RogerBW's Blog

Boardgames in Isolation: April 10 May 2020

I've been continuing to play solo and on-line boardgames.

The month started, as many do, with the Rallyman ISGOYTRA challenge: basically, a different track each month, to be played in solo mode; some luckless oaf logs all the times and posts a table.

And on after that to Rallyman: GT where a challenge happens on the same basis (this time, I did the Rallyman Spain course three times with different cars, then four short tracks for sprint races for ISGOYTRA).

There was more Rallyman on Tabletop Simulator, for which I'm a co-author of the official mod:

And later Rallyman Spain again, since their challenges aren't on a monthly schedule.

Played some Star Realms at which I did quite remarkably badly. I find I do well when the cards run for me; I assume a more competent player would be better able to cope with "bad" cards.

Lots of Flamme Rouge. I've ended up hosting three separate Tours (multi-stage races) in different places, so naturally I've written up a small pile of software support.

More of the Go 500 Racing Dice Game league; this is approaching its end.

There's a BoardGameGeek tournament for Bowling Solitaire; this is both a remarkably thinky and a remarkably Solitaire-like game. Fun to do a bit of, but the games run a bit too long for my taste. Still, in a tournament like this you can play just one frame at a time, which takes perhaps ten minutes or so, then play another one later.

A Tabletop Simulator series of Baseball Highlights: 2045 in which the chap whom I taught the game beat me. Sniff I'm so proud. (I'll get you back.)

He then showed me Subatomic: An Atom Building Game, which is a deckbuilder with a slightly odd theme. I wouldn't buy it, but if someone had a copy and said "let's play it" I'd be happy to give it another go.

With another friend, we tried Pirate 21 – one of those minor games that got almost immediately forgotten, though it's remarkably enjoyable (and the art's good too).

One of the other Shut Up and Sit Down forum posters wanted to try Leaving Earth, so I played a teaching game with him over Tabletop Simulator. More or less by accident, we ended up not using either crewed spacecraft or ion drives – which made for a solid game using the core mechanics, without some of the complexity that can be dropped in later.

We then went on to Ominoes (my first commissioned TTS implementation); it's a bit random at times, since if your symbol doesn't come up there's not much you can do, but still fun to play occasionally.

Towards the end of the month I signed up with; many of their games are a bit Euroish for my usual taste, but I really like the assumption that games will be asynchronous (many people seem to check in a few times a day, play any turns that are ready for them, then go away again). Of course, this brings on the problem: how many games should you have on the go at once? And how often will you take up to find them all needing your input?

The interface shows you the whole game history, and you can rewind to earlier turns to remind yourself of what happened, which makes the multi-hour or even multi-day separation between turns much more workable.

At the end of April I'd played three games there: Machi Koro, Red 7 and VOLT, the last being entirely new to me but I rather like it (a sort of very cut down Robo Rally without the frustration of not being able to draw the right card). I may even buy a copy!

[Buy Rallyman GT at Amazon] [Buy Star Realms at Amazon] [Buy Flamme Rouge at Amazon] [Buy Baseball Highlights: 2045 at Amazon] [Buy Subatomic at Amazon] [Buy Pirate 21 at Amazon] [Buy Ominoes at Amazon] [Buy Machi Koro at Amazon] [Buy Red7 at Amazon] [Buy VOLT at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

  1. Posted by Dr Bob at 12:24pm on 10 May 2020

    There does seem to be an element of luck in Star Realms. For instance I've found (in both online games vs the AI and games with real human beings) that when the trade row gets "jammed" with expensive things neither opponent can afford, then the first person to manage to buy one of the expensive things tends to win. Also Star Fortress (the 8 cost yellow one) is horribly broken. Anyone who buys that early on in the game will win.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 12:35pm on 10 May 2020

    True. But this doesn't mean that there isn't room for a player to be moderately incompetent too.

    (If I get Blobs that I can afford, I usually buy them and do quite well. I've had rather less success with Machine Cult, and none at all with the others.)

  3. Posted by Dr Bob at 03:20pm on 15 May 2020

    I'm not sure that Machine Cult works as a faction in its own right. Machine Cult + A.n.other works well, if you enjoy using the scrap strategy. However, if you have nothing but Machine Cult cards and get carried away with the scrapping, you may discover that you've accidentally scrapped all your money and can't buy anything decent!

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