My Flat World

Random musings by a lifelong board game player
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My 2019 Solo Top 20

Jonathan Arnold
United States
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Let's get the list right out there:

1] Robinson Crusoe
2] Darkest Night (1st ed)
3] Teotihuacan: City of Gods
4] Race for the Galaxy
5] Troyes
6] Deadball: Year II
7] Nations
8] The Colonists
9] D&D Ravenloft/Drizzt
10] Hostage Negotiator
11] One Deck Dungeon
12] A Feast for Odin
13] A Touch of Evil
14] Shadows of Malice
15] Vinhos
16] Arkham Horror (2nd ed)
17] Apocalypse Chaos
18] Level 7 [Escape]
19] Pandemic
20] Robin Hood and the Merry Men

The biggest surprise is the fact I tossed Mage Knight right off the list. It has been as high as #1 recently and was #3 last year, but I have spent the year souring on it, going so far as to publicly bad mouth it at this point. It just doesn't feel open enough for me. Too deterministic and not enough tactical things to do each turn. It is wildly colorful and even tells a good story, but these games just are better for me, today.

As proof that I am not too fickle, the top 2 games remain the same from last year. Big sprawling games with tons of color and, most importantly, things to do and real choices to be made each turn. Teotihuacan jumps onto the list. I love the feel of it and I haven't even played the official solo bot yet!

Troyes is also new to the list, but I have been playing it online for quite a while. I only recently actually acquired my own copy and found the solo "bot" easy to play. The other new game is Robin Hood at #20. A sprawling mess of a game, but I have a good time playing it anyway.

As you can see, dice are important to me. Many of these games use dice in unique ways, or even have their own custom dice. Heck, even Teotihuacan uses dice, but not really. They just mark your workers "skill". The dice in One Deck Dungeon are among my favorite. And of course Deadball uses dice to simulate a baseball game or even a season.

I like this list. I could definitely just take these 20 games and be happy for a very very long time. A nice mixture of small (Deadball, ODD, Hostage Negotiator) and huge (Arkham Horror and A Touch Of Evil, especially with the expansion boards). Deadball is the only "realistic" game, though. The rest are a mixture of fantasy, science fiction and even horror. I guess Troyes is at least sort of set in a historical past. And Nations does a pretty damn good job at civilization building.

It also includes a few classics (like Pandemic, but only with the In The Lab expansion), Arkham Horror (the 2nd edition, of course) and Race For the Galaxy, as well as brand new ones, like Teotihuacan and Robin Hood. And some vastly underrated titles (IMHO, of course!) like Level 7 [Escape] and Darkest Night.

It will be interesting to see how the 1PG list shakes out this year. Mage Knight has been #1 since it began, and will probably continue to be. But I wonder...

You can read more about my opinions on these 20 and all the solo games I have in my collection in my Solo Geeklist:

JD's Solo Rankings

The only readjustment I need to do is to send all the ones that have found other forever homes to the bottom of the list. It is a tough place to get banished to, but we always have to make room for new tenants and must remain vigilant of available shelf space.
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