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My top ten favorite solo games
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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I get together with a group once a week for gaming but sometimes once a week just isn't enough. I also like video games but they usually strain the thumb more than the brain. Sometimes I'm just in the mood for that and sometimes I want more. Also games take more imagination when you play than a video game, even games with cool mini's. You have to imagine them running up and attacking you.

You cannot beat the social interaction experience that you get from a boardgame. I can't comment on online gaming as I don't do it but I feel that nothing is better than face to face interaction. That's right I am not a texter.

I am also not a eurogamer, that's not to say that there aren't good eurogames and that I haven't enjoyed some that I've played. But most are a bit dry for my taste and usually lacking theme which I love to find in my games.

When I get that itch for something more than a video game and it's not my game night I turn to a good solo board game. I mean games that are meant to be played solo and I love it when a game comes out that can be played by 1-4 or 1-6 as that means if it's good I can play it when I don't have a partner.

So without further ado here's my favorite solo games and feel free to list yours.


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1. Board Game: Defenders of the Realm [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:225]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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This is probably my favorite solo game as of this writing. It plays from 1-4. I usually play it with 3 heroes. The fantasy theme is all over this game. It's Pandemic on steroids. It's a perfect blend of euro and ameritrash ( where did that term come from? Most of the games that fit it's description are anything but trash).

It's got dragons and orcs, rangers, wizards and paladins. It's got heroes attempting to stave off the spread of evil over the land, it's got evil spreading over the land. It's got tense moments, it has you hanging on to every die roll. It's got crushing defeats and exhilarating wins.

It has a ton of plastic and some cool sculpts to help immerse you in the imaginary realm. Sure all of the minions look the same and it would have been cool to see specific sculpts for each evil general but the game is so good you don't mind.

One of my favorite multi and solo player games.

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2. Board Game: Gears of War: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:232]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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My latest solo purchase and it's a good one. I feel it captures the feel of the video game to a T. When you play the "China Shop" scenario and see the berserker blindly charging across the board damaging locusts and COGs alike. When you lure the berserker across the board with the sound of your weapons, trying to get it to smash through a door so you can advance. I really felt like this is the video game. I just thought WOW, that is cool.

I love the hand management mechanic for wounds. Every wound in this game is painful, every decision is a tough one. "Do I waste this card and grab some ammo or possibly some better weapons? Or should I hang on to it in case I recieve some heavy fire? I love the built in "Overwatch" mechanic but it comes at a price and the same with your guard actions.

It's agreat combination of strategy and luck and those are my favorite types of games. If your strategy is crap you probably won't make it and like wise if your luck is crap. But it's pure fun, win or lose.
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3. Board Game: Aliens [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1224]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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My all time favorite movie to boardgame. If you have seen "Aliens" and I can't imagine any sci-fi buff not having seen it. If you fall into that category stop reading go rent or better yet, buy it now and watch it. It's a pure rollercoaster ride of action (once the action starts).

It says it can play 1-9 and it can for at least 2 scenarios but 1-4 is probably the better number. It's perfect for 1. This game takes all of 2 minutes to set up and then prepare for action.

Like in the movie you are surrounded by Aliens and like in the movie they seem to come from everywhere, out of the walls dropping out of the cieling. You never know where the next one will come from and you can't prepare for it you just have to react and deal with it.

If they drop far enough away you will have some time to prepare before they reach you but more often than you'd like, they drop right next to you or worse yet, on you. If you shoot them and they are adjacent to you, then you have to worry about acid splash. I've lost plenty of marines that way.

This is not a strategy heavy game although there are some choices to be made and there is a decent amount of light strategy. This is more of an experience. It puts you smack dab in the movie. Trust me you'll know what I mean when you see your squad of marines so close to getting out and then right before your eyes they are decimated. And you'll find yourself yelling all of the quotes. "Let's rock", "Where's Apone?" "The Sarge is dead man, let's get out of here" and of course the ever popular "Game over man, game over."

Again win or lose this game is just a blast from start to finish.

I'm pretty sure this was my first co-op game, what a trip.
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4. Board Game: Star Trek: The Adventure Game [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:2483]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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I have recently purchased Star Trek Fleet Captains and I like it. It's nice to see some new Trek board games. Let's hope to see some more. Any how as good as STFC is, even with all of it's chrome, I prefer Star Trek: The Adventure Game. It plays from 1-2.

