After a Long Hiatus…

Hello everyone that is following my blog.  I took a long break from this blog almost a year ago– as a non-traditional student that also has to juggle a household, it became increasingly difficult to keep up.  Finally I am at a place where I am able to devote a lot of time to this blog and get back on track with reviews and such.  I used to have a format of posting on certain days of the week– I like that idea, but for now I will just post as I create content.  Reviews, game play logs, previews, and other gaming news will be assimilated into either a few days a week or a post every other week (I am leaning towards a lot of content really).  So, welcome back to Mostly Solo and enjoy the incoming content!

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Cavemen: The Quest for Fire Review

Another Castle

Cavemen: The Quest for Fire designed by Dan Cassar and published by Rio Grande Games is a card-drafting game where you play the role of a tribal leader and compete against other players to hunt, discover inventions and recruit more tribesmen.  The ultimate goal of the game to acquire enough knowledge amongst your tribe to be able to create fire.  There are two resources in the game: Food and Teeth.  You use food to feed your tribes-people and teeth to gain tribesmen or bid for control of the conch.  On each turn, cards are drawn from the deck to fill the card pool and players can choose to take action based on what cards are available in the pool.

Some common actions are hunting a dinosaur– if you defeat the creature, you gain teeth and food which will help you acquire more tribesmen and feed your tribe.  The conch shell…

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I’ve Been Busy….

Hello everyone!  I really apologize for disappearing, but a lot of things have been happening (good things!) and I can no longer keep up with this blog’s scheduled releases.  I started freelancing for a wonderful site called “Another Castle” and pretty big things have been happening for me there.  So– I have not disappeared, I’ve just moved.  Please head over there, like the blog, follow me, comment, etc.  Here is a sneak peek of what I will be featuring over there in the coming weeks:

  1. Review of Pixel Lincoln and interview with the game’s designer Jason Tagmire.
  2. Review of Boss Monster and possibly an interview with Brotherwise Games.
  3. Interview with CEO of Game Salute Dan Yarrington.
  4. Various other game reviews (I don’t want to give them all away!)

Free For All Friday: Holy Grail Game

I am sure at some point in all of your lives whether you collect knick-knacks, stamps, coins or board games for that matter, you have had that ONE ITEM on your list that you NEED to obtain.  It could be something super expensive or maybe something that is no long in circulation that you cannot get your hands on.  Whatever the case, you HAVE TO HAVE IT.  I have a few games that I would love to get my hands on- they are not super expensive, but for me it is hard to randomly drop 60-100 bucks on something that is merely a game.  While I love boardgames and they have become my obsession, the economy is tough right now and as a full-time student I am unable to justify more than a one game a month purchase.  What is YOUR holy grail game?  Let me know in the feedback!

Tabletop Thursday: Catan Dice Game

pic976200This past week has been quite hectic for me; work, heading to school to work on some paperwork and doctor’s appointments.  I haven’t had much time to really get a full-scale game to the table, but I had just the fix: Catan Dice Game!  It is short and sweet and satisfies my need for gaming (plus I am a sucker for dice games).  I picked my copy up at my workplace (Barnes and Noble), and with my discount it came to a whopping $11.  The game comes with six embossed dice with the necessary resources pictured on them and a 60-sheet, double-sided pad of scoring trackers.  The object of the game is kind of like Yahtzee- you roll the dice and hold or re-roll to make combos to build roads, cities, and settlements.  You are allowed three rolls in which you attempt to obtain the highest score.  The game is designated for 1-4 players and is great to play anywhere (coffee shop, on vacation, at the beach, etc.).  I definitely suggest you check it out- it satisfies the need for Catan, but you don’t have to rustle up at least three people to play!

Wargame Wednesday: Print and Play

As I mentioned last week, I ordered Battle for Moscow as my very first wargame.  Unfortunately, the order was cancelled due to stock issues.  Instead of placing another order with another retailer, I decided to just make the game myself.  Yet again, I am delving into something I have never done before.  I never really have considered myself crafty, but how hard can it be??  Just a bunch of gluing and pasting and cutting- it seems easy enough.  I headed to boardgamegeek.com to find the necessary files to print out the game board and pieces as well as the rules.  I have decided to go with a version that has a nice theme and counters with really easy to read symbols.  pic1521970_md

Hopefully my version will come out just as awesome looking as this one!  For now I am headed off to print the needed materials and buy the supplies I do not have yet.  Stay tuned, because next week I will have an entire how-to posted!  It could be quite…entertaining.

