Chillman's Top Solo Board Games - 2018
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
Board gaming is a relatively new hobby. Like most, I was introduced to Settlers of Catan (probably 2013), and then from there my collection grew with introductory staples like Pandemic, Forbidden Island, Blokus... but those quickly weren't enough. I learned about Boardgame Geek, scrolled through the Top 100, and started requesting games as gifts. At the time, my wife and I didn't have any children, so I requested multi-player games, adding classics like Dominion, and a few social/deduction games like Cash 'N Guns and Ultimate Werewolf, Coup. However, we had our first child, a daughter in January 2016 and it put a bit of a damper on game nights. So then I started researching 'solo' games, and made a purchase here or there, but they mostly collected dust as learning to parent is challenging, throw in work and regular responsibilities and hobbies fall to the wayside. Oh, and then throw a second kid into the mix 13 months after the first... January 2016-February 2018 was a crazy stretch.

However, at the beginning of the year, I made a plan to take time to do things I like doing and help me take care of myself--exercising, reading, and playing games. First I got through some of the games I had acquired in the past year that were solo-able, and while I wouldn't say I've overplayed or figured them out, my thirst for new games was developing. So a few more games made their way into my collection... though not too many... yet.

I wake up a bit earlier than I used to (which was already ridiculously early), and I take the time to get a workout in, and then I sit down and play a few turns of a game. My wife and I work different schedules, so there are nights she's in bed early for work the next day, so I'll stay up after the kids are asleep and then tackle a game (or two... or three...). Sometimes the next morning is a bit difficult, but I've really enjoyed being to tackle those fun things and work through different puzzles. I genuinely feel like I'm in a much better place because I've been taking that time.

Anyway... this list is a reflection of my very early stages of solo-gaming. I'm very certain that it will evolve a great deal from year to year as there are plenty of classics and 2018 hotness that I've yet to experience. However, I really enjoy where I'm at and look forward to what's coming next.
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.39 Overall Rank:4]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This was the first game I decided to solo. Something about the theme, the Elon Musk ambition/audacity to believe you can single-handedly terraform the red planet to be habitable for human life is fascinating to me. While there is certainly a bit of nostalgia for the game that is your first, I'm very confident it would still be my favorite even if it wasn't my first.

I probably have 50+ plays this year. I love how different but familiar each game can feel. I love how you can be using the same corporation 3 or 4 or five games in a row but have to employ completely different strategies to address hitting the win conditions. While I'm not thrilled about how nerfed some of the corps are in solo, that adds to the challenge and will make it that much more satisfying when I finally win with them. Despite all those plays, I'm not aching for any of the expansions yet.

I know a lot of people harp on the components, and I can completely understand those complaints. For the cost of the game, the player boards should be better. Those things are sad. And the card art is very... bleh. Very little consistency between live photos, 3D art, and then weird art-style... I don't know, it just doesn't have a cohesive look. It really is pretty ugly when you really dive in. But that doesn't bother me one bit, because the gameplay is just so solid.

