Nothing beats game night. Hanging out with friends and playing board games is always a fantastic and enjoyable experience. But what if you want to play a tabletop game when all of your friends are busy? What if you just can’t wait until the next board game night?
Don’t worry. There are loads of fun and exciting solo board games that allow you to have all the fun of an evening in over dice and cards without having to put on pants. Here are the best tabletop games for a party of one.
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Gloomhaven is a campaign-based tactical skirmish game. Players star as a roaming adventurer who must travel through a world of monsters, dark dungeons, and danger as they try to make a name for themselves. This adventure board game also has legacy elements, meaning that the world is persistent, and it will change based on the decisions you make as you fight your way through its massive number of scenarios. This all combines together to create a varied and tense game.
Gloomhaven’s in-depth skirmishes work beautifully as a solo game as it lets you spend as long as you like enjoying the world and plotting your epic encounters. Cephalofair Games also sells an add-on pack that includes more solo scenarios, which is a must-buy for singleplayer fans looking to get the most from their Gloomhaven kit.
Mage Knight casts you as one of four Mage Knights. You have one aim: To build up your army and conquer the land, overthrowing the Atlantean Empire in the process.
This game combines traditional board games, tabletop RPGs, and deck-building strategy titles in one unique package. Mage Knight is surprisingly deep, with lots of different tactics and strategies. If you’re looking for replay value, Mage Knight provides, as you can approach each game differently every time.
While the core rules only come with one solo scenario, many fans have found it easy to convert the multiplayer adventures to work with the singleplayer ruleset.
Mage Knight obviously appeals most to fans of the larger Mage Knight franchise. But non-fans will still enjoy this game’s exceptional mechanics, and the rules quickly tell you everything you need to know about the setting to get started playing.
A Feast for Odin
This Viking-themed game is correctly described as a saga in board game form. Playing as the leader of a tribe, you have to order your men to find new lands so they can be plundered and pillaged for material wealth. However, you will also have to manage things in your homeland, including making sure you have enough food to feed everyone.
A Feast for Odin is decently complex, making it the perfect fit for hardcore strategy buffs. In fact, this game is even better when playing solo, as you get to spend as long as you like plotting moves, letting you carry out in-depth strategies that wouldn’t be feasible with multiple players. Despite this depth, A Feast for Odin is one of the simplest games of this type to learn, as the rules are well written and very clear, allowing you to get started pretty quickly.
The highly popular Terraforming Mars is just as much fun solo as it is with friends. As the title suggests, the game is all about terraforming the red planet to make it livable for humans. Players take the role of a megacorp that must manage oxygen, set up accommodation, and attempt to grow plants as they build a new home for humanity in the stars.
The solo scenario for this game feels a lot like its multiplayer counterpart, with only a few key differences to set them apart. Much like when you play with friends, Terraforming Mars demands quick thinking and decisive strategizing to make the most of your resources each move. There is also plenty of variety if you enjoy the base game, with several expansions that make Terraforming Mars even larger. When it comes to tabletop colony managers, this is a game you will come back to over and over again.
An alternate history game set in the aftermath of a mechanized First World War, Scythe casts you as a faction leader who wants to return their group to power. You do this via in-depth resource management, territory control, and engine building to help grow your faction. Like many games in the genre, Scythe is heavy on strategy, forcing you to use your wits to survive.
Scythe’s solo version uses an Automa deck, which acts like another player. Even though this player is literally simulated by the cards, it often feels like your opponent has an actual personality, to the point that a solo game feels a lot like a multiplayer game. This makes Scythe a stunning achievement as far as singleplayer board games go and worth strategy fans’ time alone.
Rurik: Dawn of Kiev
This medieval historical epic sees players attempt to prove themselves worthy of the throne of Kievan Rus, formerly held by their late father Vladimir the Great. To do this, you will need to gather resources and capture territory, all while using an auction system to perform actions. Grow your empire, and bring your land to former glory.
When played solo, Rurik pits you against a character called Sviatopolk. This character is controlled by a deck of cards. These cards are designed really well, letting Sviatopolk react to your playstyle and counter your actions. While he is not as clever as a human player, he can still give you a run for your money if you do not pay attention.
Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Arkham Horror: The Card Game offers a fast, fun, and exciting horror experience. Much like the books that inspired it, you will be finding clues, solving mysteries, and encountering strange and horrific creatures. This is done by creating a deck of cards and going through many branching scenarios that give you a different experience every time you play.
Playing alone can make Arkham Horror a bone-chilling Lovecraft horror game, especially combined with singleplayer’s gruesome difficulty boost. For Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG fans, Arkham Horror definitely shouldn’t be missed.
Shakespeare’s sonnets often featured an unknown woman called the Dark Lady. Black Sonata throws you into London in the 1600s and tasks you with finding her and learning her identity. Of course, this means you need to track down the Dark Lady, which is easier said than done, as she is constantly on the move.
Black Sonata is built around a deck of cards, many of which have holes punched into them. Players must lay these cards on top of each other to get clues, which is an utterly fantastic twist on the investigative board game format. The game maintains a good level of challenge: There is always a risk of failure, but it never feels oppressive, keeping the chase exciting to the last moment. Black Sonata is an excellent combination of deduction, strategy, and atmosphere that you will want to replay again and again.
Mr. Cabbagehead’s Garden
The first thing that hits you about Mr. Cabbagehead’s Garden is its art style. Its Victorian-themed anthropomorphic vegetables are both cute and creepy, giving this game a really unique aesthetic.
Playing as Mr. Cabbagehead, players must try and grow a prize-winning garden by maintaining their supply of bees and planting vegetables in specific patterns. They also must deal with annoying neighbors turning up and stealing their delicious crop or messing up their garden in some other way.
This solitaire-style game is a fun mix of luck and strategy where you always have to try and stack the odds in your favor as you plant the perfect garden. Mr. Cabbagehead’s Garden is a relaxing and engaging card game, making it the best way to chill out after a busy day.
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
Have you ever wanted to go on an adventure in Middle Earth? If so, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game might be the game for you. This solo or co-op card game lets you tell new stories using the characters, items, and locations from the famous book series.
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game uses three decks of cards: Quests, Encounters, and Players. Once you have selected your scenario, you will use these decks to build up your army, explore the world, and undertake quests related to your chosen scenario. Scenarios are varied and fun, and while they are original, they capture the feel and style of the books perfectly.
Playing The Lord of the Rings solo is great fun because it lets you appreciate the story at your own pace, and the deck-building aspect means you can spend hours tinkering with your cards to try and work out the perfect way to beat each scenario. For Tolkien fans new and old alike, this is a Saturday evening must-play.