The 20+ Best Single Player Board Games
Looking for your next solo board game, or considering a new hobby in single player games? We’ve compiled over 20 of the best single player board games AND more than 20 runner-up best single player board games to ensure you find your perfect game and to keep you always entertained! In a hurry? Here are 3 popular best single player board games from each complexity category: low, medium, and higher (med-high to high).
Popular Best Single Player Board Games
If you’re new to single player board games, prepare to get excited! There’s a game here for everyone, no matter how experienced or new a gamer you are, what kind of games you like, or how much time you have to play. Below the game reviews, we’ll discuss single player board game FAQs, including what makes a best single player board game, why you might consider playing solo, complexity info, age ratings, etc. Navigate with the Table of Contents, or dive right into the best single player board games!
Instead of ranking and arguing about which of these is truly the best single player board game, I’ve divided games into groups based on complexity: low, medium, and higher (med-high to high). Learn more about complexity at the start of each group, or visit the complexity section below. I’ll go over 20+ best single player board games below, but because solo games are very popular (and so many excellent solo games exist these days), I’ve included over 20 runner up best single player board games at the end that are also very much worth it to play.
|Table of Contents|
|Low Complexity Best Single Player Board Games||Runner Up Best Single Player Board Games|
|Medium Complexity Best Single Player Board Games||Single Player Board Game FAQs|
|Higher Complexity Best Single Player Board Games|
Low Complexity Best Single Player Board Games
Low complexity games are generally faster and easier to learn and play, making these the best solo board games for when you’re short on time or need that new board game fix but don’t want to take forever reading rules. I’ve included low and medium-low complexity games for these best single player board games. Due to the lighter weight nature of these games, they make good solo board games for younger players (check the age guidelines), new gamers, and experienced gamers wanting a light game to break up heavy gameplay.
As in each category, these low complexity best single player board games are organized by complexity, from lowest to highest, so we’ll start with the lightest (lowest complexity) game and move up to medium-light weight games (medium-low complexity).
Time: 15 min
Company: Z-Man Games
In the card game Onirim, you must escape the mysterious labyrinth of dreams by discovering doors and dealing with the occasional nightmare that seeks to thwart your efforts. You’ll appropriately link location cards to explore the labyrinth in hopes of finding all 8 Doors (win condition). Along the way (in the base version), you’ll encounter Prophecy cards and Nightmare (Dream) cards that may help or hinder your progress.
The artwork in Onirim is excellent, immersing you in this world of dreams and nightmares, and though it’s quick, lightweight, and easy to pick up, you’ll still have some risk-analysis and light strategy to consider. Though it’s listed as 1-2 players, Onirim really shines in solo mode; the cooperative option feels less elegant and more awkward.
While the base game might get repetitive eventually, this (very inexpensive!) version comes with 7 expansions, allowing for tremendous replayability with the added experiences. The manufacturer’s listed playtime is pretty accurate, making Onirim one of the quickest best single player board games.
|✅ Great artwork||🅧 Luck elements can frustrate players|
|✅ Very accessible; quick and easy to learn||🅧 Not for gamers wanting complexity/depth|
|✅ Quick play time||🅧 Lots of shuffling|
|✅ Fantastic value (includes 7 expansions)|
|✅ Highly enjoyable light strategy game|
Time: 20 min
Company: Van Ryder Games
- Time is running out... the fate of the innocent is in your hands.
- 1 player game where YOU are the Hostage Negotiator!
- Object of the Game: Your goal as a Hostage Negotiator is to save the hostages and have the crisis end with the Abductor's capture or elimination.
- To win, at least half of the hostages must escape with their lives AND the Abductor must be captured or eliminated.
- English (Publication Language)
In this top self solo board game, you take on the titular role of a Hostage Negotiator, using your negotiation skills to convince an Abductor to release Hostages and save the day. To win the game, you must save at least half the Hostages (with none remaining in the Hostage Pool) and capture or eliminate the Abductor through dice rolling, card drafting, and hand management mechanics.
Use your conversation cards wisely as you watch the threat level closely to keep the Abductor from killing Hostages, and consider when or if you’ll concede to any of the Abductor’s Demands, with their inherent effects and penalties. You’ll have many calls to make, from negotiating demands to having your men “storm the scene” or telling a sniper to “take the shot.”
With enough strategy and challenge to keep you engaged and quick enough play to sit down for a game anytime, you’ll find yourself hooked on Hostage Negotiator and will discover why we think it’s one of the best single player board games.
The base game will keep you busy for a while, but we think you’ll want more expansions with more demands and abductors to increase the replayability; luckily there are tons of inexpensive options. The themes are inherently a little on the darker side, so keep that in mind when considering age-appropriateness for younger players.
|✅ Intriguing premise and great theme (keep in mind it’s a little darker)||🅧 The base game has 3 Abductors, so you’ll likely want the expansions for more experiences|
|✅ Great light strategy solo play with dice rolling, card drafting, & hand management||🅧 Not ideal if you’re wanting a long, complex, or deeply involved game|
|✅ Tons of inexpensive expansions available for more replayability|
|✅ Quick playtime|
Time: 30-45 min
Company: Asmadi Games
Looking for a dungeon crawl adventure with easy set-up, challenging gameplay, and character progression? One Deck Dungeon is a great option; in fact, it made both this best single player board game list as well as our best dungeon crawler board games list. You’ll get a rogue-like RPG feel as you fight monsters, overcome obstacles, claim your loot, and upgrade your character along the way.
Choose from 5 characters, fighting your way through the dungeon, which gets more challenging the deeper you go, all the way to the bosses. Decide your rewards carefully, as abilities, skills, gear, and experience points can all change how your character progresses. You’ll get randomized set-ups, lightly challenging gameplay, and lots of decisions about how you’ll set up and improve your character. You’ll also be rolling dice, though, which means luck is still present
Overall, One Deck Dungeon is a fun, easy to learn and play dungeon crawl board game that plays well solo or cooperatively. It’s got a lot in a small footprint, and it definitely earns a spot as a best single player board game for new players and experienced gamers alike. It’s also worth noting that the creators very intentionally cast all female heroes, clad with appropriate dungeon crawling gear.
|✅ Light solo or cooperative dungeon crawl action||🅧 Can become repetitive after lots of plays without expansion|
|✅ Great intro to dungeon crawl, rogue-like genre||🅧 Rules can be a little awkward or difficult to understand at first|
|✅ Very affordable||🅧 Luck involved with dice rolling|
|✅ Quick set-up; plays in under an hour||🅧 Players looking for a very in-depth story or complex gameplay may be disappointed|
|✅ Expansion can be combined with the base for hybrid dungeon experience|
Time: 10-30 min
Company: Stronghold Games
This completely solo game of pool-building will surely appeal to the coffee lovers, but it’s a great game regardless of personal caffeine persuasion. Highly thematic in nature, you’ll be doing exactly what you expect: roasting coffee beans. You’ll choose your desired beans from the 22 variates available and will try to roast 3 each game, working towards the best roasting title you can achieve (Meister is the most prestigious).
You’ll draw from the bag to advance the roasting level, striving to achieve the perfect roasting for each variety while also watching the roast level of each bean carefully. Beware of burning beans, and take care to remove bean tokens that won’t contribute to the correct flavor, since you’ll need to achieve both the ideal roast level and the target flavor (as well as prove your skill) to gain the most points during your cup-tasting.
