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Subject: How many solo board games are out there? rss

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Kyle
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I've recently come across both Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game and Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game. I've had a great deal of fun playing both of them.

How many other games like these are there? I've never experienced a board game that I could 'play against the game'.

The cooperative element isn't as important to me as the solo play element is.

My experience with board games is rather limited, and it's stilted towards competitive games. Risk, the Gamemaster Series, and other similar games are the largest portion of my BG experience.

The thematic elements aren't very important to me. I'm more concerned with effective gameplay.

So... what cool solo BG's are out there?






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Jay Sheely
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Well, I'ld say most of the wargames out there can be played solo - and many are designed specifically that way.

A Victory Denied: Crisis at Smolensk, July-September, 1941 is a good 1 or two player.
Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? is a new one with a dedicated solo option.
Astra Titanus is a newish (cheaper) solo game from Victory point games. I just got it in the mail so I can't say anything else.

Tons of options.
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Merric Blackman
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There are more on the wargaming side of things, but Arkham Horror has worked very well for me as a solo game. Runebound requires a little adjustment, but can be entertaining (I prefer it solo to playing with other people, in fact!)

A couple of dedicated solo wargames of note, which aren't particularly difficult to play are D-Day at Omaha Beach and Field Commander: Alexander, (the latter is indeed very easy to play).

Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? also has a solo option.

Agricola, Le Havre and At the Gates of Loyang can be played solo, but I don't really recommend them as solo game.

Cheers!




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Peter Wiles
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You might check out this geeklist: SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek

I've been having fun with Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
I also play Pandemic solo quite a bit and really enjoy it.

If you want to venture down the dark road of print-and-play, there are a large number of quality solo games available

Zombie in my Pocket
Pocket Civ
Free Trader

and many more
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GodRob
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As stated previously, most games can be played solo. What matters is whether they are enjoyable solo!

I don't find games that require a Game Master to be very enjoyable solo so I wouldn't suggest Descent or Hero Quest type games.

Too many "hidden" cards can ruin a games solitaire playability as well (Poker, Magic)

Games that are very similar to Castle Ravenloft (IMO) are Sorcerer's Cave and Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel. Both very enjoyable solo.

Robert
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Terry
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Dixit solo is a little tricky.
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Castle Panic is fun solo in a very simple, tower defense way. (it's multiplayer also, semi-coop/coop)

Dungeon Twister 2: Prison has a solo AI that has gotten rave reviews.
(it's 2-player too)

Victory Point Games put out a lot of games specifically designed for solo play. Of those I think Nemo's War has gotten a lot of buzz, and they just came out with Legions of Darkness with a D&D theme. They have some really original and creative themes for some of their games like Disaster on Everest and Circus Train (First Edition).

And if you want to get all wargamey there's the Field Commander series designed specifically for solo play:
Field Commander: Rommel
Field Commander: Alexander
Field Commander: Napoleon
(Genghis Kahn is apparently up next!!! )
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George Buss
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I play a few games solo... With young kids and a tired wife, I find myself playing something at 10pm over a cup of coffee to unwind....

Lately I've enjoyed:

Space Hulk: death Angel card game
Thunderstone
Isle of Dr. Necreaux
Agricola
Oceania
Lord of the Rings coop



Slew of decent print and play games as well:
Utopia Engine
D-Day Dice
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ThatFedoraGuy wrote:
...I find myself playing something at 10pm over a cup of coffee to unwind....




wow
And what time do you go to bed, 4 AM?
I'm not sure I could even get to sleep at all that night if I drank coffee at 10 PM
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Damon
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Always alone... the definitive list of single player games. has a lot of solo games listed.
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I second Ghost stories.
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Kyle
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Awesome stuff! Thanks for the responses. I haven't had the time check all these games, but I'll try.

I'm not sure I made it clear in my original post but, I'm looking more for games that are designed as a solo game. I know I can play Risk and Monopoly as solo games, but that's no fun because they're not designed that way.
 
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nyjastul69 wrote:
I'm not sure I made it clear in my original post but, I'm looking more for games that are designed as a solo game. I know I can play Risk and Monopoly as solo games, but that's no fun because they're not designed that way.

You probably realize this, but there are (at least) five different kinds of "solo" games:

1. Strictly solo by design
2. Cooperative and work great solo (you don't have to pretend to be multiple players). Example: Vanished Planet
3. Cooperative but you have to pretend to be multiple players. Example: Red November
4. Competitive but you just play one side, and try to get your highest score. Example: Agricola
5. Competitive but you have to pretend to be multiple players

You described #5, and I agree that it is entirely unsatisfying, and really doesn't even count as a solo game. Personally I'm not fond of #4 or #3 either, although they can be ok. I would recommend that you remain open to #2, since they really can play just as well solo as with multiple players.
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Kyle
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peakhope wrote:
nyjastul69 wrote:
I'm not sure I made it clear in my original post but, I'm looking more for games that are designed as a solo game. I know I can play Risk and Monopoly as solo games, but that's no fun because they're not designed that way.

