levitating above traffic, his robes flowing behind him.

Bolt announced that the Cobalt Syndicate, who controlled the dock they had landed in upon their arrival at Warren, had locked down their ship. He was going to have to hack into the network and use the fake transponder on The Manta to free their ship before they reached it.



Sly popped some small EMP grenades from the Spy Kit and began to hurl them at the hoverbikes that were attempting to dodge the seat cushions Bolt was pulling from the car and tossing out the window, much to Deke's dismay. Several of the hoverbikes sputtered to silence and dropped out of traffic.

Sly switched positions with Deke, taking an insane turn into a narrow alley, careening off the walls, and getting a minor concussion, but causing the remaining Malklaith guards to crash behind them.

Bolt, having successfully hacked The Manta free, launched himself out the window with his Vibroblade and grappled Ismassa in mid-flight. Ismassa and Bolt fought viciously, hopping from vehicle to vehicle above the city. Bolt managed to incapacitate Ismassa, but not without taking some serious burns to the face from the crackling energy radiating from Ismassa's hands.

Sly and Bolt rendezvoused at the dock and fled in The Manta, seeking a quiet place to lay low and figure out what to do with this mysterious package that everyone seemed so intent on getting their hands on.



=======================================================

This campaign, and a bunch of other RPG playthroughs, are compiled here, for those who might be interested:

The Rev's RPG Campaigns Master List!
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21. Board Game: Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:1768] [Average Rating:8.18 Unranked]
Luke
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Warhammer Quest is part of a resolution I'm working on this year.

The goal is to purchase no new games in 2019. Insanity, I know, but stick with me.

I very much would like to own a 3d printer. I need lots of custom game trays and skirmish game terrain. Well, want.

Also, I just think it's cool to be able to say, "aw man, I need a particular thing, maybe I can make one in 12 hours or less!"

3d printers, good ones, aren't cheap. If I save the money I would spend on games, I can have a 3d printer in a relatively short length of time.

But how will I survive when so often I buy games as a pick-me-up when I'm feeling down? Well, the FLGS doubles as a bookstore and books are cheap.

I'm also going to allow myself to buy expansions for stuff I already own.

Hence Warhammer Quest's place in the plan. There are planned expansions and, like Shadows of Brimstone, should give me a supply of bits and pieces to pick up from time to time.

Also aiding in this resolution is the fact that the following Kickstarters are arriving this year.

- 7th Continent with expansion from the second KS.
- Agents of Mayhem, 2-players minis boardgame with multilevel buildings. I might actually trade or sell this immediately upon receipt.
- Heroes of Tenefyr.
- Meeple Party.
- Starcadia Quest. Sci-fi Chibi minis for Five Parsecs.
- Maximum Apocalypse expansion.
- Street Masters with a bunch of stuff.

Should keep me busy and they deliver throughout the year.

I'm looking at a second resolution as well. Paint more minis.

I've started the Warhammer Quest minis because they're excellent. I'd like to complete the following sets in 2019.

- Warhammer Quest.
- Zombicide Black Plague heroes that I base coated for Rangers of Shadow Deep.
- All of my Shadows of Brimstone collection.
- A playset of Massive Darkness. I.e. all the heroes and enough of each monster type to support a 3-player game.
- Maybe Street Masters.
- Maybe the Fallout Boardgame minis, which are actually really good.

That's a lot of minis.

So hopefully it's a year of painting, printing, and playing more of the boardgames I already have.

Oh! And of course I can trade for games but I'm going to focus on reducing mass each time. I.e. trade for games with smaller boxes.

Okay, finally time to talk about WQ:BF.

I'm on my 5th game and entering my second stronghold. I have 2 extra clues, so there's a decent chance that game 6 will be the third stronghold.

I've not been having a difficult time. It may be that I have a strong party composition, it may also be that I've played Space Hulk and this game requires a similar strategy.

Control an area of space, move that area of space to a location.

And that's not hard to set up with my party. Overwatch is incredibly powerful, even if sometimes you waste a die when three of your people decide to unload on the Chaos Beastman, "just in case."

But here's the thing. The second something goes wrong, you've got a real problem.

