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Subject: Normal this game is all over the place? Asking for solo recommendation. rss

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Jeremy Yoder
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I've now played this game 3 times solo, with 2 investigators each time, and I'm not sure what to think.

The first game I won, where winning or losing all came down to a single dice roll... which left an odd taste for me.

The second I lost horrifically, as I could not even get the first clue with everything else to address and bad rolls.

The third game, I completed the first clue on the first turn. The rest of the game went pretty easy with the Doom track pretty high at the end.

I guess I don't consider the game easy or hard, as it appears it can be all over the place, depending on a lot of luck factors (cards, dice, abilities, etc.) I had some control, but even so, this game responses to your choices either with rewards, or it simply laughs and throws you out the window -- you never know which is coming.

So 1 close game, 1 impossible, and 1 a breeze. Is this the norm? More luck than skill? I don't typically like that in solo games, yet I like the story telling and it's accessibility. It also has a kind of charm and I really like having a map to interact with and explore.

Other solo games I like are LotR Card Game and Mage Knight, but the latter is a beast to setup and play, so I'd like something I can play in a shorter time. PACG didn't last long for me, and Defenders of the Realm feels bland solo. I also hated the Ravenloft series -- bland appearance and game play. Runebound felt a bit simplistic and repetitive.

Any other solo games out there that meet these conditions?

1) Sci-fi/fantasy
2) Rule set more like EH than Mage Knight
3) Map to explore
4) Game hinges more on decisions than luck

I have Darkest Night, but haven't yet played it, so I'll see where it lies, but first wanted to get other players input for other possible games.

For the record, I think I'll hold onto EH as it can be an entertaining romp, but you have to go into it expecting a "choose your own adventure book," where your best choices may reward you or destroy you.

I'll take any input on my EH musings and/or game recommendations. Thanks.
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Deathworks
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Hello!

While I don't have any recommendations, I think that the wide variety is kind of to be expected. However, you can influence it a little bit by either playing the hard or easy variant as that gives the Mythos deck a certain slant (either towards being really nasty or being comparatively tame). However, with so much luck involved (cards and dice), you can never be sure as to the challenge level.

The game does require some skill, even though an occasional game in easy or normal mode may be easy enough to get through without problems. One of the skill aspects is when to stop preparing and to start solving mysteries.

BTW, have you considered varying the number of investigators when playing solo? My personal recommendation is a single investigator (besides solving the problems with the small encounter decks, it creates a deeper immersion for me). However, varying the number of investigators allows trying out different strategies.

Yours,
Deathworks
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Nicola Zee
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JYoder wrote:

I've now played this game 3 times solo, with 2 investigators each time, and I'm not sure what to think.

The first game I won, where winning or losing all came down to a single dice roll... which left an odd taste for me.

The second I lost horrifically, as I could not even get the first clue with everything else to address and bad rolls.

The third game, I completed the first clue on the first turn. The rest of the game went pretty easy with the Doom track pretty high at the end.

I guess I don't consider the game easy or hard, as it appears it can be all over the place, depending on a lot of luck factors (cards, dice, abilities, etc.) I had some control, but even so, this game responses to your choices either with rewards, or it simply laughs and throws you out the window -- you never know which is coming....

The main issue is IMHO with the Mythos Deck. In my last game, the first Mythos card resulted in my character becoming cursed on the first turn and it went downhill from there. In a previous, a Mythos card resulted in my character becoming blessed in the first few turns. This can be avoided (to some extent) by leaving out the easy and hard cards but this leaves the deck a bit thin in terms of variety. I'm hoping the expansion Forsaken Lore will help with this. In the meantime you can try (as has been suggested) leaving out the easy and hard mythos cards.
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Boian Spasov
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Personally, I find the impact of player skill in Eldritch greater than in the most thematic games of this kind that I've played (for instance, Arkham Horror). There are a lot of finer points in it that may not be apparent in the first few plays and although they will differ from one another, you can mitigate the luck factor a lot.

Games with solo investigator can swing either way and can really sometimes feel like a "choose your own adventure" book (although I suspect victory in them may be next to impossible for an unskilled player), but with 2+ investigators any loss is more often a mistake of the players, like wrong prioritizing of goals, sending the wrong character on a job or bad resource management, than random luck. Unless you play on hard difficulty or with extra starting rumor, that is, the game may be very brutal then even with a very skilled party, but that is what keeps it interesting for us.

(Sorry for the bunch of edits, tried to clarify my points a bit)
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Jeremy Yoder
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Thanks for the thoughts, everyone.

Not sure I'd want to play EH with 1 investigator, for the same reason I don't play LotR Card Game with only 1 deck -- it lacks variety and cuts way back on your choices/options.

Removing easy and hard cards may cut back on the large swings, yet as someone said, that removes variety. And part of me thinks you either need to embrace the swings or play something different, which I'm undecided on.

