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Newcomer's Guide to Finding Solo Games on BoardGameGeek
Mark Morrise
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When I first came to BoardGameGeek, it took some experimenting for me to figure out how to find games I could play solo (solitaire). If you are new to BoardGameGeek and are interested in finding solo games, here are some simple suggestions to help you get started more quickly.

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.
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1. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:15]
Mark Morrise
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Salt Lake City
Utah
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"Not that it needs extra hype when it comes to solo players, but no list would be complete without mentioning the King! Mage Knight Board Game. It may not be liked by some, but the people who like it tend to love it. No solo game is mentioned more often as being the players' undisputed #1." -- Kevin Erskine.

Indeed, Mage Knight Board Game was #1 on the 2014, 2015, and 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games. “The Mage Knight board game puts you in control of one of four powerful Mage Knights as you explore (and conquer) a corner of the Mage Knight universe under the control of the Atlantean Empire. . . . Combining elements of RPGs, deckbuilding, and traditional board games the Mage Knight board game captures the rich history of the Mage Knight universe in a self-contained gaming experience..” BGG description for Mage Knight Board Game.
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2. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:24]
Tabletop Tragedies
United States
Minnesota
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(Co-op as solo)


This well-regarded co-op plays very well solo; the rulebook has a section for solo play. It's also one of those games where you can start with several players and carry on solo if circumstances unfortunately decree such an eventuality!

The wife and I begun a game recently and had got-off to a moderately good start before our then 1 month-old daughter decided that she would rather go to bed (as is her right!) I took over our characters and had a happy experience that ultimately see the survivors freeze to death, a circumstance that possibly would have been avoided if my wife had been able to continue... practical as she is!
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3. Board Game: Friday [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:279]
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Friday was #4 in the 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games.

Friday is a solitaire deck-building game in which you optimize your deck of fight cards in order to defeat the hazards of the island and two pirate ships. It has a playing time of about 25 minutes and is a good entry-level solo game for someone who wants to test the solo game waters.
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4. Board Game: Viticulture Essential Edition [Average Rating:8.19 Overall Rank:34]
Mick Whyte
Australia
Gold Coast
Queensland
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This is hands down my Favourite solo experience. Morten who is well known in the solo guild and created the "best solo game for your spare time 2015 list" designed an Automated opponent or "Automa" for this game that works very well.
Plays in about 30mins a game, easy to set up and pack away, feels like versing a real opponent and thankfully different from the whole 'beat your own score' thing common of solos and solo variants.
Also contains a bunch challenges and which are played in campaign style. One of the few solo games that actually makes you better at playing the game with others
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5. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:61]
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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(Coop as Solo) This wildly successful cooperative game is #8 on the 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games. One of its expansions, Pandemic: In the Lab, has an official solo variant. Without the expansion, Pandemic can be played solo by taking on two or more player roles.
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6. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:48]
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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(Multi-player with Solo) This challenging tableau-building game with lots of replayability is #11 on the 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games. To play this solo, you will need to get one of its expansions, Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm, which has an ingenious official solo variant that uses an artificial intelligence player (AI bot).
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7. Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:210]
Dave Richards
United States
De Pere
Wisconsin
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My other favorite Rosenberg solo game. Sort of a worker placement/tableau builder where your workers are vegetables you then sell to markets. Again, plays in under an hour and is packed with difficult decisions.
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8. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:497]
Carl
United States
Cape Cod
Massachusetts
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This co-op tactics game can be played solo just as well if not better than with additional players.

Some reviewers have written off Death Angel as an impossible-to-win, luck-driven slog. It is definitely very difficult, but this little gem is a game to be studied for the myriad subtle combinations of squad tactics and marine abilities that you can successfully bring to bear on the alien hordes.

There are probably more than 100 hours of solo play in just the base game before you feel even nominally proficient, to say nothing of the several expansions that are available.
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9. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:199] [Average Rating:7.35 Unranked]
The Grouch
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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(Coop as Solo) Hours and hours of exciting Lovecraftian goodness.
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10. Board Game: Imperial Settlers [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:106]
Gerritjan Roubos
Netherlands
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Play it solo whenever I can.
Haven't try this one yet:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1289729/official-solo-c...
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11. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:223] [Average Rating:7.35 Unranked]
The Grouch
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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(Coop as Solo) > Games has developed a compelling comic book uniMultiverse on which to base this engaging deck building co-op. Each Villian, Hero and Environment had its own deck with unique mechanics that fit the characters thematically, providing plenty of challenge, discovery and replay value.
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12. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:228]
Nick Stables
Australia
Lawson
NSW
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Thankfully my gaming addiction isn't as strong as it used to be, but when I get the occasional itch to play, I've quite enjoyed this game with one firefighter at recruit level i.e. randomised set up, hot spots, hazmats, fire truck and ambulance.
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13. Board Game: Snowdonia [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:312]
Paul Kellett
United Kingdom
Preston
Lancashire
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I bought this after reading so many recommendations on the 1 Player Guild and am bery glad I did. Not only does the game scale well from 2 to 5 players but the solo mode is very well thought out and executed.