This one puts you solidly in Captain Kirks shoes. You are commanding the Enterprise, you are also controlling 2 or 3 other ships. (I lent this one out so I can't check). You are given a number of officers and you decide what ships they will captain.

Each turn you will check for random events, move your ships across the board trying to reach planets which you can then explore. It's a paragraph driven game just like Tales Of The Arabian Nights. When you explore a planet you will turn to a paragraph that describes the planet and what you encounter on the planet. Usually you will have to form landing parties, it's a good idea to take Kirk and Spock and McCoy and plenty of red shirts (Security guards). You'll need the gaurds to soak up the kills if you make poor decisions, and you'll need your officers for the skills they have.

Many of the adventures you encounter are taken right from the original series and so if your familiar with the show, you'll have some idea of what you should do. Not always. I played it for the 1st time in years a couple of months ago and Kirk, Spock and Mccoy were killed on the first planet I encountered.

You can also play as the Klingons and their choices do reflect their more adversarial nature.

There are no ship to ship battles, the one thing this game lacks but the rest is pure Star Trek. You can use micro machine minis for the game if you have them. They're a little big but look cool on the board.

I figure since TotAN has seen a reprint, why not ST:TAG. It's ripe for it. They could easily tweak the rules abit and throw in some rules for ship to ship battles over planets etc. etc. Also they could do a number of expansions based on the other incarnations, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise not to mention all of the movies.

Are you listening Wizkids or Z-man. It doesn't have to have a bunch of plastic ships (although I wouldn't complain if it did). Chits will do nicely but it would sure be nice to see it back in print again.

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5. Board Game: Star Trek III [Average Rating:5.92 Overall Rank:7445]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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For the Star Trek player who doesn't have a gaming buddy but still wants to experience taking control of the Enterprise and taking the Klingons on head to head. Here's your game.

It comes with 3 solo games so this is strictly a solitaire game. My favorite of the 3 being the Kobyashi Maru scenario.

That's right, you can see how well you do in Kirks reprogramed version. You can also play the unreprogramed scenario but it really is a no win scenario.

The paper board is a display of the Enterprise and has spots for all of the main officers except Kirk. Instead you are playing Saavik. This scenario is taken from the beginning of "The Wrath of Kahn" where Saavik is in a simulator. So are you.

I'm not going to get into all of the rules but you will be flying your ship through 3D space dodging asteroids and cloud spaces (like the Motari Nebula) and encountering lots of Klingon ships in your search for the Kobyashi Maru.

You have control of how much power you will be using and where on your ship. You will be raising and lowering shields, powering up and firing phasers, operating sensors and radios and using your crew to repair the systems when they become damaged, which they will. Shields will go down, weapons and crew will take damage, systems and hull will take damage also, pray you don't have a breach. Or maybe you would rather have a breach because Klingons don't take prisoners.


When you encounter Klingons they are randomly placed on your "Viewscreen" and they will move based on a die roll on their AI chart. Sometimes they will just try to leave your area, sometimes just try to get out of your phaser range, sometimes fire their quite destructive plasma bolts. There are ,if memory serves, 3 different size ships and the heavy klingon cruisers are deadlier and can take more hits before they are destroyed. You are usually taking on multiple ships at the same time.

Another game that puts you smack in the movie. If you have ever wanted to pilot a Starship or just wondered what it would be like to try the Kobyashi Maru scenario that you hear so much about in the Star Trek Movies, here's your chance.
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6. Board Game: Nemo's War [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1886]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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Victory Point Games seem to be the go to company for solo boardgaming. I only own 3 of their games but hope to rectify that in the near future. They are a small company and their games come without a box and cheap but serviceable chits and cards.

But their games are worth every penny spent. I have payed 70 to 80 bucks for games that do not have the game play of a Victory Point Game.
Nemo's War is a great little solo romp through the world of Jules Verne.

You can play this game as a warmonger, a scientist, a treasure hunter or an anti-imperialist. You can change your "profession" if the one you chose is not working out for you. This game does a good job of letting you feel like your traveling undersea, exploring for treasure, attacking evil surface dwellers (sinking their ships) who are trying put a stop to your enlightened way of life and befriending natives on far away lands.

The game captures the book by using quotes from the book on all of the event cards. All of the main characters are on board and can play a part in the game along with the famous fight with the giant squid.

