Your Solitaire Games and What You Think of Them (Good or Bad)
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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A recent Dice Tower podcast had a brief review of the new Friedemann Friese solitaire game Friday. I was intrigued, as I don't have a regular gaming partner and often wish for a solitaire game that I enjoyed. On the other hand, I already have a few, and they haven't always been satisfying.

So I thought I'd create a geeklist for our guild with our solitaire games and our thoughts on them. Do solitaire games really work? Or do you have to be a hermit to enjoy them?

I must say, I am more interested in games that can be "won" solitaire, rather than just trying to amass a high score (as in the solo versions of Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age and Agricola I believe). Also, co-op games can usually be played solitaire (e.g. The Lord of the Rings), but sometimes you need to play multiple characters, so I am not sure if they count.

PS. Another one that sounded interesting was Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game.
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1. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm [Average Rating:8.09 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.09 Unranked]
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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This first expansion to Race for the Galaxy includes a dice-driven AI "robot" played that can be played against as a solitaire game. The robot does not play exactly like a human player, but does collect the same kinds of victory points, so it does feel something like playing a two-player game. However it does feel more luck-driven than a real game. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed a number of solitaire games against the robot.
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2. Board Game: Al Cabohne [Average Rating:5.97 Overall Rank:4991]
Board Game: Al Cabohne
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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This mafia-themed little brother to Bohnanza is available only in German, and has a genuine solitaire mode. The game plays similarly to Bohnanza, you are collecting beans to harvest for points. Al Cabohne adds 3 gangster bosses as the "opponents", who take beans from your fields as "tax". You have to score twice as many points as the bosses to win.

The game play is a little more complex than Bohnanza, and since I don't really understand Bohnanza, perhaps that's why this one felt random. Very compact little game though. I traded it away.
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3. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:745] [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked]
Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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This is a big dungeon crawl game with lots of gorgeous minis, tiles and bits. What makes it work as a solo game, is that the monster all have their own simple AI rules that determine how they attack. To be honest I am still coming to terms with the strategy, I haven't been near to winning, and I wonder whether it is just too hard in solo mode with a single hero in play. Of course, as in other co-ops, one could play multiple characters. The other thing is, you need a table you can set aside for it, as it takes a bit of set up time and space.

Edit: I've been playing this a bit, and liking it so much, I ordered the earlier Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game to give me a bit more variety! ($69 on Trademe!) It takes a few plays to get used to the tactics you need to use. Even then, bad luck can kill you.

Edit2: Been playing more and more of this, and really enjoying it, even with a single hero. There are some advantages to having a single hero, you can move and use your special powers more often, especially against the villains.

Edit3: Awesomer and awesomer! I played with 2 heroes tonight, more interactions to think about. I'm also coming to terms with the "random stuff happens" nature of the encounters, because you can (1) cancel them (2) exploit them. The game seems balanced that often you can win on a knife edge, which is very exciting. Near the beginning I always seem to take a lot of damage, but then as the game progresses I get more in control, especially finding some good treasures helps, and leveling up.
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4. Board Game: Zombie in My Pocket [Average Rating:5.83 Overall Rank:8136]
Board Game: Zombie in My Pocket
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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This is another co-op game that has a single player mode. It's very quick to play, there is a small amount of strategy in decisions to move, rest, search for, and use items, but success seems to depend very much on the order you draw the tiles: if you don't find the key tiles quickly enough you'll run out of time and lose.
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5. Board Game: Island Of D 2: The Shadow of Dawn [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:7728]
Board Game: Island Of D 2: The Shadow of Dawn
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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This is a very interesting Print-and-Play game that is solitaire only. It has several neat mechanics, especially the use of cards for multiple purposes. It is a kind of puzzle adventure, where you have to explore a map, collecting items, defeating monsters, and solving puzzles. I really enjoyed this for a while, especially the online flash implementation (which I think is no longer available) which haad the advantage of handling the book-keeping! However it does seem to come down to a puzzle, which only needs to be solved once, and then success comes down to luck of the card draw, which can be brutal. Still, an awesome idea.
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6. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1045]
Board Game: Castle Panic
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Castle Panic is a co-op game which includes a slight rule modification for a single player playing a single hand. The game lurches from easy to seemingly impossible as the monster tiles come out, but as you only have limited options in your hand of 6 cards, decisions about what to do are relatively straightforward I think, and victory is common. Keeping the monsters moving is a bit fiddly, too.
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7. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:616]
Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
Guido Gloor
Switzerland
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Bern
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I irregularly play quite a few solo games, but there are really two I keep coming back to. Tense and exciting, with some luck of the dice and draw but also lots of tactics and strategy that determines the outcome to a large degree.

