Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Recently a friend and I have embarked on a board game discussion podcast. Check it out if you have any interest. Each episode has, as part of the main discussion, a look at the solo capability of the games we discuss.

The episodes can be found at or
Any suggestions or comments can be left at or here.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Phil Eklund's Neanderthal

Neanderthal Set-up: This is the setup for a one species solo variant. Archaic Vocal Man will be attempting to become tribal with one invention and one domesticated species.
Changes to main game, 8 Hunters and 8 Events.

Turn 1: The ice sheet extends south and with it comes some Tyrant Sea Bear. 4 Hunters start mining for flint and the Fire Starter elder matures. The Auroch hunt fails with the loss of a hunter for no result.The family group is diminished.

Turn 2: A Daughter joins the family (Basket Weaver). The Hunters head north to hunt snow hare and are successful (Rolling at least a single one or two) allowing the family to expand by one hunter. Being small game the success does not attract the attention of the Cave Lion.
Flint mining also succeeds (rolling a single one or two) as a result a daughter matures and is now eligible to marry and develop culture. With the addition of the new daughter the family language develops words for technology. (2 out of 5 portals achieved toward tribal).

Turn 3: Fashion Woman joins the family but remains immature due to the upcoming failed hunts. Both Hunts, Flint Mine and Aurochs failed with the loss of a hunter (rolled a 6) but Basket Weaving daughter continues to teach the family words (3 out of 5 to tribal).

Turn 4: We lose our fire starter and a blizzard takes the Basket Weaver. Singing Woman joins the family and matures as a result of the upcoming hunt. Flint collection is successful and the Flint Knapper learns his trade (Produces a mature Alpha). No honey is found but the Snow hare trappers return with food, the family expands (+1 Hunter). Fashion Woman teaches some ritual language (4 out of 5 Portals to tribal).

Turn 5: Fashion Woman's suitor is killed by the family for unwelcome advances. Both hunting parties are unsuccessful and the Aurochs kill another hunter. The final portal is is placed and the family has sufficient language to become a tribe. The tribe has 3 more turns to domesticate an animal and develop ans invention.

Turn 6: The Ice sheet starts to extend from the North. A blizzard descends but all elders and daughters are supported by hunters. Once again the hunting group decide to go after wild Aurochs, Even with 1 auto success from the Alpha (Cylinder) the hunt still fails for the lose of another hunter.

Turn 7: A Wurm Glacial event adds an extra turn (Phew!) The Knapper dies so we lose the Alpha. A Hunter is promoted to Knapper and the party heads off to the flint mine. The Mining expedition is successful maturing the Knapper but with only two dice reading the same we cannot take the invention.

Turn 8: Another Wurm Glacial event (+1 Turn), but the ice sheet extends once again. The North is rapidly disappearing under the ice. This event pushes Scimitar Cats south. A Blizzard kills the Singing Woman leaving us with only one daughter. The hunting party and Alpha head out to hunt European Ass and the hunt succeeds. The tribe expands by 4. The Sea Bear tries to take the meat but is chased off.

Turn 9: Another Wurm Glacial Event. The Alpha and one other head north to trap Snow Hare. The Flint mining is a success with a triple so the invention is taken into hand. By the end of the turn the Knapper has developed Hand Axe Darts from the flint mine card. Just need to domesticate an animal for full victory.

Turn 10: The ice sheet extends south again. A hunter is promoted to Shaman (in the hopes of domesticating a captured animal). The Hunters head back to the land of the Auroch. This time we lose no one but are unsuccessful (just 3 threes rather than 4).

Turn 11: Hunters head off to hunt Red Deer and Snow Hare. The Deer hunt is successful maturing the Shaman but the other hunting party fails to capture sufficient hare to domesticate. Archaic Man  ends the game Tribal with an Invention but are unable to domesticate any animals so fail the chosen victory conditions.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

What makes a game fun solo?

So, time for some ramblings. Playing more games solo than FtF recently has prompted me to ask myself what do I actually look for in a game that is solo worthy. As I play games I will post a little ditty here, at the end of each game, as to why this game attracts me as a solo player.

