Board games are a great way to spend an evening away from a TV or a computer screen, but most of them take at least two people to play. That’s why if you’re living alone you might think that board games just aren’t made for you. Fortunately, now you can buy a solo board game to play on your own. They offer no less variety than usual ones, so you’ll have a lot of options to choose from. In this article we have reviewed and ranked ten of the best ones that you may find the most interesting.
List of the best board games to play solo
Very high replay value
Extremely thematic, offers a highly immersive experience
Perfect for a single player
Spirit Island – A Great Thematic Medium Difficulty Game
- Suitable for 1 to 4 players
- Playing time ranges from 90 to 120 minutes
- Complex and thematic cooperative game
Spirit Island game brings the player to the land inhabited by spirits of all the natural things and asks you to defend this place from colonizers trying to take away your native land. As the game progresses, two forces face each other to decide who is going to rule over the whole island. Spirit Island offers great replayability with 8 spirits to play as (each one represents different forces of nature and has its own abilities) and several enemies to fight against. One game should take you from 1,5 to 2 hours depending on your skill and the level of difficulty chosen. This game is a great way to get yourself to know board games in general but also the one that will challenge your mind.
All in all, Spirit Island could be recommended as possibly the best solo euro board game that has found a balance between all sides of a board game.
- Highly thematic
- Very high replay value
- Medium difficulty
- Occasional issues with plastic packaging
Have tried lots of new games this year, but this one is the best. A challenging euro-style game with an interesting setting – two forces fighting over the limited territory. Well-balanced game mech, wonderful original characters, good quality of production. Would totally recommend both basic game and expansions.
This War of Mine: The Board Game – Best Story-Driven Survival Game
- This War Of Mine: The Board Game is the table top adaptation of the award-winning video game that pictures the drama of civilians trapped in a war-torn city
- TWOM: The Board Game features a multiplayer experience for up to 6 players, as well as a solo variant
- Experience the simulation of a struggle for survival as a group of civilians facing a blind and merciless war
- 45 to 120 Minutes Playing Time
- Ages 18+
Adapted from a survival video game, This War of Mine: The Board Game is a highly thematic representation of the struggles of civilians in a war-torn city. In a besieged and destroyed city, a small group of people is trying to survive and preserve the last remaining members of humanity. At first, it might be hard to understand – there is no actual rulebook for this game, only a story that you follow, but, surprisingly enough, this approach has proven to work. Thanks to this, This War of Mine: The Board Game can be the best 45 minutes solo board game, or it can last for more than 2 hours – this depends on your choices. What makes it even better is that its basic option is solo, with multiplayer being only a side variant. Note: due to its content this game is strictly 18+.
To sum up, This War of Mine: The Board Game is not only great because of the immersive storytelling, but is one of the best solo war board games on this list.
- Extremely thematic, offers a highly immersive experience
- Well-designed graphics
- Perfect for a single player
- Rules presented in an unusual and potentially confusing way
This isn’t what you expect from a cooperative game, yet it’s incredible. Nothing like any board game I’ve ever played. The world is gloomy and violent. Small achievements mean a lot. You’ve only found some food for your group to eat, but it means everything. Great visual design. Absolutely recommend.
Onirim – An Easy and Beautiful Solitare-like Game For One
- This new version of Onirim includes a total of seven expansions
- 1 to 2 players
- 15 minutes playtime
- For ages 10 and up
Set in a mysterious labyrinth, Onirim game is just like a classical Solitaire, but with a little bit more background and fun. The storyline behind it is simple: you trapped in a labyrinth full of nightmarish creatures that will try their hardest to not let you find the final door that will let you out. It is suitable for 2 players but obviously designed for one. Game rules are easy to grasp (especially if you know how to play other card games), and every game promises to be short but exciting – usually around 15 minutes in time. Beautified by original illustrations, this game is a perfect replacement of its card ancestor. If you aren’t sure if you like it, there is a mobile version of Onirim that you can also try.
Overall, if you want a simple and aesthetically pleasing replacement for a usual card game like Solitare – simple and elegant, Onirim is one of the best card board games that can be played solo and it would probably be a good one to buy.