Free For All Friday (Sunday): Solitaire Game Preview – GenCon 2013

I apologize for not sticking with my schedule of updates.  I have been a little under the weather and trying to get back to feeling normal.  Anyway, for this Free For All, I decided to go over some of the solo games that will be demoed at GenCon this year.  For those of you unfamiliar with GenCon, it is the longest-running gaming convention in the world.  Last year the convention attracted over 40,000 people to the Indianapolis, Indiana area.  Not only are there games, but there are authors, artists, costumes, family activities and tons of other events.  It is definitely the “Mecca” for all passionate board gamers.  Now, on to the games!

Lewis & Clark (Ludonaute)

pic1708869_mdOn November 30, 1803, the United States purchased Louisiana from Napoleon. U.S. President Thomas Jefferson decided to send two explorers – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark – to discover this huge terra incognita.

Lewis & Clark is a board game in which the players manage an expedition intended to cross the North American continent. Their goal is to be the first to reach the Pacific. Each one has his own Corps of Discovery that will be completed by the Native Americans and the trappers met during the journey. He has to cleverly manage his characters and also the resources he finds along the way. Beware, sometimes frugality is better than abundance.

Lewis & Clark features dual use cards. To be activated, one card must be combined with another one, which becomes unavailable for a while. Thus, players are faced with a constant dilemma: play a card or sacrifice it. During the game, each player acquires character cards that enlarge his hand, building a crew that gives him more options but it needs to be optimized as he will recycle his cards more slowly. This new “handbuilding” mechanism fits strongly the historical background.

Since the aim of the game is to be the first on the Pacific coast, the timing and the opportunistic use of the other players’ positions are crucial.

SOS Titanic (Ludonaute)

pic1708847_mdAt 23:40 on April 14, 1912 in the North Atlantic, the R.M.S. Titanic strikes an iceberg. Water immediately floods into the liner’s compartments and the ship is listing to starboard in a worrying way. There is no hope about the outcome. On board, there is widespread panic.

Alone, or co-operating with other crew members, you must show presence of mind and do the right thing to save as many passengers as possible. Time is short…

The card game SOS Titanic uses a mechanism similar to Patience, with the cards representing passengers who must be arranged on the decks, then placed in the lifeboats in a particular order. As one of the crew members, you and your teammates need to move and arrange these passengers as quickly as you can. Each section of the Titanic holds a pile of cards of which only the first is available.

On his turn, a player draws a few cards from the main deck and tries to move passengers out of the sinking ship onto the lifeboats. Failing to move at least one passenger or needing to reshuffle the main deck might cause one section of the ship to sink, thus reducing the number of piles available as well as the hopes of those still on board. Players can also use action cards to step in at fateful times when things otherwise seem lost. The game ends when the ship has sunk completely or when all remaining passengers have been saved.

Global Mogul (Mayfair Games)

pic1685938_mdWelcome to the heady days of global finance! Money and deals are flowing like water. From sparse beginnings build your empire across the globe, sending agents far and wide as you expend capital and gain access to valuable resources needed to fulfill lucrative contracts. Struggle to dominate world markets and control resources regionally. Expand your interests, and acquire companies that provide an edge on the competition and more efficient use of resources.

The venture capital market is giving away money – you don’t even have to pay it back – but it does tie up valuable agents until you do. You can always use an extra agent on your quest to dominate the world.

Global Mogul is a limited action, worker placement, resource acquisition, and opportunity management game. Win by being best at balancing your short term goal of fulfilling contracts for cash with your long term goals of building corporate infrastructure, controlling markets, and regions. So, what are you waiting for? The world awaits…

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (Paizo Publishing)

pic1584607A forgotten evil stirs in the ancient land of Varisia. Dark magic once more thrums amid crumbling ruins, giants gather in titanic armies, cultists murder in the name of foul deities, and maniacal goblins plot a fiery end for the peaceful town of Sandpoint.

Launch a campaign to strike back against the evils plaguing Varisia with the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set. This complete cooperative strategy card game pits 1 to 4 heroes against the traps, monsters, deadly magic, and despicable foes of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game’s award-winning Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path. In this game players take the part of a fantasy character such as a rogue or wizard, each with varying skills and proficiencies that are represented by the cards in their deck. The classic ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, etc.) are assigned with different sized dice. Players can acquire allies, spells, weapons, and other items. The goal is to find and defeat a villain before a certain number of turns pass, with the villain being represented by its own deck of cards complete with challenges and foes that must be overcome. Characters grow stronger after each game, adding unique gear and awesome magic to their decks, and gaining incredible powers, all of which they’ll need to challenge greater threats in a complete Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Adventure Path.

