Crusaders Games

Adventure (Co-op)

An alternative to dungeon exploring is co-operative outdoor adventuring, and the emphasis of this list leans more towards being best at the solo or two player count, heavily featuring hidden map exploration and movement, character development and variable encounters each game. These are usually my favourite games to solo play :

1. Lord Of The Rings LCG – Fantasy Flights (2011)

A living card game based within a famous fantasy setting, and featuring amazing artwork. You embark on varied scenario quest challenges which are determined using a specific encounter deck from which locations, monsters and treachery events will emerge. To combat this you each choose three hero characters to adventure with, and build yourself a custom deck of allies, events and equipment to support you. The questing mechanic provides an amazing co-operative or solo game experience, as you decide each turn who to quest with and who will defend or fight for you. This is a relatively tough game, but many expansions will enable better deck building which improves your chances of success, and this is a key part of the game enjoyment and takes time to do. I play this entirely as a solo challenge with one deck, and it offers more replay value than any other game i have. You can switch your heroes, take new allies and equipment, try different quests, and its combinations feel unlimited. This is a hugely collectable game too and quests will feel like a different journey each time. My additional webpage focuses on my favourite quest scenarios available using a single deck solo game > Lord of the Rings

2. Too Many Bones – Chip Theory (2017)

A dice based co-operative or solo outdoor adventure where you are tasked to defeat one of six tyrants. The core box is big and beautifully designed, with a huge number of amazingly coloured dice, and coloured playmats for the characters having neat spaces to slot in your dice as you roll them. Whilst this has no miniatures, you do have weighty round chips for the tyrants, monsters and characters with excellent printwork and a nice shine, they are lovely to use. There are 4 gearloc characters in the main box (and 3 more initial expansions), and when you start to dig into their variety, there is an amazing amount of gameplay, as each gearloc has its own dice sets with unique abilities to unlock. When upgrading your gearloc, decide each time whether you need health, attack, defense, more dice to roll or work through its skill trees, and you won’t get close to using them all in one game. Battles are the heart of the game, with a good selection of different monster types which are tough but immensely fun, and the small battle mat is great, making movement, targets and positioning important and visual, but not becoming overly complex in its execution. The game is very tactile, rolling the dice and moving chips around, with text storylines for each encounter. It is a tactical battle game, and also feels like role playing by gradually developing your character. It works amazingly well as solo experience, playing as either one or using 2 gearlocs. A more detailed review can be seen here > Too Many Bones

3. Runebound 3rd Edition – Fantasy Flights (2015)

This is a wilderness adventure game where heroes travel across the beautiful Terrinoth world map to complete quests and develop their characters, getting ready to take on a final challenge. This latest edition is better than previous ones, with varied skills and equipment development, a more interesting combat mechanic through a token throwing system, and time limited scenarios which push you onwards and make your game choices more urgent and important. The production quality of the board and cards is amazing, and the game tells a thematic story, with each scenario having its own unique story card deck such as the dragon, undead and spiders quests. Expansions add new scenarios, adventure cards and character packs which make this game even more varied. Runebound provides one of the best solo play experiences, offering an interactive challenge and character story with a high replay value. I really like that the characters, artwork and monster types link with Descent 2nd edition, which may enable you to use these models to enhance the whole experience. This game is best played with one to three players, as game length and downtime expands as more heroes enter. A solo and co-operative expansion was released in 2017 called ‘Unbreakable Bonds’ which really made this game into one the best adventures around.

 

4. City of Kings – City of Games (2018)

A tactical roleplaying game which can be played solo or co-operative, where you embark on one of 12 scenarios or follow 7 stories, with your heroes exploring a broken world, while workers search for vital resources. There are six heroes to choose from, with unique skills and each is then customisable using a skills tree, specialising in attacking, healing, worker management or gaining new special skills. You explore across the hidden realm by turning over tiles, discovering locations, side quests, hazards, and creatures that will need to be defeated. These are represented by banners and stat bars with a pool of extra abilities so that every fight encounter is potentially different. This is a strategic game where movement and positioning will be important, as are decisions about what to upgrade and when. It is an immensely satisfying experience, scenarios appear well balanced, and each game you can try out different ideas as you progress. The hero player boards are fantastic, with nice graphics, and the optional extra clear plastic slot trays are a must have, being great fun and tactile to use too. Solo games using 2 heroes are easily playable as their action choices each turn are relatively straightforward to remember. The general artwork is lovely, the stories are well told, and the ability to fine tune your characters helps to make this game special. A more detailed review can be seen here > City of Kings

5. Mage Knight – WizKids (2011)

Considered by many as the ultimate solo adventure game, this is an exploration game across a revealing map with your mage hero who levels up, strengthens his powers and recruits followers in order to achieve his objective. The game contains light elements of deck building, but its main mechanic is to manage your hand of cards each round to its best potential, using mana or crystals to boost or change the cards powers, and the game is in many ways a puzzle and an adventure rolled into one package. The components are good for a non kickstarter game, with painted models, nicely illustrated hexagonal tiles, excellent card art, and monster tokens which could have been bigger sized to make them more meaninful. There is a choice of mage, each has a standard deck with one or two unique cards for their character and a different set of skills to unlock. This game has been in and out of my collection over the years, it is a complex game and i have more than once given up trying to remember its combat rules, however walkthrough videos online have improved things and you do need to invest time to get to grips with it all. With the ultimate edition release it has returned to my collection, as i really do find the hand management choices it brings an addictive experience. This game is a difficult beast, with a long play time, and a fair amount of head scratching, but it can also be so rewarding, and it really is an adventure where you can decide what to do.

