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OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

All discussions regarding Board, Card, and RPG Gaming, including industry discussion, that don't belong in one of the other gaming forums.

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hepcat
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by hepcat » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:57 am

Honestly, it works just as well with any number. A 4 player game does sometimes result in someone being forced into a sacrificial role very early on, I've learned. They'll usually run in front of any melee attackers to stop them from getting to the squishy characters who need a turn to deal out the heavier damage. You can't really kite the melee baddies when the battle mat is full.

The time they list for the game rarely works out though. This can be a LONG game. I forced chaosraven and lord mortis to play at an Octocon a year or so ago, and it ended up being a 5 hour game. And that was with one of the medium level tyrants.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by LordMortis » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:00 pm

hepcat wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:57 am
Honestly, it works just as well with any number. A 4 player game does sometimes result in someone being forced into a sacrificial role very early on, I've learned. They'll usually run in front of any melee attackers to stop them from getting to the squishy characters who need a turn to deal out the heavier damage. You can't really kite the melee baddies when the battle mat is full.

The time they list for the game rarely works out though. This can be a LONG game. I forced chaosraven and lord mortis to play at an Octocon a year or so ago, and it ended up being a 5 hour game. And that was with one of the medium level tyrants.
I don't remember that any game that long. :oops: I must have enjoyed it enough, if I got locked in to a five hour game and don't have distinctly bad memories. "Medium tyrant" sounds like a game remember enjoying. You've introduced us to a few coop abstract dungeon crawls and I think I've enjoyed them all. I'm guessing Too Many Bones was the one with characters and enemies represented as casino chips with picture and values on a small grid and in the larger game we journeyed across playing cards making decisions. If that was five hours, it went by fast, so thumbs up! I have certainly spent five hours on games with clear memories of "OK, isn't this over yet?" sentinels and that was not one of them.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by TheMix » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:03 pm

You had a 5 hour game of Sentinels? As in Sentinels of the Multiverse? That would horrific. I can't imagine how it could take that long unless you had one or more person that took forever trying to figure out their turn.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:18 pm

Have any of you guys played HOPLOMACHUS: THE LOST CITIES?

I bought it on impulse when I left GenCon, but after playing TOO MANY BONES I'm wondering if it's going to be redundant. I haven't opened it yet, but the poker chip/battle mat mechanic seems so similar that I'm tempted to just sell it. I much prefer the fantasy setting of TMB, so not sure I'd get my money's worth.

Thoughts?

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by LordMortis » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:25 pm

TheMix wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:03 pm
You had a 5 hour game of Sentinels? As in Sentinels of the Multiverse? That would horrific. I can't imagine how it could take that long unless you had one or more person that took forever trying to figure out their turn.
I think it was Sentinals and bajillion expansions. It had a gazillion hexes and we played with like 8 players and the premise was a sort of giant gladiator game where we each played a faction from a different universe. We started first thing and the morning and I begged to duck out at lunch break. Normally, I try to give my fellow players their due and honor my commitments but I couldn't....

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by TheMix » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:37 pm

LordMortis wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:25 pm
TheMix wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:03 pm
You had a 5 hour game of Sentinels? As in Sentinels of the Multiverse? That would horrific. I can't imagine how it could take that long unless you had one or more person that took forever trying to figure out their turn.
I think it was Sentinals and bajillion expansions. It had a gazillion hexes and we played with like 8 players and the premise was a sort of giant gladiator game where we each played a faction from a different universe. We started first thing and the morning and I begged to duck out at lunch break. Normally, I try to give my fellow players their due and honor my commitments but I couldn't....
:think:

Not sure what that is. Definitely not SotM. Maybe the pseudo-co-op board game version of the card game? Sentinel Tactics? I just have the base game of that. It was kind of 'meh'. I guess if you were playing 4 vs 4 it could take a while.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by hepcat » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:03 pm

LordMortis wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:00 pm
hepcat wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:57 am
Honestly, it works just as well with any number. A 4 player game does sometimes result in someone being forced into a sacrificial role very early on, I've learned. They'll usually run in front of any melee attackers to stop them from getting to the squishy characters who need a turn to deal out the heavier damage. You can't really kite the melee baddies when the battle mat is full.

The time they list for the game rarely works out though. This can be a LONG game. I forced chaosraven and lord mortis to play at an Octocon a year or so ago, and it ended up being a 5 hour game. And that was with one of the medium level tyrants.
I don't remember that any game that long. :oops: I must have enjoyed it enough, if I got locked in to a five hour game and don't have distinctly bad memories. "Medium tyrant" sounds like a game remember enjoying. You've introduced us to a few coop abstract dungeon crawls and I think I've enjoyed them all. I'm guessing Too Many Bones was the one with characters and enemies represented as casino chips with picture and values on a small grid and in the larger game we journeyed across playing cards making decisions. If that was five hours, it went by fast, so thumbs up! I have certainly spent five hours on games with clear memories of "OK, isn't this over yet?" sentinels and that was not one of them.
Yup, that was the one. It may actually have been longer. We started around 9:30 am and I remember we finally finished around 3 or so. I think we all got a little antsy after a while with it. I try to avoid really long games at the OO meet ups as it's tough to get in as much as gaming as you'd like.
YellowKing wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:18 pm
Have any of you guys played HOPLOMACHUS: THE LOST CITIES?

