J'ai une âme solitaire: Solitaire Boardgaming Megathread!

I haven’t got to it yet, I just opened the box to have a peek. It’s supposedly quite heavy; if the complexity rating on BGG can be trusted*, it’s more complex than any war game I’ve looked at on there.

Really looking forward to it in about 6 months though :)

*I doubt it, at least based on how their rating system works.

Oh, interesting. I’d love to hear what you think about it as you get into it. I know they are quite popular in the local gaming groups. At some point I really want to try one, just because all the cool kids are doing it.

My general feelings about GMT’s difficulty ratings are Real Rating = GMT Rating + 1.5. :)

Funny, I just bought that game also. I always wanted to try that series but have no one to play with so found out about the solo rules and purchased it a few months back. Have not even opened it yet with all my other games but pretty excited to try it.

1862! I’ve played it a few times on 18xx.games, but never solo. It’s really fun.

I just discovered this thread this week and already I’ve got Legacy of Yu in my cart. That looks quite good. I see its on pre-order until late summer.

From what I remember about them, the tactics cards felt like a brute-force fix for the lack of variability by just throwing random complications into each move. Basically, that weird playtester-oriented, “oh ho, you think my game is too easy, then take that!” response, complete with its own deck of cards that would otherwise sit useless in the box. Why do so many solitaire designs conflate replayability with difficulty?

What’s more, they were in Pavlov’s House as well! @Brooski has an excellent playthrough here on the forum, and in this post, he seems to poke fun at the tactics cards:

Later in the playthrough, I think we both agree the tactics cards for Pavlov’s House are a poor addition:

Does Lanzerath Ridge work any differently from Pavlov’s House? Is it the same system where many of the cards don’t even do anything?

EDIT: Ah, we even have a Lanzerath Ridge thread, where I’ve already kvetched about the tactics cards. Man, you know you’re getting old when you find yourself on the lawn yelling at the same cloud you were yelling at a year ago. :)

I remember reading about you hammering on the veteran’s deck, and so my expectations were rather low when I played with them. I definitely concede they aren’t perfect. There is a degree of randomness to some of them that means that their impact on the game can be brutally heavy or not at all.

For example, you might have a veteran’s card that amps up the impact of any MG card you draw (fires twice instead of once, for example) in that next round of 3 cards. Well, if you draw 2 or 3 MG cards in the next round, you’re going to get absolutely nailed. If you don’t draw any, then that veteran card has zero impact. Things like that. Those sorts of extremes generally don’t happen, mind you, but they can end your game on you if the cards are set up right.

But a good number of the veteran’s cards mix things up enough that I found myself liking them. It made the game harder to win and it made the game unpredictable, which means I found myself thinking more about contingencies rather than in certainties. The base game is predictable, and you are going to know exactly what’s going to happen in every round. The Veteran’s deck makes things less certain and can throw tougher problems at you, and I found that made my thinking more complex and meaningful.

Normally I don’t enjoy mechanics that can basically end your game on you, and some of the veteran’s cards will do that. But from a narrative/tension angle, I didn’t mind it in this game, and the game is short enough that it’s a “shrug” if you lose in a half hour because some Veteran card just decided it was time for you to lose. In many ways, the game reminded me of playing solitaire with a deck of playing cards. Sometimes the deck is just going to give you an unwinnable hand, and that’s just part of the game.

My general approach to playing a game is less critical and more “Can I extract fun out of this?” This was the first Valiant Defense game I’ve played, and while I’ve enjoyed it, I’m not in a huge hurry to play more in the series. I am curious to see if others in the series are different than this one. I like more concrete wargames, and Lanzerath Ridge has a number of abstract mechanics that made me feel like I was playing a puzzler rather than defending a ridge in the Battle of the Bulge. But the Valiant Defense games are incredibly popular, and wargamers and non-wargamers seem to really enjoy them. I just think my tastes skew more towards the concrete.

Have fun. Such a great game

Not worth it. It costs $8.99. That’s too much. Whatever your hourly rate is in your career is what you should be getting paid to play it. On a computer that you didn’t pay for. A few different health insurance options should be included, too.

Great board game. Absolute pigshit implementation on Steam.

Thanks! I still haven’t pulled the trigger, but … it’s close. :)

Oh wow, thanks for the heads-up. I’ll take that under consideration if it goes on sale. The boardgame looks like a fairly tense, creeping dread-type experience, which might not suit me anyway.

