My top five games to play solo.


As many of you know, most of my gaming is played solo.And, I continue to try and build my solo collection. I tend to prefer games where you are playing against some sort of AI rather than a "beat your own score" variant. But, I do enjoy many different kinds of solo experiences.

Without further ado, here is my list.

  1. #Star Trek: Frontiers This is a reskin of the popular #Mage Knight. I have never played Mage Knight, but I can see why it is so popular if it is anything like STF. In STF you are captaining a ship, exploring a quadrant of space, recruiting crew, fighting Romulans, and eventually fighting a borg cube. It is a wonderful wonderful sandbox game. And, while it usually takes me 90-150 minutes to play, I always completely loose track of time while I am playing.
  2. #Spirit Island On the BGG top 200 solo list, this surpassed Mage Knight last year as the No. 1 solo game. And, I feel like it deserves it. I feel like Spirit Island is one of the best games of all time. It is incredible, deep, and thematic. You are playing as a spirit, on a Island. Some colonial power has come to your shores, and you are fighting them with every tool at your disposal. I do feel like this is a game that every solo gamer should try. It scales well in terms of complexity. You can have a satisfying game playing as one spirit, or you can play up to four. Your oponents can ramp up or down in comlexity and difficulty. The one ding against it, and I feel like this will make a number of people not like it, is that the mechanism of the invaders invading is coldly mechanical and a physically fiddly. It is a excellent mechanism, and I don't think the game would be as good without it, but it does take me out of the game just a little bit every time they invaders progress. I feel like that would also hold true in multiplayer games.
  3. #Deep Space D-6 My first two games were big, meaty, destination games. This one is a short, cute, and fast little dice allocation, solo only, game. Basically you are stuck in a ship in some part of space, and you have to fend off all sorts of problems until help arrives.The game is simple, it looks charming, you have a variety of ships to pick one and each one plays differently.
  4. #Scythe Scythe is a bit of a goldilocks game for me. It plays best at 4 or 5 players, but is still excellent at lower player counts. It is meaty enough for the "hardcore" gamer, but it is simple enough for people who have never played a hobby game.It is long enough to be a destination game, but it never feels too long. For years it was my #1 game of all time. It has recently slipped but I still hold it in high esteem. It was the first solo game I ever bought, and it was a great choice for me. If I have a ding against it, it would be that the AI system is a little hard to parse at first.
  5. #Agricola (Revised Edition) Yes, that is right. I love this classic Euro game about farming in the 17th century. I love it multiplayer. And, I love it solo. If you play it solo, it is a pure puzzle, and it is only a beat your own score variant. But, it is good enough that I love it anyways.

So, this is my list. Do you solo game? if so, which are your favorites?

p.s. I really expect that this list will see a massive overhaul whenever I get my games from the states a chance to be played.

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10 months ago

I want to play games more than my wife and son do, so I find lately that I pull games I like off the shelf and play multiple hands by myself.  I've only recently picked up a few games with solo variants for this very reason. #Terraforming Mars, #Paladins of the West Kingdom, and #Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale.  I've yet to play Paladins, and I've only played TM a few times with a couple of hands just to get the hang of it before playing the solo variant.  And Cartographers, well we just got it and played it for the first time a few weeks ago.  I like it a lot and will be playing it solo soon. 

Supporter10 months ago

Playing multihand solo is generally how I learn to play a game. It helps so much with teaching the game to others as well.

Owner10 months ago

Nice! I'm curious where your list will stand once those games head home :)

Hmmm with every list I make, I wonder how many times I've contradicted myself by now haha

Here's mine:

1. #Pax Pamir (Second Edition)

2. #Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion - I'm honestly not sure about this yet but I'm pretty sure it's at least #3

3. #Root

4. #Architects of the West Kingdom

5. #Clans of Caledonia

For a solo game to be attractive, I like to see:

  • Low setup time
  • Not a table hogger
  • Streamlined AI opponent
  • AI that feels like an opponent rather than just an obstacle
  • Plenty of interesting tactical/strategic decisions to make
  • Fun tactile experience
  • Creates memorable/storyworthy moments
  • Less than 2 hrs of playtime

It doesn't need to have all of those parts, but the more the better and a game that excels in some of those elements will help me look over a part that it lacks in.

Supporter10 months ago

I'm super curious how my list will look in a year. 

Premium User10 months ago

I have been able to play with family a lot over the past several months but with school starting I will be going back to more solo gaming in the coming weeks and with less income around the corner I'll be hitting the solos on several games soon.  (btw, I like your list!)

1. #Paladins of the West Kingdom this is still one of my favorite solo games and I don't see that changing.

2. #Clans of Caledonia is pretty fun solo and I am looking forward to playing this one again.

3. #Wingspan is decently hard solo and once I'm set up, playing 3-4 games is easy as the automa is super easy to run (but challenging to beat).

4. #Teotihuacan: City of Gods has to be added because my first couple solo experiences were so good that I am looking forward to playing this one again already.

5. #Maracaibo is on here because I haven't played it yet but am looking forward to playing and the solo looks excellent. 

Premium User10 months ago

I would disagree that Scythe is simple enough for people who have never played a hobby game. There's a lot going on there, and people should probably start with something much simpler before diving into Scythe.

#Star Trek: Frontiers sounds great as a solo game. Maybe one day if I find myself not being able to get multiplayer games played I'll have to check it out.

Supporter10 months ago

Maybe my experiences have been atypical. I have introduced Scythe successfully, 3 or 4 times, to people who had never played a hobby board game. I don't think I would ever want to force it on a new player. But, if they pick that game from off your shelf, it seems like they will usually like it.

Premium User10 months ago

That does sound like it went over extraordinarily well. That's great!

Supporter10 months ago

#Scythe was my first solo game as well.  I do remember how hard it was to learn the Automa rules, but the App helps me not have to think about the Automa rules at all.

I do agree that it's meaty without being too hard to learn, and I love how the boards really lay out how everything works very nicely.  I think the hardest part for most people in realizing (for instance) that when you upgrade you can upgrade from any cube spot to any empty cube spot on the board (not just the upgrade slot).

Supporter10 months ago

Yes, that is something I've had to stress every time I've taught it. 

Supporter10 months ago

I've found it to be the hardest thing for people to wrap their head around, since everything else takes place right in the one section.

Supporter10 months ago

Good list. Great choices. 

Supporter10 months ago


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