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Solitaire Games On Your Table - January 2018
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Welcome to
Solitaire Games On Your Table
January 2018


Home of "Together, We Game Alone"

Hello, and welcome to another month (and a new year) of exciting times with solo games! Feel free to participate in any way you like: Post about the solo games that you play, share your latest solo design or variant, comment on entries that strike your fancy, and join in. This is a very friendly group, and we happily welcome aboard every type of solo gamer!

Guidelines

1 PLAY a solo game, a solo variant, or a multiplayer game solo.
2 Add an entry to this GeekList and tell us about it. Get the most out of the SGOYT Aggregator by using at least one of the following tags:

1 Add the <summary></summary> tag to include a short overview. All summaries are recorded, as on my overview page.
2 Add the <rating></rating> tag to rate a game on a scale of 0.5 to 5.0. Only the most recent rating for a game is recorded, as on my ratings page.

3 Be nice, but most of all have fun!
4 See something you like? Give it a thumb.

It's extremely helpful (but not mandatory) to include some thumbsup and thumbsdown describing the pros and cons of the game you played. They're great visual aids to summarize your post, and might help to keep the wallet damage down a bit!

Need a little help with formatting? Check out the Forum Formatting Guide and Tricks of the Geek.

About Me

Hello all. Some of you have seen me post here and there, but I am the quiet type who prefers to say something when I *think* I'm adding to the discussion. That is to say if someone else has said it better than I did, I just thumb it. So, I am not as prolific as posting and may be a bit of an unknown. I'm also a bit guarded about who I am.

But as far as games? I like a broad spectrum of them. I've always been fascinated by rule sets and how they come together to make a theme shine through. One of the earliest board games I remember playing solo was Careers. I than played many, many RPG's through the 80's. In the 90's I discovered Dune and was struck with the idea of a diceless game. Thus I began collecting boardgames. The big surge in solitaire gaming/co-op's has allowed me to put the computer aside and unplug.

The Theme for January is
New Year's Gaming Resolution


So for 2018, what gaming resolution are you planning on? It doesn't matter if it's multiplayer, solitaire, rpg's or even videogames. What habit of your's do you plan to change and attempt to stick to in regards to gaming? Geek gold will be given to all who share with us.

...

Upcoming SGOYT Hosts
Upcoming SGOYT Hosts

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Jessica - the other one
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Strengelbach in Switzerland or Örebro in Sweden
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Interested in hosting a future month's list? Find out more in the first post of this thread and send a GeekMail to Ryanmobile to volunteer. If I can do it, anyone can!
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Interested in hosting a future month's list? Find out more in the first post of this thread and send a GeekMail to Ryanmobile to volunteer. If I can do it, anyone can!

SGOYT Resources

1 Player Guild - The home base for everything related to solo games
SGOYT Monthly GeekList Subscription - A subscription thread updated with the latest SGOYT lists
SGOYT QuickLinks - A collection of links to every SGOYT GeekList
SGOYT Made Me Buy This! - A list to both thank and jokingly blame SGOYT posters for purchases
2018 Solo Challenges GeekList - A subscription list of every past and current 2018 solo challenge
The 2018 Solo and Coop Unpossible Challenge - A place to set and achieve a difficult personal solo goal or challenge for 2017
1 Player Guild / SGOYT 2018 Solitaire Goals - A place to set and track personal solo game goals for 2018
2017 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games - An extensive list of the top 100 solo games as voted by solo gamers
Solo Gaming Awards - A list of links to various 1 Player Guild and solo game awards
SGOYT Aggregator - A site with detailed game and user data from every SGOYT list
SGOYT Spreadsheet - An excellent resource for SGOYT data from 2013-2016
Solitaire Recommendations for Your Table - A list of solo recommendations broken down by genre
SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek - A list of all SoloPlay variants to enjoy many multiplayer games as solo games
Solitaire Resources - A list of additional resources for solo gamers

1 Player Guild Trading Post - A place to buy, sell, and trade games with members of the 1 Player Guild
The Solo Games Chain of Generosity - A place to pay it forward with other members of the 1 Player Guild
Solitaire Games - Fair Trade It Forward - A place to pay it forward with solo games
1 Player Guild Hot Deals Thread - A listing of current deals and discounts on solo games
1 Player Guild Auction Watch - A thread with links to BGG auctions for rare and hard-to-find games

Sock Puppet of the Week Subscription - A subscription thread updated with the latest 1 Player Guild Sock Puppet of the Week
SROYT Monthly GeekList Subscription - A subscription thread updated with the latest Solitaire RPGs On Your Table (SROYT) lists

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1. Board Game: Kingdom Death: Monster [Average Rating:8.92 Overall Rank:32]
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Baldwin
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Kingdom Death: Monster is...overhyped (IMHO). It is an enjoyable solo game. I have no idea how it plays Multiplayer (perhaps this is how it shines). But some have called it their grail game, others have said that once it hits their table it's all they are playing. For me, and still others, it gets a bit repetitive. Repetition usually means you aren't really making decisions and instead just doing what works.

There are 3 phases to the game.

The HUNT phase is where you basically move one spot, than roll on a table. Something random happens. Might be good, usually it's not. You might get to make a decision regarding to entry you rolled, usually you don't. You might have a Survivor (player character) that you've grown attached to get suddenly taken away. Just by rolling on the table. I like the rolling on the table part with random things happening, I just wish they were a bit more balanced between good stuff and bad stuff.

When you find the beast you've been hunting, you have a SHOWDOWN phase. This is a tactical fight. They have done some really interesting stuff here:

Random terrain that can be used in different tactical ways.
The AI cards as health for your quarry.
The simplistic yet nuanced combat system that takes into account things like speed and damage.

Their is a learning curve for each quarry/nemesis you fight. They all have different AI behaviors and learning how to fight each one is interesting.

But after you figure it out, that's when the repition comes in. You'll want to safely beat up the quarry's you have learned to fight in order to get resources. These resources are used in the SETTLEMENT phase to create gear. It will take many SHOWDOWN's to get enough resources to fully equip your 4 survivors with armor, weapons and other stuff. So you fight the same quarry, using the same tactics.

The SETTLEMENT phase, as mentioned, has some decision making. What do you do with your resources? Add new tech to your settlement? Craft weapons? How about try to increase the population? There are may things to do, just not enough time to do it. You have a few choices to make before you start the HUNT phase again. Oh, and there will be more random things happen to you that will probably be bad, that you probably will not have a decision to make.

