The 11 Best Solo Board Games to Play on Your Own, Ranked

No one around but still feel like game night? No problem! Try these single-player board games that are fantastic when played solo.

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It can be tough getting friends together for a game night.

If you don't know many people who are into board games, you might even have a tough time finding someone who stays interested long enough to play through a two-player game.

The good news is, there are plenty of excellent board games out there that are fantastic for their single-player experiences. Even better, most of them can scale up to more players for when you're able to have a game night.

Here are the best solo board games that you can play on your own, that are just as good—if not better—than they are at higher player counts.

Note: I'm focusing on board games that involve more than just cards. Looking for card-centric games you can play by yourself? Check out the best single-player card games.

11. The Isle of Cats

Gameplay complexity: Somewhat simple

Average playing time: 60 minutes

The Isle of Cats plays extremely well at all player counts (one to four), but it has a solid solo mode that slightly tweaks the rules so that you play against "your sister," which is basically like an AI.

The crux of The Isle of Cats involves spatial puzzle gameplay where you're trying to rescue cats from an island, but the cats are polymino-shaped and need to fit within the constraints of your ship and its rooms.

There's a lot more to it—including things like rats and treasures—but the solo experience is lovely if you're looking for a spatial puzzle-type game that's challenging but not an overwhelming brain-burner.

10. Tiny Epic Galaxies

Gameplay complexity: Somewhat simple

Average playing time: 30 to 45 minutes

While many of the best solo board games are actually pretty complex and daunting, Tiny Epic Galaxies aims to be the opposite.

This is a space game of strategy and exploration, distilled down into a session that takes less than an hour to complete. It's easy to learn, easy to play, with little setup so it's easy to whip out on a whim.

In Tiny Epic Galaxies, you roll dice (with limited re-rolls) to determine your actions, and your goal is to colonize planets and add them to your empire to score victory points.

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.

9. Cascadia

Gameplay complexity: Simple

Average playing time: 15 to 30 minutes

Cascadia is my personal favorite board game for weeknights when you've had a long day and just want to chill with a mild puzzle-type game that's engaging but not overwhelmingly thinky.

In Cascadia, you're building out your own national park using habitat tiles to create different habitat regions. On those tiles, you can place different types of animal tokens that represent wildlife in your park.

The thing is, habitats and animals score differently. Habitats only score for the largest contiguous regions of each habitat type, while animals only score if you can place the tokens in specific patterns (each animal type has its own unique pattern for scoring).

Cascadia is tactical but it's also relaxing and meditative. You can lose yourself in the puzzle, and when you're done, it's satisfying to see what you've built and how it all scores.

8. Clank! Catacombs

Gameplay complexity: Moderate

Average playing time: 45 to 60 minutes

Until recently, there were three different Clank! games in the series: the original Clank!, then Clank! In! Space!, and then Clank! Legacy. The most recent one, Clank! Catacombs, blows them all out of the water.

Clank! Catacombs is kind of like a reboot. It shares most of the same gameplay as the previous games, but it's incompatible (so don't think of it as an expansion). The big change? Modular tile-based exploration instead of a fixed board with fixed locations.

In Clank! Catacombs, your goal is to delve into the dragon's lair and steal one of its artifacts, then make it back out safely. You move around and interact with the map using an evolving deck of cards.

Typically you play this with others in competitive fashion, but Clank! Catacombs (like previous versions) can be played solo if you download the free Dire Wolf Game Room mobile app.

7. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Gameplay complexity: Advanced

Average playing time: 30 to 120 minutes

Tactical strategy is a popular genre of board games, but they're not usually known for being single-player games. Gloomhaven is one such game that's actually best at one player, depending on who you ask.

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a standalone prequel to Gloomhaven that's significantly simpler but retains much of the core goodness that made Gloomhaven so great, including the campaign-style story.

In Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion, you play as heroes who are investigating mysterious disappearances in the city. Your characters advance across multiple scenarios that form an overarching campaign.

This is far from a quick game, and even on your own you'll want to set aside up to two hours per scenario. After the five-scenario tutorial, you'll start to see how deep it is—and how satisfying it is.