I love all the tokens (green coffee beans, hard beans, moldy beans, moisture, aroma, acidity, body – there’s so much here!) and the level of replayability as well as the fantastically integrated theme in Coffee Roaster (I do love my coffee). If you’re short on time, play just a single roast (about 10 minutes), and enjoy the luck-pushing elements and the balance of luck (inherent in pool building) and skill. You’ll soon see why this great little game earned its spot as a best single player board game
|✅ Single roast for super quick play (10 min) or play the full 3 roasts when you’ve got a bit more time||🅧 There’s luck involved, which can frustrate some players|
|✅ Fantastic, engaging theme||🅧 No multiplayer option|
|✅ Many great tokens and well designed components (cards and player boards)|
|✅ Great fun with a nice balance of skill and luck (good strategy but still light)|
|✅ Lots of replayability with 22 varieties|
Time: 30 min
Company: Friedemann Friese, Rio Grande Games
Grab In this excellent solo board game, you’ll take on the role of Friday, trying to help the recently shipwrecked Robinson Crusoe to adapt to the challenges of island life and fight the pirates to escape! As in most deck builders, you start with little: in this case, a clueless Robinson. As Robinson successfully fights the hazards of the island, you’ll add to your deck. If he loses these encounters, you’ll lose life tokens but can also remove undesirable cards from the deck.
The longer Robinson spends on the island, the more experience he’ll gain, but he’ll also start to show signs of clumsiness as he ages. In the end, you want to optimize your player deck to the best of your ability in order to combat the two pirate ships that will prove Robinson’s only means of escape.
As you navigate these increasingly difficult challenges, you’ll have to hone your deck with ideal abilities in order to make good your escape. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the game play, you can tweak the difficulty and play through multiple included scenarios. Most people find Friday to be decently challenging but still playable in around 30 or so minutes. It’s fun, a little quirky, and sufficiently strategic to engage you without getting stuck at the table for too long.
If you want a quick to set up deck building experience that plays in under an hour with a light but fun theme and strategy, Friday just might be the best single player board game for you! (If you like the Robinson Crusoe idea but want a heftier game, check out Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island).
|✅ Deckbuilding mechanic with card culling capabilities||🅧 Instructions can seem confusing at first|
|✅ Multiple difficulty levels and scenarios for replayability||🅧 Still lightweight, so those looking for depth and complexity may not be pleased.|
|✅ Fun cartoon-ish artwork||🅧 Not quite as immersive a theme as some other of the best single player board games|
|✅ Easy to set up and quick play||🅧 Solo play only|
|✅ Great solo experience|
Time: 30-45 min
Company: Gamelyn Games
- Tiny Epic Galaxies is a fun strategy space exploration game perfect for 1 to 5 players that is easy to learn and is popular with adults, kids, teens, families, and everyone
- 2015 Award Winning Solo Game of the Year by BoardGameGeek Play against a rogue galaxy and hone your cognitive and strategic skills with family time away from a screen
- The Tiny Epic Series is one of the best small box board game collections that captures an epic game experience in under an hour
- Gamelyn Games takes pride in offering the highest quality components with beautiful artwork and gorgeous graphic design
- Tiny Epic Galaxies is a dice-driven, empire-building game about planet acquisition, resource management, with an intense race to 21 points
In Tiny Epic Galaxies, you’re in charge of a galactic empire, and through dice rolling and strategic decision-making, you’ll need to win the race to 21 points against the Rogue Galaxy (solo play) or other players (multiplayer). Tiny Epic games pack a lot of play into their small footprints!
The dice faces represent different available actions, including sending your spaceships into the orbit or onto the surfaces of various planets, increasing your resources, advancing your influence on said planets, or upgrading your empire and taking special actions. Once you have enough influence, you colonize the planets, gaining both their victory points and special abilities, but you’ll need to manage your resources in order to continue expanding and improving your empire. You’ll also have a secret objective to consider.
With excellent components, including wooden spaceships and well organized player mats, Tiny Epic Galaxies pulls you in with it’s fantastic space-themed design and keeps you engaged with its strategic gameplay. Winner of the 2015 Golden Geek Best Solo Board Game Award, this is definitely still one of the best single player board games, but it’s so well designed that it works fabulously with more players too. In fact, in multiplayer games, there’s a mechanic allowing you to spend culture (a resource) in order to copy the current player’s actions, keeping all players alert and involved at all times.
|✅ Fantastic small footprint game – great for travel||🅧 It is small – if you prefer large tokens and big cards, this may not be your game|
|✅ Plays wonderfully solo or multiplayer||🅧 Luck involved with dice rolls|
|✅ Great space theme||🅧 Players wanting a lot of depth and complexity may be disappointed|
|✅ Quality components: wooden tokens, dice, player mats, planet cards|
|✅ Great value and inexpensive game|
Medium Complexity Best Single Player Board Games
If you want a little more challenge, check out these medium complexity best single player board games. These are still very accessible games for most players, and while they do take a little longer to learn and play, they aren’t overwhelming and offer a feeling of greater strategic depth.
As in each category, these medium complexity best single player board games are organized by complexity, from lowest to highest, even though all of these games fall solidly in the midweight category.
Time: 40-70 min
Company: Stonemaier Games
- Play as a bird enthusiast, seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your aviary
- Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in each of 3 unique habitats, as you build your engine to gain food, lay eggs, and draw from 170 uniquely and beautifully illustrated bird cards
- Widely lauded, award winning title-including winning the most prestigious award in its category, the Kenner Spiel des Jahres (Conniseur's Game of the Year)
- For 1-5 players
- Plays in 40-70 minutes
Wingspan is a truly beautiful card driven engine building game with incredible and highly thematic components, wonderful (realistic!) illustrations, and such enjoyable and engaging gameplay you’ll love it even if you’re not wild about birds!
As you seek to build the best wildlife preserve filled with the best birds, you’ll utilize mechanics of hand management, set collection, dice rolling, and more to build habitats, each focusing on a different element. Food tokens come from the dice in the bird feeder (dice tower), and birds will lay eggs that hatch as you continue to develop your preserve. Birds have unique powers, and it’s up to you over 4 rounds of play to earn the most points from your avian haven
Honestly, Wingspan is excellent whether you’re playing solo against the Automa or playing with friends. It’s elegant, satisfying, and wildly popular. Not only is it a best single player board game, but it made our best 3 player board games AND best 5 player board games lists. It’s lovely; the components are fantastic, and the gameplay is top notch in the mid-complexity category.
|✅ Detailed, quality, thematically relevant components||🅧 May need a game or two to get totally comfy with gameplay|
|✅ Great engine building gameplay with multiple strategies for victory||🅧 Rules can be a little unclear sometimes, though there’s great online support for FAQs and more info|
|✅ Immersive and excellent bird theme||🅧 Still some luck involved|
|✅ Plays well solo or multiplayer|
|✅ Beautiful, realistic artwork|
|✅ Multiple expansions now available for even more bird-loving fun!|
Time: 45 min
Company: Z-Man Games
- STRATEGY GAME: Players must work together playing to their characters' strengths as they plan their strategy of eradicating the diseases before they overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. A truly cooperative game where you win or lose together.
- COOPERATIVE BOARD GAME: Only through teamwork will you keep the world safe from outbreaks and epidemics. Your team must work together and plan carefully to stem the tide of infection while working toward finding the cures.
- WORK TOGETHER AND SAVE HUMANITY: Four diseases threaten the world, and your elite team of specialists must find a cure for each of them before it’s too late. Everyone must work together applying their unique character skills to benefit the team—and the world.
