Newcomer's Guide to Finding Solo Games on BoardGameGeek
- Mark MorriseUnited States
Salt Lake City
Advanced Search: (new BGG format) Click in the Search box in the upper-right corner of the page; in the second drop-down box below the Search box, click the "Advanced Search" option.
(old BGG format) Click on the yellow "Adv. Search" at the top of the page.
In the "# of Players Range" box, set the first drop-down to "1", and click "Submit." This will list solo-playable games, including both strictly solo games (games designed for solo mode only) and multi-player games that include an official solo variant published with the game.
If you set both drop-down lists in that box to "1" and click the button "Exact (include games that only support exactly this range)" and submit the search, you will get a list of strictly solo games.
Search by game "Family": (new BGG format) Click in the Search box in the upper-right corner of the page; in the first drop-down box below the Search box, which says "Board Games," click the drop-down arrow and choose "Families"; then click in the Search box again and type "Solitaire"; in the drop-down box that appears, click on "Solitaire Games."
(old BGG format) At the top of the page, to the right of the "SEARCH" prompt, is a drop-down menu. From that menu, choose "Families." Then in the white box to the right of that, type "Solitaire" and then click the "Go" button to the right of that. This will bring up a list of game families with the word "solitaire" in them. Click on the one named, "Solitaire Games."
The result will be a list of games similar to the first search above, i.e., both strictly solo games and games that include an official solo variant.
Cooperative games: Because cooperative games have players playing "against" the game, most cooperative games can be played solo by taking on two or more roles. You can find cooperative games on BGG by clicking on Advanced Search -- Filter on Board Game Mechanic -- Co-operative Play.
Games with an unofficial solo variant: The "1 Player guild" is a group of BoardGameGeek members who enjoy solo gaming. Their Solitaire Resources page includes links to unofficial solo variants under the heading, "Geeklists -- Solo Variants Lists".
What solo games are popular? To find popular solo games, the best place to start is with the "2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games (+)." The list is in reverse order; start on the bottom of page 4 to see the #1 game.
Recommended with 1, created by Alex Cannon, is an excellent list of the top 2000 games that BGG users have recommended for one player.
Other places to find popular solo games include the 1 Player guild's Solitaire Games on Your Table (SGOYT) geeklist, where solo gamers post reviews of the games they are currently playing, and the Solitaire Games on Your Table Spreadsheet, which tracks everyone and everything posted to the SGOYT lists.
SOLO GAMES ON THIS LIST
The games on this list, including games added by BGG members, are organized in the same order as the 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games list. At the end of this list are games not on 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games list.
This list has favorite solo games added by BGG members and some games I have added, which include:
- A few noteworthy games, such as the #1 solo game (Mage Knight Board Game), the most played solo games (Friday and Hostage Negotiator), and some specially mentioned games (such as Freedom: The Underground Railroad and Hoplomachus: Origins);
- Coop games that you would not ordinarily find using the first two searches described above; these are marked as "Coop as Solo" at the beginning of that game's description (some games added by BGG members follow this convention); and
- Multi-player games with a solo variant that you would not ordinarily find using the first two searches described above; these are marked as "Multi-player with Solo" at the beginning of that game's description (some games added by BGG members also follow this convention).
ADDITIONAL SOLO GAME LISTS
The Solitaire Resources page of the 1 Player guild has lists of solo board games under the heading, "Geeklists -- Other."
A comprehensive geeklist of 1-player games is "Always alone... the definitive list of single player games" posted by Mike Keane.
A list of shorter solo games published in 2015 is the "2015 Best Thematic Solitaire for the a Spare-Time Challenged."
Ricky Royal, who publishes written reviews and playthrough videos of solo board games on his Box of Delights channel, created a 2015 top 100 list of his favorite solo games. Counting down from game #100, this list has a detailed, entertaining written review for each entry.
Kevin Erskine, who organized the People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games in 2014, 2015, and 2016 (many thanks, Kevin!), published his own "My Top almost 100 Solo Games - 2015."
These are just a few of the solo game lists out there. There are many others!
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The 1 Player guild has a wealth of information about solo boardgaming, including:
- A Forum devoted solely to solo games
- An ongoing "Solitaire Games On Your Table" geeklist, mentioned above, where solo gamers post reviews of the games they are currently playing
- A ongoing Solitaire Games on Your Table Spreadsheet, also mentioned above, which tracks everyone and everything posted to the SGOYT lists
This is a partial list of 1 Player guild resources; there is much more. The 1 Player guild members are very friendly and happy to answer your questions about solo gaming.
- [+] Dice rolls