Best Solo Board Games 2021 – Top 20 One Player Recommendations

 
The shared experience of playing games with friends and family around a table is what attracts many people to the hobby of board games…….

But what do we do when we don’t have the option of, or don’t simply feel like, playing games with other people – due to scheduling conflicts, or social distancing during a pandemic, for instance – but still have that desire to sit at a table with cardboard, cubes, and dice?

Luckily, there are many incredible one person board games out there for solo gameplay. If this is something you are looking for, here are 20 of the best games that either offer a solo mode or are designed to be played primarily solo.

1. Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island – A cooperative survival game

You’ve been washed ashore a deserted island, and now you must struggle to survive as you explore, find food, build shelter and tools, and overcome tragic and unimaginable strokes of misfortune.

Surviving a round of Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island, designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek, is no easy task, but if you are up for the challenge, you are in for one memorable journey.

Robinson Crusoe Adventures of the Cursed Island board game box cover

Game Type
Thematic, Action Queue,
Cooperative, Dice
Rolling, Hexagon Grid,
Adventure, Fighting,
Novel-Based, Solitaire,
Worker Placement
Play Time
60 - 120 mins
Skill/Complexity (4 - 5)
Medium - Heavy
Age
14+
Publisher(s)
Portal Games and others
Published
2012
Categories
Strategy
Players
1 - 4
Cost
$49.99 approx
Our Rating
9/10

Robinson Crusoe is a cooperative survival game in which players take turns sending action pawns to complete tasks on a main game board in attempt to survive and ultimately succeed at the win conditions for a given scenario (of which there are several included in the game).

While Robinson Crusoe can be played multiplayer, it also includes a solo mode with very few additional rules. With the additional help from a dog and Friday, which provide two additional (and less powerful) player pawns, a player tries to succeed at the scenario objective as they would in a normal multiplayer game.

What makes Robinson Crusoe a good solo board game is its theme; the sense of survival, adventure, and isolation on a deserted island feels fitting for a solo gaming experience.

The main drawback to the game to be aware of, however, is that it is quite a large game to set up, and has a fairly complicated ruleset (the game weight is around medium – heavy). Because of these factors, the first few games can take quite a bit of time to get through due to figuring out the flow of the game and having to consult the rulebook frequently.

Available @ Amazon »

2. Friday – Solo-only deck-building game

If you are attracted to the theme of Robinson Crusoe – stranded on an island and struggling to survive – but are looking for something a little easier to set up and get going, then Friday is one to look into.
Friday game box cover

Game Type
Adventure, Card Game,
Novel-based, Pirates,
Deck Building, Push Your Luck,
Solo/Solitaire Game
Play Time
25 mins
Skill/Complexity (2.2 - 5)
Light - Medium
Age
13+
Publisher(s)
Rio Grande and Others
Published
2011
Categories
Strategy
Players
1 person
Cost
$19.99 approx
Our Rating
8.3/10

Friday, designed by Friedemann Friese, is a solo-only deck-building game that comes in a small box. The goal of Friday is to survive through three stages of difficulty in a hazard deck, and then finally defeat two randomly-selected pirate ships at the end of the game.

The unique aspect of Friday is that once a player succeeds at a hazard card by drawing cards from their deck, that hazard card is flipped upside down and added to the player’s deck, which increases their skills and abilities for future hazards.

While Friday is easy to learn, it is definitely a challenging game to win by trying to build an efficient deck (and remove cards that are less efficient). Given the small box size and table footprint, this game would be a good fit for travel and carrying in a backpack.

Available @ Amazon »

3. Glass Road – Great resource-management game

As someone in the glass-making business in the Bavarian Forest, you have many things to manage to keep your business running successfully, such as building buildings, cutting down forests, managing resources, and producing glass. Luckily, you have a team of specialists at your disposal who can help make each of these aspects of business life on the Glass Road a little easier.

