For donkeys’ years people have played solitaire card games, trying to make the best decisions against luck – trying to get the whole pack laid out on the table against the turn of the cards.
Bleak Moor is a newcomer to the solo game scene – it only appeared in 2020. It’s a unique game that may try your patience as much as any other game of solitaire: perhaps more.
One thing’s certain: winning will never become one of those “oh this is just too easy” bores 😊
The soloist plays the part of one of those horrid types of yesteryear: someone who themselves is a victim of ransom demands that repeatedly force them into their evil ways. They lead a bunch plunderers who lure passing ships with lanterns that falsely guide them onto the rocks, rather than to safe passage. Of course, it takes more than one to do the luring and plundering, so assistance has to be bought from other local unsavoury types.
The game revolves around a number of decisions that must be made by the leader (you), all driven by the nightmare question, “will I ever be able to pay off those ransom demands”?
► which smuggling and wrecking associate is it best to recruit: and when?
► who’ll wave the luring lantern, bright enough to fool the ship’s lookout?
► who’ll help heave ill-gotten gains up from the rocky shoreline?
In order to get any cargo ashore in the first place, decisions have to be made about how many of the ship’s holds to plunder. One by one, the cards are turned over to reveal whether the ship was carrying such goodies as tea, coffee, or rum, or whether the Redcoats are coming (or survivors, even).
So, each turn of the cards may bring prizes, perils, or more delicate decisions.
As one might expect, throughout the whole risky undertaking, someone must keep making decisions about just how far the looters’ luck can be pushed. Is it better to cut and run now, taking what gains the wreckers have in hand, or to take the risk that there might be more cargo to be seized. But take care, perhaps an execution lies ahead?
► Smugglers must be constantly alert to the possibility of upsets by Redcoats and Survivors whilst luring ships to destruction, hoping to carry off their cargoes.
► Ransom notes for ships passed by or plundered can be set aside: only the current ship may be plundered.
Winning – how’s it done? Well, given the highly precarious nature of this form of livelihood, it’s not surpising that the winning state is simply being able to pay off all the ransom demands and not get yourself hanged!
It’s very hard to stay alive!
Wealth doesn’t come easy – you’ll find yourself regularly having to pay off your helpers as well as the ransoms, and you can’t be sure that some local rogue isn’t going to pinch your goods whilst you’re down a’wreckin’
At the outset, you might like to remove a redcoat, a survivor, and a ‘steal’ card. Of course, it’s not the game as designed, and in a sense you might think it’s cheating a bit.
But you might like the higher odds of staying alive, and after all, cheating was the name of the game, for goodness’ sake 🙂 !!
Game to game, you might like to keep a [lots of frantic running] record of how close you came to paying off the blackmailer: what demands were yet to be met … just so that you can see there’s more to life than repeated ruination by the Redcoats.
The game is based on a 64 small sized very nicely designed, good-feel cards, and all’s contained within a little playing card box.
- you’ll need to look at the guide to get started
- … and read it carefully – it’s well written fun
- first time, it takes a few minutes to get your head around it
- it’s possible to start with an easier setup – on last page of the guide
- a lot of luck is involved … as in all solo & solitaire games
- replayable … quietly exciting
- raging at the recoats will get you nowhere
► have you been lured?