Sometimes assembling your board gaming crew for a game night isn’t an option. Or you may just be looking for something to do by yourself as you relax in the evening after a hard day at work. Well, Boar Gamers have something just for you.
Today, we’ll delve into the captivating realm of the best solo board games. These board games have experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, especially with gamers that like to move away from our screens for entertainment. So, grab your favorite beverage, get comfy in your gaming nook, and join us in exploring why solo play has captured the hearts of so many.
Top Solo Board Games: Our Favorite Picks in 2023
- Final Girl
- Turing Machine
- The 7th Continent
- Spirit Island
- Under Falling Skies
- Arkham Horror TCG
- A Feast for Odin
- Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
- This War of Mine
Benefits of Solo Board Games: Party of One
Imagine the scene: It’s a rainy evening, and the world outside is enveloped in a tranquil mist. You’re in the mood for some gaming, but your regular gaming group is busy or unavailable. No worries! Solo board games offer you the freedom and flexibility to indulge in your favorite pastime whenever you desire.
Besides having these games easily available, they provide (for most of us anyway) a better gaming experience than simply assembling a puzzle or finishing a crossword. Solo board games can transport you into immersive worlds, where you become the protagonist, making decisions that shape the outcome of thrilling narratives or simply challenge your strategic thinking and keep you engaged.
There’s another often overlooked boon to solo board games: the ability to set up a game and leave it, only to return later and resume your epic journey. Simply hit the pause button on your adventure and leave the game board undisturbed. Of course, this works best if you have plenty of room for gaming; you wouldn’t want to eat dinner over your game. Trust us, Spaghetti Bolognese and Flamecraft’s board don’t go as well together as the game’s theme may suggest.
Boar Reviews: A Closer Look at Single-Player Board Games
Here’s what we at Boar Gamer gladly recommend for you to pick up and try for yourself. Keep in mind this list is likely to grow in the future, as we find new favorites.
1. Final Girl
|Number of players:||1|
|Play time:||20 – 60 minutes|
In the adrenaline-fueled world of Final Girl, a solo-only board game, players are thrust into the shoes of the iconic “Final Girl” from horror movies. The game captures the essence of the genre’s tropes as you fight for survival against bloodthirsty slashers, monsters, and other creatures of the night.
As the Final Girl, you’ll navigate treacherous scenarios, confronting harrowing challenges and making life-or-death decisions. The ultimate goal is clear: defeat the slasher. But beware, every choice you make can lead to either salvation or a gruesome demise.
The game combines the best elements of horror movies with the thrill of strategic gameplay and deck building. Drawing inspiration from titles like Hostage Negotiator, it introduces a game board to track locations and character movement. This adds an extra layer of immersion and tension as you navigate the treacherous terrain.
The game’s solo focus intensifies the experience, immersing you in the harrowing struggle for survival. With no allies to rely on, every decision becomes a potential life-and-death gamble. Victory or defeat rests solely on your shoulders, making each playthrough gripping and unpredictable.
The core box contains all the necessary components to play Final Girl with any of the additional Feature Film Boxes, which unlock new adversaries and locations. The combination of different protagonists and locations creates a vast array of terrifying scenarios, ensuring that each playthrough brings something new and unexpected.
- Fantastic horror movie experience in a box (actually multiple boxes)
- Affordable price for core box and scenarios
- Unique solo game
- The randomness can annoy some players
2. Turing Machine
|Number of players:||1 to 4|
|Play time:||20 minutes|
Turning Machine is a truly unique title on our list of solo games. Winner of the 2022 Golden Geek Award in the Best Solo Game category, it truly provides a unique deduction game where you are trying to crack a three-digit code before other players, or by yourself. This game is a true example of a group solitaire game, as each of the players will focus on solving the puzzle presented in front of them.
At the core of Turing Machine is an analog computer composed of perforated cards. Players must decipher the secret code by analyzing a set of criteria cards that suggest potential rules for the code. In each round, you’ll gather information, test hypotheses, and narrow down the possibilities.
