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Recommend a non-competitive lifestyle game?


I’m the sort of person who could really lose themselves in a lifestyle game, exploring the nuances of the system and exploring the meta and following developments. But I currently do not have such a game. Any recommendations? Some constraints:

  • Not a game where most of the fun is in competitive tournaments. In general, I don’t like competitive tournaments and don’t really get along with the people so concerned with winning (too many years of competitive math and ballroom). I know not all communities are like that, but it’s just a turnoff for me.

  • Can be played solitaire so I can enjoy it when other people are too busy to get together.

  • Ideally, the game provides strong narrative and/or is highly thematic. Unfortunately, I don’t find the themes of Arkham Horror: the Card Game and Lord of the Ring: the Card Game that interesting. (I know, I’ll turn in my geek credentials now.)

I’ve got Gloomhaven arriving next month. Any other games I should be aware of?


Dice Masters? Though probably not deep enough to really sink into it? On the plus side, it has more than one theme to choose.


I’ve not played it, but Legendary seems to fit your criteria. I don’t think it’s intended that way, but the Marvel version at least has enough expansions (and they don’t seem to be stopping) that it’s LCG-like.


If the theme of the new L5R reboot appeals to you, that might be worth a look. Complex, interesting and gorgeous, with the long tail and evolving meta of an LCG


Spirit Island sounds up your alley if you are a fan of Pandemic and want some more complexity. Great solo play. Cooperative game.


Oops and just realised I’d missed the very important “non-” part of the title!

7th Continent is getting a lot of play at our club (and has a reprint on kickstarter), and Mistfall is one of my favourite card driven adventure games that is just lovely solo and playable in campaign mode. Pandemic Legacy is a wonderful campaign that is highly recommend if you like Pandemic itself, but if you don’t enjoy the play of vanilla pandemic then it probably won’t change your mind. Finally, you already have GH to scratch the dungeon crawl itch, but failing that Massive Darkness /Zombicide or Descent (with app) are both incredibly polished and fun experiences that work well in a team or solo.


It’s probably not what you’re looking for, but something like Go would work.

I’ve noticed that the Go community (at least in the States) is much more inclusive and less competitive. There still is a worldwide tournament scene, but at the amateur level people are a lot more friendly. The new players are taught by the masters, and the masters are just happy that there are more people to play.

If you don’t have someone to play with, you can spend countless hours studying puzzles (Believe me!).

Unfortunately, it will fail on your last bullet point - it’s abstract. There’s a heavy wargame theme - dead bodies left on the battlefield, captured soldiers count against your score, etc. However, I don’t think that “theme” appeals to many people.

A substitute, though, I found, was delving into the historical aspect, anecdotal stories, and all of the other things around the game.

I know it’s a long shot, but I thought I’d just add this. Good luck!