Glass Road board game box cover

Game Type
City Building, Economic,
Medieval, Card Drafting,
Tile Placement
Play Time
20 - 80 mins
Skill/Complexity (3 - 5)
Medium
Age
13+
Publisher(s)
Mayfair and Others
Published
2013
Categories
Strategy
Players
1 - 4
Cost
$59.99 approx
Our Rating
8.2/10

Glass Road, designed by Uwe Rosenburg, is a resource-management game in which a deck of player cards allows a player to perform a number of actions. For instance, a player can play a card to buy a building to place on their player board, which can provide ongoing and one-time abilities, or end game scoring bonuses.

Resources are a crucial aspect of the game, and the game features a unique resource wheel for keeping track of these resources. This wheel is designed in such a way that glass and brick are automatically produced on one side of the wheel when other resources move along the other side of the wheel.

In the solo version of the game, a player picks a certain number of cards from their deck as determined by the round number of the game (the game comes with a solo play round tracker for this purpose). Then, they shuffle those cards and randomly draw them one-by-one, and can only choose one of the two listed benefits. Once only two cards remain, they look at them both and decide which of the two to use; the other gets discarded.

The game is a “beat-your-own-score” solo game, so there are no winning or losing conditions.

The solo mode of Glass Road plays relatively quick, and may be a good fit for someone looking for an efficiency puzzle experience in a short amount of time. The solo mode does have a push-your-luck feel as well due to the random draw of cards, which is something a player must take into consideration when planning for the round.

If you prefer a game with a clear winning condition, then this may not be a good fit for you; but if you like the challenge of beating your own score (or other players’ online), this may be a good fit for you.

Available @ Amazon »

4. Wingspan – Medium-weight engine building game

Birds, gorgeous artwork, and an incredible table presence with multicolored eggs, a birdfeeder dice tower, and colorful player boards; this is what a lot of people think of when they think about the award-winning game Wingspan, designed by Elizabeth Hargrave.

Wingspan board game box cover

Game Type
Animals, Card Game,
Educational, Card Drafting,
Dice Rolling, Drafting,
End Game Bonuses
Play Time
40 - 70 mins
Skill/Complexity (2.5 - 5)
Medium
Age
10+
Publisher(s)
Stonemaier Games and
Others
Published
2019
Categories
Strategy / Family
Players
1 - 5
Cost
$59.99 approx
Our Rating
9.2/10

The main idea of Wingspan is that players are trying to have the best aviary by the end of the game by attracting certain birds of different species into three different habitats on their game board, each of which can provide points as well as provide ongoing bonuses when activated.

In the solo mode, a player attempts to get a higher score than the Automa (AI) player over four rounds. On the Automa’s turn, the player flips over a card from the Automa deck and then resolves an action that alters the gameplay or presents an obstacle for the player, as well as provides the Automa points for the player to strive to beat by the end of the game.

If you are looking for a medium-weight card game with a sense of engine building, a solo mode that is easy to learn yet quite challenging, and top-notch production quality, then Wingspan may be worth your time. Due to its lovable theme and strong table presence, it can certainly be an easy game to get to the table once you are able (or feel like the need) to play with other people.

Available @ Amazon »

5. Teotihuacan: City of Gods – Heavy euro game experience – if you’re up for it?

If you are looking for a heavy euro game experience, but in solo form, then look no further than the award-winning Teotihuacan: City of Gods.

To be successful at Teotihuacan, you will need to achieve the most fame by planning several turns in advance, analyzing options on the board, and making efficient decisions – all to achieve everlasting glory.

Teotihuacan City of Gods board game box cover

Game Type
Ancient Theme,
Area Movement, Solo/Solitaire,
Tile Placement, Worker Placement
with Dice Workers
Play Time
90 - 120 mins
Skill/Complexity (4 - 5)
Heavy
Age
14+
Publisher(s)
NSKN Games and
Others
Published
2018
Categories
Strategy
Players
1 - 4
Cost
$49.95 approx
Our Rating
9/10

In Teotihuacan, designed by Daniele Tascini, the goal is to gain the most points in many different ways, such as by building a pyramid, moving up temple tracks, and building houses. Players do this by moving worker dice around a rondel-style board, and performing actions/receiving bonuses where they land; the more dice of their color on that space, typically the more powerful action/bonus they receive.

