This is my third of THREE historical games to play solo this month. I realize that calling Chrononauts a "historical" game might be a bit of a reach, but it DOES involve history and the other candidates I had were Soviet Dawn, which didn't grab me like Levée en Masse did and Fire in the Lake, which I am saving for a month when the theme is "Games you started this month with no hope of finishing this month..."
So, Chrononauts it is for "history". This was my starting position:
Chrononauts as a solo game is, to me, a lot like doing a Sudoku puzzle or a game of Patience/Klondike, more of a sort of mental exercise activity than feeling like I'm actually playing a game. You have 8 time travelers who all have certain versions of history they want to see happen and you have to fulfill all their versions on ONE pass through the deck (which, in the solo game, consists solely of Paradox patches and timeline modifying cards).
The thing is, once you cause a paradox and then patch it with a new timeline, you only get to use that patch once. If you have to flip the timeline back to original history and you lose that patch, it's gone for good. It's sometimes possible to deal out your opening hand of time travelers and see right away that the game will be impossible to win due to the different combinations you need.
Complicating things last night for me were the travelers, Squa Tront and Zene Reenak (from an expansion) who both needed World War III to happen. World War III requires that you BOTH stop the Manhattan Project AND sabotage the Sputnik Launch to be able to apply the patch causing World War III to happen. I was happy to see the World War III patch in my opening hand because you want to get those guys out of the way early. (Or very late.) That's because, while you're in a timeline where World War III happened, the world ended there and all future timelines are all off limits until you restore history (which you only need to restore the Manhattan Project OR the Sputnik Launch).
I was "fortunate" enough to be able to destroy the future of mankind by insuring World War III would happen, but unfortunate in the fact that I had also, along the way somewhere, PREVENTED World War I (so, would that have made World War III now become World War II? ahhh.. Time traveling headaches!) by preventing the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914.
That left me in a bind I couldn't win. Zane Reenak needed World War III AND World War I but Timmy and Herbert needed World War I NOT to happen. So my paradox patching gave me a game losing paradox of my own. I could possibly have gotten Herbert home, but I couldn't get Timmy home because there was no 1999 timeline left with World War III in place. If I got Zane Reenak home to be able to re-prevent World War III, I couldn't get Timmy home because World War I would have happened (to get Zane home) and I wouldn't be able to prevent it a second time.
ahhhhh... game over!