You probably realize this, but there are (at least) five different kinds of "solo" games:

1. Strictly solo by design
2. Cooperative and work great solo (you don't have to pretend to be multiple players). Example: Vanished Planet
3. Cooperative but you have to pretend to be multiple players. Example: Red November
4. Competitive but you just play one side, and try to get your highest score. Example: Agricola
5. Competitive but you have to pretend to be multiple players

You described #5, and I agree that it is entirely unsatisfying, and really doesn't even count as a solo game. Personally I'm not fond of #4 or #3 either, although they can be ok. I would recommend that you remain open to #2, since they really can play just as well solo as with multiple players.


To be honest, I did not realize all of that.

Yeah, the Risk/Monopoly statement might have been too much. I do like Risk though. devil I think I'm interested in #1 mostly.

Thanks for clarifying what I meant. I've got some checking to do.
 
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I've only played Le Havre solo before. It was interesting if you like that game, but at the same time, I think it could get really boring really quickly. It's not really playing against the game, just seeing what kind of score you can get each time. Fun to try once, but I haven't been close to tempted to trying it again.
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Peter Wiles
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peakhope wrote:

You probably realize this, but there are (at least) five different kinds of "solo" games:


I might suggest a 6th type. These are competitive games whose rules have been fundamentally altered to make it a solo game by design. The variants listed in the geeklist that I posted (SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek) follow this philosophy. There he mentions that

GameRulesforOne wrote:
The goals set for these variants are not to score the highest possible score ever but to beat the game design.


So you are not just playing Tichu (as an example) multihanded, you are playing a variant that keeps the flavor of the original game but is designed to be played solo against the game system.
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Peter Wiles
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nyjastul69 wrote:
peakhope wrote:

You probably realize this, but there are (at least) five different kinds of "solo" games:

1. Strictly solo by design
2. Cooperative and work great solo (you don't have to pretend to be multiple players). Example: Vanished Planet
3. Cooperative but you have to pretend to be multiple players. Example: Red November
4. Competitive but you just play one side, and try to get your highest score. Example: Agricola
5. Competitive but you have to pretend to be multiple players

You described #5, and I agree that it is entirely unsatisfying, and really doesn't even count as a solo game. Personally I'm not fond of #4 or #3 either, although they can be ok. I would recommend that you remain open to #2, since they really can play just as well solo as with multiple players.


To be honest, I did not realize all of that.

Yeah, the Risk/Monopoly statement might have been too much. I do like Risk though. devil I think I'm interested in #1 mostly.

Thanks for clarifying what I meant. I've got some checking to do.


Strictly speaking, the two games you referred to at the beginning (Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon) are type 2. They aren't strictly solo games. Doing a quick search, there aren't really very many strictly solo games on the market that are not war games. As mentioned before, there are a lot more print and play choices, though. (turn to the dark side!)
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Kyle
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Strictly speaking you are correct. I think I created a monster.

It is a good monster though. At least I'm learning an assload about BG's.
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peakhope wrote:
nyjastul69 wrote:
I'm not sure I made it clear in my original post but, I'm looking more for games that are designed as a solo game. I know I can play Risk and Monopoly as solo games, but that's no fun because they're not designed that way.

You probably realize this, but there are (at least) five different kinds of "solo" games:

1. Strictly solo by design
2. Cooperative and work great solo (you don't have to pretend to be multiple players). Example: Vanished Planet
3. Cooperative but you have to pretend to be multiple players. Example: Red November
4. Competitive but you just play one side, and try to get your highest score. Example: Agricola
5. Competitive but you have to pretend to be multiple players

You described #5, and I agree that it is entirely unsatisfying, and really doesn't even count as a solo game. Personally I'm not fond of #4 or #3 either, although they can be ok. I would recommend that you remain open to #2, since they really can play just as well solo as with multiple players.


You're missing a type, b/c Dungeon Twister 2: Prison doesn't fit into any of your categories. It's competitive, but has a solo-AI. So although it was originally designed as a 2-player, a lot of work by the designer has gone into an AI system that leads to fulfilling solo play.
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Adam Brant
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Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm is a decent solo game.
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Here's a recent GeekList full of great solo board games.
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Karl Schmidt

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Here are some card games to consider:

Frontline: D-Day
The Kaiser's Pirates
War for Edaðh

as well as the upcoming The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game




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Dan C
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Quote:

1. Strictly solo by design
2. Cooperative and work great solo (you don't have to pretend to be multiple players). Example: Vanished Planet
3. Cooperative but you have to pretend to be multiple players. Example: Red November
4. Competitive but you just play one side, and try to get your highest score. Example: Agricola
5. Competitive but you have to pretend to be multiple players


My favorite solo gaming is Memoir '44 and the soloplay variants. But M44 is pretty much in the #5 category (have to pretend to be 2 players). I also do various games I have not been able to play much multiplayer the #5 "schizolo" route(Colonia, Shogun, Around the World in 80 Days, Jamaica, Nautilus, Thebes) - but only every once in a while to refresh on rules and get it off the shelf and check it out.

SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek

are excellent, and I have enjoyed the El Grande, Power Grid, Stone Age and Alhambra variants there.
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