12 BEST SOLO BOARD GAMES

Solo board games are a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. And luckily, there is now an endless supply of awesome single-player board games! Whether you’re a seasoned solo gamer or just dipping your toe into this exciting realm, we’ve curated a list of the 12 best solo board games that promise hours of enthralling gameplay and boundless fun. There is no need to have less fun just because you are playing alone!

This post contains partner links to various products.

1. TERRAFORMING MARS

Terraforming Mars Board Game-Award Winning...
  • Compete for different milestones and awards worth many VPS
  • In Terraforming Mars, players control a corporation and compete to transform...
  • Will lead the way into humanitys new era?

Calling all sci-fi and space nerds! Terraforming Mars is an incredible solo board game that is set in the 2400s. The goal of this game is to build infrastructure and turn Mars into a liveable paradise for mankind to set up life on. The game is similar to Settlers of Catan, but it can be played either single-player or multiplayer. In Terraforming Mars, players are the heads of corporations that compete to terraform Mars as fast as possible. This game will take a bit of time to learn to play as there are quite a few moving parts, and each game will take 1.5 to 3 hours to play. If you are looking for a fun and strategic space exploration game, Terraforming Mars is a perfect choice.

HOW TO PLAY

Each game of Terraforming Mars is played in rounds called “generations.” In the first generation, you draw 10 cards and receive 42 “mega credits” (the game’s currency). You can then convert the currency into other resources that will allow you to play cards and terraform the planet.

At the start of each subsequent generation, draw four cards and pay 3 credits for the cards you want to keep. After drawing cards, you will do an action, which includes:

  • Play a card
  • Use a standard project
  • Use an action of a blue card
  • Convert 8 plants into greenery tile and raise oxygen
  • Convert 8 heat into a rise in temperature
  • Claim a milestone
  • Fund an award

Continue to draw cards, perform actions, build infrastructure, and raise the oxygen and temperature until Mars is ready for human colonization!

2. PANDEMIC

Sale
Pandemic Board Game (Base Game) | Cooperative...
  • STRATEGY GAME: Players must work together playing to their characters' strengths...
  • COOPERATIVE BOARD GAME: Only through teamwork will you keep the world safe from...
  • WORK TOGETHER AND SAVE HUMANITY: Four diseases threaten the world, and your...

Pandemic is an award-winning board game that has gotten far too relatable in recent years… While commonly played with 2 to 5 players, you can actually play Pandemic alone, making it one of the best solo board games out there. This game is strategic, as players work towards fighting the outbreak and finding a cure for the pandemic. If you are unable to fight the disease in time, the pandemic will spread out of control, and you will lose the game!

HOW TO PLAY

Pandemic is not the most complex game out there, making it easy for beginners to grasp, but a lot of strategy goes into winning this game. Playing this game solo is very similar to the multiplayer version of the game, with just a few changes. Check out our complete rules for Pandemic if it is your first time playing! Here are the main changes you’ll need to make to the game:

  • Remove the “Researcher” role.
  • Deal out the game as if you were playing with 3 or 4 roles (depending on how many roles you want to play), but then all roles will share your hand of cards.
  • Instead of alternating between players as you would in the standard game, you alternate controlling different roles. 
  • All other rules, archiving, and gameplay are the same as the standard game.

3. NEMESIS LOCKDOWN

Nemesis Lockdown Board Game - Sci-Fi Horror Game,...
  • EXPERIENCE THE SEQUEL TO NEMESIS: Nemesis Lockdown is a standalone sequel that...
  • THRILLING SCI-FI SURVIVAL GAME: During the game, players will be taken to a...
  • STRATEGY BOARD GAME: During the tense gameplay, you and your fellow players will...

Nemesis Lockdown is the ultimate cooperative board game for groups or solo players. This sci-fi-themed board game is complex and challenging and is designed for dedicated table-top gamers. In the single-player version of this game, you are stuck inside a space station that is infested with an extraterrestrial species called night stalkers. You’ll need to make it through the facility without being attacked (and killed) by the monsters. 

HOW TO PLAY

Nemesis is a very involved solo board game with a lot of pieces. So, if you don’t have a lot of experience with complicated board games, there may be a bit of a learning curve. At the beginning of each game, you start with a player board, an item card holder, help cards, a deck of action cards, a quest, and a weapon. 

