Hadrian's Wall - the crunchiest of flip and fills
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
Game: Hadrian's Wall
Designer: Bobby Hill
Publisher: Garphill Games, Renegade Games Studios
Player count: 1-6
Set-up time: ± 3 minutes
Play length: ± 60 minutes
Win condition: beat your own score and subsequent title, or win/loss in the campaign
how the solo game works
In Hadrian's Wall you need some artificial neighbours to lend some stuff from. Shuffle an extra deck of Romans, and flip open two new cards each year. You can use these cards to send out a scout, or to buy goods in the market. Whenever you use one of the polyominoes or goods from the AI deck, put the required resource on the card instead of in the main supply. At the end of the year, draw one extra Pict card for each resource on the AI deck, and reset for the start of next year.
Solo play is explained at the back of the rulebook in a clear way, and the rest of the rulebook is also well-structured for easy referencing during the game.
missing in solo
This is a flip and fill combining worker placement, engine building and some hand management and grid covering. No mechanisms have been dropped for the solo game. Your opponent(s) won't get extra resources through you paying them for scout or merchant actions, but you'll have to draw extra Pict cards.
A flip and fill that takes an hour? Yes please. This is not a light game, and it doesn't need to be. Instead, this is a crunchy tableau building engine building hand management game. Thanks to the Romans deck you'll not play the same game twice, as you'll be optimizing your choices to fit the cards you picked, and there are three difficulties to get to.
Let's nitpick a bit, because I don't really have any negatives: there's some luck involved in drawing the Pict cards, since you can luck out and draw exactly the attacks you want, or draw about 6 left attack card and see your defense crumble before your eyes. But there's ways to mitigate the luck, so no harm done really.
Second not really negative negative: I wish the solo campaign came with the box.
Nitpick number 3: there's no player deck with a woman depicted. Only very male Roman dudes. And after the abundance of women in Raiders of Scythia, that was kind of a let down. But nothing screwing with gameplay in any way.
Slap your forehead in frustration every time you forget to refresh the AI deck. Also, this is not included in the box, but there is an official solo campaign in the files section on Boardgamegeek.
Loads of paths to discover, loads of choices to make, loads of strategies to deploy. This is the heaviest flip and fill in my collection. That means it doen't get as much plays as a Cartographers, but is high up there in my favourites. Because who wouldn't want two pages of yummy check boxes to fill in? There's some grid covering, some contracts filling, some engine building and there's the beautiful artwork of Sam Phillips to look at. I can't wait for his third game in the Ancient Anthology series, coming 2022.