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
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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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101. Board Game: Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:3531]
Israel Waldrom
New Zealand
Dunedin
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The January Solo Challenge was as good a reason as any to play a game of this. I'm sure I am getting better at this, but I have yet to score in the top tier. I did get some of my best scores to date tho

Interesting sequence of cards. I did much better on the second set than the first. I also had the heart-breaking situation where I had some brilliant placements where most of the trees lined up, but I had already run out of the appropriate die and could only place 1 of 3 cry.

Game 1: 34
Game 2: 40
Total Score: 74


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102. Board Game: Rescue Polar Bears: Data & Temperature [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:2820]
Alistair Davidse
South Africa
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I'll admit to being seduced by the polar bear figures into backing this game on Kickstarter.

(not my picture as my photography sucks)

I randomly drew the blue and grey ships to play with (I know they have names, but as I've only just started playing they're "blue" and "grey"). That's a potential tricky combination to play with as they're the two with the lowest carrying capacity, although obviously their other abilities offset that. Although to make matters a little worse, I drew the alert token for tile #1, so I was guaranteed of having that one melt after my first turn, although the bears on it were able to flee to neighbouring tiles.

I ran out of helicopters quite early on as I had two isolated sections that were completely full, so nowhere for the bears to spread to, and that was where the early breeding took place. Fortunately, in the turn after I used my last helicopter I drew the support card which gave me more helicopters, and I had the good fortune to redraw that card when I used the blue ship's upgrade ability to draw two support cards from the discard pile.

As the game goes on and ice starts melting, it becomes easier to pick up data tokens as they appear more and more often in the sea, and it's easier to get to them with less ice in they way. So when I drew the alert token for tile #20 while the temperature was fairly low, I realised that I had a few turns before there was any chance of the tile melting and decided to concentrate on picking up data tokens, while hoping that there would be no more breeding that led to overcrowding and running out of helicopters. That turned out to be the right call, and I managed to pull off a win.

This is a decent thread escalation/management game, but I do feel that there's a bit too much randomness to it. So it hasn't quite grabbed me in the same way that Pandemic or Flash Point did, so I suspect that I won't be playing it quite as much as either of them. Then again, it does have those polar bears...
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103. Board Game: Architects of the West Kingdom [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:85]
Marc Maier
United States
Darien
Connecticut
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the final state of the town


Me (Caroline/green): 33
Bot (Constantine/yellow): 23



Me Constantine
Buildings: 24 0
Cathedral: 7 7
Virtue: 0 0
Debt: 0 -2
Gold/Marble: 2 13
$$$: 0 0
Guardhouse: 0 0
Guildhall: 0 5
(bot only)
TOTAL: 33 23


I wanted to try one of the assymetric characters against the solo bot. I’m not certain if they are balanced or not, but they are definitely more interesting than the base vanilla characters. It’s fun to figure out how to leverage their particular advantages and work around their disadvantages.

Caroline is one I’d played poorly in a previous multiplayer session, unable to turn her initial virtue deficit into a positive. I focused this time on trying to leverage the possibilities opened up by her power to draw a building card whenever she visits the black market while finding apprentices to add virtue. I was assisted in the latter by a favorable opening apprentice offer in the workshop.

A miner was in one of the first positions, giving an additional clay each Mine action, followed by a patron offering virtue for clay at the King’s Storehouse. With my large staring bankroll of $10 and a $1 tax discount, I was able to hit the workshop early and often. Fortunately, Constantine avoided the Workshkop himself…but he did hit the Town Center and jail my workshop workers, preventing me from nabbing apprentices farther down the offer without paying more. I had my eye on a merchant giving three clay for $1 at the storehouse. I therefore had to hit the Tax Stand for more cash. I got a substantial amount, but it cost me an additional -2 virtue, leaving me at 3 to start the game. But I was able to get this merchant, and with this combo in hand, I was assured of being able to raise my virtue at will. I later picked up a Stonecutter because I needed the icon to build one of my starting buildings.

These were also very favorable to Caroline, particularly the Church which gives an immediate virtue bump as well as outright destroying a debt card (she begins the game with an outstanding debt.) I like how this made thematic sense for this character: she begins the game with 8 workers already in jail, in debt and with a big virtue deficit. She’s obviously been a black market operator for quite some time and has acquired an unsavory reputation. But she can use some of her ill-gotten gains to build a church for the community and thereby gain some respectable standing.

