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RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940» Forums » General

Subject: Hints for a good solitaire game rss

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Beorne
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The time to find a friend to play face to face is reducing as we got older, so I'm searching some good solitaire games.
I've already bought Fields of Fire that "seems" beautiful but now, as is now, is almost umplayable due to the mess with the rulebook.

Other three games I'm considering are:
- Raf
- Silent War
- Field Commander Alexander

I'm not a fanatic of ww2 period, but Raf is the first of my list cause the very good ranking. It is non that cheap so I'd like additional informations, and the reviews are or comparative of old raf edition or reviews about the quality of componentes (wich really I don't care much).

Is raf so good? and why?

Thanks.
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James Fung
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Beorne wrote:
I've already bought Fields of Fire that "seems" beautiful but now, as is now, is almost umplayable due to the mess with the rulebook.

I believe there is, or they are working on a rewritten rulebook to make learning and playing easier. Unfortunately, I can't find it, or I'd link to it.

Quote:
- Silent War

I felt it was repetitive, but I only played it a little.

Quote:
- Field Commander Alexander

Dan Verssen Games and I have a muddled history. Sometimes they're good, something they're meh.

Quote:
I'm not a fanatic of ww2 period, but Raf is the first of my list cause the very good ranking. It is non that cheap so I'd like additional informations, and the reviews are or comparative of old raf edition or reviews about the quality of componentes (wich really I don't care much).

The ranking may drop soon. It's probably a little high right now because 1) it just came out, 2) the first people to rate the game tend to be its supporters.

I wrote a fairly detailed review of the original RAF here, to give you a point of reference for the "what has changed" reviews.

Quote:
Is raf so good? and why?

RAF is one of the few games that takes an operational look the Battle of Britain. Many air combat wargames focus on combat between just a handful of aircraft, and any campaign is just used to string together such dogfights. RAF takes a broader perspective and looks at how both sides utilize their aircraft throughout the day, maintain their force for the long-term campaign, and how the Fighter Command defense network reacts to German raids. Combat is abstracted in that large air battles are handled with a couple die rolls and card draws. However, there is still chrome in the game as events make both sides deal with all the chance happenings their historical counterparts.

But if you say you aren't really into WW2, I don't know if you'll get excited by an operational level game of the Battle of Britain alone. As for the game, it's very streamlined with little fiddliness. Thus, it moves along fairly quickly. The original has a reputation as a tough solitaire game, though I haven't played enough of the new version to speak about game balance.

It's hard to recommend a solitaire game if you're only so so on WW2 since many of the classic ones (Carrier, Raid on St. Nazaire, etc.) are WW2. Maybe you can describe what you like about the games you have and people can give recommendations based on that.
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Brent Pollock
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I'm not familiar with the other two, but the WEG version of RAF has occupied the majority of my solo gaming, which I've been doing for over twenty years. I joined the pre-order list for this new version as soon as I found out about it and have not been disappointed.

There are plenty of solo game GeekLists which you can check out, but in order of amount played from my personal list:
RAF (WEG & Decision Games)
B-17
Raid on St. Nazaire
Solitaire ASL
Peloponnesian War
Mosby's Raiders

As you can see from the list, I am a WII 'fanatic' and, being a citizen of a Commonwealth country, quite drawn to the Battle of Britain.

The Decision Games edition has the bonus of not being out of print.
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Beorne, Of the three RAF is my personal favorite ('favourite' for Brent), Like Fusag (What in the world is that equation?) said, it is very streamlined, nearly everything you need to play either side is printed on the map for quick reference. And very rarely do you have to reference the rulebook once you have the basics down. Several handy rules refs have been created by users, see the files section. Which have all enhanced my play of the game.

Silent War would be next. Epic Scale would be a good descriptor for this one. The actual patrol and combat mechanics are simple, straightforward, and unbelievably frustrating. (in a good way, bear with me) At the opening of the war because of the historical use of the Mark XIV torpedoes which were very poor, hitting a ship happens but actually sinking it is another story. You conduct the patrols for every single Sub in ComSubPac, that gets long, and if you don't use Vassal, I pray that you don't have a cat (little buggers love those submarine counters soblue ) Cause to run a full campaign will take weeks, nay months to complete unless you are a true grognard. But there are many small scenarios to whet your appetite that are very fun and have historical benchmarks which are damn hard to match.

Alexander: I own all the Hornet Leader stuff from DVG. Alas, I have only witnessed one demo game at my gamestore. No money and a moody wife have prevented this one from sitting on my shelf It looks cool though.

The RAF desginer John Butterfield also has a game out called D-Day Omaha Beach which also piques my interest greatly. Need more discretionary cash!!!

RAF, if I figure out how many hours I have enjoyed it and divided that by the cost would come to few scant pennies per hour.