I get the feeling I'll eventually move on from it, whether it's Gloomhaven or Spirit Island or Mage Knight or something else. But right now, Terraforming Mars is the one for me.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:86] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
First off, I love the franchise. I don't particularly enjoy the 4th film, but the other three are very much loved (yes, even the 3rd). This had been sitting on shelf of shame for a while until I took it off three weeks ago and started playing it... and good god why did I wait so long! It's really easy to learn, it's incredibly thematic with the objectives ramping up the anxiety. I love how you can be so close to certain victory when out of nowhere you're attacked by something out of the strike deck and it completely flips the game but still gives you a fleeting hope of victory. Even though the mechanics of the game are similar from game to game, the objectives, events and hazards keep putting new twists on the events to make each "film" feel incredibly different. After running through all the films, I don't know when I'll put it on the table again, but I know I will.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:40]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Borrowed my brother-in-law's copy and it was a bear to learn, but it all makes sense once you've gone through the turn order a few times. Incredibly thematic, complicated and difficult choices that legitimately influence your ability to mitigate the luck that is in the game. It's a lot of fun, and I think about what actions I could have taken to put myself in a better position once the weather turns...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Five Tribes [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:56]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm embarrassed by how much I enjoy playing this solo since it is nothing like the regular game. Defeating Yazid is a genuine task, as he is capable of wiping you out quickly, and even when you have an idea of the areas to try to clean up before he strikes on them there's a great chance he's going to sneakily pick up other tribes-people that you weren't prepared for... if I set this up, I'm certain I'll be playing it four or five times straight.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:19]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I jumped headlong into the insanity on this one, and I enjoy the mechanics a great deal. The chaos bag is an awesome take on a custom difficulty levels. The tension created during the scenarios as you watch the doom tokens collect is really cool. My interest in the deck construction is limited at this point, but plan on spending a bit more time digging into it soon, but the story is really what gets me on it. I've played through the core cycle twice, and I have Dunwich and Carcosa waiting. Lots of content for me to grind through.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:48]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The bot is ruthless. It just produces and builds its economy until its VPs are dwarfing yours and there's so little you can do... really frustrating but I still believe I have some control over it. In my 15 plays, I've only won 3 times. Frustrating fun, but fun.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Mansions of Madness: Second Edition [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:23] [Average Rating:8.18 Unranked]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This game deserves more time than I am capable of giving it. I've played the first scenario a couple of times. Right now my feelings are a bit mixed, because while I like how atmospheric the game is, I feel like all the choices are made for the players and you just kind of go through completing them. Sure the tension is there and the atmosphere makes it tense, but I don't feel like I'm the agent in making those choices... Again, the game definitely needs more table time. I can see the potential. If I get a chance for an epic amount of time to devote to a game night, I will definitely dive into this a bit more.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:202]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've only play Ghost Stories a handful of times, but I really enjoyed those sessions. It is brutal. My first play I got ridiculously close to the boss and thought "Wasn't this supposed to be harder?" and realized I wasn't moving the ghosts correctly. From that point on it has been enjoyable obliteration. I let my brother-in-law borrow this but have yet to get that back... that will need to change.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Tiny Epic Galaxies [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:231]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is the only game of the Tiny Epic series that I've spent time with, and I've enjoyed my games. It's light, sets-up and plays quick, and again, fits perfectly in with what I want it to be.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Onirim (second edition) [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:481]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I haven't played the physical game, just the app, but I'm a fan of what I've played thus far. I don't mind shuffling, but I'm thankful the app takes care of that for me. The game offers great choices that you can struggle with throughout, though there can be times where the game is over rather quickly due to the deck, but again, my expectations are on par with what this game is.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: The Game [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:908]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quick light game for when I just want to decompress. Purchased it as something to play with the wife when she's open to playing something with me (which isn't often). It fits it's role in my collection well and I don't have any higher expectations of it.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Hostage Negotiator [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:810] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I purchased the physical copy of the game along with the app... and it will be the first game I sell. Way too luck based for my liking. When I sit down at the table to play a game, I don't want to feel like all of my strategy is 100% contingent on a lucky roll. It just leaves me feeling like I wish I would have played something else. However, as an app, I don't have to deal with the set-up, the rolling, the market place... I can just play and finish a scenario in a few minutes. There the angst over the rolls is mitigated because I can just rage quit and move onto something else without having to resentfully put everything back in the box.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Sagrada [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:134]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I got this primarily as an entry game for my wife and friends. The solo mode is pretty rough. I feel like tool usage is remarkably difficult (perhaps I'm playing that wrong...), but it's fun to look at in the end.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:7]
Zach Chillman
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is at the end of the list for only one reason: I've yet to play it truly solo against the Automa. I'm actively working to correct this.

Playing it multi-handed, it is incredible how game this deep can play so quick. There are so many things happening that can make it difficult to gauge exactly where everyone is at, though I anticipate that being easier when you're only thinking about the best move for you opposed to the best move for the other three hands you're playing.

Anyway, I really look forward to digging deeper into this game, especially against the Automa. If all goes well, I would expect to see some of the expansions end up in my possession, along with Rise of Fenris... but we shall see... lots of time between now and then.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.