I also held the Smithy and the Monument in my starting hand, and decided that I would build all three of these (the latter offers a +2 virtue boost to the builder.) After gaining the apprentices noted above, my plan was to work toward building the Church and otherwise gain enough virtue to be eligible to contribute to the construction of the cathedral.

This worked out mostly as planned, although Constantine was consistently annoying with Town Center actions. At one point, he built up a lot of workers at the storehouse and hit it repeatedly, gaining a ton of virtue. Meanwhile, I made judicious use of the black market, drawing some extra building cards in the process. I was managing to slowly raise virtue with a two steps forward, one step back pattern, so I knew Id be able to contribute to the cathedral eventually and catch up to Constantine here, who had made an early push.

Spotting an opportunity, I sent a bunch of Constantine’s workers to the guardhouse, and then on the next turn, triggered a black market reset. I had just pulled my own workers out of the guardhouse, so Constantine had enough there to take a debt card. I was able to pull off a similar maneuver later in the game, saddling Constantine with even more debt. The automa deck offers several opportunities for the bot to get rid of debt, but I tried to prevent Constantine from building up enough workers in the guardhouse to trigger this action. By game’s end, he had paid off two debts, but was stuck with a third for -2 points in the final scoring.


Caroline’s apprentice squad and constructed buildings

Leveraging my synergistic apprentices, I raised virtue and ended up matching Constantine on the cathedral track while also building several buildings. I finished with four buildings and three cathedral steps for a total of 7 workers in the guildhall. Filling the guildhall is especially important in the solitaire game because the bot characters score for every one of their workers in the final guildhall.

Thus, the final score was a pretty solid victory for Caroline. She overcame her unsavory reputation at the start to become, if not exactly a pillar of the community, a member in good standing through public works like the Monument, Church and contributions to the cathedral. On balance, the town will remember her well.
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104. Board Game: Mistfall [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1822] [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Adam Gastonguay
United States
Pottstown
Pennsylvania
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I received my copy of Mistfall back from a friend I lent it to so she could make boxes for all of the various decks of cards (I have both the base game and the expansions all jammed in one box. I now have a wonderfully organized set with labeled boxes with pictures and everything. It's wonderful! Thank you Liz!

Anyway, since I was without the game for a month, I had to get in a play, so I set up a battle against the Abomination (one of the most straight forward quests) and decided (for some dumb reason) to go with Sigraed and Hareag, to go with a kind of "Fire and Ice" theme.

Of course, they're both very difficult characters to play, but I'm an old pro, right?

Nope. I'm rusty, and it showed. First quest took me a turn longer than it probably should have, so my decks were smaller than average. Then I had to flee from my second quest as I couldn't deal with a pile of Red monsters that had +1 health. After recouping, I went around the now-overrun central square to deal with the Black Hoods in the Abandoned Inn and laid them to waste pretty handedly.

By now, the cards were starting to come together and the combos were showing, but I had to use Cauterize a LOT to get cards back into decks to keep them going.

After an Ill Wind through some Undead at us (which accomplished little) we faced off against the Abomination and a bucket of goons. First round we did 7 damage to the 'bomination to flip his card, but couldn't survive the second round. There were just too many monsters, and while Haereg's Ice Nova can prevent a whole zone from attacking, it requires a lot of cards....cards I simply did not have.

Good to be back in the Mists. Now to just remember how to be good at it.
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105. Board Game: Herbaceous [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:903]
Jessica
United States
Rochester
New York
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Herbaceous

This is the game that gets played the most often in my collection, although I tend to only post about t on SGOYT occasionally. No one wants to hear about the same game all the time! Although I technically am guilty of that with other games, so... Oops. Ha ha!



Beautiful artwork and very quick mechanics combine to make this gardening game relaxing and fun. I'm on the hunt for the perfect score of 67 points, which is much harder than it may seem. One needs just the right combination of cards. Nearly 600 plays in, and I haven't hit it yet!

I actually came the closest to it today. Had I been able to pot 2 more unique herbs, my 61 points would have been 67 points. Thwarted again! I'll continue my hunt for that perfect game. Here's to hoping it will show up soon enough!

