Board games are a great way to bond with friends and family, but you don’t have to wait for other players! Perhaps you are stuck in quarantine with only a card game or two, or maybe your friends just aren’t as into board gaming as you are. Or you might be a board game junkie and need something to play in between game nights. Luckily, there are loads of board games out there with fantastic solo mode options. We have compared reviews from across the web and put together a guide to 10 of the best solo board games available. With so many fantastic board games to play, it may be difficult to choose just one!
1. The 7th Continent Classic Edition
Editor’s Choice #1: Our solo board gaming top pick is this adventure exploration game from Serious Poulp, for its sheer scope and exciting, immersive quality. Watch the board unfold as you explore and adventure through a newly discovered continent full of danger and mystery. But as you are playing, be prepared for challenges along the way!
If you grew up on adventure game books of the 1980s, you will love The 7th Continent! Inspired by such books, this board game casts you as an explorer who discovers a 7th continent. You get home only to find you have been cursed, and must return to the mysterious continent… All the while, you have to survive the elements and dangers that lurk around every corner. Designed for 1-4 players, the solo version of this game is superb.
In terms of sheer scope and ambition, this board game is unrivaled. To explore every area could take hundreds of hours, but you can stop and start when you like. A fantastic touch is the way the board unfolds as you play, which provides an added sense of exploration into the unknown. But be warned – The 7th Continent is not easy. Prepare to die many times!
As well as providing hours of enjoyment, this game is well-made too. The cards are smooth and good quality, though you might want to get plastic sleeves to increase their longevity. The box is sturdy and the artwork is superb. The only quibble is the rulebook, which is quite flimsy.
2. Viticulture Essential Edition
Editor’s Choice #2: If you prefer engine builders, this board game set in the winelands of Tuscany is perfect. It has lots of randomized elements so you can play again and again. But it is the elegant simplicity combined with depth and unpredictability of the gameplay compared to other games that makes this a winner!
Viticulture is an engine builder set in pre-modern Tuscany. You have inherited some run-down vineyards and your goal is to turn them into the most successful winery in Italy. It’s fairly simple, but this elegant simplicity mixed with surprising depth makes this game a crowd favorite. Plus, there is great replayability due to a high degree of randomization, so unlike other games you won’t be playing the same one over and over.
Great Solo Version
The original game of Viticulture could only be played competitively. However, the newer version includes the option to play solo by competing with an Automa deck. What’s great about the solo mode is that there are 5 difficulty levels, so you can adjust as you get the hang of it. There is a lot of strategy involved, but gameplay is relatively intuitive.
The artwork of this board game is beautiful and timeless. Most of the components are good quality, but one drawback is the cardboard coins which can damage quickly. We recommend purchasing metal coins which have a more authentic feel. However, the rulebook is well laid out and the organization is great too – the game is super easy to set up and pack away.
3. Terraforming Mars
In many ways, Terraforming Mars is a classic engine-building board game – you start in a barren wasteland with little resources, and you have to build your way to success. The twist, of course, is that you are on Mars – you play as a corporation competing with others to make Mars more habitable. Think building cities, creating forests and even generating oceans!
Lots Of Choice
The great thing about Terraforming Mars is its replayability – because there are so many different paths to victory, you can try a different strategy every time. That said, it is complex and will take a few games to get the hang of. Some reviewers found it to drag on too long, while others loved all the different options.
Great Solo Version
This board game is designed for 1-5 players, and it is just as enjoyable solo as it is in a group. In the solo game, you start off with a few neutral cities and ecosystems in place so you don’t have to build up from nothing. One minor quibble is that the game boards are quite flimsy. However, the playing cards and tiles are decent quality.
4. Mage Knight
In this game of exploration and conquest, you are one of the powerful Mage Knights in the Atlantean Empire. You must build up your army and accumulate spells and abilities to gain power. This game combines elements of RPG tabletop games, deck-building and classic board games to create an absorbing solo gaming experience. The game pieces are well made, though it does require a large table!
Lots Of Strategy
If you enjoy strategy, Mage Knight is a great choice. With multiple paths to choose from, this game is both epic adventure and intriguing puzzle. All the intricate mechanisms make it clear that a lot of thought went into this game. You start off knowing nothing, and gradually amass knowledge and abilities, so that by the end you feel immensely powerful!
Great For Solo Play
Although Mage Knight can be played by up to 4 players as a competitive or cooperative game, most reviewers agree that it is best enjoyed solo. Group play makes for a very long game, and a lot of that time will be spent on players figuring out what to do next. But if you play solo, you can immerse yourself in the strategy without other players getting impatient.
5. Rebel Nemesis
Very Exciting Theme
Nemesis is a recent release, but it has already earned its credentials. For its tension, cinematic quality and adrenaline-pumping atmosphere, this game cannot be beat! If you like the film Alien, you will love Nemesis. The basic task is to find the damage causing critical systems failure on your spaceship and return to earth. But you are not alone on the ship…
Because of all the randomized elements, you won’t have the same experience twice. Playing as a group, you play semi-cooperatively, but each player has a secret objective. Despite missing this conflict, solo mode captures the eerie atmosphere of being alone on a ship full of deadly aliens very well. This game has a steep learning curve, but the rules are well laid out and gameplay is quite intuitive.
Most reviewers loved the design of the box and the game itself. All the components are wonderfully organized, minimizing damage and making it easy to pack away. The minis are exquisite and are paintable for those who like painting miniatures. The only quality issue is that the artwork on the cards rubs off over time.
6. Robinson Crusoe Adventures On The Cursed Island
Lots Of Scenarios
Just like in the classic tale, in this Robinson Crusoe game you are stranded on a cursed island, and you must survive against all odds. You will need to find resources, escape dangers, fight wild beasts and more! Where this game really stands out is in its replay value – with 7 different scenarios, loads of missions and 250 cards, the storyline will be different every time.
