Marc Timmins' Solo Rotation
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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I recently came across
Israel Waldrom
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Dunedin
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and Solo Playtester too ^^
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Solo Rotation GeekList and found it both useful and informative. As I haven't created a GeekList before this it'll probably take some playing before I make something worthwhile out of it, but I've got all the time in the world, right?

Ok... "some time" later. It's pretty much what I had originally envisaged. I'll keep adding to it and playing with it over time, but for now; here are by general thoughts on my favourite pastimes. Feel free to ask anything

Another update: I have decided to graph my scores of the games I have played the most (at least 20+), because I find it interesting to look at the trends and which games I have improved in, by how much and whether my win-loss ratio has become more consistent or not.
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1. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:244]
Board Game: Glass Road
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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61 plays
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
- 3 distinctly different building types (colours) that each fill a niche in game strategy.
- Endless variety of synergy between buildings.
- A regular monthly Solo Challenge to test yourself against others.
- Component quality is outstanding.
- Art on tiles is whimsical and charming.
- Resource wheel = best resource management tool ever? It definitely threw away the need for chits, vegimeeples, cubes or any other nonsense like that.
- You control the level of luck involved in executing your plans by choosing cards each round.
- Gameplay is quick. 20-30 minutes for a single session, easily.
- I'd better stop here, else the others might get jealous. More will come to mind and I'll probably come back and add more lol

12 games in 2020?

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2. Board Game: That's Pretty Clever [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:141]
Board Game: That's Pretty Clever
Marc Timmins
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38 plays
Quick to play, simple to learn and endlessly rewarding. There are few experiences in any game that compare to the dopamine hit you get when you chain together multiple bonuses to fill that last spot you needed for a fox... or whatever it is you're trying to achieve. Utterly addictive and it has killed numerous other roll and writes for me. This just does it better.
A genre-defining game for me.

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3. Board Game: Nusfjord [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:496]
Board Game: Nusfjord
Marc Timmins
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Brisbane
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50 plays
+ more than 10 plays with Plaice deck expansion

This is one of my absolute favourites. It's quick to play - maybe 30 minutes a game - and comes with Campaign rules for a 3 game series that forces you to look for synergy between buildings, Elders and ships that aren't immediately apparent to you. Plaice expansion is just more excellent variety and some shiny new gold coins!

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4. Board Game: Jump Drive [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:959]
Board Game: Jump Drive
Marc Timmins
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Brisbane
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43 plays
An engine building sprint.
Synergies abound and strategies emerge early on, and sometime need to be thrown out when something else appears in the fourth hand. This has the same addictive quality as Ganz Schon Clever. Also super easy to set up and pack up. Shuffle some cards and you're good to go.
There are a range of Solo variants to play, including Campaigns and the Tit for Tat solo Bot I am yet to try by

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5. Board Game: The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:218]
Board Game: The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire
Marc Timmins
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30 plays
A really satisfying engine builder. You get to run your engine multiple times and enjoy the wealth it provides over and over again.
This solo game out of the box creates a wonderful experience of competing priorities and spinning many plates at once. I love that it becomes deterministic to a point; clever strategies and plays come to fruition rather than being wrecked by a randomly drawn AI card. Which brings me to the Cold War "Rival" deck. It does a fine job of blocking spaces and accumulating points but it's not the most nuanced Automa design I've seen (Shem Phillips' Architects deck comes to mind); rather it's a brute force approach more reminiscent of Viticulture's original Automa. This is one of a few games that has made me realise that I prefer a solo design with an end-game condition (or multiple) to meet for a win (And BYOS after that), rather than an AI with a RNG score that just gets in the way of clever play.

12 games in 2020?

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6. Board Game: Pandemic: Rising Tide [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:732]
Board Game: Pandemic: Rising Tide
Marc Timmins
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Brisbane
Queensland
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24 plays
My father in law is Dutch (thus my wife is half-Dutch) and she speaks a smattering of Dutch to the kids. So this Pandemic set in The Netherlands feels like a real family classic. I will say that it is fiddly to set up (the dikes make it even moreso than Vanilla Pandemic) and the inclusion of the variable objectives make it both a lot more replayable and difficult to win (shouldn't be a surprise: Jeroen Doumen is the designer). I adore the art style of this game and must say that the board becomes a lot more easily read after a few plays - you are looking for exposed spots around a perimeter rather than lines connecting destinations. Maybe not so easy for the novice eye but this is an underappreciated gem in the solo world.

