As mentioned several times in the Top Ten Solitaire Board Games thread, I recently picked up Apocrypha and its two expansions. They arrived on Monday and I’ve been spending my gaming time playing the base game ever since.
So far I have completed two of the Candlepoint missions while solo. I controlled 4 Saints (player characters), and I’ve won both times. I guess winning is to be expected since I’ve read several places that Candlepoint is more or less an extended tutorial for the game. Does this game really need tutorial missions though? Well… okay yea. But 9 of them? Well… okay maybe that’s a bit much for one guy playing solo and quadrupling down on his learning while controlling 4 separate player characters, but I can certainly understand why it might actually take nine full (easier) missions to properly train a full table of players.
As for learning the game, I had the benefit of spending a week watching gameplay and tutorial videos for the game, as well as perusing BGG’s forums for the game just to bone up a bit on the rules before even having the box in my hands and diving in. And it was certainly a week well spent, in that regard.
I don’t want to drone on too much about the manual or the difficulty a lot of people have trying to make sense of the game when sitting down with it the first few times, but suffice to say that I was in a much better place with the game when I first started than I could imagine anybody being by going in blind. I like the manual. I LOVE the keywords. I A D O R E the symbols. I love how they work, I love how clean they leave the cards looking (unlike Erranoth Reborn, god I refuse to play that game again till they fix the card textWALL), and I love just how much more information the card can actually convey, thus giving a single card (like Gifts) several completely separate uses during different phases of a game without ever seeming cluttered. And I love that about the cards too, how differently they’ll work depending on when they’re used.
I’m not ready to call this the greatest solitaire board game of all time. I don’t yet have the experience with it (or any other solitaire games) to give anything close to an informed opinion on that front, but what I can say is that I’m already genuinely enjoying my time with the game. From the art, to the setting and lore bits, to the way Structure and Nexus cards promise to change the feel of the game from mission to mission. If I did have a complaint at this point, it would be that when I complete a mission it just seems to end too abruptly. With a name like Patrick Rothfuss on the side of the box as a contributing author, I would really like each mission to wrap up with a cool epilogue, like something a DM might read off to RPG players at the end of a swanky module. So while the stories do have interesting intros, they seem a bit lopsided because they aren’t book-ended with a similar ending to them (or if they are, I just haven’t looked in the right place).
I never played the Pathfinder card game, which uses the same underlying game system as this one, so I can’t compare it to that, but what I’ve hard of it I do like certain changes made between that release and this one on the dice front. I like that dice checks are limited to three resultant dice being taken into account after a roll. I like that there are only 4 of each type of dice allowed (not counting wild die, of which there are another 4 that can be used as bonus dice when appropriate). I don’t like games where I have to roll 30 dice and then assemble them in this order or that order. maybe I’ve been playing too much One Deck Dungeon recently, but I do sometimes find myself sometimes losing track a bit when comboing, totalling and applying the handfulls of dice that one much roll, cheat out, and manage in that one.
Anyway. Apocrypha, it gets a thumbs up from me. I like it. I’m glad I have it. And I can’t imagine playing it with others because I really wouldn’t want to spend time with other people trying to piece together the best string of combos and bonuses I could Assemble between all my (our) characters, Omens, gifts, fragments, and so on… for the best handfull of dice each encounter. Though I’m sure the game would be perfectly fun in multiplayer if everybody at the table already knew everything.
Shit, I’d make this post only using Apocrypha symbols and keywords if I could.