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Subject: Somewhat heavy solo game. rss

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Ingólfur Valsson
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My gaming group has been quite busy with their other life recently so I need something to fill my gaming need. I own one proper solo game I do not really like: The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 while it looks good and has a interesting narrative I don't feel I actually have to do anything as a player outside of watching things unfold. All decisions seem to be some minor push your luck type affairs.

I also own a few co-ops and they can be played solo. But I'm looking fro something deeper that I can invest more in.

I am open to:

Solo wargames but they can't be the two player type that has some sort of bot making another players decisions. It has to be a real solo game. It also has to have meaningful decisions and replayability. Not just reiterating a war the happened.

A Euro with solo variant as long as it works as a proper solo game. I have for example Caverna: The Cave Farmers that can be played solo but unlike Agricola there are no random elements so it becomes a solved puzzle. Anything similar, with some form of engine building but with some random elements so the same solution doesn't work everytime.

A pure sole game is of course a option.

I'm open to most settings because I find most things interesting.

I have looked at the Leader Series and found it interesting. Does it give you enough decisions to actually impact play? Which one is best in your opinion?

I also have seen recommendations for Victory Point Games States of Siege Series series but feared it might be a bit light for what I'm looking for.

Also would be interested in hearing about these recent heavy euros that are marked for Solo play: The Colonists, Terraforming Mars, A Feast for Odin, Fields of Arle, Imperial Settlers, etc. Do these types of games have a worthwhile solo rules? This type of games I normally enjoy in multiplayer so why not solo.

Where are the solo gamers meeting and talking here?
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April W
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Fields of Arle as a solo is just about trying to score more points than before. I haven't personally played it solo because I don't get a lot of time alone to do so, but I could see it being interesting because there are so many options on the board that a player would have many different strategies to explore each game. There is also some randomness to some of the buildings available for purchase each game.

Another one perhaps worth looking at is Viticulture Essential Edition (w/ Tuscany expansion for more weight). Again, I have not played it solo but I think it would be enjoyable. The game uses an "automa" deck, so the actions the AI blocks each turn are randomly drawn.

I am sure there are others on here who have tried these games solo and could give you their thoughts, but I know that I would love to have the time to try both solo at some point.
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Austin Andersen
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D-Day at Omaha Beach - I've heard nothing but good things about this one. There are two other games with similar titles in the series I believe.

Thunderbolt Apache Leader - From what I gather, it is the most popular of the leader series.

Scythe - A popular euro that can be solo'd. You can get additional automa decks if you want a game with more than 1 AI opponent.
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Navajo Wars or Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire.
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Tom Builder
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Mage Knight is quite heavy.
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Nevin Longardner
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My favorites (in order):

Mage Knight Board Game
Thunderbolt Apache Leader
Scythe
Nations

One cool thing about Scythe... if you buy a second Automa deck, you can play 3 player with it.
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Ryan Zecman
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Imperial Settlers is a good game but I am not sure it stands as strong when played solo. The solo is great for learning and playing a few times to get better but in the long term its just trying to improve your score every time you play. So unless you plan on also playing it with someone else eventually I might suggest something else.

Scythe is a great game and playing solo is fun too. Like mentioned above you can make it pretty complex with the ability to buy another Automa deck. Although I have not done so myself so I cannot comment on multiple decks.

New game that just came out is a pretty heavy worker placement Anachrony. Might be a little hard to get your hands on but is well worth it! It supports full solo mode since it has a Chronobot with a D6 that determines what action it takes. So you can kind of tell what actions it might be able to take but its not a guarantee either. So it will have some variance every time. The time travel mechanics are really cool in the game. You can also adjust the difficulty of the Chronobot. Each faction has different abilities and evacuation conditions so its possible to play quite a few games without even recycling a character to keep it fresh and new every time you play. Anachrony has a chance to my Game of the year and would highly recommend checking it out.
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John Burt
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Soleia wrote:
Fields of Arle as a solo is just about trying to score more points than before. I haven't personally played it solo because I don't get a lot of time alone to do so, but I could see it being interesting because there are so many options on the board that a player would have many different strategies to explore each game. There is also some randomness to some of the buildings available for purchase each game.

Another one perhaps worth looking at is Viticulture Essential Edition (w/ Tuscany expansion for more weight). Again, I have not played it solo but I think it would be enjoyable. The game uses an "automa" deck, so the actions the AI blocks each turn are randomly drawn.

I am sure there are others on here who have tried these games solo and could give you their thoughts, but I know that I would love to have the time to try both solo at some point.


FoA is one of my favorite heavy solo games, whereas Viticulture is much less enjoyable to me because of the randomness. To me, Viticulture is better as multiplayer.

Other heavier soloable games I like:

A Feast for Odin (much prefer this solo)
The Gallerist
Roads & Boats
La Granja (more medium weight, but I had to add it)
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Ryan Feathers
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KronikAlkoholik wrote:


Where are the solo gamers meeting and talking here?


The 1 Player Guild is the resource you're looking for. There are thousands of solo gamers there that discuss tons of things and run countless different geeklists, forums, discussions, contests, etc.

