Best One Player (Solo) Board Games (With Reviews) – Games You Can Play By Yourself

When you think of board games, you think of getting together with friends and family, having some fun, arguing with one another maybe, and generally enjoying the comradery. Rightfully so, that is what makes games nights so awesome.

But what if you feel like playing by yourself? What if you like the challenge of playing a game, but are tired of looking at your phone or computer screen? Well you are in luck. There are a TON of 1 player board games out there!

There are so many of these solo board games that there is now a whole community (guild) dedicated to it on Board Game Geek. Some of the information can take a lot of reading to sift through, so that’s why we made up a list of the best one player board games for you.

Some of the games on the list are cooperative board games (Pandemic), some are deck building board games (Friday), some are strategy based (Mage Knight). Lots of the best solo board games can be played with more than one person, but all of them can be played by yourself. In certain scenarios this means playing by a specific set of rules outlined in the game box.

The type of multiple player games that you like to play will highly correlate to the ones you enjoy individually in most cases, but often times these one player versions can feel like you are playing a video game style game so keep that in mind when venturing down this path…by yourself.

As always, you may or may not agree with the choices made on this list of the top single player board games, but we welcome your comments below to help us and our readers out!

Best One Player Board Games Comparison Table

(Click thumbnail to jump down page)

Image

Game 

Players

Time

Price

Our Rating

1-4

150 min

$$$$

1

25 min

$

1-4

90-180 min

$$$$

1-5

30-150 min

$$$

1-8

120-240 min

$$$$$

1-4

45-90 min

$$$

2-4

45 min

$$

1-2

60 min

$$$

1-5

30-60 min

$$

Our Rating:

Hexagamers

You are a Mage Knight in this game that must level yourself up, build your army, and generally get stronger (cards in your deck) as the game progresses. You will explore dungeons, caves, and even try to conquer cities as you go. Trying to avoid getting hurt and thus making your deck weaker.

This game has a great mix of a few different genres, including deck building, Role Playing Game, and your traditional board game. This mix creates versatility to attract a number of players.

This game is also versatile since it can be played co-operatively with other people, as it is built for 1-4 players, with special rules for the single player game.

What you will notice about this game is that it takes a lot of space to play, so if you plan on leaving it out, make sure you have someplace else to have your dinner at.

Speaking of leaving it out, this game can take a long time to play. The rules are very complex (2 big rule books), so be prepared for that. This is actually one of the reasons we picked it for the best solo board games. You can spend a day reading the rules, then spend some time to set it up (this takes a while and an organizer can help!) then leave it out for when you are ready to play. You then dedicate some time to sit down and play it. No need to organize an event where everyone has to clear a huge amount of time to get through it.

It also has a fairly steep learning curve, so rule explanation to a large group might take longer than you would want, detracting from the enjoyment of it.

The game is played over a number of rounds as you try to complete objectives. You will notice that there isn’t a huge amount of luck involved (some dice rolling and some randomness to the monsters), but find it can almost feel like a puzzle you are trying to solve to get to the end. Some have classified it as a game of randomized opportunities as opposed to random luck.

The components are great, with awesome miniatures, and a great theme to it that will suck you right in.

This one is complex, so it might not be for everyone, but for someone who wants to sink right into a game by themselves, this is the one for you.

Our Rating:

Hexagamers

Looking for something a little less intense, maybe a little easier to set up? Friday, might be the game you looking for.

You are stranded on a deserted island. You not only have to survive a multitude of dangers that will come up along the way, but you also have to strategize and strengthen yourself to be able to get off the island (by doing away with some nasty pirates).

This is done via a deck building game in which you have 3 rounds and an additional round against said pirates. Each round increases in difficulty, while you balance that with increasing the strength of your deck. Being careful to not get hurt along the way while you face random dangers that cross your path.

This game has a very easy set up, so it is great if you are looking for something less time intense and/or something you can take with you when you go somewhere.

Friday is strictly made for 1 player games, so they have fine-tuned it to work great. You can even increase the difficulty as you see fit, thus providing a lot of replay-ability. Yes, it can get a little less intriguing over time, but it isn’t easy to win as you increase the difficulty, so it will keep you busy for a long while.

Other than pretending you are on a vacation on a (deserted) island, this game also has the benefit of being relatively inexpensive, so it is easy to add to your collection. Its mechanics are simple, so almost anyone can give it a go, yet built well enough to keep even experienced gamers intrigued.

Hexagamers

Let’s stick with the deserted island theme for a bit, except let’s make it a little more cursed, you know, for fun…

Robinson Crusoe is just that. This game is meant for 1-4 players to play co-operatively, but works well as a 1 player game, as you make your way through 1 of 6 different scenarios.

As mentioned you are on an island, and you must forage for food, build shelter, make tools, fight animals, and so much more. You slowly explore the island, while increasing your abilities via new tools, supplies, or weapons. Eventually you will try to complete the end game obstacle (such as building a huge fire) in order to win.