As for skill, of course the game requires it, and I've now won 3 of the 4 games I've played. All I'm saying is there's nothing you can do about rolling all misses with 5 dice, and next turn, rolling a success with 1 dice. Over time, the dice even out, but having certain successes or failures at 1 or 2 key moments can really dictate a LOT in this game. I think that's what really surprised me.

BTW, I also find it bizarre that FFG put in a "skip your turn" element with the Delayed condition. Can't imagine playing with others and having to skip a turn. How boring.
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Boian Spasov
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Many players find the encounter phase the most exciting part of their turn, even if there are less decisions in it (actually there are some, like what kind of encounter to take, when to use some items and should you spend clue on failure), so delayed doesn't really feel like skipping a turn. I've seen more disappointed players when they have to do something "instead of an encounter", like solving a rumor or a mistery.

Regarding 1 investigator games, they can be surprisingly fun and epic, even if a bit swingy, so I recommend trying them at least once. My first 1 investigator game got me so pumped up that I was compelled to write a session report afterwards. They are certainly not for everyone, though.
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Nicola Zee
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JYoder wrote:

...
BTW, I also find it bizarre that FFG put in a "skip your turn" element with the Delayed condition. Can't imagine playing with others and having to skip a turn. How boring.

I have a suggestion for a very small house rule for delayed which I have found works well for me.

If Delayed, the player may spend a Clue to take an Action.

Usually Clues are too valuable for this to be worthwhile but it's nice to have the option. Of course, I don't recommend this variant for people who find EH very easy to win.
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Ian Cooper
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JYoder wrote:
...Over time, the dice even out, but having certain successes or failures at 1 or 2 key moments can really dictate a LOT in this game. I think that's what really surprised me.


I think these days some players may have been somewhat spoiled by the Eurogame tendency to have everything be a test of skill. Purely skill-based games have their place, but I think the path of insisting that every game be a test of skill and eliminating all luck is a dark path to go down, because it will tend to disenfranchise unskilled players, which is exactly what an entry level game like this should never do. There have to be opportunities for unskilled players to feel good about their participation, and a big luck quotient helps that to happen. Games can get very boring indeed when victory always goes to the folks who try to play a perfect game by calculating every risk and opportunity.

Also, winning and competition are not everything, and sometimes a story-based game should be able to hit the most skilled players with a "Kobayashi Maru" test, because finding out how you handle losing when faced with impossible odds is just as important as finding out how you handle winning. Life has an element of luck, and so should games, otherwise these things would get boring really fast.

JYoder wrote:
BTW, I also find it bizarre that FFG put in a "skip your turn" element with the Delayed condition. Can't imagine playing with others and having to skip a turn. How boring.


If you're bored by skipping a turn in this game, then maybe the problem is your attitude to the game. This is a co-op game, so what the other players are doing should be just as important to you as what your character is doing. If you're just sitting around waiting for everyone else's turn to be over, rather than getting involved in what they're doing, then the biggest problem may be that you're not a team player. That can be a big negative element in a game like this. Maybe this type of game is just not for you.

If you want to continue playing Eldritch Horror, I think maybe you need to mellow out about how you view the game. Beating the game and being the hero is not the be-all and end-all of playing. In games like this, the story, not the winning, is the thing. Some of the best games I've played have been ones which I lost.

I went back to your original post and looked at what you're asking for. The thing is, you seem to want an entry level game (easier rules set) that has little or no luck. I'm just not sure it's a realistic goal, as entry level games tend to have luck as a big factor, for reasons I explained above.
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Jeremy Yoder
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Beery wrote:
I think maybe you need to mellow out about how you view the game.

Uh, I'm not berating the game, or asking it to be different. Just recognizing it for what it is. I've not claimed it's bad. I still think it has a definite charm, or I would not have played 4 games and started a 5th.

Beery wrote:
Beating the game is not the be-all and end-all of playing. In games like this, the story, not the winning, is the thing.

Agreed. I never said otherwise. Just saying I'm surprised at the higher luck element than I expected.



silverbowen wrote:
To address the latter part of your post: Gears of War is great solo...

Of all you listed, Gears of Wars is most intriguing to me, as I recently learned about it. Will need to check into more. I own and enjoy Friday, which is a nice smaller game.

silverbowen wrote:
If you are interested in branching into Euros, there are a ton more options.

I like light to medium euros with others, but not solo.

silverbowen wrote:
Soloplay and kittenhoarder both have geeklists with solo variants. The single player guild has a monthly list called solo games on your table that is a great resource as well.

Thanks for this info. I'll definitely have to look into these.
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Ian Cooper
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One game you might try, which has a simple rules set, which you can play solitaire and in which luck can be minimized to a great extent, AND which is Sci-Fi/Fantasy based, is Firefly: The Game. But it's a sandbox type game, which is not everyone's cup of tea.
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Derek VDG
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It's not really sci-fi, but Robinson Crusoe is a great co-op game with some good rules for solo play. Be warned, it is very tough with all numbers of players.

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