If you're looking for some useful recommendations, the yearly people's choice top 100 solo games is a great resource to check out. People often chime in with their thoughts about all their favorite games making it a nice one stop spot to get answers about the most popular solo games.

With all that being said, in particular among recent releases you listed I think A Feast for Odin has a fantastic solo mode. I agree with you that stuff like Caverna isn't even a true solo game since it's truly just a puzzle to find the optimal set of moves and it never changes. Agricola is pretty good solo but I don't even like it that much since it plays quite differently from the multiplayer version that I feel like I'm playing quite a different game. A Feast for Odin though....well it is pretty much my favorite game currently and the solo mode is a great way to play that manages to capture much of the spirit of the multiplayer game with minimal changes or additions to the rules. On top of that there is a great solo community for the game in the AFFO forums where we have weekly solo challenges and you can compare scores and learn strategies from other solo players. So that really helps keep the gameplay interesting and fresh.

Else one of my other top solo games is the Lord of the Rings Card Game, although Arkham Horror is fairly similar and is the new hotness and may be a bit better. Both are very good, but may not quite be heavy enough.

I still haven't gotten around to playing it, but Mage Knight is consistently the number one solo game in the people's choice. I suspect it would be another excellent heavy solo game to check out.

Finally I don't know a whole lot else about the other recent releases with solo options so I can't really speak to those.
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KronikAlkoholik wrote:
I also have seen recommendations for Victory Point Games States of Siege Series series but feared it might be a bit light for what I'm looking for.
agree with you. I really like them so light (I'm a light gamer), but it sounds you're looking for more meat.
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I feel the same way about the Leader series that you (and I) feel about Hunters. I've only played one of them, but the game is mostly in equipping your units. The game play itself leaves a lot to be desired and I was done with the game after a couple plays.

I would actually recommend Cruel Necessity over the Leader series. There are a heck of a lot more decision points in the game and random elements that make the game play differently. It's also quite difficult, I've still not beaten it.

Even though you mentioned you didn't want a co-op, I'd recommend taking a look at Freedom: The Underground Railroad. I've only ever played it solo but I enjoy it.

+1 D-Day at Omaha Beach as long as you don't mind a hex and counter style game.

And if you don't mind war games and can find a copy of Ambush! it is worth a look. Once you've played all the scenarios, you're kind of done with the game for awhile. I haven't played it for several years now though and have forgotten them, so I'm getting ready to get it out again.
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HenningK
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I like games similar to you amd don't really enjoy solo games. Agricola was fun, yes, as was Imperial Settlers, but I always missed the competition against other players. So I thought I was just not a solo gamer.

Then I played Mage Knight Board Game.

It totally blew me away and showed me just how much fun a solo game could be. It is very long and very complex, but incredibly rewarding, a comstant optimization puzzle that is very thematic and offers a very different course of the game each time you play it. Highly recommended.
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For a wargame take a look at conflict of heroes, you will need the solo expansion but it is worth every penny. I am also waiting on the reprint of d-day at Omaha beach.
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The choices really dry up when "Not a puzzle", "No bots", and "heavy" are added together. Mage Knight is near universally touted and the solo shines with first expansion, but it's puzzle-solving when you get down to it. Heavy, no bots, but a puzzle. In fact, I haven't played it for a while because once I figured out the seams in the puzzle and started winning, it became a game of beat-my-best-score at which point I tend to lose interest.

Really, ya gotta shake yer botty.

Pericles: The Peloponnesian War

A long time ago, Mark Herman made a previous Peloponnesian War game that was designed solitaire (actually it is interesting because there was 2-player, but it was an afterthought when usually it's the solo rules that are the afterthought) but it pretty much reiterated the war. The new one is sandbox, heavy, but of course, bots.

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Kevin Shillinglaw
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Dungeon Petz as a fantastic unofficial solo variant.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is another to look at.
 
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KronikAlkoholik wrote:
My gaming group has been quite busy with their other life recently so I need something to fill my gaming need. I own one proper solo game I do not really like: The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 while it looks good and has a interesting narrative I don't feel I actually have to do anything as a player outside of watching things unfold. All decisions seem to be some minor push your luck type affairs.

I was also interested in this game before, did some research and watched some playthroughs. In the end, I had the same impression, so thanks for your opinion and confirmation.

KronikAlkoholik wrote:
A pure sole game is of course a option.

I'm open to most settings because I find most things interesting.

I have looked at the Leader Series and found it interesting. Does it give you enough decisions to actually impact play? Which one is best in your opinion?

I also have seen recommendations for Victory Point Games States of Siege Series series but feared it might be a bit light for what I'm looking for.

I bought Thunderbolt Apache Leader but was in the end more satisfied with Phantom Leader Deluxe. While Thunderbolt Apache Leader added some really nice ideas and features (like zooming in and out of the battlefields and randomly generated maps), there are also some additions which made the game in my opinion more clunky (including more actual paperwork). If you are interested in my more detailed opinion, feel free to read it ►here.