- Beautiful illustrations
- Easy to learn how to play
- Perfectly suitable for solo playing
- Might be boring
Great solo game. Simple to learn, hard to master. The key is to try different strategies and see how they work. After playing base game for some time, found out that expansions are quite interesting too. With these replayability grows even better. The mobile app works great too. Highly recommend.
Gloomhaven – Legendary Epic-sized Combat Game
- For 1-4 players; ages 12+; 60-120 minute playing time
- A game of Euro-inspired tactical Combat in a persistent world of shifting motive
- A game with a persistent and changing world that is ideally played over many game sessions
A top-selling game considered to be the best solo dungeon crawl board game, Gloomhaven has a reputation of the “Dungeons and Dragons” but without the role-playing part of it. Its size and weight (over 20 pounds) clearly hints that you should prepare to invest a lot of time into reading the rulebook and trying to understand the game itself, but the result – a whole world constantly developing right on your table – totally worth it. Gloomhaven changes with every decision you make, and every new game is based on the previous one, with more than a hundred hours of possible gameplay in total. Unlike DnD, this game is perfect for a single player and does not require playing a 50-hour “campaign” non-stop – you can put it aside after an hour or two an get back to it anytime.
To sum up, Gloomhaven is one of the best solo board games ever that would impress everyone – if not with its gaming qualities, then at least with the size and complexity of it.
- A unique game mechanics that create a world responding to every decision made by a player
- More than 90 different mission available
- “Legacy system” that gives 100+ hours of gameplay in total
- Relatively simple and understandable rulebook
- Extremely high complexity
- High price
Scythe – A Great Highly Replayable Strategy
- A board game set in an alternate history 1920s period
- It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor
- 1 to 5 Players
- 115 minutes playtime
- Game board measures 24.56 x 32.20 inches
Set in the alternative history Europe of the 1920s, Scythe quickly became one of the most popular strategy board games. Well-balanced, the game has it all: an interesting setting, a comprehensible set of rules, nice design and enough replayability to well worth the money spent on it. Scythe was mainly criticized for having players take turns without interacting with each other, but it is obvious that a solo player will avoid this problem. Though it is often reported to be too difficult for beginners and medium-level players, these who can master its complexity admire Scythe a lot. According to the creators of the game, it takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes to play, though players report an average playing time a bit longer. The setting and storyline of Scythe turned out so great that two years after the board game came out it was adapted as a video game.
To sum up, Scythe is a great balanced game that deserves to be given a chance, especially if you feel comfortable with its complexity level.
- Turn-less gameplay that makes game dynamics smoother and quicker
- Well-balanced in every aspect
- Perfect for solo playing
- Complexity above the average, might be confusing for beginner players
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on The Cursed Island – An Award-winning Survival Bestseller
- Game of the Year edition of award winning bestseller
- Brand new stunning cover
- Art created by industry legend Vincent Dutrait
- 1 to 4 players, ages 14 and up
This game uses great storytelling and superb visuals to emulate the atmosphere of being isolated on an island, in which players have to cooperate with each other to explore the island and survive. This feeling is complemented by great character and location illustrations and aesthetically pleasing tokens that are made out of real wood. An average game takes from 1 to 2 hours of gameplay, but the story only starts unravelling after you make several attempts to win. The game is considered quite difficult, so it might be better to choose it if you’re an experienced player.
All in all, it’s a perfect game for those who like “win or lose” game situations and want to challenge themselves. This might be the best solo player campaing board game.
- Very immersive, captivating storytelling and design
- Great game mechanics
- High replayability
- Keeps player under a stress throughout the game, hard to win
- Due to the difficulty level might not be suitable for beginners
Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition – Best RPG Fantasy Board Game
- The critically acclaimed, award winning Mage Knight board game combines elements of RPGs, deckbuilding, and traditional board games while capturing the rich history of the Mage Knight universe.
- Now, after wowing solo game players and groups of up to 5, this Ultimate Edition brings it all together in a self-contained gaming experience.
