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Subject: Help me narrow down these wargames that can be played alone rss

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jonathan schleyer
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Hello all,

I am trying create a wishlist for the holidays and was wondering which ones do you recommend and would be suitable for solo play (even playing multiple sides).

So far this is my order of preference:

1. Churchill
2. Kingdom of Heaven: The Crusader States 1097-1291
3. Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942
4. Triumph & Tragedy
5. A Distant Plain

Also, regarding COIN which is a system I am trying to learn, I already have Andean Abyss (which I played once) and Fire in the Lake (new in shrink) and was wondering if I need both. I was thinking of perhaps just keeping FITL which seems to get the better reviews and perhaps trade AA for one of the above games...

Feel free to comment and make suggestions.
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Tim Korchnoi
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Churchill is pretty easy solo, IMO thanks to the "bots" that come with them.

When I play Triumph and Tragedy solitaire I usually take one faction and then use dice rolls to determine other factions actions. Not the best method it is true, but it does make the game unpredictable and allows you to take advantage of the other factions mistakes.
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Tom O'Neill
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The coin series plays differently. I have t played AA, but Fit L is the most difficult of the lot. It have more moving parts as it were. So if complexity is an issue there is a thought for you.
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provence wrote:
Hello all,

I am trying create a wishlist for the holidays and was wondering which ones do you recommend and would be suitable for solo play (even playing multiple sides).

So far this is my order of preference:

1. Churchill
2. Kingdom of Heaven: The Crusader States 1097-1291
3. Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942
4. Triumph & Tragedy
5. A Distant Plain

Also, regarding COIN which is a system I am trying to learn, I already have Andean Abyss (which I played once) and Fire in the Lake (new in shrink) and was wondering if I need both. I was thinking of perhaps just keeping FITL which seems to get the better reviews and perhaps trade AA for one of the above games...

Feel free to comment and make suggestions.


Some people have not liked the solo experience of Churchill with the bots. The bots in Churchill are not to the same level as those in the COIN series, but they are probably sufficient for their purpose.

Whether you should keep AA, a lot depends on how much you like the system. Some people seem to be of the opinion that one game in the system is enough. Others - like me - preorder each new volume as it comes out and eagerly anticipate it. They each give different experiences. AA is probably a more pure counterinsurgency situation that Vietnam. As such, the games play out quite differently and have different dynamics between the factions. Personally, I think AA provides a great baseline. Seeing how other games have changed the basic model of AA to adapt them to their particular subject really gives some insight into how those wars are different from a more basic insurgency. For example, in AA you have 1 conventional force (the Gov't/COIN faction) and 3 irregular, guerilla forces. But in FitL you have 3 largely conventional forces and a single guerilla force (the VC; the NVA is actually split between conventional/irregular so maybe 2.5 to 1.5). As a result the games are very different.

EDIT: The other thing on COIN is that the games have vastly different playing times (CL the shortest at a couple hours; full campaign of FitL the longest at somewhere around 8 hrs.)
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Joseph Cesare
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Have you considered Labyrinth?
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/62227/labyrinth-war-t...
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Nicola S
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I have only played Churchill off your list, so my comments will probably be of limited help for you, but I want to offer them anyhow.

I see from your collection that you have a very different background than me in the sense that you do not own any purposedly-designed solitaire game, so I suspect that you will fare OK with Churchill.
The bots are quite simple to use (it is a decision flowchart) and they will deliver some, not all, of the game greatness. The reason is that the 'bots are quite "shallow" as other have said, and some of the game depth you will not be able to explore just by using them.
They will also serve the purpose of helping you learning the ropes so that if you have a chance to play it FtF, you will be ready.
Unfortunately, once you will have played it FtF, I strongly suspect you won't go back to the 'bots ever...

HTH and whatever you decide, have fun!
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My favourite game on that list is Kingdom of Heaven. Great game and plays well solo.
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jonathan schleyer
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Owsley wrote:


Yes, Labyrinth is a great reco for me. I have this game and love it actually. I think I may prefer it to COIN but I need to give COIN more of a chance as COIN seems more complicated than Labyrinth an hence easier to play.
 
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jonathan schleyer
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rstites25 wrote:
provence wrote:
Hello all,

I am trying create a wishlist for the holidays and was wondering which ones do you recommend and would be suitable for solo play (even playing multiple sides).

So far this is my order of preference:

1. Churchill
2. Kingdom of Heaven: The Crusader States 1097-1291
3. Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942
4. Triumph & Tragedy
5. A Distant Plain

Also, regarding COIN which is a system I am trying to learn, I already have Andean Abyss (which I played once) and Fire in the Lake (new in shrink) and was wondering if I need both. I was thinking of perhaps just keeping FITL which seems to get the better reviews and perhaps trade AA for one of the above games...

