One of the most popular games during my recent Summer Gaming Challenge was Tiny Epic Galaxies. This game scored so well thanks to the solo option, allowing me to play when everyone else was busy.
Tiny Epic Galaxies is an SF dice game designed by Scott Almes, published by Gamelyn Games. The page on the Gamelyn website describes the game as follows:
In Tiny Epic Galaxies, each player controls a galactic empire, aiming to expand their influence by acquiring highly contested planets and increasing their cosmic armada. The game revolves around an innovative dice-rolling combo mechanic. The number of dice you roll is determined by the strength of your galaxy. Each die is engraved with symbols representing the various actions you can take, such as moving a spaceship, increasing your culture or energy resources, or advancing your political or economic influence over newly discovered planets.
I enjoy gaming with the family, but they are not always available when I want to play. Solo games are particularly suited to my weekly games night, where Tiny Epic Galaxies has appeared many times. The challenge of playing a dedicated solo game makes me want to add a few more solo games to my collection.
In the solo version of Galaxies, the Player fights a rogue galaxy. There are five different rogue galaxies in the box, each on the back of a standard Player galaxy. These five rogue galaxies have a range of abilities, essentially building power faster at the higher levels. In this way, the solo game offers plenty of re-playability.
The crux of a genuine solo game is how the rules simulate an opponent. This is the difference between playing right hand vs left hand and a genuine solo game. In Galaxies, the rogue galaxies roll their dice one at a time, re-roll an unused die once, and employ special colony rules. The rogue galaxies upgrade once a certain amount of energy is accumulated and even earn bonus die rolls.
The standard victory conditions apply, with the rogue galaxy colonizing systematically through the planet cards. For an extra challenge, the rogue galaxies also have an automatic victory condition. The combination of threats and their speed of colonization make the rogue galaxies effective opponents. I have played many times, but the game remains close and I am not assured of winning.
The solo option is a great addition to Tiny Epic Galaxies. As I slowly ramp up the level of the rogue galaxy, I must play better each time. These solo games improve my strategy at the main game, yet are fun in their own right. Duration is about 30 minutes, which fits perfectly into my limited schedule. I plan to buy another game in the Tiny Epic series, but it has to have a solo option, as this greatly expands the utility and value of the game.