Posted in Resources, Solo play review

Welcome, solo board gamers

If you’ve come here looking for solo play reviews – welcome!

What We Are Playing is not limited to solo play reviews – but we’re getting a nice collection.  I love a good competitive multiplayer game . . . when I can get one.  But sometimes I (and probably you) must, or prefer to, play solo.  I played 33 different games solo in 2019, and enjoyed most of them.

Some games go really well solo; some are even a bit better in that mode; others are . . . the word ‘limp’ comes to mind ūüė¶

Are popular games actually fun?  Are they any good solo? Will you like them? These are the questions we’re trying to answer in our What We Are Playing solo play reviews.

You can click on the ‘solo play review’ category in the top menu or side navigation to find these – or here is a current list (click any picture for the review):

Posted in Enthusiast Games, Filler length, Solo play review

Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write – solo play review

captures the feeling of the Imperial Settlers card game, and Adventure mode is a challenging solo experience

Summary:

Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write is an Enthusiast¬Ļ level game of Filler length.¬† It is playable by 1 to many (theoretically, up to 96) players.

Here’s what we mean when we rate¬†game ‘weight’ or level¬†or¬†game length.

This review focuses on the solo play experience.

IS: Roll & Write has a specialised solo ‘Adventure mode’ in the box.¬† This is a pad of 48 different sheets, spanning the factions and themes of the IS ‘universe’, and the key to making this a quality solo game.

The best bit of this game is that Adventure mode pad – it’s really neat and thematic.¬† Having 48 different sheets is really neat.

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my first 4 games – Barbarians, Common, Japanese and Atlanteans

The worst bit of Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write is that it can be a bit fiddly tracking your ‘people’ each round – since you get them all from one die.¬† I ended up making tally marks on the main sheet for each round, but a more elegant solution would have been nice.

Review:

I am a fan of Imperial Settlers, but Portal Games’ recent catalogue has been patchy¬≤ and I was skeptical about whether this game would be any good.¬† I was pleasantly surprised – it’s deeper than you’d expect and I found myself needing to stop, think and re-think decisions (and I made plenty of strategic / tactical mistakes, which is a good sign of depth) in my first few plays.

The Adventure pad drags you into the Imperial Settlers universe and you do feel like you’re helping the bumbling Barbarians or fruitful Japanese with their labours.¬† Part of the advanced rules involves making patterns on your playsheet to gain extra benefits and this adds a welcome layer of variability and replayability to the game.

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It’s enjoyable, thoughtful and easy to learn and play, but has depth too – give it a try!

As mentioned, your pad of 48 unique solo sheets means there’s plenty of replayability.¬† Also, Portal make extra sheets available to order cheaply online and has some free ‘Print & Play’ promos available online (more here also).

There’s also a typical score ranking system for solo gamers, but the real fun is in tackling the challenges of each Adventure mode sheet successfully.

BoardGameGeek rates this game as 1.90 out of 5 in weight, (at the time of publication of this review).¬† In my opinion that rating doesn’t reflect the use of the Advanced rules.

Availability

IS: Roll & Write is widely available.  I suggest the ever-reliable Guf ($38).

Footnotes

¬Ļ I consider this an Enthusiast level game if you use the Advanced rules; or a Family level game if you play the basic game.¬† But play the Advanced game, it’s more fun!

¬≤ recent hits: Detective (apparently – haven’t had the chance); massive misses: First Martians (though I actually like it).

“Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.”

– Edward Gibbon