I bought it on impulse when I left GenCon, but after playing TOO MANY BONES I'm wondering if it's going to be redundant. I haven't opened it yet, but the poker chip/battle mat mechanic seems so similar that I'm tempted to just sell it. I much prefer the fantasy setting of TMB, so not sure I'd get my money's worth.

Thoughts?
I have Hoplomachus: Origins and Rise of Rome. I think you'll like them, but they are vastly different games than Too Many Bones. I think the best comparison for the Hoplomachus series is Heroscape. I wrote about the games a few times around here, I believe. But I do like them. The solo aspect is a little disappointing, but Zarathud and I had a blast playing Origins at Gencon a few years ago.
Last edited by hepcat on Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:08 pm

YellowKing wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:18 pm
Have any of you guys played HOPLOMACHUS: THE LOST CITIES?
I haven't, but it's been one I've been looking at for a while. To clarify, I actually owned a copy of Too Many Bones, but I sold it. I love dice, but it was either the art or something that just didn't sit right with me for TMB. I wasn't left with the impression that Hoplomachus was all that similar, but I thought I was going to get Origins first. Not sure what's different with Lost Cities, other than maybe it's just more?

I dunno. Sale prices are going to be the death of me, regardless so if you got it on the cheap, good on you.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by hepcat » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:17 pm

By the way, got a chance to play Fallen Land and all the expansions Friday night with two players. What a great game. It's pure Ameritrash, but I loved every minute of it. Now I'm kicking myself for not buying it at Gencon for solo play as they were offering the whole kit and kaboodle for a hundred smackers.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:20 pm

That's awesome. I love that game - the amount of narrative info on those cards is ridiculous! I'm very curious to see how the re-print KS goes and what the new art might mean. It doesn't bother me, but the sample stuff they have on their Facebook page is rather nice.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by hepcat » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:29 pm

ooh, there's going to be a reprint?

I'll probably back it then. Although I wouldn't tell Seppe about this as I badgered him into buying it at Gencon, and learning there's a new version on the horizon would only cause undue pain.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:30 pm

Thx guys - I did a little digging on BGG and the consensus was that they are different enough to justify owning both. I still may sell my copy just due to time constraints. Between NEMO'S WAR, TMB, and BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, not to mention the amount of minis I need to paint, I'm busy enough.

Either that or I'll just set it aside for a rainy day sometime down the road when I'm looking for something to do.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:56 pm

hepcat wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:29 pm
ooh, there's going to be a reprint?

I'll probably back it then. Although I wouldn't tell Seppe about this as I badgered him into buying it at Gencon, and learning there's a new version on the horizon would only cause undue pain.
I don't think the re-print will happen this year, so having a copy in hand now is worth more than having it 12+ months from now (IMHO). They were apparently giving away promos and selling the 109 cards that KS backers got at GenCon this year. I just looked on their website to see if they're selling them yet, but apparently not.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:10 pm

LordMortis wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:00 pm
I have certainly spent five hours on games with clear memories of "OK, isn't this over yet?" sentinels
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Fishbelly » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:36 pm

YellowKing wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:53 am

True solo was fun, but I think character interaction would make battles more interesting. Is there a sweet spot?
3 characters is the sweet spot for me, though I did play solo and duo games a bit first. I'm not sure my brain would've been happy learning 3 characters on the first play.

I play 2 characters a fair bit, but the game is more difficult than 3. With 3, you can clog up more space to control who is getting attacked, protect your ranged units, etc. 4 characters makes battles quite long, so a complete game can take many hours, depending on the tyrant.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:43 pm

Blackhawk wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:10 pm
LordMortis wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:00 pm
I have certainly spent five hours on games with clear memories of "OK, isn't this over yet?" sentinels
Munchkin
That's the kind of 'game' that would only seem fitting as a penance in Guantanamo.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:18 am

Enlarge Image

I've been spending some quality time with Nemo's War after having received the KS 2nd Edition Reprint + Nautilus Upgrades expansion + Cloth Bundle a while back. I must admit, the cloth map does seem somewhat pointless and underwhelming; I suppose one could perhaps use it for a more portable version of the game or hang it as wall-art or something. It's basically just a less crisp and detailed version of the much nicer-looking game board, instead printed onto thin cloth reminiscent of a tea-towel. That didn't really faze me though, as I opted for the cloth bundle primarily for the bags for drawing the ship and treasure tokens anyway. Thankfully the bags are a good deal more practical and useful than the cloth map.

As for the game itself, I'm kicking myself for having taken so long to discover this gem of a solo game. It's a superbly well-crafted solitaire experience on every level, and definitely one of the best solo games I've played. The narrative aspect of the game is fantastic, and the theme shines through all elements of gameplay. The components are gorgeous (especially for a Victory Point Games title) and Ian O'Toole's artwork goes above and beyond; the subtle touches -- like each of the named ship tokens featuring unique artwork based upon their real-life counterparts where possible -- are particularly impressive. All of the critical information for gameplay is printed right on the board, which is something I wish more games did. That goes a long way towards obviating the need to refer back to the rulebook during play. I thought the rulebook was nicely done too, with plenty of pictures and illustrations that ease the process of learning how the game is set up and plays, though I also found the Lines42 tutorial videos mighty useful in that regard. The variety of gameplay options (e.g. Nemo's motives and the varied construction of the main draw pile of gamebook-style adventures, difficulty levels, victory levels, optional rules and variants) packs a remarkable amount of long-term replayability into the game.

