Summer 2023 was very low on solo plays with mainly trying to get into Friday (I still don't get it), replaying Legends Untold (I love the setting but the decision space is limited which pains me) and diving into the heavier euro Age of Innovation (this is Terra Mystica: The Definitive Edition for me and I very much enjoyed the solo bot).
October was all about Spiel at Essen and related releases.
Thank you @JW for showing me how to generate this image!
- The White Castle: let's start with the one game not on the image 😃 as I only played it once solo. I genuinely enjoyed it multiplayer but the solo mode is unbalanced. The designers only beat their solo bot every 6-7 games so it's not the type of solo euro for me.
- Freaky Frogs From Outaspace: the game needs a reference sheet other than the one at the back of the rulebook. My first plays were a bit frustrating until I got some rules internalised. It definitely has pinball vibes to try once more to beat your high score and my plays typically went around 15-20 minutes. This is shorter compared to the Super-Skill Pinball family of games and a good thing as the later tend to run a little too long for what they offers. Be aware it's a card game and unlucky draws can end you ball abruptly. One I want to plays more the coming months.
- For One: Galaktix: Reiner Knizia rehashes the Keltis tracks in a solo game with 20 increasing levels. Each level has its own configuration (a combination of a player board with some specific setup/mini-rules) and a broze/silver/gold score to beat. I'm now at level 8 and the first 4 levels were on autopilot but it's starting to get interesting. So don't judge the game on the first 4 levels like I almost did 😉 Similar to Freaky Frogs, this has a high "just once more" vibe and I'm curious what challenges the later levels introduce. It's a dice game so I'm happy with a silver level score. Knizia released several "For One" games that are discussed here and I'm interested in exploring Number Up and maybe Kniffel.
- Light in the Dark: a 30 minutes overland fantasy adventure game where you trying complete quests by mainly fighting monsters. The decision space is limited and the classic dice combat can be unforgiving. But I do like it as it finds a sweet spot of play time vs running around on a map collecting items and completing quests. I very much like the (dark) art work with clear iconography. For me worth the 10 euro I paid for.
- Dice Realms: this is Dominion The Dice Game and there's a draft version of the solo rules available by the designer. It plays really quick and building your dice works really well. It is an expensive game and if I'm honest a bit too expensive for what it offers but upgrading the dice is satisfying.
- The Light in the Mist: unlock/escape room type of puzzles with a standard deck of tarot cards where the artwork on the card are the puzzles. Beautiful artwork and the puzzles feel well designed. If you like these kind of puzzles, be sure to take a closer look.
- Lone Sherman: A Solitaire Wargame: Surprise of the month! Clean rulebook, clean rules and convenient to play (the left page contains the mission specific setup and tables and the right page contains the mission map). The game play and physical convenient design is better than a lot of professionally made games. The subject (a WII tank) and book cover don't sell this game for sure. There's dice rolling, so a healthy amount of luck, but I was surprised how much I got into the gameplay. Positioning your tank, trying to anticipate where enemy tanks would end up, taking the risk when needed, I was pleasently surprised.
- The Lord of the Rings: Adventure to Mount Doom: didn't expect the English edition popping up in Belgian stores. Yes, this is a roll-and-move game but the dice rolling together with the different stages on the board create for an interesting decision space. Not a deep game but in balance with the play time. Not sure you want to play this with more than 2 players. The box has way too much air 😥
- Spellbook: I enjoy Phil Walker-Harding games and this is in line with what I expected. The solo mode is ok. Not sure if I'll keep my copy but definitely enjoyed my plays.
- Pauper's Ladder: The Cobbled Isle expansion arrived and I immediately had to play my favourite overland adventure game. The expansion adds "more stuff" (talents, curses, birds...), new modules (city exploration, personal quests...) and a game mode to play coop (pure solo already existed). My favourite type of expansion (expanding on what is already there and adding new modules that are rules light). Love it, love it!
I didn't mange to get to a solo play of Boonlake but it's my list for next month. Having played Maracaibo and Pirates of Maracaibo, I anticipate the solo bot will be speeding 😄