Death Angel is one of them...
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8. Board Game: Gears of War: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:491]
Board Game: Gears of War: The Board Game
Guido Gloor
Switzerland
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Bern
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...and Gears of War is the other.

Gears of War has a little problem in that its theme doesn't really attract anybody who isn't a teenaged boy with freckles. But the mechanics are sound, and I really like how your options grow and shrink with how healthy you are (by coupling health and hand size together). The scenarios are fun, too.

GoW kind of fired DA for when I play solo games at home, it has become my go-to game. While on the road, DA is much more portable, so that's often the game I have with me.

(Other games I play solo and like include Red November, Peloponnes, Mage Knight Board Game, and Onirim)
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9. Board Game: Lost Battles: Forty Battles & Campaigns of the Ancient World [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:4283] [Average Rating:7.92 Unranked]
Board Game: Lost Battles: Forty Battles & Campaigns of the Ancient World
Russell Woodland
New Zealand
Tauranga
Bay of Plenty
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This in my humble opinion is a fantastic solo war-game. Unfortunately very hard to get a hold of and currently still my most expensive purchase to date.

However I will say this it is worth every penny invested.

If you are a fan of Ancient Warfare you owe it to yourself to try this.
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10. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:132] [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
Russell Woodland
New Zealand
Tauranga
Bay of Plenty
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Have heard really great things about this. Very hard and challenging, might be best with a partner, but is either a 1 or a 2 player game

Feels like you are actually questing and on an adventure.

This will be my next purchase
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11. Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:297]
Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang
Eric Shift
New Zealand
Tauranga
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This is an interesting game solo but I find it doesn't have the replay value that I would like to see in a proper solo game. It has a different mechanism for obtaining cards compared to the normal game but in the end it is about beating your last high score and while that motivates some people it's not for me.
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12. Board Game: Onirim [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1200]
Board Game: Onirim
Eric Shift
New Zealand
Tauranga
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This game feels much closer to the solitaire card game I used to play with a standard deck of cards. Klondike, Patience whatever its called it a great time waster especially now it seems to be on every PC. This games simple rules is it's main appeal. Add in one of the expansions for a trickier game but without loosing the balance too much. I'd like to try it two player but feel it may be best suited to a solo experience.
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13. Board Game: Star Trek: Expeditions [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:2699]
Board Game: Star Trek: Expeditions
Eric Shift
New Zealand
Tauranga
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O.K. so I bought it because it said Star Trek on the cover... so shoot me! This co-operative game is a good mixture of beating the games AI, beating your last high score and getting involved somewhat in the story behind the missions. The best thing about it is the ability to try it on a harder setting. The worst thing about it is the story is the same each time. Probably more fun with more players but it can be enjoyed solo once or twice.
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14. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:278]
Board Game: Ghost Stories
Eric Shift
New Zealand
Tauranga
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A co-operative game that can be played solo. This is one game that is much better with more players. The emotion of finally beating the game is better if shared. Without any way to measure success except for win or loose it lacks a reason to replay it once it's been beaten. There are different options for the games difficulty but I prefer this game when there are other people playing to discuss strategy with.
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15. Board Game: Yggdrasil [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:896]
Board Game: Yggdrasil
Eric Shift
New Zealand
Tauranga
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A new addition to my collection so I've only played through it once and that was mainly to learn the rules. It's a co-operative game that can be played solo. There are options to change the difficulty which is a must because this was too easy to win solo on the lowest difficulty option. The difficulty also increases with the number of players because you have to share limited resources and timing is essential. I'll make my mind up about solo play when I try it on a harder setting however, I do want to play it again so that is a good sign.
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16. Board Game: U-Boat Leader [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:4502]
Board Game: U-Boat Leader
Russell Woodland
New Zealand
Tauranga
Bay of Plenty
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I found out about this one the other day, order placed. This is from DVG games and sits in a successful line of solo games.