Others have said that the focus shouldn't be on your survivors, but instead the settlement. Your survivors will come and go, not much can be done about that. The survival of the Settlement is all that matters. My issue is that this game is meant to be played for many hours. In that time I want to see something growing. That really doesn't happen here. It's more like you start small, grow larger, than watch it get whittled away.

I don't mind losing a game after a few hours playing it. But I have problems when I'm seeing the slow decline over many, many hours of play. You could have 10 hours to go before your settlement succumbs and know it. Eck.

Now the caveat. I have not played through an entire campaign yet. I am having trouble getting myself to play the game because of it's brutal nature. As I said elsewhere, the game starts off like it's one step forward, two steps back. Than it becomes two steps forward, one step back. Than no steps forward, three steps back.

It also seems like the entirety of what you are doing is crafting. Hunt, to find a quarry, so you can get resources to craft better gear, to fight tougher quarry's, to get better gear. I feel like it's less growing your survivors or building up your settlement and more about just crafting stuff.

The other thing to note is just how dark the game is. It's billed as horror, but it just feels more like depressing.

thumbsup Campaign System
thumbsup Components
thumbsup AI System
thumbsup Tactical Combat System
thumbsup Settlement Phase
thumbsup Crafting system
thumbsdown The brutal nature of the game. I can take randomness, but not when it's so often negative with no control from me. At the same time, beating my head against the wall isn't fun either. But at least I have control over that.
thumbsdown The oppressive atmosphere of the game
thumbsdown Repetition. After you have learned how to beat a Quarry, you rinse and repeat. You could move on to other Quarry's, but you need better gear.
thumbsdown Length of game vs. enjoyment factor. You will put many, many hours into the game and just watch terrible things happen to your survivors and settlements.
thumbsdown Cost. I'm not a miniatures person. While I can appreciate the engineering and artistry that goes into them, without being a mini's painter I feel you really are only playing with half of what you paid for.

Score: 7

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2. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game [Average Rating:8.27 Overall Rank:19]
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This was the LCG I was waiting for, I thought. I even bought 2 core games out of the gate. Than there were the mixed reviews. The story had replayability issues. The deck construction was limited (you build it before the campaign begins than have to stick with it using gained experience to slightly modify it).

So I just bought all the expansions as they came out and even got the FFG playmat.

Finally played it. I love it. I feel that while there may not be surprises in the story after you play it, there is still replayability in the form of using different characters and different decks. Solving the same problem in different ways. I found myself enjoying this game a lot more than I had thought. I feel they have done some interesting game design in how the cards allow them to break the rules so that each scenario can offer a different experence.

I play 2-handed. I am about to finish the 3rd scenario of the core game today, which will conclude my campaign. I plan on going through it again with the other characters in the core box to get a feel of how each of them works.

thumbsup The simple but nuanced deck construction. This includes the ability to spend experience points to make your deck better.
thumbsup The campaign system. You get experience points to improve your character (throught the deck). Your choices and actions may affect future scenarios.
thumbsup The gameplay. It really is a joy to maximize your card play. Looking for synergies. Seeing what works and what doesn't.
thumbsup Deck construction. This really is a good beginner's version to deck construction. Unlike the Lord of the Rings LCG, where you have to construct a deck for each scenario, AH LCG has you construct it before the campaign, and you only alter it slightly with expereince points. The cards are versatile enough that each is useful. In addition, by playing the same deck over multiple play sessions, you really see what works for you as a player and what doesn't. This way, when you begin the next campaign, you'll easily know what cards in your deck you don't want because you don't use them. You'll be swapping them out because you'll remember that bind you keep getting into with the deck and look for cards that address it.
thumbsdown It takes so long for a complete campaign to get released. I understand the reason why and accept it, but I'm not one to repeat the same scenario in one month with different characters. I'd also prefer not to take breaks until the next scenario is released. So I have to wait until the entire cycle is released before I begin playing it. At this point it should work out that by replaying a cycle twice (with different characters), the next should be ready to go.
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3. Board Game: First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1369]
Chip Crawford
United States
Aubrey
Texas
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Love Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island system.
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4. Board Game: Doctor Who: Solitaire Story Game (Second edition) [Average Rating:8.94 Overall Rank:5509]
simon cogan
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As always, DWSSG2e is at the top of my list with the All of Time and Space project (AOTAS) for 2018.

I'm planning on 12 releases - 1 per month - and 1 for each Doctor!

(Plus a few surprise extras along the way...)

Each release is 17 pages long – Cover, Introduction, TARDIS page, 5 Enemy pages, 3 Adventure pages (9 Adventures in all) and then 6 pages of Events (about 20-25 in all). Over 12 expansions this will give 60 Enemies, 108 Adventures and 300 events.

On the Intro page you’ll find new rules, stats for the Doctor and 2 Companions of that era

The TARDIS page gives us a brand new e001 with a nice layout of the expansion’s Doctor and perhaps a tweaked event or two - so that a dimensional jump in the 1st Doctor expansion might see you visit the Toymaker’s realm!

The Enemies are ‘re-creatable’ today. What I mean by this is would you bring them back in the TV show? For example from the 5th Doctor era, I could well see the Mara or the Terileptils being brought back (with updated costumes obviously). But as much as ‘Caves of Androzani’ is an absolute classic, I wouldn’t bring back Sharaz Jek!

With the Adventures – it has to be place where it wasn’t so ‘specific’ to the TV episode that you wouldn’t want to visit there. Androzani would be out as what else would you do but get chased around by androids, Magma beasts or mercenaries. A place like Raaga however (that of the Tinclavic mines) that was only mentioned in ‘The Visitation’ would be great as a kind of ‘Rura Penthe’ Star Trek prison planet

Each expansion has 6 pages of events. Only a few TV Companions here but possibility of new ones, with Characters that could become Companions with Charisma rolls – like we have in the 2e Core event book like Tallulah or Flora etc. Some may have appeared on TV like Todd in ‘Kinda’ perhaps or Richard Mace. I've also created brand new ‘what-if’ Companions – represented by actors/actresses that may have been cast in ‘Doctor Who’ at the time...so watch out for Andrea Miller, Major Tom Draper and Annie Harris...

