Crusaders Games

Outdoor Adventures

This games list features co-operative outdoor adventuring and exploration, and often relies on using card decks, standees or tokens rather than expensive plastic miniatures. They may feature a static or a revealing map, but movement and encounters are important to uncover secrets and progress your character. These are generally my favourite games to solo play, and here are my current favourites :

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. 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 customisable using a skills tree, where you can decide whether to specialise in attacking, healing, worker management or gaining new special skills. You explore across the realms by turning over tiles, discovering locations, side quests, hazards, and creatures that will need to be defeated, 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 with no dice, and 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 especially amazing, with nice graphics, and the optional extra clear plastic slot trays are 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 fabulous, 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

3. 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

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

This is a wilderness adventure game where heroes travel across the 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 cards such as the dragon, undead and spiders quests. Expansions add new scenarios, adventure cards and character packs to make this game even more exciting. Runebound also provides one of the best solo play experiences too, offering an interactive challenge and story all together and with a high replay value. I 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 new and welcome solo and co-operative expansion was released in 2017 called ‘Unbreakable Bonds’ which really made this game even better.

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

A co-operative or solo adventure 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, it has so much variety. The game features a darkness tracker which builds tension and increases the difficulty as time progresses, but your hero adventuring will bring new powers or 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.

6. 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 distills 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.

 

7. Eldritch Horror – Fantasy Flights (2013)

The follow up to Arkham Horror, revisited as a more streamlined and quicker adventure to save the world from the evil of the ancient ones. Your investigators work together to close gates to other worlds and defeat monsters as the doom track edges ever nearer to the final showdown. Your characters will each tell their own story, as they undertake encounters across the world, trying to discover clues, or gain weapons, spells and skills to become stronger or better prepared. This game mixes storyline decisions and dice rolling, it builds up the pressure as the game progresses, before the usual hectic finale. The core box provides four ancient ones and twelve investigators using standees to choose from, but you may be wanting more story encounters after a while, so there are many expansions available, set in the icy mountains, egyptian pyramids or dreamlands, which add new theme and board areas to visit, and it has a lot of future replayability. As the character stories really need sharing to be at their best, it is most fun as a multiplayer experience, and it is often a tough game, but immensely enjoyable and well established.

8. 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 solo or with two players.

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

This is specifically designed for solo play and merges an adventure storyline with strategic battling against the ships which slowly fill the seas 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 its 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 whilst strategic in nature it also has adventure event stories and encounters which change each game to keep it fresh. This is a great but tough solo strategy experience with so many choices to be made on the way.

Previously Owned Fantasy Adventure Games…

Due to space and funding restrictions i regularly trade out games to fund and try newer ones, producing an ever changing favourites list, but one of these sold games may be right for you.

Runebound 2nd / Talisman 3rd / Mage Knight – exploring adventures, replaced by Runebound 3rd edition

Legends of Andor / Robinson Crusoe – co-operative survival adventures, replaced by Eldritch Horror and Darkest Night 2nd edition

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