Joris Peijs
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Hi,
I m having a very quiet day at work and printed and read all the rules and cards for POCKET CIV. So I'm playing this, and its fun. But now I ask myself the following question, 'what other ways are there to make a challenging solitair boardgame?'

I ll explain my question:

I dont have time or money to buy all solitair games, and so I only know/own pandemic and now I (guess I) own POCKET CIV, and defenders of the realm I once played. All games are pretty straight forward, but the way to make the game challenging is that you draw cards that have random events going on.

I can only think of this way (the random cards) and a pre-fixed story line. For example a dungeon crawler that plays like a book for solitair gameplay. The last one will be more challenging but it has ZERO replay value.

So, my question is: are there other ways? Are there game designers that are much more clever than me and have thought of a system that is not anything like the above 2??? (or a mix of both)

So far solitair gaming doesnt seem to be my thing.


(for some reason I have the feeling I m posting something that must have been disgussed a 1,000,000 times before)

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p55carroll
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Have you played many single-player video games? Most any solitaire game works on the same principle: a programmed AI opponent (or more than one), plus a refreshing assortment of randomizers (card shuffle, dice rolls, etc.) provides all the challenge and interest for the player.

In a video game, the AI can be very complex, since the computer runs it. In a board game, the player has to run the AI in addition to making his own moves, so the game is better if the AI is simple and easy to use--i.e., if all you have to do is shuffle and draw random cards or something like that.

If you were willing to work a lot more at running the AI, you could make it much more complicated--and then it might be more interesting. But it would also make the game very "fiddly." It probably wouldn't be as much fun.

As a longtime wargamer, I enjoy another kind of solitaire: I find a good two-player game and just play both sides against each other. That way, I can try to make clever, creative moves for both sides, and I find the game is often more interesting and satisfying that way. Of course I can never outguess myself, and I always win and lose--but the thinking and playing is the same as in a regular game. It's possible to do this with just about any game, but it's best to avoid games where you try to hide information from your opponent.

Solitaire isn't for everybody, but you can't always find an opponent when you want to play a game.
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Eðvarð Hilmarsson
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Arkham Horror Uses random cards (but ALOT of them) and a pre fixed story (the Ancient One that you fight).

So you have partial control over the game (by picking the type of nemesis to face) and the rest is randomized (diffrent events and situations) but somewhat under your control (are you using a character thats prepared for it).

Not sure if thats the type of answer you where fishing for, but it gave me a reason to say that Arkham Horror is the greatest soilitare game ever made.

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Joris Peijs
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Thanks for the answers


I've played alot of videogames yes, and i know it is not possible to make the same AI calculations as a computer does. As Edvard asked ; 'is this what I was fishing for?'... Well, both answers are very good, I was just hoping that there would be a game that has something that surprised me. Some way to has an AI that actually progresses and 'runs' continues strategies... an AI-enemy that evolves, instead of random cards that can occur at any time. I guess something that feels a bit more like playing against humans...

I do like playing 1v1 chess.. or used to, so I can see the fun Patrick describes there. Maybe I'll set up a gaime of War ot Ring some time soon for this purpose.

Also ARKHAM HORROR has caught my attention before yes... I'm keeping my eyes open for a good deal on that one

If anything else comes to mind regarding this I'm happy to hear.
 
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Jeff G
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Couple other variants I've seen in solitaire play:

Play for score: Ora et Labora and At the Gates of Loyang both have your "victory condition" simply being see how high a score you can get with maybe some benchmarks to rate how well you did. They have some mechanism to substitute for some of the more opponent-driven actions, but I definitely wouldn't call it an AI. GoL was only "so-so" solo (and, many say it's just "so-so" period), but I actually rather liked OeL as a solitaire. I didn't feel the experience was lessened all that much not having someone else.

Meet a set goal in so many rounds: Mage Knight Board Game has enough going on that the game doesn't need an AI mechanism, just a timer so you can't totally optimize what you're doing. I've only done the proper solo game once, and got pretty soundly thrashed. All things considered, though, this has probably been my favorite non-video game 1-player game by far.
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Mark Campo
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RK's star trek deals with branching story, its as re-playable as pandemic mechanics wise, its dive vs a victory score, the score has win and win better values and the chargers have varying stats to match the skill challanges and there random "treasure" to pick up to help too..

BUT do try :
d6 shooters d6 shooters d6 shooters
was the best print and play solo game i've come across so far

i've always wanted to try the Dr who solo game but i think the rules books a bit to large
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Kevin Shillinglaw
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The d6 Shooters is a great PnP solo game. Another great one is Utopia Engine.

While using random cards with a deck-building mechanic, I must say that Friday is my favourite quick solo game now, by far. Even my wife plays it, and she is not a huge fan of solo games.

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GeekInsight
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Solitaire games can be a tricky balance. If there is not enough randomness, then the game is really just a puzzle that can be solved and discarded. So there needs to be a fairly significant level of luck/randomness to keep the game fresh from play to play.

But too much randomness means that the solo player feels out of control. If a game just happens around me and I feel like the dice and cards dictate more of it than my own decisions, then the game loses its luster. After all, I want to play a solo game against an AI. I don't want to have my actions and events dictated by dice - which would effectively give me as much choice as the game's AI.

Finding a solo game that balances the two can be very difficult.
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Jason Kendelhardt
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Rune bound is a pretty good solo game if you use the doom track variant by skeletor. Adds the pressure to finish quickly that you get with other human players.
 
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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Joriz wrote:
Thanks for the answers


I've played alot of videogames yes, and i know it is not possible to make the same AI calculations as a computer does. As Edvard asked ; 'is this what I was fishing for?'... Well, both answers are very good, I was just hoping that there would be a game that has something that surprised me. Some way to has an AI that actually progresses and 'runs' continues strategies... an AI-enemy that evolves, instead of random cards that can occur at any time. I guess something that feels a bit more like playing against humans...

I do like playing 1v1 chess.. or used to, so I can see the fun Patrick describes there. Maybe I'll set up a gaime of War ot Ring some time soon for this purpose.

Also ARKHAM HORROR has caught my attention before yes... I'm keeping my eyes open for a good deal on that one

If anything else comes to mind regarding this I'm happy to hear.


Have you looked at the States of Siege games by VPG? They do some interesting things with decks split into different phases, seeded cards, and if-then statements on cards.

For example, there's a card in Levée en Masse that says if the Vendee army is close to Paris, then Louis XVI escapes - boosting the Monarchy track and dealing a blow to the Republic track.
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Eðvarð Hilmarsson
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After looking for good solo games I invested in a few of them.

Gears of War: The Board Game turned out to be pretty good (it is random but presents you with alot of decisions).

I did not like Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game since that feelt like it relied on luck of the dice to much (and presented fewer decisions).

My enjoyement of solo games seems to be based on the amount of meaningfull decisions they allow over other factors. That could be a question of style (and part of the reason I love Arkham Horror so much).

I sometimes play Battles of Westeros on my own. It really suprised me how much enjoyment I got out of that (since I got that one for playing with others). Its not really a solo game, but its enjoyable to face the hard choices that follow whatever you did to yourself last round.

Edit: Rune Age and Runebound (Second Edition) I have not given a fair chance to grow on me, but they did not grab my attention on my first play.
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Charles Bame
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I got into the whole gaming thing with Tunnels & Trolls Solo Dungeons in 1977. They are all still available, I think. Published by Flying Buffalo, Inc. in Scottsdale, AZ. They are still fun to explore once in a while. Give them a try if the subject matter appeals to you at all. (Dungeon delving).
 
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