Board Gaming · Solo Gaming · Solo Month

Designer Spotlight: Chris Hansen

When it comes to wargames, my first thought is always the designs that Chris Hansen has produced. That might be due to the fact that Yeomen, one of his designs, was my first memorable solo wargaming experience. If you know Chris, you probably know him for one of two other reasons:

  • He runs the annual Solitaire design contest (and Children’s design contest!)
  • He runs a PnP news blog where he shares about all the fantastic new PnP designs out there.

And, honestly, I can’t blame you for knowing him for those things. Yet he designs some really fun and clever wargames, and I have no doubt that his Children’s game designs are equally excellent. My little one is turning 2 soon, so I’ll be paying a lot closer attention to that contest in the near future.

He’s contributed to development of a good list of games, including:

But today I want to tell you about the games he has published under his profile (including two in the current 9-card nanogame contest!)

  • Yeomen: The 9-Card Agincourt Game
    • Published in 2016
    • 1 Player
    • 15-20 Minutes
    • Description:
      • Yeomen: The 9 Card Agincourt Game is a solitaire micro card driven game. In the game, you control the French forces and must try to defeat the invading English forces in the Battle of Agincourt, which was fought on October 25, 1415. Your forces are represented by cubes and strength dice. You must move your cubes along a simple point-to-point map, but your movement will be hindered ever step of the way by English arrow fire. Your goal is to move two of your cubes into the English line, which will disrupt it and allow you to capture Henry V.

        The game uses a CDG system similar to games like We the People and Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage (albeit on a much smaller scale). Each turn you will play a card from your hand using it either for its action points or as an event which can aid your play. As you perform actions, such as movement and combat, you will draw special event cards that present new challenges.

        The game is played using a total of 9 cards and a handful of cubes and dice. One card contains the map for the game and the other eight cards contain the game’s events. Each event card has three separate events on it 1.) Player Event 2.) Movement Event and 3.) Combat Event. You will only need to look at the relevant event for the current phase of the game.

        Each turn is played out in a series of phases.
        1. Card Play Phase
        2. English Archer Phase
        3. Combat Phase
        4. Victory or Loss Check Phase

        Despite the small number of components and short playing time, the game presents a challenging experience and interesting historical narrative for this famous battle. Can you beat the historical result and lead your French soldiers to victory over the usurpers? Or will you suffer their same fate?


    • My Review


  • 9 Card Siege
    • Published in 2017
    • 1 Player
    • 20-30 Minutes
    • Description:
      • 9 Card Siege is a solitaire micro card game. In this game, you must defend a medieval European fortress from a besieging army. You must defend against medieval siege engines such as ladders, a battering ram, siege tower, and trebuchets. You’ve also got to ensure there are adequate supplies to feed your army and keep their morale high. You must survive the siege for three days. At this point your army will arrive and drive away the invading forces.

        The game uses a States of Siege system similar to games like Israeli Independence and Constantinople. Each turn you will draw a card and resolve the event, move enemy units, and gain action points for your units. You will have to decide how to best use your limited resources to protect your fortress.

        The game is played using a total of 9 cards and a handful of cubes and dice. Two card contains the tracks for the game and the other seven cards contain the game’s events. Each event card has sections for three days on it events on it. You will play through the deck three times using a different section each time.

        Each turn is played out in a series of phases.
        1. Enemy Line Check
        2. Card Play Phase
        3. Event Phase
        4. Enemy Movement Phase
        5. Player Actions
        6. Victory or Loss Check Phase
        7. End of Day Phase


    • Rules Link:


  • 300 Spartans: The 9-Card Thermopylae Game (2018 Contest Game)
    • Published in 2018
    • 1 Player
    • 15-30 Minutes
    • Description:
      • 300 Spartans: The 9 Card Thermopylae Game is a solitaire micro wargame. In the game, you will control the Persian forces and must fight the small band of Spartans warriors who are blocking your path at the Thermopylae pass. All units on the board are represented by dice which are rotated to show their current strength. You goal is to eliminate all the Spartan units so that Xerxes army can use the pass and continue their invasion of Greece.

