10 best solo board games to play by yourself


With so many of us working, playing và living our lives from trang chính under lockdown, there"s a lot to lớn be said for those special kinds of board games that can be played solo. Bringing the spirit of solitaire khổng lồ a whole range of gametypes & genres. We"ve sầu ammassed the best solo board games you can play by yourself below, and considering that playing tabletop games alone has gone from sad khổng lồ rad, it"s worth getting on board! No pun intended.

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Best solo board games

But what makes a great solo board game? Obviously, it has to lớn be just as fun as playing it with other people (or, if it’s a one-player board game, as fun as playing any game with other people). But whether it"s one of the best co-op board games or beginner games, it must also not feel lượt thích its solitaire mode is an afterthought, or that there’s something missing - especially in the case of experiences designed for many players. Often, it will have an immersive theme that fits a solo character; it won’t ask you khổng lồ handle too much in the way of dummy player actions; there will be minimal rule changes; & it won’t take forever lớn cài đặt.

So, whether you want to lớn explore a distant l& alone, defkết thúc a kingdom against demons, solve an Elizabethan mystery or just be the best scientist you can possibly be, here’s our piông chồng of the best ways lớn board-game alone.

1. The 7th Continent

Adventure across a mysterious l& khổng lồ cure your curse
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An adventuring fantasy game about exploration, discovery, and the great unknown.

In the credits for Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter’s narrative-driven thẻ game, you’ll find a very revealing dedication: to lớn Gary Chalk, Joe Dever, Steve sầu Jackson & Ian Livingstone (amuốn others) for their “inspirational work”. These writers were behind the adventure-book boom of the mid-’80s, và their influence on The 7th Continent oozes from every card.

Casting its player (or players; it works with a group, too) as an early-20th century explorer trying to lift a deadly curse in a distant, mythical lvà, it doesn’t only replicate the story-fuelled, explore-and-survive sầu atmosphere of an old-school Fighting Fantasy-style book. It also elegantly translates that into lớn a sliông chồng, easy-to-learn, map-building tabletop experience, with no leafing backwards & forwards through text-heavy scenarios.

Even better, it replaces constant dice rolling with judicious deông xã and hand-management, making it far more strategic và less reliant on chance than those gamebooks of old. But the best thing about it is the thrill of discovery it creates, as you venture forth into its wild unknown. Powerfully compelling.

Buy The 7th Continent directly from publisher Serious Pulp.

2. Mage Knight

Crunchy combat in a fantasy epic that"s best enjoyed solo
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A tougher, more rewarding kind of game with nuanced combat and tactics.

These days, Vlaada Chvatil is best known for his highly accessible tiệc ngọt game Codenames. But for serious gamers, his magnum opus remains this 2011 deckbuilding epic, which demands the absorption of a knotty ruleset và rewards you with a game whose multi-layered, fine-tuned mechanisms translate inlớn a fascinatingly challenging fantasy adventure.

The problem is, it is such a thinky game it leads to a lot of downtime. Which is why many Mage Knight fans agree it’s actually best appreciated solo. Freed from the sighs và foot-taps of other players, you’re able to lớn spend as long as you like over each of your turns, carefully playing down your cards in just the right order to maximise your actions, and better guide your spell-slinging warrior through a treacherous landscape towards city-conquering victory.

Buy Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition from Amazon UK/Amazon US.

3. Terraforming Mars

Build a luscious paradise on the next world
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A sci-fi resource-management experience about commandeering the red planet.

Terraforming Mars can be played by up to lớn five sầu players, but it"s perfectly tailored for a great game experience no matter how many you choose to play it with, và works just as well with one. Start off on a dusty wastel&, then use harvested resources khổng lồ grow greenery, craft the necessities, earn money, and just make sure that there"s enough oxygene lớn keep everybody toàn thân breathing to lớn the next turn. Not only that, but there"s a whole load of expansions lớn enhance the game và give sầu it further nuance. I know where I"m booking my next holiday.

Buy Terraforming Mars from Zatu or Amazon US.

4. Spirit Island

Fight off invaders as a powerful defender of nature
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A colourful, complex experience about battling baông xã colonisers.

Smartly flipping the colonial conquest theme of classic board games such as Catan on its head, R. Eric Reuss" Spirit Island is all about taking control of furious forces of nature & co-operatively using their powers to lớn scare off a violently invasive European force. Like Mage Knight, it has a high complexity level which makes for very long group sessions, but also like Mage Knight it scales perfectly down khổng lồ a better-paced single-player experience.

This mostly involves a lot of very focused concentration, figuring out the puzzle each turn presents you, in terms of how best to employ your gradually thickening deông xã of elemental powers and skết thúc those pale ravagers bachồng across the waves before they overwhelm your precious home.

Buy Spirit Island from Amazon UK/Amazon US.

5. Gloom of Kilforth

Questing in a dark fantasy world
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A D&D-inspired epic about progressing through a dangerous world of demons & monsters.