The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is an expandable game, with the first set containing nearly 500 cards. The Rise of the Runelords – Base Set supports 1 to 4 players; a 110-card Character Add-On Deck expands the possible number of players to 5 or 6 and adds more character options for any number of players. The game will be expanded with bimonthly 110-card adventure decks.

Dungeon Roll (Tasty Minstrel Games)

pic1580818_mdThe Dungeon lies before you; you’ve assembled your party of hearty adventurers and have a few tricks up your sleeve. How far will you go to seek glory and fame? Will you risk losing everything?

In Dungeon Roll the player’s goal is to collect the most experience points by defeating monsters, battling the dragon, and amassing treasure. Each player selects a Hero avatar, such as a Mercenary, Half-Goblin, or Enchantress, which provides them with unique powers. Then players take turns being the Adventurer, who boldly enters the dungeon seeking glory.

The Adventurer assembles their party by rolling seven Party Dice, while another player serves as the Dungeon Lord and rolls a number of Dungeon Dice based on how far the Adventurer has progressed through the dungeon. The Adventurer uses Champion, Fighter, Cleric, Mage, Thief, and Scroll faces on the Party Dice to defeat monsters such as oozes and skeletons, to claim treasure inside chests, and to revive downed companions with potions. The Adventurer claims treasure by taking a token at random from inside the treasure chest-shaped game box.

All this fighting in the dungeon is certain to attract the attention of the boss: The Dragon!

When three or more Dragon faces appear on the Dungeon Dice, the Adventurer must battle the Dragon. Defeating the dragon is a team effort, requiring three different companion types. After three rounds, the players add up their experience points and retire to the inn to celebrate their exploits and to plan their next foray into the next deadly dungeon!

Pandemic: In the Lab (Z-Man)

pic1632485_mdIn Pandemic: In the Lab, the second expansion for Pandemic, you will use a new game board that allows you to move the pawns in a laboratory. The goal of this activity is the same as in the base game – finding cures for diseases – but this time in a new way. Behind sealed bio-hazard doors, scientists race against time to sequence diseases, take samples, and test cures.

Pandemic: In the Lab includes four new roles, new Virulent Strain events, and a Worldwide Panic Mutation scenario. Players can compete individually or on rival teams (when playing with four or six players). Can your team work together in the lab to save humanity?

(special thanks to boardgamegeek for game info!)

Tabletop Thursday: Agricola

1069329_10151714891934674_420453174_nI have played Agricola every day this week and will CONTINUE to play Agricola until I am victorious in the solo format.  Agricola (pronounced Ah-grik-ola) is one of those games that scratches the right itch for me.  I will never get tired of coming up with new strategies, cooking animals and making babies.  I feel as though this game has so much longevity- it comes with three different decks of cards (E, I and K-Decks; Basic, Interactive and Complex Decks respectively) and there are a TON of other decks and even an expansion to buy.  I haven’t even opened the I and K decks yet- I am still trying to master the E deck first.  Solo play for Agricola plays just like the regular game except for a few minor rules changes.  Most notably, you start with NO food and you only put two wood on the board each stage as opposed to three.  I have just been messing around with trying to top my own score, but for the more experienced players, you can play a series of eight games.  In the eight game series, you are given a progressively higher score to beat for each round- so basically, you need to beat your own score eight individual times.  I haven’t tried this format yet because the first round final score needs to be a 50 or better and my personal best is a 37.

occe1merchantWhile all of this sounds intimidating, Agricola is pretty adaptable to any skill level.  You can start off playing the Family Version where you do not use Occupations or Minor Improvement cards.  This helps you understand the flow of the game and doesn’t give you such overwhelming choices.  Honestly, I ditched the Family Version after my first few plays and just jumped right in.  If you are playing solo, who cares if you take your time to read all the cards and make the right choices?  That’s the beauty of the game.  You can spend 20 minutes with it or two hours.  If you are looking to play Agricola, but do not want to set up the board, I usually play at: http://play-agricola.com  Great site, supports solo play and super intuitive.  Also, it is available on iOS.  Until next week folks!

