My (probably, maybe) second most-played solo game currently is one of dice, cards, and worker placement. Designed by Tony Go and released by Tau Leader (in very small print runs, it seems, though one can print-and-play), Deep Space D-6 packs a lot of game into a very small package. One of several tiny boards with illustrated ships, explanations of their features, countdown tracks for hull and shield health, and placement areas for worker dice sits in front of the player. To the right of the players ship, tiny threat cards are added every turn, and positioned to indicate their health. The player rolls their crew dice for the turn and assigns them to various attack and defense roles. Worker actions are taken, then a die is rolled to see which, if any, enemies activate and attack on that turn.
The fact that an enemy (almost) always appears, and that there is no guarantee your workers will be able to take out all or any of the attacking enemies gives the game an almost tower-defense sort of vibe in addition to its core worker-placement mechanic. Crew dice will occasionally (one out of six times, I suppose) roll threats as well, which are held until they reach a threshold, bringing another threat out immediately. This, plus the fact that certain cards take crew dice out of the game temporarily (into the infirmary) means that getting what you need out of your crew can be hit-or-miss. Typically, there are one or two ways to reroll dice, mitigating luck a bit, while adding chances for more threat dice to appear.
The commercial version of the game comes with four ships, all interesting in their own way, and some slightly more difficult than others. All in all, the game is pretty well-balanced and not tremendously difficult. I kind of wish there was more in the way of decision-making; it’s usually pretty obvious what you need to do, and whether or not enough enemies are piling up to warrant re-rolling for attack dice. Damn, if it isn’t fun, though. It’s fun to roll the dice, to move them around on the board, to watch attacking enemy ships start piling up and then to take them out with one good attack roll. An absolute joy to play, and I find it in front of me increasingly often these days.