        The game uses a simplified Command and Colors system similar to C&C Ancients or The Great War. Each turn you will draw two cards and choose one to use to command certain troops on the board and one to use for its tactical event. Each card also has a Spartan Event, which will modify the way they fight and give them advantages against your troops.

        The game is played using a total of 9 cards, 16 dice, and 2 cubes. One card contains the map for the game, another the turn and status tracks, and the other seven cards contain the game’s activations and events. Each of those card has three sections on it 1.) Persian Command 2.) Persian Tactics and 3.) Spartan Event. You will only need to look at the relevant event for the current phase of the game.

        Each turn is played out in a series of phases.
        1. Card Draw Phase
        2. Spartan Event Phase
        3. Tactics Phase
        4. Command Phase
        5. Spartan Attack Phase
        6. Victory or Loss Check Phase
        7. End of Day Phase

        Despite the small number of components and short playing time, the game presents a challenging experience and interesting historical narrative for this famous battle. Can you beat the historical result and lead your Persian soldiers to victory over the Greeks with minimal Persian casualties? Or will your soldiers get massacred by the Spartan war machine?


    • Rules Link:


  • Vietnam Solitaire Special Edition
    • Published in 2013
    • 1-2 Players
    • 60 Minutes
    • Description:
      • Vietnam Solitaire Special Edition is an expanded edition of the original Vietnam Solitaire that contains both the original game (with all new artwork) and a reimplementation by Steve Kling with expanded rules, new scenarios, and new counters. While primarily a solitaire game, the special edition also contains optional two player rules.

        In the Special Edition, the player controls US and South Vietnamese forces and must battle the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army to control as many regions of Vietnam as possible. The game is played by deploying US and South Vietnamese forces, napalm, and air units on a map of Vietnam. The AI (or an optional second player) controls the North Vietnamese forces through movement and attack rules.

        Victory is determined by controlling at least three regions of Vietnam for a majority of the game. Unlike in the original game, the eventual victory of the North Vietnamese is not a foregone conclusion.

        The Special Edition contains new types of units, a greater variety of of combat points, and two new scenarios – “Tet 1968” and “Fall of South Vietnam”.


    • Purchase Link:


  • Tasty Battles
    • Published in 2015
    • 1-2 Players
    • 15-30 Minutes
    • Description:
      • The village of Piquant was a very happy place. They had five bountiful farmlands that each produced a different type of food. All of the people had lots of delicious food to eat. But the evil wizard Captious grew jealous and cursed each of the five farmlands. The food grew to a monstrous size and began to attack the village. The people had only a limited supply of cannonballs to defend themselves against the humongous food! Thankfully a giant from the land of Epicure volunteered to guard the village and eat any food that got too close to the village – even though it was food that giants didn’t normally eat. The wizard’s magic is limited so your challenge is to defend your village until it runs out.

        This is a co-op game designed to be played together by a parent and one child. The game contains a single-sheet board, tokens, and a small deck of cards. Players will also need to provide one 6-sided die and about 10 small candies or snacks that the child likes to eat such as M&Ms, Fruit Snacks, or Fish Crackers. The parent should also choose five foods that they would like the child to try eating. I recommend choosing one food from each of the five food groups but any combination of foods will work.

        Each section of the board contains a track leading towards the village and is marked by an icon of one of the five food groups. Before the game, assign one of the five foods to each track (markers are provided to help you remember which food is on which track). Each turn, players will draw a card from the deck that will indicate what tracks are attacking the village that turn. Move that marker one space down the track.

        The village can defend itself by rolling a die and trying to get a higher number than the advancing token. At any time, the player may use one of their “cannonballs” (candies) to automatically win a battle. If they use a cannonball it is lost forever (the parent gets to eat it).