6. Darkest Night 2nd Edition – Victory Point (2018)

A co-operative or solo game, where the world has been ravaged by the evil necromancer, and is covered in blights, tainting the seven core locations. As the last heroes you must search for clues to locate missing holy relics, which will provide a way to defeat this enemy. Heroes start with 3 power cards, and these will help you directly support each other, increasing dice, or maybe provide unique abilities. There are 29 characters to choose from, and all have their own theme and attributes to try out, and it has so much variety. The game features a darkness tracker which builds tension and increases the difficulty as time progresses, but your hero will learn new powers or find treasures to help you. The production on this 2nd edition is now amazing, from artwork, large tarot cards, thick tokens, large and small board choices, and the hero standees are lovely, with miniatures an extra option but not being a necessity. This game presents loads of strategic choices, co-operative interplay and a develops a kind of storyline narrative too, and heroes do develop and upskill with new power cards. This game works with 1-4 players but is best played with 4 characters although there is a good workable option for using two. It is a great strategy co-op game.

 

7. Hexplore It : Forests of Adrimon – Mariucci J Designs (2019)

A roleplaying adventure questing game where you are taking on an evil entity who is trying to destroy the realm. There are currently two editions available, the original Valley of the Dead King and the second, The Forests of Adrimon, both similar in concept and mechanics but have different themes and storyline weaved throughout the game, and with different sets of heroes. Your heroes aim to gather relic fragments, creating powerful equipment that may help destroy the sorceress who is enslaving the forest dwellers. Players will be able to gain favours from the forest spirits, sneak into the cities, move though the fey-realm and interact with the Dryad, a powerful ally, and battle tough foes or release them from the Magi’s control to become allies. It is very roleplay centric in that you have basic skills to move, search for treasure and survive in the forests, alongside combat abilities of attack and defence and two clever mastery skills which is where the characters become unique to their role. The main part of the game involves you upgrading your skills board using a mark and wipe process, and is more freeform in style than Runebound, you can explore where you want, although the map has quest destinations to visit where you know you will face a challenge to progress your story and collect fragments. The main enemies, either the Dead King or Admiron, have a countdown progression which encourages you to keep moving and developing before the eventual showdown happens, and as you become stronger, progressively harder boss monsters will be defeatable. This game surprised me, and I really enjoy it as a solo or two player game where heroes live through their story adventure, eith artwork and components that are excellent, and boss enemy boards are some of best in any adventure game. A more detailed review can be seen here > Hexplore It

 

8. Nemo’s War 2nd Edition – Victory Point (2017)

This is specifically designed for solo play but can be co-operative, merging an adventure storyline with strategic battling against the ships which slowly fill the oceans of the earth. You will captain the nautilus to search for treasure, discover scientific knowledge and wage war, and each game you can choose one of four motives for success, which change the end goal emphasis. The game flows smoothly and each round is not overly complex, with most actions allowing you to wager extra influence on the dice roll by gambling the welfare of the crew, the ships hull or nemo’s own abilities. It has great theme and art, and has adventure events and encounters which change each game. It is very strategic in nature and over time you will learn its hidden depths, but it is tough to score highly. The best part of the game though is that has so many choices to make on the way, and the adventure story cards and nautilus upgrades are excellent so the small expansions for these are really welcome to add variety.

 

9. The 7th Continent – Serious Poulp (2017)

A solo or co-operative game where you investigate a strange island to solve a series of curses. This exploration game works by revealing a landscape map of cards as you move around the land, uncovering new areas, learning skills and crafting tools to help you. You will constantly be faced with decisions, which actions to take or objects to keep or use, and the game builds a storyline, with some of your decisions becoming permanent game changes. This design is amazingly clever, you can easily save your game to return later, and the rules seem relatively smooth to learn and play. Your life energy is a deck of action cards, which you deplete as you explore, making every decision vitally important as you never want to waste too much energy. This game contains many neat touches, from amusing you to making you sigh with desperation, and you will always be second guessing your decisions. There are 3 curse quests in the box, with more expansions available and whilst eventually knowing the terrain may reduce replay value, I have enjoyed restarting and seeing how it will all unfold a second time as there are elements that change the game each time. This is a clever and unique gaming experience which works best i think solo or with two players.

   

10. Gloom of Kilforth – Hall or Nothing (2017)

This card based fantasy adventure game sees heroes move around a map of 25 locations, encountering events, meeting strangers or fighting monsters, each character trying to complete their own quest line. At the end of their journey lies an ancient enemy plotting against them, and one that you must defeat, either cooperatively or competitively, to win the game. Time is precious though, as the locations are falling into gloom each night and when this takes over the whole map you will lose. The game distils a story about your hero into one game session, and as you play you will obtain new skills, items and spells, largely through encounters or competing quest stages, and each game offers up a different journey. The artwork in this game is truly amazing, the detail and effort that has gone into each card is very evident so that it is a real joy to own, and notably there are no side edge borders to reduce the view. To get the best from the game you need to use your imagination as you play to convert your encounters into a storyline, and for roleplayers this is an easy concept. In solo play you are able to use only one hero, which is a rarity.

Previously Owned Co-op Fantasy Adventure Games… due to space and funding restrictions i regularly trade out games to try newer ones, producing an ever changing favourites list, but one of these games may be right for you.

Legends of Andor /  Eldritch Horror – good co-operative survival games but replaced by Darkest Night 2nd Edition – i still highly recommend Eldritch Horror

Spirit Island – really clever co-op card game but can feel a little anti climatic at the end

Robinson Crusoe – great worker placement survival game with an exploratory feel, but really tough and a little on the complex side

Runebound 2nd – exploring adventures, replaced by Runebound 3rd edition

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game / Arkham Horror LCG – co-operative exploration card games, replaced by Lord of the Rings LCG & Thunderstone Quest

Xenoshyft Dreadmire / Aeon’s End – good card deckbuilding survival games but without adventure and exploration