The Big Board-Gaming Catch-All

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UMOarsman wrote:

Hey, all! Do we have a separate thread for solo board gaming? Or is this the one stop shop for all my one player gaming news?

I've been on a tear this month with solo games. Favorites from the past 30 days include Final Girl (bought three movies back to back), Warp's Edge, The Lost Expedition, For Northwood, Sleeping Gods, Cascadia, and will be trying Legends of Arnak once the kids go to bed tonight.

Any recommendations? And has anyone tried the Arnak expansion solo? Tempted to get it as I really like the base game. It's that or another Final Girl box.

Spirit Island is my current favorite solo game. I usually play it two-handed, and with all the expansions, it feels like there is an endless variety of ways to play. I love it as a 2-3 player experience as well.

Other solo games that I have enjoyed are 7th Continent and Sentinels of the Multiverse. 7th Continent almost feels like a big open-world video game when you play it solo. I like that I can take my time with it and explore wherever I want. I've played through most of the curses this way. With Sentinels, you have to play 3-handed which can be a lot if you've never played before, but with all the character and villain variety it tickles a similar itch to Spirit Island.

I can second 7th Continent as a solo game, it's a fair bit of fun and I agree that it's nice that you can explore it a bit at your own pace. It's also one of those solo games that I take some liberties with the rules and even a bit of the luck; any given curse is pretty long and I really just want to experience the game I picked up Sleeping Gods hoping it would be a more streamlined 7th Continent but after a couple of plays it really didn't click with me and left me wanting to play 7th Continent more.

Right now my favorite solo game is Descent: Legends in the Dark. It's big and a bit expensive but it's easily my favorite dungeon crawler. The app is really good:
* It takes away the tedious part of monster activation. There's little to learn for rules and all of the special rules for each monster are presented in the app and repeated at critical times so you don't forget anything.
* It adds variety that would otherwise be difficult to manage. There are only a few "base" types of monsters but each scenario introduces variants on them that have different special attacks, health, range, etc. All of that is effortlessly managed by the app which is awesome.
* It introduces some stats-based gear that has percentage chances to proc and all of that is managed by the app. It makes for interesting items that would be pretty tedious to manage physically.

I've played through the main campaign solo 1 1/2 times now (currently on my second play). My first play I tried managing only two heroes and to be honest it was pretty rough. Playing all four heroes solo is much more fun and not nearly as overwhelming as I was afraid it might be. Steam says I've put over 70 hours into the app between my solo and group plays. It's really the only solo games I've significantly gotten into.

Generally speaking I'm not a fan of the "multiplayer board game with solo rules" take on things, especially when it's some form of AI/automated player thing. One that surprised me in how well it worked though was Twilight Inscription. If you want a long form roll and write this one is pretty great. I'm not sure I would get it only for solo play but I was surprised at how simple it worked just as a counter that essentially forced you to pay attention to certain aspects of the game at different points in time.

Another fun little roll and write that I've had fun with solo is Dungeons, Dice and Danger. I like the way it makes you manage your probabilities a bit as you explore through the dungeon. It's just a score chase but puzzling through the decisions is fun enough. It's a bit like Super Skill Pinball although unlike that I think Dungeons, Dice and Danger is also fun multiplayer.

Thanks for the recommendations! I've played a bunch of Spirit Island, but haven't picked up any expansions.

Seems like it might be time to do so. I played a good amount of Descent: Second Edition - is this one very different?

Twilight Inscription is also on my list, but I got discouraged by the SUSD guys giving it a very middling review. Then again, they hated Marvel Champions and loved Arkham Horror, which I felt the opposite about. So who knows.

Keithustus wrote:
master0 wrote:

Ark Nova ...that scoring system before. Where it's the difference between two different scores.

Note that the devs must have realized there was a problem with that scoring system, I suspect meta-players very carefully manipulating their endgame actions to some ridiculous un-fun degree. So they changed it:

We are going to implement 2 small rules updates to Ark Nova from now on. It will take a while until these are going to be included in printed games, but they will be part of the online implementation on BGA.