- The Ultimate Edition includes the original base game plus all three expansions: The Lost Legion, Krang, and Shades of Tezla. It features comprehensive integrated rules text, 5 all-new cards, alternate paint jobs, and a great price that cant be beat!This is the Ultimate Edition fans have waited for!
Ordering Mage Knight game you’ll get a huge box full of cards and chips of all shapes and sizes – so many of these that you might think it would take forever to understand the rules of the game itself. Actually, the overwhelming number of pieces does make it harder to get into the game, but playing experience is rewarding enough to compensate for it. Though there might be an issue for those who don’t like to wait – this game requires a lot of preparation, and experienced players even recommend watching a few tutorial videos on YouTube before you start because a single rulebook might not be enough.
All in all, Mage Knight could be the best solo RPG board game, and it would totally suit the taste of someone who likes complicated but exiting games set in a carefully build fantasy world.
- High replayability
- Excellent visual design
- Complex rules that may be hard to comprehend
- One scenario takes several hours to play
- Occasional problems with cardboard and plastic packaging
Friday – A Short Solo Adventure Game
- 1-player game
- Takes about 30 minutes to play
- Unique and fun
In this game you are playing as Robinson’s faithful companion, aiming to improve his qualities via small victories and defeats before the final battle. Each card represents one personal quality – positive or negative – of your friend, and the player’s goal is to get rid of the negative qualities and collect all the good ones in a single sack in order to have better chances against the final boss – the pirates. Friday is another Solitare-like game, but this one is created for one player only. This simple board game takes around half an hour to play, but time hugely depends on which of 4 difficulty levels you choose. Of course, just as any card game it has a great replay value – every time a player starts with a random set of cards, which means almost limitless possible combinations.
Overall, Friday may be the best solo adventure board game for beginners – it is small, simple, and it proves that sometimes less is more, although it has some issues that would be noticed by an experienced player.
- Designed for solo playing
- Unbalanced difficulty
- Game mechanics might be hard to understand
Arkham Horror – Card Game in Horror Mystery Setting
- A living card game of eldritch mystery or 1 to 2 players (or upto 4 with 2 core sets)
- Blurs the line between the traditional card gaming and role playing experiences
- Players assume the roles of unique investigators marked by specific strengths and weakness
- Investigators are opposed by the challenges from adventure specific encounter decks
- Campaign rules grant additional depth to your decisions and allows you to “level up” your deck between adventures
This game is based on classic Lovecraftian horror stories and it asks you to investigate mysterious cases in Arkham. As you choose your character and difficulty level, your mission begins. Although you may encounter your first obstacle before even getting into the game – the rulebook of Arkham Horror game has some flaws an could be hard to understand. Nevertheless, the game itself is moderately difficult and takes 1-2 hours to finish. According to the majority of reviews, Arkham Horror The Card Game turned out to be much better than its predecessor – Arkham Horror board game.
To conclude, Arkham Horror is quite good, but it is hardly the best horror board game to play solo – it would only worth buying it if you especially like horror mysteries of this kind or the way this particular game is designed.
- Generally fun
- Well-designed visual component
- Rules are hard to comprehend
- Questionable replayability
Terraforming Mars – A Unique Sci-fi Board Strategy
- Compete for different milestones and awards worth many VPS
- Over 200 different projects to complete
- 1 to 5 players ages 12 and up
Set in the 25th century, this game is exploring one of the most captivating topics – colonizing space and bringing human life straight to Mars. Player chooses a Corporation set on Earth that will lead humanity to a new planet. With a special set of rules for a solo variant, this board game can be played in less than 2 hours – however, the replayability allows you to play it again and again. Unfortunately, a great game is ruined by one fatal flaw – terribly low quality of its components that seems to be left without any sufficient improvements in every new edition of the game.
To conclude, although there are some players who enjoy Terraforming Mars, this isn’t the best solo fantasy board game and you can find some better space-themed ones.
- Captivating and fun
- Extremely poor component quality
- Overly high price
The process of choosing a solo board game is a bit different from that of choosing a multiplayer one. People don’t expect a group of friends sitting around a coffee table and taking turns but rather try to find something they would enjoy on their own. Thus, some games turn better or worse if you judge them by their single-player option. For example, if the game’s main critique is that it doesn’t make players interact with each other, that it’s obvious that it would work almost flawlessly in a solo version.
