Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Wrong Glass Revisited

Back in November 2008, just after President Obama was elected, I wrote a blog post about how Christians may be focusing on the wrong things when it comes to political leadership. With substantial revision, I present those thoughts again today as President Biden is inaugurated.

We all know the old saying, right?!

"Optimists see the glass as half full; pessimists see the glass as half empty."

Some of you have spent the last four years celebrating evangelical access to the seat of power and the various policy decisions and judicial appointments that came from the Trump administration. Others of us mourned the damage to our Christian witness as both policies and presidential behavior reflected a will to power rather than compassion and self-control... evidenced particularly by the attack on the U.S. Capitol a couple of weeks ago.

But what if we're looking at the wrong glass? What if we're all staring at politics & economic policies & the future of our nation, trying to predict and/or guess whether this is good or bad... and we're focused on the wrong thing? Perhaps, just maybe, we need to be thinking "outside the glass":
If individuals live only seventy years, then a state, or a nation, or a civilisation, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than an individual. But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilisation, compared with his, is only a moment. (C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity)
So, those of you who are devastated by this election, take hope. A Democratic president is not the end of the world - in fact, if we really take the Bible seriously, it's just another government in a long line of governments that have had to contend with the power of God.
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (Psalm 2:1, ESV)
And those of you who believe this election will usher in a new era of peace & prosperity, remember that kings & presidents are subject to Christ, whether they acknowledge him (as does President-elect Biden) or not.
The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. (Psalm 33:10-11, NIV)
It might be a good idea if each of us to check which glass we/re looking at...

Which brings me back to, well, me... I find myself (to quote 
Rondell TreviƱo) "a Christian who’s theologically conservative & socially compassionate, too conservative for progressives & too progressive for conservatives, pro-life from womb to tomb, politically homeless, & who’s ultimate citizenship is in Heaven not America." (I appreciate Rondell's wisdom - you can follow him on Twitter at @Rondell_Trevino.)

It occurs to me now, some 12+ years later, that the way to end this blog post for followers of Jesus wasn't to ask how they see the world, but to ask Who they are trusting to fill their glass.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Bible Thoughts on... well, The Bible

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for re-setting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living. The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God and fit him fully for all branches of his work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 PHILLIPS

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.
Hebrews 4:12-13 MSG

Does not My word burn like fire? Does it not shatter rock like a strong hammer?
Jeremiah 23:29 VOICE

That is why we must hold on all the more firmly to the truths we have heard, so that we will not be carried away.
Hebrews 2:1 GNT

I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Psalm 119:11 MSG

Thank you to the folks at Restoration Church who faithfully remind us - and me in particular - that I am shaped by Scripture. In particular, yesterday's commentary on Romans 12:1 that "being a living sacrifice means... living." (Well said, Steve C.)

Friday, January 01, 2021

It's Still Personal: Mark's Five & Dime Games for 2020

Hey, campers... I may have stopped collecting the Five & Dime stats for everyone else - but I haven't stopped collecting my own!

Here's my own personal Five & Dime list (the games I played 5+ and 10+ times in 2020).

As always, I include only face-to-face games and games played with human opponents over apps/online. What that means is that games that I play only solo via an app or website (examples: Welcome To..., Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write) are not counted. (Both of those would be dimes if I did.)

Games with an asterisk [*] were on my Five & Dime list last year, games with two asterisks [**] have been on my list for the past two years, games with three asterisks [***] have been there for three years, games with four asterisks [****] have been there for 4 years, games with a plus [+] have been there 5 years, games with a plus and an asterisk [+*] have been there 6 years, games with a plus and two asterisks [+**] have been there 7 years, games with a plus and three asterisks [+***] have been there 8 years, games with a plus and four asterisks [+****] have been there (wait for it) for the past 9 years... and games with two plusses [++] have been there (wait for it) a decade!