1) Scoring:
In the future, all conservation point spaces will feature a small number so that to determine your score, you only have to add the number of the space with your conservation point marker on it and your appeal to have your total score. No more calculating the distance between your 2 markers.
Also the numbers are calculated in a way that having your 2 markers reach other will score you exactly 100 points. If your markers cross, your score will be above 100, if they dont, it will be below. But nobody should finish with a negative score anymore.
When playing on BGA, note that 100 is the point threshold to end the game.
Edit: BGA will only use the new scoring method in its implementation of the game. We thought about offering both scores, but have decided against it in the end.

This is from a game I played on Board Game Arena, so it already has the random tiles placed for choosing. But the score indicators should be accurate.IMAGE(https://i.ibb.co/Gt8xVWJ/Ark-Nova-scoreboard.jpg)

Got curious about this and read the original post. Seems some people really hate negative scores. I had negative twentyish when I played, but I didn't mind since it was my first time. That said once I understood how it worked. It's much easier to calculate the score with the new system.

I've been playing a lot of Sleeping Gods solo, and am really enjoying it. It does take up a bit of table space, but I haven't run across many that don't. I like the campaign style of the game and that I can stop it at any point, put it away, then set it back up relatively easily. I backed the second printing of The Isofarian Guard which looks like a really good solo-play game. I'm also a sucker for clever storage, which might be the reason I got the Vindication: Archive of the Ancients big box. Bonus that it's a fun game as well.

I've got Etherfields waiting in the wings, but am debating whether to play it with a group or on my own.

A couple of games Ive enjoyed solo is Judge Dredd Cursed Earth. I like that its easy to setup and play, very similar to doing a round of solitaire. I also really enjoyed Super pinball solo.

master0 wrote:

read the original post. Seems some people really hate negative scores….. It's much easier to calculate the score with the new system.

Right, same. The negative scores are actually pretty nice because it’s better to win 10 to -5 than to win 110 to 95, but it can be a bit confusing since we’re more accustomed to just adding things.

The ease of calculation idea though just hit me hard yesterday. I played my first game of Subatomic, a pretty good deck-builder where your goal is to assemble subatomic particles into elements, but one where we absolutely needed a spreadsheet or would have needed to use a full sheet of paper to determine the winner of a 4-player game. Nuts.

IMAGE(https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/FF8AAOSwXIpgL~ir/s-l1600.jpg)

UMOarsman wrote:

I played a good amount of Descent: Second Edition - is this one very different?

Yeah, it's a fair bit different. It's fully coop so the monsters are run by the app, there's no overlord player. They've also changed the mechanics quite a bit. You get three actions per turn: a move and two other actions. Unlike prior Descent games you can't spent fatigue on things like moment, instead you use fatigue on your ability cards to use special abilities. Instead of resting you can take an action (or use special abilities) to flip cards over. Not only does this clear all the tokens (e.g. fatigue, poison) on the cards, it also makes the ability on the other side available to you.

The game is still very much about fatigue management but the way you are spending and managing fatigue is quite a bit different than in Descent 2nd edition. There's also a bit less variety in terms of how monsters are represented on the map, e.g. there's no kobold or spider swarms. Generally less figures on the map but they make up for that by giving monsters more variety in the things they can do. That also means there's less area of effect attacks and such on heroes, but again I think that's made up for in different ways. Finally you are also generally chucking less dice as you only roll one die on attack and one die on defense but there's more interesting things to do with surges and ways to spend fatigue that lets you enhance your attacks.

I think the area it has most in common is in scenario design in that I think it's very strong in terms of fun, interesting scenarios to work through. I do think some of the scenarios in 2nd edition were just super iconic and really fun and I don't know if this version quite hits those highs but I think it's quite strong overall.

As a whole it's easily my favorite version of Descent. One of the folks in my game group preferred 2nd edition. It is worth noting that there is a free app for Descent 2nd edition that will have the app take control of the overlord so you could experiment with that as well. I haven't really tried that as I ended up going the Descent Legends in the Dark route but if you have 2nd edition I'd say try that out first.

