Hi, I predominantly play by myself late at night on weekends. I absolutely love the game, although I tend to get muddled when I play. Sometimes I realize I have played the ideal moves rather than according to the cards I have. Sometimes I lose track of whose turn it is. Anyway, I am curious about how you play solitaire? Can you suggest anything that might be helpful in keeping me on the level? Is it a dining room table deal for you, or something different? How do you go about hiding the opposing cards from yourself? How do you stop yourself getting confused?
Right now I play on a custom-built games table, and I always stand to play. I prefer standing, and it also keeps everything out of the reach of my young son. I am 6"6, so the table is unusually high, it is set to 110 cm from the ground so I don’t have to keep bending.
I stand at the Allies side, with their cards facing me on the Axis side. When I’ve finished my turn I take a side step to the right so I can see my Axis cards, which are lined up along the left side of the board. I’ve tried playing with all the cards from both sides visible to me, but I tend to get confused more easily and the little side-step helps me to see things differently. I have a shelf at just above waist height with my dice trays, combat cards, some tokens (air ammo) and spare sandbags at easy reach. I also tend to have the scenario open at the relevant page of the book or printout, and I have my old iphone on standby for the excellent Memoir 44 Wallet app so I can check on cards or rules if needed.
I have some cheap toy poker chips of various colors (similar to Axis and Allies chips) that I use for various things, including as movement markers. I don’t use them in replacement for minis, although I know some people do that.
As I play and minis are eliminated, I put the spares on the far side of the table in loose groups so that when I reset the table for an inevitable ‘one more play’, I can do it very quickly. I have found that not returning them to a box means I don’t have to count them out again and I can easily see if I have made a mistake on the board etc.
I use a “Lazy Susan” turntable to rotate the board so that I am always looking from the active side. This is helped by the fact that I don’t use the provided models, but “top down” home-made plastic counters.
I never look at the new card drawn until it is the active player’s turn. While playing one side I have enough think about without remembering the enemy’s cards.
I love that idea. I’ll look into making a lazy Susan somehow. I think looking from the wrong side or from an odd angle is a large factor in me getting confused. I’m curious about the counters, but I like the way you can easily pick up the minis. Counters tend to be a little more fiddly. Thanks!
I’ve only ever played solo, and I can’t imagine trying to play it by having a full hand of cards for the “not me, but actually still me” opponent. I copy the solo version I saw used in videos, where when it’s the enemy’s turn I draw two cards for them and play which one seems best (or draw three for scenarios where they would have an advantage). That means when I’m playing my side of the table, with the full hand of cards, I’m not cursed with the knowledge of a full set of enemy cards and can focus on my moves for my army.
When I first started playing (10 years ago), it was mostly solo. Over the last 2-3 years I have had a regular opponent, but still like the ocsassional solo.
The issue about knowing your enemies cards can be addressed by asking ‘‘which Command Cards really make a difference?’’
The only 2 which I think are dangerous are Counter Attack and Ambush. The last one in particular is nightmare - ‘‘I cannot do this great-looking Close Assault knowing the enemy will ambush me!’’
Solution? Remove these cads from the pack (or put them to one side when they appear).
The only others which I think will make you question your tactics if the enemy has them are Air Power (‘‘Better keep my units seperated - I know the Allies have Air Power!’’), Their Finest Hour (‘‘They are going to wipe me out when they play that!’’), and Behind Enemy Lines (‘‘That infantry unit is going to sneak in and destroy my tank unit - I had better move it now!’’).
But so much depends on the luck of the dice that these cards are probably not worth worrying about.
It would be great to see some After Action Reviews from solo players.
(It would be great to see more Reviews in general! Please share your experiences.)
As well as the usual aspects of the Review, you can add your experience as a player. Which cards caused problems, did it get confusing, did you enjoy it?!
I’m sure there are many scenarios that are perfect for solo play, but wwe need to let each other know.
Its great to see that even after 10 years, you’re still coming back for more! Part of the appeal of Memoir 44 is its simplicity, but with a good amount of depth if you play it in that way. I totally agree with your thoughts on the ambush card, if I draw it, I just put it back and draw another one. I didn’t really consider the counterattack card, but what you say makes absolute sense. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it has not been so much of a problem for me because I don’t think so far ahead. I tend to play fairly spontaneously depending on what I have in my hand. Perhaps I should slow down more.
