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Subject: Dark Horse: A Solitaire Experience rss

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Stasia Doster
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Sherman
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Let me preface this by saying that this was my initial play of Dark Horse and I chose to do it solitaire in order to better understand the game's mechanics and flow. I had, however, watched the game designer's excellent tutorial as well as Richard Ham's equally good play through, so I pretty much knew what I was in for.

For this initial play, I chose to use the Merchant as my character card since she was one of the easier characters to use. I chose the Chicken (Easy) level and the goal I selected was the Tenderfoot goal of building all my cities (3) and towns (6).

I thought that this game was going to be a pushover and for a while it looked like it would be. After the first 14 turns, I had all but 1 of my cities built and all of the towns up as well, one of which was built with the help of the Private Investors Action Card. The snag I ran into in the second round of 14 turns was that I could not seem to roll a 5 on the dice! I was collecting resources right and left, but could not get any rail to lay down so that my final city would be connected to the rest of my "civilization." I did get to use the Tycoon space once which provided me with one extra rail, but I needed three. It was not until turn 23 that I was finally able to put up my final city.

All in all, I enjoyed playing the game. I thought it was easy to understand, quick to both pick up and play. The next time I play a solitaire session though I believe I will try and amp up the difficulty a bit.
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Don Lloyd
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Hello, thank you for checking out the game and writing a session report. The solitaire play definitely becomes more difficult as you increase the amount of Ghost Dice that are being rolled each turn. At the hardest difficulty the player places last, which can make the goals hard to obtain in just 28 turns.

Also, as a reminder, do not forget that the Engineer token can be used to change a single die to anything. This will allow you to pull out those 5's for the Rail Baron.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask me.
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Stasia Doster
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Sherman
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It is my understanding of the rules that the Turn Order action space is not available in the solitaire game though and since that space contains the Engineer token, I do not know how to circumvent that rule. Am I playing that wrong?
 
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Don Lloyd
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Oh, I see what happened. You are correct that the Turn Order Action Space is not used in Solitaire play. The Engineer Action Space has an ability on it that states +1 Turn Order, you cannot use that part of the Action Space, but you can still use it to take a Wild Die and Engineer token. You just need to ignore the "+1 Turn Order" portion of that Action Space.

In playing the game, I have noticed that having an Engineer token on hand can be a life saver and allows you to avoid any game stalls when the dice are being exceptionally mean.
 
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Stasia Doster
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OK, thank you for the clarification! I will remember that when I play it again. I think the Engineer would have been very handy in this first game. I would have been very unhappy had I lost due to my inability to roll a 5.
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