There is resource management aplenty and a constant pressure from the 52 week timer. Imagination is a must, fun is gauranteed.
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7. Board Game: Last Frontier: The Vesuvius Incident [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:2799]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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Another "Alien" inspired game but a good one to boot. You are trapped on board a ship whose orbit is decaying and will soon fall into the atmosphere. You are playing a squad of marines sent to rescue the crew of the Vesuvious. Upon entering the ship you discover something is not quite right.

The map is a layout of the ship with everything you would expect to find on a ship from a science fiction movie. A biolab, medlab, machine shop, computer room.command pod, storage rooms and even a head plus many more. As you explore the ship you will find crewmembers, robots and hostile aliens.

This is a fairly rules heavy game and there is a lot going on and a lot to keep track of. Aliens can surprise you, they can abduct humans, you can shoot and damage windows which can cause decompression, you can damage ships instruments like the computer, space suits can be damaged, you can carry incompacitated people, you can use the medlab to heal, you can hack the computer, use mechanic to make repairs and so on and so forth. This game allows for an incredible amount of choices.

It is a pressure cooker all the way to the end. Find the crew, or what's left of them, and get them to the escape pod before the ship burns up in the atmosphere. Here's hoping all your robots are friendly and not berserk.
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8. Board Game: DungeonQuest [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:913]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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Sometimes you don't want to strain your brain too much. You would just like sit back and enjoy the show. Welcome to Dungeonquest.

The object is to get into the dragons den and escape the dungeon with the most gold. For 1-4 players. On solo play, I play that I have to get to the dragons lair and escape with any amount of treasure. If you make it there and out, you've done enough.

There are very few choices to make in this game other than which direction you are traveling, you are at the mercy of the cards and dice. Every room you enter you have to draw a card and see what you have encountered. Sometimes it's just an empty room and sometimes it's a horrific monster or a well laid trap.

There is absolutely no strategy here. You just play to see what happensand hope your die rolls are good enough to crush anything in your path and good enough to avoid the deadly traps. Get out before nightfall or you will become a victim of Dragonfire Castle. MWAHAHAHA!
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9. Board Game: Warhammer Quest [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:456]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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Ever play Gauntlet in the arcade or on a home console system? Welcome to gauntlet the boardgame. Gauntlet threw wave after wave of monsters at you in an attempt to crush your puny barbarian, elf, dwarf or wizard.

Warhammer quest does the same thing. It's a game for 1-4 and comes with, I believe, 30 quests. You are given all of the characters previously mentioned and I would suggest you always use 4 characters, even when playing solo.

Your dungeon is predetermined by a shuffle of cards which you draw one at a time and lay out the appropriate tile. You then explore it by drawing from another shuffled deck of event cards. Also if your wizard rolls a one at the beginning of the turn during the power phase you would draw from the event deck.

Unlike Dungeonquest, these rooms are seldom empty and usually hordes of all kinds of monsters attack you. Much like Dungeonquest there is not much strategy here. the monsters appear right next to you so you rarely even have to move to engage them, just roll your dice and hope for the best.

Gauntlet was a game that used to be referred to as a hack and slash because that was really all you did. press the attack button as fast as you could and kill as many monsters as you could before you go down. Warhammerquest is much like that but instead of pressing a joystick button you are rolling dice.

There's not a lot of thought to be done while you play the game. Enter the room, hack and slash all of the monsters, collect your treasure, heal if possible rinse and repeat. Still, whem I'm in the mood for mindless fun I could do worse.

Don't expect to win this one often with a level one party and level 2 isn't much better. Don't roll a one, don't roll a one, don't roll a one, don't roll a one, don't roll a one.
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10. Board Game: B-17: Queen of the Skies [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:940]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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Another game without much control. Take a crew on a B-17 bomber and launch a bomb at a target and return home sucessfully.

There have been complaints that this game doesn't offer a lot of choices but I think that accurately gives you the feel of flying a mission. While you are in the plane, if you are being attacked you have no control over what those bullets will hit.

You are encouraged to name your crew and give them positions on the plane, pilot, bombadier, tail gunner, navigator,etc. etc.

As you fly out on a mission you will be consatntly checking charts to see if you are being attacked by enemy fighters. You have no control over their movement only your choice of planes to fire at.

As you take damage, you will consult charts to see where you were hit and what systems if any have been damaged or destroyed and likewise for the crew. As the crew become wounded or killed you can move other members to take their place.

When you do arrive at your destination you roll again on charts to see if your bomb sucessfully hits your target. The charts reflect weather and flak and condition of crew. A sucessful bombing is not a win, you still have to return home.