Field Commander: Napoleon’s second campaign (1798 North Africa) pulls no punches. I’ve had several goes at it now and in my most successful attempt so far (below) Boney is stuck in no-man’s land having been repulsed from El Arish by a tiny defending force. In the east, a bunch of Ottomans are potentially (dice roll) going to descend on Alexandria in 4 turns time, while making it to Jaffa brings a bigger horde onto the map in Mount Tabor. Travelling across the map is attritional, meaning step losses to your troops, so some tough decisions need to be made. Mistakes were made and it’s not looking good. Amazed that they were able to pack so much into the ‘decision space’ here, it is excellent.

I might concede this one as I am keen to play Thunderbolt Apache Leader again with some new ease-of-play additions this week. First, I got one of those acryllic desktop sign stands, but instead of it reading, ‘Breakfast Served 7am - 9am,’ mine has all the weapon stats for easy reference (damage tables etc on the back):

Woot! Thanks to @Spock for the idea in one of the older threads.

And finally I decided to try out the fancy Cube4Me storage trays - specifically I wanted some shallow trays to access the weapon loadouts easily (top of image). I had been using a DVG deep tray which are great for storage but if you want to access any counters you have to dump them all out on the table. This should allow easy access for each sortie, plus it makes the enemy units easier to select also (bottom of image).

I play both the tabletop version and the digital version of Pavlov’s House, and the pc game is not absolute shit, far from it. It is a faithful reproduction of the game in every way. I’ve played dozens of games, and I can’t find fault, other than screen is smaller than the board game, and it’s UI is a bit fiddly, but absolutely accurate as far as the mechanics go. It’s also great for checking rules and strategies when playing the board game.

I will admit it could hard to learn just playing the pc game, as I came into it after many sessions with the board game.

Castle Itter is a worthy adaptation too, and I own both versions as well.

Had another 2 games of Final Girl and I think I’m in love.

Lost the first one today after just a horrible run of luck to close out the game, missing nearly every roll.

The second game I thought I was going to lose. It was the campfire setup on Happy Trails, which sees 6 victims at the campfire location. Hans had an abnormal draw of terror cards that gave him movement. He promptly moved to thee campfire and murdered a lot of folks before i could rescue the rest, which put him 1/2 way up the bloodlust track in just a few turns. But, i drew a lot of events in this game, and one of them was to give me a boyfriend (Actually, in game 1 of the day i had a boyfriend and girlfriend which was amusing) who i quickly sacrificed to gain 12 time. This let me load up on attacks, which allowed me to more or less wipe out Hans in 2 turns. It was still a little tight because I was one turn from losing, except there was no way i was going to miss my retaliation to end the game - i had too much mitigation.

I can understand folks not enjoying this game due to the amount of luck - but i don’t mind luck and i enjoy it even when i’m frustrated by my best laid plans getting thwarted by die rolls

I got my copy yesterday, and it is a table hog!

That wide-angle shot of the two main boards hanging off my table doesn’t even cover the two additional sideboards on a makeshift table and a cabinet I’m using to hold the manuals and reference sheets. Lots of odd decisions here regarding components and layout that seem like they could have been dramatically simplified.

The game does look exciting as a chaotic story generator, similar to Dawn of the Zeds, but I just don’t think it’ll fit into my gaming life. This is the only space where I could conceivably leave a solo game set up for multiple days, and it’s too ungainly for me to manage. I’ll probably play a turn or two to experience the flavor and then sell it.

If anyone’s looking for a great deal on Mr. President, let me know! I’ve still got the shipping box! :)

My copy is here next week. Luckily, my garage is empty and this will fill it. Got rid of Frosthaven and Frostpunk so this will be my 2023 garage game…hope it’s interesting at least!

Had my first kind of dud experience with Final Girl.

Was trying USS Konrad with Evomorph as the villain. USS Konrad is great. It is unique because you can get keycard s to open shortcut tunnels or activate ship systems that cause various effects in rooms or even the whole ship… Including a self-destructive sequence.

Evomorph goes from hatchling to adult, but the main unique mechanic is that it disappears and you have to use special scanning action cards to prevent it reappearing right on top of you.

The setup I had started with Evomorph on the opposite side of the ship from me, with three victims in the middle (2 rooms from both of us).

As a hatchling Evomorph does major damage but only moves 1 room at a time.

My event card was to change a victim to the orphan, which lets me move through shortcut tunnels without a keycard.

You start with a single keycard. I opened the game with two lucky dice rolls to get to the middle, take 2 victims, and get nearly to the exit room.

The first event card is a gas leak that kills a few victims… But in this map that doesn’t impact the blood lust, so the Evomorph doesn’t evolve. On my next turn I get 3 victims off the map and find a second keycard in a search.

The next turn the Evomorph kills it’s first victim. It now evolves to a youngling and disappears, ending its turn.

I get another victim off the map and search twice more to get a couple more items.

The first ambush card is a benefit to me. Nothing happens.

My next turn I sprint across the map to a third keycard. The next killer phase sees the Evomorph evolve to an adult when it appears in my room, but it doesn’t attack.

I then use the orphan with me to go through the tunnels to get the 4th key.

The next event has Evomorph move towards me, but since it isn’t allowed to go through the tunnels it doesn’t get close. Then it disappears from the last event action.

I sprint across the ship, activate the self-destructive sequence, use a secret tunnel to get to the escape pod. The Evomorph appears again in the room next to my escape pod.

The turn ends, I eject from the ship, it explodes and I win.

I was never attacked, I never directly attacked Evomorph.

I lost 5 victims in the end, saved 5.

There was zero tension. I think a combination of lucky card draws, lucky dice rolls that didn’t align with the villain whose mechanic is surprise left the scenario as a dud.

Going to play it again tomorrow… But Evomorph and the map didn’t do it for me as a combo

I understand why a lot of the killers wouldn’t be able to use the vents, but it seems a bit weird for the Evomorph specifically since that’s literally the primary way the xenomorph moves around in Alien.

My copy hasn’t arrived yet but I’m experiencing significant buyer’s remorse having seen your post! I also saw someone saying setup takes 60 minutes…

Although I am still unfeasibly excited by those cute mini maps of the world’s hot spots to the right so maybe the game really is for me :)

I’ve been away for most of the month so hoping to get some proper boardgaming in this weekend. Yesterday I managed a game of Resist! and an aborted one of Black Orchestra.

Resist! is delightful and it seems like there is a fair amount of game there. You launch missions against Franco’s regime with your maquis and hope to cause enough damage to score well before things turn against you and the resistance becomes less effective (you have to burn your best cards to score well, so you eventually run out - there are ways to mitigate this but I haven’t found them yet after one game).

Black Orchestra is the game where you try to assassinate Hitler. It seems mechanically pretty simple and so should be easy to get to the table without worrying about rules refreshers. My game ended prematurely when I launched an assassination attempt extremely early in the game as I did not quite understand the odds, but that also gives me pause a little. There are seven ‘phases’ where Hitler and his cronies wax and wane in power, and it is easier for the player to kill him if he is weak (ie at the start or the end of the game). So I may have an issue with the fact that you likely have to mark time for a good portion of the seven phases, waiting for an opportunity and keeping your guys out of trouble (you play two-handed in the solo mode). I dunno yet.

(Game board at start; I forgot to take a photo later).

So in this first foray into boardgaming, I’m loving the mechanical aspects - seeing how real world events are translated into game mechanics etc. But I haven’t connected with the thematic elements of these games at all - I am totally playing them from a mechanical/mathematical viewpoint, adding up my attack points without considering for a moment how my poor resistance fighters and their families are being ground under Franco’s heel :) Similarly, in Black Orchestra, I am basically just moving counters around, not really connecting anything to the theme (which is pretty great). I wonder how to do this, or if it just comes naturally after a while. Maybe I need to just take a moment before every action and think about what is happening - Isabel is taking out this Counter-Guerrilla so that her village remains safe rather than Attack +2 - I dunno.

I have Mr. President set up on my table (and a desk, and a side table…) and am about halfway through the first turn.

Two caveats on the 60 minutes for setup:

  1. This is first-time only. Mainly driven by the scenario setup telling you to “set X to Y” and you having to find the appropriate marker and then find the right track. I imagine setup time will be cut to a third of that once you know the markers and the board.

  2. Some of the setup involves determining the current domestic/global situation, so is more akin to gameplay than setup. For example, you need to draw chits to set public issue priorities, draw chits to set your cabinet, draw chits to set your supporters and opponents in Congress. All of these change the game dynamics, so while they are technically setup, they are also a bit more engaging and interesting than simply setting markers on the board.

That said, there is an awful lot going on in this game. The recommendation in the rulebook is to set up the sandbox scenario and then use the flipbook to work through the turn sequence before you read the rules. Being halfway through the first turn doing just this very thing, I have to say that I will absolutely read the full Governing Manual (core rules) and reset the scenario as soon as I’m done with Turn 1.

Without understanding how the different game systems interact and how actions and events impact the board state, you can’t really make meaningful decisions on what to do with your actions. I would recommend playing through one turn making relatively arbitrary decisions about actions (Presidential, Domestic, Diplomatic, and Military) just to see how the systems work, where markers go, and how the basic flow of the game works over the course of a turn.

It will definitely take some deep reading and repeated play to truly understand how everything works…and I would be skeptical of any “reviews” of the quality of the game until someone has done just that.

But, so far, I’m very intrigued and impressed. It’s a table hog, but there’s clearly been an enormous amount of effort put into designing this game.