- LOOKING FOR NEW GAMEPLAY AND ADVENTURES? The Pandemic game line now includes multiple expansions and stand-alone titles. Note: Expansions require Pandemic Base Game to play.
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS AND AVERAGE PLAYTIME: This easy to learn family and adult board game can be played with 2 to 4 players. The average playtime is 45 minutes.
If you’re ready to save the world from pandemic by curing multiple diseases wreaking havoc across the globe, Pandemic is for you. Each of the 4 diseases has its own colored cubes that represent infections in cities worldwide, and you’ll need to travel around the world map board, treating infections, building research stations, and eventually (hopefully!) curing the diseases.
This is another game that plays beautifully both in its traditional cooperative role (it made our best 3 player board game list too) and in the solo variant. Unlike many of the games on this list, Pandemic did not initially include solo play, but Z-Man games has published official solo rules online! In multiplayer, each player controls a specific character with special abilities and has his/her own hand.
In the solo variant, you’ll remove the Researcher character and choose 3 roles (randomly) to control. In this variation, you have only one hand –still with a 7 card limit–, but you’ll have the ability to archive as many cards as you’d like using the Share Knowledge action. Though these official rules are aftermarket, they are excellent (and Pandemic has long been played solo before these rules ever came out).
If you’re ready to save the world on your own and like a challenge, Pandemic is one of the best solo board games available. There are also multiple expansions to add more challenge and variety to your game (solo or cooperative).
|✅ Challenging solo or cooperative board game with multiple difficulty levels||🅧 Shuffle well between games to avoid similar groups of cards coming up and making your next game less challenging|
|✅ Multiple character roles with specialized abilities||🅧 Experienced gamers may find the game repetitive without expansions or less challenging, especially at early difficulties|
|✅ Fairly easy to learn and play||🅧 If you’re new to board games, the rules might seem a little in depth. Play a few rounds, and you’ll get the hang of it!|
|✅ Helpful player reference guides|
|✅ Nice geography review too|
|✅ Multiple available expansions that work with solo rules as well (see rules for a few specific roles/events/challenges to omit)|
Legendary Deck Building Games
Time: 30-90 min (varies)
Ages: Varies by version
Company: Upper Deck Entertainment
- Easy to learn, with fast-paced gameplay
- Features incredible original artwork of Marvel heroes and villains
- Game consists of nearly 600 cards, Full color Game board & Color Rule Book
- Designed by award-winning game designer Devin Low, former Head Developer of Magic: The Gathering
- Legendary is a deck-building game set in the Marvel Comics universe
I know, I’m lumping them all together, and each Legendary deck builder is uniquely awesome, but there are A LOT of great options for solo play here. Don’t scoff just because these games are using licensed content; Upper Deck has built some great deck builders here that do a fantastic job of pulling you into the world of the game.
These deck builders have both fantastic solo play options as well as engaging cooperative multiplayer modes. Most popular among these is probably the Marvel version, where you get to dive into the Marvel universe with many of your favorite heroes and villains (especially when you account for so many expansions!).
The Alien Encounters game is also wildly popular and lets you relive the glory of the movies. (Both the Marvel and Alien versions made our best deck building games list). If neither of those grabs you, there’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer, X-Files, Firefly, and more. Just choose the world that’s right for you, and you’ll see why these games made the best single player board games list!
Popular Legendary Deck Building Games
Time: 90+ min
Company: Fantasy Flight, Asmodee, Space Cowboys
- NEW STANDALONE IN THE SERIES: As members of the Baker Street Irregulars, players try to solve the most heinous crimes by roaming the streets of London in search of clues. Will you visit the crime scene? Meet Inspector Lestrade? The decision is in your hands and each clue you find will bring you a step closer to the truth
- MYSTERY BOARD GAME: Solve mysterious cases by interviewing suspects, searching newspapers and walking the streets for clues. Once you have completed your investigation, compare your detective skills to the master sleuth himself, Sherlock Holmes
- COOPERATIVE GAME: Players work together as a team of detectives to gather clues and solve mysteries. The dynamics of this game make it a perfect choice for game night with friends and family. Whether you’re playing alone or with up to eight players, you’ll need everyone’s wits to work together and solve the case
- TEN EPIC CASES TO SOLVE: Solve 10 mysteries in Victorian London - The Mummy's Curse, The Munitions Magnate, The Pilfered Paintings, The Thames Murders, and others! Unravel the string of intrigues, answer a series of questions and solve some of the strangest cases of the most famous detective ever
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS AND AVERAGE PLAYTIME: This thrilling detective board game for adults and teens can be played with 1 to 8 players and is suitable for ages 12 and older. Average playtime is about 90 minutes
If you’ve ever wished to join in the adventures of Sherlock and Watson, seeking clues and discovering elusive evidence, now you can! You’ll be fully immersed in the riveting world of Sherlock Holmes as you work your way through 10 cases, during which your actions and decisions can shape the case. Visit crime scenes, scour the paper for clues, interview suspects, and even meet with Inspector Lestrade. Can you solve the case as well as Sherlock himself?
While not a traditional board game, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is a fantastic tabletop game, and if you’re not a fan of luck (no dice or random cards here) but love solving mysteries, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting detective might be your best single player board game. Of course, these play beautifully solo but can also include up to 8 players, if you want that flexibility.
The biggest downside to this fantastic puzzles game is the lack of replayability. Once you’ve solved the 10 cases included, that’s it. Also, there do still appear to be a couple errors in the cases 3 & 4. However, if you like challenging puzzles and wish to visit the streets of Victorian London, this game is worth it. Once you’re done, you can give it to a friend and get yourself another of several sets of these puzzles (may we suggest Jack the Ripper and West End Adventures).
|✅ No luck elements here||🅧 Games can take a while, often requiring lots of patience and reading|
|✅ Plays wonderfully solo or cooperative multiplayer||🅧 Some errors exist in cases 3 & 4|
|✅ Challenging puzzle solving adventures||🅧 Works with up to 8 players, but really plays better solo or with only a few more players|
|✅ Your decisions and actions influence the direction of each case||🅧 Can prove frustrating for some players and very challenging|
|✅ Unique concept and implementation: pulls you into Sherlock’s world||🅧 No real replayability: once you’ve solved all cases, that’s it|
|✅ Several other available versions for more cases|
Time: 45-90 min
Company: Portal Games
- Easy to learn strategy board game for 1 to 4 players, age 10+, with a playing time of 45 - 90 min.
- Great to play with the family or to enjoy as a solo game.
- Choose your empire - Roman, Japanese, Barbarian or Egyptian, each with its own thematic deck of cards. Construct buildings to strengthen your economy, find mines and fields to gather resources, build barracks and training grounds to train soldiers.
- Engine building civilization game with 4 asymmetrical factions and 220 cards, providing huge replay-ability.
Decide which empire to control (Roman, Japanese, Egyptian, Barbarian), and with that unique deck of cards and the common deck, work to expand your civilization by constructing buildings, improving your economy, gathering resources from the discovered mines and fields, and training up your soldiers. With numerous awards under its belt and several expansions attesting to its popularity, Imperial Settles has earned its place in the board game world, both with quality multiplayer (especially 2 player) and great solo play.
If you’re a fan of engine building, set collection, resource management, card drafting, and tableau building, you’ll love what Imperial Settlers has to offer. The game includes quality wooden pieces as well as multiple colorful tokens, and the artwork is charming and in line with the more lighthearted feel of the game.
