Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Solo Boargames: ... and What's Not So Hot.

After mentioning some games that left really good impression on me, here is a short list of the games I had in my collection that I felt disappointment by, so I sold them as soon as possible.
This list might come as surprise, as these are the games from the top of the usual solo boardgames lists. 

No. 3. The Lord of the Rings The Card Game
This was the first game I ever sold. I had a basic set and one expansion, and I noticed that I was able to do very little with it. The game requested constant expansions, In which I was not interested to invest, since I was not thrilled with the game at the first place.

No. 2. Scythe
This game created a lots of hype on the internet, and as it had solo mechanics, I rushed to purchase. But the disappointment was huge - game mechanics is so repetitive that you quickly start yawning. The only reason this game is not on the bottom of the list is great Automata - solo mode that is real work of the genius done by Morten Pederson. Still it was not enough to stop me from selling this game at half the purchase price to the first bidder.

No. 1. Mage Knight Board Game
At the bottom of the list is a game that is too big for its own good. Cards are divided into too many decks (while still each deck is too small and gets quickly repetitive), there is to many counters and boards and everything. The game that takes forever to set up, and then forever to clean. And the playing of the game itself lasts too long. When I purchased it I expected the game where every time you play a new story would be told, a new epic adventure worth of writing a fantasy novel. With this I wouldn't mind components and time. But the game failed to deliver. The game lasts just few turns (and each turn lasts too long in real time) where you are rushing your figure on the board to do as much as possible with limited amount of cards. All mechanics, no story. For me it was an epic fail.

So here they are. My Exes. Any similar experiences?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Solo boardames: What's hot....


As I spend lots of time playing boardgames lately, I decided to return to the blog with a series of posts about the boardgames that I play a lot, and these that just didn't click for me.

In this first post, I would like to mention some solo boardgames that I really play a lot recently, starting from the bottom and moving up.

No.7. Terraforming Mars
For some, it may come as surprise that this game is on the bottom of the list. 
The main reason this game is so low is the fact that I can not see it different than re-themed Imperial Settlers, and the settlers theme is much more appealing to me. Still it is a good game that I like to crack every once in a while. The game in my collection is a Polish edition.

No.6.  Field Commander Napoleon
Here is one really good game I am sorry I'm unable to play more.  It requires both strategy and tactics and puts itself somewhere between boardgame and wargame. The only problem with this game is that it lasts too long, and that it requires several days of real time gaming to finish a scenario. This is the game that asks to be left over night on the table, and with small kids in the house and limited space it is simply impossible. I will play this game a lot more when I get to retirement, in some 30 years...

No.5. Friday

Friday: A Solo Adventure is one of the most difficult solo games ever created. It is a deck builder that will never allow you to build a perfect hand of cards. The terrible, unforgiving game.... that can give its player a huge amount of fun. 

No.4. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Positioned between Chose your adventure gamebook and a boardgame, Sherlock Holmes offers a real challenge for wits and imagination of a player. The only negative side of this book is that once you solve all the cases, you can not play it again. So when you decide to buy this game, it is recommended to do it as a group purchase with several friends.

No.3. Uwe Rosenberg
It felt hard to select one of his games, so I went for the complete works of the author here, especially that each of his games use similar elements. Someone will like more Agricola, other Caverna, Feast for Odin or Loyang, but the truth is, they are all good and a pleasure to play. Euro games at its finest.

No.2. Imperial Settlers
Imperial Settlers is the only game from mentioned that I enjoy playing both solo and competitive. For solo play, it is good to download official campaign mode from publisher's page. Quick, challenging, exciting and cute engine builder.

No.1. Onirim
A game that consists of 4 types of cards and almost no theme whatsoever? This can not be good, right? Wroooong! If I need to get an adrenaline rush in 15 minutes I go for Onirim. It is the most exciting and atmospheric game I have ever played. I have the first German edition with 3 expansions, but the best games I had were played with only base game and Towers expansion. Onirim is difficult card game, unforgiving to mistakes. But if you do everything right, you will be involved into tense end game where every card can make a difference between victory and defeat. If I would need to take one game to desolate island with me, it would be Onirim.

In the next post: some solo games I had that I felt disappointed by.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Jatacenje 2017

This weekend saw the 11th installment of Jatacenje boardgaming conference in Kragujevac Serbia.
Here are some atmospheric pictures from this event...

