You’ve been taken to the lands of the fae, will you be able to find a portal and escape in this narrative and exploration game by Greenbrier Games? Pros Solo game play Theme Not a campaign Story elements Price for Retail Established Company Cons Shipping …
Tag: 7th Continent
You’re a prisoner and labor at the 7th Citadel when something happens and you are able to escape, will you and what will you find in the world outside of the Citadel? Pros Theme World Adventure and Story Game Unique Characters Campaign Game Cons Campaign …
Now, let me set a few ground rules. The game must have an official solo version, it can’t be something like Pandemic Legacy Season 1, which I played solo, but officially, by the rules, isn’t a solo game. I will say though, I haven’t played all of the games on this solo, but it is an official option, and I’ll call out when I haven’t done it, might be for one of several reasons including I started it not solo, so for a game on the list, that’s the only reason I haven’t played it solo. But as we’re in a time when for some people solo gaming might be their only option, here are 10 games from my favorites that can be played solo, officially.
10 – Onirim
Technically you can play the game with two players, but it’s a solo game through and through. It’s a fun puzzle type of game as you are trying to escape or sort a dream before the nightmares can get you. But to do that, you need to play down colored cards in pairs of three of the same color, you just can’t have the same symbol back to back. And beware the pesky nightmares, that can ruin a good hand or will you push your luck in other ways to deal with the nightmare? The game plays fast, and app for it is great, but I like playing it with the physical game, even though there can be a lot of shuffling. There are also a lot of expansions/variations that you can play out of the box as well, so it gives you good variety in the game.
9 – Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game
The name is a mouthful, but the game offers a lot of interesting fun solo. In it you play as Harry Dresden and two other characters when solo and you build out a hand for each of them. So really it’s a multihanded game at that point, but compared to the normal three player game, I believe that you end up with less cards to work with, and in a game where cards are at a premium, it makes is very tough still even with perfect information. The game is definitely a puzzle to be solved at that point in time, and with a few lucky die rolls maybe it’ll be an easy solve, but you never know. If you’re a Dresden Files fan, I’d say that it matches the books well, if you’re not, I think the game is interesting, but probably not as strong.
8 – Welcome To…
This flip and write offers you an interesting game that you can do solo as you build up your perfect Stepford, I mean perfect town. It does one thing that isn’t my favorite in a solo game, it’s a beat your best score sort of game, but it works well as a solo game. You have a lot of choices to make as you have to use two cards from a combination of three. Now, this is the solo mode that comes out of the base box, I do believe that they created another solo variant for the game at a later time that might be even better or give you another challenge for winning besides just trying to beat your best score. It’s a good solo filler game.
7 – Arkham Horror: The Card Game
This is the game that a future game on the list is loosely based off of, but this one holds up well on it’s own. In this game you construct a deck for your investigator and then you send them off to investigate some weird goings on and solve the mystery that is happening. I like it solo because as compared to some where you are just trying to beat a point total, in this one, you have a clear objective and with only one player, the game moves along really nicely. I have played this one player and two player, and while two player is fun because you can share the story, at one player you have no downtime. And there’s a ton of content for this, so you’re not likely to ever run out of material to play in the game.
6 – Aeon’s End: War Eternal
One of a few deck builders or deck constructions games, Aeon’s End: War Eternal is a really fun game and works really well solo. On Malts and Meeples, I played through a game of it solo and it worked well to play it two handed. You can play up to 4 breach mages, but I think that two works fine and is easy to keep track of. But because you aren’t shuffling the decks that are being built ever, it keeps the downtime of not playing the game to a minimum because you’re always just flipping for the next turn. The game has a lot of cool mechanics, and I think that the not shuffling the deck is one of the coolest, and I really like the turn order mechanic as well where you’re just flipping from a deck so you never know who is going to go next.