In single player mode, you’ll face off against an AI player, and while you may find you can beat the AI after a bit without issue, one of the great things about Imperial Settlers, as a best single player board game, is the available campaign mode that you can print from Portal Games for free. Campaign mode really makes the solo version of Imperial Settlers shine, as you’ll not only have to deal with the AI but also expand your empire over the course of multiple games.
|✅ Charming artwork and lighthearted mood||🅧 Still luck involved|
|✅ 4 Factions with unique decks and abilities||🅧 Cards are a bit thin|
|✅ Plays well solo and multiplayer||🅧 Campaign mode must be printed online|
|✅ Quality wooden pieces and colorful cardboard tokens||🅧 Only a little player interaction|
|✅ Campaign mode really makes solo play shine||🅧 Gets a little long with more players|
|✅ Fun gameplay with multiple integrated mechanics|
|✅ Several available expansions|
|✅ Accessible to new gamers and younger gamers too|
Time: 45-90 min
Company: Stonemaier Games
- For 1-6 players
- 45-90 minute playing time
- The essential edition includes the second edition of viticulture along with several elements from the original Tuscany expansion pack
- It contains 154 cards at the 44x67mm size and 78 cards at the 63x88mm size
- Includes 36 Mama & Papa cards, 18 Field cards and and 24 Automa cards
Welcome to the worker placement world of wine making in pre-modern Tuscany, where it’s up to you to build your unassuming vineyard into a bustling, successful winery. You’ll work seasonally to improve your reputation (victory points): from determining worker schedules in Spring to planting vines and adding to your vineyard in Summer and getting help from visitors in Fall. Come winter, it’s time to harvest, make the wine, and fill those orders.
The essential edition is the way to go, as it includes the second edition as well as elements from the extremely popular Tuscany expansion; Viticulture: Essential Edition really feels complete. It has a nice depth and complexity and great replayability. The components are also worth mentioning: ridiculously high quality wooden pieces, including 8 unique buildings, roosters, worker meeples, wine bottles, and corks (victory point tokens).
In the solo version, you’ll play against an Automa bot, flipping cards from the Automa deck to determine the seasonal worker placement of the AI, which impacts where you can place your own workers. You’ll have 7 rounds in solo play to amass more victory points than the Automa, whose score is set in the rules. Not only do you get the solo variant, but you’ll also have 8 challenges in the campaign mode that offer unique tweaks and specific difficulties to overcome.
The campaign challenges aren’t overwhelming but instead offer small, unique changes to your gameplay that will keep solo play engaging. The randomness of the Automa placements might frustrate you, or it might keep you working to craft and adjust successful strategies to unusual challenges. If you’re a fan of wine and worker placements, though, Viticulture: Essential Edition is likely one of the best single player games for you. Bonus, it plays well multiplayer too; it also made our best 3 player board games list.
|✅ Essential Edition includes Viticulture 2nd Edition AND excellent elements of the Tuscany expansion for a complete-feeling experience and great value||🅧 Rules and gameplay may take a game or two to get completely comfortable|
|✅ Solid depth and complexity without being overwhelming||🅧 Metal coins are sold separately, if that’s important to you|
|✅ Seriously high-quality components||🅧 Multiplayer games, especially with 4+ players, tend towards the longer side|
|✅ Thematically wonderful, satisfying worker placement game||🅧 Is still a medium weight game, but can feel a bit more challenging to newer players|
|✅ Solo play against the Automa bot AND work through 8 challenges in campaign mode with difficulty adjustments available||🅧 Luck involved in visitor cards and Automa deck|
|✅ Also plays great multiplayer|
Time: Hours of adventure – save anytime
Company: Serious Pulp
- A MUST! One of the biggest hits on Kickstarter now available for everyone.
- SOLO OR COOPERATIVE: Designed to be played solo or cooperatively with up to 4 players.
- EXPERIENCE FOND MEMORIES: Rediscover the experience of adventure game books from your childhood.
- HOURS OF ADVENTURE: Dozens of hours of adventure await you as you discover the Continent.
- A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE IN EACH GAME: Dozens of random events and alternative maps mean you'll experience a different adventure every time you play.
The heftiest of our medium weight games (right alongside Viticulture), 7th continent is a unique “choose your own adventure” style survival adventure game, played solo or cooperatively. In the early 20th century, you’ve discovered the mysterious and hostile 7th continent, and now you must work to lift the curse befallen you since your initial visit.
Use adventure cards to gradually form the board and explore the island–with forest, dungeon, sea, desert, and more terrains– encountering random events along the way. Your decisions and interactions will impact later gameplay; your choices have consequences, either for good or ill. Learn to survive by crafting items, hunting and fishing for food, and improving skills with experience points. Keep a watchful eye on your surroundings, as the unfolding environment contains valuable clues and useful plants, if you can figure out how to use them.
You’ll have 3 curses to fight in the classic edition and hours of challenging gameplay as you work to survive the island and lift the curse(s). Unlike many games, the set up time is almost nothing, and you can save whenever you want, allowing you to adventure onward whenever you have the time (the manufacturers like to say “30 seconds to set up and 30 seconds to save”).
If you want a decently challenging and unique exploration adventure game with puzzle and survival elements that will keep you engaged for hours but allow you to save at any time, 7th Continent is the best single player board game for you. Multiple characters with unique abilities and 3 curses allow for numerous engaging playthroughs.
|✅ Challenging gameplay with clever designs as you work not only to survive but puzzle out how to lift the curse||🅧 Not a quick game; spend hours (saving whenever needed – not all at once) exploring, working out how to survive, and deciphering how to lift the curse|
|✅ Play for as long/short as you want with excellent “save” feature||🅧 You’ll have to work out a system to keep your cards all filed, but once you figure yours out, it won’t seem so tedious|
|✅ Unique “choose your own adventure” style game of exploration and survival|
|✅ 3 Curses to fight and multiple characters to play for solid replayability|
|✅ Great solo board game that also allows cooperative multiplayer gameplay (really shines 1-2 players)|
|✅ Multiple expansions available for even more adventure and excitement|
|✅ Quick set up|
Higher Complexity Best Single Player Board Games
If you’re looking for depth, substance, significant strategy, and generally a game you can sink your teeth into, check out these higher complexity best single player board games. These generally require more time and effort, both in learning and playtime (and often set up), but you’ll be rewarded with rich, satisfying gameplay.
As in each category, these higher complexity best single player board games are organized by complexity, starting with medium-high complexity and increasing game by game to high complexity games.
Time: 60-120 min
Company: Victory Point Games
- New printing of Nemo's War (2nd Edition) has a new box size and box cover.
- The second edition of Nemo's War, Victory Point Games' popular solitaire offering from designer Chris Taylor, is a greatly enhanced offering featuring mass-production printing and amazing Ian O'Toole art and graphics throughout. Set in year 1870, you set sail in this amazing electric-powered submarine, assuming the role and motive of Captain Nemo as you travel across the seas on missions of science, exploration, anti-Imperialism, and War!
- 1-4 players
- 60-120 minutes play time
- Ages: 13+
Play as Captain Nemo piloting the Nautilus, and dive deep into the world of Jules Verne’s 20,000 leagues under the sea on missions of science, exploration, anti-Imperialism, and war! Though you can certainly play multiplayer with enjoyment and success, at its core, Nemo’s War is truly a (wonderful) solo board game. Very thematically engaging with excellent strategy, requiring tactical consideration and careful thinking, Nemo’s War requires you to make choices carefully.
As you quest for knowledge or revenge, you’ll endure the hazardous seas, encounter other vessels, search the oceans, and discover surprises and treasures alike. The game is engaging, gripping, and beautiful with improved components and excellent artwork in this 2nd edition. While you may not always win, it’s rich and satisfying, truly one of the best single player board games.
You will be rolling dice often to determine outcomes, though, which can definitely frustrate those that dislike the random factor; however, you can mitigate that inherent luck to some degree with the abilities and upgrades of your vessel and crew. See the Nautilus through to victory with careful planning, skilled risk assessment, and area control and movement mechanics.
|✅ Gripping, beautifully thematic game||🅧 You’re still rolling dice a lot, so there’s absolutely luck involved, which can feel frustrating|
|✅ Decently challenging but fun gameplay requiring strategic thinking while being narratively satisfying||🅧 Solo board game at heart: multiplayer plays ok, but this shines as a single player board game|
|✅ Excellent solo board game||🅧 Might take a game and some rule reference to get all the rules in hand, but once you’re comfortable, gameplay is much quicker|
|✅ 2nd Edition improves contains quality components and fantastic artwork||🅧 Not for those that want to win every game; there are challenges, and you will likely lose some (or several)|
|✅ Gameplay seems to deepen with each game|
Time: 30-90 min
Company: Fantasy Flight Games
- COOPERATIVE ADVENTURE GAME: This epic card game puts players in control of some of the greatest heroes and artifacts of Middle-earth. Select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts and coordinate your efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. Work together to overcome the obstacles drawn from the encounter deck to complete the quest and claim victory!
- START YOUR JOURNEY: The Core Set includes 226 cards that can be used to assemble a wide variety of decks right out of the box. Included are three perilous quests that, along with countless combinations of settings and enemies, offer near-limitless replayability.
- FORM YOUR FELLOWSHIP: Build a party from a set of 12 hero cards and focus your decks on any combination of four distinct spheres of influence: Leadership, Lore, Spirit, and Tactics. Each sphere offer unique benefits to the party, so choose wisely!
- EXPAND YOUR GAMES: Add more variability to your games with the 60-card Adventure Packs (sold separately). These expansion packs will introduce new quests, heroes, allies, attachments, events, and encounters, allowing players to fully customize their game and continue their fight against the Dark Lord!
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS AND AVERAGE PLAYTIME: This epic adventure board game for adults and teens is made for 1 to 4 players and is suitable for ages 14 and older. Average playtime is approximately 30 to 90 minutes.
Step into Middle earth with The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. In this card game, you’ll choose 3 heroes to control, each with unique advantages and an affiliation with a specific sphere of influence (Leadership, Lore, Spirit, Tactics). Build your deck with these characters and spheres, then move through the stages of the quest deck as you journey through new locations, manage your resources, fight enemies, discover artifacts, and so much more.
At the beginning,you’ll choose from the starter decks laid out in the rules, but as you become comfortable with the spheres and characters, you’ll want to experiment and craft your own decks. An important note for those new to Living Card Games (or collectible card games): this is not a deckbuilding game (see our best deck building games list for more information on this distinction). You build your deck before the game starts, as opposed to building the deck as a (or the primary) game mechanic.
The base game here includes 3 scenarios of varying difficulty. You can beat all of these playing solo one handed (controlling your 3 characters as usual), though it can prove difficult, especially in the last scenario. Some players prefer to play 2 handed (two decks of 3 characters each – like playing 2 player but you control both players). However you choose to play, Lord of the Rings the Card Game is one of the best single player card games, and you’ll likely find yourself hooked and wanting the (many) expansions for more scenarios and cards. You may find yourself addicted to building the best deck(s) and diving deep into this LCG: you’ve been warned
**If you like this concept but prefer Lovecraft to Tolkien, check out Arkham Horror: The Card Game**
|✅ Wonderfully thematic and highly engaging Living Card Game||🅧Rules and gameplay can take a while to learn/get accustomed to: may not be ideal for new gamers or younger players|
|✅ Can experiment with multiple decks right from the start with the base game||🅧 You’ll really want the expansions (or even multiple base copies) for more deck building capabilities and more scenarios (only 3 in base game)|
|✅ 3 Scenarios with varying difficulty||🅧 Can be quite challenging, especially playing one handed solo. You won’t win every game for sure.|
|✅ Highly quality cards with gorgeous fantasy artwork (not movie stills!)|
|✅ Many, many expansions available for increased replayability, more cards, more scenarios|
|✅ Plays excellently solo but also plays well 2 player|
|✅ Can expand to 4 players with 2 core decks (we think it’s best 1-2)|
Time: 120-240 minutes
Company: Fantasy Flight Games
- THRILLING GAME OF TERROR AND ADVENTURE: Ancient evil is stirring across the globe. You and your trusted circle of colleagues must travel around the world, working against all odds to hold back the approaching horror. The end draws near! Do you have the courage to prevent global destruction?
- SCARY STRATEGY GAME: Defeat foul monsters, travel to Other Worlds and solve obscure mysteries surrounding this unspeakable horror. The effort may drain your sanity and cripple your body, but if you fail, the Ancient One will awaken and rain doom upon the known world.
- COOPERATIVE MYSTERY GAME: Brave investigators team up to pit their skills and weapons against the threat of the Ancient One. Together they explore the remote corners of the globe, fight the nightmarish creatures that lurk in the shadows and solve the ancient mysteries of this Eldritch Horror!
- HIGHLY VARIABLE: Eldritch Horror is based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and inspired by the classic Arkham Horror board game. With four different Ancient Ones, twelve investigators, numerous monsters, and hundreds of possible encounters, every game provides a unique and epic adventure.
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS AND AVERAGE PLAYTIME: The Eldritch Horror Board Game collection of scary games for game night is designed for 1 to 8 players and is suitable for ages 14 and older. Average game time is approximately 2 to 4 hours.
Step into a fantastical Lovecraftian dungeon crawl adventure and save the world from ancient horrors, either solo or cooperatively. Move across the world map board and defeat the Ancient Ones before they tear apart the very fabric of reality in this game of terrifying adventure. Playing as one of 12 unique investigators, you’ll encounter challenges, mysteries, and monsters in your quest to defeat one of 4 Ancient Ones, each with unique decks of Mystery and Research Cards.
With intriguing artwork and high quality cards and components, Eldritch Horror immerses you in its Lovecraftian horror theme, whether you’re seeking Azathoth’s true name or fighting Cthulhu at sea. Your encounters may leave you physically or mentally battered, or they may cause more serious conditions that you must rectify before the “reckoning effect” spells your doom.
In comparison to Arkham Horror, Eldritch Horror has definite similarities, but it’s not a reskin. Arkham takes longer to play, is more complex, and is often more difficult for newer gamers. Arkham takes place in Arkham city; Eldritch takes place across the globe. Eldritch is lighter, easier to pick up and set up, and feels tighter/more streamlined to some players. Honestly, though, they’re both excellent, either as co-op board games OR solo gaming adventures.
Since we’ve also got Arkham Horror: The Card Game on this best single player board game list, I thought I’d mention both Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror here. If you want a complex, lengthier stay in a smaller portion of Lovecraft’s world, Arkham Horror is likely the best solo board game for you. If you want a shorter, lighter, faster and easier to learn game solving obscure mysteries across the globe, Eldritch Horror is the best single player board game for you.
Time: 120 min
Company: Fryx Games, Stronghold Games
- Compete for different milestones and awards worth many VPS
- Over 200 different projects to complete
- 1 to 5 players ages 12 and up
Make Mars hospitable for humanity in this thematically engaging game complete with excellent strategic depth and wonderful gameplay. Terraforming is never easy; it takes time and work, as the atmosphere, temperature, and water levels all must be adjusted to ensure plant life can take hold before supporting human life.
Available actions include building to improve resource access, placing lakes and forests, and otherwise assisting in terraforming efforts. With research, you’ll gain access to more building cards and upgrades, allowing for greater resource production for you to carefully manage. If you’re new to higher complexity games, Terraforming Mars may seem a bit daunting, but it’s engaging and a tremendous amount of fun.
As with several on this list, Terraforming Mars boasts both brilliant gameplay and tremendous flexibility. It’s one of the best single player board games, but it’s also on our best 3 player board game list and plays wonderfully up to 5 players (competitively) as well (though it will, of course, get longer with more players). If you become truly addicted, expansions are available as well as the excellent Broken Token organizer, which makes set up much faster and provides dramatically improved player mats.
|✅ Rich and satisfying strategic game with great depth||🅧 Box organization is lacking and set up takes a bit (Broken Token organizer is the answer)|
|✅ Engaging, integral theme and fantastic gameplay||🅧 Expect 2+ hours, especially multiplayer (not really a con, just a fact)|
|✅ Expansions available for increased variety and replayability||🅧 Rules might seem a little challenging at first; play a few rounds, and it’ll come faster|
|✅ Many viable strategies for victory|
|✅ A Best single player board game that ALSO plays great in competitive multiplayer|
Time: 45-120 min
Company: Ares Games
- This War Of Mine: The Board Game is the table top adaptation of the award-winning video game that pictures the drama of civilians trapped in a war-torn city
- TWOM: The Board Game features a multiplayer experience for up to 6 players, as well as a solo variant
- Experience the simulation of a struggle for survival as a group of civilians facing a blind and merciless war
- 45 to 120 Minutes Playing Time
- Ages 18+
In this brilliant adaptation of the popular video game, This War of Mine presents a war game from an entirely new perspective. Instead of managing troops or playing as a soldier, you play as a group of civilians, trapped in a war torn land and desperately trying to survive. You’ll need enough food and medicine to survive, and you’ll need to maintain your hideout by clearing debris, creating makeshift workshops, building beds, reinforcing security, and more.
At night, you must guard your shelter and meager possessions from marauders, and beware snipers during the day. Explore various locations throughout your city in search of necessities, and meet unique characters with their own stories to tell along the way.
Don’t let the idea of playing as a group of civilians deter you from considering this as a best solo board game; This War of Mine is excellent and incredibly immersive when played solo. You’ll get a beautiful, story-driven gaming experience with excellent strategic depth, as decisions will require careful consideration (and will have consequences). By its nature, This War of Mine is thematically heavy and dark, and it’s masterfully done with great replayability.
To win this best single player board game, you must survive–which is never as simple as it sounds–until the fighting ceases, and live with the decisions you made to do so.
|✅ Enthralling, dark, compelling, dramatic and story-driven survival game||🅧 Works best solo; stick to just another player or two for multiplayer|
|✅ Numerous components and excellent artwork to pull you deeper into the atmospheric game||🅧 Miniatures are nice but not the highest quality|
|✅ Excellent solo board game with optional multiplayer as well|
|✅ Excellent depth, moral dilemmas, and significant challenges|
|✅ Save feature allows you to play on your schedule|
|✅ Decent insert for box organization and faster set up time|
|✅ Unique rule structure that allows you to start right away and learn as you go|
Time: 2 hrs
Company: Stonemaier Games
- It is a time of unrest in 1920s Europa. The ashes from the first great war still darken the snow. The capitalistic city-state known simply as “The Factory”, which fueled the war with heavily armored mechs, has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several nearby countries
- Lead your faction to victory, building mechs, working the land, and exploring the mysterious factory, all while protecting your territory from the mechs of other encroaching factions
- Explore the alternate-history of 1920 plus Europe through Jakub Różalski's stunning artwork
- For 1-5 players
- Plays in 90-120 minutes
Scythe takes place in the reimagined world of 1920s Europa, where players control faction leaders of Easter Europe seeking fortune, land, and glory in the land surrounding the Factory. The highly strategic and asymmetrical nature of the game make for truly excellent competitive multiplayer (it’s on our best 3 player and best 5 player board games lists), but it also plays beautifully solo against the Automa, which does a truly remarkable job of replicating an opponent. The solo function is by no means an afterthought, and you can even play against 2 Automas if you so desire.
We love the rich, complex nature of Scythe with its fantastic strategic depth, many paths to victory, high quality components (wooden resources and meeples, mechs and nice player characters), and fabulous gameplay. You’ll enjoy the mix of area majority, resource management, tech tracks, player interaction, and engine building mechanics that make up this fabulous game.
Enlist your recruits, move across the board–expanding from your unique starting location and resources–build your mechs and buildings, encounter citizens and events, grow and manage your resources, and advance on your tech trees to adjust the cost and power of your actions. For those that like player interaction, you can steal resources and battle opponents. Scythe is easily one of the best single player board games, but it’s also one of the most versatile and plays incredibly well with practically any group size
|✅ Thought provoking, highly strategic game||🅧 Rules might take a couple read throughs and some learning rounds to get the hang of the game|
|✅ Complex and with many options but not overwhelming to experienced gamers||🅧 Not great for beginners: this is a more in-depth game with greater complexity than we’d recommend for players new to modern board games|
|✅ Fantastic solo play AND excellent multiplayer|
|✅ Stellar gameplay and mechanics with many paths to victory|
|✅ Very player driven with minimal luck involved|
|✅ High quality components|
|✅ Multiple available expansions|
Time: 1-2 hours
Company: Fantasy Flight Gams
- A LIVING CARD GAME OF ELDRITCH MYSTERY: Something evil stirs in Arkham, and only you can stop it. Blurring the traditional lines between roleplaying and card game experiences, Arkham Horror: The Card Game is the Living Card Game of Lovecraftian mystery, monsters and madness!
- HORROR GAME: As the Ancient Ones seek entry to our world, investigators work to unravel arcane mysteries and conspiracies. Their efforts determine not only the course of your game, but carry forward throughout whole campaigns, challenging them to overcome their personal demons.
- COOPERATIVE GAME: You and your friends become investigators within the quiet New England town of Arkham, Massachusetts. No matter what compels you or haunts you, you'll find both your strengths and weaknesses reflected in your custom deck of cards. These cards will be your resources as you work with your friends to unravel the world's most terrifying mysteries.
- HIGHLY VARIABLE: Each of your adventures in Arkham Horror: The Card Game carries you deeper into mystery. You'll find cultists, foul rituals, haunted houses, strange creatures and signs of the Ancient Ones straining against the barriers to our world. The basic mode of play in Arkham LCG is not the adventure, but the campaign.
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS AND AVERAGE PLAYTIME: These scary games are designed for 1 to 2 players (or up to 4 with 2 Core Sets) and are suitable for ages 14 and older. Average game time is approximately 1 to 2 hours.
Aaand we’re back to more Lovecraftian goodness, but this time in the form of another of Fantasy Flight’s Living Card Games. If you like the card-driven nature of the Lord of the Rings Card Game but want the stylings of Eldritch Horror or Arkham Horror, then Arkham Horror The Card Game might just be your best single player board game.
