Rating Solo Boardgames: Updated Metric and latest games

Premium User

I tweaked the metric (again 9/14/21) I've been using to rate my solo gameplays (posted below).  If, like me, you find yourself busy during this season of the year, and most of your gaming tends to be solo if it isn't on boardgamearena, then purchasing a new game generally takes into account if it offers a solo variant.

If I am deciding between two games of roughyl equal interest to me, the presence of a solo variant will generally swing my vote.  I believe more than half (if not closer to 80%) of my boardgame collection are games with a solo varient included, expanded later, or printed after someone developed an unofficial variant.

If you missed my earlier post, I started a series on Unraveled Game Thoughts (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_4zZlVc-fw4Nb8SwTRDs0Q) exploring the solo boardgame experience as I play through each game in my collection and assess the setup, footprint, challenge, and experience of the game. 

1. Do you find yourself playing fewer solo games these days with access to a platform such as Board Game Arena?

2. Do you feel the metric below accurate captures the solo game attributes most relavant to the venue?

3. If you've played any of the reviewed solo games, how do you feel my ratings match with your experience?

Solo Games Reviewed:

The Gallerist (https://youtu.be/Fo9NQ2rlBCQ)

Aqua Garden (https://youtu.be/vNUhpWA9ZH0)

Wingspan (https://youtu.be/cCHioa_8l4Y)

Maracaibo (https://youtu.be/lsGzKFePIx8)


Metric Key:

Rating the Solo Boardgame Experience:


  1. Setup/Takedown/Reset:  Ease and time it takes to setup, takedown, and reset the game?
    1. Level 1: Setup and takedown are arduous and the game takes some time to reset for the next playthrough.
    2. Level 2: Setup and takedown are fairly extensive with an average reset time or vice versa; Game requires 4x6 area to play.
    3. Level 3: Fairly average and acceptable setup/takedown/reset time for the game length and type.
    4. Level 4: Setup and takedown are smooth and easy, perhaps facilitated by an above-average box-design. Game can fit on a standard card table.
    5. Level 5: Setup and takedown are uncharacteristically quick for the game complexity and mechanics. Reset from game-to-game is less than one minute.


  1. Challenge: Does the game provide a reasonable and compelling challenge?
    1. Level 1:  R&D (luck) makes game feel impossible to win or game success comes through a unilateral strategy with prescribed choices.
    2. Level 2:  Fairly challenging with R&D significantly impairing choices in non-thematic ways or game is easily won 80-90% of the time.
    3. Level 3:  Reasonable challenge requiring some dynamic decision making and R&D is minimal or thematic.
    4. Level 4:  Significant challenge with variable, but dynamic, paths to victory requiring some level of skill to negotiate.
    5. Level 5:  Brain-burning challenges with diverse game-to-game nuances that make each game unique.


  1. ExperienceTurn for turn, is the play experience fun?
    1. Level 1: Untenable components combined with lackluster gameplay or choppy mechanics.
    2. Level 2: Game components and art are somewhat lacking; A.I. is a bit finicky to operate or requires more than desirable thought;
    3. Level 3: Solid game components and easy to manage A.I.; Solo play is about as good as multi-player from a gameplay perspective.
    4. Level 4: Above average to very good game components or art; A.I. is easy to manage and dynamic from game-to-game.
    5. Level 5: A.I. is highly dynamic and easy to manage; Top shelf components offer a uniquely tactile experience.

((Setup/Rest * .9) + (Challenge * 1.65) + (Experience *1.45))/4

  Setup/Reset Challenge Experience Overall
Spirit Island 4 4.25 4 4.103125
Viscounts ot WK 2.75 4 4 3.71875
The Gallerist 3.5 3.75 3.75 3.69375
Maracaibo 2 3.75 3.5 3.265625
Teotihuacan 2.5 3.5 3.25 3.184375
PARKS 3.75 2.5 3.5 3.14375
Red Rising 3.5 2.75 3 3.009375
Wingspan 3.25 1.75 3.75 2.8125
Call to Adventure 3.25 2.25 3 2.746875
Aqua Garden 2.75 1.75 3.75 2.7
Trismegistus 2 3 2.75 2.684375
Dinosaur Island 2 2.25 3.5 2.646875
Friday 4.25 2.25 1.75 2.51875

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Premium User6 days ago

#The Gallerist solo play review.  https://youtu.be/Fo9NQ2rlBCQ

Thus far, this one ranked up close to #Spirit Island and was quite the intriguing playthrough.  I'd offer more, but just thought to post this and have the after-dinner tiredness

Premium User6 days ago

Finished playing the #Aqua Garden solo variant.  https://youtu.be/vNUhpWA9ZH0 

Overall, ok, at about 3.00 rating.  The meeples are quite fun and the gameplay is ok.  I'm not sure I'd recommend this game for the solo version (I doubt I would).  If someone said, "Hey, Wade, I'm looking a solo game with fantastic meeples" when then, this would be the game at the top of the list.  

Gameplay with the family was fun and I think the chase for most points once the advanced fish are added in is a nice and pleasant chanllenge.  The tactile nature of the game components and visual appeal is above average.  The playerboard and main gameboard or limited from a visual perspective and the playboards are a bit small.  I am considering asking my artisitic child to design a new player mat for the game and see what she comes up with.  

While the game draws some inspiration from #Heaven & Ale I feel it is not on par with the Heaven & Ale design.  I certainly need to play this a few more times before making a clear and final decision on scoring.  I'm hoping to get this to the table at game night this Thursday and see how it plays with others.  

If you get a moment to look at this get and examine the solo, what do you think? 

Is this a game that appeals to you, why or why not?


Premium User8 days ago


#Wingspan solo 


Premium User10 days ago

Currently playing #The Gallerist solo variant.  Haven't posted a video yet and playing my third solo playthrough.  I got over $160 each of the first two plays and got 6 influence tiles the second playthrough.  Really shooting for the third solo tier that requires 3 masterpieces and at least purchasing 6-8 pieces or artwork (and selling some of those).  

I've started wondering if this is one of those games that once I figure out the formula for doing the above; will I be able to do it every time?  


Comment deleted.

Premium User15 days ago

I tend to play about as many solo games as I used to.  It definitely picked up during the pandemic but also because I realized that sometimes I really like to sit down with a detailed solo game (like one of the COIN games) that I can play over multiple sessions at my leisure and that I might not find other players to play with me that often.

Also, some games are fun solo with the apps like #Mansions of Madness: Second Edition or #Clank! In! Space!.  

Lately I haven't been in a board game mood and have been playing more PC/VR/Console games but I'm sure I'll come back to it at some point.  

I don't have your detailed criteria but I will tend to play a solo game more if the setup isn't too onerous.

However, really my #1 criteria is whether or not I feel I'm playing the actual game with other players.  I don't need the game to "think" of course but I need to at least somewhat feel like I am playing the game and not some lacklustre solo mode that was tagged on to it.   It's also why I really don't prefer beat your own score games generally speaking.   

That said I do enjoy the #Villagers solo mode which is not like the regular game and #Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale has more a less a beat your score mode which I still enjoy so it's not a hard or fast rule.

I definitely will take solo mode a lot more in to account when buying games but I will consider a good fan made variant as well.

Premium User14 days ago

I tend to prefer an "opponent" feel as well.  Its easy to lose interest if I'm only shooting for my high score.  I like the solo AI in #Rococo: Deluxe Edition and #Paladins of the West Kingdom particularly for that reason.  Rococo solo is very challenging (I have not won yet).