We’ll also have new content in each expansion that is ‘representative’ or ‘suggested’ by an era. The 2nd Doctor would be great in Feudal Japan, the 11th Doctor could visit 50’s Hollywood (like he did off screen in ‘Christmas Carol’ and meet Marilyn Monroe...).

AOTAS1: The First Doctor releases Jan 6th!
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5. Board Game: Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:2484]
George Pattison
United States
Odenton
Maryland
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I think my goals for the new year are going to be not staying up all night writing these things and brevity, but since it's not quite the new year here yet...

Just got this on the table this week. I have been pleasantly surprised. After the last one in which I thought the bots weren't all that good, this one gives you a ride.

Basically, I have jumped in the deep end again and decided to play the full campaign against the bots as the Scotti which are my ancestors. I kind of wish that I had taken a picture after I had set it up, but I kind of skipped it. You can see it on the back of the rules if you want to download them from GMT.
This is what the situation looked like after the first campaign roughly 25 years after 360 AD.

Basically, the Dux, what's left of the Roman military in red, got distracted by Saxon raids along the south coast and Scotti raids in Wales. While they were beating up on them, the Scotti in green carried out a series raids on the rest of the hilly parts along the west coast supported by Saint Patrick who helped them get better ransoms for the nobles they took hostage. They were really successful in Cornwall and wiped out a town and a militia belonging to the Civitates, the Romanized Celts in blue. They also managed to get the jump on the Roman fort in Carvetti, along the wall, and killed it with one of the much vaunted cavalry units.

Meanwhile, the Civities traded and accumulated wealth threatening to take over the Roman government in Britain from the Dux. They and the Dux also brought in the Saxons in black as Foderati, allies that were paid with imperial treasure and lands, to manage the Scotti menace. The only problem with was the Foderati hired by the Civitates revolted in Brigantes. How's that for giving an enemy tribe a foothold in your domain?

During this phase of the game, the Dux and Civitates are considered to be Britons. They are not frienemies like some of the other COIN series games; but when they are not fighting each other, they are on the same side in battles against the barbarians and share access to the Civitates budget. The problem with both of them is they start off in an "I won" condition, and there is a real danger that the changing victory conditions that are the result of the deteriorating political situation could result in a surprise win for one of them. Luckily, this time the political situation remained the same with the Dux in charge under Roman rule. However, if there had been a change to civilian rule, the Civitaties would have won at this point.

I had to adjust my strategy toward the end of this campaign from raid and seize to raid and destroy to try to keep more balanced pressure on the Civitates and the Dux.


Twenty five years later around 410 AD, the Romans abandoned the wall on the Northern frontier which opened up new possibilities. While a raiding of force of Scotti hit Wales drawing off the Dux and another raiding force kept the Civitates in Voladini busy, the Scotti expanded their position in Carvetti and established a base.

Meanwhile, the Saxons raided the fens in the east and established a base in Iceni causing some of the population in the next door Corieltauvi to flee the ravaging Saxons to Votadini along the Caledonian border, and the entire population of Brigantes went native.

When the Dux weren't off chasing the Scotti in Wales, they were surrounding Civitates towns and hill forts requisitioning money for military expenditures trying to bleed the shared budget dry so that they could reduce the accumulated wealth of the Civitates. They weren't completely successful, and the Civitates were able to take control of the government under Roman rule. However, the Civitates didn't win, because the improvement in the Saxon positions undercut the required control just enough to deny them the instant win.

The challenge for the next campaign was to get both the Civities and Dux safely below the threshold victory at the next political deterioration level while pushing the Scotti forward.

The next campaign, 410-435AD, I was going to focus on killing everything remaining Caledonia and Wales with the hopes that that was going to be enough to keep the Cavitates under control, but they messed with me by throwing Tintagel which put a hill fort and a militia in Calvetti and forced me to reconquer ground that I already conquered. Even with that, the Scotti managed to destroy a hill fort in Wales and one along the Caledonian border while plundering the Brigantes.

The Saxons basically were out of it this campaign. Rather than raid, they built up in Iceni and Brigantes quickly exhausting their resources, but it got them half way to a control victory. The Dux were at least trying to put a collar on the Civitates by drawing down their resources enough to get at their wealth. Well, they didn't have any money to do anything else after paying off their Foderati and maintaining the forts.

The reason for that was the Dux no longer had unlimited access to the Civitates' resources that were funded by trade. So, they had to requisition the funds by operation before they could act or get Civitates approval. Since Dux were ahead, the Civitates wouldn't give them permission. That made it more difficult to pull down the budget enough to get at the accumulated wealth stashed away by Civities or act. Amazingly enough, the Dux managed to draw off a smidgen of the wealth anyway.

At this point, it was looking like another campaign of Roman rule with Civitates control, and my raiding had advance my position. The Civitates were in a safe place for the moment, the Dux were out of it, and the Saxons were broke. That was when a religious disagreement dropped and wiped both the two most populous Civitates provinces, Votadini and Catuvellauni, off the map putting the Civitates right on the goal line for the next lower political situation, autonomy. If the population hadn't fled to Votadini, it would have been game over.

So, the situation deteriorated to autonomy from Roman rule; and with the Civitates refusing to give the Dux money for road maintenance, the roads fell into permanent disrepair leaving every locality on their own to deal with the barbarians. It also opened the way for both the Dux and the Civitates to play their pivotal events.

Given that the roads were down, and the Dux had suffered losses. It was time to start looking for an opening to play my pivotal event which was a super raid by all the barbarians...

Update:

During the fourth campaign (435-460AD), the large Scotti raids generated by the Scotti pivotal card went in. Unfortunately, I misread the card and forgot the Saxon part of raids. While not taking their raids would have been valid decision for Saxons due to the two card ineligibility it could entail, it wasn’t necessarily a good one. However, I decided to go on, since it wasn’t a derailing mistake.

The Scotti raids that went in were powerful enough to clear out all the Saxon Foderati and Dux from Deceangli and destroy the Dux Fort in Textoverdi. The Roman forces in the area were too weak for respond effectively, and that allowed the raiders to escape with 12 prosperity and strengthen their base area in Carvetti. Later, the Scotti took an event which replaced the Civitates hill fort and militia in North Wales with their own forces. It was also in this time period that Scotti became masters of surprise in the hills to turning the hill country into dark and foreboding places.