The underlying gameplay makes for an interesting and utterly unique solo experience that I find vaguely reminiscent of open-world PC games, as you have complete freedom to play things out however you wish. Each turn commences by revealing an event from the main draw pile of adventure cards and following its instructions. Each adventure includes a pen and ink illustration with a flavour text excerpt from the original story that serves to explain the reasoning behind the card's outcome, and helps create a small addendum to the game's overall story. Adventures in Nemo's War fall into one of three categories: Play, Keep, or Test. 'Play' means you follow the instructions on the card and play it immediately. 'Keep' cards are placed in your tableau until you decide to play them. 'Test' cards must be performed immediately, and are then placed in the relevant pass or fail pile after resolving the test. The game involves a hefty dose of dice-chucking, and typically exerting (wagering) ship resources -- Nemo himself, Crew, or Hull -- to add dice result modifiers in hopes of swinging the odds in your favour. This entails sliding the relevant resource marker in between the denominations on the board, which will show a DRM value (e.g. +3). If the roll goes well, you move the marker back up to where it was originally. If it goes poorly, then you move the marker down, perhaps several places depending on how poorly you rolled and your chosen difficulty level. In this game, you're generally always aiming to roll high and never want to roll snake eyes; that's always painful, as it's an automatic fail regardless of modifiers and usually includes additional penalties.

The Ship Placement Phase comes next, which does a terrific job of ramping up the difficulty as the Imperial powers inexorably fill the oceans with evermore dangerous ships. Ships get added automatically each turn, and increasingly formidable ships may come looking for the Nautilus as your notoriety increases. So, even the most peaceful captain must inevitably take out ships here and there, otherwise you risk instant defeat if you cannot place ships as required. You basically roll a number of dice for ship placement. At the beginning of the game you roll two white dice, with more dice being added as the game progresses, and these determine where ships are placed on the board. In addition, the difference between the white dice represents the number of Action Points you gain for that turn. Rolling doubles = a 'lull' turn, which is a special case that doesn't provide any Action Points (though you still have to place ships in the indicated area), but allows you to perform certain actions at a discount and also replenish treasure markers where possible. You're allowed to save a maximum of one Action Point between turns, specifically for the purpose of being able to perform an action during a lull turn.

After ship placement, you proceed with your turn, which consists of spending your allotment of Action Points before returning to the event deck for the next turn. This is where the meat of the game takes place. Action Points allow you to go on additional adventures, attack military or civilian ships (which can be sunk and placed in the tonnage track for VPs or salvaged, which means foregoing the ship's VPs), incite uprisings on land (thereby reducing your notoriety, as the Imperial powers are forced to focus their attention elsewhere), move the Nautilus to another ocean, rest to hire additional crew, repair hull damage, use the ships you've salvaged to refit the Nautilus with a nifty technological upgrade, or search the seas for mysterious sunken treasures and wonders of the world. The goal of the game is basically to rack up as many Victory Points as possible and survive to finish the Finale card of the event deck, which represents completing the game. Seven different Finale events are included, and the Finale event is chosen at random without revealing it when first setting up the event deck, so you never quite know exactly what to expect. The game can also be immediately lost in one of three ways: if you ever completely run out of any of your ship resources (Nemo, Crew, or Hull) your game ends instantly in defeat, if your notoriety increases to the indicated defeat level for your particular motive and difficulty level the game also ends instantly in defeat, and if the oceans are ever sufficiently full of ships to the point you're unable to place the ships required during the Ship Placement Phase you instantly lose to an Imperialist Victory. However, if you can complete the Finale card and score enough VPs, you get to read a triumphant epilogue for your motive from the included Epilogue Book. But score lower, and you're left to read a woeful tale of your shortcomings. Endgame scoring is adjusted based upon which of the four motives you chose to play: Explore, Science, Anti-Imperialism, or War! They each score various elements of the game differently, which significantly influences your style of play and helps provide for greater replayability.

Suffice to say, a wealth of interesting tactical and strategic choices are available each turn, with a variety of interlinking factors requiring consideration, all of which have a thematically meaningful longer-term impact as the game unfolds. They're nicely woven together with the tension and excitement of the dice-rolling, with various methods for mitigating dice rolls available that involve tough choices that help keep you from feeling completely at the mercy of the fickle dice-deities. Besides exerting your ship resources, certain tests allow you to cash in accumulated treasure for use as a dice result modifier instead of VPs. You also begin the game with six different crew character resource tiles that can be sacrificed in an emergency for various beneficial effects at the cost of losing VPs, perhaps also increasing notoriety, or losing a ship resource. The Ship Placement Phase involves a surprising degree of strategic depth, too. Don't make the mistake of determining the location where a newly revealed ship is to be placed prior to drawing the ship; you're supposed to draw the ship first and THEN decide where to place it, which helps provide a crucial level of operational control. You gotta love the mighty useful Nautilus upgrades, too. All the moreso with the Upgrades expansion, as YellowKing astutely observes above. It all adds up to a smoothly-flowing, eye-pleasing, and immensely enjoyable solo game with (if you'll pardon the pun) some real depth. I should point out, the game does also include co-operative variants, but I haven't delved into them as of yet.