If you're curious, here's the games that have been on my Five & Dime list for 5+ years
  • Race for the Galaxy (10 years)
  • 7 Wonders (5 years)
  • DC Comics Deckbuilding Game (6 years)
Half Dollars
  • Unmatched: Battle of Legends 63 *
  • Can't Stop 24
  • Marvel Champions: The Card Game 24 *
  • Oh My Goods 18
  • Race for the Galaxy 18 ++
  • Terraforming Mars 18
  • 7 Wonders Duel 15 ****
  • NEOM 14 *
  • Under Falling Skies 13
  • Jump Drive 12 ***
  • It's a Wonderful World 11
  • Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade 11
  • Archaeology: The Card Game 10
  • Butterfly 10
  • Dice Settlers 10
  • Expedition to Newdale 10
  • Memoir '44 10 **
  • Res Arcana 10 *
  • Rise of Augustus 10
  • Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends 10
  • Warp's Edge 10
  • Impact: Battle of Elements 9 *
  • Ticket to Ride 9
  • Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure 8 ***
  • DC Comics Deck-Building Game (includes Multiverse, Teen Titans & Forever Evil) 8 +*
  • Machi Koro Legacy 8
  • Roll for the Galaxy 8 ****
  • The 7th Continent 8
  • Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale 7 *
  • Downforce 7
  • Fill or Bust 7
  • Heroclix 7
  • Roll Player 7 *
  • Sanctum 7
  • Silver & Gold 7
  • 7 Wonders 6 +
  • Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg 6*
  • Marrakech 6
  • Nations: The Dice Game 6
  • The Pursuit of Happiness 6
  • 6 Nimmt! 5
  • Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2nd ed.) 5
  • Fast Food Franchise 5
  • Friday 5 *
  • Lost Ruins of Arnak 5
  • Mystery Rummy: Escape from Alcatraz 5
  • Nemo Rising: Robur the Conquerer 5
  • New Frontiers 5 *
  • Paleo 5
  • Roll for Adventure 5
  • Star Wars: Outer Rim 5
  • The Taverns of Tiefenthal 5
  • Ticket to Ride: London 5
  • Tiny Towns 5
  • Wurfel Bohnanza 5 **
Just Missed (with 4 plays)

A caret [^] denotes that they were on the Five & Dime list last year... and a pound sign [#] marks games I'm pretty sure will return in 2021.  (Note: I was actually right about all the games I listed as returning last year... 3 for 3!) A dollar sign [$] indicates that the game was on the "Just Missed" list last year.
  • Core Worlds: Empires #
  • Dungeon Alliance ^#
  • Dungeon Dice
  • Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar
  • Luck Plus
  • northgard
  • Palm Island
  • Seafall 
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse ^
  • Shards of Infinity ^
  • Skip-Bo 
  • The Crew
  • The Quest for El Dorado ^#
Family Time

There are certain game systems that don't always show up in these lists unless you list them as a group... I thought I'd honor those games this year.
  • Ticket to Ride 16
    • Ticket to Ride 9 
    • Amsterdam 1
    • New York 1
    • London 5 
  • DC Comics Deckbuilding 14
    • DC Comics Deckbuilding 8 
    • Rivals: Batman vs Joker 3
    • Rivals: Green Lantern vs Sinestro 1
    • Confrontations 2
  • Clank! 13 
    • Clank! 8
    • Clank! In! Space! 5
  • Mystery Rummy 9
    • Al Capone 3
    • Escape from Alcatraz 5 
    • Wyatt Earp 1
  • Catan 2
    • Catan 1
    • The Starfarers of Catan 1
After All These Years

These are games that fell off the list... after years of repeated play. I felt compelled to say a few words at their passing.
  • Star Realms +
    • The only one to fall off this with a long pedigree (5 years) is Star Realms... which is likely due to less waiting in lines as a family. (The app saw a lot of use over the years.)
How Did You Play All Those Games?

That's the subject of another couple of posts... suffice it to say that having my college age son home from mid-March to August and all of December definitely upped the numbers, as did a big increase in solo play.

Mark's 2020 Gaming: The Big Picture

Note: what follows is primarily about board gaming... but it will obviously involve writing about the pandemic. I love this hobby - and I know how much those of us who value the face-to-face nature of gaming are wrecked by the loss of conventions, invitational gatherings, and weekly game groups. With all that said, please continue to be careful. We're not out of the woods yet.

As I started 2020, I was beginning to find a groove that allowed me to get involved with a local game group that I'd missed out on for years as well as playing with the friends that I'd know for a quarter of a century. (Yes, I'm that old.) Travel for work allowed me to spend time gaming with my son at college and with friends across the state. I was looking forward to Gulf Games, TN Game Days, a work trip to New Jersey that would let me finally spend time with Geoff Englestein face-to-face... and my yearly trip for a post-Essen gaming weekend with a plethora of Essen games. 

