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My Favorite Solo Board Games of 2020: #9, This War of Mine: The Board Game

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This War of Mine: The Board Game

A game by Michał Oracz and Jakub Wiśniewski

Awaken Realms.

BGG listing.

The sun was a pallid sphere that gave light but no heat, and it rose in a cold blue sky.

Marko was alone once more. The only one left to tend to the empty rat traps and the empty water collector. No wood left to feed the empty stove, no food or water to feed his empty stomach.

At least the fire would be fed, but it would take all he had left.

He picked up the book—The Martian Chronicles—the one thing that had consoled him when he no longer had the strength to dig through rubble, or when he sought respite from the din of sirens and shelling. He started tearing out the pages, the sound of ripping paper hanging in the mote-filled air, crumpling the paper and throwing them into the stove. If only he had committed the words to memory.

The flames leaped up hungrily, and when the fire had consumed it all, and only one page was left, he thought to himself, this is a terrible mistake, I would rather die from the cold than be deprived of the company of letters, and he stopped.

He held the last page. It was from the story “There Will Come Soft Rains,” and he read, in a trembling hand:

“The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes.”

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games

My Favorite Solo Board Games of 2020: #10, Nemo’s War

Every year since 2013, the members of the 1-Player Guild at Boardgamegeek has voted for their top solo board games. This yearly list has been an invaluable resource for a solo gamer like me (daughter away at college, wife with zero interest, anti-social gamer even before the pandemic), and has guided all my explorations (and purchase decisions) in board gaming.

Kevin Erskine—just one person!—assembles the 11,047 (!) votes from 618 people and unveils the Top 200 results, 10 games a day. Which games will climb the highest? Which will fall off the top 100? Will Spirit Island still be at the top? (The answer was “yes.”.) A lively discussion ensues. For me, it’s the BGG highlight of the year.

This year I thought I’d have a little fun with the list and dream up first and last lines, as if it were a story. The list begins below and in subsequent posts.


Last Line:

“I have seen things no mortal has ever laid eyes on!” Nemo cried as the Nautilus fought against being pulled into the horrific churning of the maelstrom. “I have journeyed to all the oceans and sunk warships in every sea! I have smuggled arms to those chained and bound so that they may gain independence from their oppressors! I have traveled the vast forests of kelp, plumbed the unseen depths of the darkest ocean trenches, and fought mightily with the Great Kraken and lived to tell the tale! But still—still!—I am incapable of victory!”

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games

Vengeance: Session Report and Review

Vengeance board game cover

Vengeance

A game by Gordon Calleja

Mighty Boards.

BGG listing.

Three in the morning and no one out in the streets except him and a stray dog sniffing around a dumpster.

Shadowman steps out into the light and looks around the corner of the alley at the old printing shop. A nondescript building in a dilapidated neighborhood, hollowed out by redlining and neglect after white folks lit out for the suburbs. Nothing but abandoned warehouses and junkie squats and the occasional gang hideout. Griffon Printing, reads a weather-beaten sign hanging from a pole. Creaking in the wind. Newspaper blowing across the street like tumbleweed.

Storm blowing in. Coming for Roxy Kween and her empire of dirt.

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games

Mage Knight: Session Report and Review

For a few years now I’ve been writing session reports over at Board Game Geek. I thought I’d expand on some of my entries—especially the ones where I dive into something more creative—and post them on the blog. Below is the first one I ever wrote, back in March of 2016, followed by a new section that describes the game a little more for non-gamers, then some thoughts on why I like it.

The Mage Knight box cover.

Mage Knight

A game by Vlaada Chvatil.

Wiz Kids.

BGG listing.

Tovak paused in his weary trudge and lifted his helmet to look at the White City behind him. He was reluctant to leave his swordsmen behind, but they were spent, riding under the Banner of Fear, having expended their energies in conquering the beast guardians of the city. Now they were healing their sore limbs with drink, and perhaps other unsavory pursuits besides, and Tovak could not blame them: he had, after all, threatened them by his sword to join his company, and he was now known as a mage knight of ill repute.

Tovak turned to face the lake, the cold moon shivering on its surface. It was deceptively calm. The villagers had spoken of a rampaging draconum hidden in its depths, and Tovak warmed to the challenge, despite his weariness. He had battled its likes before, in a tomb just a few leagues away; the sepulcher had yielded a spell written on parchment, and four mana crystals, the greatest haul of his career. But slaying this draconum was his last chance to prove himself a mage knight of some renown, and to repair his tarnished reputation—one final attempt before the sun rose.