In the solo game, a player competes with Teotibot to gain the most points. Teotibot’s actions, determined by a cardboard action token pyramid, are each designed to mimic the experience of a two-player game.

While the solo variant is a little tricky and complicated to wrap one’s head around initially, it certainly becomes easier to manage with experience. If you are willing to play through a relatively slow learning round of Teotihuacan to get the hang of this system, it can certainly be quite rewarding as it manages to capture the feeling of a two-player game quite well.

Available @ Amazon »

6. Race for the Galaxy (with The Gathering Storm expansion)

Race for the Galaxy, designed by Tom Lehman, is an extremely popular tableau-building card game, all about trying to make the most efficient engine in a short amount of time with up to 12 cards in order to gain the most VPs. Players accomplish this by selecting actions, which become available to all players but provide an added benefit to the player who selected it.

Game Type
Expansion for Base Game,
Card Game, Civilization,
Economic, Science Fiction,
Simultaneous Action Selection,
Variable Phase Order,
Variable Player Powers
Play Time
60 mins
Skill/Complexity (3 - 5)
Medium
Age
12+
Publisher(s)
Rio Grande Games and
Others
Published
2008
Categories
Strategy
Players
1 - 5
Cost
$24.95 approx
Our Rating
8.7/10

Race for the Galaxy The Gathering Storm expansion box cover

In the solo version of the game, which is included in The Gathering Storm expansion, a player competes against an “adaptable robot” component, represented by an AI board and die. At the beginning of the round, the player selects two actions using cardboard chits, and then rolls the AI die to determine the AI’s action. The actions are then resolved from left to right on the board, with the AI’s actions and benefits following a flow-chart displayed on the board.

The game ends the same way as a multiplayer game (a twelfth card being played, or the VP token pile being depleted).

Since Race for the Galaxy already has a fairly steep learning curve, the solo mode included in The Gathering Storm might only be a good fit for someone who already knows the game, since the solo mode itself can take some time to learn even for someone who knows the base game. However, if you are already a fan of Race for the Galaxy, then the solo mode is definitely worth checking out.

Available @ Amazon »

7. Onirim – A staple in many solo gamers’ collections

You’ve fallen into a dream, and are trying to escape before time runs out. You don’t want to be stuck here forever, do you? The oneiric doors are your ticket to escape, but to succeed you must be clever with how you choose to maneuver your way through the rooms of this surreal maze of powerful visions and terrifying shadows.

Onirim game box cover

Game Type
Thematic, Exploration,
Fantasy, Maze, Cooperative,
Hand Management,
Set Collection, Solo/Solitaire
Play Time
15 mins
Skill/Complexity (1.8 - 5)
Light
Age
8+
Publisher(s)
Z-Man Games
Published
2010
Categories
Family / 2 Player
Players
1 - 2
Cost
$29.95 approx
Our Rating
7.2/10

Onirim, designed by Shadi Torbey, can be played either as a solo game or a cooperative two-player game. In this game, a player attempts to gather eight door cards in order to escape the dream before time runs out. They do so by successfully playing three cards of the same color in a row on the table, or by drawing a door card and having a key card in hand of the matching color. Nightmare cards, as the name implies, make terrible things happen and always seem to appear at precisely the worst possible moment.

The base game of Onirim comes with a number of expansions which can be mixed and matched. These expansions add a decent amount of depth and change the game up enough to keep it feeling fresh. Due to its relaxing yet challenging gameplay, Onirim is a staple in many solo gamers’ collections.

Available @ Amazon »

8. A Feast for Odin – Viking-themed worker-placement game

Big, sprawling, heavy, and puzzly. If these adjectives describe what you are looking for in a solo board game, then A Feast for Odin by Uwe Rosenburg may provide you immense satisfaction. This is a viking-themed worker-placement game with a vast number of actions to choose from and tons of colorful cardboard pieces to adore.

