Best Solo Board Games
We all need a little ‘me’ time now and again. As brilliant as gaming with friends is, it can be just as satisfying to take on a solo challenge. Single player games are a great way to kick back, relax and flex the old grey matter. Just think of it as a super-healthy workout — for your brain!
So why not ‘stretch’ the imagination, ‘warm up’ your creative muscles, and ‘run’ through the possibilities to solo player victory, with any (or all) of our great picks below –
Suitable for co-op groups or solo players, What Next mixes decision and consequence fuelled choices with physical mini-challenges for a fun and unique take. There are 60 physical mini-games ranging from the wacky to the inventive - so plenty to keep you on your toes. Every success will take you one step closer to victory... but every wrong choice can see things turn perilous fast!
An ancient evil awaits you, can you rise to the challenge?
In our opinion, one of the best solo card games on the market. Playing alone significantly ups the tension compared to playing with a friend, for an experience that’s part card game and part role play. Put on your investigator hat and battle the ancient ones to unravel mysteries and conspiracies alike.
We admit this might not be the most straightforward option on our list, but if you’re looking for something a little more challenging, this is a good one to really get your teeth into – providing nothing gets its teeth into you first! The fate of the world depends on you…no pressure.
Get ready to skirmish your way to success
A superb standalone that works as an introduction to the world of Gloomhaven. Easy to pick up and get started, less experienced gamers will find this a fantastic pathway to the original Gloomhaven game. Rich world-building, an excellent narrative, and a rule system that’s so well oiled you can slide straight in without so much as breaking a mental sweat.
Looking to get started with tactical skirmish-themed campaigns? This is one of the best single-player games out there for beginners to the genre.
Because all the best things come in small packages
Think you’d make a great town planner? Feeling the urge to hold dominion over your own tiny territory? If so, we recommend Tiny Towns. Construction themed fun in one of the best solo board games available, take your patch of the board, and create a thriving land using available resources.
Different buildings offer different ways to increase your score, so this works well for players wanting something with a bit of strategy that won’t feel too complex. In this player pattern-building game, prosperity is the goal, but be warned – with great power comes great responsibility – even if it is on a miniature scale.
We’re feeling pretty clever with this addition
For those of you looking for a quick game that will challenge your brain, this is the one to go for. Quick play makes it ideal for those short periods of downtime between other games. Ganz Schon Clever (or That’s Pretty Clever) is a dice game that relies on more than just the luck of the throw. Rack up points by creating high-scoring chains and sequences to claim victory. Minimal setup and few assembly requirements make it easily transportable as well.
Cool, colourful, and super simple to master, but with every choice counting towards your final score, we think this is a fantastic option for fans of Yahtzee and similar games.
You won’t find the sandman in this dream world
In our humble opinion, probably one of the best solo card games and certainly one of the most imaginatively designed. Stunning, whimsical artwork is a key feature in this adventure through a labyrinth-like landscape of dreams. Search the world for the doors that will lead to your escape but watch out for nightmarish foes trying to thwart you. Time is of the essence so make sure to choose your cards wisely and avoid penalties.
With possibly the hands-down best card design of any game in this list, this is one of our personal favourites.
They didn’t have Google maps back in those days
Scout unchartered territories, reclaim important lands, cement your reputation and earn yourself the gratitude of the infamous Queen Gimnax – all in a day's work for the most revered cartographer in the world, right? Good for solo player RPG as well as group sessions, Cartographers has a distinctly ‘classic fantasy’ feel that will appeal to fans of Dungeons and Dragons.
A light to medium complexity rating means this is another good option for less experienced RPG gamers. We would recommend this one for the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon at home. Pure escapism!
Roll up; roll up for a little nostalgia
Who doesn’t love something with little retro flare? We may have slipped in a mention for this one earlier in the list, but we thought it’d be appropriate to give it a slot all of its own. After all, when you’re talking about classic board games, you can never go wrong with Yahtzee.
Solitaire is the solo version and has such a nostalgic vibe to it that we can’t help but love it. Playing it reminds us of childhood holidays and cosy winter nights with the family. With the most minimal setup and equipment required, all you really need are your dice, and you’re good to go! Budget friendly and a great game choice for travelling too – a 'commute to work' Solitaire Yahtzee league anyone?
Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games
The intrepid adventurer in you will no doubt enjoy this journey through the deepest, darkest depths of the Amazon jungle. With survival as your ultimate objective, you’ll test your mettle against the forces of nature. Based on the novel by Percy Fawcett, a richly imagined jungle setting will see you pit your wits against wildlife, plant life, and foes alike.
For younger players, this has a treasure hunter-style feel. Meanwhile, players born before 1995 may have to fight the urge to yell "Jumanji!" at the end of each round. Honestly, we tried not to, but we really couldn't help ourselves. Pitfalls and traps lurk around every corner - and don’t forget to watch out for poisonous snakes - amongst other dangers. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
The science of great solo play
Fancy yourself the next Galileo or Isaac Newton? This one works super well as a single-player adventure, mainly because the rules for solo and group play are pretty much the same! One of the more immersive picks on our list, this game works well when you have plenty of time to yourself and fancy a little light-hearted escapism.
Dust off those textbooks and put your mind to work to travel the continent gathering research. Your quest for scientific fame starts here and, with plenty of options for game direction, who knows where your studies will lead.
No need to be sheepish, farm your way to victory
Although Agricola is pitched as a game for 2 to 4 players, it does have a solo player mode which works really well. Grow and strengthen your farm, breed your livestock and harvest your crops to gain victory points. Farm workers provide the backbone of your agricultural operation, just don’t forget to feed them as well as your animals, or you may have a slew of hungry employees on your hands.
A strategy board game, this offers a multitude of scenarios and ways to develop your very own homestead. A number of available expansions also mean you can turn your hand to other areas of farming life, to see just how big your operation can grow. We’ll see you at the farmers market!
Control your fate and rebuild your world
Last but by no means least, one of the most popular and well loved engine-building games brings a whole new level of immersion to solo play. Admittedly one of the more in-depth picks on our list; this is the game to treat yourself to if you’re looking for stunning visuals and a gaming experience worthy of a board game connoisseur.
Part fantasy, part alternative history and part science fiction, this game will see you play your way to prestige and power, in an alternative 1920s era world where resources mean the difference between success and failure. In our opinion, well worth the investment for the hours and hours of play this game offers. Oh, and did we happen to mention how beautiful this game looks? By far some of the best artwork out there, so display this on your shelf in full view!
As you can see, when it comes to solo player games, there are plenty of choices out there, with something for every ability and level of experience. All of us need to have a little time away from the stresses and challenges of the week, so make sure you carve some time for yourself into your schedule. Whether you have got a whole day to explore new worlds or just a spare hour or two to dive into something new, you can thank yourself for it later!