Though it looks và plays like a blend of Talisman & Forbidden Islvà - one of the best family board games khổng lồ play at Christmas (or anytime of the year, for that matter) - Gloom of Kilforth’s roots are very firmly in Dungeons & Dragons, being based on designer Tristung Hall’s own teen-years chiến dịch for the venerable RPG. And it does have the feel of an entire chiến dịch boiled down inkhổng lồ a two-hour game, with your character given a “saga” lớn complete, levelling them up in a card-grid kingdom via quests for từ khoá, before you’re ready to lớn destroy the hideous detháng who’s gradually casting the land inkhổng lồ deadly shadow.

Unlượt thích many solo variants of some of the best co-op board games, which require you lớn take two or more các buổi party members, Kilforth allows for a true Lone Wolf experience, weaving a tough but satisfying, one-person-against-mounting-odds story with each solo playthrough.

Buy Gloom of Kilforth from Amazon UK.

6. Arksay mê Horror: The Card Game

Fight to lớn keep your sanity (& your organs) as you battle ancient gods và worse.

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Cthulhulian craziness abounds in this dark và fascinating deck-building game.

Arkđam mê Horror can be played with one or two players, và though it"s technically easier with two, it"s far, far more tense with just one, as you strive to lớn do everything you can khổng lồ keep extra-dimensional horrors firmly stuông xã in their own extra dimensions.

Here the focus is on building whole campaigns and escapades, developing your character, the threats against them, the best ways for you to confront whatever menace approaches. You can use pre-constructed decks or build your own as you begin khổng lồ learn all the little nuances of the system, and when you vì chưng get the chance to lớn play with a friover, it"ll add a whole new flavour lớn the game!

Buy Arksi Horror: The Card Game from Zatu.

7. This War of Mine: The Board Game

Survive sầu a siege in the heart-wrenching video clip game board game
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A powerful game about the unending challenges of a realistic warzone.

As a tabletop adaptation of a video clip game, it should come as little surprise that This War of Mine: The Board Game works well with a single player. But what makes it really stvà out is the stark boldness of its theme, where you have sầu lớn manage actions, workers & resources to survive in the rubble-strewn heart of a modern-day war zone.

It also proves lớn be a strikingly emotional experience, thanks khổng lồ the ethical dilemmas it presents and the strength of its (branching) narrative sầu elements, which are enshrined in the game’s Journal and Book of Stories, drawing extensively from real, historical events.

Buy This War of Mine: The Board Game from Amazon UK/Amazon US.

8. Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

See how you"d fare after a shipwreông chồng in the classic tale of endurance turned tabletop
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A shipwreck saga based on one of the greatest survivors in all of literature.

Given it’s based on one of the best-known individual-against-nature stories, it’s hardly surprising Robinson Crusoe should be so highly regarded as a solo game. The survivor of a shipwreck, you need lớn carefully plan out your actions to lớn eke out some kind of life on a desert islvà, having to find shelter và food, while fighting the fauna & the elements, và also exploring, drawing from a reassuringly thiông xã event dechồng to find out what unexpected boon or hindrance lies behind the next palm frond.

It benefits from a strategic depth which justifies its complexity, but be warned: it can get pretty brutal, và will likely take several attempts before your score your first win.

Buy Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island from Amazon UK/Amazon US.

9. Newton

Join genius scientists in pursuit of knowledge & invention
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A gentler, but no less rewarding game based around renaissance-era scientific discovery.

Despite its theme of rivalry in the 17th-century scientific community, the pleasingly intricate Newton is a relatively gentle engine-builder, with very little player interaction. Which means it translates smoothly & painlessly lớn a single-player mode, with barely any rulebook exceptions.

With so many routes lớn success enshrined in its sprawling boards, và a pleasing phối of puzzles, which combine point-to-point movement, tile placing, deckbuilding and judicious hand management, it proves to lớn be a tight, neat and engrossing solitaire experience.

Buy Newton from Amazon UK/Amazon US.

10. Nemesis

It"s you against a spaceship full of aliens in this sci-fi horror board game
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Get your Giger going và escape game over in this terrifying sci-fi defence game.

A very recent entry, but one which earns its place through the game’s engrossing, Alien-style sci-fi horror-survival theme. (Although it"s not actually based on the film, so it doesn"t quite qualify as one of the best movie board games that are actually good.) Though much of the drama of its multiplayer core game comes from the fact that each player has a secret objective, the absence of this agenda-conflict element in solo mode is more than compensated for by the way it so effectively weaves an atmosphere of ‘one person alone in a vast spaceship full of deadly aliens’.

Having been rudely awoken from hibernation, you must race against time — & combat deadly, slimy extra-terrestrials — to lớn complete a solo-calibrated objective, trying lớn move sầu around the ship as carefully and silently as possible, as noise attracts the nasties. It’s this tension between stealth and tốc độ which really creates the drama in Nemesis, though the chất lượng of the board and miniatures certainly doesn’t hurt.