Feel free to comment and make suggestions.


Some people have not liked the solo experience of Churchill with the bots. The bots in Churchill are not to the same level as those in the COIN series, but they are probably sufficient for their purpose.

Whether you should keep AA, a lot depends on how much you like the system. Some people seem to be of the opinion that one game in the system is enough. Others - like me - preorder each new volume as it comes out and eagerly anticipate it. They each give different experiences. AA is probably a more pure counterinsurgency situation that Vietnam. As such, the games play out quite differently and have different dynamics between the factions. Personally, I think AA provides a great baseline. Seeing how other games have changed the basic model of AA to adapt them to their particular subject really gives some insight into how those wars are different from a more basic insurgency. For example, in AA you have 1 conventional force (the Gov't/COIN faction) and 3 irregular, guerilla forces. But in FitL you have 3 largely conventional forces and a single guerilla force (the VC; the NVA is actually split between conventional/irregular so maybe 2.5 to 1.5). As a result the games are very different.

EDIT: The other thing on COIN is that the games have vastly different playing times (CL the shortest at a couple hours; full campaign of FitL the longest at somewhere around 8 hrs.)


Yes the length of FITL scares me a little... I can't wait to try AA again so see how I like it.
 
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achates wrote:
My favourite game on that list is Kingdom of Heaven. Great game and plays well solo.


I am really interested in KOH. I have Warriors of God that I received in a trade earlier this year and haven't played yet. I was wondering if there was a thematic overlap in terms of a medieval wargame rather than functionally because they play totally differently?
 
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There was a recent C3i mag that included 3 "solo" AI foldouts that allowed you to play the other 3 factions as a solo game (for AA), if I'm not mistaken.

They look very similar to the ones that come in the game but never tried any of them out but sold off my COINs so now going purely from memory.
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4x scalper wrote:
There was a recent C3i mag that included 3 "solo" AI foldouts that allowed you to play the other 3 factions as a solo game (for AA), if I'm not mistaken.

They look very similar to the ones that come in the game but never tried any of them out but sold off my COINs so now going purely from memory.


Yes. I think they redid the bots completely based on the experience with other games and they added in a bot for the Government, which would allow you to theoretically play as any faction. But it may be like some of the other games where it is only balanced when you play either the Gov't or one of the insurgents (probably FARC) rather than balanced for any of them.
 
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achates wrote:
My favourite game on that list is Kingdom of Heaven. Great game and plays well solo.


Hmmm, you see I didn't find Kingdom of Heaven worked too well for me solo.

I play mostly solo, everything from Quartermaster General to World In Flames, so I'm definitely happy to give the whole spectrum of mechanics and complexity a fair shake, whether designed for solo play or not.

However, I think wargames that use a card hand mechanic suffer if there are only 2 or 3 'factions', as it's difficult to 'trick' yourself into not making decisions based on not knowing what is in the other hands***.

For me, the tactical/strategic surprise that makes Kingdom of Heaven such fun is essentially missing when being played solo.

Just my 2p worth, mind.

***I think this effect is mitigated in Combat Commander due to the relatively short 'turnover time' for a player hand, added to the game-changing effects that certain cards can have in CC.


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provence wrote:
Hello all,

I am trying create a wishlist for the holidays and was wondering which ones do you recommend and would be suitable for solo play (even playing multiple sides).

So far this is my order of preference:

1. Churchill
2. Kingdom of Heaven: The Crusader States 1097-1291
3. Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942
4. Triumph & Tragedy
5. A Distant Plain

Also, regarding COIN which is a system I am trying to learn, I already have Andean Abyss (which I played once) and Fire in the Lake (new in shrink) and was wondering if I need both. I was thinking of perhaps just keeping FITL which seems to get the better reviews and perhaps trade AA for one of the above games...

Feel free to comment and make suggestions.


Churchill, Wing Leader for sure.

A Distant Plain WILL NOT PLAY SOLO. You need to send it to me ASAP so my three personalities and I can play it.
 
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jonathan schleyer
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HenryTheSecond wrote:
achates wrote:
My favourite game on that list is Kingdom of Heaven. Great game and plays well solo.


Hmmm, you see I didn't find Kingdom of Heaven worked too well for me solo.

I play mostly solo, everything from Quartermaster General to World In Flames, so I'm definitely happy to give the whole spectrum of mechanics and complexity a fair shake, whether designed for solo play or not.

