2022 Top 10 Solo Skirmish Games #5!


Continuing my infatuation experimentation with RPGs… yes, an RPG is #5 in a solo skirmish game countdown. Why?!!! I can justify it by… er… it’s my countdown?

Those of you who’ve followed my blog all this while will know I’ve come to prefer games with a strong story-telling aspect to them. Playing a game of 500pts going for scenarios where you have to stand next to, or within 3” of a spot on the tabletop to gain VPs every round just doesn’t cut it for me any more. Why am I doing this? What's the point? (Besides winning the game).

So it turns out D&D inspired RPGs like Tiny Dungeons 2e with their emphasis on combat with a heavy dose of storytelling seems to be a fairly good fit for where I’m at (gaming wise) currently.

I like Tiny Dungeons 2e because it’s rules light. Make up your Player Character species (Homo sapiens, dwarves, elves, whatever), grab 3-4 traits to separate your PC from the rest and off you go! Roll 2 d6 for most tests. Roll 3d6 if you have a specific trait that is relevant to the test (CHARISMA if you’re trying to con persuade someone to do something for you or STEALTH if you’re trying to sneak past a sleeping dragon). Roll 1d6 if you’re in a really bad spot with no way out (e.g. you’re actually a physically weak spell caster trapped on a mountain ledge and have to climb up to safety).

The good thing about having basic rules is it allows you to focus on the story/game without too much flipping through rulebooks looking for a specific rule for that specific situation or thumbing through pages and pages of tables to find that one relevant table so you can determine if you’ve managed to decipher that rune etched on a dungeon door that looks familiar to you because you took a course in mage school 20 years ago.

And probably an unintended side effect of the horrendous lockdowns since early 2020 is a veritable explosion in the interest as well as materials available that enable you to play RPGs solo (for those that were meant to be played with a DM and several players) as well as solo-specific RPGs (bet you didn’t know those existed!).

There’s also a bit of combat and tactics thrown in for Tiny Dungeons. Not the precise measurements some RPGs get into that rival actual tabletop skirmish games for complexity but the concept of distance (close for melee, near for reach weapons and far for ranged), initiative to see who goes first and giving each PC 2 actions works well enough for me. And I get to use all the fantasy minis I’ve got stashed in my boxes and treasure chests and whatnot so that’s another big plus for me.

As for the story aspects... those who’ve read my account of the Mad Magicks of the Turned God will know that the final showdown didn’t involve much combat but certainly a life and death situation nonetheless and it's a situation I'm not sure I could've replicated with any of the skirmish games I have on hand (maybe Pulp Alley?).

So all this is a kind of long-winded justification for why an RPG is #5 on this list, but… well, I hope I’ve made a good case for it.

Tomorrow: #4! What will it be?