Best Solo Board Games

Are you looking for a single player board game? Although board games are often played in groups, one player board games can be just as fun. That’s why in this post we share our picks for the the best solo board games.

How To Choose The Best Solo Board Game

To make sure you choose the best solo board game for your situation, there’s a few questions you need to ask yourself.

What is a solo board game?

A solo board game is a game that can be played as a single player game. Often solo board games can be played with one or more players.

Watch out for lazy solo board game designs

When you choose your solo board game you need to watch out for games that can be played with one player, but aren’t specifically designed for this. 

The best solo board games can usually still be played with multiple players, but they have a dedicated single player mode with adapted rules. This is critical to making sure that a game is fun for one player only.

Choosing a solo board game with a multiplayer mode

This may seem to contradict our previous advice, but it doesn’t. 

There are some great solo board games that also have great multiplayer modes (with adapted rule sets for each situation).

And it’s just a huge value bonus if your solo board game is actually also fun to play with more than one person.

Campaign based solo board games

Many solo board games are campaign based games, which means that they consist of a story line that you play out over multiple sessions. 

Many multiplayer board games get their replay value from opponents continually trying to outsmart each other and upping their strategies. Solo board games run the risk of becoming stagnant or even feeling ‘solved’. 

That’s why campaign based solo board games generally work really well. The campaign makes sure that the game develops so that it doesn’t become stale. 

That being said, you may  just not be into campaign based games. So it’s important to consider whether you want a campaign based solo board game or a regular solo board game that can be played out in a single session.

Solo board game themes

The theme of a board game is always important for how much you enjoy it. The great thing if you plan to play a game by yourself. is that you can also pick the theme all by yourself. 

So if you’re deep into the space theme but your family and friends aren’t, it’s a great idea to pick up a space themed solo board game.

Solo board game duration

Game duration is also important whenever you choose a new board game. 

It’s actually slightly less important when choosing a solo board game, because it’s usually much easier to stop a session and continue it at a later time. But it’s still important to consider whether you generally favor long or short board games.

Scythe is set in an alternate history in 1920s Eastern Europe. A great war is over, when the capitalistic city state ‘The Factory’ promptly closes its borders to neighboring countries, arousing their suspicion.

Single player mode

Scythe’s has a more thorough single player mode than any other solo board game. It literally has its own design team and production staff. 

The single player mode of Scythe comes with its own separate rule book as well.

Recommendation

Since its solo mode is so well worked out, Scythe is our top pick for the best solo board game. (And as a bonus, its multiplayer mode is fantastic as well.)       

  • Players: 1 - 5
  • Duration: 30 - 45 minutes solo (90 - 120 minutes multiplayer)

Gloomhaven is considered the best board game by hard core board gamers in 2020 – and it has been their most popular board game since 2017.

Gloomhaven is often described as the ultimate ‘Choose your own Adventure’ board game. Other comparisons that apply are with Dungeons and Dragons and vast single player RPG’s like Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim.

Single player mode

When you play Gloomhaven as a solo board game you play two characters simultaneously. Gloomhaven doesn’t have an adjusted rule set to enhance the single player mode, but in this case, it really doesn’t matter too much. Gloomhaven’s vast and changing world translate very well to a game with only one player.   

Recommendation

Gloomhaven is very good as a solo board game, and in multiplayer it might be the best board game of all time. So if you’re looking to buy a solo board game that also has a fantastic multiplayer mode, this is your value pick.   

  • Players: 1-4
  • Duration: 90-115 minutes (per scenario)

Railroad Ink is a fantastic little game in which you draw down your own railroad and highway network. You obtain points by connecting exits and building long uninterrupted highways and railroads.

Single player mode

Railroad Ink is always played as a solitaire game, even when you play with more than one player. That’s because there’s no interaction between the players at all. So Railroad Ink doesn’t need any rule changes to function as a solo board game.

Recommendation

Railroad Ink is incredibly easy to learn, short, fun and cheap. If you’re looking to buy a light game that’s fun with one player as well as in groups, Railroad Ink is your pick.

As for the colors, both are great. We recommend you buy the blue edition before the red edition because blue is slightly simpler.

  • Players: 1-6
  • Duration: 10-20 minutes

Terraforming Mars is widely appreciated by both hard core and casual board gamers. It’s simple and compelling, yet there’s enough to discover to interest even the most fanatical of board gamers.

Single player mode

In both single player and multiplayer mode, the goal of Terraforming Mars is terraform Mars so that it becomes hospitable to human life. 

In the multiplayer mode, all players try to make Mars habitable and earn points in the process. The game ends when Mars is habitable and the player wins who then has the most points.

In single player mode your goal is to try to get Mars hospitable. You win if you do, otherwise you lose.

Recommendation

We’re big fans of Terraforming Mars’ elegantly designed single player mode. It plays very natural – even more natural than the multiplayer mode in my opinion. And you don’t have to memorize a bunch of extra rules when you switch between multiplayer and single player mode.

  • Players: 1-4
  • Duration: 60-90 minutes with one player (120 minutes with a group)

Rounding up

We hope this post provided you with everything you need to choose the best solo board game for you.  If you have any leftover questions or want a personal recommendation, hit us op through our contact form.