Session Overview

PLAY NUMBER 555-560
SETUP TIME 5 Minutes
PLAY TIME 5 Minutes
OUTCOME 53 Points (Win), 52 Points (Win), 61 Points (Win), 45 Points (Loss), 56 Points (Win), and 56 Points (Win)
SUMMARY <summary>The perfect score is a difficult goal to achieve, yet this relaxing gardening game plays quickly and looks beautiful on the table.</summary>
RATING <rating>4.1</rating>

INCOMPLETE GOAL Score a perfect 67 points in at least 1 game.

thumbsup The mechanics are simple and easy to learn, with practically no need to reference the rulebook after going through a couple of plays.
thumbsup The amount of table space isn't tiny, but it also doesn't get out of hand since only a small number of cards are usually laid out.
thumbsup When potting the herbs, it's easy to see the scores so that adding everything up at the end requires a quick summation.
thumbsup The deck is cut in half during setup, which makes it easy to play back-to-back games.
thumbsup The card quality is excellent: My copy is unsleeved, and after nearly 600 plays, the cards only look mildly worn on the edges.
thumbsup Play time is extremely quick and it's rather enjoyable to play multiple times in a row, if only to see how high one can score.

thumbsdown The Herbaceous: Flavor Pack Mini Expansion is not really compatible with the solo mode, which is a shame since the unique artwork would be lovely to incorporate.
thumbsdown Although there is a decent bit of strategic thought, a lot depends on the luck of the draw with the card order.
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106. Board Game: OctoDice [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:2546]
Marcus Bartlett
United States
Athens
Georgia
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This was gifted to me this past holiday season and I have logged 7 or so plays since Christmas. I have been on a Roll and Write kick lately due to limited Time and I really like how quick they are to play.

Octodice is pretty easy to learn and play. I havent figured out the best strategy for solo play yet and all of my scores have clustered right around 35 points. I will say that the game is pretty balanced because I score around 35 points and will have totally different setups at the end of the game. One thing I don't like with games like this is when the authors don't put some kind of score list in the manual which tells you whether your score is good or not.. I know that's a minor nit pick, but its nice to know when you first get a game wether you are doing well or not.

For people who have played this, what have been some of your high scores? I think my high is 45 or so, but again, I am not sure if this is a mediocre score or outstanding score.
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107. Board Game: Thunderbolt Apache Leader [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:840] [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked]
Eric
United States
Missouri
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I am really enjoying this game thus far. I started with the recommended introductory setup of the Iraq Surge campaign scenario.

I failed in my first three attempts at the campaign in which I had to defeat 2 battalions on both the first and second day of the three day campaign. I failed the first mission twice and failed on the second mission once.

On my fourth attempt at the campaign, victory achieved! I defeated 5 of 8 batallions through the course of 5 missions achieving a "good" score for this campaign of 18. I could have swung for the fences to try to get a "great" score by taking on two missions on the final day, but I think it would have been a losing proposition. Instead, I decided to take on the lone remaining assault battalion for 5 victory points despite the fact I could have taken on a less difficult battalion to still score a "good" score. I went in with my complete squadron of aircraft including two A-10A Thunderbolts and two AH-64A Apaches. The overwhelming display of force crushed the enemy units with every unit being defeated. One of the Apaches took a lot of damage, but the other aircraft and pilots went relatively unscathed. Here is a very satisfying picture of the battlefield after the pilots had already flew their aircraft home:



I am surprised how well the theme emerges from the game. I can not help but imagine one of my Apaches raising up above a ridge to the shock of the enemy or my Thunderbolts flying low and slow between the ridges during an ambush of a group of tanks and trucks.

This game definitely plays differently than anything else in my collection and I am very pleased with its addition. So, kudos the to the 1PG members who sing this game's praises and helped get it on the People's Choice List.
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108. Board Game: Rangers of Shadow Deep [Average Rating:8.91 Overall Rank:4251]
David Matzer
United States
WAKE FOREST
NC
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I saw this several weeks ago and it kept coming up in my youtube feed. A couple of years ago before I found BGG and this wonderful hobby I had been looking for a game that would invoke the feeling of me playing D&D solo as a kid. I tried 4 Against Darkness at that time when it was fairly new but it was to lite for me. I wanted a more deeper and richer experience with an engaging story and tactical fighting with character progression.

I have only played one scenario so far but this game is closer to what I was looking for.


Below is a picture of the first scenario set up.



As you can see, I had to improvise. I created my own play mat printing out several sheets of paper with 1 inch hexes. Since movement is in inches and I did not want to be using a ruler I thought this would be easier. For the terrain I repurposed my kid's big block legos. The rocks were red square pieces and the trees were green. For the houses I just connected a couple rectangle pieces with a square. I lacked appropriate minis so grabbed a fun looking mini from Street Masters to be my ranger and repurposed my Imperial Assault characters and imperials to fill out the rest of my ranger band or enemies. Vader was my knight, Gaarken was my Templar, Original Luke was my recruit, Jyn was the rogue, and the mandalore character from Jabba's realm was my tracker. The stormtroopers played the role of zombies while the imperial probe droids made an appearance as giant rats.