Good luck with your pick. Fusag is a heavy contributor, read his stuff he does a great job reviewing and analyzing.
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James Fung
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craig104 wrote:
(What in the world is that equation?)

It relates the Fibonacci number sequence to the Golden Ratio, which explains why it crops up now and then in nature, like nautilus shells.

Quote:
At the opening of the war because of the historical use of the Mark XIV torpedoes which were very poor, hitting a ship happens but actually sinking it is another story. You conduct the patrols for every single Sub in ComSubPac, that gets long, and if you don't use Vassal, I pray that you don't have a cat (little buggers love those submarine counters soblue ) Cause to run a full campaign will take weeks, nay months to complete unless you are a true grognard.

That succinctly describes my experience with the game. I probably should have tried some later war tours before giving it back to my friend. Most of my early war patrols were: find target, launch torpedos, dud, run out of torpedoes, return back to base.

Quote:
Alexander: I own all the Hornet Leader stuff from DVG. Alas, I have only witnessed one demo game at my gamestore. No money and a moody wife have prevented this one from sitting on my shelf It looks cool though.

If you like the Eagle portion of RAF, give Hornet Leader a try. It has the same planning aspect... and hoping it doesn't fall apart after whatever the game system surprises you with. I don't remember having to keep the game setup between missions, so you can spend 15-30 minutes on one mission, update the squadron log with how everyone's doing, and pack it away until you have time again.

Quote:
The RAF desginer John Butterfield also has a game out called D-Day Omaha Beach which also piques my interest greatly. Need more discretionary cash!!!

I know the map is designed to make the game run smoother and quicker, but... I couldn't get passed the colored symbols everywhere. I may be missing a good solitaire game because of that. I should read the rules and give it a look.
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Beorne
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Thank you all, bgg is such a great community.

The rules for FoF are being totally (I hope) rewritten, and it appear a titanic work. I look at the GMT homepage eevery day, but I think they will not be outbefore Q4 2009.

My favourite background is Fantasy and ancient warfare, but Magic Realm solo is too much for me, it is better to study FoF.
But I often play Combat Commander and I have some WWII wargames, (like Fields of Fire) so I don't dislike the period. For me the best quality a solo game should have is "tense and immersive".
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Brent Pollock
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I own neither Hornet Leader nor its sequel, Apache Leader, but have heard good things about them.
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James Fung
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Beorne wrote:
For me the best quality a solo game should have is "tense and immersive".

A man after my own heart. My recommendations are:

Carrier - very tense, eagerly anticipating each search roll and combat result, not knowing when the enemy airstrike will appear overhead
Patton's Best - everything is seen from the perspective of your tank crew and in such detail that it almost reaches RPG level of immersion. And it's tense/scary when you're facing a FlaK 88 or Tiger in your flimsy armor.
Raid on St. Nazaire - recreates key aspects of the historical battle (devastating German naval fire; disorganized German response; initial British supremacy on the ground gradually reversing) making you feel you were there. Also, hoping key demolition, effect, German movement, etc. rolls keep coming in your favor. Eventually your advantage will run out, as happened historically, but it's quite a ride.

However, these are all out of print. For those in print... I heard Field Commander: Alexander is more immersive than Rommel. The tactics chits and more or less linear campaign makes sense for Alexander. But I have little actual experience with the game.
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D Summers
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Beorne wrote:

The rules for FoF are being totally (I hope) rewritten, and it appear a titanic work. I look at the GMT homepage eevery day, but I think they will not be outbefore Q4 2009.


If you haven't given up completely on FOF, take a look at this thread. It has a reorganized ruleset which may help you:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/395967/page/1

Make sure you take a look at the examples of play at GMT as well. If you're completely not getting it though, then best to wait for the official rules rewrite. To enjoy FOF, you to be comfortable w/ some rule ambiguity and/or passion for doing internet searches.

I've enjoyed FOF, but I am looking heavily at RAF and DDay myself.
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Quote:
I've enjoyed FOF, but I am looking heavily at RAF and DDay myself.


David S. you won't be disappointed with RAF, am looking at saving my pennies for D-Day now, just so my wife can roll her eyes at me when the die rolls go my way and I high five myself. (Sorry maybe an overshare there)
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Matt R
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craig104 wrote:
Quote:
I've enjoyed FOF, but I am looking heavily at RAF and DDay myself.


David S. you won't be disappointed with RAF, am looking at saving my pennies for D-Day now, just so my wife can roll her eyes at me when the die rolls go my way and I high five myself. (Sorry maybe an overshare there)


Hah hah! Awesome...


By the by, I really do wish:
a) I could find a good copy of Carrier at a decent price
or
b) Someone would just simply reprint Carrier


Also, although I know virtually nothing about the game, I do know that Omega Games recently reprinted Ranger, a paragraph-driven solitaire game about leading a group of U.S. Rangers on various missions. Seems interesting but I couldn't find rules online and I believe that there may be still some issues with the reprint where it needed some kind of errata. But I figured I'd throw it out there. Maybe someone who reads this who has played the game would be able to comment more on it...