BTW, the gameplay experience is greatly enhanced if you first read a good translation of the story the game is based upon; it's more rewarding when you're familiar with the context behind each adventure that you see while playing. For anyone that hasn't read the original 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, I highly recommend reading a Frederick Paul Walter translation (e.g. this Kindle version is top-notch). The F.P. Walter translation is more accurate, accessible, and completely unabridged in comparison to many others, which often stem from the horribly mistranslated/misinterpreted and truncated Lewis Mercier translation of old. If you steer clear of the antiquated and awkwardly slapdash translations, the story holds up remarkably well and is even more enjoyable than the classic Kirk Douglas/James Mason Disney movie (though I'll always have fond memories of the epic Nautilus submarine ride in Disney World they used to have when I was a wee nipper).

Here's some pics I took of a game in progress:

Enlarge Image

Enlarge Image

Enlarge Image
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Moat_Man » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:50 am

Well done! A nice read.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:13 am

Great write-up Anonymous!

A buddy of mine and I did dabble in the co-op mode, but I found it a bit cumbersome. Essentially it just splits roles between the 2 or 3 players (you're responsible for placing ships, I'm responsible for moving, etc.) which just seemed a bit tacked on. After about 15 minutes of that nonsense we decided to just ditch the co-op rules and play the game solo, just deciding our moves as a team. We still had a blast playing that way.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by LordMortis » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:33 am

Blackhawk wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:10 pm
LordMortis wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:00 pm
I have certainly spent five hours on games with clear memories of "OK, isn't this over yet?" sentinels
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:54 am

After watching Ricky Royal's playthrough/tutorial of HOPLOMACHUS I've changed my mind about getting rid of it. It's basically a deeper, more tactical version of TMB's encounters played out on a larger map with a larger variety of special attacks/units.

I also like some of the enemy AI mechanics (for instance, beasts move randomly while not locked on a target to simulate prowling around the arena). You also have some randomness involved in range of movement and types of attack which sounds like it would really keep the game fresh and exciting with multiple replays.

I'm currently in the middle of a two-character TOO MANY BONES playthrough after failing in my first solo attempt. While I enjoy the dynamics of having two heroes on the battlefield, your'e also facing a lot more enemies and the game length has been extended considerably. Still a lot of fun and handling the extra character solo is not a problem at all. That's one thing I really enjoy about the game; other than your own skills and maybe a loot item or two, there's really not a lot you have to keep up with per hero. It's remarkably UN-fiddly for a co-op "dungeon" crawler.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:27 am

I don't think I've read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea since I was a kid - it never occurred to me to re-read it in anticipation of Nemo's War arriving. Good call - and thanks for the write up.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by AWS260 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:58 pm

Anonymous Bosch wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:18 am
BTW, the gameplay experience is greatly enhanced if you first read a good translation of the story the game is based upon; it's more rewarding when you're familiar with the context behind each adventure that you see while playing. For anyone that hasn't read the original 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, I highly recommend reading a Frederick Paul Walter translation (e.g. this Kindle version is top-notch). The F.P. Walter translation is more accurate, accessible, and completely unabridged in comparison to many others, which often stem from the horribly mistranslated/misinterpreted and truncated Lewis Mercier translation of old.
I totally agree. I read 20,000 Leagues for the first time while waiting for the Nemo's War Kickstarter to arrive! If you're looking for it in print, this volume has Walter's translations of five Verne stories.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:13 am

Lost my 2-Gearloc game of TOO MANY BONES last night. Got to the last battle and basically just got one-shotted on each character.

I was reading on BGG that standard difficulty in TMB is actually very hard, and that the difficulty designations in UNDERTOW were changed to more accurately reflect this. So I think I'm going to start over on Greenhorn and not feel bad about it. :coffee:

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:32 am

I've been reading through the manual for Dungeon Alliance over the last week and watching videos, but last night I finally managed to get it to the table.

Image

That's the setup and me getting ready to start. It takes up a bit of table space, but most of it is just organizing the bits so the actual game play is much quicker. I played through 2 rounds last night (the short game, 4 rounds is full) and I really, really enjoyed it. It's a hard game to describe as it's not really a dungeon crawler, despite how it looks. Instead you manage a team (or "alliance" if you want to get technical) of 4 characters. Your goal is to score as many points as possible, which you do by killing enemies, exploring tiles, and possibly completing quests. You have a hand of cards that is created from a deck that is based off the alliance you create. Each character has an icon that is related to their profession and the cards you can play and upgrade must match those icons. So the trick is to select an alliance that might allow some cross-use of cards between characters that share a common trait. So, for example with a Ranger and Druid (I just made those up), both might share a nature trait so if you have a nature based card in your hand, it could be used by either one.