 
 
 
 
  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Steampunk Fantasy with High Stakes

I always wanted to play a Steampunk Fantasy game, in the way of the old computer RPG Arcanum.
With the publication of High Stakes RPG by Ganesha games, I decided to go for it.
In this case, I decided to play in partly generated world, that was result of one of my unfinished solo Microscope games.

WORLD FACTS
HUMANS in this world live in medieval community - cities are few and far between, nobles live in fortified castles surrounded by fields worked by dependent peasants. Society is dominated by male knights. Average human is afraid of both magic and technology.

ELFS of the world live in the forest and respect the nature. Every elf wields folk magic, while High magic is reserved for the ruler classes. They are distrustful of technology. Elf males and females are equal. 
Elfs and humans are in constant state of cold war, as humans breed fast and need new lands, which they are taking at the cost of elven forests.

DWARFS live deep underground in cities ruled by Queen Mothers. Dwarven females are rare, they are stronger and smarter than males, and they rule underground society. Dwarfs are experts in technology (clockwork and steam), but they are unable to use magic. They are rarely seen above the ground. A dwarf roaming the realm of man and elfs is usually an outcast, or rogue rebelling against  his Queen Mother. Officially, no female Dwarf ever wandered the land, but there are rumors that some of the legendary dwarven heroes who left their mark in the history of the surface world were actually She.

ORC tribes are a distant threat from the far mountains.

All species can interbreed, half-breeds are indeed rare but they exist.

Otter is one such half-breed, born from the relation of human father and efl mother.
His stats are:
Body 2
Mind 4
Aura 2

Traits:
1. Humans see him as human, elfs as elf.
2. Can cast folk magic as elf
3. Able to use technology as human.
4. His own best company
5. Library in his head.

Relations:
1. Mother's tree - place where he grew up.
2. Grumb - a rogue dwarf engineer showed him some technology tricks.
3. Human father he never met.

I used Aladdin Techniqe with Rory's Story cubes to start the story:
Otter enters [abandoned] [dwarven] (DOG, dog is companion, for dwars companions are robots, so: ) ROBOT [workshop] in order to reach the [library] and get a [book] (ARTIFICIAL SATELLITE) CALCULATOR to help him with his [technology studies]. But (PANDORA'S BOX), he needs to be carefull not to release something he can't handle.

Arriving to the border of the dwarf country, Otter starts looking for the entrance into the workshop. It is task with difficulty 3. Otter uses his mind to remember where the entrance should be, and adds his relation with the dwarf to roll 5 dice. It is success that includes one complication and one story element.
Otter finds the entrance but the door is locked (complication). Lucky for him, he received a key from Grumb (story element) - a special kind of key that opens all locks in this workshop (counts as McGuffin for this adventure only).
The undergrounds are dark, but Otter uses his knowledge of folk magics to cast light. Workshop should be abandoned, so there is no need to be too careful or secretive.
Our hero walks straight where he thinks the library should be according to Grumb's story. Again task with difficulty 3, and Otter uses his mind to roll 4 dice. And again it is success, with one complication and one story element.
Otter remembered well where the library is, or better to say where it was, as the room was destroyed by fire (complication). The calculator, of course, was no longer there.
But, in the dust and ashes covering the floor, Otter noticed footsteps leading deeper into dwarven caves (story element)

TO BE CONTINUED.....

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Boardgaming is still on...

I am still here, and still in boardgaming phase, so I have very little to write up.

The newest addition to my collection is Feast for Odin, the ultimate euro stile boardgame by Uwe Rosenberg. It is actually a game for which everybody claims that is much better played solo then competitive, and I tend to agree with it - Feast for Odin is actually great solo puzzle, a brain-burner that will stretch your gray brain cells to the maximum.

 
Of course, this game inspired me to take out also Agricola, that laid forgotten in its shelf for more than a year.
Also my almost seven years old boy discovered BIG Carcassonne (when compared to My First Carcassonne we played last year) and liked it, so we now play it almost every second afternoon.
All in all, lots of things going on, but very few things to be mentioned on the blog...

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Scythe and other boardgames

Lots of boardgames on my table recently, so nothing really interesting to write about.

Scythe is the new addition to my boardgaming shelf.


