23 May 2022
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It was 2018 – a world before lockdowns – that we wrote our first Ten of the Best Solo Games, featuring the likes of Mage Knight, Arkham Horror, and Gloomhaven. Now, with Frosthaven on the horizon, and a YouTube video full of comments suggesting yet more great solo games, it was time for an update. This list offers you ten more solo games to sink your teeth into, that didn’t appear on the original list, and that now mark some of our favourites.
Prefer to watch? See our YouTube video on this here!
Veilwraith is one of the few games that is ‘just’ a solo game, which in itself is a genre that seems to have recently exploded given the circumstances of the last few years. This gloomy looking fantasy quest game is instead built specifically for the solo player in mind. Released in 2021, it’s a fantasy card game with deck building elements that is set after the end of the world. Matching it beautifully is a black and white artstyle that gives the impression all colour has been lost from the world, and accompanies a pretty epic tale.
2. Under Falling Skies
Another of the solo-only kind, is Under Falling Skies. You remain, alone, in an underground bunker, as the mothership begins its descent to complete the conquest of the earth, with the sky full of deadly dropships. Sounds like the pressure is on, as these aliens will take no prisoner and you’ll need to save the planet! With some hefty space invader vibes, your agency is through your rolled dice placement, as the mothership gets ever closer.
This game also feels like it’s had an evolution, as it started off as a 2019 print and play before being picked up and a full release offered. From there, our review rated it a must-play game – so there you go, you simply must play!
3. Nemo’s War
This well loved game has been a popular solo game since its release. Based of course, on Jules Verne’s novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, you’ll play as captain Nemo aboard the Nautilus. Alongside a healthy set of expansions that offer even more, you’ll need to consider your motivations, the impact these have on your ship and your goals, and where that will take you in the story. With this, there are so many methods in which your game can change dramatically, that once you’ve figured out playing it, you’ll never have the same game twice.
4. One Deck Dungeon
One Deck Dungeon is a roguelike deck builder, that’s officially for 1-2 players but works incredibly well at solo play. You’ll have a number of encounters as you progress through the dungeon – survive your encounter and you’ll get a boon, and survive enough encounters and you may well reach the boss at the heart of the dungeon. And if you couldn’t tell from the name, it’s all part of one deck.
5. Marvel Champions
Where in the last list, we had Fantasy Flight with Arkham Horror, this time they’re back with Marvel Champions, featuring your favourite Marvel heroes in a series of packs you can purchase separately. You’ll find the likes of Scarlet Witch, Captain America, Venom, and more. Essentially you’re fighting bad guys, but of course, each deck has unique characteristics that power them in such a way that thematically works with the character.
6. Lost Ruins of Arnak
If you like a eurogame, but don’t want the player count to stop you, Lost Ruins of Arnak is where you want to be. You play against an AI, but really the AI is a stack of cards. You’ll overturn one each round, and in doing so, will find something blocked off – leaving you forever trying to second guess if you should make this move, because what if you lose the opportunity for it in the next move, and how will you fare then? A typical beat your high score kind of game, but one which maintains the Indiana Jones/Uncharted kind of flair.
7. Dawn of the Zeds
A kind of tower defence style game that works potentially best as a solo game, but also equally well with up to five players. This is where the beautiful and Fabulous Farmingdale is finding its inhabitants turned into Zeds – which stands for Zombie Epidemic Disease, in case you were wondering – and you, the everyday citizen of this now less-than-idyllic town, has to hold them off until the National Guard can come to save you. The game itself feels cinematic, the threats build considerably and have you right in the middle of the action, and your decisions feel impactful.
Roll and Writes are admittedly, an easy addition to lists like this. Good ones feel like you’re solving puzzles as you go, building something satisfying and independent in such a way that even when you are playing with other people, you’re only really comparing scores at the end. That means that as solo games go, they’re easy pickings. The one to make the list this time around is Cartographers, a Roleplayer tale, where you’re competing to sketch the most efficient map for the Queen. She’ll provide edicts on what needs to be found and demonstrated, and it’ll be up to you to try to build your reputation by completing these in time. In the solo game, you’re trying to beat a high score built with that reputation.
9. Mansions of Madness
Not all of our games are ‘new’ games, they perhaps just didnt make the original list, or a change in list writer had different thoughts – namely, I’m adding Mansions of Madness to the list. A classic for all the right reasons, this uses an app in a really great way, that keeps the action on the tabletop rather than pulling away from it. Essentially, your set-up will be dictated by the app, and as you make decisions on the board, the app will respond with sound effects, changes to the scenery, and results of your investigations. Sometimes this might be hidden rooms, topsy turvy actions, or fighting the terrors of Cthulhu. A great game at practically any player count, but one of the few where the solo mode doesn’t feel like you’re missing someone else. Having said that – it is a case of playing as more than one character, but the addition of the app means you’re not spending all of your time trying to keep track of everything.
10. Hostage Negotiator
Lastly, a Van Ryder Games game, which offers a surprisingly cinematic experience for what is essentially, dice and cards. You are the hostage negotiator, with your hostages taken by an unscrupulous figure hell bent on having their demands met. By playing cards, you’ll (hopefully) increase conversation points, to decrease the threat enough to let the hostages be released – or perhaps buy time until an extraction, or whichever outcome you’ve been aiming for. Slightly differently to others, the cards you purchase are put directly into your hand rather than your deck, meaning you know and can time when you’re going to play them. With a ton of decisions (and subsequently, outcomes!), this is a solo game you’re going to want to try out.
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