However, I think wargames that use a card hand mechanic suffer if there are only 2 or 3 'factions', as it's difficult to 'trick' yourself into not making decisions based on not knowing what is in the other hands***.

For me, the tactical/strategic surprise that makes Kingdom of Heaven such fun is essentially missing when being played solo.

Just my 2p worth, mind.

***I think this effect is mitigated in Combat Commander due to the relatively short 'turnover time' for a player hand, added to the game-changing effects that certain cards can have in CC.




Thanks for this valuable feedback.
 
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jonathan schleyer
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klkitchens wrote:
provence wrote:
Hello all,

I am trying create a wishlist for the holidays and was wondering which ones do you recommend and would be suitable for solo play (even playing multiple sides).

So far this is my order of preference:

1. Churchill
2. Kingdom of Heaven: The Crusader States 1097-1291
3. Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942
4. Triumph & Tragedy
5. A Distant Plain

Also, regarding COIN which is a system I am trying to learn, I already have Andean Abyss (which I played once) and Fire in the Lake (new in shrink) and was wondering if I need both. I was thinking of perhaps just keeping FITL which seems to get the better reviews and perhaps trade AA for one of the above games...

Feel free to comment and make suggestions.


Churchill, Wing Leader for sure.

A Distant Plain WILL NOT PLAY SOLO. You need to send it to me ASAP so my three personalities and I can play it.


I am reading up on Churchill and it does sound pretty amazing. I need to watch a few more video reviews - especially the solo ones.
 
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HenryTheSecond wrote:
achates wrote:
My favourite game on that list is Kingdom of Heaven. Great game and plays well solo.


Hmmm, you see I didn't find Kingdom of Heaven worked too well for me solo.

I play mostly solo, everything from Quartermaster General to World In Flames, so I'm definitely happy to give the whole spectrum of mechanics and complexity a fair shake, whether designed for solo play or not.

However, I think wargames that use a card hand mechanic suffer if there are only 2 or 3 'factions', as it's difficult to 'trick' yourself into not making decisions based on not knowing what is in the other hands***.

For me, the tactical/strategic surprise that makes Kingdom of Heaven such fun is essentially missing when being played solo.




Fair enough but I think this applies to pretty much any CDG. What causes problems for me in some CDGs is a high proportion of reactive cards, i.e. cards whose effect reacts to some action of the opponent. But I didn't find this to be a particular problem with KoH.

Nevertheless in order to play any CDG solo, including KoH, you have to be able to think for both sides and try to be independent. I don't think this is any different with a hand of cards than with counters or other components, hidden or not. Preparing an unexpected tactic or surprise move is a difficulty with any solo game. The best you can usually do (without using a lot of randomization, which is sometimes a good option) is to see what happens to one side had they been surprised..
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Has anyone played Triumph & Tragedy? Is it soloable?
 
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I do not see Triumph & Tragedy well as a solo. There is a lot of card play and difficult to do neutral decisions.
Why not get a real solo game, plenty of good options out there.
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provence wrote:
klkitchens wrote:
provence wrote:
Hello all,

I am trying create a wishlist for the holidays and was wondering which ones do you recommend and would be suitable for solo play (even playing multiple sides).

So far this is my order of preference:

1. Churchill
2. Kingdom of Heaven: The Crusader States 1097-1291
3. Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942
4. Triumph & Tragedy
5. A Distant Plain

Also, regarding COIN which is a system I am trying to learn, I already have Andean Abyss (which I played once) and Fire in the Lake (new in shrink) and was wondering if I need both. I was thinking of perhaps just keeping FITL which seems to get the better reviews and perhaps trade AA for one of the above games...

Feel free to comment and make suggestions.


Churchill, Wing Leader for sure.

A Distant Plain WILL NOT PLAY SOLO. You need to send it to me ASAP so my three personalities and I can play it.


I am reading up on Churchill and it does sound pretty amazing. I need to watch a few more video reviews - especially the solo ones.


I did a write-up of a solo game of Churchill here that might be of some help. It was my first play and I made some rules mistakes, (both substantive and in implementing the bots) but it might give you an idea of how it plays.
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provence wrote:
Has anyone played Triumph & Tragedy? Is it soloable?


I played it solo just to learn the rules, etc. It has a lot of hidden information (block units, many different choice for use of cards, sneaky military assaults vs going for economic or tech victory) so I don't think it would solo well at all. That being said, some people do like to solo it (I believe Marco Arnaudo said he enjoys playing it solo), it all depends on how you like to solo play your games and if you can manage the multiple personalities of it.

