What Are the Best Solo Board Games?

If you’re looking for something to play on your own, I’d probably go with the iPad, iPhone, similar tablet or phone, or old fashioned computer.  But if you really want to play solo board games, there are some great ones out there and many adventures you can do on your own.

But I do play some things, and I can tell you about them:

Terraforming Mars

The solo game is pretty challenging, and you can even take your turn at it with each corporation.  However, I get to play this enough with actual people that I don’t really find myself interested in playing it alone, but it’s a good solo version of a great overall game.


The solo version of this game kicked my butt around the house, kind of odd for a solo strategy game but that’s how it went down the one time I really played it all the way through.  Doc has figured out how to beat it every once in a while.  I imagine it could be quite fun if you could figure out how to become a space legend.


Of course, Gloomhaven is well-known for its long run as the #1 hot game on boardgamegeek and continued run near the top.  What may not be so well-known is that you can play it solo, and while I haven’t personally played the solo mode, I’ve read/heard some extremely positive reviews of that experience, and I have a high enough opinion of the game to believe that to be true.  You can also control 2 or more characters yourself and take them through an adventure, and it’s such a rich game experience, why not?

Docmogs is enjoying Too Many Bones as a solo game as well.  I haven’t played it enough to be able to tell you about it or record it, but if you’ve already played through Gloomhaven and want something similar but different, you might want to check it out.

Pandemic Legacy

So from here is a group of games that are intended to be cooperative, but you can certainly play solo to experience some epic adventures on the table top.  Let’s start with the amazing Pandemic Legacy, a game that pits a number of international heroes like the scientist, the dispatcher and the medic against a global virus that is spinning out of control.  Soon the victims themselves become a problem, and rioting brings down cities and your ability to navigate the globe as you race against time.


The game includes a number of interesting zombie scenarios and a colorful group of characters to solve them.  I consider this the best of the zombie games due to the way the zombies are written with an AI of sorts – they have rules they respond to, just like a real zombie movie or novel – or at least how they ought to be!  Learning to manipulate the way the zombies respond is a key, fun part of the game, and it’s something you can do on your own or in a group.


If zombies aren’t your thing, how about Marvel comic book heroes?  Put your team of heroes together and take on a villain like Magneto or Dr. Doom.  I am not personally familiar with the solo rules, but I would think you could play it as a multi-player game if you were willing to manage all of the decks.  I can tell you that it’s great as a multi-player game if you like the theme and like deck-building games well enough.


Ok, so if battling viruses or zombies, or being a superhero aren’t for you, the final of the cooperative games is Pathfinder, the Adventure Card Game.  I’d probably just play this solo on the iPad but if you did get it, I don’t see why a player couldn’t play it by himself with any number of players, I’d go with 4.  It’s a great, great adventure that is well-balanced in terms of its level of challenge.

Dungeon Roll

If you want something a little different, something you can play fairly quickly on your own but also with any number of other players, try out this little bad boy that was all the rage some 5 years ago.  Go on a “delve” into the dungeon, roll some fun little custom dice, and see how you do.  You never know when you’ll get a really good one going.


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