The solo mode uses an AI deck to control the behavior of the various enemies, and I think it works really well. I enjoy a deck-based system much more than having AI behavior on the enemy cards since you'll never know exactly which enemies will activate and what character they will target. The AI deck also controls tile and card purchase options, mixing things up there as well.

There's little die rolling (some monsters have a varied attack or defense that can increase by 0,1,2 or 3 based on a die roll, but that's not common. Instead you're usually just comparing traits on character and monster sheets and modifying them with a card you'd play.

I'm in the current Kickstarter for the reprint and additional expansions, so I figured this was a good time to really verify it was something I liked. I was very hesitant because I don't normally like to play games where you control multiple characters, but this works quite well in execution and I didn't have a problem playing. Overall I enjoy it because there's deck building and hand management, along with miniatures and strategy. It's not a common combination of gaming elements but it makes for great solo gaming.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by hepcat » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:54 am

Excellent. Last I read, you were giving it another look after some trepidation over the 4 character mechanic. Happy to hear you gave this great game a chance after all! Did you try it with the quests for solo mode? That's my next game, methinks.

p.s. how annoying are those frames? I'm looking forward to adding on the player mat in the kickstarter for the expansions.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:37 pm

Yeah, I really didn't want to get it because of the mandatory 4 character aspect, but after watching some videos and then reading the rules, it's not at all what I was thinking. If it was a true dungeon crawl (like Descent), I don't think I would have purchased it. But this feels rather unique in application. All that being said, I have a hard time imagining playing it with 3+ people, though maybe it's not as bad as I think as the turns go quick. It really feels great as a solo game, but I'll absolutely try a co-op or adversarial 2 player at some point.

I didn't use the quests yet; I want to have another go without the generic cards (only use the character specific cards), and then I'll layer in the quests. I actually like that I can do that - it's a cool way to tweak what you're after.

And yeah, the frames are the worst. I absolutely upgraded to get a solo/2 player neoprene mat. For $15 it seems like a no-brainer. I'm also debating on whether or not I should just get the pre-painted figures or hammer through the 17 I already own, knowing more are coming next spring. Their coloration doesn't seem crazy, so maybe I'll give it a go myself. But $50 to save me the time is certainly tempting...

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by hepcat » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:07 pm

All it would have taken to make those frames work was a simple jigsaw puzzle cut on each of them. :x
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:18 pm

I had the worst game of Nemo's War I've had in my life. If this had been a portrayal of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, it would have been called "500 Leagues Under the Sea, Then Nemo Went Insane, Killed Everyone on the Ship, and Committed Suicide."

I was playing the Science Motive, so nothing crazy. This meant I was a tad more aggressive on taking out ships than my traditional Explorer, but I wasn't being ridiculous. However, almost every Adventure card I pulled was bad, with no upside. Then I started rolling lull turns LITERALLY EVERY TURN. I went with a stretch of 5 or 6 turns in which I had a lull or 1 action turn every time.

At one point I actually switched out dice because I was convinced mine were defective in some way. Finally I started acting like a gambler losing my shirt on slots. Instead of walking away, I just started taking riskier and riskier bets in an attempt to catch up. I killed all of my crew members for re-rolls and extra actions, only to have those fail and backfire as well. My mania snowballed, and I wound up losing the game when Nemo DIED.

I didn't even bother figuring out my score. It was the most spectacular gaming fail I've had in months, and that's including the multiple times this month I've had my ass kicked in TOO MANY BONES.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:36 pm

YellowKing wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:18 pm
I had the worst game of Nemo's War I've had in my life. If this had been a portrayal of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, it would have been called "500 Leagues Under the Sea, Then Nemo Went Insane, Killed Everyone on the Ship, and Committed Suicide."

I was playing the Science Motive, so nothing crazy. This meant I was a tad more aggressive on taking out ships than my traditional Explorer, but I wasn't being ridiculous. However, almost every Adventure card I pulled was bad, with no upside. Then I started rolling lull turns LITERALLY EVERY TURN. I went with a stretch of 5 or 6 turns in which I had a lull or 1 action turn every time.

At one point I actually switched out dice because I was convinced mine were defective in some way. Finally I started acting like a gambler losing my shirt on slots. Instead of walking away, I just started taking riskier and riskier bets in an attempt to catch up. I killed all of my crew members for re-rolls and extra actions, only to have those fail and backfire as well. My mania snowballed, and I wound up losing the game when Nemo DIED.

I didn't even bother figuring out my score. It was the most spectacular gaming fail I've had in months, and that's including the multiple times this month I've had my ass kicked in TOO MANY BONES.
Heh, that's all part of the learning process.