12 games in 2020?
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7. Board Game: Twice As Clever [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:482]
Board Game: Twice As Clever
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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42 plays
Ditto to everything I said about Ganz Schon Clever above, but with a couple of extra levers to pull to control your gameplay. I think the option to return a die adds and element of luck mitigation that wasn't as visible in the first iteration. I love the addition of bonuses at the end of each utility row (incentivised what used to be an unexciting element of the game). I also like how some of the rows turn the "bigger is better" rule of thumb on its head at key times. Sometimes a 1 is just a joy to behold!
Love, love love it.
Will there be a Thrice as Clever?

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8. Board Game: Imperial Settlers [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:178]
Board Game: Imperial Settlers
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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30 plays
Binged on this when it first came in, then put it aside for a little. I'd like to grab some of the expansion civilisations as - out of the base 4 civs - I feel the Romans and the Egyptians are really the only ones who lend themselves well to solo.
I printed and laminated everything to try the Campaign Mode, but can't say it really grabbed me at all. It added fiddliness and upkeep, with a bit of extra rules overhead, and I don't see the upside of it just yet. Will keep at it a little longer and see if my mind changes. I canned it, it added too much complexity and upkeep and reinforced the requirements of the "luck of the draw". Cannot recommend it. I've also purchased the Atlanteans and Amazons expansions. I don't really like the Atlanteans but I love the Amazons. Possibly because I score well with them.

This is a game that rewards repeat plays. A one-off is fine because it's quick but the interplay between a civilization's cards comes to the fore if you play it a bit repeatedly.

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9. Board Game: Spirit Island [Average Rating:8.32 Overall Rank:13]
Board Game: Spirit Island
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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53 plays
A number of plays with Branch and Claw expansion

For a long time I only ever played with the 1 spirit (true solo) and didn't feel any need to go up to 2. I saw that some cards are a tiny bit better when played to support another spirit, but that was no biggie. I also saw that proximity to target areas would be more important in 2-Spirit games. Then I played with two Spirits a couple of times... and haven't looked back.
I've really enjoyed trying the different spirit play styles. The variation included in the base box is significant, so I don't really enjoy the added variability of the Event Deck, but I do like what the additional tokens bring to the game. I have created an achievement sheet for recording my wins with each possible 2-Spirit combination. I have played heaps with A Spread of Rampant Green and almost as much with Sharp Fangs behind the Leaves. There's lots of hours to be done here!

12 games in 2020?

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10. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:84]
Board Game: Pandemic
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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21 plays
I originally borrowed this off a mate and remember being so enamoured by it that I played it over ten times solo in a weekend. Its a little fiddly to set up the event deck for each game (somehow I always forget to deal hands before seeding with Outbreak cards) but it truly deserves its title as a modern classic. The emergent narrative is always rewarding. A genre-defining design and for a long time one of the very few games I rated a 10.

The On The Brink expansion has been purchased and I've played and enjoyed it a couple of times at this stage so can't comment further.

12 games in 2020?
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11. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.43 Overall Rank:3]
Board Game: Terraforming Mars
Marc Timmins
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36 plays
including a mix of plays with Prelude and Hellas and Elysium expansions

Engine-building, cube pushing, humanity saving goodness. This is one of the first heavy(ish) Euros I bought when getting in to the hobby, and one of the few my wife enjoys playing too. I remember being overwhelmed by the board the first time I folded it out. I thought, this is going to take a lifetime to master! Lo and behold, it didn't take that long. I now have Hellas and Elysium, as well as Prelude to add variability. I am playing through all combinations of Corp., map and prelude options... and I have a long way to go. Especially as I don't record the game unless it's a win. I still haven't broken 100 points solo.

You can clearly see in the below graph when I started mixing in Prelude expansion.

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12. Board Game: Architects of the West Kingdom [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:79]
Board Game: Architects of the West Kingdom
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
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21 plays
There's so much to love about this game. Mico art. Innovative worker-capture. Probably the cleanest Euro mechanics in a game I own. Narrative generation through buildings, apprentices and the virtue track. I can't put my finger on why I don't reach for it more readily.

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13. Board Game: Wingspan [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:24]
Board Game: Wingspan
Marc Timmins
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29 plays
Stonemaier production and development is at it's best here. I'd put this ahead of Scythe and Viticulture for a solo experience. The artwork is beautiful and refreshing. Many have said it ends too soon and you always want one turn more. I concur and hope the regional expansions make the engines feel a bit more "overpowered" for us mere mortals who only get 8 or so birds and 60 points in a game!