A Feast for Odin board game box cover

Game Type
Economic, Medieval,
Puzzle, Automatic Resource
Growth, Dice Rolling,
Grid Coverage, Income,
Push Your Luck, Solo/Solitaire,
Tile Placement, Worker Placement,
Turn Order: Pass Order
Play Time
30 - 120 mins
Skill/Complexity (4 - 5)
Heavy
Age
12+
Publisher(s)
Z-Man Games and Others
Published
2016
Categories
Strategy
Players
1 - 4
Cost
$79.99 approx
Our Rating
9.1/10

The goal of A Feast for Odin is to try and gain the most points by ultimately filling in your empty land on your player board with resource and goods tiles of all kinds of shapes. It can certainly be challenging to make a solo version of a worker-placement game capture the same feel as a multiplayer game, but A Feast for Odin has a very simple yet efficient way of doing so.

A player uses two sets of workers of different colors, and alternates between the two colors each round without retrieving workers at the end of the round. In other words, the workers used in one round will block action spaces for the player in the next round. To be successful, a player must plan ahead and time their actions efficiently as to not unintentionally block a critical move in the next round.

While A Feast for Odin is fairly heavy, it is certainly well regarded in the solo gaming community, and its simple yet effective solo variant could lend itself well to using the solo version to learn the game. However, since A Feast for Odin is a beat-your-own-score solo game, this game may not be a good fit if you are looking for a game with clear win/lose conditions.

Available @ Amazon »

9. Terraforming Mars – An award-winning and hugely popular engine-building game

In the distant future, mankind has set its eyes upon Mars as a potential habitable planet, and you as a corporation leader are trying to contribute to this effort by raising the oxygen level and temperature, and filling in the desert terrain with ocean. But to prosper at doing so, you must complete projects that make your effort more efficient and powerful, and manage your resources wisely.

Terraforming Mars board game box cover

Game Type
Economic, Environmental,
Science Fiction, Space
Exploration, Territory
Building, Card Drafting,
End Game Bonuses, Solo/Solitaire
Game, Take That, Tile Placement
Turn Order: Progressive,
Variable Player Powers
Play Time
120 mins
Skill/Complexity (3.5 - 5)
Medium
Age
12+
Publisher(s)
Fryx Games and
Others
Published
2016
Categories
Strategy
Players
1 - 5
Cost
$69.99 approx
Our Rating
9.3/10

Terraforming Mars, designed by Jacob Fryxelius, is an award-winning and hugely popular engine-building game. In the solo mode, a player must meet the terraforming requirement for the three categories (temperature, oxygen, and ocean coverage) in 14 generations (rounds), otherwise they lose the game. If they manage to succeed, then they count their VPs to compare to previous games (or to scores posted by other players online).

With a relatively simple solo ruleset that offers a significant challenge, Terraforming Mars could be well-suited for a solo gamer who enjoys engine building and resource management. Despite the fact that it is ultimately a beat-your-own-score solo game, it does have an added layer of win/lose conditions that are quite challenging to achieve, which makes this a unique solo game.

Available @ Amazon »

10. Spirit Island – The spirit of complexity at its best

Spirit Island, designed by R. Eric Reuss, offers a unique twist to the traditional colonization theme seen in many board games: players take on the role of spirits on the land, each of whom uses their unique special abilities to defend their people, the Duhan, from colonizers.

This is a complex cooperative game, and one that is very popular as a solo game – achieving the #1 spot in the BoardGameGeek People’s Choice Top 200 Solo Games in both 2019 and 2020.

Spirit Island board game box cover

Game Type
Environmental, Fantasy,
Fighting, Mythology,
Territory Building
Area Majority/Influence,
Cooperative, Hand
Management
Play Time
90 - 150 mins
Skill/Complexity (4.4 - 5)
Heavy
Age
13+
Publisher(s)
Greater Than Games
and others
Published
2017
Categories
Strategy
Players
1 - 4
Cost
$59.99
Our Rating
9.6/10

In the solo version of Spirit Island, the winning conditions are the same as a multiplayer game: the player must destroy every settlement and city on their island, which becomes easier to achieve the more fear they instill in the enemy. A player loses the solo game if their spirit is defeated, the last blight is placed on the board from the blight card, or time runs out (i.e., the invader deck is depleted). A player can either play one spirit, or two for a more complex game.