The game’s quick and engaging gameplay sets it apart from its peers. Easier puzzles/sessions can be completed in as little as 10 minutes, providing intense bursts of problem-solving (making the Turing Machine an ideal filler game). However, harder difficulty levels will have you scratching your head for longer periods of time.
Turing Machine truly shines as a solo game. Players can fully immerse themselves in the intricate mechanics and devote their undivided attention to solving the puzzles. Carefully noting your clues is essential for solving the puzzle, and any missteps may lead you down the wrong path.
- The game comes with 20 puzzles, but the official Turing Machine website offers endless varieties
- Great as a filler game, or something to keep you busy with your morning coffee
- Fun solo or in a group
- While easy to learn, the game requires concentration and properly noting down clues
3. The 7th Continent
|Number of players:||1 to 4|
|Play time:||5 – 1,000 minutes|
In this amazing game, you step into the shoes of an intrepid explorer who has recently returned home from an exhilarating expedition to the newly discovered seventh continent. It is the year 1907, and this uncharted land stands as the final frontier of exploration in the world. However, the terrible curse that shrouds this mysterious continent compels you to embark on another perilous journey, seeking to uncover its secrets and avert the impending doom that looms over your head.
The 7th Continent presents a truly unique and immersive experience of cooperative exploration and survival. As you traverse the vast and treacherous landscapes, the narrative of the game unfolds, guiding you through an enthralling storyline filled with captivating twists and turns. The survival aspect adds to the challenge, forcing you to confront dangerous encounters and make tough choices to ensure your own well-being.
While the game is designed to accommodate up to four players, we have found that it really shines as a solo adventure or when played cooperatively with just two players allowing for deeper immersion into the story and a greater connection with the decisions you make throughout your expedition.
The 7th Continent offers countless hours of engrossing gameplay as there’s plenty of land to explore, and different curses to resolve. Each playthrough is different, with modular cards creating a procedurally generated environment, ensuring that each adventure is unique.
Furthermore, this is a challenging game that will challenge you, so be prepared for multiple playthroughs before beating this great solo game.
- Amazing replay value
- Good “save game” system
- Great solo and two-player experience
- Some players might dislike the game’s “card filing system”
|Number of players:||1 to 6|
|Play time:||45 – 60 minutes|
Dorfromantik is a relaxing tile-laying landscaping game that invites players to craft a picturesque landscape adorned with charming villages, lush forests, golden wheat fields, and meandering rivers, all crisscrossed by intricate train tracks.
It’s a peaceful and artistic journey that lets you design your own idyllic world, piece by piece, and create a serene countryside that will captivate your imagination and soothe your soul. You can easily lose yourself in the creative flow and forget all about the rules, and you’d still be playing the game right if you know what we mean.
The concept is simple yet delightful – your table is your canvas, and with each tile placed, you weave a most charming landscape, all while satisfying the residential requests that come your way. Luckily, there are no homeowner associations to deal with in Dorfromantik, because if there were, this delightful game would be anything but relaxing. Instead, you can peacefully immerse yourself in the joy of crafting your dream landscape with just a few simple rules and restrictions.
While Dorfromantik is designed for up to six players, its true charm and serenity come to life when played solo. However, amidst all the beauty and mesmerizing appearance of the game, there is a point behind it all. As you craft your world, you score points for various tasks you complete, and with them, you advance your campaign and unlock even more tiles, allowing you to create even better and more stunning landscapes.
For an entirely different play experience, where tranquility takes a backseat, Pegasus Spiele has announced the upcoming release of Dorfromantik Duel, designed for two players, set to debut later this year during the SPIEL Essen.
- Relaxing puzzle-like game
- Beautiful aesthetics and visuals
- Spiel des Jahres 2023 winner
- Could benefit from more objectives or specific scenarios
|Number of players:||1|
|Play time:||25 minutes|
Friday is a fun little solo deck-building game where you take on the role of Robinson Crusoe’s legendary companion and your job is to help him through the island’s perils and ultimately escape the island.