One of the most crucial aspects I've learned in playing the 'softer' motives (i.e. Explore and Science) in Nemo's War is the importance of choosing to recycle the less advantageous cards in the Adventure deck to the bottom of the pile. Sucky as it may feel to 'waste' your APs, it's often a good deal more preferable than playing some of the nastier and riskier cards (of course, that only applies to cards drawn from the Adventure deck; alas, there's obviously no opting out of cards drawn from the Event deck).
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:04 pm

Solo gaming has been a bit tough, but the last few nights I've managed to carve out some time and play After the Virus. It's in the deck-building family, but I don't think I'd say it's a true deck building game. It plays rather quickly (particularly when you're really bad at it like I am) and you're forced to make tough decisions about not only what cards to play, but in what order. In that sense, it reminds me much more of a game like Hostage Negotiator in that it's not just about rolling dice and playing cards. Instead you need to be really strategic in what cards you play as if you burn through your deck too quickly, you then start to cycle in more and more zombies, hampering your ability to use other cards.

There's a campaign included that I think has 15 or so scenarios in total, each with various additional special instructions, setup and/'or victory conditions. There's 4 different characters that have their own special abilities and starting cards, though to clarify all characters pull from the same set of possible cards they can use (i.e. the card pool). So the starting decks all differ but ultimately all the same cards are available to add to your deck as you play.

I'd definitely recommend it - relatively small footprint (just ~4 rows for cards and character boards) and it should be under $20. You can play with up to 3 people if that's your thing, but I can't comment as to how that works other than (I think) saying the game is 100% cooperative in that sense.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:24 pm

Since it arrived two weeks ago, I've pretty much been noodling my way through Street Masters. It's a fantastic solo game that hits all the things I've been looking for in solo gaming. It's quick, there are cards, dice and miniatures. The biggest thing though is that it's true solo - you only need to play one character. There are obvious connections to various video games, mainly Street Fighter and games like Double Dragon. I don't think you need to have played (or enjoyed) those types of games to enjoy this, but I do think it's helping me enjoy it a bit more as those were staples for me in my arcade days.

Image

What I really like the most, however, is the insane amount of variety. While you can play a campaign and story (which unlocks upgraded cards/skills), I've just been setting it up in arcade mode, randomly using a themed level (the board) and enemies. Each of the enemy groups feels very different (like the characters) and the levels themselves all have specific environmental conditions or rules that modify the core game play. For example, in the level featured above, there's someone (off map) taking shots at you while you're moving around. If you don't end a turn in cover (the brick icon) you take a wound.

At it's core, the game is about stringing together various card combinations, rolling dice and defeating enemies. For those that hate dice, you can't ever really have something bad happen when rolling. Even when you miss, the missed attacks are defense icons that you get to apply to yourself, protecting against future attacks.

Anyway, I think it's totally sold out at this point but there's a reprint (and expansion) scheduled to happen in a few weeks. My only complaint (so far) is that the miniature quality is rather inconsistent. I don't know much about the process, but based on what I do know either their QC is off and/or they're using molds long beyond the lifespan. Some of the models (same figure) are crisp and detailed. Others have really bad mold lines and/or blurry features. It's annoying, particularly with my mediocre ability to paint. Regardless, they look good on the table (to me) and it's just straight up fun to play - that's what matters most.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing » Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:17 pm

That looks awesome! I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for the reprint. Looks right up my alley (no pun intended).

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Buatha » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:08 am

So, is it kind of like Sentinels where characters have their own decks of attacks and whatnot?
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:23 am

Yeah, at a basic level. The decks are unique to each character and generally themed around a fighting style. There's the added element of movement and positioning, but it's a really basic system - nothing with "line of sight" or anything more complex than simply moving hexes for adjacency. But yes, you play a card a activate an attack or power from cards you have played. Some cards (techniques) stay in front of you unless discarded, other cards are discarded immediately after you activate them (an attack card). Each character has a "power up" attack that they can use after they've been hit a specific number of times and have defended against it. So for the character I was playing above (Brandon, the Bruce Lee homage), his power up let me use every single Combo effect from all the cards in my hand during an attack - essentially unleashing a multitude of attacks all at once. Other characters might get a powered up version of their main attack that can target multiple enemies or a crazy lightning strike that attacks multiple enemies at range. This video is one of the shortest I've seen that showcases the basics:


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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing » Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:33 pm

I caved and bought SCYTHE and have been messing around with solo vs the automa. I haven't officially completed a game yet because I keep screwing up rules, but I'm getting a little better after watching every play through I can find. I've also been using the ScytheKick app which has helped immensely.

It's a pretty fascinating game. The first couple of tries my initial reaction was "this is not for me." I've never been into euro-style games and it just felt dull and limited in terms of actions. However, I kept finding myself daydreaming about various strategies and going over setup and rules repeatedly in my head. So there's something there that intrigues me. It really is quite puzzly from an engine-building/maximizing moves perspective, and that part appeals to me. Plus I just like the look of it - it's a stunning game on the table, particularly with the miniatures painted.

I really hope I can convince my group to play this one at some point. Even though they generally don't like competitive games, I feel like the more passive nature of this one could win them over.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:50 pm

Not a game I've seen mentioned around these parts (solo or otherwise), but it seems to have rather positive reviews as both a solo and MP game so I figured I'd give it a whirl - Quests of Valeria. It's a rainy day and I had an hour to focus on it, so I figured I'd stop playing Street Masters for a bit and give this a try:

Image

First and foremost, I love the art style. I know there are other games under the Valeria umbrella, but this is my first exposure to the game world. Anyway, the game is basically a card-based representation of Lords of Waterdeep (which the designer admitted was his starting point). This plays much faster and the footprint is much smaller, so that's a plus. The rules are rather simple - you get two actions each turn. Of course, it's not that easy as you're trying to activate additional actions based on the cards you play or acquire. Some will give you extra draw actions, others will let you recruit more adventurers from the tavern. Really, each round then is a set of decisions where you're trying to get the most out of the cards you have to play.