The first to go was Gulf Games when my wife was hospitalized for two weeks in January with viral meningitis. My younger son & I decided to forego the trip - and spent the hotel money instead on the Return to Dark Tower Kickstarter. (Shari is doing fine, by the way... and the care she received at Skyline here in Nashville was excellent. I've thought a lot about those doctors and nurses over the past 8 months.)

TN Game Days was ruled out when we decided to take our 30th anniversary vacation in early March, since our son that was still at home would be on a Disney Cruise with one of his best friends. That was the week that the pandemic "got real" - and we worried that Collin might be stuck on a cruise ship at sea. (He wasn't - we all made it home safe.)

And with our choice to take self-quarantining seriously (with or without government support), face-to-face gaming outside our house vanished. With both boys home (Braeden's college campus closed a week or so after our vacation), that meant I had a built-in game group... but I missed (and continue to miss) regular time to play & laugh with the friends I've know since being a youth pastor in the early 90s. "King Bob" and the rest of the Wednesday crew at Next Level Games are yet another absence felt. I'd gotten used to Mike Randolph being in town for work and spending a great evening togther - that was gone as well.

I'd already been doing a good bit of solo gaming... and the pandemic kicked that into high gear. Literally 19%+ of my gaming in 2020 was solo... and if you want to know more about that, have I got a blog post for you... Solo Gaming in the Time of Covid-19 (End of 2020 Update).

Even with hermit-like nature of our existence, I had some great opportunities to playtest games in 2020:
  • I assisted in rules checking Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade.
  • We have been working with Joe Huber on a theme park game design he's been toying with..
  • The boys and I playtested a number of different Unmatched characters and maps, including the just-announced Unmatched: Marvel boxes.
    • Of my 63 plays of Unmatched in 2020, 23 of them were playtests.
    • Love me some Unbeatable Squirrel Girl... just sayin'.
  • I'm currently playtesting Core Worlds: Empires as Quixotic Games gets ready for the Kickstarter this spring. (I'm a big fan of the Core Worlds universe... and I'm really enjoying this worker placement board game with loads of theme.)
I haven't spent a big chunk of time using online board gaming platforms... but that has been a way to reconnect with old friends (some of the Fresno Gamers group) and friends just across town (the Dalewood crew). Games that I played primarily online include:
  • 6 Nimmt!
  • Butterly
  • Can't Stop
  • Downforce
  • Kingdomino
  • Lucky Numbers
  • Marrakech
  • Welcome To...
As you can see, the majority of my online play is at Board Game Arena - which is an excellent site.

I had one opportunity to game mask-to-mask in mid-October... you can read about my road trip to Cinncinati and the games we played in my post, Mark's Bundle of 2020 Essen Game Thoughts.

Since then, it's been back to the self-quarantine... and spending time with my family. Here's hoping that my end of year retrospective of 2021 reads a bit differently.

The Big Picture

  • 892 plays
  • 273 different games
  • 60 games I hadn't played before
  • H-Index: 11 
    • number of games that I played that many times
  • Hours spent (approximate): 601
    • yes, that's about 25 days worth of board games

Time After Time

I have been posting my Five & Dime lists for a very long time (since the late 90s)... and you can read the most recent one at It's Still Personal: Mark's Five & Dime Games for 2020. But I wondered what the list would like now that I'm tracking playing time as well.

So, my top games by approximate playing time...


  • Unmatched: Battle of Legends (27 hours)
  • Terraforming Mars (26 hours)


  • Marvel Champions: The Card Game (21 hours)
  • The 7th Continent (13 hours)
  • Dice Settlers (12 hours)
  • Dungeon Alliance (10 hours)
  • Memoir '44 (10 hours)
  • Sanctum (10 hours)
  • SeaFall (10 hours)
I will highly recommend the BGStats app... it's how I'm able to pull up all this information so easily!

Solo Gaming in the Time of Covid-19 (End of 2020 Update)

I started doing a lot of solo gaming when my oldest son (and chief gamer buddy) left for college in August 2019. Even with him home during the extended time of quarantine (March-August 2020), I’ve still been playing solo games. And though he returned to campus for 3 months, he was back at Thanksgiving for the rest of the year... and the solo gaming continued right up to New Year's Eve!

