This week is the week of small yet enticing board games. At the moment, there are several quick and charming games that look like they would be quite enjoyable solo. Plus, the price is right—all of these campaigns offer a game for under $25, including shipping.
1. Fire in the Library
Fire in the Library is a charming filler game that happens to be about my worst nightmare—a library in flames. Your job is to rescue as many books from the fire as possible, both to score points and to be a decent human being. This game has fun push-your-luck mechanics, in that the more you push when trying to rescue books on your turn, the more the fire can spread. You also have to make decisions about how and when to use tools to mitigate the fire. When will you push your luck? Which books will you ultimately save? Also, the solo mode will involve competition against AI players, which means that one-player games will be a bit more robust than the typical beat-your-own-score affair.
They say that the early bird gets the worm. But in Songbirds, the loudest birds get the berries. In this beautifully illustrated card game, you are a forest spirit who prefers a particular color of songbird—and who will try to stack rows and columns with high-scoring birds of your preferred color to ensure that your beloved birdies are well fed. This game looks quick, simple, and charming—but also strategic enough to provide a challenge. The solo variant of this game involves a beat-your-high-score race for victory points, but I think it looks like a relaxing way to spend a few minutes on a busy evening.
3. Cat Rescue
If hungry little birds weren't enough for you, then there is also Cat Rescue. This game is a cooperative effort to save and adopt adorable shelter cats. The draw deck represents cats you are pulling in from the street, and your "shelter" is a 4x4 grid on the game table. You can make cats eligible for adoption by arranging the grid to create rows or columns of matching cat cards. The game ends either when you empty the draw deck or when one foster home is overrun by more than three cats. This is another game where you are going for the most victory points, but again, it looks quick and relaxing—and really cute.