If you don’t know how to choose a particular solo board game, use the following tips to understand the way these games work and find the one that suits your tastes. First of all, consider what kind of game appeals to you. They all may look the same to the beginner, but there are several main types and genres. Most of the games can be divided into two groups: card and board ones, with the main item of the first group being various cards, while second use maps of boards and tokens, dices and so on. Card games are usually compact and quick, while board games require more time and are bigger in size.
As for genres, there are cooperative and competitive games (also known as euro and American-style ones), strategies, adventures, survival games, dungeon crawlers and so on, but all of these words are made to explain one thing – gameplay. So, if these terms mean nothing to you, it’s better to simply watch a gameplay video of the game you are interested in and decide whether you want to buy it.
Another thing to keep in mind is the difficulty level. The best way to get to know it for sure is to find a digital rulebook. The idea here is that if you read the rules and don’t understand them, then you probably wouldn’t enjoy the game much. You can also read Amazon product reviews to see what other buyers think about the game and its difficulty.
The last thing to take into account is the time one game lasts. This could be from 15 minutes to several hours, so choose whatever is more convenient for you. Don’t forget that one game “campaign” includes not only gameplay time itself, but also all the time spent preparing and reviewing the list of rules.
Can I play these games on my own only or they have multiplayer versions?
Most of the games (except Friday) have two sets of rules – solo and multiplayer ones. The difference is that some of the games work better in the solo version (for example, This War of Mine or Solitare-like games), while others (like Robinson Crusoe) originated as multiplayer ones and were then transmitted into a single-player mode.
Why the price is so high?
There are several reasons why a game can seem to be overly expensive. Often the game you want to buy may be out of production (usually due to the development of the new edition). In this case, you can wait for some time until the game is back to production or find another retailer. Some game pieces can also be expensive because of their complexity and the sheer number of high quality components included in each set.
Why there are several different-priced versions of this game?
First, one game may have several editions – the latest are usually priced higher than the earliest. Second, games almost always come with extensions (usually up to 10), so base game often times cheaper than a full pack. All in all, the price of the game is up to the retailer.
What do I expect to see inside the game box?
Depending on the game, it may include cards, boards, tokens of various shapes and sizes, dices, and miniatures. These are usually made of cardboard, plastic, or wood. The only part that is present in every game set is a rulebook, which is the main guideline that will let you know how to play. Sellers often have photos of the box insides or even a whole chart representing everything that is included in game set.
Do I have to prepare before starting to play?
This highly depends on the game. Some games (e.g. This War of Mine: The Board Game) expect you to start playing without any preparations, some (Solitare-like games) are based on the rules that you probably already know. The majority of medium-difficulty games require reading a rulebook and possibly playing a training scenario. The hardest ones (e.g. Gloomhaven and Mage Knight) are almost impossible to start without reading a lot of rules and watching a few tutorial videos on YouTube.
How We Tested
Our article is based on Amazon buyers’ reviews as well as our own conclusions for each of the products on the list. We analyzed the strongest and the weakest sides of each solo board or card game, the flaws that would make the playing process less enjoyable and unique qualities that make each game stand out among the others.
One of the most important issues that is rarely covered by game reviews was whether the game is actually suitable for one player and how good this option is, compared to multiplayer.
Other important factors included difficulty, replayability, game mechanics, thematics, packaging and component quality, visual design, and current price. Based on these, we have ranked 10 games according to how good they are in our opinion and decided whether it worth buying each one.
Each game in the ranking is followed by a review that describes the style, setting, storyline, game mechanics, rulebook, difficulty level and unique qualities of every board game. Every review was based on the information from three sources – official data from the company producing the game, reviews from actual buyers, and our own experience. After reviewing every game we have made our conclusion on whether we can recommend buying it and made a list of pros and cons of every game set described in a short form in order to make it easier for the reader to make a decision on their own.
Overall, board game developers are starting to create solo options for their most famous games, and considering the progress they have already made it could be expected that soon there are going to much more options to play on your own. For now, this is the list of board games we consider the best.