The Elemeeple on Solo Gaming

A blog and YouTube channel about solo boardgames: reviews, playthroughs, and the occasional rant.

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Let's Play: The Doctor Who Solitaire Story Game, Part 1

Ava Jarvis
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The first part of a Let's Play of the Doctor Who Solitaire Story Game. You (collectively) get to choose what happens next as well! Help for your decisions follow in the links below.

I apologize ahead of time for referring to the Doctor as "Doctor Who" as opposed to "The Doctor" halfway through the video. I was very tired.

DWSSG Wiki: http://dwssg.averyniceplace.de/wiki/doku.php?id=start
Doctor Character Cards: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/62042/character-cards-let...
Mercenaries Encounter: Link
Tallulah: Link
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Sun Dec 28, 2014 2:25 pm
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Episode 1: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game: The RANT

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In which I rant about Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, and how “Normal” mode should have been replaced with Story mode from the very beginning.



Beorn’s Path: http://hallofbeorn.wordpress.com/beorns-path/

Easy Mode (PDF): https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/lotr-lcg/supp...
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Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:41 pm
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The Audio Version is Now Available on iTunes Podcasts!

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It's so shiny and new!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/baggins-under-hill-solo-...
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Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:18 am
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Why Solo Game? Inaugural Video for Solo Boarding

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The first video, if not review, for Solo Boarding! Episode 0: Why Solo Game?

I hope to keep the length of episodes, reviews or otherwise, somewhere below the 10-15 minute mark.

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Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:07 am
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How Solo Gaming Saved My Life (A Tale of Amazement)

Ava Jarvis
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arwen wrote:
And she took a white gem like a star that lay upon her breast hanging upon a silver chain, and she set the chain around Frodo's neck. 'When the memory of the fear and the darkness troubles you,' she said, 'this will bring you aid.'
I can never read those lines and not weep. And this is why I'm writing this instead of vlogging this. I don't want people to actually see me crying, because there is no way I can say this without breaking down: "Solo gaming saved my life."

Sounds trite, doesn't it. Sounds like, as someone once told me in disbelief, hyperbole. Isn't it the case that social board gaming is supposed to provide you with support during your darkest hours? And yes, social gaming does help me, too. But none of the above make it untrue that solo games made it possible for me to be here, writing to you.

Several years ago, and why I have not gamed socially for a very long time, I suffered a fairly complete PTSD flashback. I remember talking to my friends one minute, and one of them throwing the margarine tub at another in mock-anger, and suddenly I didn't remember anything after that. I didn't remember running off, screaming, into the night. I didn't remember driving home and oh thank goodness nothing happened except that I was able to miraculously parallel park (something that I can't do when I'm conscious). I didn't remember calling them up with death threats.

Yeah.

I disappeared from BGG. I disappeared from BGG.CON in particular. I stopped going to the Gathering. I, in fact, did not go out socially again for years. Not even with friends; perhaps, especially, not with friends. I did not want anybody to know about what I had done, and somehow I felt that, if I did talk to my friends, even if only online, that somehow they would see what a horrible person I was, see what I had done, and hate me for it.

They were lonely years. For the first few years I lost pretty much my interest in anything except work, and then I was only interested in work because it was what kept the money coming in. In these cases survival doesn't always bob to the top of the insidious influences, but in my case I'm lucky it did.

For a while.

Then work found out that when it put me oncall and in charge of two projects all at once, I could no longer cope, they nearly fired me. And anyways, sum total is, work treated me less and less and less and less and less and less well. Work made me feel like an absolute failure. I hated myself so much.

Throughout all this, there was only one constant. Board games.

But how do you game without people?

Well, solo games exist. And so do solo variants. A lot of solo variants. I browsed BGG without logging in, downloaded a bunch of variants (particularly SoloPlay ones), played them with the little collection I had left after letting go so many for free when I shut BGG out of my life, possibly forever.