Throughout the game, you will fight aliens, making split-second decisions and performing actions. You will attempt to escape or make it to the bunker or isolation room to protect yourself from the intruders. Each round, you will draw cards and carry out actions displayed in rooms, on action cards, on items, and on your player card. 

For an in-depth overview of playing Nemesis, check out our complete indepth guide.

4. MAGE KNIGHT

Sale
Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition Board Game | WizKids
  • The critically acclaimed, award winning Mage Knight board game combines elements...
  • Now, after wowing solo game players and groups of up to 5, this Ultimate Edition...
  • The Ultimate Edition includes the original base game plus all three expansions:...

Mage Knight is a combination of deck-building, role-playing, and a standard board game all in one super entertaining board game. In this game, you will explore cities, fight monsters, and conquer realms. The overall goal of the game is to claim the Mage Knight world as your own. This game is extremely complex and involved, with games taking hours to complete. That said, if you are ready for a top-notch single-player board game, Mage Knight is one of our personal favorites!

HOW TO PLAY

Mage Knight is a hefty game with hundreds of cards, tiles, tokens, mats, and other components. Setting up the game alone can take over an hour, and learning the rules is a process. Make sure to check out our guide to Mage Knight, and use the official WizKids walkthrough of the game as you learn to play.

5. FINAL GIRL

Final Girl Core Box – Board Game by Van Ryder...
  • IMPORTANT: This Core box is NOT playable by itself and requires you to also own...
  • CHOOSE A FILM: The Final Girl Core Box contains the basic rules and all the...
  • REMORSELESS KILLERS: Playing on a famous horror movie trope, Final Girl is a...
Fapeto Travel Drawstring Bag Bundle with Final...
  • This Set Includes:
  • ★ Travel Drawstring Bag, Approximately 8 by 10 inches in size, the bag holds...
  • ★ Van Ryder Games Final Girl: Slaughter in the Groves Feature Film Expansion,...

Final Girl is a horror movie lover’s dream! This solo board game takes place in a classic 80s horror movie. You play as a female character who is trying to survive a killer on the loose. Something unique about this board game is that you must purchase an expansion pack as well as the core game in order to play. This is because the game is set up to play through different expansions, or “Feature Films,” each time you play. Final Girl is fun, strategic, and horrifying! Additionally, your gameplay will vary based on the expansion you use, as each killer and location is completely different.

HOW TO PLAY

Final Girl can only be played single-player, so you won’t have to adjust the rules to play it alone. To start off, you should choose a Final Girl (your player) and a Feature Film with a killer and a location. Each game also contains the following:

  • Action Cards
  • A Player Board
  • Dice
  • Victim Boards
  • Health Tokens
  • Horror Markers
  • Final Girl Marker
  • Health Markers
  • Tracking Markers
  • And Victim Markers

In every Feature Film box will also contain more specialized boards and game pieces depending on the box.

Each turn, you will go through five phases: the action phase, the planning phase, the killer phase, the panic phase, and the upkeep phase. You will save victims, look for items to help you, defend yourself against the killer, attack the killer, and plan out future moves. During the killer phase, you will draw killer cards that indicate the killer’s actions.

The game ends when either the Final Girl or the Killer dies.

6. LEGENDARY MARVEL

Upper Deck Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
  • Easy to learn, with fast-paced gameplay
  • Features incredible original artwork of Marvel heroes and villains
  • Game consists of nearly 600 cards, Full color Game board & Color Rule Book

If you are a Marvel fan, you’ll love this coop or single-player board game. In Legendary, you will play as S.H.I.E.L.D., attempting to recruit Marvel superheroes to fight off villains. The evil mastermind will enact their evil scheme, and you must stop them by using your team of elite heroes. This deck-building game is relatively easy to play and is a super fun way to spend an afternoon alone. This board game can also be played as a cooperative effort with up to 4 other friends! 

HOW TO PLAY

To start off, deal eight S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and four S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers. Your agents are used to recruit superheroes, and your soldiers are used to attack villains and masterminds. Each round, you will recruit new heroes, add new villains to the board, and fight these villains with your attack cards. At the end of each round, discard your current hand of cards and draw six new cards. Villains may escape, which effectively “KOs” a hero. 

Eventually, as you fight heroes and gain strength, you’ll become strong enough to fight the mastermind. To win the game, you will need to defeat the mastermind four times before the villains complete their “Evil Scheme”. If the mastermind completes their “Evil Scheme”, you lose.

