The choicest of trash: Athena's Top 10 Solo Games 2019
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For the esteemed readers of Solitaire Times who are by now somewhat familiar with my tastes, it comes as no surprise that there are no crunchy euros on my list. Non-crunchy ones either.

Ameritrash, historical, and deck building games give me the most joy, and this has been the main (but not the only) criterion by which I ranked them.

I did not submit a list to The People's Choice Top 100 last year, because I thought I lacked sufficient solo gaming experience. I feel more confident about my preferences this time, but I have not played Mage Knight yet.

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1. Board Game: Zulus on the Ramparts! [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:1656]
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#10

I never have moral qualms when it comes to gaming, and can easily play the villain in any setting. But I couldn't help observing the way this game represents each side: over here, the eponymous heroes with portraits and character traits; over there, a bunch of Zulus.

The gameplay is very enjoyable though, and I really like the card-driven system that differentiates it from other States of Siege. I tried the extended version with all the cards once, and found it superfluous. I prefer the shorter, tighter base game.

PS. I miss VPG.

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2. Board Game: V-Commandos [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:1221]
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#9

I'm not always in the mood for playing this, but it is a great game, and it does feel like you are in a movie. It has many 'oh, crap' moments as you crawl stealthily from room to room, and suddenly get noticed by a Nazi. Once they see you, all hell breaks loose, soldiers shoot at you and often turn you into a human sieve. What's not to like?

Excellent components here too, the game really doesn't need minis.

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3. Board Game: ComancherĂ­a: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:1799]
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#8

Comancheria would rank higher on my list, if it wasn't a campaign game. The fact that there is no way to save your progress before you continue to the next era is a problem, because you have to leave the game on the table for days. Sessions take many hours to complete as well. By the time I finished the second era and had to move to the third, I had grown tired and wanted to play something else.

These issues aside, the game is a veritable masterpiece of solitaire design. I'm really glad I persisted through the rules and experienced it.

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4. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:588]
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#7

One of my favourite small box games. It doesn't matter that I never win, it's always fun to play, and sympathize with the Latin-named Brothers. I appreciate the smartness of the design, it is quite unique.

Thankfully, even though it's out of print, there are still copies available in the market.

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5. Board Game: Dawn of the Zeds (Second edition) [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:1520]
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#6

I had resisted backing the 3rd edition last year, because I thought I didn't like zombie games. It turns out that: a) I was wrong about zombies, and b) I was right not to back the 3rd edition. I heard some voices in our guild who praised the merits of the 2nd edition, and they were absolutely right.

Compact board, thick and beautiful counters, non-cartoony artwork. I purchased it just this month, so I haven't played it a lot, but felt it deserved a place on the list. It's tough as nails to win, and dripping with theme, tension, and blood.

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6. Board Game: The Lost Expedition [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:740]
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#5

At first I was lukewarm about this game. I even had the nerve to call it easy, after being lucky enough to manage a few wins thanks to the Idol promo cards. Then I came to my senses, played it more, and realized that it's really hard to win. And too random.

Nowadays, it is my go-to game when I need a quick gaming fix. It is thinky but not too much, and the artwork is definitely a plus. I recently acquired the expansion but haven't yet decided if I want to permanently integrate it in the base game.

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7. Board Game: After The Virus [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:2042]
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#4

...speaking of tough games, certain missions in After The Virus are ridiculous. But you can immediately reset and play again, so I can stomach it. A great small box deck builder. Terribly addictive.

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8. Board Game: Maximum Apocalypse [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:1311]
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#3

I have played MaxAp more than any other game this year. Finished the base game and the Kaiju expansion, and now started the Gothic Horrors. It certainly has its issues: randomness, no character upgrades.

But not even once did I feel bored. I'm having a great time every single time! How is that possible, I don't know. I think it is very well-illustrated, I like the variety of enemies, and using the abilities of the cards. It is one of the most enjoyable games I own, and can't wait to receive the Bugs.

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9. Board Game: Dungeon Degenerates: Hand of Doom [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:1884]
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#2

This is for me the ideal 'dungeon' (overland) crawler: it has a strong, unique personality expressed both visually and verbally, combined with enjoyable gameplay. In every session, behind every encounter and every loot find, you can hear the game laughing sarcastically (har har har).

Sure, it has flaws. It's impossible to play without the rulebook at hand, and it can get a bit samey if you play it to death. It will be a pleasant death, though. Har har har.

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10. Board Game: Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:100] [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked]
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#1

The game that gives me the most joy. I love the conveyor belt mechanism, and the hidden enemies that approach you step by step. I don't care that it's not the most innovative deck builder (that one is Aeon's End), it is for me the most enjoyable.

I like the theme, the tension, the gameplay, the neoprene mat. I'm excited to try the new expansion. It is a truly fun game, and having fun is what I first and foremost seek when I sit down to play.

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