Over the next two hours I had a grand ole time rolling dice and moving figures around. In the end Luke passed out from too many hits and became diseased while the rest of the crew held their own.

thumbsup The game play is smooth and easy.
thumbsup Interesting decisions as to who to move and when. Range vs melee attacks.
thumbsup Attack resolution fairly simple
thumbsdown Attack resolution is comparing 2 d20's and can be a little swingy and unforgiving. I don't have a problem with this but it can be an issue for others.
thumbsup I dont have to buy tons of miniatures or terrain in order to have a fun experience.
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109. Board Game: Myth: Shores of Kanis [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Paul Aceto
United States
Fairfax
Virginia
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Quote:
An Angel of Logic flew into the room and settled on my shoulder. He looked around.

Angel: Wow, you have a lot games!

Me: Yeah, I suppose I do.

Angel: So what's your favorite game?

Me: Myth, definitely.

Angel: Do you play it often?

Me: Um, no.

Angel: When's the last time you played it?

Me: Um, about a year ago.

Angel: Have you explored all the content in the base game?

Me: No, actually I have not.

Angel: How about the Journeyman expansion. Have you done those modules?

Me: No.

Angel: And the latest set of modules? Have you tried even one of those?

Me: No.

Angel: And yet you say this is your favorite game?

Me: Hey, how did you get in here anyway?


So it was that I resolved in 2019 to play more of the games I like the most. I don't have a definitive list yet, but it will certainly include Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients, Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game, MERCS: Recon – Counter Threat, Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition), Mansions of Madness: Second Edition and Too Many Bones.

But on to Myth. I began this campaign back in 2015, gradually leveling up a group that included Solara the Solder, Acanthe the Acolyte and Trillas the Trickster. They had completed a random tile act, a core game quest, a KS quest and a downloaded module. I had even completed the first act of Myth: Shores of Kanis, which did not yet take place on Kanis.

So last night I continued, but decided to drop the trickster. I was finding it a bit fiddly to play with three and thought she was becoming a bit of a one-trick pony (i.e., keep using Hurty Bangs). Another reason to leave her out was that my other two heroes had upgraded to journeyman specialties, and there was none for the trickster.

I had initially decided to have my acolyte follow the dark path of the Necromancer, thinking it would be cool to summon undead minions. But as I looked over the cards for the light and dark paths, I decided to go light (Mendicant). It added 1 faith to her inherent pool and gave her access to some major attack cards. The soldier stayed with her dark path, the Bladedancer.

We began Act II by landing on Kanis, and facing a force of Oki minions and one Anokis captain. The okis proved to be a bit of a pain, as they would swarm and thus lower their to hit values. The captain would attack twice each time he activated.

The overall set up.



What the heroes faced upon reaching the dock.



It took us a while to get to the lair, meaning we had to endure several spawns, including an extra one behind us caused by an event.



"Damn, we're in a tight spot!" Oki swarms gonna swarm.



But we actually got through it all fairly unscathed. This was the first time in all my plays of Myth that I made heavy use of interrupts and defensive reactions. We were often able to boost the oki's to-hit target to 9 or 10, using faith-boosted debuffs. It was something new, and fun.

So now it's on to Act II, Tile 2.

A warning to those of you playing against the Anunkara deck for the first time: there are some REALLY nasty events in there. I'll put one that gave me a real scare in a spoiler box below.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The first darkness event said that if a hero received 4 or more enemy attacks, he or she had to discard an equipped blue item!!! Do you how hardit was to get a good blue item?
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110. Board Game: Cerebria: The Inside World [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:899]
Rando Weirdo
United States
Oregon
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So, Mindclash has rapidly become my Desert Island studio. The depth, beauty, and theme they manage to cram into a single box just amazes me. I broke out Cerebria yesterday and played a 2v2 game solo. (This is my usual plan for learning heavy games before breaking out the dedicated solo mode.)

OK, as much as I do love them, Mindclash games redefine the term 'table hog.'

However, they do make game boards that I would happily mount on my wall and call art.

I am not a miniature painter but these (and those in Anachrony) make me want to become one VERY. BADLY.

As one would expect when playing against oneself, this game ended up a draw. On the plus side, that means my ego is in perfect balance. (Which clearly confirms that board gaming is not reality.)

thumbsup Deep worker placement game just soaked in theme.
thumbsup Honestly I could just set this up on the table and look at it for an hour and feel like I was doing something worthwhile.
thumbsdown Gets me overly excited for the official Trickerion solo mode.
thumbsdown Sweet mother of God, there is a lot of stuff to manage. (Of course I was playing as four people.)


(subject to change once I tackle the solo mode.)
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111. Board Game: Fleet: The Dice Game [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:1481]
Jeff Voss
United States
Iowa
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I got in my second overall play of this little gem. It is, hands down, the best roll and write to date for me. There are a wealth of decisions to be made which can lead to some great engine building.



The first time I played, my score was 48. This time it was 47 cry; still a greenhorn. I suspect the key is to focus on one or two boats rather than trying to do everything. I also neglected the Wharf quite a bit. What's your best score so far?
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112. Board Game: Unicornus Knights [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:3144]
Stefan Schneider
Germany
Stockstadt
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This finally happened! A game I bought in Essen, two years ago by now. I tried to play it a few times but I found the rulebook confusing and setup wasn't that clear either. So whenever I thought about finally getting it to the table, I more or less talked myself out of it.
But today, after reading through the improved rulebook and watching a video, the game actually seems relatively not too complicated to understand. So I drew three random characters, a random princess and random enemies.

Setup did take a few minutes because I still wasn't sure about everything. And the game kept taking up more and more space. You have 12 enemies on the board, meaning you need to see 12 enemy character cards. In addition to yours. At least you hardly need any extra space while playing it.



Even though I think gameplay, as with most coops, isn't too complicated, I kept having to reference the rulebook because there's just so many different characters on board. And you have to check every character, your own and the enemy characters for stuff that happens at the start of the round, the start of their turn, etc. And I kept getting confused which characters were mine and which were the enemies. Just give the enemies red standees and use the clear ones for the player characters. Would've made it easier for me.

Anyway, gameplay was pretty interesting to me. The princess moves towards the enemy and you can't really change that, you just have to make sure she survives until she gets there.

I lost both games but I'm sure I still made a few mistakes or just forgot to apply things. But I'm looking forward to playing it some more, I think this might turn out to be a pretty interesting game.
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113. Board Game: Duelosaur Island [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:922] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
David Griffin
United States
Marietta
Georgia
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First game, easy short, and I can't quite judge it at this point because I didn't quite understand how I was meant to be playing the solo mode. The solo mode makes a fair number of changes to the rules and I kept having to flip back and forth between the regular rules and the solo rules (and the AI card) and I think I made a lot of mistakes in playing the AI.



Ok, first as far as components, the boards are pretty good, I like the double boards with the indents for the cubes. I used my metal coins from Dinosaur island instead of the chipboard coins from this game. Also note I have the KS version. There is the same cartoon color palette, but it's reasonably attractive and I'm OK with the art style.



The rule set is simpler and faster than Dinosaur Island, and the drafting mechanisms should work well with 2 players (though obviously I haven't tried that). Like most drafting games, the solo version really loses that and seems to give the AI (even this easiest one ... supposedly) the best picks, and not only that, but always picking first, and not only that but also picking 2 TIMES FIRST! Sheesh! The score was still close (though you can't get much from that since I wasn't really tracking on the rules) but it still bothered me that I almost always lost the ability to pick from a couple of the better bonus counters.



The game seems to want you to allow a few visitors to be eaten, as long as you don't allow TOO MANY to be eaten, but I have a hard time letting that happen and thus my too conservative play. To win, I think you have to be more aggressive to get those dinos out there. It's all very much the sort of thing that the Vault Tec corporation in the Fallout universe would aspire too rather than what we should be encouraging in a corp in our world. I guess this is the spirit of today's dark attitude -- this tongue and cheek lack of integrity is wired into the strategy of the game.



Anyway, I need to get on the forums and get some more information on how the AI makes its choices. I just wish the sequence of play was more like the real game, with 1st player going back and forth and picks happening as they would in the game. I'm frankly tempted to do it that way, but first I need to figure the game out.



So far, I feel like it's a good looking, interesting game for solo but probably a better one for 2 player.
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114. Board Game: Neanderthal [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:1140] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Suza Na
Germany
Würzburg
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For my third play-through I wanted to try the Introductory Single Species Variant. It should take from 0,5 to 1,5 hours. That would have been nice, because my first two games were 3 and 2,5 hours long respectively. I thought that after this I might squeeze a game of La Granja in. Boy, was I wrong...... The game took me 3,5 hours!

I had loads of fun and this was the first time that not only one but two species flipped to the tribal side - probably due to the higher number of hunters in the beginning (8 instead of 6) and the possibility to flip to tribal with only 5 instead of 6 portals.