Not trusting the Scotti very much, the Civitates replace the Scotti Foderati and settlement with their own in Parsi, and resettle refugees fleeing the Saxon ravagers in Cornovii. The Saxons also raided the areas around Londinium and brought in some Saxon immigrates to swell their population in Brigantes which put them halfway to their control victory.

Meanwhile, the Dux spent the time recovering from raids by building new forts in the South of England and later put together a punitive raid on the Scotti which got 10 of their prosperity back and back into control of the government.

I went from 27 to 39 and back down to 29. The Pendragon epoch event is a lovely event.

In the fifth campaign (460-485AD), the Scotti raiders got bolder striking defended targets in Wales and in Southeast England for treasure and hostages. They also cleaned out the unguarded treasure in Deceangli. The Saxons engaged in heavy raiding as well wiping out the Roman forces in Trinovantes and swiping treasure from Catuvellauni and Corieltauvi. The Saxon king Vortigern also invaded Cantiaci destroying most of the Roman forces there.

The Comitates responded by building up their forces adjacent to Wales, Brigantes, Carvetti, and Cantiaci and sent punitive expeditions into those regions in pursuit of the barbarians, pillaging along the way. The Dux seeing the plunder and figuring that they could get their hands on it moved from their fortified regions in Atrebates and in Wales to the Civitates’ towns in middle England and proceeded to requisition the loot to build new forts in Dobunni and Cornovii to keep an eye on the Civitates. That left Atrebates exposed and triggered another round of Scotti raids that wiped out and looted the Romans there.

Somewhere in here, the Civitates also played their pivotal event which turned their economy from town based to hill fort based. The net effect was a hill fort and some forces appeared in Textoverdi.

In epoch round, the government finally collapsed and fragmented, and climate change reduced the populations in low lying regions around the coast which further eroded Saxon and Civitates control.

The lead was the Civitates faction at -3. I know it shows -2. Soon after this picture, I figured out that I forgotten to remove population for the flooding in Textoverdi. I was -11, so the final campaign was going to be raiding with abandoned, passing for the extra renown, or beating punitive expedition that intrudes on my base areas.

The final campaign began with an interesting choice, the defenses of the vulnerable regions where I could get to were pretty well defended, and I saw the “Groans of Britain” event coming up which brings on a large force of Dux and returns Britain to Roman rule. With the Dux literally out of the game at the point, I figured that the Dux might move and disrupt Civitates domination in enough areas to pull them back from victory when the political rule crashed back down to fragmentation.

However, I didn’t think that would work quickly enough, but I passed anyway to get the renowned point and see what would happen. I was hoping that something would happen to reduce defenses, and I didn’t have to wait long. The Dux using a power that they acquired earlier that allows them muster two cavalry per fort mustered enough cavalry to remove Civitates control from Corieltauvi. That triggered the Civitates to attack the Dux in Corieltauvi, Cornovii, and Dobunni. That wiped out the Dux positions in Cornovii and Dobunni and seriously attrited Civitates’ forces. So, I didn’t even have to make the play.

Then, it was a competition between the Scotti and Saxons to see who could loot Cornovii and Dobunni the fastest. The Scotti got raids into both of them and wiped out the towns, but split the plunder in Cornovii with the Saxons. The Civitates built up their forces in Parsi, Textoverdi, and elsewhere. Then, they used a special event that gave them a free march, and battle and sent expeditions into Brigantes and Cornovii. The event also suppressed the defenders ambush rolls which they both missed. The expedition in Brigantes was too strong, and the Saxons were wiped out. However, the Scotti were able to withdraw and get besieged, but that put them in a precarious position of possibly getting destroyed in a follow up attack.

With all the battles and loot that I had got back from the first wave, I was at 45, but I still had raiders the map from the second wave which could give me one point to take me over 45 to immediate victory in the next epoch. However, there was a real chance I’d lose two settlements and not make the victory conditions. The deck was also within range of an epoch card showing up. That’s when I noticed that the next card that I’d have a chance to play on was “Barbarians” which added a settlement and a warband in any region that border Oceanus Hibernicus. I opted for the safe choice and took the settlement hoping that I would get a chance to recover the raiders, and the final epoch card came up.

Nobody had the immediate win, so it was by points. I was at +10. The Civitates, the next one, was -5. So, Scotti for the win, and England enters the dark ages anyway.

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6. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:18]
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Canada
New Brunswick
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Amazon had a nice sale price for Mage Knight over the holidays. I've been spending more time playing heavy games lately. Could this be a good match?

The box arrived last week, so I've already gone through the introductory rules and taken two heroes through several rounds of exploration. I feel like it's time to stop learning and start playing - so this will be my main solo game in January.

---

What I'm looking forward to:
* Fantasy Adventure - Since selling Runebound (Second Edition) last year, I haven't really had anything in my collection to scratch this itch. Mage Knight looks like it ticks all the boxes.

What I'm uncertain about:
* (Lack of) Randomness - One thing I appreciated about the Runebound was having to adjust my plans on the fly due to some randomness, especially with movement dice. Mage Knight seems to be much more under your control: there are choices to make, but very little uncertainty.
* Commitment - Will I commit the time and energy needed for this game?
The most played solo games around here tend to be convenient to pull out and play. Mage Knight clearly requires more table space, playing time, and overall effort.

Very early impression:
Learning sessions haven't caused me to fall in love with Mage Knight, although the game is interesting. Currently feels like Mage Knight will be a game to explore a few times before trading or selling... would gladly be proven wrong on this point.

---

New Year Resolution: Spend more time playing games I already know (and own, preferably) rather than learning new ones.
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7. Board Game: Vinhos [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:293]
Doug Mann
United States
Corpus Christi
Texas
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Vinhos finally hit the table for a couple of learning games. The first play, I screwed up the fairs so badly I quit after Year 5. The second time I got through it playing two-handed. I may have made some mistakes, but I'll play one with Sheryl in a few minutes and hopefully do better.

Lots of mistakes in the first play.


thumbsup One of the heavier Euros I own
thumbsup I always love engine-building
thumbsup Tight economics and "rondel" for a real brainburner in play
thumbsup The only game I own on the topic

thumbsdown Lots of moving parts to keep track of
thumbsdown Only 6 years/turns, so each move is critical

Rating: Too soon to say.


