J'ai une âme solitaire: Solitaire Boardgaming Megathread!

Power Rangers!

First deployment, big fat piggie was under the 5th card so he came out and panicked a 2nd area.

After a few rounds of awful die rolling and even worse forgetful play on my part, thought I was safe in the next deployment but after the 5th card, damn skeleton king showed up to wreck things. Game over, panicked areas all around.

I did learn a lot and so will be back soon…the main thing is using the synergies between the rangers more and just keeping as many Putty’s in check as possible. Decent game!

Thanks for the write up and pictures. I’ve been curious about that one.

How long did your learning game take you roughly? What does a typical turn look like? I see no dice. So is all the general gameplay and combat card based?

I still haven’t broken out Star Trek: Frontiers. It’s a little intimidating. I did read the rule book though.

The game took around 45 minutes. Over 2 hours as my needy wife was needing things. I was on the 3rd of 4 deployments so it could have lasted 1.5 hours or so. I played with 3 Rangers. After some plays knowing cards better, could be down to maybe an hour.

There is a deployment turn which means you place minions and/or monsters/bosses on either of the 4 spaces. That takes no time.

The meat of the turn is the action phase where each ranger gets 3 actions (in a 3 player game) and they can move, attack, or recover. You need to try and remove as many bad guys as possible so that all 4 of the spaces do not get filled to their designated max with minions which puts those spaces into panic and ends the game.

The Rangers get 10 cards and can draw 5 of them at the start and also draw up to 5 at the start of any battle but their face down remaining deck is their health and if they get attacked and have no face down cards left to defend with, then they are eliminated. So, no health number, just the face down deck. So, at times you dont want to draw up to 5 as you might be low on face down cards and even though you might need an attack card that is in the deck, you might not draw it and then expose yourself to less defense cards. It’s a nice yin and yang for keeping the deck large enough but needing attack cards.

There are other interesting decisions in the game.

Say there are 2 putties in one area. You can move any number of Rangers to that area if they have actions left. Once there any Ranger can begin combat with an action and the other rangers in that space can join in the battle without using their actions. So, you need to think about which Ranger might need to recover if their cards are getting low and so you would need to keep those with some extra action activations.

Also, when fighting say 2 baddies, you lay out 2 baddie cards and you have to fight those cards. There are alternate turns…so it’s Ranger attack, then baddie, then Ranger, then baddie. Unless one of the baddie cards has a FAST keyword, then the baddies go first. BUT, no matter how many Rangers are part of that attack, not ALL the Rangers attack, just one of them. So, the more Rangers, essentially it’s the more cards you have to choose from, not upping the number of attacks you do.

So, studying the cards in each Rangers hand is crucial before thinking about which ones you send to an area for battles…one Ranger might have some non attack cards that wont be useful in one battle so that Ranger can head to the middle of the board to Power Up and shuffle all their cards in order to hopefully draw some needed attack cards for another battle while the other Rangers take out a few baddies in an area.

There is also energy tokens which need to be used for some card abilities. The better attacks need energy to power up. At the start of each battle, 2 energy are put in a shared area and each Ranger starts the game with 1. The best cards cost 3 energy so if you are fighting 4 baddies, you need to decide when to use the better cards, which Ranger would make better use of the shared energy tokens, etc.

There is a good amount to think about and strategize over.

The one negative for me is that in the deployment stage, up to 3 areas can get panicked right off the bat and so you really can be way behind the 8 ball during your first action phase…some unlucky deployments can end the game quickly after that even if you played one of your action phases perfectly. Also, dice rolls. The average number of hits from each die is just under 1. Most normal baddies have 2-3 health. I used 3 energy to roll 4 die with an advance attack card and got just 1 hit. Then, that baddie killed one of my Rangers. So, there is die roll randomness but it’s not too bad overall…most of the time, I took out who I was trying to.

Sorry to ramble…it’s an interesting game and now that I’ve been thinking about it so much, i need to play again!

Thanks for the write up. It does seem to generate a lot of interesting decisions. I like the idea of the deck being a resource for actions and a health number. Must be interesting to decide how deep to dig.

Let us know whether you win your next attempt.

I just played a Scythe game without a human player, just pitting two Automas against each other, mostly to get all the iconography and such. Ended up being a very close game (56 to 57) and now I’m hankering to play 5 CPUs against each other. If this sounds weird, I spend days watching CPU vs CPU tournaments in PS2 WWE games.

Hong Kong Blackout. Lots of interesting choices in this game. The campaign has a solo mode. First scenario, I solved the Emergency Plan but ended up with 70 points on the track instead of the required 75…so close. Enjoying it enough to play again…after some Power Rangers.