In the end I did not win because the species I had chosen (Cro-Magnon, harem holding) were a) bested by the Neanderthals (pair bonding) in general, b) did not accumulate 50 points, and c) did not have 4+ trophies. (I should have payed attention to the victory conditions way before scoring...) blush



The hunting grounds (biomes) got much more fluidity as I took a few trophies and realised that I had played the card fluctuation during warming and cooling phases wrong. (I just kept pushing the same cards back and forth instead of discarding one and taking a new one from the deck)

I had some spectacular rolls in this game that really shook things up. Once I had sent out four hunters on a biome. Not only did I roll the necessary dice but also enough to claim the card as an domesticated animal! Another roll decimated a hunting party of ten quite horribly - I had roll six 6... Unbelievable.

Anyway, I saw the same results in scoring overall (although I got a bit more diversity in points this time). I know it might be quite early to come to any conclusion - but it seems that taking the pair bonding strategy is setting your species up for a very good chance at winning; harem seems a typical second, while promiscuous comes last. In this game only 11(!) vs 44 vs 56 points.

Is this normal?
Does playing the pair bonding side set you up for an easy win?
Is playing the promiscuous side guaranteed to bring few points?
Am I still playing with the wrong strategies?

I'd be glad to hear your thoughts.
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115. Board Game: Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:298]
SoloPlayGames
United States
Ohio
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Good News / Bad News:

Good News

I put the final touches on the SoloPlay variant for Azul: Stained Glass for Sintra and uploaded it to the geek. The file can be accessed from the following link:

Rules file - Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra SoloPlay Rules

This one went through a few phases as I learned how to play the game properly. There are a number of additional elements that you need to pay attention to if you are to be successful. The using of all 4 glaziers makes this variant work. Each glazier only wants to add tiles to the strip which matches its color. With this you need to try and maneuver the glaziers to where you want them to be successful.

This variant may seem a bit challenging at first (you can make it easier to play) but once you start to grasp how to manipulate the glaziers things will start to come clear. It turned out to be much more different from the base game than I expected and that is a good thing. I found this variant somewhat addictive. This was fun to do.

Bad News

I may be in a little bit of a drought over the coming months as I will be traveling on business for the next 5 months. I will bring things with me to work on but I am not sure how much I will be able to complete. I might have a backlog to put together and release or I might only have 1-2. We will see how it goes.
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116. Board Game: Mr. Cabbagehead's Garden [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:3050]
Paul Clarke
United Kingdom
Norfolk
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I decided to try for the mixed plot, and go for the big points.

The neighbours had other ideas. They raided my garden every time, with Carrotbody taking my Salsify in the last holiday, denying me the mixed plot points.



Final score 52, my worst yet.

I have punched and sorted all of the new neighbours in the box, so next time I will have a new challenge.
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117. Board Game: Architects of the West Kingdom [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:85]
Chas H
Canada
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As a Christmas present to myself, I got two Shem Phillips games:

1. Raiders of the North Sea (with the metal coins which are very nice, the solo cards and the Hall of Heroes expansion) - I got a good deal used for all this; and

2. Architects of the West Kingdom.

I enjoy the Mico artwork. I'll post later my impressions of Raiders of the North Sea. I would describe Raiders as the more thematic game.

I've started playing Architects of the West Kingdom.

I would describe the game play of Architects as "snappy". The game moves at a brisk pace and is over before you know it. It is not a long and ponderous Euro game. The theme is thin - it feels like I am manipulating an Excel spreadsheet. Which is not a bad thing. It is an Excel spreadsheet with a lovely coat of paint and interesting levers to pull and buttons to push. The see-saw mechanic of the virtue track is innovative.

The solo bot has lots of "Town Centre" cards in its solo bot deck which is the action that snaps up the workers at the location where you have the most workers. This prevents the worker investment mechanic from snowballing in the hands of the human player. The solo bot is well done. It is not quite as good as the Anachrony solo bot which is the best solo bot I have experienced.

In this game I accumulated a lot of resources and had a building boom at the end of the game. I prompted two black market resets in quick succession which caused Helena to gain two debt cards (-2 points each) as she had the most workers in prison. I ended the game early to prevent Helena from getting the last church building action which would have netted her 8 points. I played using the standard set up - not the variable game with different player powers.

I have found Helena to be a good opponent.

I could have easily lost had I dallied and not ended the game when I did.




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118. Board Game: SpaceCorp [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:1002]
Gordon J
United States
Eagan
Minnesota
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Finally, played this all the way through.