UMOarsman wrote:

Twilight Inscription is also on my list, but I got discouraged by the SUSD guys giving it a very middling review. Then again, they hated Marvel Champions and loved Arkham Horror, which I felt the opposite about. So who knows.

My game group has loved our plays of Twilight Inscription so far. I agree that it doesn't feel overly "Twilight Inscription"-y mechanically as you are playing it but it has all the races and powers you'd want. It's also the most interactive roll and write I've played as your military directly interacts with your neighbors and the votes are a fun time for everyone to come together along with the "racing" aspect to see who claims various objectives first. Honestly my only complaint is that there's not enough crazy variety in the votes, I kinda wish they went a bit more extreme in that regard especially given how much variety there is in races and board layouts (so many boards!). Other than that there's a ton to think about on your turn and while most players will have covered a good chunk of their boards by the end, everyone will have taken different paths and it's fun to see how that plays out.

So yeah, I pretty strongly recommend Twilight Inscription but I get that it's not going to be for everyone.

UMOarsman wrote:

Hey, all! Do we have a separate thread for solo board gaming? Or is this the one stop shop for all my one player gaming news?

I've been on a tear this month with solo games. Favorites from the past 30 days include Final Girl (bought three movies back to back), Warp's Edge, The Lost Expedition, For Northwood, Sleeping Gods, Cascadia, and will be trying Legends of Arnak once the kids go to bed tonight.

Any recommendations? And has anyone tried the Arnak expansion solo? Tempted to get it as I really like the base game. It's that or another Final Girl box.

My friend and I were just discussing wargame/strategy solo games and we were comparing collections. Other than Final Girl, I don't think I have many non-wargame solo titles at all.

Cruel Necessity, 1st edition
Levee en masse, 2nd edition
Ottoman Sunset, 1st Edition
Hapsburg Eclipse, 1st edition
Soviet Dawn, GMT edition
Zulus on the Ramparts, 1st edition
Dawn of the Zeds, 3rd edition (horror)
Nemo's War, 2nd edition (adventure)

Agricola, Master of Britain
Charlemagne
Stilicho
Aurelian, Restorer of the World
The Wars of Marcus Aurelius

Legacy of Yu
Resist!
Navajo Wars
Comancheria
Pavlov's House
Stalingrad, Advance to the Volga

The always excellent Dan Thurot has an interview with my favorite board game designer at the moment, Jenna Felli (of Cosmic Frog fame). https://spacebiff.com/2023/09/19/sbsc-32/

HEAT: Pedal to the Metal is now on BGA!

https://boardgamearena.com/gamepanel...

Still my favorite board game!

mrwynd wrote:

HEAT: Pedal to the Metal is now on BGA!

https://boardgamearena.com/gamepanel...

Still my favorite board game!

This made my morning! I haven't been able to find a copy, so this will be my go-to for my racing fix. Love they have solo mode included. Still on the hunt for a copy, though - would love to introduce my kids to it (they enjoy F1).

There's multiple spots open for a basic game of HEAT, turn based mode:

Play Heat: Pedal to the Metal for free with me: https://bga.li/t/423022365

Heat: Pedal to the Metal - some general tips for new players.

First the composition of your deck is important to understand. In the basic game (not using the Garage module) you will have:

3x speed cards with numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4
1x speed cards: 0, 5
1x Heat shuffled into your deck
(In an advanced game with the Garage module the 0, 5 and Heat card are replaced by chosen cards)

Then depending on the map you will have a number of Heat cards in your engine and a number of Stress cards shuffled into your deck.
Most tracks have 6 Heat in your Engine and 3 Stress in your deck.

So with only 18 cards it's not too difficult to keep at least a rough count of what you're expecting to draw. This is especially useful when playing Stress cards. If possible you want to play Stress cards when you have fewer cards left in your draw pile so you will know what to expect.

While talking about Stress it's important to try and not to use stress when you have Heat in your draw pile. You want to get that Heat back into your engine and a Stress card will push it into your discard and not into your hand. Also Stress won't use 0 and 5 cards, they also get discarded.