KoH has a lot of 'gotcha' cards, so doesn't solo particularly well, and the feel of the game is very different than Warriors of God. Warriors has a lot more chaos and potential for crazy swings than KoH.

Churchill solo is ok. The bots are not nearly as robust as real players, and you really miss out on the hidden bidding and negotiation with the bots. And I couldn't imagine playing it solo as all the factions with the way the bidding works.

From your list, my vote would be A Distant Plain. Even to solo all the factions is an enjoyable experience if you don't want to fret around with the bots.

Also consider a purely solo developed game. The Butterfield D-day series is outstanding and so is his Ambush! game.
If you want something solo but different from other stuff consider Navajo Wars
There are bunch of victory point game solo games. Cruel Necessity is something on my future hit list, it is supposed to be really good.

lastly here is a thread on best non-solo designed wargames to play solo
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/923772/best-non-solo-war-ga...

hope that helps out a bit
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doughboyca wrote:

Churchill solo is ok. The bots are not nearly as robust as real players, and you really miss out on the hidden bidding and negotiation with the bots. And I couldn't imagine playing it solo as all the factions with the way the bidding works.


The game isn't designed as a negotiation game (in the sense of table talk), so you're not really missing out on anything there by playing with bots. It's designed to explicitly model negotiations through the game mechanics - e.g., rather than negotiate a deal with the other player for his production in exchange for theater leadership, you fight it out through the issues by winning his DO while he wins European leadership. This isn't Here I Stand or something similar where actual player negotiation is an integral part.

As far as hidden bidding, if you're referring to the initial agenda segment card play, if the player chooses his card before looking at the bots hands, then it's not an issue. If you're referring to any card play, there is enough randomness in what the bots will do that you generally don't know with certainty what it will do.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this isn't a game where running away with VPs is generally a good thing. There is the possibility that a human against 2 bots can force a condition-3 victory and have an insurmountable VP lead. If that becomes the case, I've suggested elsewhere that for a 1 human v. 2 bots game, the human player must force axis surrender to win the game. At that point, the "strength" of the bots in terms of amassing VPs is less important. The player is then forced to carefully manage his VPs and the war effort to win by just enough.

It's a different experience from playing opposed (as any game is), but it's not a fundamental changes that alters what the game is.
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doughboyca wrote:
provence wrote:
Has anyone played Triumph & Tragedy? Is it soloable?


I played it solo just to learn the rules, etc. It has a lot of hidden information (block units, many different choice for use of cards, sneaky military assaults vs going for economic or tech victory) so I don't think it would solo well at all. That being said, some people do like to solo it (I believe Marco Arnaudo said he enjoys playing it solo), it all depends on how you like to solo play your games and if you can manage the multiple personalities of it.

KoH has a lot of 'gotcha' cards, so doesn't solo particularly well, and the feel of the game is very different than Warriors of God. Warriors has a lot more chaos and potential for crazy swings than KoH.

Churchill solo is ok. The bots are not nearly as robust as real players, and you really miss out on the hidden bidding and negotiation with the bots. And I couldn't imagine playing it solo as all the factions with the way the bidding works.

From your list, my vote would be A Distant Plain. Even to solo all the factions is an enjoyable experience if you don't want to fret around with the bots.

Also consider a purely solo developed game. The Butterfield D-day series is outstanding and so is his Ambush! game.
If you want something solo but different from other stuff consider Navajo Wars
There are bunch of victory point game solo games. Cruel Necessity is something on my future hit list, it is supposed to be really good.

lastly here is a thread on best non-solo designed wargames to play solo
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/923772/best-non-solo-war-ga...

hope that helps out a bit


Thanks for all these great responses everyone. I am starting to rethink some of my choices...

Churchill - now seems perhaps too long in full campaign mode which seems the richest way to play.

Kingdom of Heaven: The Crusader States 1097-1291 - as a CDG seems not as prone to solo. I also have Warriors of God with a medieval theme so maybe I don't need both.

Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942 - seems kind of interesting and can play well solo so I need to look into this more.

Triumph & Tragedy - too long and too hard to play solo due to hidden information.

A Distant Plain - appropriate to use solo but I have other COIN games I should probably play first.

Also, the advice to perhaps look for real solo games is a good one. I was thinking maybe Carrier could be worth exploring.
 
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In my limited experience with it I think that the bots in Churchill are best used when just one is needed to fill out the third player. I did not find it too engaging when playing against two bots. I agree that they seem 'shallow'.

However what a great opportunity to release some more advanced bots in a future c3i issue!
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