Saints in Armor, White Mountain completed. Did I enjoy the experience of beating myself? Well yes, I learned a few things about the system (open order). But more importantly it generated a narrative that engaged me. The game is an abstraction of combat and a little complex in the three unit states it keeps track of but that adds to a deeper experience. For example; veteran units that are suffering increasing formation deterioration and moral loss but as yet have not taken significant casualties. Therefore why do I enjoy this series for solo play? Basically the story, the image of desperately outclassed militia heroically standing up to trained veterans and winning. Fickle dice maybe but a story none the less.

Friday, February 24, 2017

GMT Musket and Pike, White Mountain 1620

Setup, Bohemian Protestant Forces, supported by the Transylvanian cavalry.
Setup, Imperial and Catholic League forces.

Turn 1: Liechtenstien is ordered to advance on the Bohemian Left. After an initial ineffective artillery bombardment he cautiously does so but fails to make contact. The Protestant Command send orders to the Transylvanians who mercifully respond and become active (there was a 40% chance they would just go home).

Turn 2.1: Despite laying down some brutal fire (7 Hits on the lead Imperials) Thurn's Front line is thoroughly routed. The feeling is that they have done sufficient damage to  Liechtenstein's troops that the 2nd Line should hold and give the Transylvanians enough time to sweep the Left Flank.

Turn 2 Complete: The Transylvanians move to the Left Flank as  Liechtenstein's 2nd Line Cavalry reform ready of the oncoming attack. The Imperial forces move their 2nd Lines up but are slowed by having to reform the brigades who are disrupted by the bad terrain.

Turn 3a: Liechtenstein leads his troops in the assault on Thurn. and is bloodily repulsed with only a small victory on his left as the Imperial Curassiers  chase some of the Protestant cavalry off the field. Liechtenstein re-positions himself with what is left of his cavalry.

Turn 3 End of Maneuvers: The Transilvanians have successfully massed on the Bohemian Left. Imperial forces slowly advance on the Bohemian line hampered by slow slog uphill. Tiefenbach is bringing his 2nd Echelon troops up to attack the Left Flank while Tilly reforms his lines on the right after struggling though bad terrain.

Turn 5 Start: Despite the opportune moment and desperate state the Transilvanians refused to charge on the Bohemian left. Thurn's command is near destroyed by the attacks from the Imperial 2nd Echelon who now form a defensive cordon, wary of the Transilvanians. Tilly on the Imperial right has stalled due to the terrain (maybe he should have deployed in open order).

Turn 5 "The Bitter End": Spinelli's veteran Italians commanded personally by Tiefenbach close to assault the last remnants of Thurn's command. After a bloody repulse and the loss of Tiefenbach the Italians are chased from the field by Thurn's feisty cavalry. Inspired by this the Transivanians finally accept the order to charge and swarm the Imperial right flank routing the cavalry. With the flank crumbling and his troops still mired in the terrain Maximillian halts the attack and retreats from the mountain. A costly but significant victory for the Bohemians.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Phil Eklund's BIOS: Genesis

I am going to try something new. I have just got BIOS: Genesis in a trade. This one seems to have a massive amount of brain burning play in a very small box.

Set-up for Solo Game. First event played. Comet impacts have delivered Water to the Surface of the planet.

Green tries to establish in the Hydro-thermal Vent but looses it's Enzyme. Red Establishes in the Green Rust Fumarole and also looses an Enzyme and Biont but receives a Catalyst in compensation. Not a Stunning start but ... 4 Billion years to go. Maybe, hopefully!

Theia smacks into the Earth making most of the surface molten and eradicating the Green Rust Fumarole. Green and Red try to establish in the Mars Paleo-Ocean and Earth's Hydro-thermal vents without success. Life is having a hard time establishing in the solar system right now. Both Green and red start, due to compensation, with 2 catalysts for the next 200 Million years.