Whenever possible you want to have drawn Heat cards before slower turns (2 and 3 speed turns). You can usually go around a turn in 1st or 2nd gear and cool down back into your engine. Remember that cooldowns happen before checking turns so if you need heat to go around a turn faster and have it in your hand it's useful to go into that turn at a lower gear but higher speed card. You'll put that heat back into your engine immediately before spending it on the faster turn. If you are playing an opponent who is paying attention to what you're doing this can catch them off guard and move you further than they expect.

You always want to have heat cards available going into a straight away for that extra boost card. An especially good situation occurs when you have played your lower speed cards before a straight away and can play Stress cards knowing high speed cards are in that smaller draw pile.

That takes us into slipstreaming which is just behind Heat management in importance. You want to anticipate your opponent's move, especially on turns that involve corners to land behind or next to them. While you can expect a player to go their fastest around a turn more advanced players will try to anticipate this and spend heat to try and get 2 spaces ahead of an opponent to deny them the slipstream. It is harder to anticipate movement in a long straight away but you can gamble with a boost card if you end up 2-4 spaces behind someone. I've found most my most experienced player games are won and lost on these gambits. You may end up out of Heat and despite being in a better position for two turns you'll end up losing that gain around a final turn before a straight away.

When determining how fast you're going to go getting near a turn consider how much heat you have to spend to keep up with opponents. If you are 3 away from a 3 corner and someone is 1 or 2 away from that corner you're going to be forced to use heat to keep up. When you're going around multiple close corners it's usually advantageous to spend heat to get closer to the next corner so you can be the one forcing opponents to spend heat on the following turn. You never want to be a full corner behind 1st place, that's the hardest position to catch up to.

Hand management through all of this is of course important too though I've argued over best practices of this with my wife and friends so it will come down to what you think is best and will depend on how close each turn is on the track you're playing. For example it can be advantageous to be in 3rd gear around a slow turn, playing three 1 speed cards so you can go into 4th for a straight away and use a heat for a boost to use 5 cards for 1 heat. An alternative opinion on that which I've seen work is burning all of your heat to be ahead enough on an early turn that the next turn before a straight away can be taken before others who held onto heat.

A consensus between my friends has been that it's always worth it to burn all of your heat if you can get a full corner ahead of the other players BUT if more than one player does this it will come down luck on who will be able to get their heat back into their engine or draw the right cards for the final push if there isn't time to get heat back in. This is the biggest gamble of the game - blowing 5-6 heat on a single turn can put you ahead for the entire rest of the game if you get a full corner ahead of others but it leaves you at the mercy of what cards you draw until you can get heat back in. If you're unlucky and draw all small cards going into a straight away you will get passed. This means if you find yourself neck and neck on the final turn always blow all but 1 heat around that final turn. You always want 1 heat to boost across the finish line but additional heat is useless.

One other thing about having 1 heat left on an important moment - If you find yourself in 2nd gear and want to play 4 cards you have a choice, do I spend that heat to play another card from my hand or do I boost with that heat after playing 3 cards. If you have a high speed card in your hand you go with the higher gear. If you don't you go with the Boost hoping to draw a higher speed card instead.

I hope that's helpful, I feel like I rambled a bit and especially when it comes to hand management there's plenty of argument to be had on best practices.

Join our turn based game of HEAT! This time we're using Advanced Garage cards and the Weather module, no AI opponents.

Play Heat: Pedal to the Metal for free with me: https://bga.li/t/431439767

Played this fun coop stress simulator with my spouse. Skyteam. You're pilot and co-pilot trying to land a commercial passenger plane on a runway. You roll dice to place numbers on various squares, some of which only Pilot can use, some only Co-Pilot can use. You manage the tilt of the plane, the speed, and prep for landing by radioing in and deploying flaps, landing gear.

You're not allowed to talk while playing dice, which is probably the only reason it's a game and not just a 'place dice you roll'... process. It was fun trying it out on BGA. I think its coming soon to stores?