There's quite a few cards that are removed for solo play - all cards that have "take that" elements for when you're with other players. In terms of solo play, it's not too heavy and I enjoyed the theme. There's no flavor text - it's all just art-based (icons from adventurer cards) completion of quests, but I found the quest names and their depictions adequate enough that it didn't have a "this could be anything" feel. You can find copies cheap and it travels well. Added to the small footprint and the ability to play solo and MP I think it's a great one to have around, particularly if you like the core idea of Lords of Waterdeep.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:14 pm

Ok, back to Street Masters.

I'm terrible at AARs (apparently) as I sort of lose focus on keeping track of everything as it's happening and just play. I suppose this is why people film themselves playing games and just upload it to the Internets.

Anyway, I'm still having a blast with this game, mainly because of the "plug and play" nature of the elements. Being able to just swap out a fighter, change the stage, the boss and enemies (one, multiple or all) gives such a different feel. For example, when I finished this attempt using Kyoryu fighting Dimitri and the Brotherhood on "Sudden Death", I just reset everything and switched from playing Kyroryu to using Gabriel and had a slightly different experience (based on their card decks).

For this particular stage the level objectives are random low-level fighters, all trying to take out the same enemies you are. In this way, they help you out as they move around the board and randomly attack enemies. They're pretty weak, but they can help whittle down the bad guys. Unfortunately, the boss is looking to eliminate them as well, and once these generic fighters go unconscious, the boss tries to pick them up for a finishing move. If you roll two identical attack icons at that point, that fighter is executed. If the boss does that three times, you lose the stage.

Image

That's a few rounds in as I'm just starting to warm up and build my power. For Kyoryu, he has a lightning storm theme to his powers, so you can (at times) freely move yourself or the enemies (wind), strike at them from a distance (electrical attack) or pound the ground with your fist and damage more than one at a time. He also has the ability to charge up any of his attacks to do more damage and can slowly generate power, eventually unlocking his ultimate attack ability. He's very versatile in his skill set and while I'm still learning his abilities, he feels like a solid choice to learn the game (I should have started with him probably).

I'm still way behind in my painting and it would seem The Brotherhood is the easiest faction to go against (I've apparently been playing against the hardest two - I painted them first).

Anyway, the KS campaign is slowly chugging it's way forward, but generally kicking ass. It's expensive to go all in, but there's so much game play in the core box (from the first KS) it's ridiculous. I haven't even touched any of the original KS stretch goal materials or even the core game campaign and story mode. I just keep noodling on stages testing out different fighters and seeing the various levels.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Smoove_B » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:25 pm

Played through the first scenario of FFG's new game, Discover: Lands Unknown. I own (but haven't played) the 7th Continent. I shelved it after my copy had some questionable card coloration that made it easier to tell what was likely going to happen on any given draw (being fixed with Wave 2 shipping) and allegedly this is similar.

My set contains Island and Snowy Mountain terrain. There are 5 scenarios, but the 5th one is multiplayer only. You can't mix and match elements between boxes (so buying more than one set with the idea of having a "complete" game isn't the idea), so my entire experience will be with these two terrain types.

There are 12 characters in the box and the specific mix of components (event cards, items, etc...) is allegedly unique to each box - that's why you can't mix and match sets. From my first session, there is seemingly a story evolving, but I'm not quite sure how deep the story is - it might just be deep enough to keep it interesting.

You have quite a few options each turn and once you figure out the rhythm, your turn will go quickly. However, the first few (for me) were quite slow. You have limited stamina each cycle and need to spend it on moving, exploring, gathering resources and/or crafting items you need to survive. You're constantly juggling between trying to survive and looking for whatever it is you need to complete a given scenario and move on.

My biggest concerns at this point are the terrain tiles. As part of the setup I used every single one for the first encounter. That means for replay, the only thing that would change is the location on the map. In theory I could reveal the same set of tiles over and over again, just in different spots. While the resource tokens get randomly placed on the terrain, there are features present that would stay the same (like a building or ruins). Given the pressures of survival (food, water, injury), I had quite a few things left undone on my first attempt and I'm not sure it would be possible to do everything available. The variation then comes in with those 12 character choices and their individual special skills.

I'm playing it completely solo, but you can play with others in full competitive mode or cooperative (or semi-cooperative). To me it feels right as a solo game; I cannot imagine playing it with other people. I need to get a few more games in to see whether or not it's something I'm really into, but it feels lite and unique enough that it's seemingly worth it.

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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by hepcat » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:28 pm

I tried a solo game of Phil Eklund's Pax Emancipation over the weekend. It shares a bit of the same mechanics as his last Pax game (Pax Renaissance) and, as are most of his Pax games, much closer to taking a class in advanced string theory than they are to actual board games.

