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Subject: Five solitaire sessions in one night ... a quick overview rss

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Edd Allard
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Usually, when I write a session report, I try to be creative, tell a story and make it entertaining. But after all of the chat about how the game works (or doesn't) with a single player, I decided to run a marathon set of five solitaire sessions and see for myself.

For all five games, I played using the standard rules, right out of the box. I drew the characters randomly.

The first game, I drew the Eagle Rider. I defeated Gorgutt fairly early after a good run of visits to the inns, and Sapphire followed soon after. Following an initial loss to Balazarg, I finally beat him just outside Monarch City. Varkolak was still at Seabird Port when I finally had sufficient cards to take him on. But, I had focused so much on collecting black cards that I completely lost track of the orcs and -- you guessed it -- I drew an Orc War Party, couldn't stop it, and didn't have enough orcs in reserves. Game 1, me 0.

The second game, I drew the Eagle Rider again. I was initially tempted to redraw, but decided "random is random" and besides, I wanted to see if he could do any better a second time around. This time, I went after Sapphire first. Unfortunately, even with an overwhelming number of dice (nine), and the Eagle Rider's special Ground Attack, I was unable to put her down, and limped back to Monarch City to lick my wounds. I regrouped and went after her again, this time winning, but the board was getting really crowded. Varkolak fell next, and I managed to take out Gorgutt fairly soon after. However, minions and Balazarg were advancing on Monarch City at an alarming pace. I took a chance and focused on the minions -- wrong move. Balazarg marched triumphantly into town, and my Eagle Rider was down again. Game 2, me 0.

Next, I drew the Dwarf. Sapphire and Varkolak fell fairly quickly, but then I simply couldn't muster the cards I needed to take on either of the remaining generals. So, I decided to go questing and to knock out as many minions along the way as possible, collecting cards at a slow, but steady pace. I managed to take out Balazarg next, but things were getting a bit dicey (no pun intended). With only one taint crystal left in reserves, and two minions in Monarch City, I was finally able to confront Gorgutt in Eagle Peak Pass.In spite of a couple of succesful parries, I was able to play a Battle Luck card and generate enough hits to put him down. Game 2, me 1!

For the fourth session, I drew the Paladin. Sapphire and Gorgutt fell in succession. The first attempt against Varkolak was nearly fatal, had it not been for the Paladin's ability to ignore one wound. But, after some much needed R&R in Monarch City, I was able to rally and the Champion of the Undead fell to the Paladin's sword. Unfortunately, while all of this was going on, the minions were steadily increasing their foothold. Without warning, an overrun resulted in two additional taints and suddenly all 12 crystals were on the board. Game 3, me 1.

For the final session, I drew the Wizard. Others have said he is the best character for a solitaire session, and based on tonight's results I'd have to agree. Sapphire and Gorgutt fell without so much as a wimper. A couple of fortunate Quests, and I faced Vorkolak with the War Banner of Valor. Although I didn't beat him the first time, he was severely wounded, and since I was unscathed, I rallied quickly to beat him on the second attempt. By the time I faced Balazarg, he had advanced to the gates of the city. However, I had managed to acquire the Helm of Power and felt ready for the confrontation. As with the battle against Vorkolak, I didn't immediately beat Balazarg, but the War Banner left me fresh for a second round two turns later. Three wounds needed, four hits rolled, and down he went. Game 3, me 2!!!

So, after five sessions, playing strictly using the standard rules, I managed two very close wins, and three equally close losses. I never felt like I was way behind, nor did I ever feel like I was way out in front. Every game was extremely close at the end, and but for the fortunate (or unfortunate) draw of a card at the right moment, every single game could have gone either way.

And please don't read into that last comment that winning or losing is merely the luck of the draw. I was faced with very challenging decisions throughout each session. Where I found myself during the endgame was very much a factor of the decisions I had made early on -- do I try to get more combat cards to take on the generals? do I try to push back the massing minions? do I focus on the taint crystals for a turn or two? -- always with the realization that with each of these decisions there was a real possibility that the next Darkness Spreads card could push me to the brink.

As solitaire games go, this one seems well balanced and the game's AI provides sufficient challenges for even a seasoned gamer. The theme works, and the gameplay is smooth and thoughtful, and the endgame is always close.