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8. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Tomb of Annihilation Board Game [Average Rating:8.16 Overall Rank:2987] [Average Rating:8.16 Unranked]
Paul Aceto
United States
Fairfax
Virginia
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It's quite a journey from World War II France to the Jungles of Chult, and quite honestly, it's a journey I never expected to make. I have a couple of other games in the D&D Adventure series, and I found them to be a bit simple. But the more I read about the latest iteration, and its campaign system, the more interested I became. When my local game store had a 35% off all games year-end sale, I used some holiday money to snap up a deluxe copy with painted minis.

I've played through the first two missions and I am really enjoying the simplicity of the system combined with the narrative - and leveling up - of the campaign. I had read that the campaign is considered too easy at higher player counts and that the Human Ranger was a bit OP'ed, so I compromised by taking only two heroes, one of which was the Ranger. The other was the cat-folk Bard.

I also got a chance to try out some new accessory bling. My KS pledge for Omnitray arrived a week or so ago. These are modular player boards that can be configured to hold cards and tokens. I was disappointed that the narrow slots in them did not hold the cards very well.



I also used some of the Zen Bins I picked up in bulk in MM's Black Friday sale. They are great for holding tokens.







Here was the situation about 2/3 of the way through Mission 1. This game seems to have more tiles with multiple monster spawns and black triangles than I recall from the earlier ones. We had to use a healing surge to make it through, and both heroes were badly wounded before we finally fulfilled the mission objective.



With that fresh in my mind, in the town phase I spent all our gold to acquire some advancements. I also changed the Bard's cards so that she had more offense.

The second mission went more smoothly. One of the reasons I wanted to take the Ranger was that he had access to this power:



A man needs an ice spider. FYI - the mini is a void spider from Shadows of Brimstone; I always try to proxy in minis for tokens when I can.



And in the end it was the ice spider that delivered the killing blow to the Vegepygmy Chieftain, thus giving us a victory.



I have the sense that in designing this iteration of the series, Kevin Wilson wisely took some of the punishment out of the Encounter cards and instead added more challenge to the fights. I'd rather lose due to fighting enemies than from a card flip.

If you hated the other games in the series, you won't like this one. But if you were somewhat on the fence, with that feeling of "I just wish there was a bit more to this," than you might enjoy ToA.

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9. Board Game: Rallyman [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:716]
Jason
United Kingdom
Norwich
Norfolk
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Happy new year to and from the UK!

Been fiddling with games, the last few days, but managed little real play. Travelling back from Germany was grim and left the household exhausted. It's that weird post-Christmas funk where you're sick of turkey (actually, I'm not), wishing you'd bought more batteries for the kids' toys... and wondering when Games Quest are going to get off their arses and shift some of the pledges they've been shelving for over a fortnight.

Had a few opportunities - and potential opponents - for a few games, but nothing came of it, so I decided to break this out and two-hand it to refresh the rules, as I want to leap in to the competitive stuff this year.

Although this was less "rally" and more "really!?" given some lousy dice rolls. Blue car played safe, taking decent lines with little risk, while the yellow car went hell-for-leather in a bid to take the trophy. After one special stage, yellow was four minutes behind, but had made some truly interesting detours into water hazards... and crowds.

Need to get all the advanced stuff straight now, and then add in the Rallyman: Dirt and Rallyman: Sisu cards too.

In other news, Scythe: The Wind Gambit arrived and looks to be a superb addition to the main game. Not sure why I slept on it, even this long. And I've unboxed and set up First Class (and received First Class: Module F – Storage and Factory from the publisher's website). All looks great. Given how much I love Russian Railroads it'll be interesting to see how they compare.



Gripping... and apparently shot in 1980's SD shite-o-vision.
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10. Board Game: Israeli Independence [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:5481]
Etien
United States
Thibodaux
Louisiana
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My last game of 2017 is also my first game of 2018.

Game 1 (2017) ended in a Substantial Defeat when Syria entered the Israeli capital.

Game 2 (2018) ended in a Decisive Victory by holding off all of the Arab advances until the card deck ran dry.



An excellent introduction to Victory Point Games "States-of-Siege" system. It is quick and fun without all of the chrome one would expect from an Ottoman Sunset or a Zulus on the Ramparts!.
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11. Board Game: Bethel Woods [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:4940]
Kevin Shaud
United States
Landisville
Pennsylvania
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Feels good to start off 2018 with a WIN!

Yes, the draw bag is empty. I won on my very last turn.


Linny and Violet eked out a win on their last turn. Violet had seven mechanical (yellow) knowledge and placed the mechanic into the northeast corner of the orphanage for the win. Even if the draw bag wasn’t empty, there were also three critical malfunctions and five spies on the board so the would have been near regardless.

I’m surprised that I was able to win. I got the first four pieces of the Daydreamer assembled fairly easily and was looking good, but with the reduced number of workers, the game tightens up quickly.

This is a really good game.

thumbsup Quick and easy set up
thumbsup Good replay value due to different characters, random critical malfunctions, spies, etc
thumbsup Makes you think and plan without being too AP-inducing (at least for me)
thumbsup Challenging, tough to win
thumbsdown Might get repetitive after a large number of plays due to having the same objective in every game (I’m reaching for a negative here and this was all that I could come up with that might be a drawback over the long haul).
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12. Board Game: Legacy of Dragonholt [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:1364] [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:305]
Redd
United States
San Diego
California
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Happy New Year everyone! My last game of 2017 and also the first one of 2018 as my first quest (To New Roads) finished in a different year started. whistle



I really enjoyed this adventure and the Oracle system. I can see a lot of potential and hats off to Nikki Valens! Very immersive as your narrative adventure tale develops and the tracking system is straightforward - once you get started it flows easily and makes picking back up where you left off a snap (like when you step away for a bit to watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV and wonder why Mariah is there again). shake

The "prep time" before the adventure starts creating your character is a key component and time well spent. The thought you put into it and the decisions you make about your character greatly affect the choices available in your adventure tale and how it will play out. No random dice rolls, it's all about your character and the decisions they make to determine their path and fate (kind of like life). I felt that connected me more to the character than random luck rolls. Choices and actions (past and present) have consequences whether positive or negative - how well did you prepare/act?