Wargame Wednesday: A Humble Beginning

I have been a board gamer for a little over a year and I am absolutely hooked!  I do not claim to be an expert at board games and I have NEVER played a wargame in my life.  So WHY (!?) would I devote a whole day to Wargames, you ask?  My reasoning is simple:  WE CAN DISCOVER THEM TOGETHER.  Yup.  That’s right.  I talk about each step of my journey into wargames, make decisions on what game to pick up, find answers to questions and hopefully add another passion to my ever-growing list of hobbies.  And since I do not even own a wargame at this point, I figured I would list a few that I am interested in picking up.  You will notice that there is an emphasis on WWII- it is probably my favorite time period in history, so I figured I would start there.  Here is a list of 3 games I plan on buying soon:

Battle For Moscow

B4M_front_cover_fullIn September of 1941, the German High Command decided to launch a final, decisive offensive to crown their invasion of Russia, capture Moscow, and break the Red Army once and for all. Codenamed Operation Typhoon, German tanks and infantry pressed relentlessly forward until they could see the very spires of the Kremlin. As Russia’s communist government was burning secret papers and evacuating Lenin’s corpse eastward out of their ancient capital, Moscow was hanging in the balance. By 5 December, the Germans were halted along the entire front — exhausted and demoralized, having barely failed to capture their objective as the winter freeze grew ever colder.

Why I Chose It

Battle for Moscow is cheap (14.95), part of a series of “introductory” games from Victory Point Games and I like the time period it is set it.  The rulebook is only four pages long and it has 40 pieces- I have a good feeling I will not be overwhelmed whatsoever.  This will probably be my first purchase.

Field Commander: Rommel

pic1096391_mdRommel was designed by Dan Verssen and is the first game in the “Field Commander” solitaire series of historical strategy board games. The player takes command of General Erwin Rommel‘s forces in 3 exciting WWII campaigns: France 1940, North Africa 1941, and D-Day 1944. An easy-to-use game system of “Battle Plan” and “Operation Plan” chits manages the Allied movement, combat, and reinforcements.

Each campaign comes with a list of historical options that the player can modify to adjust its difficulty level and improve replay value. Also, as units win battles, stats increase to affect ensuing battles and movement. The game comes with “Career” rules that allow the player to link campaigns, so that the outcome of one campaign affects the start-up conditions for the next campaign.

Why I Chose It

Again- I enjoy the time period and I like that the deluxe edition comes with mounted maps.  The overall design of the components is nice and you get three maps with the game.  This purchase might not come for a while since it seems a bit more complicated that Battle for Moscow, but who knows- wargaming could be my forté!

D-Day at Omaha Beach

Alliance_Games_DCG_155559642589_bigD-Day at Omaha Beach (Re-print) recreates America’s most bloody and heroic day of World War II.  In this solitaire game from the designer of the solo classics RAF and Ambush, you control the forces of the US  1st and 29th Divisions landing under fire on the Normandy shore, and struggling desperately to establish a viable beachhead.  The game is also great for two players playing cooperatively, each controlling one US division. US units include assault infantry, amphibious tanks, artillery, engineers and HQs. The game system controls the hidden German defenders in Widerstandsnest resistance points on the bluffs overlooking the beaches. US forces that manage to break through the deadly coastal defenses and reach the high ground must then contend with German mobile reinforcements in the bewildering hedgerows of Normandy’s bocage.  An innovative diceless combat system highlights unknown enemy deployments and the importance of utilizing the right weapons and tactics.

Event cards keep the action flowing and the rules simple, while controlling German strategy and introducing extensive historical detail. The game includes amphibious landings, German artillery and rocket barrages, US naval bombardment, tides, engineer operations, and intangibles such as US leadership under fire and the initiative of the American GIs.
Scenarios: The First Waves (two to three hour playtime) introduces the basics of the game in a recreation of the initial assault.  Beyond the Beach (four to five hours) picks up on the high ground at 10:00 a.m. and adds rules for German tactics.  D-Day at Omaha Beach (seven hours) covers the entire day, from 6:15 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Optional rules explore what-ifs, such as more pre-invasion bombardment or the arrival of German armor.

 

Why I Chose It

 

I would be lying if I said that a little bit a favoritism went into this choice.  I happen to be friends with the game designer’s daughter, and well, all of his other amazing stuff is out of print right now (Ambush!, etc..).  When I put that aside though, the game’s overall graphics and attention to detail is what drew me in.  It also seems to have hours upon hours of entertainment packed into one game- I like that.  Of the three, this one will probably be one that I play after I have a few others under my belt.  It seems a bit overwhelming at this point with it’s 352 counters.

New Weekly Theme

So I have decided to adopt a pretty steady update schedule in the coming week.  I read about board games on a semi-daily basis, so why not talk about them on a semi-daily basis?  Here are the themes:

Tabletop Tuesday/Thursday: These are the days I will write about my game-play sessions.

Wargame Wednesday: Each Wednesday, I will feature a new wargame with the emphasis on solo play.

Free-for-all Friday: I will post whatever I deem necessary!  Seriously though, I will post SOMETHING board game related for your entertainment.

I hope that with this new format will inspire some of you to increase your boardgaming activities and become as passionate as I am about the community.  I will be rolling out this new format next week, so stay tuned!