Solo gamers will enjoy the strategy involved in the single player version, but you can play cooperatively with up to four players too. Be warned – this is a brutal game and you might need to play a few games before you catch a win! But if you like a challenge, this is a great game.
Most reviewers report getting sucked into this board game, and it is not hard to see why – the narrative power is superb. Plus, the new Game of the Year edition improves the quality with custom wooden game pieces and thick cardboard player boards. You will really feel like you are struggling to survive on a desert island!
7. Arkham Horror 3rd Edition
Based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Arkham Horror will suck you in with its compelling narrative and twists and turns. Part 1920s detective mystery, part sci-fi adventure, you will find yourself gathering clues, building alliances, and fighting terrifying monsters. There are lots of quests with all kinds of branching outcomes, so you can play over and over again!
If you have played the original game or second edition of Arkham Horror but found them overly complicated, give the third edition a try. It is more streamlined, has a faster setup time, and allows for more strategic playing. The dice rolling adds just the right amount of luck. You can also try the card game if you want something even quicker.
A Beautiful Game
As to be expected from games set in the Cthuluverse, this is a beautiful game. The artwork is fantastic, the pieces are high quality and the board game form is unique. Plus, it is just as fun whether you are playing solo or with up to six in cooperative play – though it will take longer with more players.
8. Tiny Epic Galaxies
Perfect For Travel
Tiny Epic Galaxies is aptly named – although it is on a galactic scale, the board game itself is very compact. This makes it ideal to take on holiday. But despite being compact, this is a full and complex game! However, the rulebook is very well laid out and easy to follow.
Mix Of Strategy And Luck
This game strikes a nice balance between strategy and chance. It is a dice rolling game, but the number of dice you roll on each turn depends on the level of your galaxy. The more you upgrade your galaxy, the more dice and spaceships you gain!
Lots To Experience
As a group, it is a competitive game and there is great player interaction. In solo mode, you play against a Rogue Galaxy. Luckily, the game has loads of unique challenges to throw at you, so it never gets boring! In fact, it was awarded Solo Game of the Year by Board Game Geek in 2015. But you suffer from analysis paralysis, maybe avoid this game.
Agricola is a worker placement game (WPG) set in a farm where you have to cultivate breeds of animals. It has a warm and friendly feel that is a nice break from more high drama games. The concept is simple, but every element of the game design is tight and well thought out.
Mix Of Strategy And Luck
Do not mistake the simple concept for an easy game – Agricola requires forward planning to do well! There is a balance of strategy and luck involved, though some reviewers felt that the luck element was too high.
In keeping with the homely theme, Agricola comes with beautiful wooden game pieces. The board and cards are well made too. We also like that there are a few options for gameplay – you can play without cards for a quicker game. The rules can be a bit confusing, but most players find this board game highly absorbing!
10. Coffee Roaster
Skill And Strategy
This is the only board game on this list that is designed specifically for solo play. Turns out that quite a lot goes into roasting coffee beans! Each turn, you draw a number of beans. Each bean has its own target roast level, but you have to be careful not to spoil the flavor. There is a good mix of skill and luck, though some find it a bit too simple.
Light And Quick Fun
This is not a heavy strategy game to get sucked into for hours. It is a fast-paced, quick game that still has enough meaningful decisions to be absorbing. This is what makes it one of my favorite solo board games – it is a fun and relaxing break perfect for a weeknight!
The presentation of this game is gorgeous and will have you craving a cup of Joe! The latest version is a definite upgrade from the previous one. One potential issue is that misaligned prints on the board have been noted by a few reviewers.
If solo game play is for you, we are here to help you finalize your decision.
How To Choose The Right Solo Board Game For You
It’s easy to get choice paralysis when choosing a board game – here are a few factors to consider that can streamline the decision.
Number Of Players
Since you are reading this article, we know you want a game that can be played solo. However, you might want something that can also be played in groups. 1-4/5/6 player games are a great choice – you can play by yourself whenever you feel like it, but also bring it out for a board game night with friends.
Some board games can be completed in an hour or less, while others take several hours. Do you want a quick game to while away a free hour, or do you want to immerse yourself in another world for an entire evening?
If you are an avid board game geek, then you probably want something challenging, with a high level of complexity. However, newbies should start with something simpler to test the waters. Also, think about whether you want a game that is all strategy, or if you’d like some luck thrown in there too.
Then comes the fun part – deciding what theme of board game you want! Do you enjoy the idea of building up a successful farm, exploring unknown lands, or escaping from murderous aliens? Are you a fan of mystery, horror, sci-fi or adventure?
These days, there are board games to match every interest – all you have to do is find the right one for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
The best solo board games are The 7th Continent if you like adventure, and Viticulture if you prefer an engine building board game. Both are highly immersive and challenging, requiring strategy but also providing a high degree of unpredictability. You can play them again and again without getting bored, and both the group and solo versions are fantastic.
Yes, you can absolutely play board games by yourself! Not all games include mechanisms to play solo, but the ones on this list all do. If you love board games, you may find that you relish playing alone for the immersive experience and the fact that you can go at your own pace.
Yes, there are board games for one person. More games on this list offer both group and solo versions, but there are some board games to play that were designed as solo games. But while some solo versions of group games can feel like afterthoughts, the ones we have gathered here are all fantastic!
All of the board games we reviewed are great games that would make wonderful additions to your collection. But if you can only buy one, we recommend The 7th Continent, for its sheer scope, excitement and immersive quality. If you are more into engine builder variations or fancy two games to add to your collection, go for Viticulture. Whatever your taste, this list of the best solo board games includes the perfect game for you!