Combat Commander: Solo

Adventures in solitaire playing of Chad Jensen's World War II Tactical Game System: Combat Commander: Europe, Mediterranean, Pacific and Resistance.

Archive for Manoeuvre (game)

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How I Solo Combat Commander

Joe C Faust
United States
Hartville
Ohio
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Mail. I get mail.

Geekmail, specifically, ever since I started up this blog, with the same question in common: How do you play Combat Commander solo? So it would be a useful thing for me to divulge my secrets right about now.

Basically, I use a slightly evolved variation of the system put forward by Avalon Hill in the rule book for Banzai for use with its parent game, Up Front.

The Banzai rules lay it out like this:

Quote:
1) Pre-designate all actions before resolving anything.


Okay, back in my Up Front solo days, I did this pretty diligently - at the start. Then I began to see the reason for the rule, to throw a little artificial uncertainty into the works. There was enough of that in UF already, and when I realized that elements 2 and 3 of the solitaire rules worked well for me, I left this one behind. Mostly (see below).

Quote:
2) Place both hands face-up on the table. As new cards are drawn at the turn's end, place them face down.


Ah! Putting some mystery back in the game! I already have a certain amnesia about what's in my hand anyway - ask anyone who has played CDG's with me. I carried this technique over into my solo plays of Memoir 44, and it evolved again. Instead of leaving cards face up, it was much more effective for me to turn the unused cards back down. Then it got to the point where I would just gather the cards up into a single packet and put them face down on the respective side of the board. This is the style of play I carried over to CC.

I've found it helps to not be reminded of a killer card still in the hand and help me make blind decisions - although I sometimes still hear myself saying, "Okay, I don't know he has two Ambush actions in his hand, and since I was planning to go into Melee here, that's what I'm going to do." But it's not that much of a suspense robber since there will undoubtedly be some passing to-and-fro of the Initiative Card.

Quote:
3) Play each side to the best of your ability and don't favor one over the other.


This is the key here. We all tend, in our heart of hearts, to see one side win over the other. It's natural. However, I think CC makes it easier to avoid favoritism because, as has been said in many a CC forum post, the game ain't over until it's over. There's none of that inevitability that sets in like in other games, where you realize that the battle is lost and all you can do is try to minimize your loss while making your opponent's victory costly. CC has those wonderful swings of fortune that can turn a game around instantly - which means it pays to play both sides well.

Look at it this way: doing that makes it a win-win situation.

Now with CC there are some extra steps. When I start moving troops around, I have to check the opponent's hand for fire cards. Should I see there are no Op Fire cards in the hand at all, I stick with my original plan for cautious movement, because that's what I would have done in a FTF game. Shades of rule number one, above.

Ditto checking cards during fire for Concealment actions. I'm especially bad about doing this, but then, I always seem to forget I have Concealments in my hand during FTF too, so maybe that's not such a big deal.

So that's how your faithful host does it. And I've even carried the system to one more game, my just-arrived copy of Manoeuvre, and it works quite well.

One disclaimer: I haven't tried any of the solitaire systems in the CC files section. I tend to shy away from things that add a lot of extra bookkeeping to the game system, although these may not do that. All I know is that this system works really well for me, and it doesn't seem to make CC the impossible-to-solo frustration fest that some people find it to be.

Well, your mileage may vary.

Meantime, if you have any of your own personal tips or tricks or methods, feel free to chime in below. After all, when it comes to the Combat Commander system, it's all good.
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5 Comments
Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:16 pm
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