Have always been a fan of u-boats, this one just seemed the perfect fit. Will report back once I have the game next week and played it.

EDIT: So I sat down and stared to play this. A nice little solo experience.

It comes with 4 campaigns which offer 3 different length's. I decided to go for the long one of the first campaign

Well I played most of Monday, Tuesday evening and Wednesday evening. Finally finished with an adequite result. Talk about tough. Really enjoyed it though and it is important to note that I played with the official optional rules which did add dificulty to it.

All in all I would be happy to give it a solid d10-8

Edit Two: Played the starting campaign again, this time at Medium length will all optional rules in to make it harder.

Fantastic Experience, I highly reccommend if anyone is interesting in u-boat combat to pick this one up.. Rating up slightly 8.5



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17. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:888]
Board Game: The Lord of the Rings
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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The classic Knizia co-op makes a good solo game, and you can play as one hobbit too which is nice since I don't like playing multiple characters. Gotta give it some more table time.

Edit: Played a couple of solo games, getting the hang of the rules and the strategy. It really is a bit dated though, with quite an abstract feel and much less narrative compared with newer co-op games. It can be played fine with a single character, which is nice.
 
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18. Board Game: Runebound [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:3883]
Board Game: Runebound
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Ok so this is not strictly a solo game, but lots of people play it solo (usually the second edition, which is apparently much better).

I've played a couple of times, getting the hang of the rules. Basically you wander around the map, meeting random monsters which you fight for gold and experience points, you can spend the gold for items and allies at towns and the experience points to level up. The encounters get harder and harder and you've got to beat the big boss before the clock runs out, basically (that's in the advanced game, the basic game doesn't have a clock).

It's all very well, but there's not that sense of the game fighting back like you get with most co-op games like Castle Ravenloft et al. So it lacks something in the pacing. It's a bit less tactical than Ravenloft too, in that there's not much you can do to mitigate bad dice rolls.

Edit: With a few house rules it can be fun enough for a few games.
Edit2: For some reason I am obsessed with this game, despite it's many shortcomings. I just can't shake the feeling that it would be an awesome solo game with the right tweaks (whatever they are!).
 
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19. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Adventure Deck Game [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:7926]
From gallery of Ikim
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Ok this is a nice little print and play game. I got the deck printed on Artscow, which is nice, only a couple of tiny typos. There is also a 1 page player mat, which I laminated, and you need some tokens. The rules are 2 pages.

Basically you have to work your way through the deck within 25 days. Each day you can move 1-5 cards (flip that many cards). Each card does you damage, and the last card has a card effect; some good, some bad.

Bad cards for example give you Witch King tokens - 3 of these and you lose.

Good cards for example give you items - Mithril Armour for example, which reduces your damage.

It's a nice little game, nice looking, and good for a dozen plays I'd say.
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20. Board Game: Free Trader [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:9350]
Board Game: Free Trader
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Microbadge: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess fanMicrobadge: Mirror's Edge fanMicrobadge: GRIS fanMicrobadge: Tomb Raider fanMicrobadge: "I am sworn to carry your burdens.” — Lydia
This is another solo print and play game with cards from Artscow. You lay down cards as planets and can buy and sell goods (agricultural, weapons, industrial, illegal) to earn money. Each time the event deck runs out you have to pay interest and if you can't you win the game. There are pirates that attack you and you can upgrade your ship. Apart from the cards you just need a few counters.

