Spent entirely too long last night looking at videos for "adventure" board games after looking at the rules for Mage Knight. I was hoping there were a few that were similar to Return of the Heroes but many of them are either "cooperate against the evil" (Gloomhaven, Legends of Andor, Shadows of Malice, etc.) or require one of the players to act as a GM (Descent et al).
The closest I came up with was HEXplore It, but that was still a "cooperatively defeat the evil" sort of game. What I would love is something like Space Empires 4X, where you have a bunch of tiles that need uncovering and quests that can be managed by your characters. You could create scenarios with certain tiles needing to be in certain spaces and such. Basically a rogue-like in board-game form using the format of a war game with quests.
I then looked at solo roleplaying. I've seen Mythic, but the GM emulator in there didn't click with me out of the gate. I'd need to look at it deeper, but that hasn't materialized yet.
I then looked at IronSworn. This is the closest I've seen to what I want in Solo RPGs. Going to give this a read-through and see if it pans out, but it's the most promising one yet.
But that makes me wonder if there's still some space in this arena for the "fantasy map game that isn't miniatures".
So this isn't so much a request for games like this (assuming there aren't any because I couldn't find any in an evening of research) but I'm wondering if I'm just reinventing GM-less Dungeons and Dragons with tiles and if something like IronSworn would scratch that itch.
I did add some games to my wishlist / tradelist. Unfortunately a lot of these games can be rather expensive, and I'm holding off on picking any up until I play through the games I already have (Space Empires 4X for instance)
More investigation needed.
(Of course what I'd really love is something that used Fudge or Fate for this, but I fear I would have to write it).