It is a great game, with excellent solo module. As I received it at the beginning of this week, I played just one game so far, on normal difficulty, and I was cleared out of the table before I even realized what is going on. My next game will be on easy mode, in order to help my learning curve :)

From other games, I play a lot of Imperial Settlers solo, and I'm planing to start a campaign soon.
One other old favorite found its way back to my table - Field Commander Napoleon.

I also tried to play again Elder Sign, but it returned quickly back to the shelf. The risk minimizing games with dominant luck element do not appeal to me any more in the same way as they did when I was younger.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Darth Agnan's High Stakes


Ganesha Games is preparing a new light storytelling d6 RPG. The game is in the Beta Testing phase, and I am lucky to be one of playtesters, especially having in mind that this is extremely solo friendly RPG.

For my first play through, I decided to continue my Star Wares campaign following adventures of young Sith Darth Agnan and his friends, stormtroopers Athos, Portos and Aramis.

Previous adventures of the group (played using different rule sets) can be found here and here.

Here are the stats for our heroes, using High Stakes character creation mechanics:
Back at his corvette "The Guillotine", Darth Agnan wants to interrogate Ewok prisoner.
Task difficulty 4.
Darth Agnan uses Aura 4 + 1 from Trusted by common folk trait. He also decides to rise the stakes - if he fails Ewok will die during interrogation process, and Sith will loose face, by gaining epithet of Ewok killer + 1  for the total of 6 dice to be rolled.
After some dice exploding, I ended with 3 successes and 3 complications. So....
Ewok committed suicide by releasing Ogam gas from device hidden on his body (presence of gass is complication 1). I am using the fact that I rolled a 6 (which was later exploded) to add a story telling element - Darth Agnan was ready for this, so he upgraded his Sith suit with Ogam gas-mask. He is unaffected by gas in the room. But (complication 2) after detecting Ogam gas in the room, ship automatically locked the prison room away from the rest of the corvette, leaving Darth Agnan locked inside. Furthermore (complication 3) Imperial headquarters are automatically informed about presence of the Ogam gas on "The Guillotine", and they are sending a cruiser to destroy the corvette in order to avoid further ecological catastrophes. 
Aramis tries to reconnect ships ventilation system in order to transfer Ogam gas from prison cell to other, unused room and to refill prison with fresh air.
Task difficulty 4.
Aramis uses Mind 4 + technician trait +1 + he knows the ship +2 tactical dice.
It is success, but with 1 complication - Ogam gas was transferred to the gun turret, and in this way crew lost control of the ship's main weapon.
Portos uses his Body 5 to break the door to the prison cell (difficulty 2). Success with a complication - breaking electricity circuits in the door made ship transfer all its power to life support systems. All lights in the ship turned off, and team has to return to the cockpit in absolute darkness.
Darth Agnan taps his Light saber trait for automatic success of easy task. Guided by the light of his saber, team safely gets to the cockpit....
...only to see the imperial cruiser approaching and taking attack positions.

Athos contacts commander of the cruiser, trying to persuade responsible persons that Darth agnan should be given a chance to save his ship.
Aura 3 + knows people 1 + friend with political elite 1 + rising stakes (loss of the ship) 1 vs task difficulty 3 - success with one complication and one Story element - Tweelek female Admiral Baaaang (story element) agrees to give one chance to the team, but if the first success fails, she will destroy the corvette immediately (complication).

Aramis and Darth Agnan take the two seat Tie Fighter. They will try to destroy gun turret without damaging the rest of the ship. Aramis will do the actual shooting while Darth Agnan will do the piloting.
Task difficulty 3.
Body 2 + Strategist trait 1 + Wants to be general relationship 1 + help from the Pilot trait +1 to total of 5.
Image result for tie fighter game
Success with one story element and one complication.
Aramis made a clear shot, so clear that he managed to separate gun turret from "The Guillotine" without damaging either one of them. But turret filled with Ogam gas was pulled by gravitation of the nearby planet, and soon it was lost among debris orbiting it.....

"The Guillotine" was beamed by cruiser into repair bay. It will take some time and lots of money to repair the ship.
Our heroes are not a step closer to solving the mystery of the Ogam gas. Further more, container with deadly load is lost somewhere in inhabited space, and there is a big danger of falling into wrong hands. And our heroes have no means to go after it....

To be continued.....


Impressions: High Stakes works great as solo RPG. System of Story elements and Complications really drives story onward, player never knows what will happen next.
Once it gets published, this system will be highly recommended for all soloists.