Teaching Time: 15 mins
Playing Time: 20 mins
Setup Time: 5 mins
Value For Money: High
Solo play review
Designed as an entry to the 2013 Solitaire game design contest and now picked up for publishing Maquis bills itself as a worker placement game. While I'm not foolish enough to argue such a point with the games designer, I do feel that that description sells the game rather short.
Game play consists of placing resistance members around the town (yes I know, a worker placement game) who can then generate or spend resources depending on their location. Patrols are then placed semi-randomly around town, potentially blocking routes of escape leading either to the arrest of the resistance members or the killing of police, resulting in the army being called in. At the start of the game two narrative goals are set requiring the spending of specific resources. The game runs until the town hits 0 morale, too many turns pass, all the resistance are arrested or the goals are both completed. The player loses if morale hits 0 or no goals are completed at game end and wins if two goals are completed, with any other result being a draw.
Maquis is an excellent solo Euro game, a genre which is not as well represented as it should be. The game rises above simple worker placement mechanics to generate truly emergent narrative moments at least a few times in each play through. Particularly emotional is the assassination mission which requires you to get yourself arrested so that you can gun down collaborating police officers, but many of the missions rise above the simple placing of meeples and Euro cubes.
There are minor quibbles with the print and play edition with a few colour descriptions differing across game files. It can be a little easy to play for a draw if you realise you miscalculated in the early game. Those aside Maquis is probably one of the best solo games I've played at any price, it is simple and elegant, generates a significant narrative and has difficulty levels that provide genuinely altered game play challenges. Definitely down load it and probably buy it.