Tag Archives: Fantasy

Special Features Presents:Solo Boardgaming

For those of you that have been following my blog for a while, something must be pretty clear by now: I have way too many hobbies. As such I always have too little time on my hands, but I am also never having the problem of being bored. I used to be a very fanatic online gamer, but those days are pretty much behind me now. These days I am back into one of my older hobbies: playing solo boardgames. When I tell people that I play boardgames by myself, I usually get asked the questions: How does that work, and is that any fun? Let me start by answering the last question first. Yes it can be a lot of fun. It really isn’t all that different from playing a computergame on your own. These days, a lot more fantasy and scifi boardgames are coming out, that have solorules included. There are even games being released that have been designed for only a single player.

As for the first question, how does it work? Well, there really is not an easy answer to that question. With so many games on the market these days, every game works differently, though some have overlapping features. Starting below, I have made a personal top five (okay, six) of Boardgames that I really enjoy playing by myself. This list is by no means complete, and it just contains some of my favorite games, but there are a lot more games out there that I enjoy playing solo as well.

1. Legendary Encounters

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There are currently three Legendary Encounters sets out, Aliens, Predator and Firefly. Being based on a few of my favorite franchises definitely is a plus for me. Basically what you do in these games is play through a movie (or in the case of Firefly an episode), where you try and complete a number of objectives. You start with a deck of weak cards, and as the game progresses you acquire more powerful ones. Hence the name deckbuilding game. With these cards you try to beat the enemies the game throws at you, as well as complete the missions. Being an enormous Predator and Alien fan, I absolutely love these games.

2. Fighting Fantasy gamebooks

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Though technically I guess you could say it is not a boardgame, it is a game that uses dice. The best way to describe these books, is a novel in which you are the hero. Every gamebook contains a story that presents you with a choice you have to make at certain points. For example, will you head off in the dark tunnel to the right, or take a safer path through the forest? These books are a lot of fun, and if you love reading this is definitely something you might want to check out.

3. Xenoshyft

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Xenoshyft is another deckbuilding game, but a really tough one. You take command of a group of heavily armed soldiers that are trying to protect a mining corporation from bloodthirsty aliens. The artwork in this game is absolutely spectacular, and it also presents a really tough challenge. You have to plan very carefully and protect your base at all cost. If you lose your base, you lose the game. With the aliens growing in power every round, the game also get’s more difficult by the minute. Even though I have lost a fair amount of games with this one, I still love playing it.

4. Star Trek Expeditions

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One of my favorite franchises combined with a boardgame, nothing get’s better than that. In Star Trek Expeditions you take on the roles of Captain Kirk and his crew, as they try and overcome challenges on a planet that is considering to join the Federation. This game has all the things you expect to find in a Star Trek television episode: starship combat, political intrique, espionage and some very interesting missions. The only downside of this game is the lack of expansions, something that this game would definitely benefit from. Still, it is a lot of fun to play, and with some very cool miniatures included, this game looks the part as well.

5. Fortune and Glory

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Having recently done a review on this game (you can find it here ), this game has turned into one of my alltime favorites. It comes as close to starring in your own Indiana Jones movie as you can get. You are an adventurer racing around the world to recover ancient artifacts. In your journey you will encounter a lot of things, from ancient temple traps, to vile people who are trying to stop at nothing to prevent you from reaching your goals. This game oozes atmosphere, and is a blast to play.

6. Elder Sign

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The last game on my list, Elder Sign is a dice/cardgame based on the Ctulhu mythos. You take on the role of an explorer who has to prevent an ancient evil being from rising up, and plunging the world into darkness. Searching in a dusty and ancient museum, you try to find and locate Elder Signs, that will stop the Ancient One from rising. Along the way, evil creatures, traps and other horrors will try to prevent you from reaching your objective. And….you may not be able to hold on to your sanity, as the increasing horrors you witness, might take their toll on your mind. Great stuff, and another one of my alltime favorite games.

Final thoughts

A boardgame will always be the most fun with more players. I definitely won’t deny that fact, as the fun of interacting with each other, can never be matched by a solo game. Having said that, I do think that solo boardgames have improved over the years. As such they are still a lot of fun to play, even if you are on your own, and especially with games driven by some kind of storyline, you feel a sense of satisfaction when you manage to beat the game. Luckily there are more games arriving every month (not that I did not have enough games yet already lol), but this does keep things interesting. If you have never played a sologame before, a few of the games in my list, might be worth checking out. Thank you for reading, and see you on the next post.

