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A fool and her money

There is a demon that often captures (solo) gamers' souls: he lures them into purchasing a game, and when they give in and acquire it, they end up crying bitter tears of regret. This is the demon of the Great Artwork. He caught my attention as soon as I set my eyes on Possession: A Daemonic Card Game. Fanciful 'medieval' portraits and landscapes executed in fine detail. Pair these with an intriguing theme, and I was sold immediately. Bells were ringing that there is little information on the solo mode, and that it's probably tacked on. I chose to ignore them. I read the review of Both Sides of My Table who said he enjoyed the solo play. That was evidence enough for me.

Now I have the game and the Corridors and Screams expansion in my hands. The illustrations are lovely. I cannot experience it as it should be played, with live opponents, so I have to follow the instructions on the 'Game of solitary or About survival and loneliness'. I have played two basic sessions, and one with the expansion. The game consists of five rounds, and each round has four turns. As a demon, your goal is to end the fifth round ('chapter') with at least two victims in your possession. This is hard to achieve, because you are entirely at the mercy of luck of the draw.

On each turn, you travel to a new location, and take control of one or more victims. Depending on your hand of cards, you equip them with armour or special abilities. Random events give you bonuses or cause trouble, and then the Nemeses show up: soldiers, priests, animals, heroes. A fight takes place, and more often that not, the Nemeses win, especially when they pile up. If you are lucky, your victims survive. But player agency is very limited. You just make do with the cards you have.

What bothers me the most is that the rulebook dedicates many pages to scenarios linked in a campaign, with special cards introduced to it each time. It seems like good fun. As a solo gamer, I am deprived of this, since the campaign does not support solo play. I am condemned to play the game in the most rudimentary fashion, mostly as an activity. Deservedly punished for the sin of giving in to good looks.

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