I know, I know – there are plenty of board game apps on iOS and Steam… and I own many of them. But there’s something really satisfying about physically playing a game: shuffling cards, moving pieces, seeing it all spread out in front of you. 

And, because I’m “that guy”, I crunched the numbers and found that 19%+ of my gaming this year was solo (compared to 6% last year). That is, for you playing along at home, 173 solo plays in the last 12 months.

So, what follows are my thoughts on a variety of solo games I’ve played over the past year – ordered by number of solo plays in 2020. (Note: this is not necessarily how much I like a particular game for solo play – for example, I think Nemo’s War is a brilliant design but only played it three times this year.)

Since this is the third time I've posted a version of this list, I'll highlight new games with a box cover picture!

Oh My Goods! (15 plays)

Solo play requires the Longsdale in Revolt expansion… but there are some clever things going on in this tricky little card game. I’m still looking for an affordable copy of the second expansion (which has more scenarios for solo play). Oh My Goods ranks up with Friday and Palm Island for the best games for solo play in small places (like hotel room desks).

NEOM (14 plays)

I love this multi-player game that mixes city-building and 7 Wonders-ish drafting… and the solo game manages to capture most of that feeling through the clever use of “packets” of tiles. I typically play 2-3 games of this at a shot… since once you’ve got it laid out, it’s easy to reset and try again. I’ve defaulted to play with all the tiles in, which offers more variety and some interesting decisions since you know that you can (sometimes) wait for the tile you need.

Under Falling Skies
 (13 plays + 1 play of the original print-n-play)

In anticipation of the CGE release of this game, I printed my own copy to get a feel for it. I liked the ideas but was hoping that CGE will clean up the rules & graphics to make it easier to grok.

I was not disappointed... the game shines with the new production, the excellent campaign, and the oodles of content stuffed into the small box. My review is coming to the Opinionated Gamers website this month (January 2020).

Marvel Champions: The Card Game (11 plays)

While Fantasy Flight struggled to get the hero and villain packs in the early part of the lockdown, that seems to have improved. I love the really straightforward design of the game and the way it captures the theme. I tend to play 2 heroes when playing solo – though the game is designed to play with a single hero. For those who’ve played other LCGs (Living Card Games), this is less complicated than any of the others… some would say “dumbed down”. (Sigh.) I find it the easiest to play and teach, due to clear card wording, distinctive superhero graphics, and card design that is relatively easy to read across the table.

Terraforming Mars (11 plays)

One of my birthday gifts this year was a copy of Terraforming Mars… and I quickly discovered a thriving community of folks on BGG who love this game as a solo exercise. I now own all the expansions, though I have yet to play Turmoil… but I think the best solo configuration for me (so far) uses just Prelude. My win rate is about 50%, which seems right for this style of game.

Warp's Edge (10 plays)

Warp's Edge is a bag-builder space combat game that is designed for solo play. So far, I do pretty well against the weaker motherships... but the higher rated ones turn me to space dust. I wrote a review of Warp's Edge on the Opinionated Gamers website earlier this fall.

Dice Settlers (9 plays)

I bought this from a friend (hi, Janna!) primarily for solo play – and while I’m still having to fiddle a bit with the scoring numbers to make the AI competitive, it actually flows really well as a “big” solo game. I was pleasantly surprised that it works well as a 2-3 player game too. I managed to find a copy of the Western Sea expansion – which really ups the variety and makes the solo game more compelling.

Expedition to Newdale (9 plays)

Another birthday present… and like Terraforming Mars, a multi-player game that works surprisingly well as a solo adventure. This is Oh My Goods: The Board Game… which is a very good thing. I’m about ½ way through the solo campaign and look forward to the new twists that are added each new scenario. (Note: my play of Oh My Goods fell off once I acquired Newdale – I think the board & the game structure are more sophisticated.)

Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade (9 plays)

I blogged about this earlier this spring at the Opinionated Gamers site… and Dale posted a review as well. This is a really great roll’n’write design that was very enjoyable solo and multi-player. I think the best table is Dragonslayer, though Cyberhack is really close. (Note: I helped proofread the rules for this game prior to publication.)