Whilst technically it is a "beat your last score" game, the solo mode is much more about the experience.

With the random effects of the weather and contract card draws, each game can feel very different in terms of how you utilise your workers. Add to that your choice of train at the start of the game, your strategy is always varied.

The weather is forecast two days in advance allowing you to plan a couple of turns ahead while the contract cards offer some high victory points for excavating, laying track or building stations as well as giving you a one-shot special action.

The game really comes into its own with the random events track controlled to a degree by the resource bag. There are 4 white cubes nestled in the bag alongside 30-odd more resource cubes (a mix of stone, iron and coal) and each time one is drawn, the next event on the track occurs.

This means that you have to keep a close eye on what resources are out and assign workers appropriately (often at the detriment of picking up good contract cards or taking advantage of good building weather) otherwise the event track can cause the game to advance digging and building further up the mountain. Hoard or ignore too many resources and the game can rapidly run away from you.

All in all this makes for a very involving and strategic solo game which, with the 7 trains and two scenarios in the base game has a good amount of replayability. Add to that the expansions which offer different railway lines and additional game mechanics and the often light-hearted print and play cards available on the designer's blog, there is a lot of game to get stuck in with.

Definitely one of the best solo Euro games.
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14. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:14]
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Agricola, #25 on the 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games list, is one of 7 games on the list designed by Uwe Rosenberg, who is the designer with the most games on the list. His others are At the Gates of Loyang (#12), Glass Road (#29), Fields of Arle (#33), A Feast for Odin (#44), Caverna: The Cave Farmers (#72), and Le Havre (#85).

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15. Board Game: Hostage Negotiator [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:841] [Average Rating:7.18 Unranked]
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Hostage Negotiator was #27 in the 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games.
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16. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:185]
Aernout Casier
Netherlands
Nijmegen
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(Multi-player with Solo) Most of Uwe Rosenberg's games seem to come with a solo option. Glass Road is no exception. I think this and Loyang are my favorites. Highly replayable because of the tiles and cards.
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17. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:66]
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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(Multi-player with Solo) This is #31 on the 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games.
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18. Board Game: Fields of Arle [Average Rating:8.21 Overall Rank:54]
Dave Richards
United States
De Pere
Wisconsin
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Wonderful, heavy 'sand box' game. Game was designed for 1-2 players. The solo game is not played against a 'bot,' you are trying to beat your high score. Plays in under an hour.
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19. Board Game: Pandemic: The Cure [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:231]
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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(Coop as Solo) This is a dice-based version of Pandemic for 2 to 5 players. It plays quickly, is my wife's favorite game, and is #35 on the 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games. This can also be played solo by playing two or more roles, similar to Pandemic.
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20. Board Game: Navajo Wars [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:968]
Cyrus the Great
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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The best solitaire game I've played, and the only one I'd consider truly immersive. It has a brilliant AI and manages to be tense and difficult without being overwhelming. It has a steep learning curve, because its design is unusual, but is well worth the effort.
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21. Board Game: Tiny Epic Galaxies [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:252]
Keith Lewis
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(1 solo Rogue galaxy on the back of each player card). I realize this list might not include some of the newer games and Tiny Epic Galaxies is one that deserves mention. A very playable series of solo variants were built into the game. From what I can deduce the next Epic game will also have that built in.
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22. Board Game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:285]
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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This cooperative game, which is #41 on the 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games, earned the #9 spot on Joel Eddy's list of his top 100 games of all time:

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/191139/drive-thru-review-...?

Joel does numerous video reviews of games on his Drive Thru Review channel:

http://drivethruvideos.com

Of his admiration for this game, Joel writes: "Freedom: The Underground Railroad is more than just a co-op. It tackles an intense and horrifying topic with purpose and well executed care. It doesn't sit in a safe place like most games do. Freedom transports me to another type of mindset beyond what I usually expect from gaming. Beyond all of this, the game is very well designed mechanically. The special abilities, the card drafting, the logistics of physically freeing the slaves, and really the game as a mechanical whole works perfectly. . . . I need more of this style of game from people who care as much as the designer of Freedom obviously did."
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23. Board Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:80] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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(Multi-player with Solo) This modestly priced and very successful deck-building game is #47 on the 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games. To play this solo, you will need to get the Star Realms: Gambit Set expansion, which includes two official solo variants. (There may also be some unofficial solo variants; I'm not sure.)
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24. Board Game: La Granja [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:95]
Aernout Casier
Netherlands
Nijmegen
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(Multi-player with Solo) I like the farming games (Caverna, Viticulture, Loyang etc) and this fits the category well. La Granja is a challenging game and its solo option not only allows you to come to grips with it, it also offers a proper challenge.
45+ minutes
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25. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:528]
Mark Morrise
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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(Coop as Solo) This very popular cooperative game, which was published before Forbidden Desert, is #50 on the 2016 People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games. Of the two games, this is simpler and even more accessible to younger players.
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