5 – Xenoshyft: Onslaught
I’ve played this one solo, kind of, I’ve played it solo in the app, and while the game worked well solo, the app is horrible and I’d strongly recommend not playing it that way. It definitely doesn’t work on a phone and maybe would on a tablet. But it’s a game that you can find and have a variety of how you play it depending on which character you pick. I expect that it’d be more challenging solo, though, you only have to make it through 3 rounds at each difficulty level. The downside is that the health of your base is way lower. The game offers good challenge and I like the somewhat silly nature of the game because it reminds me of Starship Troopers and a bit of Ender’s Game as you’re defending a base against bug monsters.
4 – Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon
The downside to putting this one on the list is that it’s going to be extremely hard to find. It was a Kickstarter at the end of 2018 that delivered at the end of 2019. There are going to be some copies on eBay, but I’d expect them to be expensive, but I really like this game solo. It’s a massive story driven survival game where you are sent out from your little farming village after the real heroes of the town have gone out and not come back. Can you fend off the Wyrdness that is creeping across the lands of Avalon and solve the mysteries that the game presents to you. The game is done in chapters, and I find the chapters to be a solid bite of the game that you can play in a sitting or two and get interesting and good story. It’s going to be spendy, but it’s really good.
3 – Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
When you want a mystery to try and solve, Mansions of Madness: Second Edition gives you that. I have played this solo once I believe, and I thought it worked pretty well. Board Game Geek users don’t think it’s bad at one, they just like it at higher player counts, and I think the most heavily story driven games I find that to be true, but it works well in a pinch. As you’re playing against the app which is laying out the mystery, you might find that you’re not having enough time to do everything, and that’s even the case with multiplayer. The app lays out the board and mysteries as well, so even if you’ve played a scenario once and lost, you can play it again and you’ll notice little things that are different about it. I really like this game, and because of the app integration, it’d be a really good solo game.
2 – Marvel Champions: The Card Game
I’ve played this one solo a few times and while I’ve only beat it multiplayer, that is because I was learning it more so playing it solo. The game is a lot of fun, you feel like the superhero that you’re supposed to be playing with the actions that they have and equipment. The deck building aspect is interesting as well because you can really change up the character with the aspect that you give them, maybe you want Iron Man to be defensive or a leader or aggressive, by swapping out some of the generic cards, you’re able to build the character so that they focus in a unique way. If you’re a Marvel fan and a board game fan, I’d say that this game is a really good choice, and the solo mode for this time works extremely well.
1 – Gloomhaven
This is one of them that I haven’t played solo, but you can, even though you need to play it two handed solo. I can see the solo working really well and I know it’s very popular solo, because you can really work on synergies and strategies that you might not be able to do in a multiplayer game. They recommend in the rule book for solo that you play up a level of difficulty for that reason because you’ll know precisely how fast both the characters are going. Now, with Gloomhaven , playing is solo, I’d say that the Gloomhaven Helper app is a must, and I’d even think the Foreteller app with the 51 base Gloomhaven scenarios and coming soon the side scenarios being read to you, it’d offer more feeling of discovery and immersion. Now, Gloomhaven is, of course, massive, so I’d recommend getting an organizer and even leaving it set out if you can.
What are some games that you like to play solo? I know that I have more on my list, such as Aeon’s End Legacy, Folklore The Affliction and 7th Continent that I need to play. Plus there are games like Sword & Sorcery and Legends of Andor that’d work well solo but didn’t make the list for me. Now is really the time if you can dig into a bigger adventure game to tackle one of those solo as we probably won’t be able to have many in person gaming experiences for a while.
Are there any games that I should checkout for solo play? Do you think that any listed don’t work well solo?
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This won’t be a full review, as I’ve only played the first scenario in Gloomhaven, but I’ve done it twice, since we didn’t win the first time. But I did want to get up some initial thoughts quickly.