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6. Mage Knight

Gameplay complexity: Very advanced

Average playing time: 120 to 180 minutes

Mage Knight is one of the greatest solo board gaming experiences of all time. It's substantially more complex than most board games, but if you can get over the learning curve, it can be amazing.

In this game, you play as a Mage Knight who leads an army as you explore the lands and conquer various cities. In practice, Mage Knight is an intense puzzle with lots of moving parts. That's why it's best played solo—you'll need time to deliberate over your actions.

The Mage Knight Ultimate Edition includes the base game as well as the three expansions, which provides way more content to enjoy whether you're playing alone or as a group.

5. Cloudspire

Gameplay complexity: Very advanced

Average playing time: 90 to 180 minutes

Cloudspire is a fantastic strategy board game that's heavily inspired by MOBA video games (think League of Legends). It can be played with up to four players, but it also supports solo play.

You have a fortress that you need to defend, and you do so by placing spires on the map and maneuvering your hero and minions around. Take down the enemy's fortress to win!

What's interesting in Cloudspire is that units are represented by chips (similar to poker chips) and they can be stacked to hide the units that are within a stack. Heroes can also upgrade over the course of play.

And did I mention the map is modular? That means there are multiple ways to set up the battlefield, lending to much greater replayability. For solo strategy board games, Cloudspire is one of the best.

4. Too Many Bones

Gameplay complexity: Advanced

Average playing time: 60 to 120 minutes

Too Many Bones is one of the greatest dungeon crawl board games ever made—and that might be surprising when you realize that most of this game is played using dice.

Yes, there are hundreds of dice included with Too Many Bones, but they're all custom dice that are used for way more than just numeric rolling—they represent everything in the game.

Too Many Bones is a campaign-based RPG-style board game where you choose a class, level up your abilities, battle your way through enemies, and attempt to take down bosses.

And once you've experienced everything in the base campaign, there are multiple expansions to keep you going with new content and mechanics. (40 Days in Daelore is particularly good for solo play.)

3. Sleeping Gods

Gameplay complexity: Advanced

Average playing time: 60 to 120 minutes

Of all the narrative-centric board games I've seen, Sleeping Gods sits at the top as king of story and exploration.

In this cooperative adventure—which can certainly be played solo—you play as crew aboard the Manticore, a 1929 steamship that's lost in a world of islands and mystical gods.

Every game is one session in a large campaign. As you explore the world, you'll encounter hundreds of "keywords" that each come into play elsewhere in the world, unlocking secrets and stories.

Sleeping Gods is a massive tale that beckons you to explore every corner and every crevice—and even after you think you have, you can play it again and discover tons more that remained unfound.

2. Chronicles of Crime

Gameplay complexity: Moderate

Average playing time: 60 to 90 minutes

If your idea of a fun time involves hunting down clues, piecing details together, and solving intricate mysteries that go deeper than what you'd expect—then Chronicles of Crime is a must-play.

This cooperative detective game is even better played alone, as you get to really feel like Sherlock Holmes on your own.

Chronicles of Crime includes a bunch of different suspect cards and locations, each with unique QR codes. The crux of the game involves scanning QR codes, which represents you visiting locations (to examine for clues and meet people) and talking to individuals.

As you visit places and chat with people, more information unfolds and you can discover more clues and suspects start behaving in different ways. The game evolves with your knowledge—and it's amazing.

With regard to immersive detective board game experiences, nothing comes close to the thrills and satisfaction in Chronicles of Crime.

1. Spirit Island

Gameplay complexity: Very advanced

Average playing time: 90 to 120 minutes

Ever since it first released in 2017, Spirit Island has been one of the most popular board games with one of the strongest fan bases in the hobby—and for good reason!

Spirit Island is substantially complex with lots of moving pieces, but the ultimate goal is always crystal clear: you are a god-like island spirit and must use your abilities to fend off invading colonizers for good.

There's so much depth that comes from its mixture of many game mechanics (primarily hand management and area control). You have a lot to consider every turn, which makes for vast possibilities.

Combine all that with its modular board setup and numerous spirits that each feel truly unique with entirely different abilities and play styles? You have a board game with unmatched replayability.

Spirit Island can be played cooperatively and it's really good with two players, but many hobbyists play it alone. You can rack up hundreds of plays and still feel like you haven't experienced everything.

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