Really looking forward to continuing this quest and seeing where this road takes us...

thumbsup Quick setup/pickup - could easily take this on the go too!
thumbsup Really pulls you in to the story.
thumbsup Replayability - I already am wondering "what if" for the next go - even replaying the same quest, I'm sure I didn't experience but a fraction of the interactions so much will be new.
thumbsdown Wish the font were a bit bigger...my eyes aren't as young as they were. (I was digging for something...that's all I got.)

As for New Year resolutions: First and foremost: Buy less and play more!! Secondly, I'll be spending a good bit of time abroad for work this year and want to explore some of the best travel games and tips/techniques for hotels, airlines, etc. [This game adventure just jumped into the top spots for that resolution.]

[Edited for clarity after a late night/early morning post]
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13. Board Game: Fields of Fire [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:1130]
Ama Perera
Australia
Melbourne
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I've had this beast set up on the table for a week now. I come to it every day, playing a round or part of one.

I've had a number of aborted attempts at learning the system over the past couple of months, but this time I thought I'd take it slow. I've watched a few videos to get the general flow down, decided I'd take the pyrotechnics (which are various forms of smoke/lighting used to communicate with your squads when they're out of radio reach) as it comes.

So far, it's been really good and the more relaxed pace means I'm more thoroughly reading the rulebook.



This mission is Mission 1 in the Normandy Campaign. Orders are to advance on a German occupied Church, clearing the surrounds as I progress, and ensuring I recover a nearby cemetery. So far, the company has been met with little resistance, and an attempt at a counterattack by the Germans fizzled quite quickly.

However, 2nd Platoon has received two casualties, so I'm thinking I should be a little more careful as I progress into increasingly populated areas.

Oh, and there's also a pesky sniper lurking in trenches that I have to take care of soon.

thumbsup Solitaire only design! It's an excellent system, really.
thumbsup An "epic" tactical wargame with an abstracted map, requires half the usual table space and a fraction of the chits.
thumbsup As you play, a story does really form in your mind. There are no "named" units like in Combat Commander, but you start filling in the blanks. More solitaire games need to do this!
thumbsup Once you've come to terms with the system, I'd say the game could play really quickly.

thumbsupthumbsdown Really meaty rulebook, will take time to parse. But it's well written, and fairly enjoyable.
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14. Board Game: Urbion [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1809]
Paul Bach
United States
Rocky Hill
Connecticut
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So in a fit of wishing to start off the new year on the correct game footing, I played a game of Urbion at 6:15AM before going to work for my 7:00AM shift. Of course I had been up until 1:00AM seeing in the new year and getting up was more of a slog than usual.

I got in my game. I have not played it for a long time even though it is the game I keep it my lunch bag just so I can play any game during my breaks, but normally I act as brain dead as possible during those just to be able to survive the last portion of my shift. Unfortunately I lost, possibly due to the fog of lethargy swirling around my head.

The kicker is that, after playing and then rushing off to work in -2F cold, I arrive to my unit and was asked by the scheduled Charge Nurse “What are you doing here?” I was not on the schedule, even though I could swear I had been at the beginning of the month when I was trying to plan my holidays.

N.B.: Unfortunately I cannot ascribe the mizsteak to holiday cheer as I do not drink and the alcohol I did have was from the hard sauce for the plum pudding I made to bring in the new year.
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15. Board Game: Aventuria: Adventure Card Game [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:2666]
David Matzer
United States
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Happy New Year!

I was able to play this game about 10 times over the last couple of weeks. I would not have purchased this except I won $100 gift card from work at our Christmas party. So I purchased this along with Lisboa.



Here is the end state of my last game.

The base game comes with four character decks (fighter, ranger, mage, thief). Each deck is unique in that there are class specific weapons, armor, equipment and spells/actions. You can play with one or multiple characters. I chose to play two handed with the fighter and ranger.

The base game also includes two adventures. The first is a short one act adventure and the second is a three act adventure. Each act you are given some paragraphs to read with a series of ability checks against a D20. The lower the number of the roll the better. The results of these checks changes a couple of the starting parameters. Perhaps you succeed a check so you now can start with one extra card. Or if you critical fail then you start with two less HP.

Each act your party must face a boss and henchmen. The number of henchmen scale according to he party size. You also choose between four levels of difficulty. The differences in difficulty may be a lower amount of time to complete the act (although you continue to fight until your party or the boss is defeated) or an increase in henchmen or number of events. Some acts have events or other specials decks for the boss that are drawn based on the number of rounds remaining on the time track.

Your resource for the game is your cards. You are allowed to play two cards from your deck each round face down. These are called endurance cards. You can use your endurance to then play cards from your hand or attack. Each of your cards typically cost endurance to play to the table. A sword may cost 3 endurance so you may not be able to play the card until the second round. To attack you have to use endurance. You do start each game with a base attack but it does not have any bonus and if you hit does not normally cause much damage. The enemies have 10-18 hit points so a 1d6 with no bonus and 1 point shield to bypass usually results in 2 points of damage. After each round you then pick two new cards to add to your hand.

After completing an act if you win you can earn experience and/or a reward card. The reward card if gained during the 3 act adventure can be added directly to your deck without modification. So your 30 card deck becomes 31 for the duration of the adventure. After winning the adventure you gain experience which can be used to keep your rewards to be used in another adventure by modifying your deck (max of 30) or increasing an ability by 1 point (max of 4 to any one ability).

I found the first adventure to not be difficult to complete. I was able to win each of the four difficulty levels on my first try. The three act adventure though on the easy difficulty I attempted two times and was unsuccessful. I lost the first time on act 3, act 2 the 2nd time and act 1 the first time. I found that depending on what cards you get to start out with greatly affects how the game will play out. Die rolls can also be quite swingy. There is a reroll mechanic by using fate tokens that can help to mitigate bad rolls from time to time.

thumbsup Easy to learn
thumbsup Quick to play (about an hour)
thumbsup Interesting endurance mechanic to then play cards from hand
thumbsdown Very dependent having a decent starting hand or quickly able to find good weapons or armor early on.
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16. Board Game: Apollo XIII [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:7388]
SoloPlayGames
United States
Ohio
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A big solo gaming month



Apollo XIII:

This has been amazing to me. It has everything in a solo game that I like. It compares favorably to my SoloPlay variant of Innovation which I had to pull out to see if this comparison held up and it did. Apollo XIII does not have a solo variant in the box but it is co-op. All that was missing was a scoring system to be able to rank your victory. I have done this and it makes it all work. The combination of a great find ($15?) and the surprise as to how well it plays is just wonderful. It is the common deck manipulation that has me intrigued in the system.