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14. Board Game: Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:3419]
Board Game: Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game
Marc Timmins
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38 plays
The monthly Solo Challenge for these is great. It means the "Beat your own high score" issue one faces when random luck of the draw is present is irrelevant because you can compare how you went with a specific card order with everyone else's efforts. My published copy will be here soon and I'm eagerly anticipating it.

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15. Board Game: Clans of Caledonia [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:44]
Board Game: Clans of Caledonia
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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Microbadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Cobalt SGOYT poster. At least 100 geeklist items posted!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!Microbadge: Solosaurus podcast fanMicrobadge: Silver game player. At least 1,000 logged game plays!
20 plays
I am playing through each of the Clans 4 times to get a feel for what variety there is between each in terms of strategy and scoring potential. I have really enjoyed each so far, but I think I struggled most with the first Clan I tried: the one that can hold 2 contracts at once. It splits your attention which I think is a bad idea in this game. Efficiency and laser focus is king, here.
Highly recommended.

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16. Board Game: A Feast for Odin [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:23]
Board Game: A Feast for Odin
Marc Timmins
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Microbadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Cobalt SGOYT poster. At least 100 geeklist items posted!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!Microbadge: Solosaurus podcast fanMicrobadge: Silver game player. At least 1,000 logged game plays!
16 plays
Feels grand and epic in scope. The 'saga in the form of a board game' line captures that nicely. Lots of things to love about this. You can spend your energies on, hunting, animal husbandry, trading, pillaging, emigrating, jigsaw-puzzling your civilisation, exploring or building minor buildings. You can go deep into any of these, or dabble in a few!
I love how the starting occupations can shape your overarching approach to the game.

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17. Board Game: Fields of Arle [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:53]
Board Game: Fields of Arle
Marc Timmins
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23 plays
Like Sunday sunshine in a box. There is a dizzying array of options for what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Really enjoying it. I like how a green building can set you on a strategic path to pursue throughout the game. Also, bought a Plano box to drastically reduce setup time.thumbsup

I've also started a monthly solo challenge for it; the first of which was December 2019.

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18. Board Game: Blackout: Hong Kong [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:546]
Board Game: Blackout: Hong Kong
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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13 plays
I'm still very much in the learning phase of what to do and when to score points. I like that there are different campaign scenarios published by the designer (this variety in solitary often comes from user created variants). I like that the phases seem overwhelming at first and streamline dramatically once you know the game. I like that the card programming and resource collection feels extremely different to anything else I have in my collection. Definitely one I'm enjoying exploring and will see many plays over the years.

12 games in 2020?
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19. Board Game: Marvel Champions: The Card Game [Average Rating:8.35 Overall Rank:112]
Board Game: Marvel Champions: The Card Game
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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Microbadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Cobalt SGOYT poster. At least 100 geeklist items posted!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!Microbadge: Solosaurus podcast fanMicrobadge: Silver game player. At least 1,000 logged game plays!
13 plays
A new arrival that underwhelmed at first but have tried a few different decks now and enjoyed more. Can't wait to play as X Men against Magneto and co.

12 games in 2020?
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20. Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:273]
Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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Microbadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Cobalt SGOYT poster. At least 100 geeklist items posted!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!Microbadge: Solosaurus podcast fanMicrobadge: Silver game player. At least 1,000 logged game plays!
7 plays
Not my favourite Uwe, and it's for no particular reason. I like the elegant card draft. I like the game length. I like the internal tension of the game. I LOVE the scoring track. I need to keep playing and get a better feel for what to do within the game system.

12 games in 2020?
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21. Board Game: Circle the Wagons [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:1382]
Board Game: Circle the Wagons
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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29 plays
I am enamoured with this quick 18-card game. The solo scenarios take a bit of interpretation but once you understand the preference order (well I presume I've got it right at this point) it's fun to just go at it again and again trying to best the AI. Button Shy at its best.

12 games in 2020?
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22. Board Game: Sprawlopolis [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:727]
Board Game: Sprawlopolis
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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Microbadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Cobalt SGOYT poster. At least 100 geeklist items posted!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!Microbadge: Solosaurus podcast fanMicrobadge: Silver game player. At least 1,000 logged game plays!
16 plays
Took a little while to get into this as I had to wait for a missing card to arrive in the post (great Customer Service by Button Shy though, as is to be expected with small businesses like this). Game is brain burny and difficult. Enjoyable without the addictive, binge-worthy quality of Circle the Wagons in my opinion.

