The 5 best solo board games

When you think of playing a board game, someone sitting alone at a table may not be the first thing that comes to mind. The social aspect of board games is obviously important, but some of the best board games have satisfying puzzles to solve even if you can’t get anyone to join you. The variety of game options you can play has only expanded rapidly in recent years, but these five titles are a great place to start, and they are all available online or on your friendly local game store.

Whether you’re looking for a sprawling adventure or a lazy afternoon, there’s something in Polygon’s guide to the best solo board games for you.

The best solo board games


The components of the Calico knitting game were spread out on the table, including four gamer boards and five sleepy kittens.

Image: AEG

This cozy game is very cute, but don’t let its exterior fool you. On Calico, you are making a quilt in the hopes that the cute kittens will snuggle up and nap on it. As with our real life feline friends, CalicoCuteness is a mask that hides its unpredictable and bestial nature. Hidden behind the lusciously colorful illustrations and components is a tight puzzle that requires a surprising, if not overwhelming, amount of mental prowess. You must play your tiles paying attention to patterns, colors, and design goals to maximize your score.

Despite his bite, Calico It’s easy to learn, quick to play, and offers a generous nod to solo players in the form of a series of pre-made challenges and scenarios.


Prices taken at the time of publication.

• 1-4 players, over 10 years old

• Playing time: 30 to 45 minutes.

• Game type: set collection, pattern matching, competitive

• Category: Abstract strategy, puzzle

• Similar games: Blue, Burgundy castles

Small towns

A collection of wood chips for Tiny Towns, including farms, apartments, and single-family homes.

Image: AEG

Small towns vein similar to Calico, with a sweet theme that hides a complicated space puzzle. This game allows you to build the titular village by placing resources on a grid in particular shapes to create buildings with unique scoring conditions. As your grid gets smaller, your options get smaller and everything gets a little more challenging.

In the solo version of this game, a deck of cards is what determines what resources you can place. No opponents are required to make this game fun, and it is very easy to set up and play.

Small towns

Prices taken at the time of publication.

• 1-6 players, over 14 years old

• Playing time: 45-60 minutes

• Game type: abstract strategy, city building

• Category: adult board game, family board game, competitive board game, solo board game

• Similar games: Blue, Witty

Lost Ruins of Arnak

Ruins of Arnak, designed for play, looks like a cross between Indiana Jones and Robinson Crusoe.

Image: Czech Games Edition

If cute animals and space puzzles aren’t what you’re looking for, a jungle hike might be more exciting for you. Lost Ruins of Arnak is a beautiful board game that combines deck building (common in games like Magic: The Gatheringof course, but also in more competitive games like Dry metallic sound!) with worker placement (a common mechanic that requires you to strategically place pawns on the board to complete tasks). Explore, investigate, and manage your fear of victory as you explore Arnak.

The solo version of this game features an automated opponent powered by a deck of cards. It’s easy to manage, making it a great option for solo play. The designers also recently launched a solo campaign that spans across multiple games and provides some twists and turns of the normal rules. You can play this campaign mode through a partner. Web Application.

Lost Ruins of Arnak

Prices taken at the time of publication.

• 1-4 players, over 12 years old

• Playing time: 30-120 minutes

• Type of game: Adventure, exploration

• Category: adult board game, family board game, competitive board game, solo board game

• Similar games: Seventh continent, Forgotten waters: a game of crossroads

Island of spirits

Spirit Island features bright colors, a gamer sideboard, and fun little plastic flags all over the map.

Image: Bigger than games

Island of spirits It is a brilliant game, although it is much heavier and more complicated than any of the previous recommendations. You take on the role of a spirit and are tasked with protecting your island from invading settlers. Each spirit has powers and a deck of cards that are unique and contribute to its theme and character.

When playing with other people, Island of spirits It is a cooperative game, so you are losing allies rather than opponents when playing alone. You get the most out of this best solo board game experience when you play with two spirits at once so you can see how they interact, which means Island of spirits It is a bit more difficult to get to the table than others. However, players get what they put into it, and if you give them Island of spirits Your time, there is a stellar ROI.

Island of spirits

Prices taken at the time of publication.

• 1-4 players, over 13 years old

• Playing time: 90-120 minutes

• Type of game: catchment area, set collection, campaign

• Category: adult board game, family board game, cooperative board game, solo board game

• Similar games: Nemo war, Pandemic legacy


Gloomhaven's human scoundrel character with all his gear on display.

Photo: Charlie Hall / Polygon

Gloomhaven It’s a huge commitment of time, money, and even space, but there’s a reason it’s popular. This epic adventure weaves an intricate campaign filled with choices, unlockable characters, upgrade trees, secrets, and stories. At the center of it all is an engaging card game that puts you in classic dungeon crawling scenarios with more impactful mechanics than your regular dice shooter. There is much to love here if you have a place in your home and your schedule to dedicate to exploring the world of Gloomhaven.

The satisfying puzzle of the card-based combat system means that you can enjoy it all yourself and still have a good time. There is also a set of solo scenarios for each character to hone their skills with their favorite heroes.


Prices taken at the time of publication.

• 1-4 players, over 14 years old

• Playing time: 60-120 minutes

• Game Type: Dungeon Explorer, Campaign, Legacy Style Persistence

• Category: adult board game, cooperative board game, solo board game

• Similar games: Descent: Legends of Darkness

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