7 Wonders Duel (5 plays)

The nice folks at Repos Games created an interesting AI for solo play this spring… with five different “characters” for you to challenge. The structure reminded me a bit of the original analog Race for the Galaxy solo AIs in the way that they attacked the game system in particular ways that made it difficult for you to win. More of a solitaire puzzle in the 7 Wonders universe, but enjoyable.

Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale (5 plays)

An incredibly pleasant flip’n’write game that works like a charm as a solo game… and will also work well as a “over Facetime/Zoom” game if you use the solo rules for monster attacks. The Skills mini-expansion adds another level of decision-making that works well. I’m glad the game is in my collection… adding a set of colored pencils makes my maps look even better!

Friday (5 plays)

Friedemann’s wacky deck-builder about keeping Robinson Crusoe alive is still one of the best 1 player games out there. I can’t recommend it highly enough. (It was on my Top 50 games list earlier this year.)

Dungeon Alliance (4 plays)

For me, Dungeon Alliance solo with the Adventure Packs (a very creative expansion idea) is substantially more enjoyable than the still very good Mage Knight Board Game. For starters, it’s a four game campaign… and then there’s the mixture of characters and storyline that feel like you’ve been dropped into the middle of the story. 

Nemo Rising: Robur the Conqueror 
(4 plays) 

This design by Andrew Parks (who has two other games on this list) is a solid multi-player cooperative that works just fine as a solo game. I'd suggest using more than one "hero" for a more interesting game experience.

Palm Island (4 plays) 

This is a weird little deck-builder[?] that I’m not sure entirely works… you hold your entire deck in your hand (17 cards) and flip and turn cards based on resources on the cards. It’s kind of fiddly and I’m not sure I know how to get a better score… yet I keep playing it.

The Pursuit of Happiness (4 plays)

I continue to adore this gamer-friendly version of The Game of Life… and the newest expansion arriving required me to pull it out and play both multi-player and solo. The solo mode is well-thought-out.. players must beat a particular long-term happiness score as well as complete 3 life goals – which can be challenging. (The new expansion and the various Kickstarter extras just continue to add content and variety to this robust system… the delight of creating a life story is a lot of fun.) You can read my original review here.

Seafall (4 plays)

I took advantage of an excellent Amazon sale to pick up a copy of Seafall to play through the game solo. It is NOT a solo game – but I’m playing all five provinces and just enjoying the chaos and the story. (Note: My boys and I were playtesters on the earliest versions of the Seafall prototype.)

Tiny Towns 
(4 plays) 

This Christmas present was on my my wishlist in hopes that my wife might enjoy it... well, I haven't got her to play it (yet!), but I've become intrigued by playing it solo. It's short, the puzzle is interesting, and I love the chunky wooden pieces. I'm considering springing for the expansions, but they are pretty pricey for what's in the box.

Core Worlds: Empires 
(3 plays) 

I have the privilege of playtesting Andrew Parks' newest design, a board game set in the Core Worlds universe. It's coming to Kickstarter this spring and is well worth your time to look at both as solid space epic/worker placement multiplayer game AND as a excellent solo game, thanks to a deck mechanic similar to Dungeon Alliance.

It’s a Wonderful World (3 plays)

Another birthday present, another card-drafting game, another wise use of “packets” to make the drafting game work solo. The provided solo scenarios add challenge… I need to pull this one back out and try to conquer them.

Lost Ruins of Arnak 
(3 plays) 

My pick for Kennerspiel this year is a fantastic multiplayer game of adventure... with a myriad of pathways to win. The solo module (included in the game) works like a charm... and CGE even posted an update to that module right before Christmas that I can't wait to try out.

Nemo’s War (3 plays)

The other solo game that was in my Top 50 games list… it manages to blend Euro mechanics and old-school wargame elements along with a compelling theme. On top of that, the various objectives change the game and how you play by just changing the scoring to reflect Nemo’s vision of a “better” world.

Roll for Adventure (3 plays)

A recent co-op game from Kosmos with built-in expansions to increase the difficulty/change the puzzle. It’s a dice-driven push-your-luck game with a fantasy theme draped over it. I typically play solo with two random characters. (BTW, solo or multi-player, I like this game much better with 2-3 players/characters than with 4… it feels like the game plays you with four players.)

