If you're like me there are times when you'd like to play a tabletop game but there are no available opponents around. I helped a little bit with some of the play testing for the 2nd Edition of Strange Aeons, but really hadn't played much since the book went to print back in the summer. Uncle Mike was really busy with model production that there was little time for gaming. Summer is also a lot lighter in terms of game time, as I do *gasp* *shock* try to spend a bit of time outside while the sun is being friendly.
I've had my KS package from the campaign for longer than most, being able to pick it up locally rather than waiting for it in the mail. One of the add-ons I included was the solo deck. I didn't have much to do with this product at all, aside from providing some points about what I would like to see in a card-driven AI. With the product finally in my possession I thought I would give the solo deck a test-drive.
I wasn't expecting much out of the solo deck to be honest, as card-driven AI is a really tough thing to make fun. Pleasantly enough it had a few surprises in store for me. In my first game I rolled the "Bag Man" scenario. The Lurkers were able to take out one of my agents with a Major Injury, and the bag man with a Minor. I was able to win the game, but only with a "heroic" effort from my remaining character.
In the second game I realized I was playing something terribly wrong, but elected to continue through and see how it turned out. I misread part of the instructions and had been turning more cards over than I should have each Lurker turn. You still need Command models, as the number of nominations the Lurkers can make is how many cards are drawn per turn.
Despite the lurkers having extra activations I won the "Retrieve the Artifacts" scenario fairly handily, acquiring three scrolls and an advancement for my character. Something that contributed to my win were two immediate major injuries I scored against face down Lurkers. One addition to the solo rules is that the Lurkers get a free single state change at the end of their round and I had been missing that. You have to do some smart interpretation of some of the cards from time to time, deciding how the lurkers should best act.
For my third game I was much closer to correct the Lurkers had a 4-point advantage with my two consecutive wins. I selected a wolfman to go with a tommy-gun cultist, degenerate and cult leader. The cards brought the degenerate back onto the table not once but twice, and the werewolf made quick work of by dynamite toting agent Randolf Carter, who died from his horrific wounds.
Agent Moreau was a minor injury and my leader ended up infected by the wolfman's bite. The death of Carter allowed me to re-equip so I spent one of my two map pieces for a squad leader. He'll be joining me for the next four games.
I've enjoyed using the solo deck to get in a few games during a quiet, late evening. I can still tell the story of my Threshold list with it, which is where the real fun of the game is for me. I'd still rather have a real, live opponent, but it's nice to be able to play one of my favourite games in a pinch.