Legacy Game vs. Dungeon Crawler
One of the things I wanted to talk about was where this game fits on the game spectrum. The reason I want to do that is that oftentimes, people say “Oh, this game is X type of game,” and try to stick something into a single category. But Gloomhaven can be compared to both legacy games and dungeon crawlers. There are things about it that are typical of legacy games — for example, you can upgrade cards and place stickers on them. Even if you go back and play the same class again later, the cards still have the stickers on them, and that will be impact your game. At the same time, this doesn’t fit so well into the legacy game category when compared to true legacy games like Pandemic Legacy or Seafall. Unlike these, Gloomhaven can be played through again, and actually seems to have solid replay value, in my opinion. In fact, at some point I’ll probably start streaming a solo playthrough if I have time (but I want to get further ahead first, and I’m going to have 7th Continent to stream first), and it’ll be different, because I can pick different starting classes and swap in different abilities. And the game is also a dungeon crawler in that you are going through various dungeons and scenarios, and fighting and killing bad guys. But it isn’t just that, because the world changes and your party changes in those legacy-style ways I mentioned. And there is just a feeling of more when compared to a dungeon crawler like Shadows over Brimstone, which is still a fun game, but Gloomhaven just feels like more than your standard.
Eurogame vs. Amerithrash/Ameritrash
I know the term is Ameritrash, but I feel like Amerithrash is a more fun term to describe the same thing. So with that out of the way, what do I mean when I use that term? It’s a style of game that is quite strategic in terms of combat. And while it doesn’t have the Eurogame point salad like you can end up with — here’s a point, there’s a point, everybody gets a point — Gloomhaven has a strategic level that allows you to plan more and be less swingy than in an Amerithrash game. However, it still has the “kill the bad guys, grind it out, go in guns blazing” feel that I expect from Amerithrash games. And there are some swinging points in the game, and your best laid plans might not work out as well as you had hoped. This game walks a line of being something that can be highly strategic and could be looked at as simply a puzzle, but that also feels like, if you divorced the theme and epicness from it, it wouldn’t carry the same weight.
Battle is a Blast
In my opinion, one of the coolest parts of the game is having your own unique class-based combat deck of cards. You have access to your full collection of combat cards, specific to each character. This means when I’m playing my character, it feels different than when someone else is playing theirs, and after playing once, or maybe twice, you know what your character is good at and how they work. Each combat card has a top and bottom half, and you play out two of them each round. You are going to do the top of one and the bottom of the other. When you put them down, you select one of the cards to give you your initiative value. That is an interesting thing in that, most of the time, you want to go fast before the bad guys can get a chance to go, but to set up combos with other characters, a very fast character might have to go slower to get that benefit. That makes it quite strategic, and because you’re on the same side, you can talk about it, but you can’t give specifics. You can’t say, I’m going to move 4 spaces and then do 3 damage to that guy. You can say something like, I’m going to go as quickly as I can and rush that skeleton and try and take him out. But you never know if what you have planned is going to work. Maybe the monsters go before you and they move and ruin your plan. Or maybe an ally does, even if you’ve tried to talk it through. But even when you’ve picked which parts of which cards you want to use, you can always swap that around. Or maybe the attack you planned that would get rid of your card for the scenario isn’t worth it anymore — if that happens, you can always just do a basic attack instead. This helps with analysis paralysis, as you always have something to do.
You’re Running out of Time
With the combat deck for each character, it also works as a timing mechanism for how long you can keep going in the battle. Eventually, you’ll run out of cards. Cards you’ve discarded can come back to your hand, but at a cost. Either you take a short rest and randomly lose one of those cards, or you take a long rest, which takes your whole next turn. If you take a long rest, you get to choose the card you lose and gain some health, which is often key, but it costs you a turn, and you then take your turn at the end of the round, so you’d better not be in a spot where you might just creamed damage-wise if you really need to heal up. This causes each decision to have a lot more pressure, because when you’re out of cards and you can’t play two anymore, you are out of the scenario and can’t help your teammates anymore. This is also made trickier because your best cards, when you use them for their best feature, don’t go into the discard pile — they are lost right away, so that can speed up how long you are able to hang on in combat. It’s a very cool timing mechanism that really forces you to think and makes you feel the pressure of beating the scenario quickly.
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