Achieving the #1 spot in the BoardGameGeek People’s Choice Top 200 Solo Games in both 2019 and 2020.

Because Spirit Island is such a heavy game, it is likely not a good fit for casual gamers. It would probably be best suited for for solo gamers looking for a deep and challenging experience, including figuring out how to effectively use special powers, that benefits from many plays.

Available @ Amazon »

11. Viticulture Essential Edition – Medium-weight worker placement game

Grab a glass of wine and a seat at the table, because it’s time to harvest fields, make wine, and become a successful vineyard owner in a round of Viticulture, a worker-placement game designed by Jamey Stegmaier, Morten Monrad Pedersen, and Alan Stone.

Viticulture Essential Edition board game box cover

Game Type
Economic, Farming,
Contracts, Solo/Solitaire,
Turn Order: Auction Victory,
Points as a Resource, Worker
Placement
Play Time
45 - 90 mins
Skill/Complexity (3 - 5)
Medium
Age
13+
Publisher(s)
Stonemaier Games and
Others
Published
2015
Categories
Strategy
Players
1 - 6
Cost
$54.99 approx
Our Rating
9.2/10

The solo version of Viticulture the essential edition is very simple. A player attempts to score more points than Automa, whose point marker is set on the 20-point space, over a series of seven rounds. Each round, the player uses one of the bonuses listed on the wake-up chart on the left side of the board – but over the course of the game, they can only use each bonus once (using wine tokens to keep track). At the beginning of each round, the player flips over a card from the Automa deck, and puts its workers onto the action spaces for the current season listed on the card, blocking the action spaces, though the Automa does not perform any actions or gain any benefits. At the end of seven rounds, if the player has managed to get more than 20 points, they win.

Because the solo version is an easy system to grasp, but does a decent job of replicating the experience of being blocked by an opponent, Viticulture can be a good fit for a solo gamer looking for a medium-weight worker placement game, or who are attracted to the theme of the game.

Available @ Amazon »

12. Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

If your idea of a good time is spending time customizing a deck to beat challenging scenarios, and you love Lord of the Rings, then Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (TCG) may in fact bring you an endless amount of joy and entertainment.

Lord of the Rings The Card Game box cover

Game Type
Adventure, Card Game,
Fantasy, Novel-based,
Cooperative, Hand
Management, Solo/Solitaire,
Variable Player Powers
Play Time
30 - 60 mins
Skill/Complexity (3.2 - 5)
Medium
Age
13+
Publisher(s)
Fantasy Flight Games
Published
2011
Categories
Strategy / 2 Player
Players
1 - 2
Cost
$39.99 approx
Our Rating
8.5/10

In Lord of the Rings: TCG, designed by Nate French, players set off to complete a scenario by commanding three heroes and a deck of events, allies, and attachments, to travel and fight enemies, and complete the objective of a given scenario.

The solo version of Lord of the Rings: TGC changes very few aspects of the game, other than the obvious fact of trying to beat a scenario alone. A player can, if they choose, play with two hands of cards to mimic a second player.

Where the endless replayability of Lord of the Rings: TCG comes into play is in the ability to build custom player decks, either with the cards that are included in the core game, or by exploring content from packs and expansions.

While the game itself is not too complex, it is certainly challenging. However, if you are looking for a game to invest a lot of time into, Lord of the Rings: TCG could be a good way for you to fill your time.