I don't know... what it is about games, exactly, that reach me when almost nothing else does. I suspect strongly it's because games have a goal that can be sometimes reached via rules. Even when reality is unpeeling all around me, I follow rules to accomplish some goal. And they become a way out of wherever I'm stuck. They aren't magic, of course; playing them doesn't make the PTSD or the bipolar go away. But... they give me a purpose. And if a game is thematic enough, they become an interactive escape route. Especially advantageous when I discovered I could no longer read Terry Pratchett because Discworld had become a secondary trigger....

I hung on with games. The nights when I bought wine and too many sleeping pills, I always overturned that final decision because I had games available to play. This doesn't work with everybody. I'm very fortunate it works with me.

Right now, I'm sitting at the dining table, and reality is unpeeling.

But I'm a dreamwalker, searching for the oneiric doors before nightmares can eat me.

I'm a group of heroes, working to rescue the land from the forces of Darkness.

I'm in Middle Earth, battling spiders in the woods and the forces of Mordor alongside elves and dwarves and Gandalf.

I'm the Last Minstrel, wandering through a broken land, looking for answers to heal it.

I am Lith, an artificial intelligence watching over teams of characters from legend and history battling it out in an arena for my strange pleasure.

I am the Daquan Roc rider, soaring over the battlefield between humans and demons, magic and hellfire.

I am a student learning Japanese, and the world is nothing more than nouns, verbs, particles, and everything is achievable in the most forgiving of classes.

I am gaming, and the darkness can't stop me.
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Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:36 pm
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The Final Playload for Onirim 2nd Edition

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Review forthcoming. Meanwhile, I figured out 1080p and how to interrupt fast-mo with slow-mo.

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Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:37 pm
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Contest for GG! It's not a component drop, but what is it?

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I can't figure out a snappy way to describe a <30s component layout shot, which is going to be a feature of Solo Boarding videos.

Here's a sample clip (which will precede the actual review):



The BGG'er who comes up with a name I like gets 100 GG.

UPDATE: Contest is now closed. The 100 GG goes to



"Here's the Playload!"

Thank you for your entries, all.
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Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:29 am
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Solo Boarding now has a logo!

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Designed by myself, in Inkpad:

From gallery of BilboAtBagEnd
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Mon Dec 8, 2014 6:10 pm
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Themey Themey Theme Theme LotR:TCG Decks!

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There are enough cards in the The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game pool now such that one can create nearly pure Hobbit, Dwarf, Noldor, Silvan, or Noldor/Silvan decks that have enough accidental synergy to survive scenarios on Easy+Basic mode (heroes get 1 extra resource at start of game, some difficult cards removed, no shadow effects), and even Easy mode (same, plus shadow effects). I haven't yet tried Normal Mode, much less Nightmare Mode, because I like very very light deck building.

I usually play two-handed solo, because in pure solo the Ranged and Sentinel keywords have no meaning, and my decks have these in spades. There's some extra bookkeeping but it's nothing too horrible.

That said, themey theme decks of theme follow.

Hobbit Haberdashery

Hobbits, cloaks, boots, and accidental synergy.

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com The Lord of the Rings Deckbuilder


Total Cards: (50)

Hero: (3)
1x Merry (The Black Riders)
1x Pippin (The Black Riders)
1x Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Ally: (15)
3x Farmer Maggot (The Black Riders)
3x Keen-eyed Took (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Barliman Butterbur (The Black Riders)
3x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)

Attachment: (18)
3x Boots from Erebor (Khazad-dum)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Good Meal (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
3x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)

Event: (17)
3x Halfling Determination (The Black Riders)
3x Short Cut (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Take No Notice (The Black Riders)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Second Breakfast (Conflict at the Carrock)
2x Close Call (The Dunland Trap)


Nodolorian News

Noldor elves led by Elrond and his sons. Whose names also begin with E. Imagine that.

