Belated update

2020 Top 10 Countdown of solo skirmish games #10

I just realised there's a wealth of something that was unthinkable only a few years ago: the rise of the solo-able skirmish game. There's a Geeklist on BGG just for this category and there are some 58 entries there (as of this date when I'm writing this). Some I'm not sure qualify as tabletop miniatures games, but it's a big hobby, so...

Anyway, I did my own list off that and realised once I hit 10+ games that... hey, it's the end of 2020 (a year the entire world is happy to see the back of) AND it coincided with the rise of solo gaming thanks to the lockdowns... so what's more traditional than an end of year Top 10 list?

Now, I want to start off with some criteria: this is NOT a strict ranking of the BEST skirmish games. Rather, it's limited to the games I've actually played, PLUS the rankings are more in the line of games that I prefer to play over others, given the time constraints etc. So #1 isn't necessarily a better game than #2, but rather #1 is a game I'd prefer playing over #2 right now. And so on. So by this criteria, the list is pretty fluid and will change over time. My 2021 list might be very different!

With that out of the way, starting once a day from Dec 21, here  is my #10:


I know why this is ranked #10. The game system is (for me) incredibly fiddly. Tokens on tokens on tokens... some as small as your little fingernail! It's actually WORSE than Ares Games' Sword & Sorcery, a boardgame I sold off because of how incredibly fiddly it was and the tons of tokens it uses. This game has more! Granted, being fiddly and having lots of tokens doesn't necessarily make it a bad game. If it was, it wouldn't have gained a place on my list. But note my criteria above: given the limited time I now have, would I play this game over another game I own?
I know a lot of people like it, but since I'm not wedded to the computer game (not having played it before) I'm judging it purely was a solo skirmish game. 

Looking back at my second batrep here, I wrote: "Oh, well. This game also confirmed the dire, DIRE need for a cheat sheet. What do all these tokens mean? What do they do? How do you use them... Sure, there's a handy dandy index in the rule book, but this entailed a lot... a LOT of page flipping almost every single time. 😑

And those tiny, minute tokens.... 😱"

Also, the solo AI system has been much lauded... but again, it's fiddly compared to some games I've now played after Fallout.
There's some nice stuff here. Don't get me wrong. I did enjoy the game when I played it despite its flaws. But would I want to set it up again to play? Just the thought of all those tokens makes me go... uhhhh... I don't think so. Not when there's faster, less fiddly games available out there. In truth, this game just sneaked its way into the Top 10 list just ahead of [redacted name of Big Name Solo Skirmish game].

It's pretty sad as I think there's an incredibly fun game in there. If only it could be streamlined some more. But if this was the only game I had on hand, I'd definitely play it and probably proxy some more minis to go along with it.


Some games didn't make it in the list for various reasons, so I'm mentioning them as Honourable Mentions. I'll do one every day in alphabetical order. The first one is:

  1. 5 Parsecs from Home 2nd Ed. This is a very interesting minis agnostic sci-fi game. More RPG than skirmish, you build up your own team of ne'er do wells (think the crew of Firefly), give them some stats and a background, then run a game that includes non-battle events. Like getting a mission, buying stuff, levelling up etc. One of the things you'll be doing is a tabletop skirmish, but that's not the be-all, end-all of the game. So the investment in time (I've started a crew but haven't done anything with them yet) is one reason it's an Honourable Mention. The game itself is pretty interesting and can be found on DriveThruRPG/Wargame Vault.
And that's my #10. Let me know what you guys think as I countdown to my #9 tomorrow.