I've played a few times, the trading is cool, but the pirates are a bit brutal. Also the market can screw you too. I also got some expansion cards, but I'm not sure they actually improve the game.
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21. Board Game: Land of Enin [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:15274]
Board Game: Land of Enin
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Microbadge: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess fanMicrobadge: Mirror's Edge fanMicrobadge: GRIS fanMicrobadge: Tomb Raider fanMicrobadge: "I am sworn to carry your burdens.” — Lydia
Very small print and play solo game. Board is made up of 9 cards and you need a few counters and dice. Art is very nice.
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22. Board Game: Field Commander: Rommel [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:2300]
Board Game: Field Commander: Rommel
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Microbadge: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess fanMicrobadge: Mirror's Edge fanMicrobadge: GRIS fanMicrobadge: Tomb Raider fanMicrobadge: "I am sworn to carry your burdens.” — Lydia
This is a solo operational level wargame with 3 scenarios, two in France and one in North Africa. Operational level means it's quite abstracted, you move whole divisions, there's no battlefield tactics. It's very good for non-wargamers to get a taste.

Edit: I found the rules easy to understand, but hard to consolidate. It was a bit frustrating at first. Then I wrote myself a rules summary and read a couple of strategy articles and things started to flow. There's certainly strategy in this game, although the dice play a big part too. I had several false start games that didn't get very far, but just finished my first full game in which I won on the last turn! This is not a game you win without some strategy clues (hooray for BGG!).
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23. Board Game: Israeli Independence: The First Arab-Israeli War [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:7599]
Board Game: Israeli Independence: The First Arab-Israeli War
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Microbadge: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess fanMicrobadge: Mirror's Edge fanMicrobadge: GRIS fanMicrobadge: Tomb Raider fanMicrobadge: "I am sworn to carry your burdens.” — Lydia
A nice, cheap, small, quick solo wargame from Victory Point games. Five Arab armies are advancing on Jerusalem. Every turn you draw a card which tells you which armies will advance, and how many offensives you (the Israelis) can mount to push them back one space. Offensives involve rolling a d6. Some of the cards have a few special rules. If an Arab army reaches Jerusalem you lose, and if the deck runs out you win. It's a very nice little game but there's a lot of luck.
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24. Board Game: A.D. 30 [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:7110]
Board Game: A.D. 30
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Microbadge: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess fanMicrobadge: Mirror's Edge fanMicrobadge: GRIS fanMicrobadge: Tomb Raider fanMicrobadge: "I am sworn to carry your burdens.” — Lydia
Another Victory Point Games game, which means it is a small package in an A5 ziplock bag. Good basic solitaire game, you are trying to hold back enemies who advance according to a card draw, while gathering the apostles and maintaining your piety. Each turn you can do several actions, there are a variety to choose from, and some of them require successful die rolls. I wrote a review of it here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/823482/doubting-thomas-p...

The game runs pretty well, but I found the theme doesn't really match. For a game with this style of play, I think I'd rather play Israeli Independence. Although it's simpler, the theme feels better integrated with the mechanics.
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25. Board Game: Disaster on Everest [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:8872]
Board Game: Disaster on Everest
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Microbadge: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess fanMicrobadge: Mirror's Edge fanMicrobadge: GRIS fanMicrobadge: Tomb Raider fanMicrobadge: "I am sworn to carry your burdens.” — Lydia
The third Victory Point game I bought, this was Tom Decker's first VPG game (same designer at AD 30). Like the others it comes in an A5 ziplock bag. There's a light board, and a bunch of cardboard counters (that are not cut very well).

I think this is a VERY good game. The theme works just right, and the amount of randomness is surprisingly modest. I like it much better than AD 30 from that point of view. You have to maneuver your 2 guides and 6 client to the top of Everest (or at least to the Hillary step) and back before the game ends. There are random events but you can choose to mitigate them. It's a very nice system. Halfway through the game a storm strikes, and everyone's movement slows drastically. Any clients left on the mountain after 9 turns of storm have a chance of death, depending on how far they are from camp. Clients can also get lost is leaving certain ridges on their own, and that's not good either. Recommend it!
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