The mechanics of this game are fantastic. You will be faced with many hardships that have you making risk vs reward decisions along the way, with the added mechanic of ‘event cards’ coming back into the game at a later time, potentially. You have to decide where to place your people to not only help you right now, but long term throughout the game.

You might look at the price of this board game and have a bit of a sticker shock if it’s just for solo gaming, but let me tell you, this game is hard to win. You will have to play it many times to make it further and further in the game, and you may find yourself changing characters every time you play to try to help you out. So we find this really increases the value of the game.

You will get better at the game over time, and maybe even beat some of the scenarios, but don’t worry the developer has produced some print and play scenarios for you!!

It can be hard to introduce new players to the game (if you feel like playing with more people that is) because it is a bit complex to grasp at the start, and you will find the more experienced players can dominate the game.

This game has a lot of strategy, and definitely some luck involved with a bit of dice rolling and randomness of the cards. The games can be long, and the theme is immersive, so it that is why it ranks so highly on our top solo board game list!

Our Rating:

Hexagamers

Ok enough of being on an island, let’s go do some farming!! Ok, maybe that’s not the first thing you would do when you got off a deserted island, but hey, maybe being that far from the ocean is the thing for you.

In Agricola you are doing just that, farming. It is more than that though.

This people placing board game has you cultivating fields, planting crops, building fences, housing animals, and of course, harvesting and feeding your family.

This game is designed for 1-4 players, with a slight change to the rules for the solo variant. It is a very strategic game in that you will be constantly trying to decide where to put your meeples on the board in order to help develop your farm.

The game can be a little intimidating the first time you play it, as there are a lot of rules and directions to take things. That said, however, once you understand the game, the mechanics make sense and it’s only a matter of figuring out what you want to do next. See How To Play Agricola Simplified here.

The farming theme of this game is fantastic through the whole game. Plus, we really see the benefit of having the point values of everything laid out right in front of you, helping your decision making.

As the game progresses there are more options available for you to do, but harvest (and feeding your family) also seem to come so much faster, thus you will feel like you are always scrambling to complete your farm and score enough points.

This game makes a great single player board game, but is also one of the best board games out there in general.

As a note on this one, this game also has a big brother/sister in Caverna, where you farm and also go on adventures exploring caves, if that sounds more up your alley! We also have done a Caverna vs Agricola article if you are having trouble deciding!

Our Rating:

Hexagamers

Looking to battle some evil that is coming to destroy the world? We have you covered with this mystery/horror themed board game.

This game is actually a coop style game, but has a single player variant to it. In fact, like with most cooperative games, you can play this by yourself and control a couple characters.

You will move your character around the board while trying to strengthen him/her in order to battle the enemies that are trying to take you out. The battle mechanic is quick and easy in this one with dice rolls.

This game has been said to be very heavy, meaning there is a lot going on. The rules of the game may take you a bit of time to read, but they are easy to understand. Plus there is a super handy guide book.

If you are like us and leave your game set up on the table on occasion, the game can take up a fair amount of space, so keep that in mind. Speaking of setting it up, it can take about 20 min or longer (especially the first time) to set this one up. Couple that with the amount of time this game can take to play and you have a big time commitment on your hands… which can be enjoyable if you are playing the game as a break from life.

The mechanics of this game are very good. There could be some unfairness, especially early in the game with the luck of the dice or cards, but fear not, they have that covered because you can take another character out of the box and start from scratch. A nice addition to the game.

The theme and cards are tremendous in this one, and really adds to its predecessor, Arkham Horror.

Some say it could get boring if you play it too much, but we certainly haven’t reached that point yet. Not even close. PLUS, there are expansions if that really is a concern.

The game is intense, and be prepared to lose… a lot… but that’s what makes this one challenging and fun. Making it worth its hefty price tag. As far as solo board games go, this is one of the best, and doubles as a great co-op game. Worth checking out.

Our Rating:

Hexagamers

In Imperial Settlers, as you might guess from the title of the game, you are going to choose 1 of 4 civilizations and try to be the fastest and best settler of a new land.

You must explore, build buildings, and collect resources to help build your empire over 5 rounds of the game. You do this via the common deck and a civilization deck (based on your own civilization), to build out your tableau. You will eventually create a production engine of sorts to help you get the most Victory Points.

This Tableau Building type of board game is built for 1-4 players (probably plays best with 2 people), but is fun as a solo player game. You have 2 different variations you can play by yourself with this one: solo game vs a virtual player, or campaign mode.

In the solo game, you will play as you did with more than 1 person, but at the end of the round you will compare how you did to the ‘Virtual Player’ via a specialized deck. If this Virtual Player beats you, they will destroy some of your hard work. You are ultimately competing against yourself to see how many Victory Points you can get.

In campaign mode, it is similar to the solo variant, but a few (shorter) games strung together. Where at the end of each game there are ‘events’ and achievements that will affect your overall game play and later game direction. These achievements are based on your Victory Points so you will be continuously motivated to keep trying.

There can be a lot to keep track of by yourself (i.e. no one to point out if you are being a big ‘ol cheater), but generally the game is very easy to get the hang of. It also has a quick setup.

