12 Best Solo Board Games for a Screen-less Night In
I don’t know about you, but being an adult seems to mean spending a lot of time in front of a screen.
Working (at home or in the office), completing school assignments, or simply having fun — it all seems to point to technology.
What’s an adult to do when they’re trying for a little less screen time? Have a screen-less night with solo board games.
Solo board games, you ask? I’ve never heard of these.
There are plenty of solo board games out there! So many that it can be hard to pick the right one for you.
It’s time to step away from the computer and challenge your brain. So, let’s talk about the best solo board games you can play.
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. They don’t require any computer time while still being a ton of fun.
The right one for you will be both engaging and challenging.
But some of us don’t always have (or want) someone else around, and that’s why you need a solo one.
It doesn’t matter what you’re into or how you like to play, there is stellar pick out there for you.
Editor’s pick for best solo board games: 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. It can be played solo, or with a group of up to 5 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 is the board equivalent of SimCity but doesn’t require any screen time.
You work to create a city one tile at a time to see whether your 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 picks, you can expand on your paying experience with Suburbia Expansions, which includes three additional gameplay packs.
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 pick. 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 pick.
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.
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 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.
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, in the blue version river dice add waterways to your maps.
Reviewers say they truly enjoy playing, 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.
If you’re looking to reduce screen time and have your own Jungle Cruise adventure, this is the one for you. You can also invite others too!
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.
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 pick. It takes a while to set up and play, so you really do need to be invested.
Friday is specifically made to be a solo board game, so it’s the perfect one 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 it 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 experience is top-notch.
Fantasy one player board games
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 one with 1-4 players, and those who’ve played it say that it’s engaging, fun and challenging.
Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale
Cartographers is a fantasy map-drawing pick that you can play by yourself or with a group of your closest friends.
This solo 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 competitive pick.
You can work against yourself, and players say that you’ll never end up saying the same one twice.
Rebel Nemesis is a sci-fi horror pick 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 one features new layouts, objectives and enemies.
Reviewers say that if you like the Alien franchise and enjoy table-top this one is a good pick for you.
Arkham Horror is a great solo card game that blurs the “traditional lines between role-playing” and regular play. You can enjoy it by yourself or with a partner, and your goal is to stop the evil stirring in Arkham.
You become an investigator, diving into the deep mystery that surrounds Arkham. Reviewers say it’s a tad bit long, taking anywhere from 1 to 4 hours. So, if you’re looking to engross yourself in play, this is it.
How to pick the best solo board game
You and I have different tastes, so it’s possible my favorite pick not do it for you. But there are plenty of others 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?