We need a backup game . My game group had to cancel another session on Friday, due to very understandable real life issues. We had enough notice to cancel the session completely– but that left us at loose ends.
One solution for missing players, though one we didn’t feel good about implementing on Friday, is just to run one player short. We’ve done it a few times in this campaign, and it has worked out pretty well. If your campaign is flexible enough– or if you ended the last session in a location where one character can go missing for a while– playing short one person can be a good solution.
My wife is an enthusiastic gamer; she was very disappointed that we weren’t going to have a chance to hack things for the night. Now that I look back (with the advantage of hindsight), there’s a game on the shelf for two players that we’ve been meaning to play since I gave it to her for Valentine’s Day: Breaking the Ice . Of course, even if I’d remembered it, I don’t know if it would have filled her end of week hack quota. It’s different enough that I suspect it wouldn’t scratch the right itch.
If I wasn’t running the primary game already, I’d think about running a consistent backup game– probably Spirit of the Century. [You’ll notice that was my suggestion in a comment in the post above.] Maybe I’ll in a month or so, once I complete producing PTA for my other group. I hear that In a Wicked Age  is also good for a one session short story.
There’s enough casual interest in 4e in my group that it’d be cool to run through Keep on the Shadowfell (or something similar) on short nights. With the prepared pregens and a casual enough attitude toward character ownership [say, freely switching among the characters night to night], it’d be a perfect pickup game. It might be a little difficult to bring people up to speed in the middle of the adventure… but I bet we could manage.
Do you have a suggestion for a good backup that we should try? As a group, we’re most familiar with D&D3.5 and WEG StarWars, though we’ve played Shadowrun 3rd recently. Do you think a simple game like Cat  would work, even though we haven’t played it before?