My recommendations are:

Mage Knight Board Game


Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island


Just be aware that these games are not just "somewhat" heavy, they are indeed heavy. Having said that, they offer excellent solitaire experiences.
A fair warning about Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island: the game can be really swingy in terms of luck and it is at the same time a very unforgiving game, so be prepared for some potential gamer frustration.
And another fair warning about Mage Knight: while this game looks like and RPG-ish adventure game, it isn't in my opinion and I would actually describe it more as a racing game, as the focus and pressure on leveling your hero quickly is huge, plus there are no quests to do or storytelling elements to be found in this game. The combat system is also very euro-y, which might again be something new players probably don't expect.


If you are interested in a mid-heavy solo game which still offers the option to maybe someday play it with another person:

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game


Arkham Horror: The Card Game


Arkham Horror: The Card Game builds on the concept of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, but adds more complexity while also offering storytelling, RPG elements and campaign play.
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Jamie Kessinger
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It may not be quite what you're looking for but check out Star Trek: The Dice Game.

It's print and play so there's very little investment to try it, but if you like it you can purchase some of the awesome community made cards, boards and dice for it!
 
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Struggle for the Galactic Empire is a solo-designed wargame that I find very involving. You're basically struggling to maintain your empire from disintegration and dealing every turn with tons of random events (rebellions; religious uprisings; outright conquest and war). It isn't a short game and once you get the rules down I wouldn't even call it excessively heavy (in wargame terms that is) but it offers quite a lot of meat.
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The 1 Player Guild is where you want to be to talk all things solo gaming.

For a somewhat heavy solo game with something out of the ordinary, check out Leaving Earth. Not too many other games out there deal with launching rockets into outer space. It's math heavy, but if that doesn't scare you off it's definitely worth a look.
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Keith B
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quill65 wrote:
Soleia wrote:
Fields of Arle as a solo is just about trying to score more points than before. I haven't personally played it solo because I don't get a lot of time alone to do so, but I could see it being interesting because there are so many options on the board that a player would have many different strategies to explore each game. There is also some randomness to some of the buildings available for purchase each game.

Another one perhaps worth looking at is Viticulture Essential Edition (w/ Tuscany expansion for more weight). Again, I have not played it solo but I think it would be enjoyable. The game uses an "automa" deck, so the actions the AI blocks each turn are randomly drawn.

I am sure there are others on here who have tried these games solo and could give you their thoughts, but I know that I would love to have the time to try both solo at some point.


FoA is one of my favorite heavy solo games, whereas Viticulture is much less enjoyable to me because of the randomness. To me, Viticulture is better as multiplayer.

Other heavier soloable games I like:

A Feast for Odin (much prefer this solo)
The Gallerist
Roads & Boats
La Granja (more medium weight, but I had to add it)


The Gallerist has an excellent, and hard, solo mode.
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I haven't played any of the Leader series yet, but I picked up some in the latest KS so I'm looking forward to trying them out. From the same company though is Warfighter: The WWII Tactical Combat Card Game. This is a very enjoyable game so far w/ lots of variability in the base game box alone. Once you start adding expansions there's a ton you can do w/ it. One aspect of it that I find interesting is a lot of thought has to go into how you create your squad. I mean I guess you can just grab some random soldiers and equipment and see what happens, but crafting the squad before the game even begins is half the strategy involved in a successful game.
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Nothing beats Mage Knight, among the games I've played solitaire. It really makes solo playing as fun as playing with others. Some other games I like, but which are nowhere near as fun as Mage Knight:

D-Day at Omaha Beach
The Barbarossa Campaign
Thunderbolt Apache Leader
Navajo Wars

Games which I find to be too high on luck/low on decision-making (Navajo Wars is almost in this category because there is too much luck for my taste, but I find myself thinking a lot about it in between games, so there must be some interesting decisions there):

All States of Siege games I've tried
Robinson Crusoe
Hornet Leader
Eldritch Horror/Arkham Horror (fun with others, though)
 
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woodoo03 wrote:
KronikAlkoholik wrote:
I also have seen recommendations for Victory Point Games States of Siege Series series but feared it might be a bit light for what I'm looking for.
agree with you. I really like them so light (I'm a light gamer), but it sounds you're looking for more meat.


I never once felt like Dawn of the Zeds (Third edition) was "light," and I would recommend giving it a look if the theme appeals to you. It is quite difficult, and there are 5 difficulty / complexity levels.

As others have said, Mage Knight Board Game is an excellent heavy solo game.

Navajo Wars is also a good suggestion. It was built from the ground up as solo, and it quite heavy. The tutorial took me three hours.

Freedom: The Underground Railroad, as mentioned, is an excellent solo game. It's probably lighter than you're looking for, though.
 
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emodiu5 wrote:
I never once felt like Dawn of the Zeds (Third edition) was "light," and I would recommend giving it a look if the theme appeals to you. It is quite difficult, and there are 5 difficulty / complexity levels.

Love DOTZ. Most narrative game I own. Agree with you that it's kind of complex and not easy to win. But I had the impression that the OP was more looking for "heavy" in terms of strategic planning and long-term decisions.
 
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Ingólfur Valsson
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Thank you for all your suggestions. This certainly leaves a lot of things to pick from. I'm traveling to New York in a month and was hoping to grab a game while there because it is quite cheaper than back home.
 
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