Available @ Amazon »

13. The 7th Continent – Solo or cooperative thematic exploration game

After returning home from a voyage to the newly-discovered 7th continent, you’ve been struck by a curse that has plagued your life. You’ve decided to return to the continent in order to explore and figure out how to lift the curse; to do so, you must survive a challenging adventure as it unfolds before you.
The 7th Continent board game box cover

Game Type
Adventure, Card Game,
Exploration, Science Fiction,
Cooperative, Grid Movement,
Hand Management, Map
Addition, Modular Board,
Solo/Solitaire, Storytelling,
Variable Player Powers,
Kickstarter
Play Time
5 - 1000+ mins
Skill/Complexity (2.8 - 5)
Medium
Age
14+
Publisher(s)
Serious Poulp
Published
2017
Categories
Strategy / Thematic
Players
1 - 4
Cost
$59.99 approx
Our Rating
9.1/10

If you were a fan of “choose-your-own-adventure” style books as a child, then The 7th Continent, designed by Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Shautter, may evoke that familiar and satisfying feel.

There are no changes in rules for the solo game of The 7th Continent, except that you simply play one character on the board rather than having multiple characters present.

In this game, a player takes turns exploring and performing actions, which are resolved by drawing cards from the player’s action deck to check for success (indicated by a certain number of stars). The twist is that the action deck is the player’s lifeforce; once the deck is depleted, the end is likely very near.

What makes The 7th Continent a good candidate for a solo gamer’s collection is the fact that it gives a player time to think things through, to explore, and appreciate everything the game has to offer.

The game comes with a unique save system, which makes it relatively quick to put away, and then get back out when the time comes to play again.

Available @ Amazon »

14. At the Gates of Loyang – A tense and thinky puzzle with a unique solo variant

If the theme of harvesting and selling vegetables doesn’t sound particularly exciting to you, stay with us for one moment, because At the Gates of Loyang is a tense and thinky puzzle with a unique solo variant that has made the game well-respected within the solo gaming community.

At the Gates of Loyang board game box cover

Game Type
Economic, Farming,
Card Drafting, Contracts,
Loans, Market, Set Collection,
Solo/Solitaire
Play Time
60 - 120 mins
Skill/Complexity (3 - 5)
Medium
Age
10+
Publisher(s)
Tasty Minstrel Games and
Others
Published
2009
Categories
Strategy
Players
1 - 4
Cost
$59.99 approx
Our Rating
8.6/10

The goal in the solo version of At the Gates of Loyang is to beat your own score from previous games, but the rulebook states that 17 is a good number to try and beat.

By planting, producing, and selling vegetables to customers, and recruiting the aide of helpers in the process, a player tries to gain money in order to purchase points at the end of a round. What makes the solo version of this game especially unique is the fact that it removes a multiplayer card drafting element, and replaces it with a market grid of cards (4×4) in which the cost of a card is determined by its row. At the end of the card phase, the second row is discarded, and all other cards move up to fill in open spaces.

At the Gates of Loyang is a challenge in resource and money management. Because money is needed in order to advance on the point track, in addition to other important aspects of the game, a player must be efficient in order to do well.

While the “beat-your-own-score” idea may not be every solo gamer’s preference, the fact that the game gives you a specific target score to beat provides the game with an implied win or lose condition.

Available @ Amazon »

15. Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game – Good blend of luck and strategy

It came as a surprise to many fans of The Castles of Burgundy when Stefan Feld, its designer, announced a card version of his classic dice-driven game. However, the card game manages to capture the feel of the original board game quite well, and features a solo mode.

The Castles Of Burgundy Card Game box cover

Game Type
Medieval Theme, Card
Drafting, Hand Management,
Set Collection
Play Time
30 - 60 mins
Skill/Complexity (2.5 - 5)
Light to Medium
Age
12+
Publisher(s)
Ravensburger
Published
2016
Categories
Strategy
Players
1 - 4
Cost
approx $14.99
Our Rating
8.3/10

In The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game, players attempt to build a successful province and get points in a number of ways, such as completing triples of one card type and selling goods. A player uses the die value indicated at the top of a drawn card to perform an action, such as taking cards from the display, placing a card from their project area into their estate, and selling goods.

