Saturday, April 29, 2017

Solo SBH playtest, game one

I started developing the new AI engine for Song of Blades and Hero rules, so the times has come to test my ideas.

For this game I decided to play ASBH and to take the side of the bad guys - namely humans. My warband had 100 points wizard, Shooter with Composite Bow, Tank with heavy armor and heavy weapon, and 3 low cost warriors, two with spears and one with just a hand weapon.

Orcs warband consisted of 10 models from ASBH rooster rolled randomly.

I played a Quest for magic item scenario, modified in such a way that warbands started in the corners, and needed to exit through the corner to win.
I started the game by sending wizard, tank and archer towards center, while the low cost models moved to take position on the bridge in order to defend access to the marker across the river.
In my Solo system AI has significant activation advantage, so orcs moved fast. They reached first marker before my models, but it turned out to be nothing.
Tank, archer and wizard moved toward the marker in the north west corner, and all the orcs followed them. In this system, AI is not too smart, but it has other advantages and means to challenge solo player.
Archer drew the first blood, sending orc spearman out of action.
But then I made tactical mistake. Instead of charging the nearest orc in order to keep enemy warband as far north as possible, at least until my slow moving infantry reach the defensive position, Tank succumbed to the wizard's cries and checked the second marker.
As it turned to be nothing, orcs rushed south towards the final objective, with my warriors still rather far away from the bridge.
Some lucky rolls allowed my wariors to reach the bridge.
Battle for the bridge was desperate, but despite the odds, warriors managed to survive for two turns,
before they were both gruesomely massacred by the orcs.
But the valiant sacrifice of two spearman was enough for the Wizard, the Tank and the Archer (who lost his composite bow with the final shot of the game, luckily without consequences) to reach the bridge and kill enough Orc models to invoke the Dead outnumber the Living rules.
The game was really tense. It ended with a victory to the human side, but only due to some lucky rolls, and due to some holes in solo mechanic design I detected.

While I made the beta rules of the Lone Blade AI engine for SBH already available in some SBH groups over the social networks, I still need to play few more test games and fix some bugs before giving you the final product.

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.