Turn 4: and 400 Million years later, Green and Red have established organized manna in the Oceanic Clay Mound. Hopefully the manna and bionts will organize into a microorganism soon. The Hydro-thermal vents still refuse to organize manna but both Green and Red have a presence.
The Enzyme placement is incorrect for the Clay Mound. It will be fixed in the next turn. It also did not affect the roll.

Turn 5: 200 Million years on and the Clay Mound yields our first Micro Organism a Gard Marine Bacterium (ain't it sweet) after losing a chromosome to Darwinian forces it gains a Chlorophyll Symbiont and is on the way to becoming the first algae.

Turn 7: 1400 Million Years after the Earth's formation our struggling Microbe is close to becoming extinct. Hydrocarbon Fog and a nasty UV spike followed by some harsh Darwinian forces have reduced it down to 1 Chromosome.

Turn 9:  1800 Million Years. Another Bacterium wiped out, this time by an Oxygen Spike. We are left with some organized manna in the Continental Eutectic Brine. Both Green and Red now have some Catalysts to play with in the hopes of getting a microorganism up and running.

Turn 10: A flurry of fantastic luck and our Eutectic Brine throws up a life form with enough catalysts to buy some mutations. Green is well on the way to becoming terrestrial life. I am proud of my little microbe .... essentially pond scum.

Turn 11a: Both Red and Green players now have an up and running microorganism. This is good news. The bad news is that the NPC Viruses now have targets.

Turn 11b: Some mutations later and the two microbes are holding on although there were some copying errors and losses.

Turn 12: The end, a 4th cooling event and Armageddon the cooling kind happens. Our poor microbes expire as the lakes freeze. Oh what could have been.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

GMT's Wing Leader Victories V06 "Let's Go Surround Them!"

152, 87 and 213 Squadrons engage a swarm of Ju-87 Stukas protected by a larger escort force.

Axis Set-up: The Stuka formation is in close formation with the Me 110's. Above them on Sweep are three squadrons of 109's (note the ammo counter on the 109 display, due to low fuel status of the fighters)

V06 Setup Axis

Turn 1: Spitfire F (Tailing the formation) Tallies the rear Stuka squadron and is itself tallied by one of the watchful close escort 110 squadrons who climbs to attack. All other squadrons fail to get a tally mainly because the High Escort 109's are on a different radio network. The ensuing combat is ineffective for both sides, other than the cost of ammo, and the British successfully refuse a dogfight.

End of Turn 1.

Turn 2: No new tallies (the high escort seems oblivious to the fight below). Spitfire-Engages the Tail Stuka hotly pursued by 110-L the attack scatters the Spitfires for no loss.

End of Turn 2.

Turn 3: Hurricane-I Tallies the rear Stukas, unfortunately for the bomber formation the separate radio networks of the escorts has allowed all the British fighters to sneak in without being detected by the high sweep. Spitfire-F dives for home pursued closely by 110-L the scattered fight scores no hits.

End of Turn 3.

Turn 4: 110-C finally sees the approaching Hurricane-I and tallies them. Hurricane-G tallies the mid bombers and sets up for an attack run as the 110's climb to attack the rear Hurricanes damaging one and breaking up the attack run. 110-L scores 2 kills on the Spitfires but finally runs out of ammo and heads home.

End of Turn 4.

Turn 5: 110-C drops the tally on the broken Hurricanes and tallies the incoming Hurricanes. 109-G and I finally spot Hurricane-G and dive into the fight. Hurricane-G dives onto the Stukas dropping one on the way through the formation for no loss. At this point deciding this maybe a lost cause facing 3 undamaged squadrons of Germans they head for home.

Final Tally: +19VP to Germans a significant defeat for the RAF.

End of Turn 5.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Cubre Libre Solo

Cuba Libre long game setup. Playing 1 (Government) vs 3 Game Bots. Learning the game as I go so some mistakes will happen.

Turn 1a: The Syndicate Hires some heavies to protect their Casinos (Rally Action). The Government step up their training programs in preparation of the struggle to come (Rally Action). 26th infiltrate economic areas in Eastern Cuba (March Action) and the Directorio conduct terrorist bombings in Havana shaking the peoples confidence in the government (Terror Action).

