Beginning our Solstice Countdown!
I know we buy games for ourselves all year round but... it's Christmas! And Christmas is all about giving gifts. To others. Now, we don't want to feel like the little match girl when everyone else unboxes their presents, right?
Zee Garcia has compiled a list of 12 solo games to give or acquire, and I have made a list of my own. We converge on some, and disagree on the ones that are one-and-done affairs. The games are listed in random order. Let's take a look.
Zee Garcia's 12 solo games for Christmas Aerion, House of Danger, Deep Space D6, Detective, Elder Sign, Escape Room: The Game, K2, The Lost Expedition, Mansions of Madness, Marvel Champions, Nemos War, Pandemic: Fall of Rome
Athena's 12 solo games for Christmas Aerion, Escape from Hades, Deep Space D6, Maximum Apocalypse, Cthulhu games, After the Virus, Coffee Roaster, The Lost Expedition, Nusfjord, Marvel Champions, Zeppelin Raiders, War of the Worlds
Converge. I think the latest Oniverse installment by Shadi Torbey is a nice little game to add to your collection. In fact, JW just received it as a present and immediately sat down to play it. He also wrote his impressions.
2. Choose your own adventure: House of Danger vs. Escape from Hades
I cannot recommend choose your own adventure games, because they are not gamey enough, are too random, and can only be played once or twice. They are good for an evening of light-hearted fun, sure. But why not play something more substantial that looks entertaining too? Escape from Hades is a retro-inspired sci-fi adventure/wargame in which you attempt to save a captured princess while fighting aliens and escaping a cylindrical prison. It also happens to be illustrated in bright, Christmasy colours.
3. Deep Space D6
Converge. Jump aboard the Athena ship (there are more ship types to choose from), and try to repair damages and deal with attacks. A minimalist design with good quality custom dice.
4. Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game vs. Maximum Apocalypse
I have read that Detective is best played with a group (but I haven't tried it). Non-replayable obviously. I can certainly see the appeal of crime solving, it's probably a good alternative to the Sherlock Holmes series. My choice does not involve mysteries but it's a great adventure game. Very satisfying card play and an abundance of different enemies to face each time.
5. Elder Sign vs. any Cthulhu-themed game
Christmas goes very well with the Cthulhu Mythos. As does every other season of the year. There is a vast array of games to choose from if you want something in this universe. The recent retail release of Cthulhu Death May Die has received raving reviews but it's a pricey shoot 'em up. Perhaps an expansion to your favourite Arkham Horror / Eldritch Horror / Mansions of Madness / Elder Sign game will be sufficient.
6. Escape Room: The Game vs. After the Virus
I hate riddles and puzzles because I'm not good at them. So I avoid escape rooms and the like. Besides, they can only be solved once, so they are not much value for money. Why not play a tough deck builder with zombies instead? You are bound to lose a hundred times but it's so addictive that you'll be giving it another try, and another and another.
7. K2 vs. Coffee Roaster
K2 seems like a good choice, I haven't played it but I'd be willing to. However, considering that if I visited a snowy mountain, I'd probably be chilling out at the chalet, I will go with Coffee Roaster. The new edition lacks the charm of the Japanese version but the flavourful theme is there.
8. The Lost Expedition
Converge. Indeed a game you can return to again and again. You are going to lose a lot because the card flip is random. Still, figuring out the best sequence to place the cards in is quite satisfying. The expansion adds some variety but it's not a must-buy.
9. Mansions of Madness vs. Nusfjord
For MoM see above entry on Cthulhu games. I would like to add JW's alltime favourite eurogame, Nusfjord, to this list. I haven't played it but if he likes it so much it can't be bad. It has fish and elders. It's probably fascinating.
10. Marvel Champions
Converge. I have zero interest in Marvel superheroes. Most people love them, however, and this one has been lauded for being an excellent solo game. I'd say it's worth a try if you like the theme.
11. Nemo's War vs. Zeppelin Raiders
Nemo's War is a great game. I haven't played it in ages because it takes too long, and newer games have captured my attention. Like Zeppelin Raiders. Fly over England and bomb it. Coincidentally, it's national elections there today.
12. Pandemic: Fall of Rome vs. War of the Worlds
A mix of Pandemic and States of Siege. Fine. A respectable choice. I'll go with repelling a Martian invasion, though. You can pick any one in the War of the World series (England, France, USA, Japan), they have slight differences from each other but all are enjoyable.
(PS. I compiled the list a couple of days ago. Then yesterday, brainwashed by my own post, I went to my FLGS and bought Zeppelin Raiders. I am honoring my words).
Update: the complete series: