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Subject: Block wargames and solo play comments rss

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Bob Long
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Ok, I own a few block wargames and have tried to solo them and to some degree play them. I have tried different techniques including: using the blocks as chits, faced the blocks towards me (no hidden info), and played them with one side hidden.

So, just wondered if there was any other block gamers that play them solo and if so what techniques do you use?

Is there a "perfect" system that you have developed when playing them solo.

I know ftf is the best way to play them but my schedule is such that I end up solo gaming most of the time. There are quite a few block games that offer interesting time periods, Pax Baltica, Hammer of Scots, Crusader Rex, Hellenes just to mention a few.

Thanks for your comments.
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Sean McCormick
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I don't find playing block games solo challenging at all, so long as I take a five minute break when switching sides. I still have some idea as to what is on the other side, but I don't remember the particulars at all. If anything, I find it superior solo to the experience of open information games.
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Seth Owen
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I rarely play my block games solo, but when I do it's usually to test the feasibility of some moves.

Normally I play solo block games with information exposed and treat it as more of a tactical exercise. When playing FTF bluffing is usually a big part of the game, although more so with some games rather than others. Bluffing is a big part of games like Wizard Kings, War of 1812, or Rommel in the Desert, while less so in games like Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815, EastFront or Gettysburg: Badges of Courage.
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Judd Vance
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Get a lazy susan and a large piece of sturdy foam board to place between the lazy susan and your game board.

or if you have a table that gives you access to both sides, use that. The change of perspective does an awful lot at helping you forget all of the details.

If you have a killer memory, you won't enjoy it as much, but often in blocks, after a few big battles, you get an idea of where the units are.
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Øivind Karlsrud
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buseyhead wrote:
Ok, I own a few block wargames and have tried to solo them and to some degree play them. I have tried different techniques including: using the blocks as chits, faced the blocks towards me (no hidden info), and played them with one side hidden.

So, just wondered if there was any other block gamers that play them solo and if so what techniques do you use?

Is there a "perfect" system that you have developed when playing them solo.

I know ftf is the best way to play them but my schedule is such that I end up solo gaming most of the time. There are quite a few block games that offer interesting time periods, Pax Baltica, Hammer of Scots, Crusader Rex, Hellenes just to mention a few.

Thanks for your comments.


My advice would be to save your block games for ftf (or try VASSAL), and play other games solo. Chit-pull games with no hidden info are perfect for that. I see your point about interesting time periods though. I also have Pax Baltica, Hammer of the Scots and Hellenes, and they are the only games I have about those time periods. I guess most solitaire or solitaire-friendly games are about WWII (and probably a few about the american civil war).
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Russ Williams
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I've tried soloing block games a few times; for me, the best way was to literally change sides of the table, seeing only "my" own blocks for whichever side I'm currently playing. If the game has a large number of blocks, it works better for solo (for me, anyway) since a large number of blocks means I'm much less likely to remember lots of details.

One thing I'd like to try (but haven't yet) is leaving a large game like East Front set up over multiple days, and take a break after doing each turn, so that time itself will also help reduce my memory of details. Unfortunately, leaving a large game set up is less feasible in my home... need to wait till my wife is gone on some trip.
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Russell King
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Play whilst drinking a bottle of red. Or two!
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Pokey 64
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The exact question I had many years ago that resulted in my rapidly growing collection of solitaire only wargames.

Battle Hymn
B-17: Queen of the Skies
The Fall of Rome
Zulus on the Ramparts!
Toe-to-Toe Nu'klr Combat with the Rooskies
The Barbarossa Campaign
Struggle for the Galactic Empire
Don't Tread On Me: The American Revolution Solitaire Board Game
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Legends of Time and Space: Void Station 57
Legends of the Untamed West: Blood in the Dust
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Greg Schmittgens
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panzer6 wrote:


A couple more for you to look into (in no particular order):

Raid on St. Nazaire
Patton's Best
Mosby's Raiders
London's Burning
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David M
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and don't forget

A Spoiled Victory: Dunkirk 1940

Lots of fun! It's original version is out of print, but it's available for PnP...and rumor has it that a reprint by a larger game company is in the works.
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Moshe Callen
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If I remember where a key piece actually is when playing the other side, I'll determine as best I can what a hypothetical person playing that side could realistically know and then reason out where the player would think most likely for the piece to be. If it comes down to an arbitrary choice, I roll a die (e.g., As such a player, I'd know it could be either in location A or location B. If I can't cover both positions, then odds say I pick A and evens say I pick B.)
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Sam Carroll
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russ wrote:
I've tried soloing block games a few times; for me, the best way was to literally change sides of the table, seeing only "my" own blocks for whichever side I'm currently playing. If the game has a large number of blocks, it works better for solo (for me, anyway) since a large number of blocks means I'm much less likely to remember lots of details.

One thing I'd like to try (but haven't yet) is leaving a large game like East Front set up over multiple days, and take a break after doing each turn, so that time itself will also help reduce my memory of details. Unfortunately, leaving a large game set up is less feasible in my home... need to wait till my wife is gone on some trip.


I've done this several times - it's a great experience!
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Josh Malbon
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I tried Hammer of the Scots solo, a couple times. But the narrow focus made it hard to forget where and who which enemy blocks were. Didn't really enjoy it.

Julius Caesar solo though, was a whole different story. There are enough directions and routes to conquest that pretending not to know made it easier to make good choices for both sides.

I just flip the blocks around for each player during his turn. With all the different units in Caesar, it worked well. I usually try to think of a grand scheme for both sides before beginning the war.
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Russell King
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Russell King wrote:
Play whilst drinking a bottle of red. Or two!


preferably served by a lazy Susan!
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Bob Long
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Thanks for the replies
Is there a favorite that you feel is better solo, Some have made suggestions, I have played 1812,Strike of the Eagle, really thought SotE was better.

Has anyone tried Pax Baltica, Sekigahara,Prussia's Defiant Stand, or Hellenes solo?

again thanks for the responses
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Derry Salewski
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buseyhead wrote:
Sekigahara


I can't imagine that being very possible or fun with the way the cards work.
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TTDG
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scifiantihero wrote:
buseyhead wrote:
Sekigahara


I can't imagine that being very possible or fun with the way the cards work.


I'd be curious if it could work by redrawing cards when you switch sides. It would take the game from some knowledge of loyalty to no knowledge of loyalty. Defense would become more random (new cards) while offense would not only know stack size (that they already know) but also some idea of army composition (spies?) and thus odds on loyalty. I'd think the randomness of loyalty might capture the 'you don't know what I don't know' bit to shifting loyalties, and thus might even out.

It has been awhile since I played it, so I don't know how many redraws would be needed, or if it would work well. I'm just thinking out loud here.
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Josh Malbon
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scifiantihero wrote:
buseyhead wrote:
Sekigahara


I can't imagine that being very possible or fun with the way the cards work.


Agreed.

The gameplay for battles doesn't seem possible solo without changing the rules completely.
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