I'll probably wait until tomorrow to play session number six, but I've already drawn my random character. Next up ... the Ranger! Tally Ho!
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Richard Launius
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Great report and congratulations on your 2 wins.

Thanks for defending the realm. Richard
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Edd Allard
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Great game Richard!

I played two more solitaire sessions today. One with the Ranger and another with the Dwarf. The Ranger was beaten handily. Still had two generals on the board (Varkolak and Balazarg). A couple of back-to-back overruns resulted in the placement of the 12th taint crystal. The Dwarf fared better, defeating three of the generals before dying in battle with Varkolak. I drew the Eagle Rider as his replacement, but before I could muster enough cards to face down Varkolak again, I had 3 minions in the city, 10 crystals on the board, and only 3 orcs in reserve. I decided to focus on the crystals, when I drew a Darkness Spreads card that brought on the remaining orcs. Game 5, me 2.
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Richard Launius
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I am glad you are enjoying it. I have always enjoyed playing (still do after more than 100 games) both solitaire and with others. For me Defenders is what all games should be, first and foremost - fun! I enjoy reading reports like this from people who are truly having fun playing the game.

Thanks again - Richard
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Bob Marso
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I love this game solitaire as well. Was telling my wife last night that while I enjoy a variety of competitive and corporative games with her and others, Defenders is definitely my favorite game to play solo.

It is my favorite because there is so many things going on and the fantasy theme and length keeps me engrossed in a way other solitaire games do not.

Ok, I confess, it is my overall favorite corporative game as well.

I'm tempted to by "Arkham Horror". Never played but if it is as engrossing as this game, I'm there!!!!


Bob
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Richard Launius
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Glad to hear you are enjoying the game bob. based on your enjoyment of Defenders, I would say that you will love Arkham as well if you enjoy 1920's gothic horror in the Lovecraft Mythology. Arkham plays well as a group or solo. It has longer play time on the average, but also has more detailed story elements.

Thanks for playing - Richard
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T Hass
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I recently received my copy of the game and I was very impressed with all the components. I already read the rules and quickly played a solo game using the given rules(no variants) and just one hero. I was able to defeat one general before the last crystal appeared. I felt that I was doing ok, and that it was the worst Darkness Spreads card possible that was picked that lead to my demise.

On to game 2; Same result defeated one general before the last crystal made it onto the board.

On to game 3; This time I was going to focus on the crystals early. Big mistake! Generals were advancing towards Monarch City and many minions were being placed. Because there were so many minions the crystals started coming out fast and spread all over. I lost with zero generals defeated and again all crystals were placed. Clearly you can't focus on one aspect of the game, all threats must be dealt with.

I think I'm going to try with 2 heroes next time, but the game is very very fun... oh and I will defeat the generals, it's just a matter of time.
 
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Sarah Jaernecke
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Cheers, this is encouraging. I have not dared a one-hero game yet because I'm leery of not being able to gather enough cards of the right color, which is sometimes dicey even with three heroes. Maybe I'm just overly careful there as I don't attack with less than a dozen dice if I don't have to. This was not a problem for you?

Edit: Arkham is great too. It is more complex and takes a lot more time to play, but the former is not a drawback. The latter can be, especially with a half-dozen players. Still, if you have time and/or the option to leave it on the table overnight, it can be a lot of fun. And playing a game less frequently due to time constraints also means it stays "fresh" for longer IMO.
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James Bjork

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Bumping old thread....

Thanks for the detailed solo review! I don't like running multiple heroes in any coop (e.g. Pandemic) because it gives things a more artificial feel, and less role-playing, especially for an immersive theme game.

Nice to have a "sample size" of several games from which to draw some tentative conclusions. I also appreciate the commentary on how every game could have gone either way. To me that is a hallmark of good cooperative game design.

I just bought this game (on Rahdo's recommendation and other youtubes). Have it all set up on my table, ready for a solo go of it.

I was wondering whether to even TRY to do this with just a single hero. It seemed to me that the mechanic of having to assemble a critical mass of cards of the same color would not scale smoothly across the number of heroes.

I think I can live with a 40% success rate, so I'll draw a random Defender and give it a go.
 
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