The gameplay revolves around facing challenges by drawing cards from your deck which you will improve with stronger cards and abilities throughout the game. Like in other deck-building games, you’ll also be removing weak cards to optimize your deck.
As the game progresses, you’ll have to balance your life points and how quickly you are going through your cards, as Robinson is not getting any younger while he is on the deserted island. Aging adds cards that will often mess up your plans with some encounters and make them more challenging.
Defeating pirates is the end goal, but don’t worry. Even if you didn’t manage to prepare Mr. Crusoe for this encounter and lose, you can easily play another round, since Friday is a really fast-paced game. We can easily see this game played solo with a cup of coffee or during a lunch break. It’s really portable, fits into a small box and it’s a must-have for all the solo players out there.
- Easy to pick up and play quickly
- Portable and small game
- Great solo experience
- Visual design is a bit silly and not for everyone
6. Spirit Island
|Number of players:||1 to 4|
|Play time:||90 – 120 minutes|
There are plenty of reasons why Spirit Island has earned its place as one of Board Gamer’s all-time favorites. This game offers a refreshing change of pace, where the forces of nature unite against the encroachment of colonization. It’s a delightful departure from the usual gaming narrative, emphasizing the preservation of nature and the delicate balance of ecosystems (something to think about, especially in the times we are currently living in).
In Spirit Island, players assume the roles of ancient spirits, acting as guardians of a mystical island threatened by invaders. Instead of embarking on conquest or resource exploitation, your primary objective is to protect the land and its ecosystem from harm.
From a solo player’s perspective, the gameplay of Spirit Island presents an intriguing challenge. Each spirit available for selection at the beginning of the game possesses unique strengths and weaknesses. When playing alone, the decisions and actions you take as a solitary guardian become even more critical. The solo experience allows you to fully immerse yourself in the role of a spirit guardian, pondering the best course of action to defend the island and restore harmony.
Spirit Island’s solo mode showcases the game’s impressive design and replayability. As you grow more familiar with the spirits and their capabilities, you’ll discover new strategies and approaches to overcome the invaders’ relentless advances. Also, if you ever get tired of playing alone, the game is equally as fun with some friends.
- A refreshing change of pace
- Decisions matter
- Engaging solo experience
- Steep learning curve
7. Under Falling Skies
|Number of players:||1|
|Play time:||20 – 40 minutes|
Under Falling Skies is one of those solo games that plunge you into intense and thrilling action from the start. You’ll battle for humanity’s survival against a relentless alien invasion. This game is designed and published by one of our favorite board game publishers, Czech Game Edition, who has a deserved place on almost every list of the best board games around. This solo-play experience is actually a clever puzzle game, that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
If you watched any sci-fi movies with aliens this game will feel quite familiar (especially to Men in Black fans). In Under Falling Skies, you assume the role of a courageous commander leading the last bastion of humanity deep underground. As alien motherships loom overhead, your task is to build a network of defenses, research powerful technologies, and repel the invading forces on a “Space Invaders” looking board, long enough to launch a desperate final mission.
What sets Under Falling Skies apart is its unique dice placement mechanism. Each round, you roll dice representing your actions and allocate them to different sections of your underground base. Each section provides a specific action, such as generating energy, researching technologies, or engaging in combat with the enemy.
The challenge lies in strategically placing your dice to maximize their effectiveness while mitigating the threats from the descending enemy ships.
Another reason why we like this whole package is that you can play solo through a campaign with each game being a different nail-biting experience.
- Gorgeous game with plenty to offer to solo players
- Genuinely interesting and engaging mechanics
- Easy to pick up and play
- The sci-fi theme may be a bit bland for some players
8. Arkham Horror: The Card Game (Revised Edition)
|Number of players:||1 to 4|
|Play time:||45 – 180 minutes|
Arkham Horror: The Card Game is easily the best game published by FFG (Fantasy Flight Games) that’s set in the world of H.P. Lovecraft. As you may imagine, the player characters are unwillingly thrust into a world of cosmic horror, dark mysteries, and bone-chilling investigations. Strategic card play and immersive storytelling with consequences that transfer from one adventure to another, make this game an absolute gem both with friends and as a single-player experience.