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Brynhildr in the Darkness, Anime tv series (2014)

A strong friendship might last a lifetime. Living out your life, you will probably encounter a lot of people you will have a connection with. The most precious of these however, will be the ones that turn out to be true friends. People you can depend on, no matter what happens in your life. But even so, there will also be friends that will eventually leave your life. And I don’t mean because they die, but just because they maybe move away, leave your work, or that in some other way you just lose touch with. How many of you actually are still in contact with friends from your childhood? Do you even remember them, and when you would see them now, would you still recognise them?

In the Animeseries Brynhildr in the Darkness, the heart of the story is a childhood friendship between the young boy Murakami and the girl Kuroneko. The girl insists on believing in aliens and even vows that she has met them once. Even though Murakami has a small crush on her, he is definitely sceptical about her story. One day, Kuroneko just decides to show Murakami, but unfortunately an accident occurs and she dies. Murakami survives, allthough he was also hurt in the accident and left to recover in the hospital. Years later, Murakami, while at his school, encounters a new female transfer student, who is introduced in his class. But she bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost childhood friend. This girl is called Kurohaneko however and at first wants nothing to do with Murakami. But it is not long before strange and terrifying things begin to happen, and Murakami is about to find himself right in the middle of a secret and horrifying experiment. But for him just one question is important: is Kurohaneko somehow his long lost childhood friend?

Brynhildr in the Darkness is not a true classic, but there are enough elements in it that I think make it worth the watch. The show has a pretty dark underlying tone, but they do try to compensate that by bringing in some lighter elements, a bit of (mild) fanservice and a few laughs. There are a bunch of pretty funny characters thrown in the mix as well, especially the sex obsessed Kazumi, who sometimes does some pretty crazy things in her pursuit of the main hero of the story Murakami. For those of you that might think, after reading all this, that this show is some kind of fluffy love story, you are definitely  wrong. This is pretty much a horror/mystery type of show, with a few sci-fi aspects to spice it up. The show has 13 episodes, but the ending does not satisfy. You are left with a lot of questions that go unanswered, and that was truly a bit of a letdown. Still, I wasn’t bored for a bit while watching this, and the action, sometimes pretty gruesome deathscenes, and the characters make it a worthwhile watch.

I give Brynhildr in the Darkness a 7 out of 10 score.

Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children, American/UK/Belgian movie (2016)

There is a certain genre of movies that I like to call the “feel good movies”. Movies that when you watch them just make you feel happy, no matter how down you might be. A lot of these movies turned up in the golden days of the 80’s. Nowadays it seems that movies just have a darker tone, and the feel good movie is pretty much becoming a thing of the past. And I do say pretty much, because occasionally they do still turn up. And the movie Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children, a contestant for longest movie title ever, is one of them.

Jake is just an ordinary boy that lives out his ordinary and pretty much mundane life. He goes to school and does not have any real social life to speak of. The only one he is close with, is his grandfather, who almost everyone thinks is a bit of a crazy person. Ever since Jake was a boy, his grandfather has been telling him stories about other places that exist on Earth.One of those is a story about a orphanage for children that have special powers. One day it seems that something bad has happened to Jake’s grandfather. In trying to find out the truth about what has befallen him, Jake stumbles across a mystery across different timelines. Eventually he learns that his grandfather might not have been crazy after all, and that some stories, no matter how unreal they seem at first, might be true. But not every story may have a happy ending, as Jake is about to find out.

Tim Burton, the director of this movie, has always made films that transport you to fantastical places. A lot of these were made with an incredible amount of CGI effects, but Burton breaks that tradition with this film. Most of the places in this movie were practical sets, and that definitely shows. This movie was an unexpected surprise. A lot of the reviews for this movie were pretty mixed, but I just found this film an absolute delight to watch. The story and characters in this film, were simply amazing, and I just had a smile on my face pretty much throughout the entire film. Eva Green in the role of Miss Peregrine was superb, and truly carried the movie. At the end of this movie I left the theatre with a very satisfactory feeling, and it felt like I had been transported back to the era of the feelgood movie. A feeling I thought that might have been lost to the tides of time. Luckily Tim Burton proves that these movies are not a lost art, and I am glad he did. I highly recommend this film for the people who love fantasy, and just want to be transported away from their normal everyday lives, at least for a while….

I give this movie a 9 out of 10 score.