Hello all. I put this post up on the UK Board Game Trading and Chat group on Facebook and thought I'd share it here too, as I thought it encapsulated one of the many reasons I play these games. It's based on the many games I played during LoBSterCon at the beginning of November.

***********

Over the past three days I have travelled to the far future where sentient bees explore space. Then I battled with corruption as the Void spread across an interstellar empire, only to be hurtled back into 18th century Caribbean Sea where booty was to be had. I then found myself flying across the rice fields of South Vietnam in a Huey chopper, desperately trying to stem the tide of the NVA, with little success.

The time and space travel did not stop there though, as I found myself managing a small rail franchise in the late 19th century across a small island. Just as I got the hang of things by establishing a pretty robust rail franchise, I was catapulted back 2000 years at the height of the Roman Empire as I became a Dominus of gladiators. There I discovered that denarii played far greater a role in gaining power and influence than any well trained fighter. But this was but fleeting as I was soon hurled across the 4th dimension once again this time to the 22nd century, where I had somehow managed to establish a rather large going concern as an explorer of the deep black, only to discover humanity is far from being alone.

The journey through the ages ended with a tragedy, as I found myself embroiled in the machinations of a poorly assembled crew aboard a space craft. All of whom found themselves at odds with each other just as much as the beings that sought to consume them.

So thank you LoBSterCon, your ability to provide a safe space within which these and many other journeys can take place is ever so appreciated.

Games played:

Apiary
Voidfall
Libertalia
Fire in the Lake
Isle of Trains: All Aboard
Spartacus
SpaceCorp+ Ventures expansion
Nemesis

Aeoringas wrote:

Hello all. I put this post up on the UK Board Game Trading and Chat group on Facebook and thought I'd share it here too, as I thought it encapsulated one of the many reasons I play these games. It's based on the many games I played during LoBSterCon at the beginning of November.

***********

Over the past three days I have travelled to the far future where sentient bees explore space. Then I battled with corruption as the Void spread across an interstellar empire, only to be hurtled back into 18th century Caribbean Sea where booty was to be had. I then found myself flying across the rice fields of South Vietnam in a Huey chopper, desperately trying to stem the tide of the NVA, with little success.

The time and space travel did not stop there though, as I found myself managing a small rail franchise in the late 19th century across a small island. Just as I got the hang of things by establishing a pretty robust rail franchise, I was catapulted back 2000 years at the height of the Roman Empire as I became a Dominus of gladiators. There I discovered that denarii played far greater a role in gaining power and influence than any well trained fighter. But this was but fleeting as I was soon hurled across the 4th dimension once again this time to the 22nd century, where I had somehow managed to establish a rather large going concern as an explorer of the deep black, only to discover humanity is far from being alone.

The journey through the ages ended with a tragedy, as I found myself embroiled in the machinations of a poorly assembled crew aboard a space craft. All of whom found themselves at odds with each other just as much as the beings that sought to consume them.

So thank you LoBSterCon, your ability to provide a safe space within which these and many other journeys can take place is ever so appreciated.

Very curious about your thoughts on these three:

Voidfall
Fire in the Lake
SpaceCorp+ Ventures expansion

I'd be happy to discuss my experiences with those three games.

Voidfall (retail version played)

This was the second time I have played this much celebrated 3X Euro (there is little to no exploring), hence the '3'. Voidfall is a multilayered game with a mix of worker placement and resource generation that is finely balanced with little space for manoeuvre. There is some asymmetric aspects of the game, with each player controlling factions that start off with different technologies. From what we played, the winner was the person who could see every strand of point generation, even things that seem unrelated to one another. We did play with 5 players, but there was little to no interaction between us.

Fire in the Lake

A GMT Counter Insurgence game (COIN) that games like Cuba Libra and Pendragon also boast. Again, the second time of playing, this time I took control of the USA. Victory conditions are faction dependent and as with most COINs, the players who are most familiar with the interconnected aspects of each action and their consequences ahead of time have a considerable advantages to those who do not. While the mechanics of the game are well established in terms of turn sequence, the means by which troops and bases interact with other forces varies wildly from one faction to another, and if you're not familiar with each one, you're on a hiding to nothing...