Turn 1b: Masferrer and Los Tigres arrive to support Batista (Government Event). The Syndicate takes over the Tobacco industry (March Action). The Yacht "Escapade" arrives from Miami with supplies for the Directorio (Directorio Event). Castro and the 26th bomb the southern plantations and the Habana casino stealing cash from the Syndicate (Terror Action and Kidnapp).

Turn 1c: Los Tigres sweep though Havana and Camaguey flushing out Guerrillas (Sweep and Assault Actions- Government Capability). The Syndicate (Rally Action) hire more goons to cover the Habana casino (after the 26th bombing and robbery). July 26th intensify their recruiting in the east and manage to infiltrate the local police forces (Rally Action and Infiltrate Special). The Directorio short on personnel use the recent heavy handed actions of Los Tigres to recruit in Havana (Rally Action).


End of Turn 1: Due to the poor support for the Government the US wavers in it's support.

Turn 2a: 26th July Use temporary radio to spread their message to the masses (26th Event). The Syndicate builds a new casino in Havana and provides the tobacco industry with cash (Syndicate Construct with Profit special). The Directorio continue their bombing campaign in Havana (Terror) and the Government move troops to Santiago in the east and uncover the 26th cells (Garrison).

Turn 2b: 26 July Use a Truce (Event) to remove their revealed fighters from Santiago. Syndicate Goons lay down the law in La Habana (Terror) and then (Bribe) the 26 July fighters to disperse.
The Government establish a base in Havana (Train) and then use a civil action to settle down the population after which they (Transport) troops to Camaguey. The Directorio engineer the combat wounding of the leader in Las Villas (Event) and Government control is lost.

Turn 2c: 26 July make a pact with the Directorio to not interfere with each others plans. (Event and Remain eligible)
Syndicate, Open a Casino in Havana (Construct) and cream cash from the casino in Pinar (Profit)
Directorio, Send representatives to the US on a speaking tour and return with donations +6 Resources. (Event).
Government, Passes to collect resources +3
26 July (Still eligible) Marches Guerrillas into Santiago and Oriente. The forces in Santiago infiltrate the police and control of the city passes to 26 July.

Turn 2d: Directorio use the Pact of Miami event to remove syndicate guerrillas from Havana and the tobacco producing economic center. The Government is made ineligible for this and the next card.
26 July ambush Government forces in Santiago using Armoured Cars event and remove 1 Troop and 1 Police.
The Syndicate rally to replace lost goons and bribe Directorio Guerrillas in Havana to disperse.

The Situation after 2d.

Turn 2e:
DR Use the "Mafia Offensive" event and engage in terror in Havana using the unrevealed syndicate goons there (result costs Government 6 support)
Government respond with an assault removing the reveled DR in Havana. They then transport troops to Camaguey in preparation for an assault on 26 July in the south.
The Syndicate march goons from La Habana to the tobacco EC.
26 July use "Election" event to postpone the election and raise guerrillas in all city spaces.

After 2e.

Turn 2f: 
Government take "Batista Flees" event removing 4 troops, reducing resources to 0, increasing AID to 15 and the US alliance to 2.
DR rally in Matanzas and Havana then subvert the opposition in Matanzas.
26 July Use "Operation Fisherman" event to place a base and Guerrilla on the East coast in Pino-de-Rio.
Syndicate rally to hire more goons to protect the casino in La Habana.

After Turn 2f.

Turn 2g:
DR take the "Faure Chomon" event and set up a base in Las Villas.
Government passes +3 resources.
Syndicate passes +1 Resource
26 July takes "Llano" event placing a guerrilla in Havana.
Government passes +3 resources.
After 2g.

Turn 2h:
Syndicate take "Vilma Espin" event removing 26 guerrilla from Camaguey.
DR rally in Las Villas, Camaguey, Matanzas and then subvert in Las Villas

There then follows a Propaganda Round.
Situation after Turn 2 propaganda!

Note: Due to playing a Vassal Version of this right now I am pausing the replay until I finish the Vassal Game.