Without revealing too much of the story, you can expect that each scenario will present a unique mystery to unravel, as you uncover ancient secrets, confront unspeakable entities, and strive to protect your sanity in the face of eldrich terrors. The game offers a rich and evolving campaign structure, allowing you to progress through interconnected scenarios, with your actions in previous games having a lasting impact on subsequent ones.
You’ll customize your investigator with cards you earn while playing the game, and these will make it easier (or more difficult) to deal with situations you encounter. Thankfully, the difficulty of the game can be adjusted, making it a good choice for anyone that needs to scale down on the challenge.
Furthermore, there’s a vast array of expansions that expand the game’s narrative, introduce new investigators, scenarios, and stories, and offer additional challenges. These expansions provide an opportunity for countless hours of engrossing gameplay.
- Best Lovecraftian game out there
- Narrative rich
- Engaging deck mechanics
- Can be a bit too much on the higher difficulties
9. A Feast for Odin
|Number of players:||1 to 4|
|Play time:||30 – 120 minutes|
Once again Uwe Rozenberg’s board game, A Feast for Odin, finds a place on one of our lists of best games. While it’s much more famous for being a classic eurogame, it does have a surprisingly engaging solo mode so we had to include it.
In Feast for Odin, you embody the role of a Viking chieftain, seeking to establish a prosperous settlement in the harsh lands of Scandinavia. Your goal is to efficiently manage resources, explore new territories, and maximize your actions to acquire wealth and prestige.
The standout feature of “A Feast for Odin” is its sheer depth and variety of actions you can take. This provides a vast sandbox for solo players to experiment and strategize. From hunting and trading to crafting and pillaging, there is an abundance of paths to success, ensuring each playthrough feels unique and engaging. The solo mode of the game is designed so you won’t lose time on taking action for your opponent, but rather you’ll limit yourself with actions you can take next turn.
With its captivating gameplay and strategic depth wrapped in a Viking theme, “A Feast for Odin” delivers an exceptional solo gaming experience besides being one of the best worker placement games out there.
- Plenty of options to choose from
- Great replay value
- An impressive mix of genres
- Can be a bit daunting for newcomers
10. Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Series
|Number of players:||1 to 8|
|Play time:||60 – 120 minutes|
In the vast realm of solo board gaming, where immersive experiences and intellectual challenges meet, one game stands out like a magnifying glass over a hidden clue: Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. This captivating series of board games, inspired by the legendary detective himself, offers a truly unique and thrilling solo gaming experience that will transport you to the foggy streets of Victorian London.
At its core, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is a cooperative deduction game that casts players as brilliant investigators, striving to solve perplexing cases alongside the enigmatic Holmes. The game provides a collection of cases, each with its own narrative and intricate web of clues, suspects, and locations. Your task? To piece together the evidence, analyze witness statements, and uncover the truth behind each mystery.
Unlike traditional board games, this series places a strong emphasis on narrative and deduction rather than competition (except for the battle of wits with the brilliant detective himself). With no fixed game board, players rely on a map of London, a casebook, newspapers, and a directory to navigate the city and gather information. Every clue you uncover, every location you visit, and every person you interview brings you closer to cracking the case.
What sets this game apart as a solo experience is the opportunity to interact with the case you are trying to solve. You are not just a simple bystander reading about Holme’s adventure in a book or watching a movie and merely observing how the mystery unfolds. You’re going to deduce, analyze and try to crack the case yourself, and chose where the clues take you providing for a memorable solo experience or a fantastic cooperative adventure.
- Hours of entertainment and a variety of different cases to choose from
- Brilliant puzzle and exploration game
- Non-linear gameplay
- The complexity of the cases and the need for careful analysis can be overwhelming for some players
11. This War of Mine
|Number of players:||1 to 6|
|Play time:||45 – 120 minutes|
In the hauntingly immersive board game adaptation of the famous PC game, This War of Mine, players are plunged into the harrowing reality of war, where survival becomes a daily struggle. This is not your typical war game, but rather an exploration of the human condition, the profound impact of war on civilians, and the emotional toll it takes on individuals and communities. The game tackles mature themes, and it’s one of the rare board game titles that are recommended only for those aged 18 or over.