3012:

Another bargain that I found which is an odd duck but works with the solo variant that I am working on. It causes you to determine how much risk you want to take to score points without trashing your deck. The game play is quick and somewhat thinky, for a deck builder. It has been much berated and there certainly are other deck builders that are much better but for $15, good stuff.




Lisboa

I have liked this game since I saw it and when a deal popped up I picked it up. It was fascinating right out of the box. A simple mechanic which blossoms into something much deeper. I started playing it solo using the variant in the box (which is unusual for me). Playing it I felt that this might have been a variant that I would have created. You know, a little clunky, where an opponent has been scripted to interact with you. I played this 10+ times over the month and I was ultimately disappointed by the solo variant as it is too scripted. It is fine but I wish that it adjusted to my variant breaking methods. Once you know a key thing to do, why would you deviate from that?




Terra Nova

This was the last SoloPlay variant that I posted. A long time in the hopper and such a brain burner. It was frustrating as it makes me feel stupid at times. It took a while for me to get my abstract hat on. I was getting better near the end but I may never be the same ...




Innovation

As I mentioned above I pulled this old guy out. I had not played my variant in many years and my first play I was beaten soundly. By game 3 I was back on the horse and able to start compete with the ruling party. I am doing this to start looking at the additional expansions that have been released since I worked only on the base game. I have all of the expansions and want to ensure that I can solo the whole smash as I love the system and the way it plays.

It was nice to have the variety in games this month as I normally only play 1 or 2 different games solo a month because of development. I had multiple tables with all of the games setup up simultaneously so I could choose my poison. It was a great month.
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17. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:5]
David Matzer
United States
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Ok my 2nd attempt to write this out. I accidentally clicked on my picture and could not get back to what I wrote. UGH!!!!

I was able to play 10 games of TM over a three day period. I love taking vacation from work and being able to enjoy my hobby.

My record of the 10 plays was 8 wins and 2 losses. The 2 losses were both with IC (Interplanetary Cine?) One loss was several steps in each of the parameters but the other was by a mere 1 Oxygen or 4 plants. Although my win rate for the game is very good I would not say that the game is easy. It is challenging and my strategy changes as I see the cards each round. Ultimately my main goal in each game is to start some sort of engine for one of the parameters. I hope to get enough event cards to work on the other parameter and then use standard projects as I can for the third. It is so satisfying pushing the cubes around and seeing the parameter tracks each gain a level or two for a round. This whole engine building card management really feels satisfying for me and it plays much faster then The Colonists. They are completely different but to play 1 hour TM and feel good vs 3-4 hours for the same feeling with TC for the same enjoyment I think TM would be my choice. Plus with TM there are tons of corporations to choose from.


This was my game with Thorgate. I won with 84VP. I was presented with several energy cards so purchased and used those to maximize the corp power as much as possible.


This was my game with UNMI. I won with 89VP. As can be seen I had a high heat and plant engine going. The small titanium production help to subsidize all of the events.


I have been eyeing the expansion content but am not sure how much it truly adds to the solo play experience. I was hoping Venus was going to be similar to Mars with its own map, a bunch of new cards, new parameters and some new mechanics.
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18. Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:10]
J. Atkinson
United States
Grant
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After midnight, I wanted something quick and satisfying to play, so I grabbed this gem. I had to track down Madmihi's Pericles rules again because I wanted to give it another go. My usual tactic is to deny the AI as many resources as I can, so it can't build its wonders. That usually means I load up resources and it takes lots of blue. I was able to build all my wonders so that at least prevents Pericles from building its last wonder. By age 3, I had 3 science, and Pericles had a lot of points from all the blue and getting to build its 9 point wonder. I figured my best bet was to try for a science win; however, this would require me to pull double science icons to obtain the "Law" token. Fortunately, I was able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by keeping Pericles from getting the science cards this age and grabbing the "Law" token for a science victory. This the advantage of this variant in that you can obtain a science or military victory as opposed to the Scott variant.


<summary> satisfying half-hour game for late night lack of brain power </summary>
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19. Board Game: Discoveries [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:569]
Nick Shaw
United Kingdom
Plymouth
Devon
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First (published) game played of 2018! Solo variant for Discoveries. I won 54 to 48, despite losing out on the Tepee bonus (AI got 12 tepees to my 11).

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20. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:35]
Lawrence
Philippines
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The very first game I played this year, well I did start on the New Year's eve but never completed a game until now because of the ...rules. Yes, rules, others say the game is brutal and so are the rules. Every now and then I have to re-read the rulebook to clarify some action and this stalls the game a lot. Well, I'm not giving up on this game, I liked the theme and it is a good solo game. So I will keep pushing myself until I can confidently say that I have played the game correctly and smoothly.

Regarding this month's theme which is the board game resolution. Personally, to play more of these heavy games, including this one and the coming games which include the king, Mage Knight.
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21. Board Game: Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:303]
Ben Bosmans
Belgium
Mechelen
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Third play after owning this game for 2 days...

Narrow defeat this time while playing with the driver and the doctor.

In the second last turn that monster escaped throug a gate and awakened Chtulhu.

I had my 5 Arkham cards in hand already ...

Much better and faster than standard Pandemic which is so frustrating.



Planning 2018:
1. Play all scenarios of all my Lovecraft games (bosses/scenarios/investigators) or about ... 100 Lovecraft games
2. Play all Conflict of Heroes scenarios : 60 games
3. Learn each month 2 or 3 new games I haven't played yet.

Goal is ~ 500 gaming sessions for 2018.
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22. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:68]
Jason
United Kingdom
Norwich
Norfolk
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With thoughts on my top ten of 2017 beginning to percolate, I'm reminded that it's been a year since Troyes entered the collection. I've played it several times solo, as today, but only once (so far) as a full multiplayer experience - and this is a multiplayer game that could end a marriage.

I really enjoy the solo game, and I don't think playing the AI diminishes it, but that game against sweary opponents was something else. I waited forever for this to be reprinted and snatched it up - and remain very glad I did. I like everything about it (expansion is really worth getting too), particularly the aesthetic design, which fits the game perfectly.

