Going Solo: Tabletop Games 1

Going Solo: Space Hulk Death Angel

A game I added to my collection this year was Space Hulk Death Angel from Fantasy Flight. The solo rules are superb and it doesn’t take as long or require as much setting up as Warhammer Quest ACG, which is another of my solo favourites. Death Angel captures the WH40K vibe really well as your six marines take on the genestealer hordes.

Each pair of marines can choose one action to perform each turn from a choice of three, but they can’t perform the same action two turns in a row. They can choose to attack, move and activate or support. Attack is self explanatory. Move and activate means they can shift their position in the column and activate either a door or other piece of scenery depending on the rules for that particular location. Support means you can give a support token to one of your marines to enable him to re-roll a die.
The AI for the genestealers is nice and straightforward and the event cards add a random element. There are a selection of locations to play through so there is a lot of variety.
The artwork is great and the tokens, cards and the custom die are really nice.
Two mistakes I made were using support tokens to re-roll defence die when attacked from behind which you can’t do. I also made the mistake of taking the number on the attack die into account when attacking instead of just the skull, so instead of killing one genestealer because of the skull I would discard as many as the number with the skull indicated. This was wrong as the skull just means you defeat one genestealer and ignore the number with the skull on the die. But it’s easy to get things wrong when you’re having fun.
Hopefully there should​ still be some copies available despite Games Workshop taking back their licences from Fantasy Flight. I would highly recommend Death Angel if you like 40K as it’s a great solo card game but works with up to six players.

Going Solo: Runecast

Runecast is a dice game that was funded on Kickstarter. The first I heard about it was on a Sam Healy review which was very negative, but then I watched a Rob Oren review which made me think the game might be up my street. The game comes with 9 double-sided, beautifully illustrated battle boards and great artwork on the hero cards too. The 32 custom dice are also lovely. There has been criticism of the lack of illustrations and diagrams, and a bit of dodgy typesetting in the rulebook, but as I knew what to expect from the reviews it didn’t bother me.

This game reminds a lot of Dungeon Roll, which I also really enjoy. It has a simple set-up and you just roll lots of dice. I prefer using 4 heroes as it’s a nice balance. With just 2 heroes they roll more dice and seem overpowered. Each battle board has a number of hit points and when you roll a hammer on a die your score a hit. You can also roll trees which allow you to heal up to two hit points for your​ hero per turn. The other symbol you can roll are snakes which are added to Loki’s dice pool which is how he attacks the heroes, drawing from the Loki card deck to see who he attacks with the amount of hammers rolled, and each battle board also has special effects when Loki rolls so many trees or snakes. Heroes can also draw a fate card in their turn which might be a weapon, armour, a positive effect or a negative effect.

Some games I have played have felt too easy whereas others have provided a nice amount of challenge.

This game is not for everyone as it’s a light game of dice rolling, but I enjoy the artwork, the components and the theme, and I love rolling lots of dice, so it happens to be right up my street.

Going Solo: Legends of Andor

Legends of Andor is not a fantasy adventure board game with roleplaying elements. It is a puzzle game with no character development between scenarios and an ill-fitting dice combat system. The four characters are bland, the wizard does not actually have spells of any kind and the only thing that differentiates the characters is that one gets more willpower than the others when drinking from a well, one pays less for items on a certain space, one rolls one die at a time in combat and can fight monsters in an adjacent space as well as in the one they are in, and the wizard can reverse the facing of their die roll in combat so 1 becomes 6 etc. The monsters move on preset routes towards the castle in an effort to overrun it while the heroes are trying to protect it as well as trying to complete other tasks.

The artwork on the board is great and the idea is clever, but the fantasy theme, artwork and blurb on the box give the impression that this is like Runebound. This a fiddly puzzle in fantasy boardgame clothing. Many people clearly like this game but I found it unsatisfying and irritating. I also didn’t find the story engaging as it is very generic and hackneyed. I wanted a fun fantasy adventure with interesting characters who get stronger as you play through the adventure campaign, but that’s not really what this is.

Some people love this game but it’s just not quite the game I was hoping it would be.
I’m​ going to stick with it and keep it in my collection for the moment, but I have to think of it as a Chainsaw Warrior-type grind of a game rather than a game I really enjoy. And Chainsaw Warrior is far easier to setup.

Going Solo: Dungeonquest (first edition)

Dungeonquest first edition was published by Games Workshop in 1987, based on the Swedish boardgame Drak Borgen. You are an adventurer braving the terrors of Dragonfire Castle in order to collect as much treasure as possible and make it out alive before sunset. Each turn you move your playing piece in the direction you wish to go and draw a dungeon tile at random. This may contain a room, corridor (which is effectively a shortcut so you move through this space and draw another tile), or a trap. In a room you draw a room card which may contain a monster, trap, treasure, a crypt, a fallen adventurer (whom you can search for useful items) or an empty card which will sometimes come as a great relief when your Life Points are low. The base game came with four heroes to choose from with different strengths and weaknesses. If you manage to reach the treasure chamber you take two random treasure tokens and then draw a dragon tile. If the dragon is asleep you are okay, but if he’s awake you’re in a world of trouble. There are a nice mix of the usual generic monsters as well: goblins, orcs, death warriors, trolls, chaos warriors, giant centipedes and giant spiders. In the solo combat rules you roll on a chart for the result, which is perhaps preferable to the paper, rock, scissors rules of the multi player game.

Fantasy Flight brought out an updated version a few years ago including the rules for catacombs, but I love the old school Games Workshop version.

The game is brutal, random and unfair, but I really enjoy it as it’s pretty easy to set up and simple to play. I love the eighties artwork and, for me, it’s an uncomplicated and satisfying way to get my dungeon crawl fix.

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About paulcarden

I am a writer and performer from The Midlands, UK.
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