Set in a war-torn city, the game places you in the shoes of a group of civilians, desperately trying to survive amidst the chaos and devastation. Resources are scarce, danger lurks at every corner, and moral dilemmas abound. Your decisions will shape the fate of the characters as they grapple with scarcity, trauma, and the constant threat of violence.
The gameplay revolves around managing resources, making tough choices, and venturing out into the dangerous city to scavenge for supplies. Each day is a delicate balancing act, as you prioritize survival needs while grappling with the moral consequences of your actions. Will you resort to theft to feed your group, or risk helping others in need?
It’s important to note that This War of Mine is not a game for everyone. Its somber and confronting theme, coupled with challenging gameplay, can be emotionally intense. Even though we gladly recommend This War of Mine, it invites players to confront the dark realities of war, which may not be suitable for all tastes.
- A brilliant and challenging experience
- Unique narrative that shows the true face of war
- Incredible replay value
- The theme can be too dark for some players
How We Picked the Best Solo Player Board Games
The sheer amount of newly designed board games and a wide variety of genres available for modern board gamers can sometimes feel overwhelming. Playing board games by yourself is now an option that most games include, especially in the current gaming landscape where solo play has gained significant popularity. When selecting the best solo player board games, we understand that our picks need to cater to many different tastes and preferences.
Some players prefer a relaxing puzzle experience while others seek a deeper, immersive experience, where they can delve into a complex narrative and make meaningful decisions that shape the game world. To cater to both groups, we’ve included diverse games in our list. The aim of Boar Gamers is to provide recommendations that encompass different gameplay styles and offer something for everyone. Everyone deserves to have some fun and enjoy this amazing hobby.
Note that this list is not exhaustive, and we plan on expanding it in the future as we discover new and exciting board games you can play by yourself. We constantly strive to stay up to date with the latest releases and innovative game designs, ensuring that our recommendations remain relevant and comprehensive.
While we have taken multiple factors into account when selecting these games, we have kept the criteria straightforward and focused on the overall solo gaming experience. We intended to highlight some of the standout titles that have captivated players and earned positive reviews.
Tips for Board Game Solo Plays
Playing board games solo is a rewarding and immersive experience. Here are some practical tips and strategies to help you make the most out of it:
- Read and understand the rules thoroughly – This will help you not to waste time during your gaming session.
- Set up a dedicated game area for easy access – Not having to pack up your game means you can leave the game mid-play and continue whenever you feel like it.
- Use tokens or player aids to manage multiple roles or keep track of the game – Some games are much easier to go through if you use tokens or take notes of your current action or progress.
- Learn from failures and experiment – Solo board games can be quite challenging, so don’t get discouraged. Test the game’s boundaries and adapt.
- Engage with the theme and narrative for a more immersive experience – Proper lighting, music, and atmosphere can help a lot to take your game night to the next level.
- Challenge yourself by adjusting difficulty levels or adding handicaps – If the game is too easy it doesn’t take much to increase its difficulty.
Final Thoughts on Solo Gaming
Solo gaming is here to stay. Even though we like playing board games as a social activity and an opportunity to relax and spend time with friends and family, we can appreciate that modern games include solo modes more often. Having the option to play a game by yourself when your crew is struck by a severe case of RL is great, and that’s why we wholeheartedly support the evolution of this genre of the board gaming hobby.
Some of the best board games to play by yourself are Final Girl, Turing Machine, and The 7th Continent.
Nowadays, most board games include an option to play them by yourself. However, there are some that are specifically made for single-player gaming. These are Final Girl, Under Falling Skies, and Friday. The majority of modern board games will include an app or a set of rules that will allow you to play the game solo.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game is one of the best games for playing solo that we had the opportunity to test out. The game is also rich with narrative and has plenty of expansions to add to the story.