There is very little control but I love watching the german fighters fly by, guns blazing as my gunners try to bring them down. And nothing beats that feeling when you finally return home after delivering your bomb.
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11. Board Game: Ambush! [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:483]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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Runner up. Ambush is an excellent game but requires a lot of work. There is not another game that I can think of that gives you such an intelligent AI and also gives you a ton of choices to make while playing. It puts you smack dab in the war but there's quite an effort to get there and the game demands some considerable time to play.
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12. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:328] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Joseph LaClair
United States
Watertown
New York
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2nd runner up. Both of the D&D games can give you an enjoyable dungeon crawl experience in an hour or so. I am a sucker for monsters in plastic form and these have more than their share. They are both pretty standard dungeon crawls, enter a room, draw a monster, monster attacks you, you attack monster, collect your treasure, move on. It hits you often with damaging events also.

The AI for the monsters was cool and still is but has been improved upon in Gears Of War. I don't find it to be as fun with multiple players oddly enough. But I do enjoy them.
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13. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Late Bronze Age [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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plays differently 1 player than multi, but good either way.
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14. Board Game: Zombie in my Pocket [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:4005]
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
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Short and brutal.
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15. Board Game: Voyage of the B.S.M. Pandora [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:3070]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Phoenix, AZ
Arizona
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I think this was the first of the 'paragraph system' games.

A little small, in terms of the total size of the
paragraph book (compared to Tales of the Arabian Nights or
Ambush!) but not only did it inspire these,
it still probably ranks as my favorite of the type - combining
the paragraph style with some nice decisions on what
equipment to carry and how to plan your exploration
trip. Wish it was bigger.
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16. Board Game: All Things Zombie: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2484]
Dan Poole
United States
Goldsboro
North Carolina
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This game plays very well solitaire,since the zombies are controlled by a simple AI
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17. Board Game: Field Commander: Rommel [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1229]
Dan Poole
United States
Goldsboro
North Carolina
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This is my favorite Dan Versen solitaire game. Also have FC Alexander and Phantom Leader, both of which are nice too.
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18. Board Game: Space Infantry [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:2197]
Dan Poole
United States
Goldsboro
North Carolina
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This is a nice sci-fi themed solitaire game I really enjoy
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19. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:410]
Guido Gloor
Switzerland
Ostermundigen
Bern
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I've played quite a few others on this list as well, but I keep coming back to Death Angel. It plays quickly (less than an hour for sure, often around 30 minutes) and tells such epic stories with such simple components. It's nearly all cards, only twelve tokens and one die, and there's heroic last stands and smart usage of power fields and runs into breeches and desperate clinging to tiny hopes and confident support of teammates - all while tons of Genestealers pour in and try to rip those poor marines apart.

I've played it with two players, too, but it really stays my favorite solo experience.
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20. Board Game: Space Empires: 4X [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:324]
Guido Gloor
Switzerland
Ostermundigen
Bern
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This one is the game I currently love to play when I have a bit more time for it. The alien invader scenarios easily take half a day, particularly when I'm just coming back to them every so often while watching the baby. But they're so worth it. The AI is really challenging, the feeling of the game is fairly similar to the multiplayer experience, and there's still the very solid core mechanics. This game essentially manages to play solo in a very similar way to the way it's really meant to be played, against other people.
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21. Board Game: Dungeon Twister 2: Prison [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:617]
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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Joseph, given your list, you should check out D2: Prison. I think there's a decent chance you'll really like it.
It's a 2-player but also has a nicely designed solo AI.
And you would not believe the awesome minis this comes with, the box is packed to the gills with mins, room tiles and other goodies...
And definitely will be exercising your brain a lot with this one
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22. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:6]
Mrs Smith
Australia
Canberra
ACT
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One for the Eurogamers
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23. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:133]
Ken Howell
United States
Monterey
California
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My collection is not very large but this is my favorite solo. Granted, I've only played it solo but that doesn't change anything.
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24. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:13]
Ken Howell
United States
Monterey
California
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Had to put this too since I just got it and it may jump ahead of Ghost Stories after a few more plays. Great euro with plenty of replayability and depth for solo play.
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25. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:23]
Mrs Smith
Australia
Canberra
ACT
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Apparently one of the expansions includes an AI (I think I've heard that anyway...). But I quite like this solo variant:The First Emperor - A Solo Variant
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