Crusaders Games

Solo Board Games

An increasingly popular element of recent board gaming is the ability to solo play, and this page takes a look at my favourite games in this category with a fantasy theme, either designed specifically for this style or adapted. A storyline or journey is very important here to increase the enjoyment, and commentary will focus on solo elements of the games.

1. The 7th Continent – Serious Poulp (2017)

Investigate a strange island to solve a series of curses, this exploration game slowly reveals a landscape map of cards as you move around the land, learning skills and crafting tools on your way. Arguably this is better as a solo game than multiplayer, you will constantly be faced with decisions, which actions to take or objects to keep, and the game builds a storyline, with some of your decisions becoming permanent game changes. You can easily save your game position to return later which makes it so accessible. Making every decision seems vitally important as you never want to waste too much energy, and playing this game has made me laugh and sigh with desperation, but most of all I have enjoyed every minute of it.

2. Too Many Bones – Chip Theory (2017)

A dice based outdoor adventure where you select gearloc heroes to beat a tyrant. The core box contains 12 specific solo encounter cards to generate a one gearloc adventure, which is a wonderful move by the designers, and is a great way to learn a specific gearlocs skills. However in addition you can quite easily control two gearlocs yourself and play a full game using all the encounter cards, and it really is not overly hard to do once you have a basic knowledge of a gearlocs skill tree. This game is brilliant solo, and the fact it is dice based with solid health chips makes for a really nice change from the usual card format, and is very tactile to play, and its general component quality is amazing.

3. Lord Of The Rings LCG – Fantasy Flights (2011)

This card game is the most varied solo game i have owned, with over 75 different individual quests that you can buy to expand the original box set. The deep aspect of this game is the player cards, from which you will select up to 50 as your support deck at the start of the game. This means you are always tweaking which allies or equipment to bring along to help you beat the scenario. On top of this you have a whole host of main heroes to select, from four different spheres – Spirit, Leadership, Lore and Tacticts – and each sphere has a differing focus of stronger abilities to work with. You may easily spend as much time looking through your cards to build a deck as playing the adventure. You are encouraged to play an adventure over and over to try and beat it, and my webpage focuses on my preferred quest scenarios using a single deck solo game > Lord of the Rings


4. Runebound 3rd Edition – Fantasy Flights (2015)

This is a wilderness adventure game where your hero travels across a world map to complete quests and develop their skills. Designed as a competitive game, a solo and co-operative expansion called ‘Unbreakable Bonds’ was added in 2017. A time tracker is built into the game together with a variety of final enemies to defeat, and it also has adventure specific story cards which help generate different themes to your adventure. As you progress during the game your hero will add new skills and equipment giving a real sense of development. This game overthrew Mage Knight game for outdoor adventuring due to its less complex rules and combat, and its built in storylines.


5. Gloom of Kilforth – Hall or Nothing (2017)

This card based fantasy adventure game sees your hero move around a map of locations, encountering events, completing quests, meeting strangers or fighting monsters. This game is perfect for solo play, you have a storyline to your journey, a built in time tracker from the expanding gloom and it distils an adventure into one session with an ancient boss to beat in the finale. To get the best from the game you need to use your imagination as you play to convert your encounters into a storyline, and for roleplayers this is an easy concept. This game will play differently each time, but eventually you may need a new expansion or encounters to provide even more variety.


6. Nemo’s War Second Edition – Victory Point (2017)

This is specifically designed for solo play and merges an adventure storyline with strategic battling against the ships which slowly fill the seas of the earth. You will captain the nautilus to sail around the seas to search for treasure, discover scientific knowledge and wage war, and each game you can choose one of four motives for success which change the end goal emphasis. The game really flows smoothly and its not overly complex on rules, and most actions allow you to wager extra influence on the dice roll by gambling the welfare of the crew, ships hull or nemo’s himself, meaning in every round you are making important decisions. It has great theme, adventure event stories and replaced the Robinson Crusoe game on my solo list.

7. Sword & Sorcery – Ares (2017)

This fantasy adventure game is story driven, and using the event cards effectively comes with a built in timer, which helps it become a viable solo game using two or three heroes. It features lovely miniatures, and the game tiles are excellent, splitting into larger areas than the usual small square grids, they also have an easy to use line of sight system and lovely artwork, and the area control really helps make the game smoother to play solo than other dungeon crawlers. The adventures are pre-written, and it is all very interactive and engaging, and enemies have a really good intelligence action card system. Whilst there a lot of choices of hero powers and weapons in the game, overall it feels easier to solo manage multiple characters than in Descent.


8. Thunderstone Advance – Alderac (2012)

This deck building card game is designed for competitive play, but does have a fairly basic set of written solo rules in the box to offer a decent solo game. However I felt it needed a bit more balancing and so I adapted the boxed solo rules to my own version to make it more enjoyable and a little more tactical. What I like most about this game is that by selecting which monsters you want to populate your dungeon with, you can create your own challenges and themes to play against and this really helps to generate interest. Some of my favourite monsters to play solo against are the oozes, spiders and doombringers, but if you own all the different expansions your options are huge. It is also quick to set up and get playing too > Thunderstone Solo


9. Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game – Fantasy Flights (2015)

This card game works well for solo play by controlling two heroes and offering up tactical choices and story development. It has some similarities to playing quests in Lord of the Rings LCG, but is slightly easier to set up, understand and digest, which has its appeal. It is an excellent card based and relatively quick dungeon experience, and you will combine and play off each character’s strengths to beat the scenario. The game is limited in the number of written quests it provided, but a delve option allows you to play with a more random generated dungeon which is great fun. I have written 4 extra scenarios myself focused on playing two heroes and largely tested solo > Warhammer Quest Adventures

10. Silver Tower (2016) – Games Workshop

Silver Tower is a Warhammer Quest game that scales itself for the number of players, and as such you can solo with one or more likely two characters. Very few dungeon crawl games offer this ability and it really works well. The game comes with a storyline that is read from a book and which gives you a high level of engagement, and the random ordering of the rooms will keep things different each time your play. There are an amazing choice of heroes now available to give you different combinations to try out, and enemies have automated combat rules, so you are not just making up their moves either. This is less rules heavy for a dungeon crawl game that actually works pretty well for the solo player.

Other highly rated story led solo games are now missing from this list such as Mage Knight and Robinson Crusoe. These are recommended if you want want a deeper, more challenging and mind taxing game to play, but I currently no longer own them as I found them slightly overbearing to keep track of all their rules mechanics, and needing very long sessions to play a complete game.