You’ll control investigators, each with their own abilities, searching for answers to the terrifying Eldritch mysteries gripping Arkham while trying to maintain their sanity. You’ll face challenges from the encounter decks, specific to each adventure. Your decisions have greater weight here with the campaign rules, allowing you to “level up” your deck between scenarios.
As with all of Fantasy Flight’s LCGs, if you get really hooked, you’ll likely end up wanting expansions (and often multiple base copies) for greater deck possibilities and increased replayability, but despite that, the base game gives you a good amount of engaging play (3 scenarios and 5 investigators). Many players also find the solo player frustration level lower with Arkham Horror LCG than with The Lord of the Rings LCG. Bottom line, if you want an LCG style game and enjoy your Lovcraftian terrors, then Arkham Horror: The Card Game is the best single player game for you!
As with the Lord of the Rings Card Game, remember: this is not a deck building game; you do the deck building beforehand then use that deck to advance the story, fight the monsters, solve the mysteries, solo or cooperatively.
|✅ Enjoy a little blend of RPG feels with card-driven mechanics in a thoroughly Lovecraftian theme||🅧 You’ll likely want the expansions, in all honesty, for more scenarios and increased replayability and more deck building options (this can get costly)|
|✅ Many available expansions for more deck building options and increased replayability||🅧 Can be frustrating or difficult to learn for new gamers, but no more difficult than other LCGs/CCGs (just has a learning curve for sure, which is a barrier to entry for many)|
|✅ Plays smoothly and well solo but also has cooperative multiplayer capabilities||🅧 Challenging; not for those that want to win every game|
|✅ Rewarding campaign style experience|
|✅ Quality cards and great artwork|
|✅ Solid game mechanics|
Time: 60-120 min
Company: Portal Games
- A complex cooperative board game for 1 - 4 players, age 14+, with playing time of 60 – 120 min.
- Great to play with the family or enjoy as a solo strategy game.
- Seven different scenarios provide an exciting and highly thematic experience.
- Play as castaways on an uninhabited island and have a true adventure.
- Explore the island, find new sources of food, fight beasts, build tools, construct shelter, and survive against all odds.
Play as one of four characters, each with unique abilities in this adventure survival game. You’ve been shipwrecked on a desert island, and now you must build shelter, find food, explore, survive dangers, battle beasts, and discover treasure. As with several of our best single player board games, Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island offers both an engaging solo game experience as well as multiplayer cooperative play.
Winner of over a dozen gaming awards (and ranking high on all the best co-op board game lists), this game of the year edition includes high quality components (wooden resources, cardboard player mats, quality cards, and numerous colorful tokens/markers), wonderful artwork, and an improved rulebook. You’ll get 7 scenarios in this game, which offers good replay value, though you can also purchase the expansion for more.
This is not for those that want to win every game; it’s extremely challenging but wonderfully done and very rewarding. If you enjoy depth and strategy, significant challenge, and a highly engaging theme, Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on Cursed Island might be the best single player game for you. Whether you go solo or play with friends (it does both well, though may be best 1-2), be prepared for a rich and satisfying challenge.
|✅ Beautiful game with many high quality components and lovely artwork||🅧 Not for those that want to win every game; this is a very difficult game|
|✅ Excellent adventure and survival gameplay with many, many choices and decisions to make||🅧 Rules, while not punishingly complex, may take a bit to read through and get comfortable with|
|✅ A best solo board game but also plays well with multiplayer, provided players all buy in and are willing to communicate||🅧 Not for those looking for a short, light game|
|✅ Lots of depth, strategy, thinking, and puzzling||🅧 Set-up/tear-down takes time|
|✅ 7 Scenarios, 4 character choices, and over 250 cards for lots of replayability (expansion also available)||🅧 Plays cooperatively, but can be susceptible (like many cooperative games) to one player trying to dominate (choose players wisely or stick to 1-2).|
Time: 60-120 min
Company: Cephalofair Games
- For 1-4 players; ages 12 plus; 60-120 minute playing time
- An award winning game of Euro-inspired tactical Combat in a persistent world of shifting motive
- Over 200 hours of gameplay
- English (Publication Language)
Craving a rich, in depth RPG experience with over 100 hours of gameplay? The wildly popular Gloomhaven plays wonderfully multiplayer AND solo, and it consistently ranks as one of the best dungeon crawl experiences. Choose your character and immerse yourself in this thematically wonderful game of adventure, where you’ll use your unique abilities to navigate a fantastic world, fighting monsters and seeking adventure.
Set out with your party (either multiplayer or solo, often playing 2 characters), represented by quality miniatures, and move across the modular board, taking card-driven actions to win successive scenarios. With its legacy style gameplay, your decisions impact future options and shape the direction of the campaign; you’ll also level up your character as you go along.
There’s a tremendous amount of content in Gloomhaven, and if you like long, in-depth games and want a dungeon crawl RPG feel, Gloomhaven might just be your best single player board game. It does take some serious set up time, though, so be prepared; many players/groups prefer to leave it out on a table, if possible, to minimize start up time. Or grab the Broken Token to dramatically ease prep.
Also, Gloomhaven’s creator has created additional solo scenarios, downloadable for free, to continue challenging solo board gamers. We cannot overstate how much content you get with this game; the upfront cost is higher than many games, but honestly, we think it’s a solid value.
|✅ Very popular, epic adventure dungeon crawler, rpg, legacy game||🅧 This is not light, simple, or easy to learn, so settle in: it takes a while to get it all figured out|
|✅ Incredible amount of content – 75 initial scenarios (won’t play them all in a single legacy run) and 17 additional solo scenarios created later (free download)||🅧 Set-up and tear-down take serious time: leave it out if possible, or get the Broken Token for quicker prep/breakdown|
|✅ Thematic, engaging, very enjoyable||🅧 1-4 player: cannot accommodate larger groups|
|✅ Multiple unique character classes – characters level up throughout the game||🅧 Need committed player(s) that like long, campaign style games (not a con, just a fact)|
|✅ Your decisions impact the direction of the game||🅧 Game sessions can be long (a couple hours or even more, especially in larger groups)|
|✅ Plays wonderfully as a multiplayer or single player board game||🅧 More expensive than some board games (but still excellent value for content)|
|✅ Upgrades and expansions available|
Time: 90-120 min
Company: Greater Than Games
As a resident spirit of Spirit Island, you must save your home from colonization in this complex cooperative or solo board game. Influence the game with powerful magic, but plan carefully and think ahead, as some abilities take longer than others to enact.
Invaders have come for your home; they’ll explore sections of the island first, and then on the next turn, they’ll build and settle. The turn after that, they’ll attack islanders and blight the land. With these three actions happening across the board and new islanders coming ashore regularly, advanced planning is vital.
You’re not alone, though, as Islanders will try to protect their homeland too, but sometimes they’re more helpful than others. There’s so much going on each turn and over a series of turns; you really need to enjoy heavy thinking games and seeing multiple moves into the future. Spirit Island takes time to learn; it’s deep and complex, but it’s also incredibly satisfying. The artwork is beautiful, the components are fantastic, and the gaming experience and mechanics are truly stellar.
