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14 Best Solo Board Games for a Screen-less Night In

An overhead shot of games including chess, checkers, and dominos.

There are plenty of solo board games out there, but with so many to choose from it can be hard to pick the right one for you. Now I can’t decide what works best for you, but I can give you some of the top ranked games that you can play by yourself.

Step away from the computer and challenge your brain. It’s time to play a board game by yourself — I swear it’s more fun than you think it is. Are you up for the challenge?

Why single player board games?

I don’t know about you but I spend A LOT of time looking and screens, and it’s NOT healthy at all. Between work, blogging, and my love of film, TV, and video games, my eyes get a lot of blue light time.

That’s where board games come in. Board games don’t require any computer time, they’re fun (just like a computer game), and the right game can be engaging and challenging.

But some of us don’t always have (or want) someone else around, and that’s where single player board games come in. It doesn’t matter what you’re into or how you like to play, there is a board game that’s perfect for you. 

Editor’s Pick: Terraforming Mars

It’s the year 2400 in Terraforming Mars, and corporations are working together to make the planet livable. You play as one of these corporations and try to advance human infrastructure throughout space.

This strategy game is perfect for sci-fi nerds like yours truly and can be played solo, or with a group of up to five players. If you’re itching to build your own version of The Martian, you can’t do much better than this.

Best world-building single player board games

Suburbia

Suburbia is the board game equivalent of SimCity but doesn’t require any screen time. You work to create a city one tile at a time to see whether you town thrives or dies. 

While it’s a great solo board game, it can also be played with up to three other players. Much like other strategy games, you can expand on your paying experience with Suburbia Expansions which includes three additional gameplay packs.

Scythe

If dystopian books and films are your thing, Scythe might be the perfect one player board game for you. It’s the 1920s in Europe in this alternate-history game, a time of farming and war, and each player represents a fallen leader trying to restore their honor.

While you can play this with up to four other players, it makes for a great strategy game. You try to conquer territory, reap resources, enlist new recruits, gain villages, and build structures. It’s a slightly more historical version of Suburbia — just without the modern pleasantries.

Catan: The Dice Game

While you can’t play Catan as a solo game (unfortunately), you can enjoy Catan Dice Game on your own. Like other Catan games, the goal is to build a settlement.

It’s not quite the epic adventure as the base game, but this stand-alone game can be played on your own when you have some time to kill.

Welcome to Your Perfect Home

You are an architect looking to build the best new town in the 1950s in Welcome to Your Perfect Home. You can play this family board game by yourself or with up to 100 other players (though that seems like a lot). It’s time to build the best!

This is a good solo board game pick if you’re looking for something quick and easy as the playing time is around 30 minutes. If you want more action, there are a number of expansion packs, including Winter Wonderland, Spring, and Outbreak.

Railroad Ink

The race is on to build the best network of rail and road lines in Railroad Ink. You’re tasked with completing lines and keeping yours from getting destroyed, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. You can learn it quickly, and can have a game done in under an hour.

There are different versions of the game, in the blue version river dice add waterways to your maps. Reviewers say they truly enjoy this game, so why not give it a go!

If you’re looking for more strategy and players, try out Ticket to Ride — one of the most traditional board games out there.

Survival solo board games

The Lost Expedition

Perhaps you don’t want to build something, you simply want to survive. That’s where The Lost Expedition comes in. This adventure-filled single player board game is described as having challenging gameplay that engages players. 

Most reviews say that it’s well-made and exciting. But a few have noted that it’s “incredibly difficult” to win. Even so, if you’re trying to reduce your screen time and want to have your own Jungle Cruise adventure, this is the game for you. You can also play with others as a cooperative game.

Robinson Crusoe

In Robinson Cursoe, you’re lost on a desert island and you need to build shelter, complete missions, and ward off danger. It’s perfect for fans of Castaway who want a few more resources than Tom Hanks had. 

You can play seven different scenarios, as single player or multiplayer games. Your goal is to survive the island full of wild beasts and other dangers. It is important to note that this tends to be a complex game that takes a while to set up and play, so you really do need to be invested.

Friday

Friday is specifically made to be a solo board game, so it’s the perfect original game to add to your collection. You need to help Robinson, who’s arrived at your island, fight off dangers and survive. 

There aren’t a lot of solo card games out there that aren’t solitaire, so this is a must-add. Players say that it’s a well-crafted and because it’s specifically made to play on your own you don’t feel like you’re missing something.

This War of Mine

This War of Mine is a table top version of the popular video game of the same name. You are trapped in a conflict-ridden city with the goal of surviving until the hostiles are gone. It can be played solo or with up to five friends. 

What makes this game unique is that it’s really a single player board game with a multiplayer version. It’s dark and story-driven, but it comes highly recommended as the gaming experience is top notch. 

Fantasy one player board games

Everdell

Everdell holds some similarities to Suburbia, but you’re looking to build a city of “critters and constructions.” It’s said to be easy to learn, but offers strategic depth that can be replayed without getting boring. 

You can enjoy this game with 1-4 players, and those who’ve played it say that it’s engaging, fune and challenging. 

Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale

Cartographers is a fantasy map-drawing game that you can play by yourself or with a group of your closest friends. This solo board game sees you “draw” a map at the request of Queen Gimnax who is reclaiming the northern lands.

You need to draw your lines carefully though, because you’re not the only one who wants the land. It’s a great competitive game that you can work against yourself, and players say that you’ll never end up with the same game twice.

Rebel Nemesis

Rebel Nemesis is a sci-fi horror game that you can play solo or with up to four of your closest friends. With over 500 detailed components, this action board game provides a cinematic and engaging playing experience.

It’s also not a one-and-done deal, each game features new layouts, objectives and enemies. Reviewers say that if you like the Alien franchise and enjoy table top board gaming, this game is a good pick for you. 

Arkham Horror

Arkham Horror is a great single player card game that blurs the “traditional lines between roleplaying and card games.” You can play it by yourself or with a partner, and your goal is to stop the evil stirring in Arkham… if you’re up to the challenge. 

You become an investigator in this solo card game, diving into the deep mystery that surrounds Arkham. Reviewers say that this game is a little long taking anywhere from one to four hours, but if you’re looking to engross yourself in the game, this is it.

Looking for the best solo board games to add to your collection? These are my top picks for a screen-less night in.

Pick the best solo board games

You and I have different tastes, so it’s possible my favorite solo board game might not do it for you. But there are plenty of games out there that don’t require you to open your phone or smack the keys on your laptop.

We could all seriously do with a little less time spent in front of our screens. Board games might not be your thing, but what about grabbing a coloring book, taking up crafts, start journaling, or finding another non-screen activity.

It’s a little ironic me blogging about stepping away from our screens, but I know you’ll be back. Whether you’re interested in building a city, colonizing Mars, or surviving on a desert island, there’s an activity that’s a perfect fit for you. So, what board game are you going to try out?

Tae H.

Tae H.

Tae loves all things Disney, pugs and entrepreneurship. She is a finance and travel writer and the founder of The Single Girl's Guide to Real Adulting. Naturally, she is single for life. She loves to write about anything that she thinks might help people live their best life on a reasonable budget. You can also catch her weekly on The Lady Dicks Podcast.

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