Whoa. In my wheelhouse, this.
Full disclosure: I’ve been part of the Solitaire PnP contest run on the BGG forums for several years now, as well as several others. I’ll be running the Children’s Game Contest from this year forward, and likely acting as an assistant organizer for the solo contest to help out the new point person, Caroline Berg, too.
That said, I feel weird promoting my own stuff, so if you want check out anything I’ve designed, you’ll have to hunt it down on BGG. I’m bgarthwaite over there.
Anyway, here’s a somewhat random, hastily assembled list of PnP games (that I haven’t designed) worth looking into. Some of these I know from having printed and played, others by reputation.
12 Patrols by Scott Czysz
Agent Decker by Manuel Correia
Black Sonata by John Kean
Crystallo by Liberty Kifer
Disloyal Royals by Brad Perry
Fallen Angels by John Kean
Guildhaven City by Mike Heim
Maquis by Jake Staines
Mechanical Beast by Ben Morayta
Mr. Cabbagehead’s Garden by Todd Sanders
Orchard: A 9-Card Solitaire Game by Mark Tuck
Pocket Landship by Scott Czysz
Raging Bulls by Mark Tuck
Royal Espionage by Rachel Bruner
Seasons of Rice by Corry Damey
Under Falling Skies by Tomas Uhlir
In addition to the annual solo contest, there are or have been contests focused on 9-card games, 18-card games, games that fit inside a mint tin, 54-card-only games, 2-player games, roll and write games, games to play with your kids, and more. Dig and ye shall find.
Want to do a really deep dive? John Kean’s been maintaining a geeklist of all of the winners of the various forums contests hosted on BGG. Good luck!
Chris Hansen runs the Print and Play Games News blog, tracking all of the free PnP games available through the BoardGameGeek site. So. Many. Free. Games.
My sincere apologies if any of these are no longer free PnPs. Every so often something gets picked up for publication and the files disappear.
ALSO! The PnP community tends to attract folks who just like making games for the sake of doing so. If you enjoy a game by a certain designer, there’s a fair chance that something else of theirs will tickle you, too.