Marvel Legendary is a pretty complex game. Check out our complete breakdown of the rules to Marvel Legendary for more info.

If you ever get bored of the base game, you can also purchase some exciting expansions, including the following:

7. PATHFINDER

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box
  • Ages: 13+
  • Number of Players: 1-4
  • Playing Time: 90 minutes

Are you ready to embark on a thrilling journey through the realms of imagination and adventure? Look no further than Pathfinder, the premier tabletop roleplaying game that will ignite your creativity and transport you to fantastical worlds filled with endless possibilities. Pathfinder is an immersive roleplaying board game that can be played solo or with more than 5 people. This dungeon-crawling RPG is similar to Dungeons and Dragons, with a few twists and differences.

HOW TO PLAY

Ready to play Pathfinder by yourself? First, you’ll need to get the Pathfinder rulebook and a set of polyhedral dice. Then, it is on to our favorite stage of the game: designing a character. Like D&D, you will choose the race, class, abilities, and backstory for your character. This means that you can have a completely unique character in each game with a new set of abilities. When playing Pathfinder solo, you’ll need to create a few different characters because you will play 3 or more characters simultaneously when playing the board game solo. Check out our article on the Pathfinder character sheet for more on this.

There is a steep learning curve to Pathfinder, especially if you have never played a role-playing game before, so we highly recommend reading through the rules of combat, leveling up, adventuring, and more! The Pathfinder Beginners Box is a great place to start if you’ve never played the game before and want a dumbed-down version of the game to get you started.

8.  ARKHAM HORROR

Sale
Arkham Horror Card Game - Mystery Cooperative Card...
  • A LIVING CARD GAME OF ELDRITCH MYSTERY: Something evil stirs in Arkham, and only...
  • HORROR GAME: As the Ancient Ones seek entry to our world, investigators work to...
  • COOPERATIVE GAME: You and your friends become investigators within the quiet New...

Arkham Horror is a horror-themed tabletop game based on the Lovecraft novel “Call of Cthulhu”.  This game revolves around investigating and preventing otherworldly horrors from entering our world. You will assume the role of an investigator with unique abilities, working to uncover mysteries, close portals to other dimensions, and thwart the awakening of cosmic beings.

This game is challenging, terrifying, and entertaining, even for a single player! Play through the game, attempting to close all of the portals to other dimensions before Cthulhu awakens and destroys the world!

HOW TO PLAY

Playing Arkham Horror can be a thrilling and immersive experience, but it is pretty complex and difficult to play.  Each turn, you’ll start out with the upkeep phase. Here, you will perform “housekeeping tasks”, resolve ongoing effects, and adjust skills.

Next is the action phase. In this phase, you will move around the board, gathering clues, engaging in combat, or closing gates to other dimensions.

Next, move to the encounter phase, where you will draw cards and complete the appropriate challenges.

The final phase is the mythos phase. Here, you will open gates and spawn monsters, place clue tokens, move monsters, or activate mythos abilities.

To win Arkham Horror, you must close a certain number of gates and solve mysteries. You lose if too many gates open or the Ancient One awakens.

Still lost on how to play? Check out our article with a full breakdown of the rules for Arkham Horror.

9. SCYTHE

Stonemaier Games: Scythe (Base Game) | an...
  • EXPLORE: It is a time of unrest in 1920s Europa. The ashes from the first great...
  • ALTERNATE HISTORY: Scythe is an engine-building game set in an alternate-history...
  • VARIABILITY: With five different factions and five different player boards,...

Scythe is a strategy-packed board game set in an alternate 1920s Europe. Up to 5 players can play this thrilling game, but it is just as fun as a solo game. In Scythe, you’ll command unique factions attempting to gain control of Eastern Europa. It’s all about expanding territories, building your economy, and amassing military strength. This game is relatively easy to grasp, though it takes a lot of brainpower and strategy to win. This is an excellent choice for both newbie and experienced tabletop gamers.

HOW TO PLAY

Something unique about playing Scythe alone is that you will be playing against an AI called the “Automa”. The gameplay for single-player Scythe is quite a bit different than the multiplayer version, as there are a few more parts to pay attention to in the game. Luckily, the game comes with a detailed walkthrough on how to play Scythe as a solo player, so you won’t have to do any guessing. 