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com The Lord of the Rings Deckbuilder


Total Cards: (50)

Hero: (3)
1x Elladan (Road to Rivendell)
1x Elrohir (The Redhorn Gate)
1x Elrond (Shadow and Flame)

Ally: (19)
2x Arwen Undomiel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Erestor (The Long Dark)
2x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone)
2x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
3x Trollshaw Scout (Foundations of Stone)
3x Watcher of the Bruinen (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)

Attachment: (20)
3x Vilya (Shadow and Flame)
2x Celebrian's Stone (Core Set)
2x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
3x Protector of Lorien (Core Set)
3x Elven Mail (The Three Trials)
3x Lembas (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Rivendell Bow (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)

Event: (11)
3x Elrond's Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x The Galadhrim's Greeting (Core Set)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Lorien's Wealth (Core Set)


Silvan Sleuth

Silvan elves, led by Celeborn, Legolas, and Haldir.

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com The Lord of the Rings Deckbuilder


Total Cards: (50)

Hero: (3)
1x Celeborn (The Dunland Trap)
1x Haldir of Lórien (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Legolas (Core Set)

Ally: (26)
2x Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core Set)
3x Defender of the Naith (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
3x Mirkwood Runner (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Naith Guide (The Dunland Trap)
2x Rúmil (The Three Trials)
3x Silvan Tracker (The Dead Marshes)
3x Galadhon Archer (The Nin-in-Eilph)
3x Galadhrim Minstrel (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Orophin (Celebrimbor's Secret)

Attachment: (15)
3x O Lórien! (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Lembas (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Elven Mail (The Three Trials)
3x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
3x Bow of the Galadhrim (The Nin-in-Eilph)

Event: (9)
3x Feigned Voices (The Three Trials)
3x Pursuing the Enemy (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x The Tree People (The Dunland Trap)


The Lady

This deck is going to require proxies, since as a Noldor/Silvan deck it crosses over with the Noldor deck and the Silvan deck. As of yet, untested of the bunch and will undoubtedly be the most difficult to get to work right due to Galadriel's drawbacks.

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com The Lord of the Rings Deckbuilder


Total Cards: (50)

Hero: (3)
1x Galadriel (Celebrimbor's Secret)
1x Glorfindel (Core Set)
1x Mirlonde (The Drúadan Forest)

Ally: (29)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor's Secret)
3x Elrond (The Road Darkens)
2x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Harbor Master (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone)
3x Rivendell Minstrel (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
3x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
3x Silvan Tracker (The Dead Marshes)
3x Defender of the Naith (Trouble in Tharbad)

Attachment: (10)
3x Mirror of Galadriel (Celebrimbor's Secret)
3x Nenya (Celebrimbor's Secret)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
1x The Fall of Gil-Galad (The Dunland Trap)

Event: (11)
3x Children of the Sea (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Elrond's Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Island Amid Perils (The Nin-in-Eilph)
2x The Galadhrim's Greeting (Core Set)
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Mon Dec 8, 2014 6:59 am
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Introduction

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From gallery of BilboAtBagEnd


Hello there! You will likely know me as BilboAtBagEnd, and I love solo games. I live on an island, it tends to be rather isolated, and games being a great mix of intellectual activity with tangible rewards, I engage with them frequently.

Of course, I don't exclusively game solo (I like to visit a certain pub in Belltown on Wednesday evenings, although recently a tighter budget is squelching this somewhat)... but I do it a lot regardless.

Now then: this is a series of reviews and walkthroughs of solo games. Not only will I cover games that have official solo modes, but I'll also be covering fan solo variants. Walkthroughs may be made for some of them, particularly the more vexing ones to understand.

The first review will cover Onirim: 2nd Edition, and all its expansions, as well as a couple of promo expansions I got at BGG.CON (and which will hopefully one day be available in the BGG Store).

Reviews will be in video, but I want to provide transcripts as well. Frequency will be once per month, unless the mania kicks in. Yes, I am bipolar, and this is going to be an attempt to give my mania something to do other than to damage my pocketbook.

So let's dive into the world of solo gaming! And the next time you are stuck without a game group for your favorite game, consider a solo mode.

Solo player already? Join the 1 Player guild!
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Thu Dec 4, 2014 8:21 am
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