In the solo version of the game, a player competes against “Aaron,” who has five piles of cards at the beginning of the game. The solo game retains rules from a multiplayer game, except that a pile of Aaron’s cards is revealed at the beginning of the round, completing his estate and possibly gaining him bonus points. At the end of a round, the player checks to see if they have more VPs than Aaron; if they don’t, they lose the game. To win, the player must make it to the final round and have points equal to or greater than Aaron.

The fact that The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game comes in such a portable box, and has a solo version is fun and quite easy to learn, makes it an easy addition to a solo gamer’s collection.

If you enjoy games with multiple ways to score points and with a good blend of luck and strategy (with ways to mitigate luck), then this is definitely a game to consider.

Available @ Amazon »

16. Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective – A choose-your-own-adventure mystery experience

Explore the streets and darkest of alleys of London in search of clues to solve a mystery, one that only someone as sharp and cunning as Sherlock Holmes himself would be capable of figuring out with his science of deduction.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective board game box cover

Game Type
Thematic, Murder/Mystery
Deduction. Cooperative
Storytelling
Play Time
Approx 60 - 120 mins
Skill/Complexity (2.8 - 5)
Medium
Age
13+
Publisher(s)
Sleuth Publications
and others
Published
1981
Categories
Family
Players
1 - 8 (2 is ideal)
Rules Manual
Official Rules PDF
Our Rating
9/10
Cost
Approx $39.99

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, designed by Raymond Edwards, Suzanne Goldberg, and Gary Grady, is a 1-8 player mystery-solving game that includes ten cases in the base game (with expansions available).

Because the game is all about following leads, going to locations, reading information, and taking notes in order to solve a mystery, it doesn’t have any rules that make a solo game different, other than that you are simply just attempting to solve the mystery alone.

At the end of the game, once you’ve determined that you’ve solved the mystery, you will then compare your mystery-solving skills to Sherlock Holmes’s to see if you’ve outwitted the master himself – and you probably won’t, but that’s okay.

If you are looking for a choose-your-own-adventure mystery experience, then this is a game you will want to look at.

Because of how easy it is to jump into without much of a learning curve, it is something that you can easily set up at the end of a day and take your time to enjoy solving the mystery.

Available @ Amazon »

17. Ganz Schon Clever – Roll-and-write game

Roll-and-write games have become quite popular in recent years. The idea, similar to a classic game like Yahtzee, is that players roll dice and then, based on the result, they fill in spots a sheet of paper in order to score the most points.

Ganz Schön Clever (That’s Pretty Clever), designed by Wolfgang Warsch, has easily been one of the most popular games to be released in this genre, being nominated for numerous awards.

Ganz Schön Clever game box cover

Game Type
Dice Rolling, Drafting,
Paper-and-Pencil,
Re-rolling and Locking,
Solo / Solitaire Game
Play Time
30 mins
Skill/Complexity (2 - 5)
Light
Age
8+
Publisher(s)
Schmidt Spiele and
Others
Published
2018
Categories
Family
Players
1 - 4
Cost
$26.99 approx
Our Rating
8.5/10

In Ganz Schön Clever, players roll six dice of different colors, and then select a single die and use its value to fill in an area of their sheet corresponding with its color, and potentially activate bonuses. Players can use up to three dice to activate actions on their turn, and any dice they cannot use become available to other players.

The rules in the solo game largely remain the same, with the exception that after the player takes their turn, they reroll all the dice, and then select one of the three lowest-valued dice to use as a passive action between their turns.

The ultimate goal of the game is to gain the most points and beat your own score.

What makes Ganz Schön Clever a good candidate for a solo game is the fact that it is portable, quick, and yet still offers an interesting decision space as a player tries to unlock bonuses to gain the most points.

If you are looking for the added challenge of competing for a high score, there are plenty of forums online where people have posted their top score for you to try and beat.

Available @ Amazon »

18. Exit the Game Series

Have you ever wanted to experience an escape room in the comfort of your own home? The EXIT: The Game series by Kosmos strives to provide this very experience – including for those wishing to play solo.

