Muses is a solo dice game from designer Adam Taylor. It’s a small game, very small. You only need to print nine cards and three tokens. The nine cards represent the nine muses. Every muse has a condition on every side, a power and it is worth some points. A condition might be something like: ‘roll seven or higher’ or ‘two odd numbered dice’. The powers are things like ‘flip a die’, ‘re-roll’ or ‘adjust a die roll’. The tokens, called hints, represent dice roll adjustments; plus one or minus one. The only thing you need to find are two six sided dice. That shouldn’t be a problem, right?
At the beginning you must shuffle the muse deck and put it face down on the table. Every turn you reveal the top card and then roll your dice. Does the result meet the condition on the top edge of one or more muses (with or without adjustments)? Yes? Then place a muse, you can only claim one, in front of you. You can use her power once during the game. No? Rotate the unclaimed muse or muses ninety degrees, anti-clockwise and a new, more difficult, condition is now on the top edge. When a muse is rotated back to its original position, you must discard it.
When every muse is either claimed or discarded, the game ends. You add up your points and when you have 20 or more, you win.
A solo game should be difficult or at least challenging. This game is neither. This does not mean that I always win, but when I do I feel that is was just luck and when I don’t it was just bad luck. I do not feel I have a big impact on the game. I just roll my dice, hope that the result is worthwhile and if not I try to modify the result with hints or powers. Your success or failure depends too much on those two dice. There’s too little to think about, too little meaningful decisions, too much obvious choices, and there’s too little game in here to keep me interested.
The rotating of the cards, the changing conditions, is an interesting idea, but it needs to be part of something bigger. On its own it’s rather boring.
Plus, I can’t think of any situation where I would want to play a five minute solo game? It’s like an extreme filler, a little too extreme.
It does not take a lot of ink and time to give this game a try, so if you think you would like this style of game, go ahead. I’ll probably never play this game again.