Roll Player (3 plays)

One of two “RPG character creation” board games from last year (the other is Call to Adventure)… but with the Monsters & Minions  expansion added in, Roll Player is the best choice for solo play. (In fact, I think this is one of the “required” expansions for multi-player play as well… it offers more variety and more options for players on their turn. Most importantly, it gives the game an ending via fighting the big boss that is much more satisfying than “hey, look – I built a character”.) The Fiends & Familiars expansion is also quite good.

Clank: A Deck-Building Adventure (2 plays)

Personal take: the Clank! In! Space! solo campaign on the app is more interesting than the one-off solo mode for Clank… but both are enjoyable. Then again, the Clank system is beloved in our house and I get plenty of chances to play multi-player.

Desolate (2 plays)

A print’n’play space survival game… the files are now free from PNP Arcade. It’s a lot of inkjet ink for a pretty straightforward solo game. I like it best with the two expansions thrown in – I think there’s more decision-making involved and it’s easier to set the difficulty level using the characters.

Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy (2 plays)

While I enjoy the multi-player game, I found both versions of the solo game (standard and The Testament) to be overly fiddly and not particularly interesting. 

Unbroken (2 plays)

Not related in any way to the excellent WWII biography… this fantasy survival game has nice production (for a solo game) and is in the same vein game-wise as the aforementioned Desolate: make decisions on what to face, press your luck, and try not to run out of supplies. It works… but I wonder if I’ll be played out on it after 5+ plays. (Note: I’ve only played it twice and haven’t brought it back to the table in 8+ months.)

51st State: Master Set (1 play)

As much as I love this game, I really detest the solo version – it pretty much kills what I like about the game. (That said, really looking forward to getting this back in rotation soon as a multi-player game.)

Call to Adventure (1 play)

The rules for solo and cooperative play feel rushed and tacked on – which is disappointing, as I really enjoy this character-building/story-telling game with multiple players.

Clank! In! Space! (1 play)

Started a new attempt at the solo campaign embedded in the app. (The multiple games and the special objectives make it a very interesting and challenging experience.)

Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game 
(1 play) 

I was really wanting to play Descent... but this was quicker to set up. I think I'd probably enjoy it more if I was more interested in this particular corner of D&D lore.

Finished (1 play)

A solid solo design that other folks like a lot more than I do... one play per year is just about enough for me. (There is, if you're interested, a free app version of it out there.)

Fresco (1 play)

I made an unbelievably unsuccessful attempt to create an AI to play Fresco against. Lots of work but no fun to play. Youch.

Monster Expedition 
(1 play) 

A slightly think-ier take on Pickomino, set in a fantasy universe. My one solo play worked well - but I haven't had a chance to play it again.

Monster Lands (1 play)

The basic game is pretty fiddly… but I give it that for the fun it creates. The solo game is just fiddly, which is sad.

Nations: The Dice Game (1 play)

I’d rather play this with more players… but the solo game works well. If I didn’t have a number of better options (see above), this would hit the solo table more often.

Sauerbaum (1 play)

This is THE original co-op game… it actually won a special Spiel des Jahres recognition as a cooperative game back in 1988. The problem is that I never feel like I have much control of the game.

Star Wars: Outer Rim (1 play)

My oldest son and I both love playing this dive into the Star Wars universe – it’s a pick up & deliver game with copious thematic elements. The game comes with a solo AI card deck that works… but it isn’t a particularly compelling way to play. I’m not likely to solo this one again – but it will hit the table as a multi-player.

Games I Own That Still Need to Come Out to (Solo) Play

  • Adrenaline (CGE published a solo variant)
  • Agricola with Farmers of the Moor
  • Hotshots
  • Sanctum (CGE published a solo variant)
  • Space Cadets: Away Missions
  • The 7th Continent
  • The Colonists
  • The Few & Cursed


Thinking about buying and/or trading for some new games based on my post (and how long you’re likely to be practicing physical distancing)?

If you’re new to solo gaming, I’d suggest Cartographers, Super-Skill Pinball, Warp's Edge, and Friday. For those with a bit more gaming under their belts, I’d go with Lost Ruins of Arnak, Nemo’s War, Terraforming Mars, Under Falling Skies, Expedition to Newdale (board game version of Oh My Goods), and NEOM. 

And I can't recommend Core Worlds: Empires highly enough... keep on the lookout for the Kickstarter!

This post is based on a blog post I wrote for my personal blog back in April 2020... and a subsequent version of that post published on the Opinionated Gamers website.