Worst. Presentation. Ever.

I like some of what the game is doing, but that map? Yeesh. I mean, yeah, I get it. There was a blackout. But why you gotta take it so literally, art design? And if you’re going to throw so much shade on the visuals, why not let the theming department carry a little of the narrative weight?

As for the solitaire version, this is one of those games that clearly wasn’t designed for solitaire, but had a half-assed bot thrown into the box so they could claim solitaire support. You can do far better for a solitaire game, and more importantly, you can do far better for an Alexander Pfister game.

-Tom

I keep thinking it’s a space map! I mean, theme means nothing to me in games but this one does not even seem like a city in some kind of blackout…Luckily, again, theme does nothing for me in games, it’s all about the challenge.

There is no bot in the solo game. You play like in the multiplayer game. Just trying to finish different emergency plans plus getting a certain range of points depending on the campaign scenario. I quite like the challenge. Never played other games from this designer.

I thought I remembered something pushing back at you, but now that I think of the gameplay, I’m not even sure how that would work. The only player interaction is competing for closing up the polygons, right? So, yeah, it’s even worse than a bot, it’s just a contrived score chase.

As for theme, I don’t believe that you of all people don’t care about theme! I’ve seen the games you play, I’ve read your posts, you’ve gotten me interested in many games. We have similar enough taste that I know you care about theme somewhat! And to be fair, the theming here is pretty cool. I like the idea of recruiting people to help provide for a blacked out city. I just wish they had given the actual city more of a sense of place with that map. It’s just a set of lines connecting colored nodes. The title would have you think you’re in Hong Kong, but you’d never know from that pitiful board.

-Tom

Well, because you need to complete 1 or 2 emergency plans along with a scoring goal, it creates some interesting decisions…you might go after points right away but the plans take a good amount of the game to complete, so you have to maximize your turns to complete both goals and there are multiple ways to score points…I like it.

Now, regarding theme, my next game is one I definitely bought for the theme, and I hope it has some challenging gameplay too…so theme is occasionally important!

Oooh I had looked into that one! Please do tell us if you enjoyed it!

I hadn’t heard of Lifeform, but simply seeing the board makes me want to play it. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it.

I played a solo scenario (Winter is coming) from Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North this week-end.

The game is a deck based civilisation builder for 1 to 4 players and a delight to play. The components are high quality and really well organised. The rules are easy to learn and the tribe decks included in the base game offer distinct paths to victory.

When you play with others, the turns play out quickly with very little downtime in between for the players. The first player to reach 25 points triggers the end game. It’s quick, satisfying and my wife and I find it to be fun.

The solo mode is really well thought out too. It always plays over 4 rounds, during which you must achieve a target score. You get a booklet with different scenarios. Each coming with different setup rules, in game events (triggered randomly at the start of every round) and mode specific rules.

Your civilisation starts with 3 basic fields giving you a small handful of resources:

However, by the end of turn 4, you will hopefully have built an empire spanning new buildings, conquered islands and, in the case of this scenario, will have stockpiled enough resources to feed your workers.

This screenshot was taken right after I had fed my workers. There were no leftovers. Close one.

The progression as you build up your village while trying to beat the clock is very satisfying.

The booklet of solo scenarios offers a lot of variety in what you are trying to accomplish.

What’s more, as each civilisation plays distinctly, trying to beat a scenario with one is going to be different and either more or less difficult than doing so with another. So there is a lot of replayability included even in the base game.

Empires of the North is a great game both solo and with others. When it comes to an easy to set up solo I can lay out and play in around an hour, I think it’s going to be one of my go to games for a while.

I never tried Imperial Settlers or 51st State even though I’ve seen them for years at my local game store.

Might have to have a go at this one.

I’ve never played the first 2 games either. From the reviews I’ve seen, this one is considered a refinement of the previous 2 iterations, though it doesn’t exactly replace the second because you don’t get to build your own decks.

That said, it’s a great jumping in point into the design and is really enjoyable.

New Era (a standalone expansion for first-edition 51st State) is one of my favorite games ever. I understand why they smoothed off all the messy bits to make Imperial Settlers, but in the process something magical was lost.

My local shop has had 51st forever in stock…might have to grab that if I can find the expansion…thanks!

If you have played both, can you be more specific as to what magical thing was lost?

I thought Imperial Settlers (not Empires of the North) was a similar system to 51st State. I’d think Empires of the North is a bit further removed as it’s the second iteration. But you made me curious.

Really all I can tell you is that New Era feels deeper, richer, and more competitive. That everyone drafts from the same pool of cards surely has a lot to do with it. It’s also messier. More chaotic.