And, here's a link to Simon Mueller's solitaire wargame list:
http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/35598


EDIT: And here's the solitaire metalist (note that this list also links to non-wargame solitaire games too but you may find it helpful).

EDIT2: Oh yeah, fusag - You've played Ranger and may still have it? Have you played the 2nd edition and what do you think about it? I for one would appreciate your thoughts... And I'd also like to personally thank you for my interest in Carrier, Ranger, and other solitaire war games due to your excellent reviews, session reports, etc. Keep up the good work!
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James Fung
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Noonespecial wrote:
Also, although I know virtually nothing about the game, I do know that Omega Games recently reprinted Ranger, a paragraph-driven solitaire game about leading a group of U.S. Rangers on various missions. Seems interesting but I couldn't find rules online and I believe that there may be still some issues with the reprint where it needed some kind of errata. But I figured I'd throw it out there. Maybe someone who reads this who has played the game would be able to comment more on it...

Yes, I played it several times, including one extended patrol, then I got busy and never got around to writing a review. Basically: Ranger is a pretty simple paragraph-based game, meaning you read a paragraph and either a decision you make or a die roll directs you to the next paragraph. This doesn't mean it's some choose your own adventure work of fiction; the paragraph book just directs you from situation to situation.

The game roughly breaks down into 2 modes: traveling and at the objective. During traveling, you choose a formation (trading off safety for speed) and march along the route you plotted at the start of the patrol. This occasionally gets interrupted by an obstacle (an unexpected building in your path), mishap (you lose contact with part of your patrol), or enemy contact (varying degrees of enemy opposition and who has the drop on who). The objective portion has you trying to carry out your mission at the objective.

I've heard the game was used for training in ranger camp, probably unofficially, and I can see why as it trains you what the correct response would be for various situations. Mark rally points regularly so, if the patrol ever gets split up, you can meet up again. Run into an unexpected obstacle and have time? Perform an offset bypass movement. Planning on crossing a stream? Make sure to bring rope so you can perform a one-rope bridge crossing. When at the objective, always setup flank security teams with anti-armor weapons, clear enemy weapons as soon as all enemies are down, and secure the other side of the objective, or you'll have men in bodybags. The thing is, after a few games, most of it becomes automatic, which takes some of the game out. The decisions I still have trouble with are: gaugeing whether an enemy contact will miss me, in which case I should let them pass, or if they'll spot me, in which case I should setup an ambush; and if I'm surprised by an attack, which withdraw option do we use.

As for combat, if you have your entire platoon available, with machine guns and grenade launchers, any engagement where you aren't in the kill zone of an enemy ambush you can easily overwhelm with firepower and escape. You'll probably take 1 or 2 casualties over the course of a patrol, but I've never come close to a "near run thing." In other words, it's realistic. In Ambush, you might have climactic battles that can go either way. In Ranger, if that happens, you've already failed; you should have avoided it or gotten out of it long before.

My bottom line on the game is that it was an interesting experience, and I learned a lot about ranger long-range patrols, but after a while the missions get samey and there is no surprise left. Thus, it's more of an interactive educational tool than a game. Unlike Ambush, where the expansions gave you new, varied missions, the expansions for Ranger give you more maps and mission cards, but they're more of the same.

As for errata, there were some problems with the paragraph book which the designer, Bill Gibbs, only caught after they had been printed, so current copies of the game have a temporary photocopy of the corrected paragraph book. When he gets a corrected version professionally printed, he'll send out replacements. However, he's in the army, so...
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Matt R
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Thanks for taking the time for that in-depth explanation of Ranger, Fusag! I think the Ranger forum would probably benefit from your mini-review.

After poking around on the forums and other websites, I was really questioning how much of an actual "game" was in there. Sounds interesting enough to get a few plays in, but with di$po$able income being at a premium right now for me, I think I may hold off on Ranger. I'm still considering RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940 pretty seriously, but with my recent interest in the WWII Pacific theater my heart is more set on Carrier. Alas...
 
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Chuck Pierce
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craig104 wrote:
David S. you won't be disappointed with RAF, am looking at saving my pennies for D-Day now, just so my wife can roll her eyes at me when the die rolls go my way and I high five myself. (Sorry maybe an overshare there)
I don't get it. The dice sometimes go your way????

My dice are possessed and totally evil. They mock me and fart in my general direction. I love RAF! :-)
 
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Oxotnik wrote:
They mock me and fart in my general direction. I love RAF! :-)


Now go away before I taunt you a second time, silly English K nigget!
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robert lindsay
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Another one to check out is Phase Line Smash, now long
out of print from GDW. The rules are dense, and the map
is ugly, but it's a very good take on the first Iraq war.
 
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