The Witches: solitaire mode

Many of you know this about me, but for those of you who don’t, let this be my confession. I am an avid gamer. Give me role play, board games, Guild Wars, etc, every night of the week and I would chuck out the TV now. Except I need the TV for guitar hero so I take that back…. But the point is I love games I thought I’d try and blog more about them this year. Markie and co are having a board game night at the office tonight and someone had to stay home with the munchkins so I figured I’d crack open my Christmas present by myself.

So this is me trying out the 1 player option on this game. First of all, I like that 1 player is referred to as ‘solitaire adventure’. It makes it sound more like an intellectual pursuit to be relished in a rare moment of solitude, rather than the option you’re left with when you don’t have any mates to play with, so well done on not making me feel like a loser there :).
Now to unpack the box and set up the board…

Then pick my character. I shall be Tiffany, and because I’ve got the collectors edition I’ve got the groovy pewter model. Yay!

Game set-up was pretty straight forward. It took about 10 minutes with reading the instructions and popping all the tiles out, so easy enough to get started. And now I should probably play the game instead of messing around with the camera…

Game play
Turn 1. The aim of the game is to solve problems that occur in locations on the board. Each person’s turn has 3 phases:
1 – place next problem tile
2 – move witch
3 – refresh cards

So I draw a card each turn telling me where to place the next problem marker. If there is already a problem there the location goes into ‘crisis’ and It have put a crisis marker there instead. But it gets trickier. If I have to place a crisis marker I also have to draw another location card, potentially place another marker, and keep doing this until I pull a free space. When the crisis markers run out it’s game over, so technically if you were especially unlucky I guess you could lose without getting to make a single move, by my reading of the rules. I’m not quite that unlucky, but after the first hand I’m starting the game with 3 crisis markers in play and only 7 left between me and defeat. I hope it’s not too hard to get rid of these things.

On my go I get 2 moves. If I land on a problem tile I can role my dice to try and solve it, and I’ve got some nice booster cards to help me. The cards in this game are very nice. Rather than have many different cards there is just one deck that is multifunctional. They have locations for problems, bonuses you can get to your problem solving by playing them, and some of them double (triple??) as broomsticks for getting around the board quickly. To solve problems you get 4 d6 and have to make the total on the problem tile. Pretty common method in this sort of board game, but in this one you get to roll 2 dice before you decide if you want to add any of your bonuses or run away, then you roll the second 2. Seems pretty neat, though my first 2 problems only needed 7 and 11 which was easy to get from 4 dice without spending any of my cards. It will be interesting to see where it starts to get challenging.

Turn 2: Spoke too soon. Nearly got taken out by a 12 and picked up 3 cackle counters. Cackle counters mean your character is going ‘Black Aliss’ and you need a nice cup of tea and a chat with another witch to put you back on the straight and narrow and ditch the counters. Since I’m playing ‘solitaire’ I’ll need to get to Granny Weatherwax’s cottage to have tea, or I’m 2 cackles away from Black Aliss and -1 point in the all important final tally!

Turn 3: ‘Problems’ in this game have 2 difficultly levels. Easy and Hard. The hard problems are, well, I suppose it goes without saying that vampires are a bit tougher to deal with than sick pigs. I now have a Black Aliss counter, representing a permanent -1 to my end score, and am once again thankful for the blessing of solitaire mode sparing me the embarrassment of failure amongst company. You know, except for the part where I’m blogging about it…

Turn 6: had a couple of turns of not solving and problems and going back and forth for ‘tea’ and now realise that I’ve only got 3 turns at the most before the game is over. The length of the game is set by the number of problem tiles since you HAVE to place one every go. To ‘win’ the game I need 30 points. I have 7. Actually 6, I forgot about Aliss. I’m not sure this is doable since easy problems are only worth 1 or 2 points. I would have to take out 5 big bads to win at this rate, but that’s the only viable tactic so we’ll give it a shot. First move is a success taking out Duke Felmet for 5 points. Such a shame the second move got me another Black Aliss curing a fever only worth 1. I only need 19 points now though.

Game over: 22 points. Losing an action to a tea break and a complete lack of broomstick cards to take me to the hard problems made it impossible, but I think I’ve worked out some better tactics for the next time. It is a fun game though there are some challenges to playing solitaire, such as remembering all the steps by myself, deciding how to interpret rules without anyone to discuss it with, and keeping the crises under control. It would be interesting to play with some other people and see how multiplayer compares :).

So that’s how I spent my Friday night. Time to tidy up the game and go to bed. TTFN!

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