This is a challenging game that’s going to take time to pick up and learn, but if you like thinky games and challenging solo or cooperative experiences with lots of depth and strategy, Spirit Island is utterly amazing. It’s on our best 3 player board game list and well as being a clear best single player board game, making it both stunningly engaging and very versatile.
|✅ Highly complex, challenging, deep cooperative or solo strategy board game||🅧 Set up takes a decent amount of time|
|✅ Excellent components (and many of them!)||🅧 Box organization is a little lacking|
|✅ Lots of replayability in base game alone||🅧 Rules and gameplay will take some time and patience to learn|
|✅ Very little luck or randomness involved||🅧 Expect long play times, especially as you’re learning|
|✅ Gorgeous artwork and fantastic theme||🅧 Not a good choice for most younger players or new board gamers|
|✅ Expansions available for even more depth, challenge, and replay value||🅧 Not for those that prefer light-medium weight games or that want something quick and easy to learn or play.|
|✅ Great for those that enjoy thinky games, serious strategy, and advanced planning|
|✅ Plays well solo and cooperative multiplayer|
Time: 2+ hours
Company: Wiz Kids
- The critically acclaimed, award winning Mage Knight board game combines elements of RPGs, deckbuilding, and traditional board games while capturing the rich history of the Mage Knight universe.
- Now, after wowing solo game players and groups of up to 5, this Ultimate Edition brings it all together in a self-contained gaming experience.
- The Ultimate Edition includes the original base game plus all three expansions: The Lost Legion, Krang, and Shades of Tezla. It features comprehensive integrated rules text, 5 all-new cards, alternate paint jobs, and a great price that cant be beat!This is the Ultimate Edition fans have waited for!
- Package Weight: 3.719 kilograms
For experienced gamers not intimidated by complex rules and long play times that want a truly exemplary game merging elements of RPG, deck building, and traditional board gaming, Mage Knight is a must. Though multiplayer is available, Mage Knight shines brightest as a thought-provoking, captivating, utterly enthralling solo board game and is absolutely one of the best single player board games on the market today.
As a Mage Knight, you’ll wield artifacts and cast spells as you explore and adventure in search of fame and glory. Anything but static, your character will develop as you progress, gaining fame by claiming victory in monster battles, exploration, influencing citizens, and overthrowing cities. The win conditions change with each of the numerous scenarios included. (Push through the first scenario (feels like tutorial), and remember to take risks; no risk, no reward!)
Mage Knight was made with solo gameplay in mind, and we encourage solo gamers to grab the Ultimate Edition, as it includes 3 popular expansions to further enrich your world and the options of your character. There’s so much here (deep and complex); the game play is excellent and mechanics run the gamut from card drafting/deck building/hand management, to dice rolling, grid movement, role playing, tile laying, and more. It’s undeniably heavy, but it’s wonderful and easily one of the best solo board games. It also made our best deck building games list, as the deck building is an important, though not overwhelming, element of the game. It’s just so good.
|✅ Challenging, deep, heavily strategic||🅧 Plays multiplayer too, but more players gets bogged and takes much longer|
|✅ Remarkably satisfying solo play||🅧 Box organization is lacking|
|✅ Great value: Ultimate Edition includes 3 expansions||🅧 More costly than some, but excellent value|
|✅ Mechanics and gameplay combines RPG, deck-building, hand management, exploration, combat, tile laying & more||🅧 Set-up definitely takes a while|
|✅ Very nice components and painted miniatures|
|✅ Rules are not easy and will take time|
Runner Up Best Single Player Board Games
With the growing popularity of single player board games and the increasing number of excellent choices, I wanted to give you even more options! Enjoy these truly excellent runner up best single player board games, divided by complexity (and ordered by increasing complexity) for ease of navigation.
Runner Up Low Complexity Single Player Board Games
The Drifter: Available online as a downloadable PDF
Black Sonata – can be difficult to find
Maquis – can be difficult to find
Runner Up Medium Complexity Single Player Board Games
Gloom of Kilforth – can be difficult to get
Runner Up Higher Complexity Single Player Board Games
Single Player Board Game FAQs
What makes a best single player board game?
Though many games have a solitaire mode or solo variant, not all single player board games are created equal. You want a solo game that plays smoothly and well; it should feel engaging and intentional, not a tacked-on afterthought that didn’t see enough playtesting.
There should be a sense of challenge and good mechanics, and, in my opinion, an engaging theme or immersive atmosphere definitely helps. To rank as one of our best single player board games (or runner ups), the solo play must prove engaging and enjoyable and feel satisfying to the solo player, not lacking in any way.
Why should I play single player board games?
There are numerous benefits to solo play. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to get a group together (or you don’t have or want a gaming group), but solo play is rewarding in its own right. You have complete control in single player games, and many of the best cooperative games play wonderfully solo, negating the need for communication or compromise and handing you the reins
You can sit down and play a game whenever you want, and there are games on this best single player board games list that take only 10 minutes or can occupy multiple hours. Sometimes it’s nice to have a solo activity more engaging than a book or puzzle but without the screen aspect of a video game, and many people enjoy the tactile element of board games. Playing a few solo rounds of a new solo and multiplayer game can help you work out the mechanics and fully grasp the game, giving you an edge or making teaching time considerably faster.
Do any games play well single player and multiplayer?
Yes: many, many games these days have an excellent solo player mode and also support quality multiplayer. Oftentimes team board games work well single and multiplayer (Pandemic, Legendary games, Spirit Island, etc.), though to what extent depends on the game, but even competitive games (Scythe, Terraforming Mars, Tiny Epic Galaxies, etc) often handle both options well.
I’ve tried to note in the review or the pro/con list of each game how well these best single player board games also do in multiplayer format. It can be quite handy to pick up a few of these versatile games if you like both group and solo play. A few of the best single player board games here also made our best 3 player board games or best 5 player board games list, so you know there are some excellent overlaps.
What ages can play these best single player board games?
While we’re not reviewing any kid-specific games here, many of these best single player board games may work well for younger players, depending on age and familiarity with modern board games.
Check the manufacturer’s age recommendation, listed for each game, and keep in mind that most of the time, players a couple years younger may find the game accessible. This is more true for medium and low complexity games, though, and not always accurate for higher complexity games, where those age ratings might be pretty honest.
If your child or young player is new to modern board games or on the younger side, we’d start with the low complexity games. If he/she is more comfortable with modern games (Catan, Dominion, Carcassonne, etc.), they’ll probably be fine in the medium complexity games too. We recommend either more solid gaming experience, patience, or a helpful adult for players below the manufacturer’s ages wanting to dive into the higher complexity games.
What does the complexity rating mean for best single player board games?
Our complexity ratings, while not perfect, are our way of trying to help you decide the overall level of complexity/difficulty of a game: how many different elements the gameplay involves, how difficult to learn, how many rules are involved, how much strategic depth exists, etc.
Generally, the lower the complexity, the easier a game is to learn and play. Oftentimes, complexity coincides with length; lighter games (low complexity) tend to have shorter playtimes than medium or high complexity games.
If you’re new to modern board games, want a quick easy learn, or are looking for a game accessible to younger players, low complexity games would be a great option. Medium-light games would be good choices too; they have just a little bit more going on than fully light games, but they’re still pretty easy to learn/play.
As you move through medium, medium-high, and high complexity games, you’ll gradually increase the number of rules, elements of gameplay, and length of games. We have best single player board games in all categories (and runner ups in each as well) to ensure you find the perfect single player board game for you.
Best Single Player Board Game Final Thoughts
Hopefully by now you’ve found one (or several) games from this best single player board game list to add to your collection, and remember to check out the runner-ups too; they’re all excellent games. I started with over a hundred options; I just had to make the cuts somewhere.
Do you love any of these best single player board games? Did we miss your favorite single player board game? Let us know! I’ll leave you with some personal favorite single player board games in each category!