Enemies are deadly. Defense is great and all, but if you're caught out of cover and you didn't manage to kill this latest enemy with overwatch, you could still easily take a grievous wound and find yourself at 75% efficacy for the rest of the expedition.

Or in the case of Espern the Imperial Navigator last night, 50%.

It was a classic case of, "everything is going really well." I had great sight lines, two of my party started on their inspired side, and we had some decent loot.

But then I drew a challenge card that placed Espern by himself against 2 Ur-Guhls, 3 Traitorous Guardsmen, and 2 Spindle Drones. He killed them all and got out alive, 2 grievous wounds, which meant a 10% chance to die at each recovery step. I had three cards left in the expedition and all three of them would be combats. I also had 6 clues so I decided to head back to Precipice. I rolled the dice to see if we got lost on the way out, we didn't.

I imagine the difficulty will increase with expansions. New enemy types to spice things up and challenge experienced players.

It's good. It's all about the combat and I like the combat. Control the space, move the space. Lose control, take wounds.

Any story that exists is emergent and will likely rely heavily on the 4 challenge cards that will be drawn each expedition. The combats will all lead to stories about a group of explorers that controlled the space around themselves and moved that pocket of controlled space to the exit elevator while picking up whichever discovery tokens can be collected along the way.

Not to say that it's repetitive, but you will repeat that cycle four times in each expedition.

Characters don't have levels, but they certainly have a gear progression. Each character has a number of items that, when combined, will make that character awesome. You can switch up gear from different characters, but I haven't had time to explore that yet.

So I think the replay value is primarily in the vein of, "man I want to shoot some baddies and take their stuff. And I want to do so with a sense that I'm working towards something bigger. And I don't want to do any bookkeeping."

Oh, that's worth mentioning. There is no bookkeeping. If you need to save the game, each character has a little baggy for their cards, and there's also a bag for the Legacy and Stronghold cards.

Everything you need to know will be on the two-sided character card and the group of cards that constitute your stuff.

Solid dungeon crawler-ish. Solid fixed-map crawler maybe. Skirmish game.
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22. Board Game: Crypt [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1669]
Robert Zumbrun
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Just got this in the mail from my KS and am learning to play. It is a simple, fun little game. Everyone is the child of a dead noble. The old man wanted to be buried with all his treasure, the kids have a different plan. So they are robbing pop’s crypt to gather their “much deserved” loot.

In the solo version it is the same premise only you compete against the ghost of your father who is trying to keep his treasure. The game builds in a little AI component to run the ghost.

The each player have three dice that symbolize the servants they are sending to steal the goods. The good are cards. Players select the number on the die as their power/influence for the goods, pairs can be used together for higher numbers. After loot is acquired players roll their dice, if they don’t match or exceed the value placed that servant is exhausted and can’t be used the next round.

In the end player tally their totals and see who wins. All in all a fun little game for 1-4 players. The solo variant it fun and there is a fan-made solo variant I am looking forward to trying.
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23. Board Game: Ottoman Sunset: The Great War in the Near East 1914-1918 [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:2031] [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked]
Blaise Grimes-Viort
United Kingdom
London
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Quick game of Ottoman Sunset to get it off the shelf of shame.

Focussed on beefing up defenses for the future, and stacked some early victories. However the Caucasus sneaked forward, then a couple of events stopped me from pushing them back. Finally they got to Constantinople and a marginal defeat it is.



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24. Board Game: Horse & Musket: Dawn of an Era [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:7573]
Steve Carey
United States
West Coast
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Let me start out by saying what a fun, readily accessible, and solitaire-friendly system this is. Best game in class (Command and Colors, Hold the Line, etc.), IMHO. Each volume contains a whopping 20 scenarios so there’s a ton of history in the box.

Tonight’s scenario was Chiari (1701), a battle that I wasn’t familiar with (The War of the Spanish Succession). It’s especially well-suited for solitaire play since the French are attacking and the Austrians are defending.

The session came down to the final turn when Austrian musketry completely failed at two critical junctures, thus allowing a heroic French Dragoon unit to save the day. Played in a little over an hour (not including setup).

I very much enjoy the look of this game on the table, thick tiles and colorful pieces.

The more I play this system, the more I like it - highly recommended!thumbsup
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