I keed, I keed...kind of.

Pax Emancipation is a small box card and token game that covers the late 1700s and early 1800s. Specifically the history of slavery all over the world during that period.

Note: I played the Basic Game. I'm not quite ready for the Advanced Game on this one yet.

There are three factions in the game: Parliament (red), Evangelicals (white) and Philanthropists (green).

The map is comprised of 10 cards that make up a map of the world. In between the cards you have either land or ocean spaces. Ocean spaces are occupied by slaver ships during setup, and players can build one ship per ocean space that can later be used to sink slavers. Although only the red player can deploy agents as marines from their financial board. Other players can take a maritime op and move those marines later though, taking a gunboat diplomacy op for each move that allows you to try to sink them.

Unlike previous Pax games, this one does NOT have players building a personal tableau of cards purchased from a market full of historical figures and events. Instead, you "syndicate" with a market of cards compromised of historical ideas and events. By syndicate, I mean you place one of your agents from a financial board onto one of these cards (split into eastern and western ideas) by paying a cost in gold equal to the card's location in the market (bottom rung cards are 0 cost, row 2 costs 1, row 3 costs 2, etc. until you pay 5 for the highest spot cards in the 6 rows of cards available.

Currency is handled in a completely new way that I've not seen before in a game. There is no physical currency to track. Instead, you move your agents down a row of financial concepts, generating 1 gold per space moved. The three spaces are Capital at the top, Wealth in the middle, and Debt at the bottom. You only generate gold going down this ladder, not up. So once you've moved one of your pawns to Debt, you need to perform a fundraiser action that consists of Divesting (pulling back agents that you've sent out to syndicate or installed as admins in large port cities on the 10 card map of the world that is the playing board), Collateral (moving one agent from capital to wealth per agent you move from debt to wealth) and Capital Accumulation (moving every agent in Wealth to Capital). It's a fascinating economic model that I thought would be confusing, but actually works really well, forcing some interesting decisions about how to spend your money that results in some real world sacrifices at times.

During a player turn, you go through the following steps in the basic game:

1) Action Phase (2 actions can be taken) - Post agents from your financial board to the map in admin spots in various ports. This allows you to later replace slaves with Freedman, etc. You can also send sent your agents to syndicate with ideas, which then allows you to perform ops in the next phase (the Ops Phase). You can build a ship (Parliament can immediately take a maritime op and deploy a marine agent or fight off slavers), and finally run a fundraiser to increase your economy.

2) Ops Phase - For each syndicated agent on an idea, you can perform one of the ops listed on that idea card per agent. These include such things as westernizing in order to liberate slaves, manumissions to buy their freedom, maritime ops to fight off slavers or move marines around the board, or suffrage to claim barriers in countries you have a presence (barriers are historical events preventing freedom).

3) Elephant Phase - An elephant token points it trunk towards areas of the map that have drawn world attention via the press. Many of the ops/actions are called elephant ops/actions because when you do them, you have to move the elephant token to that section of the map and point its trunk towards the port where you're doing something. Then for the rest of your turn, you can only perform map ops/actions in that port. If you don't perform an elephant action/op and thus don't move the elephant, you roll a D6 and move the elephant clockwise around the map to set focus elsewhere.

4) Hate and Pogram Rolls - Anarchy is generated by various effects in the game and are represented by black disks placed above a map tile (or sphere as they call it in the game). For every sphere with two or more anarchy disks you roll to see if there is an event that can lead to you losing agents/freedmen in that area (if you have any there).

5) Refresh the market with new cards by removing some due to various game effects and replacing them with new ones from the draw decks of 16 cards. You always refresh from the western ideas and when that runs out, you start using the eastern deck of an additional 16 cards. When that is also empty the cooperative game is over and you either end the game by making sure you have met your victory conditions (for example: Parliament has to have more marines an agents on the map than there are slaver ships) and can thus count up all the tokens you've taken from the board as VP (tokens like slaver ships, anarchy disks, barriers, etc.); or you go to a new round of cards for the competitive game.

That's the basic game, mind you. The advanced game ends literacy to create dissidents, revolutions, lawsuits, legislation, and a lot more.

Do I like it?

Yes. Despite its complexity it's a bit more approachable than Renaissance and Pamir (two older Pax games). Although Porfiriana is still the easiest to get into. The inclusion of a basic game is a huge reason for that opinion. I hope Phil does that more in the future.

I love the economy, I love the mechanics of syndication in order to make the tableau open to all instead of "damn it, you bought the card I wanted!". And I love Parliament. God I love Parliament. I love sinking those damn slavers.

Do I recommend it? If you like Eklund games, yes. If you don't like brain burning, fiddly games that take at least a half dozen games before you even know what the hell you're doing, avoid it as you would most of Eklund's game.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5. After the advanced game, that may become a 4 or even 4.5 though (although to be fair, it could go to a 2).

p.s. As with all Eklund games, be prepared for a wall of text on each card full of historical data, as well as massive amounts of footnotes in the rules that often swing towards expressions of Eklund's philosophical and/or political leanings. He generates a lot of controversy amongst his fans for some of the stands he takes on historical events and people in his games.
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