Even the most extroverted board game aficionado occasionally wants to settle in for a quiet night and play by themselves – and there’s nothing wrong with that at all!
Playing games on your own offers several distinct advantages: no new players to teach the rules to, no worries about people being over competitive or sore losers, no stressing about whether everyone is having a good time. Not to mention, playing on your own is a great way to master the rules of a tricky game and surprise your friends by bringing a new technique or approach to the table the next time you all DO play together!
There are tons of great games out there that you can play on your own, but we’ve done the hard work for you and rounded up our top 5 absolute favorites. Check ‘em out below, and get ready to settle in for a peaceful night of solo gaming.
Our Favorite Solo Board Games
You might be familiar with Game Designer Vlaada Chvatil’s most popular game, Codenames, but this multi-layered and challenging fantasy-themed deck building game is just as much fun – and you don’t have to worry about rounding up any opposing spymasters.
New players to Mage Knight should be ready to invest some time in the complex rules and game mechanics, but your efforts will be well rewarded with a game you can truly sink your teeth into. Which is why, most fans agree, it’s best played in its single-player mode.
The game can be played with up to 5, but unless you’ve got a group of equally committed and rules-savvy players, it might feel a little on the slow side – a problem perfectly solved when the only person in the turn order is you.
If you’ve been dreaming of the chance to step into Elon Musk’s shoes for a minute, then Terraforming Mars might just be the game for you.
Like the above Mage Knight, Terraforming Mars can be played with up to 5, but provides an equally fun experience for the solo gamer. Can you start with nothing but raw resources and overcome the odds to transform this barren planet into a life-supporting paradise?
With a wide variety of different Terraforming Mars expansion sets available, you can keep adding new twists to this game to keep it fresh and challenging, even after you’ve mastered the basic version. While a real life Mars mission might be a risky endeavor, we can safely say this is a game you’ll come back to over and over again.
Okay, you say, those first two games were a little dark. Mage Knights on a doomed quest or trying to force life out of a lonely, barren planet? Can’t you recommend a single player game that’s a little more…well, pleasant?
Good news, we have got just the game for you! Welcome To… is a game that sets you as the architect of a brand new, state of the art 1950s neighborhood. Build houses, add amenities like parks and swimming pools, and attempt to create your own little Plesantville, USA.
This dose of adorable Americana plays like an old-school roll-and-write board game (think Yahtzee), but instead of dice Welcome To… uses a custom card deck. At less than 30 min per game, this makes a great quick play.
And of course, it can be played competitively with multiple players as well, so you can enjoy it with your real-life neighbors too. Make sure you grab a malted milkshake to sip while you play, for the full experience.
Another unique take on the solo board game market (a section usually dominated by role playing games, which naturally lend themselves well to single player gaming), Viticulture sets the player to restoring a vineyard they’ve inherited in beautiful Tuscany, Italy.
One important thing to note – single player mode was not originally included in this game, so make sure you purchase the 2015 “Essential Edition” version and not the 2013 original release if you want to play this one on your own!
Starting off with just a couple employees and a small plot of land, can you singlehandedly revitalize the vineyard and create a bustling winery? This is one creative and challenging game that best pairs with cozy nights in and a glass of your favorite merlot.
Our favorite one player game is a distinctive and challenging quick-play card game: Aerion. In Aerion, the player is an inventor of flying machines and must find the required cards to build the best fleet!
It is best played solo but can be played cooperatively with another player. Either way the game will only take about 15 minutes to complete making it ideal for nights when you can’t devote hours to a complex game.
Can you build the best fleet of airships? Either way, we can guarantee that fun is in the cards!
Ready to get started playing board games by yourself?
If the recent pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that it’s well worth having at least a couple hobbies that you can enjoy on your own. Any of these fantastic choices can be a great introduction to one-player gaming. No need to round up a crowd next time you wanna break out the board games! Just grab your drink and snack of choice, and settle in for a few rounds with your most challenging competition – yourself. You’ll never play Solitaire again!