Wow, what a fantastic solo game. At its core this is basically a race game with a little take-that thrown in for good measure. The game is played in 3 eras and the first one is super simple and fast, and then each era after, ramps up a little in difficulty and options for play. But all in all plays really fast, which is huge considering this is a Butterfield game, which if you know, he's known for uber awesome complex wargames, and this is not a wargame and not complex.



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119. Board Game: Onirim (second edition) [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:540]
Jessica
United States
Rochester
New York
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Onirim

As much as I love complex, deep games, I'm still having a wonderful time with some of the simpler games out there. There is something quite satisfying from playing many times and working towards some rather light and easy goals!



Granted, today I returned to the base game and didn't use any of the expansions. What a fun and challenging little game! There isn't anything amazingly unique here since it all boils down to colors and symbols.

However, sometimes simple is amazing when it comes to games! Too many fail by trying to do everything. When the formula is just right, it doesn't have to be all fancy and complicated.

The only sad part here is how this used copy has a lot of wear on the base game cards, while the expansion cards look brand new. I'm trying not to acquire any new games this year, but if I can find a nicer copy... Well, that's technically not a new game, is it? Ha ha!

Or maybe there's a collector's edition of every Oniverse game in the works... Hey, I can dream and try to find possibly nonexistent reasons to stick with this copy for awhile!

Session Overview

PLAY NUMBER 23-26
SETUP TIME 5 Minutes
PLAY TIME 5 Minutes
OUTCOME 5 Points (Loss), 6 Points (Loss), 5 Points (Loss), and 8 Points (Win)
SUMMARY <summary>The simple mechanics and unique artwork create a game that plays quickly and calls to be played just one more time.</summary>
RATING <rating>3.6</rating>

thumbsup The rules are simple and easy to remember, particularly when sessions sometimes happen months apart.
thumbsup Although very lightweight on many levels, there are some important strategic decisions to make during play.
thumbsup Initially I wasn't smitten with the artwork and although I can't say I love it, it does have its own charm.
thumbsup There are multiple ways to expand the game with the expansions, yet even the base game works well on its own.

mb The luck of the draw can sometimes spoil a play, regardless of how well one has planned ahead.
mb The black borders on the cards mean that they show wear quite clearly, and although my worn copy may not be the standard, black borders can be a little frustrating to deal with.

thumbsdown There is a lot of shuffling and reshuffling that can eat into the play time.
thumbsdown The cards sometimes end up taking up a lot of space if one wants to lay them all out in a row: This isn't necessary and there are ways to cut down on the space, though.
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120. Board Game: Wingspan [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:32] [Average Rating:8.09 Unranked]
Marc Maier
United States
Darien
Connecticut
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Tabletopia screenshot of final tableau

(normal difficulty)

Me (red): 81
Automabon (yellow): 77


While I have a physical pre-order on the way, I couldn’t resist trying the Automa on Tabletopia before it arrives. The game is indeed very good, although the playing experience was a little frustrating at times because I find the Tabletopia interface to be annoyingly fiddly for certain things.

Like most Automa Factory efforts, the “Automabon” in Wingspan is dead-simple to operate: flip card, do the thing, pretty much. And the thing usually boils down to scoring points in some straightforward way, taking cards from the offer or taking food. So the player cannot count on anything they really want being available in the future. A major part of end game scoring is end-of-round goals which shift each round, and the Automabon has a clever and easy way to manage this. There is an Automa goal card for each round listing all the possible goals in tiers. Each goal has a number on it which is the starting total of whatever the goal is for the Automa. Certain cards might add a cube to the end-round goal, which is added to the starting number on the goal card at round’s end. There are also Automa cards which remove cubes from the goal.

The overall effect is a fluctuating competition for the goals which the player can never really feel secure about. One might, as I did, work hard most of the round to just achieve a tie with the Automabon only to see it remove a cube on its last turn, giving you an overwhelming majority and the pain of feeling like you wasted precious actions. Alternatively, it also happened in this session that I thought I had a secure lead only to find the Automabon adding two cubes in the final two rounds to pass me and take the majority.

The game is an tableau/engine-builder at heart. You play bird cards into the tableau on one of the three habitat zones. Each habitat corresponds to a different action: gather food, lay eggs, draw cards. As you play birds into a habitat, the base action gets a bit stronger. But most birds also have “brown” actions on their cards which activate in order, right to left after the base habitat action happens. So it is possible for one action to turn into a power set of combos as the various bird actions fire off.