There is good replay-ability with this choice, since you can use cards many different ways, choose different factions, and even ramp up/down the number of players involved.

The other positives for Imperial Settlers are its price point, and the fact that it has very reasonably priced expansions, if you do enjoy it. Both part of the reason why this has made it in as a top solo board game.

Our Rating:

Hexagamers

You may have noticed that Pandemic is made for 2-4 players, yet it made the list for Top Solo Board Games. What gives?

Well, this is a cooperative style board game in which there are a number of different diseases that have broken out throughout the world! As a player, you control a character (that has a special ability) to help cure and eradicate the diseases.

To play as a single player, you can play as these 2-4 players yourself. If you were playing with multiple people you would be discussing the options and strategies with everyone anyways, so why can’t you do that with yourself… aside from sounding like a crazy person talking to yourself that is.

In this game, you will navigate the board performing (4) moves/actions per character per turn, to help control the disease. At the end of each turn there is a risk of an epidemic (mass spreading of the disease) and also a natural spreading of the disease to other cities. Thus increasing the chaos and stress of the situation.

This game has an enormous amount of replay-ability since the chosen character cards, cities, and epidemics are all random every game. You can also increase/decrease the difficulty of the game by adding/subtracting epidemic cards from the deck.

This one is quick to set up and super easy to learn. You will find yourself getting sucked right into the situation and have you coming back for more.

There is the right amount of luck, and the perfect amount of strategy involved in this one. It is no wonder it a favourite among many board gamers.

To top it off, there are multiple expansions for this one, including Pandemic: On The Brink, which has its own single player variation!

Check this one out, it made this list and our best cooperative board games for a reason!

Hexagamers

Attention Lord of the Rings fans, and well anyone who likes a good fantasy themed board game. This card constructing/deck building game is built for 1-2 players in the base set, and is, of course, set in middle earth.

In this game you will be choosing a scenario (1 of 3), picking your 3 heroes and then constructing a deck that align with the scenarios and heroes that you chose.

As you go through the stages of the game on your path to victory (hopefully), you will be going on quests to battle, doing events, and strengthening your deck. You are essentially battling vs a central encounter deck throughout the game.

This game works well as a solo game (and as coop game as well) since you have to make decisions on what you want to spend your energy on, and it’s best to have a concentrated goal. Don’t leave the enemies too long or it could come back to haunt you, and make sure to keep your ‘threat level’ down or you will lose the game.

The game is challenging, yet simple enough to understand after reading through the rules. The artwork is great, and the scenarios immersive. There is some luck in the draw, but more strategy and skills that will get you through this one.

Though this one is only for 1-2 players, there are expansions for it (up to 4 people) if you change your mind about playing by yourself. Also, this game is called Lord Of The Rings: LCR which stands for Living Card Game… which gets its name from the fact that there are new scenarios being released all the time!

If you are looking for a fantasy themed, adventure style board game to play by yourself, then this one is worth looking in to.

Hexagamers

In need of a futuristic, super hero themed solo player board game? Sentinels of the Multiverse should fill that void for you.

This is a cooperative style fixed-deck card game for 1-5 players, set in a faraway galaxy.

You will choose your super hero (and its accompanying deck), along with a super villain to fight against, and an environment to fight them in (again, both with their own decks). As with other cooperative games in this list, you can play solo by controlling one or more characters.

The game is fairly simple to understand as far as mechanics go. You will play a card from your hand to attack the villain, or do some action, with the end game goal of getting the enemies hit points to zero, and then picking up from your specific deck after you’re done. The villain does their action by flipping a card from their deck. The environment deck then does the same.

These make the opponent feel almost computerized, which is cool, plus it creates a lot of replay-ability because you never know what order things are going to occur in.

There can be a lot of reading and understanding as you go along since the various cards have differing effects on them. The multitude of options allow for a load of unique combos available in the game.

It plays a lot like a Role Playing Game (RPG) in that you have hit points, attack points, abilities, etc. on your high quality card stock cards. It also takes some strategy in what direction you are going to navigate through the round.

If that’s not enough a couple more big pluses are that there are difficulty scores associated with each villain, so you as you get better or bring in more heroes on your quest you can dial up the difficulty. The other being that if your character dies, they are not completely out of the game, as they have options for actions on the back of their card.

This game works well as a solo player board game, and also with more players involved. It also has expansions, so you can easily add more to the game if you so desire. Another reason why it has made our top rated single player games.

Conclusion

It was really tough narrowing down our top solo board games. I’m sure there are a number that could be on the list but aren’t. In fact we will update this list from time to time as new games come out and/or our thoughts change. Whether you are looking to battle, farm, survive, or simply collect victory points, hopefully you will find a game you love and can play by yourself. And as always, we like to hear your opinion on your favourite one player board games. It helps us, and your fellow readers find the game that is right for them.

Looking to find some more Cooperative Board Games? Check out...
Our Top Coop Board Game List

About the author

HexaGamers

We are the HexaGamers. Six good friends that love all things game related that gets us together to enjoy each other's company.

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