Great stuff.




Resolutions: write more; be more proactive with agents; sleep more; don't sweat the petty things (and don't pet the sweaty things); spend less (particularly have a gap-year from Kickstarter); have a holiday; get back in shape after a fairly "weighty" couple of years. (On the last point, I went for my first walk with my new pedometer this morning. Worryingly, it says there are four hundred in this area...)

I'm not usually one for a motto, but two people have told me they're going to "dance like nobody's watching" in 2018, in the past twelve hours. May I suggest "work like nobody's watching; dance like you need the money" might reap far greater rewards and inner peace?
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23. Board Game: Viticulture Essential Edition [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:20]
Luke
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
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I didn't set out to own almost everything Jamey Stegmaier has designed, yet when I received all the Christmas gifts from my Amazon wishlist, among them were this, Charterstone and The Wind Gambit.

I don't follow designers. Right? Like I love Mage Knight, but that didn't make me interested in buying Codenames.

I love Gloomhaven, but I didn't back or even really look into the KS for Isaac Childress' other game.

I think what Jerry Hawthorne did with Mice and Mystics is brilliant. An accessible, family-friendly dungeon crawler with better scenario design than most modern dungeon crawlers. Yet I don't know what else he's made and I have no real desire to find out.

And yet, apparently, I really like the games Jamey makes. Not my intention to buy all his stuff. It just happened that way.

Playing this the other night, it was interesting to see Scythe in it. Just like it's interesting to see Scythe in Charterstone.

In a creative writing class many years ago in college, a professor quoted that we only ever write one book in our lives.

If that's true of games, Jamey's game is about efficient loops. Both creating and disrupting them.

Vlaada's games are about not having the right or enough resources and needing to accomplish something complex perfectly.

Nikki Valens would like you to consider your choices carefully because the price of failure is greater than the reward for success.

I digress.

Viticulture is cool. It's shorter than I want it to be and I think I'll need to try the campaign mode because otherwise I'm not sure, "get 20 points" is going to do it for me long-term.

Different enough from his other worker placement games to justify owning all three.

I didn't know making wine could be interesting enough for a board game.
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24. Board Game: Spirit Island [Average Rating:8.49 Overall Rank:53]
Luke
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
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This is among the best games I have ever played.

That is not hyperbole.

Mechanically, I perceive no flaws.

The theme is unique, the art is lovely(YMMV).

I find it engaging in the same way as I do Magic the Gathering.

It asks me to solve the same sorts of problems and think about similar things.

Heavy strategy in terms of breadth, although certainly not shallow.

Brain-engagement, less brain-burn. Similar to Mage Knight, but Mage Knight will make you work significantly harder. I may change my opinion on that once I'm playing at the max level.

It's replayable in the way deep strategy games(Mage Knight, Magic the Gathering) are.

There are "only eight" spirits in the core game, and they literally each play differently.

Not differently like in Vast, where you must learn a new game(which I like btw), but differently like in a Magic deck. You're all trying to do the same sorts of things, Damage, Control, Mill, but you'll need to pilot your spirit differently. Like one pilots a deck in Magic.

Look, I know I like things. I write about the games I like and love, so it shouldn't be a surprise when I say nice things about a game I'm playing.

I recently played Bloodborne the card game. I'm not writing about it. I didn't hate it, but I have nothing to say about it.

Back to Spirit Island, it has been a long time since I have enjoyed a game this greatly and in this way.

There is a lot to explore.

For instance, my friend and I started on Difficulty 0 out of 10.

We played all the spirits, lost a bunch, figured out the core strategy that we were doing wrong, started to win, won consistently.

I moved up to using one of the three adversaries. Prussia, Level 1. Now I'm messing around with Prussia mostly. I played a little England and I'm going back to that later. I haven't touched Sweden yet or most of the included scenarios.

I am not bored, I have not reached the end of anything yet. There is still more to learn.

Like my favorite strategy games, one can develop an opening per character.

Opening, like chess opening. Have you played a lot of Scythe? If you start as [faction][economy] do you know what your first three turns look like? Probably right? And then what your next couple of turns will look like based on the most likely reactions of your opponents.

Are you playing Magic? Red Deck Wins? Bad example, Five Color Control? You know what your mana curve needs to look like, you know what their deck can do, you know your first Lightning Bolt kills his Ajani, but you need to let him table Ajani so you can use your Lightning Bolt on his Jace, which is coming two turns later.

So, I start Serpent Slumbering Beneath the Island. I look at the board and know I can let two Invader phases go by while I use my first two turns to unlock my second card play and build minor powers for early game utility. I know I'm looking for short term defense, or spot removal to stop builds. I'm the Serpent, so my elements are important as well. So important, that I may draft a weaker Minor Power that will let me fire off Serpent Rouses in Anger at least once before I sacrifice it for a major power.

Serpent is an interesting solo spirit. He's sleeping, and he needs to wake up. In order to do that, he needs to eat the Presence of other spirit's. In solo, he can eat his own.

Makes for a really interesting game. You need to balance your presence placement with reabsorbing it to your Deep Slumber track while using Elemental Aegis to defend the island until you wake up and start to destroy everything with the major powers you've accumulated.

That's what I did. Beat level 3 Prussia in Guard the Isle's Heart handily.

I say handily. What I mean is, I was playing at an appropriate difficulty level, so it was a close game but I won.

There is so much to say about this game. So much to discuss. But I want to go play it. Sooooo....

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25. Board Game: Hapsburg Eclipse [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:2970] [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Eric Hallstrom
United States
Minnesota
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First game of the year after everyone went home last night.

I've played Ottoman Sunset, but this was my first run through of Hapsburg Eclipse. It is similar, but not the same. There is enough thematic difference to make it worth playing. I'll need a few more plays through to decide whether I like it more than Ottoman Sunset.

I made it pretty far through, picked up my mid-day and evening cards fairly quickly. It was going well, until a series of cards moved the Italian front rapidly. I exhausted my radio intercepts holding them back and thought I was safe, but I wound up with all three nationalities in revolt due to some unfortunate rolls and a lot of triggers on 2 cards.

Overall, I found the game to be fun and challenging. Like Ottoman Sunset, I think it will take several plays to get a victory, which is fine by me.

Any of you have thoughts on which of the series is the best?

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