In this session, I looked at my initial bird draw and the offer and decided to focus on the wetlands, which is the card draw habitat zone. I had some birds which would let me draw extra cards, and more cards always seems like a good idea in these types of games. Eventually, a single wetlands action would net me four additional cards while at the end tucking one underneath a house finch for a point per tucked card at game’s end. The flexibility from these extra cards gave me the opportunity to compete strongly for every end-round goal as the game went on.

The extra card draws also gave me options as far as choosing birds with high VP values. This paid off with my last two card plays, the Trumpeter Swan (9) and the Blue Winged Warbler (8). My final action of the game, however, was to lay some eggs — the round 4 goal was total eggs in nesting birds, and I just beat Automabon to it by a single egg. The final scoring saw Automabon score a ton with facedown cards (4-points each in normal difficulty) and a whole load of eggs. But I prevailed, by virtue of taking sole possession of the round 4 goal majority.

Based on this one session, Wingspan is a hit with me. The solitaire is going to fit exactly within my preferred time to weight ratio in that it can see regular play on a weeknight. I already enjoy games like Race for the Galaxy, Terraforming Mars and 51st State/Imperial Settlers, all designs with similar tableau/engine-building mechanics. Yet this theme is unthreatening to people like my wife, and the gameplay is relatively easy-going. I am now very eager to get my hands on a physical copy.
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121. Board Game: Yggdrasil [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:752]
Blaise Grimes-Viort
United Kingdom
London
London
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Feel very lucky to have had someone mule a copy of the reprint over from Essen for me.

Such a smooth experience . It plays fast but feels relentless at making you feel you never have enough actions, too many angles to cover, always an ootion but is it the right one. And inevitably i lost.

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122. Board Game: D-Day Dice [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1038]
The Redheaded Pharmacist
United States
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I played this game tonight. It’s still one of my favorite games.

Today I played Mission Albany. I was able to keep my troops count up so I could work my way through the map better.

There is strategy to this game. Yes, it’s a dice game but you do have decisions to make.

<summary> D-Day Dice is a fun dice based game that plays well solo. </summary>
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123. Board Game: Nemo's War (second edition) [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:354]
The Redheaded Pharmacist
United States
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The last game of the evening. This is a great game.

Every time I play this I’m a little more impressed. There’s a great game in this box and the artwork gives it that added visual appeal.

<summary> Nemo’s War is a thematic and fun solo experience. </summary>
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124. Board Game: Architects of the West Kingdom [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:85]
Rando Weirdo
United States
Oregon
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Wanted a quick game after dinner so set up Architects. Went with variable setup (Rudolf) against Constantine. Constantine had beaten me last time around, just when I was getting to the point when I thought he was too easy. Revenge time.

Rudolf can buy apprentices cheaper, so naturally I took full advantage and bought zero apprentices.

Otherwise this was one of those games where every single thing went my way. I built a smithy early, and the stone let me boost my way up the cathedral track superfast. When I got far enough ahead and wanted to rush the endgame, Constantine took care of that by drawing his future Guildhall cards three turns in a row, and left himself with two debt slips in the process. I even spent my last worker on my last turn.

Here's the endgame:



Ended up winning 34-14. I don't think the AI had ever scored less than 30 against me prior to this.

thumbsup Shem's games are perfect for me when I just want to play and not necessarily fry my brain doing so. Right weight, right length.
thumbsup I binged The Last Kingdom with my wife over the last week, so it put me the mood for Middle Ages gaming action.
thumbsdown I'm searching to find a negative thing about this game. The hard AI is way way harder than the easy AI? I guess that suffices.

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125. Board Game: Sylvion [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:911]
Reverend Uncle Bastard
Canada
Windsor
Ontario
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Having just moved into a new house that I am still in the process of renovating, I have pulled out a small subset of my games to play for the next few months, while the rest are going to remain in boxes until the reno is complete.

I selected a handful of games that I love and want to play more (Fireteam Zero, Scythe, Mars Attacks: Miniatures Game, Mansions of Madness, Black Orchestra) and a bunch that I haven't played enough yet that I want to explore more (Sylvion, Castellion, Picket Duty, RAF, and some others).

Tonight I broke out Sylvion, which I have only played a few times. This play I added everything (advanced rules, both expansions and the Ravage pawn).



The Ravage pawn only made two appearances, but the second one set me up for disaster.

The final round saw three elementals turn "blazing" which caused just enough damage to end the game.



This is such a good game, perhaps my favourite of the Oniverse series. Looking forward to playing more of it.

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