Space Corp+ Ventures Expansion

One of my favourite euro games, made by a publisher that normally creates military sims, GMT. It's akin to have 3 games in one, with the players starting to explore the local solar system to Earth and then to move out to the outer extremis until players eventually fly out to beyond the Oort Cloud into nearby star systems. The players take control of corporations seeking to exploit the riches to be found on planets beyond Earth. The player needs to use cards alongside their own established technologies, referred to infrastructure, to make their way across space. Players can use opponents infrastructure, which can lead to some interesting interactions that is akin to those found in the Keyflower games, with players creating attractive infrastructure that others use to their benefit, as every time someone uses infrastructure, the owner gains a card.

Tim Hutchings the guy behind Thousand Year Old Vampire quit his day job and is now making games full time. His latest thing is a party game which I've ordered.

https://thousandyearoldvampire.com/c...

Elizabeth Hargrave’s (Wingspan) next game, with Mark Wootton (Legend of the Five Rings), Undergrove, has 10 hours left to back on Kickstarter. Like Wingspan, it’s a nature-themed game. Players compete to build fungus networks to make healthy forests. Great to see modern ecology and mycology get more mainstream coverage!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...

Keithustus wrote:

Elizabeth Hargrave’s (Wingspan) next game, with Mark Wootton (Legend of the Five Rings), Undergrove, has 10 hours left to back on Kickstarter.

WHAT?! I've barely unboxxed The Fox Experiment, let alone gotten it to the table.

Wooden tiles? Guess I'm in for another deluxe edition...

Vargen wrote:
Keithustus wrote:

Elizabeth Hargrave’s (Wingspan) next game, with Mark Wootton (Legend of the Five Rings), Undergrove, has 10 hours left to back on Kickstarter.

WHAT?! I've barely unboxxed The Fox Experiment, let alone gotten it to the table.

Wooden tiles? Guess I'm in for another deluxe edition...

Gah, I missed it! Looks like there will be late pledges available soon.

I want to try the Championship mode of Heat on BGA. If you'd like to give it a go: https://bga.li/t/457645778

The Fox Experiment gets a solid thumbs-up. It does a great job of modeling the foxes' genetics and manages to do so in a way that also makes for a good game. The meat of the game looks to be working out how and when to use your cards to offset bad rolls. And/or using them to really take advantage of good ones.

One nice detail is how since the game uses dry-erase markers on cards anyway, they went ahead and included a dry-erase scorecard for tallying the scores at the end.

If you like the theme I don't think you'll be disappointed. If it doesn't look interesting, you probably aren't missing out if you give it a pass.

My partner bought me Spirit Island for the holidays, so we broke it out and played it with a friend of ours. It was a lot of fun. We played a relatively easy first game with no scenario, blight card, or adversaries. It was decently easy to learn and a lot of the fun was in strategizing with the powers we had.

Has anyone played with any of the expansions? Are there any that are absolutely worth it at some point down the road? I suspect we will play this a lot more.

We also got Cascadia, Forest Shuffle, and some goofy party games my kids got for us. We will break into those later, as I have Unsettled being delivered tomorrow and I suspect that will take most of my time for a bit. Oh! And Oathsworn: Into the Deepwood showed up as well! I'm really looking forward to digging into that with the right group.

Has anyone here tried the new Ticket to Ride Legacy game?

I have it, but am waiting for our core group to get back together to play it. I've been hearing really good things about it.

re: Spirit Island

Toddland wrote:

Has anyone played with any of the expansions? Are there any that are absolutely worth it at some point down the road? I suspect we will play this a lot more.

Yes, all but the latest one.

Pros: lots more interesting spirits to play, events and the tokens that go on the map add lots of depth and variability, more scenarios and adversaries.
Cons: game gets more complex and fiddly, events are often kind of annoying to figure out (like "you need to have 20 points in certain element icons visible on played cards this turn to succeed, but you can get extra points by doing X, Y, or Z")

The reason I didn't get the latest expansion is summed up by my cons, too—I felt like the game already has so much stuff in it that more wouldn't add anything much.