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The 7 Best Single-Player Board Games When You’re Sick of Solitaire

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Image credit: lafilledevienne/Pixabay

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It can be tough getting your friends together for a game night. If you don’t know many people into games, you might even have a tough time finding someone who will stay interested long enough to play through a two-player game.

The good news is there are plenty of board games out there that are meant to be played by a single person. Even better, most of these scale up for when you do get people around for a game night.

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1. Gloomhaven

Tactical strategy is a popular genre of board games, but they’re not usually known for being single-player games. This isn’t a quick game, and even on your own you’ll want to set aside an hour or two to dedicated.

It’s deep and it will take some time for you to learn it, but once you do, Gloomhaven is a thoroughly satisfying game.

Buy Gloomhaven on Amazon

2. Mage Knight

Another complex game, Mage Knight throws a lot at you out of the gate. The box includes 240 cards, 8 miniatures, 196 tokens, 20 map tiles, 54 mana crystals, and 7 mana dice. It also includes not one but two rule books.

When you’re playing solo, you have a set number of turns to beat the mission. When time is up, you lose.

Buy Mage Knight on Amazon

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3. Space Hulk: Death Angel

If you’ve ever watched the movie Alien and wondered if a board game could capture that feeling of claustrophobia, the answer is yes. Space Hulk: Death Angel is that game.

This is a cooperative game when you play with other people, so you simply control multiple hands playing solo. Set within the Warhammer 40,000 universe, this game pits your team of space marines against a hoard of Genestealers. They usually win. When you do manage to win, it feels more like you barely managed to survive.

Buy Space Hulk: Death Angel on Amazon

4. Legacy of Dragonholt

If you’ve ever wanted to get into Dungeons & Dragons but didn’t have any interested friends, Legacy of Dragonholt is for you. This game attempts to take that setting and gameplay but remove the need for a dungeon master and make it playable solo.

This is essentially a choose your own adventure book on steroids. If that doesn’t sound fun, you may want to look elsewhere.

Buy Legacy of Dragonholt on Amazon

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5. Tiny Epic Galaxies

While plenty of the games we’re looking at are complex and daunting, Tiny Epic Galaxies aims to be the opposite. While a space strategy and exploration game sounds like it could be complex, this is easy to learn and easier to pick up and play.

This game is meant to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, so if you’re looking for a breezy way to pass an afternoon, look no further.

Buy Tiny Epic Galaxies on Amazon

6. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

If you’ve ever read a Sherlock Holmes story and wanted to jump into his shoes, this may be your new favorite game. You can play this game solo, or with as many people as you want. When playing with others, it’s a cooperative game, as you might imagine.

This game includes 10 different case scenarios, including a four-case campaign that sees you chasing Jack the Ripper.

Buy Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective on Amazon

7. Eldritch Horror

This is based on the modern classic Arkham Horror but uses a revised ruleset. The changes make this a more straightforward game, but within a larger world.

You can play this alone or with up to 8 players, but make sure to set aside a good chunk of time. It will take you anywhere from two to four hours to get through a game of Eldritch Horror.

Buy Eldritch Horror on Amazon

Just Getting Started With Board Games?

If your head is spinning looking at the above list because you’re not familiar with board games, you’re not alone. When you’re just getting into tabletop gaming, it can be tough to know where to start. Check out our guide to essential board games to get your collection started for under $100.

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Peter Schott
Peter Schott

Also worth considering would be price and box size. I mean, if you need a game that doubles as a coffee/end-table, Gloomhaven is a great choice, but it’s not going to fit on many shelves. 🙂 (I agree it’s a good game, but not one I’d get out very often to play so not worth the price and trying to store it.) Good list overall. There are a lot of games coming out now with good solo modes. The designers and publishers are realizing that a good solo game _and_ multi-player game will sell more copies. Having the Automa concept… Read more »

Brian Boru
Brian Boru

Thanks Kris, a few of these sound interesting, especially those which scale up to more players—best of both worlds.

Suggestion for future articles—3 main extra info I want to know about a board game:
Setup & teardown time;
Replay value;
How complicated are the rules?

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