Any game in the EXIT: The Game series is a one-time playthrough experience for around $15, and includes access to a companion app that helps to explain the rules and backstory of the scenario, and offers a game timer to help you feel a sense of pressure. Some of the games released so far in the series include: The Abandoned Cabin, Dead Man on the Orient Express, and The Pharaoh’s Tomb.

Exit the game series 6 game box covers

If you enjoy solving puzzles, and if you enjoy (or have always wanted to try) escape rooms, then the EXIT: The Game series is one that you may very well enjoy. The games play particularly well solo, especially because many of the puzzles seem better suited for lower player counts (1 or 2 players ideally).

Available @ Amazon »

19. Nautilion – A decent blend of luck and strategy

Command the Nautilion submarine across the oneiric ocean in attempt to stop the Darkhouse in its conquest of the Happy Isles. To do this, you must gather a crew capable of defeating this evil force, and reach the Abyss before the Phantom Submarine reaches the Happy Isles and unleashes unfathomable mayhem.

Nautilion Board Game box cover

Game Type
Fantasy, Nautical,
Cooperative, Modular Board,
Set Collection, Solo/Solitaire
Play Time
15 30 mins
Skill/Complexity (2 - 5)
Light
Age
10+
Publisher(s)
Z-Man Games and
Others
Published
2016
Categories
Family / Strategy / 2 Player
Players
1 - 2
Cost
$24.99 approx
Our Rating
8.6/10

Nautlion, designed by Shadi Torbey, is a dice-driven game in the Oniverse series in which a player rolls three dice and must decide how to use those dice to meet their objective.

The game board consists of a modular path formed by Crew tokens, with the Nautilion and Phantom Submarine moving opposite directions along this path in attempt to get to the other side first. The player wins if they reach the Abyss with a full crew (by picking up crew tokens along the way), and loses if the Phantom Submarine reaches the happy isles first or if the Nautilion reaches the Abyss without a full crew.

Like Onirim, Nautilion comes with a bunch of expansions (five) in the box, each offering unique twists to mix up gameplay.

Nautilion is a game that is easy to learn, and has a decent blend of luck and strategy, making it a fairly light solo game suitable for a relaxing evening after work or before going to bed.

Available @ Amazon »

20. Sprawlopolis – A quick, interesting, portable solo game

Many board games are released every year that seem to push the boundaries of how big a game can be, and how many impressive components can possibly fit in a box. But sometimes games are released that seek to achieve the opposite: how small can a game possibly be and still be a good game?

Sprawlopolis game box cover

Game Type
City Building, Card
Drafting, Cooperative,
Solo/Solitaire, Tile
Placement
Play Time
15 - 20 mins
Skill/Complexity (1.8 - 5)
Light
Age
8+
Publisher(s)
Button Shy
Published
2018
Categories
Family
Players
1 - 4
Cost
$12.99 approx
Our Rating
8.6/10

Sprawlopolis, designed by Stephen Aramini, Danny Devine, and Paul Kluka, is one of these latter games, consisting of just 18 cards and coming in a small portable billfold.

If you are looking for quick, interesting, portable solo game, this is one that may fit that category well.

In the solo version of Sprawlopolis, a player tries to win by building a city and achieving the number of points indicated by objective cards revealed at the beginning of the game. They do so by placing cards from their hand on the table, either overlapping or adjacent to other cards already placed. They play until no cards are left on the table, and then gain one point per block in their largest section of each city zone type (of which there are four). They also evaluate the end-game scoring cards and subtract one point for every individual road in their city.

The fact that Sprawlopolis can be played in just 15 minutes, and comes in an ultra-portable package means that this is a game you can easily just keep in your bag and take with you everywhere – whether you intend to play solo, or if you wish to play with up to four players.

Furthermore, its fairly high replayability with the number of end-game scoring combinations means the game will continue to feel fresh with continued plays.

Available @ ButtonShyGames »

And, that’s about it for the best solo games category, for now!

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