As for your thoughts on Air Power, Their Finest Hour and Behind Enemy Lines, I think you could apply similar logic to most of the command cards. For example, you could worry about Barrage and move all your units away from the back line etc. In solo play I think you have to play with what you have in what would be the logical time to play it, and you have to train yourself to not ‘anticipate’ these moves. Silly as it may be, you have to play as if you have no knowledge, even if you have it. As you suggest, the luck of the dice helps to avoid some of these problems.
When I remember to do so, I keep a little log of battles with some notes on scores and some memos on how things played out. I will try to get some of this information online in the near future.
That’s an interesting concept, I’ll have to give it a try. I typically play several rounds of the same scenario anyway, with the third and final round with added New Flight Plan. So I guess I could adapt it to one round as the axis, one round as the allies, and then see how I go from there. I think your approach would be especially beneficial if I played campaigns.
If you have the M44 wallet app on your iphone, it actually has a feature of drawing cards for the opponent. I’ve never bothered with it, but i will give it a go playing cards for my side and drawing the relevant number of cards on the iphone and then choosing the most logical of the cards from the app.
I play only solo, and the ambush card isn’t a problem at all. As I mentioned upthread, I play the “draw two cards, play the best” for the AI player to avoid the twin issues of pre-knowledge and having to deal with a whole hand of cards for the enemy. Draw two, play one, and a nice blank slate between rounds so you can focus on your own.
The way I play it, when the ambush card is drawn it is placed to one side for the AI player and the other card is the AI’s card this turn. The thing about ambush is that it is supposed to be an ADDITIONAL attack during the opponent’s turn.
To keep it random, just have it that every time you make a close assault roll a die: if it’s a star, play the ambush card for the opponent. That way you know an ambush is coming at some point, but you don’t know where or when it will actually trigger.
Counter-attack isn’t a problem either, in the “draw two cards and play the best” solo variant. Again, all you’re doing is comparing two cards and deciding which one has the most value for the AI player in that moment in time.
I have that app, but I don’t use it for the card drawing. Seems no need, plus Memoir '44 is balanced for both players using the same deck. If you draw lots of left-flank cards, that means there will be lots of right-flank cards in the deck for your opponent to counter on the same side. Using an app for the opponent means you could end up with an unbalanced game.
That would be great - new players are often solo to start with, so giving them so tips would be really useful.
Just a quick follow up…
I played my first game with that system- what an improvement! I’ll definitely be using it again. I was skeptical whether the enemy would be played properly, but it worked very well. I’m looking forward to quicker, less confusing games! Thanks!
That’s good to hear.
Please stick a few notes in After Action Review - I’m sure it will be useful for others looking for good solo games.
I’ve added my report. Thanks!
I have found the perfect thing to use as a movement/attack marker. It was sitting there on the shelf the whole time. A long time ago I picked up a retro remake of the original 1950s Risk board. Unlike the more recent version, it uses colored wooden cubes rather than minis. I use yellow cubes to mark out the units which I plan to activate. I also have red cubes to mark out units which will attack. The cubes are about 1.5 cm across, and they stand out nicely on the board without being too much of a distraction. Since I began using them, I have found there is much less confusion, and my overall strategy has been improved by making better plans.
1.5cm Risk cubes. Surely they’re not that big. I’ve got some biggish cubes for print and play (~1 cm). They are plastic and not as cool, but much bigger than the risk cubes I remember.
Here is a quick update on my spinning solitaire board. The base is from Ikea and it was intended as a thing to hand things like kitchen items on. The bar that came with it is for attaching it to a wall, but it was perfect in holding the board in position on top. The rotation device is the second iteration, it cost me 200 yen, which is approximately the cost of a cup of coffee. I got it from a shop here in Japan known as Daiso, which is a thrift store. The weight of the white board makes it work well. As you can see in the gif, the rotation is quite smooth (even when spun by my five-year-old) and none of the pieces move at all. Hex tiles also don’t move, but I forgot to include some in the video. Even the card holders can be spun without dropping anything, although I prefer to not have them there. The tank models seen here are from a Japanese set called World of Tanks Museum, and I bought them in a Japanese secondhand shop. I intended them to be used as Tiger tanks, but my son has claimed them as his own.
I’m really not a handy person at all, but I’m pleased with my project. My next will be to do something about 3D hills. A separate thread to follow…
I’m in the middle of moving house, but when that is all done and dusted I can now see another project to have a go at!