Monday, 17 March 2014

The Top Ten Solitaire Boardgames You might not know You own

According to the BoardGameGeek website, here are the top ten games that can be played solo:

1. Agricola
To play a solo version of Agricola you start with zero food and the left-hand spaces on the left game board remain empty. Adult family members must be fed 3 Food each at Harvest time and the “3 Wood” Action space only supplies 2 Wood in any round. 

To make the solo game “competitive” you start adding permanent Occupation cards each time you play a series of games. So when you reach the eighth game of the series you will have 7 permanent cards. In the first game, your goal is 50 points, then 55, 59, 62, 64, 65, 66 and 67 points.

2. Mage Knight Board Game
There is a Solo Conquest Scenario near the back of the book. It is suitable for a player who wants to understand the game, but it is also perfect for a solitaire game. It uses one standard Dummy player. When taking tactics, you always choose first. The Dummy player then takes one random card from those remaining. If you succeed in defeating all the cities, you win the game. If you fail, you can still count your score to see how good you were. It is possible to play other missions solo by using similar set up modifications.

3. Le Havre
Le Havre plays as a solo game with no real special rules. The objective is get a higher score each time you play. Skilled players can score 400 points in a game if the buildings come out right.

4. Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island
Robinson Crusoe is the latest hotness for solo play. In a solo game you play either the Carpenter, the Cook or the Explorer. You take Friday and the Dog. When you build Shelter, Roof or Palisade you have to pay the same cost as a 2-player game. You are always the first player. At the beginning of the Morale phase, increase Morale level by 1--because you’re happy to stay alive.  

5. Caverna: The Cave Farmers
The latest game from Uwe Rosenberg, the creator of Agricola. It is a worker placement game focus on farming--in caves. The solo game is played according to the rules for 2 to 7 players with the following exceptions: In the Work phase, place one Dwarf after another. The goal of the solo game is to get the highest score you can. (Try to beat the “magical score” of 100 points.) You start the game with 2 Food. Use the game boards for the 2-player game and cover some of the Action spaces with some specified Overview cards.

There are no Harvest events in the solo game. Rubies will accumulate on the “Ruby mining” Action space from round 1 on. Before refilling the accumulating spaces, check if there are any spaces with more than 6 goods. Remove all the goods from all of the spaces where this is the case and return them to the general supply. For each Ruby you spend, you can prevent this from happening for one of these spaces. The goods on the accumulating spaces that you paid a Ruby for will be safe for another round.

6. Ora et Labora
Yet another creation of Uwe Rosenberg's. This time around you are the head of a monastery in Medieval Europe who acquires land and constructs buildings. The goal is to build a working infrastructure and manufacture prestigious items – such as books, ceramics, ornaments, and relics – to gain the most victory points at the end of the game.

In the solo version you use the one to two player game board and use the front side of the production wheel. Remove grapes and stone indicators from the game. Turn the district and plot piles upside down. At the start of the game you start with nothing, otherwise you follow the rules of the two player game. You also play with a neutral player who gets a heartland. When you want to use a neutral building, you pay 1 coin to the general supply. The game ends after the last settlement phase. The goal of the solo game is to reach 500 points.   

7. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords - Base Set
Another popular game for solo play. You must choose your character wisely since some characters only good when there are other characters around. Merisiel the Rogue is great for solo play because she gains bonuses when no one is at her location. 

You can also play multiple characters if you like, treating each characters as if they were played by a separate player. But if your character cannot get out of the Treacherous Cave, your game will grind to a halt. It is recommended to remove such a card and replace it with another card of roughly the same type.

8. Nations
Nations came out in 2013 and is an intense historical board game for 1-5 players that takes 40 minutes per player to play. Players control the fate of nations from their humble start in prehistoric times until the beginning of World War I. The nations constantly compete against each other and must balance immediate needs, long-term growth, threats, and opportunities. 

In the solo game you play against a shadow opponent represented by Event tiles and a die. You strive to maximize your victory points at the end of the game. Instead of drawing a normal Event Card you will draw a random Event tile from the current age. It shows what values the shadow opponent has for this round, and possible changes. 

The game is played normally and all comparisons are done with the current value of the shadow opponent. If the shadow opponent has no value you win any ties in that category (always passed first, always most Workers etc). You lose the game if you have negative VP. You start as player 1, with 1 Book. The shadow opponent starts with 2 Books. On the Progress Board, use 4 Progress Card columns. NOTE: Total VP in a solo game is not comparable to a multiplayer game.

9. Suburbia
In Suburbia you plan, build, and develop a small town into a major metropolis. Your goal is to have your borough thrive and end up with a greater population than any of your opponents. 

In solo game 1 you are the Lone Architect: Gameplay is just like the 2 player game, but you’ll only need one Borough Board. Use the 2-player tile stacks setup, but don’t place or distribute any goals. Moving past a Red Line results in a -2 to Income and -2 to Reputation. After your turn is over, you must remove an additional tile, using the same rules as if you had placed an Investment Marker or a basic tile. 

There is also solo game 2 where you are playing against Dale, the bot, who has no emotions; he’ll always play with you, because he has no other friends!

10. Space Alert
Space Alert is a Vlaada Chv├ítil cooperative team survival game. Players become crew members of a small spaceship scanning dangerous sectors of galaxy. The missions last just 10 real-time minutes (hyperspace jump, sector scan, hyperspace jump back) and the only task the players have is to protect their ship. 

In a solo game play with 4 androids (ignore unconfirmed reports). Deal each android a face-down heroic action for the first phase. Spread the entire action card deck face up in front of you. Start the soundtrack, and reveal the heroic actions. Begin planning first phase actions. Each android can use any action card, but only its own heroic action. Unlike androids in multi-player game, it is allowed to change planned cards until the soundtrack announces end of the respective phase. Ignore announcements like Data Transfer, Incoming Data, and Communication System Down.

How many of these games do you own? Have you ever played them solitaire? If not--then try it out!

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