        The giant marker can move along the red line between the “1” spaces. If a giant and a food monster are ever in the same space, the giant may immediately remove that piece by eating it. The child must taste the associated food for this action. The child can push back the food monsters by tasting the associated food.

        If any food monster is ever able to enter the village it squishes all the villagers, the game is lost, and the cannonballs are lost (the parent gets to eat them). If the child is able to defend the village until the draw deck is empty, he or she gets to eat all the remaining candy cannonballs as a reward.

        This game is inspired by Israeli Independence by Darin A. Leviloff.

        This game won 3rd place for Best Co-operative game in the 2015 Children’s Game Print and Play Design Contest.


    • Rules Link:


  • Cats vs Dogs
    • Published in 2017
    • 2 Players
    • 20-30 Minutes
    • Description:
      • For years cats and dogs have feuded over who was the greatest pet in the neighborhood. Today they have decided to settle the argument once and for all with an epic battle in the streets!

        Cats vs Dogs is a two-player game. One player will control the cats and the other the dogs. Your goal is to take control of the yard friendly to your opponent – or scare them off the board. But be careful, the board is littered with distractions that will make your animals lose focus during the heat of battle. Can you lead your animals to victory?

        Each player gets 10 pieces which are set up hidden from the opponent. Players move on a grid showing several houses and a street from the neighborhood. When two pieces occupy the same square, both players will reveal their piece and play a card adding to its value. The player with the highest total will win the battle. However, if you’re fighting in a square with a distraction, you total battle strength will be reduced.

        The winner is the player who can occupy his opponent’s yard on the far side of the board. This is a lighthearted game that plays quickly and is simple enough for young children but with enough strategy to keep their parents entertained as well.

        —description from the publisher

    • Rules Link:


  • Franky’s 1st Christmas (Contest Entry)
    • Published in 2018
    • 1 Player
    • 30 Minutes
    • Description:
      • Game Background
        After years of labor, Dr. Frankenstein has successfully discovered how to reanimate the dead and has finally created life! All of the monsters in New Monsterton are very excited about their new friend, whom they have affectionately named Franky. But most of all, everyone is excited because Christmas is only a few weeks away and they’re very excited to celebrate with Franky! All of the monsters have decided to teach him their favorite thing about Christmas so that his first Christmas (as a reanimated corpse at least) can be extra special.

        Unfortunately for them, famed monster-hunter Abraham Van Helsing has arrived and there’s nothing he wants more under his Christmas tree than the monsters’ mounted heads – especially of the new creature he’s heard rumors about! He’s following the clues to the monsters’ lairs and ultimately to Franky himself! The monsters have to hurry teach Franky about Christmas before Van Helsing can track them down! Some of the monsters may need more convincing than others (especially as Van Helsing draws near) but with the right amount of persuasion, misdirection, and attacking the mortal humans, all of the monsters can safely evade Van Helsing and teach young Franky all the joys of Christmas.

        Game Summary
        In Franky’s 1st Christmas, you will play the role of Victor Frankenstein. Your goal is to take Franky to the lairs of the six other monsters so they can each teach him their favorite thing about Christmas before fleeing Van Helsing. They are all eager to help, but when it comes time for their turn to meet with Franky, they will feel a bit nervous because Van Helsing will be hot on their trail. The other monsters will help you convince them to take the time with Franky (after all, it keeps the heat off of them for awhile) and you’ll have family friend, Dr. Jekyll, with you to help convince everyone. However, be careful with him because if you use him to much, he’ll transform into Mr. Hyde and draw Van Helsing to you. You must balance teaching Franky his Christmas lessons, leaving false clues to throw Van Helsing off the trail, and attacking the irritating humans who live in your city to ensure that this is the best Christmas ever! You will choose which action each monster performs before fleeing the city. You win the game by teaching Frankie all six lessons of Christmas and ensuring that each monster can evacuate safely.

    • Rules Link:



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