12 games in 2020?
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23. Board Game: Shadowrun Crossfire: Prime Runner Edition [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:2886]
Board Game: Shadowrun Crossfire: Prime Runner Edition
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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Microbadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Cobalt SGOYT poster. At least 100 geeklist items posted!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!Microbadge: Solosaurus podcast fanMicrobadge: Silver game player. At least 1,000 logged game plays!
37 plays

I knew nothing at all about the Shadowrun universe (the 6th World) before buying this and I have to admit that this game evokes that setting so well. The intensity and difficulty ramps up at a frenetic pace. The game is a sprint in and out; no two ways about it. Staying in for just one more round will surely draw the Crossfire Card that will end you. This game rocketed up my most played list in the first month I've owned it. The puzzle-like gameplay, the relatively light weight and the addictive speed of a game just makes me want to go again, and again, and again. I've bought the High Caliber Ops expansion and just mixed it in with everything else (won't log separately) and I love that was well. The two new roles are awesome, and encourage some cool interplay between colours (especially blue and red - the Social Adept). I could go on for ages, but I'll leave it there for the moment.

12 games in 2020?


From gallery of Marctimmins89

"Points" are awarded here based on Karma earned each run.
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24. Board Game: Age of Civilization [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:2408]
Board Game: Age of Civilization
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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15 plays

New arrival from Kickstarter. Very quick playing, very strategic and interesting emergent narratives.

12 games in 2020?
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25. Board Game: Fallen [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:2286]
Board Game: Fallen
Marc Timmins
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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Solo games I own (or used to own) that aren't going into regular rotation:
X Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game - It's good... but the Clevers are better.
X Herbaceous - far too luck dependent in solo.
X Isle of Skye - Unofficial solo variant entertained me for a while and then was sold on. Not enough solo and fell flat multiplayer.
X Carcassonne - Carc Island gets played occasionally while camping or playing outside. It's nice and easy but not enough to play regularly.
X Agricola - Uwe's miss. Solo lacks tension, is extremely fiddly, lacks variety and feels like you've achieved nothing fun at the end. Sold.
X Hostage Negotiator - Short to play and stayed in my collection for s short time, too. Didn't enjoy it.
X Friday - loved the gameplay, hated the artwork. Retheme?
X 30 Rails - I'm terrible at it and have far too many R&Ws.
X Forbidden Desert - felt far too kiddy. Would simply rather play Pandemic any time.
X Decathlon - Is it a solo game? The design is excellent but not something I want to do regularly.
X 1572: The Lost Expedition - another one that's nice to kill time camping. The journaling is a unique mechanism that I enjoy.
X Micro Rome - Orchard is simpler and better.
X Microbrew - played this once and it was cool I suppose? It may enter the rotation at some point.
X Mint Works - Just not enough here to keep my interest. Fiddly and hard to read. It's a PnP copy I have.
X Scythe - was in my solo rotation but I found it too wearisome to set up, unrewarding to play, restrictive, and crazily difficult to win (even against Automa level). Sold.
X Viticulture - this was once a mainstay in my collection but issues I have with the Automa implementation, burn out with the solo game, and frustration at the area control element in Tuscany has lead to its placement here. Stays in the collection as it's a game Wifey quite likes with a glass of wine on a Sunday arvo (kids in bed of course!).
X Patchwork Doodle - Pulled it out to learn to play. Father in law joined in. Father in law now owns my copy. Thieving Dutchman!
X Brikks - Never had that much love for Tetris the arcade game. This doesn't hold up against my other beloved Roll and Writes.
X Roll Through The Ages- The Bronze Age - A good game that stays in my collection but has gone out of vogue as I've moved away from R&Ws.
X Welcome to Dino World - Another that has gone out of vogue as I've moved away from R&Rs lately.
X Seven Bridges - Same as above. I'll probably return to it when my Kickstarter copy arrives.
X Underwater Cities - Has all the bones for a good game but I just never really enjoyed my plays of it. Allowed me to make interesting plans and then told me in a range of ways that I CAN'T do that (card colour, blocked spaces etc.) and also you didn't meet the win conedition of 100 points and 7 cities so you lose! Urgh.
X Second Chance - Great little Draw and Draw that I still happily play solo from time to time. Demoted because Wifey will play it with me and so it's generally 2p for me for this one.
X Its A Wonderful World - Cool game with a very good implementation of drafting for the solo player. It's well worth a look if you're after a quick playing engine-building (sort of), hand management (sort of) game with bright art and a couple of narrative (sort of) campaigns in the Heritage Box. The War and Peace campaign I played alone and then introduced the game to Wifey - who liked it - and now it's a 2p game that I don't want to ruin by playing extensively solo. Will play Leisure and Decline with Wifey at some point.
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