This video explains in detail how to play Scythe as a solo board game.

10. CARTOGRAPHERS

Thunderworks Games - Cartographers: A Roll Player...
  • EXPLORE THE WILDERNESS: The Queen has tasked you with scouting new territories...
  • DRAW YOUR MAP: 100 double-sided map sheets challenge players to draw unique...
  • BEWARE OF MONSTERS: It’s an Ambush! Draw these beastly attackers, but be sure...

Cartographers is a super fun map-drawing/tile-laying game that combines strategy, creativity, and exploration. As a royal cartographer, your task is to map the Queen’s ever-expanding realm by drawing landscapes, scoring points, and even defending against monstrous threats. During each round, you’ll face a new set of challenges. This game is pretty easy to grasp, and the single-player version is accessible. This game makes cartography (the study of map making) fun! Every map tells a story, and every decision shapes your destiny.

HOW TO PLAY

The game of Cartographers is played in four different phases called “Seasons”. In each season, you will draw a specific shape on your map sheet using your land tiles. The shape corresponds to the season card. For example, if the season card shows a 3×3 square, players draw a 3×3 square on their map.

After creating your map, add any terrain icons (forests, farms, villages, or mines) found within the shape to their map, following the terrain rules specified on the season card. But be careful! There are also monsters and ambush cards that can negatively affect your map!

For more info on how to play, check out the official rules of the Cartographers.

11. DUNE: IMPERIUM

Sale
Dune: Imperium
  • Deck-building meets worker placement
  • The first new Dune board game in nearly 40 years
  • From the creators of Clank!

Dune is one of the most iconic sci-fi books of all time, influencing many of the movies, books, and TV shows of the genre. Dune: Imperium is a strategic, deck-building tabletop game based on the Dune universe. In this board game, you will fight for control of the desert planet Arrakis, navigating the treacherous political landscape while managing resources, building alliances, and engaging in epic conflicts. You will choose to play as one of the noble houses, deploying agents, amassing influence, and adapting your strategy to secure dominance in the unforgiving sands. 

Dune: Imperium is primarily designed as a multiplayer board game, but it also offers a solo variant for those who prefer to play alone or want to practice their strategies before facing off against other players

This game has a bit of a learning curve, but it is the ultimate strategy game for Dune and sci-fi nerds.

HOW TO PLAY

Similar to Scythe, in Dune: Imperium, you will play against an automated opponent. The solo variation of the game introduces specific rules to simulate the actions and decision-making of the automated solo opponent. At the beginning of the game, you choose a house to play as (Atreides, Harkonnen, or Fremen).

Before each of your turns, you will resolve actions for the solo opponent, which include recruiting agents, acquiring allies, harvesting spice, moving agents, initiating conflicts, and advancing the conflict track. 

After resolving the solo opponent’s actions, you take your turn as in a multiplayer game, choosing two main actions from the available options. You will resolve conflicts, draw cards, and make moves to take control of Arrakis. The solo game continues for a set number of rounds, and the goal is to achieve the highest score possible based on your accumulated victory points.

12. SHERLOCK HOLMES CONSULTING DETECTIVE

Sale
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective - The Baker...
  • TEN FRESH MYSTERIES: Immerse yourself in ten brand-new mysteries, each expertly...
  • COOPERATIVE INVESTIGATION: Work together as a team to solve intricate cases by...
  • IMMERSIVE NARRATIVE: Experience an enhanced narrative with new mechanics that...

If you are a fan of mystery, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is the tabletop game for you! 

In this cooperative or solo board game, you play as an amateur detective, working with the legendary Sherlock Holmes to solve intricate mysteries. The goal is to solve the case with as few leads as possible and in the shortest amount of time. This is not too complex of a board game, so if you want something simple to play on a quiet night alone, this is a great option.

HOW TO PLAY

In a standard game of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, you play as a team, deciding which locations and contacts to question about the mystery. But, in the solo game, you will make all the decisions yourself. Begin by reading the first question from the casebook. Then, use the directory to look up locations and contacts. You’ll travel to different locations and learn information that may or may not help solve the question in the casebook. Take notes, gather clues, and travel around the board until you have enough information to solve the first mystery. After you have completed all the mysteries in the casebook, compare your notes to Sherlock’s answers in the casebook.

Looking for some more fun solo games? Check out our guide with 15 of the best games to play alone.

Lev
×