Gaming Shelves

Last week Mormegil asked me if I had any shots of all those solitaire games I post about. I decided to take some. They’re not nearly as pretty as the shelves of books because they’re scattered over several closets. But I thought I’d share them anyway. Here’s a peak into the top and only shelf in my office closet:

On the left there you can see two of my Lock ‘n Load titles prior to the recent makeover of the line with larger boxes. I love that game system. Near it are the four Panzer modules. I’ve been playing through the first one and loving it so I’ll probably crack the shrink on the expansions at last. If you’re not a gamer, you may not know that it can pay off to keep things in shrink, because this stuff tends to go out of print, and you can recoup money to buy other games with if you keep things untouched prior to trade.

Incidentally, both LnL and Panzer are designed for two players, but play pretty well solo — and Lock ‘n Load: Tactical now has a solo module that works with all games in any case.

Moving on you see Ogre, which I haven’t yet cracked open but have been hearing about for decades. Right of that is DVG’s Warfighter WWII, which IS a solo game, one I purchased for myself to celebrate getting a new book contract last year. In the back is Mage Knight and its expansion, Lost Legion. My friend Craig Zahler tells me this is a great solo game but I just haven’t had time to try it.

In those cigar boxes are a whole slew of games, many of which I just picked up at GenCon.

A number of these are expressly designed as solitaire, but some, like Belisarius, Caesar’s War, and the three larger games on the bottom, are just solitaire friendly, meaning that they’re two-player games that you can play by yourself, so long as you don’t mind working your best for both sides. I don’t.

Here’s what I have over on one desk shelf above some RPG books:

I don’t solo the Sherlock Holmes stuff, I run that and its companion volume as an RPG for my wife and son. I’ve been reading through the solo rules and oohing and ahing over Heroes in Defiance but, you know, book deadlines. I hope to get in some MAJOR game time to celebrate turning over the final draft of book 1 and the first draft of book 2 at the end of November.

Over on additional shelves in the hall closet are more games:

In the very front there is one of the games that started it all, and that’s because Eric Knight brought it down to introduce it to me one summer about eight years ago. I loved it. I had always been a table-top roleplayer, and had only ever played a couple of wargames, so this set me on fire and spurred me to try and find some solitaire games that were as fun, because, alas, French Foreign Legion does NOT play well solo. That led me to Victory Point Games and Zulus on the Ramparts.

Zulus is one of Victory Point Games’ states of siege games. I have several other iterations on my shelf there, including Mound Builders, cut off in the pic over to the right, and it may be my favorite, although I haven’t yet tried a full game of Cruel Necessity.

Another game that helped start it all is in that black box under the two D-Day games, and that’s Barbarian Prince, the solo game that John O’Neill gave me. If not for him and Eric, this shelf would probably have boxes of mittens and umbrellas on it. In that red box is Astra Titanus, a great VPG space title I reviewed for Black Gate maybe back when it was a print magazine! That box with the eagle is the excellent Agricola: Master of Britain from Hollandspielle, and that blue-gray box under Federation Commander: Romulan Border is the new edition of Nemo’s War from VPG.

I’m not sure how well you can see that top shelf, but it’s got a lot of DVG games — Hornet Leader, Hornet Leader: CthulhuPhantom Leader, and the one I helped playtest, B-17 Leader. Great stuff. It also has a cool game Hocking gave me, Gumshoe, based on the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective game engine but set in the ’30s, a strategy game my friend Bruce loaned me years ago, Field Commander: Napoleon, which I wrote about once or twice here on my site or at Black Gate or both, an award winning game I haven’t tried yet, Commancheria, and, well… there are plenty of goodies there.

I own more than I’ve played, and I’ve decided to slow down my acquisition a little. There’s only so much time. But I do strive to dedicate some time every Sunday morning to game and do something different with the old brain cells other than reading, writing, or managing the house and farm, so that these are games I play and not just a museum/shrine.

Right, well, back to keeping it all running. The Kickstarter for Tales From the Magician’s Skull continues to motor along, and there’s more to do for it, so I’d best sign off. If sword-and-sorcery fiction is your thing, I hope you’ll pledge and/or spread the word!