Families quarantining together have an almost limitless selection of possibilities for solitary amusement, including four-player board games, and couples have two-player board games, but those of us who are now going it alone may be running out of ideas. There are several board games you can enjoy playing alone if you’ve done all the puzzle-solving you can handle (or if you just want to take a break from your pod). One-player games are actually a fairly popular gaming genre, according to Liz Davidson, who has been reviewing them on her website Beyond Solitaire and on Dice Tower since 2016.
The Solo Board Gamers Facebook page, which is a warm place to go if you want to speak solo board games, has more than 20,000 members as of right now, according to the author. The one-player guild on Board Game Geek is one of the largest with more than 13,000 members. In recent years, Davidson has also observed an increase in the number of game companies adding solo options so that games can be played alone or with others. It was already a developing trend, she continues, and it has only become worse in quarantine.
List of 20 One-Player Card Games
- Rio Grande Games Friday
- Exit: The Forgotten Island
- Coffee Roaster
- Railroad Ink
- Welcome To
- Castle Panic
- Cat Rescue
- Stonemaier Games ‘Wingspan’ Board Game
- Chronicles of Crime
- Spirit Island
- Mage Knight Board Game
- Bicycle Rider Back Playing Cards
Details for single player card games 1 deck
According to Davidson, Orchard is short and may be played in as little as 10 minutes if you’re looking for a fast-paced, really simple game. She explains, “It’s just a really adorable little card game where you overlap various fruit trees and try to overlap enough to earn high scores. Even though you can finish it quickly, you can play it repeatedly. In fact, after dealing just once, you can play twice: It’s actually an 18-card game where you play with one deck of nine cards from that deck before picking up the other half and playing again right away.
2. Rio Grande Games Friday
Friday is what’s known as “a deck-building game,” according to Davidson, where players start with a specific deck of cards and gradually add and remove cards to eliminate weaker cards and acquire stronger ones. A few of the cards in the deck will prevent you from achieving your aim of making Robinson powerful enough to combat the pirates on your island in this particular deck-building game. To remove the weak cards from your deck, Davidson advises “truly culling” it.
The American Tabletop Awards panel and Davidson both praise the Oniverse series, which includes Onirim. The series, according to Davidson, consists of a number of short games that are “all situated in the same world” and “function a little differently, but are all quite simple, inexpensive games that are for one or two people.” This one in particular is “a wonderfully peaceful card game about being lost in a maze of dreams,” according to the description. You’re looking for the exits, but some cards are nightmares that make you give up what you’ve found while you’re attempting to accomplish your objectives before your cards run out,” she adds.
Sprawlopolis is one of Eric Yurko’s all-time favorite games, according to Davidson, who also recommends it. Eric Yurko is a member of the American Tabletop Awards committee and a game critic for his own website, what’s Eric Playing? This 18-card game may not look like much, but Yurko claims it is a superb implementation of a straightforward concept. To achieve the greatest score, you are attempting to establish a city. Each card has a two by two-inch grid of districts with some roads on the front and a scoring condition on the back, according to Yurko. “You use the remaining 15 cards to construct a city after revealing three scorecards.
While a player’s turn is through, they pass the cards they haven’t used to the next player; when playing alone, they just attempt to surpass the goal score and win. The fact that you will have a different score target each time you play makes it especially engaging for solitary gaming because it won’t become boring. For a small game, Davidson also finds it to be “very irritating and puzzle-y, but that’s what makes it fun.”
5. Exit: The Forgotten Island
The Forgotten Island is a wonderful choice for beginners, according to Yurko, who also suggests the complete Exit series. They essentially condense the escape-room experience into something that can be done at home with just a pair of scissors, some paper, and pens for taking notes claims the author. To escape an island in this one, you must solve puzzles. The main drawback to this series of games is that there are currently more than 15 games available Stateside, but each one can only be played once and lasts for roughly two hours.
6. Coffee Roaster
Coffee Roaster: The majority of phone games are single activities, but Davidson suggests this one if you prefer digital gaming because it’s reasonably priced—especially when some solo-gaming applications may cost as much as $50 each. Also, it’s a lot of fun. It sounds easy, but the goal is to arrange your tokens in your bag so that you can make a really wonderful cup of coffee. Davidson still describes the game as “weirdly addictive.” She says, “You’re trying to get the bad things out of the bag while simultaneously trying not to let your beans burn.
If you roast for too long, smoke gets inside and you have to decide when to take a cup test so you don’t pull all the bad tokens you’ve accumulated over the course of the game. Additionally, it is simple to learn and offers a useful tutorial.
7. Railroad Ink
Railroad Ink is one game that serves as a sort of bridge between solitary gaming and the online environment. Although it may be played alone, Yurko claims that video chat is a good option if you’re in a confined space by yourself or just have a distant acquaintance. He explains, “In this wonderful little railway game, you roll dice to add roads and rails to your board in order to construct a train and highway network. There is no chance of becoming bored when playing alone because all you care about is how high of a score you can get. It is also portable and quick to play.
When playing virtually, the other player simply prints a copy of the game boards, rolls the dice, and the other players record the results. The most points win.
8. Welcome To
Welcome To, a game where players take on the role of suburban planners in the 1950s and attempt to construct three neighborhoods, is more difficult than most starter games. In order to achieve this, Yurko instructs, “You’ll number houses every round to attempt and have them in increasing order, left to right. “Choosing what additional local features to include is the challenging part. Where do fences get built? Should I fill pools? Consider a park. It is really difficult to balance all of this in order to obtain the neighborhood with the greatest score. You may play this over Zoom if you want to join in the conflict.
I’ve played games like this with over a hundred players previously, so I can state with certainty that it can handle that, Yurko even claims. Everyone only needs a pencil and a score sheet, which they can download and print for free here or download as a free app on mobile phones for a digital version, according to George Georgeadis of Oniro Games, who also recommended this as a nice Zoom game.
9. Castle Panic
Castle Panic is a great game that can be played alone or jointly with just about anyone if you’re playing with youngsters, according to Davidson. You have cards you can use to try to knock them out before they come and knock your stuff over because you are in a castle and monsters are trying to overturn it through the woods. Because it’s also a cooperative game, you may assist the children in playing, which makes it simple for them. People can exchange cards, examine one another’s hands, and try to come up with a strategy for winning.
10. Cat Rescue
Try Cat Rescue, a one-player game that has nothing to do with Carol Baskin but is nonetheless quite engaging for children aged 8 and up, if you’re searching for something to keep your kid busy. It’s a “sweet game,” according to Yurko, who explains that in it you play as a shelter employee trying to help cats find their forever homes by going between foster homes and the shelter. It’s adorable, has amazing artwork, and makes a fun little puzzle.
11. Stonemaier Games ‘Wingspan’ Board Game
Playing against someone in this single game adds an additional challenge, even if it’s simply a different deck of cards. Many games actually come with a small AI deck to assist you to play by yourself or even improve your skills if someone else in your home is a little better than you are at the game, according to Davidson. One such game is Wingspan, which took up the Best Strategy Game prize at the 2020 American Tabletop Awards.
Wingspan includes a set of solitaire playing cards that you may use to play, maintain score, and compete against the score of a rival with only a basic deck of cards, according to Davidson. To fill your wildlife preserve with the best birds and get the most points possible is the aim of this game.
12. Chronicles of Crime
The American Tabletop Awards’ 2019 winner in the category of Strategy was Chronicles of Crime. It’s a crime-solving game, as the name would imply, but, as Yurko says, “to do so, you have to use your phone to scan cards and gather clues before uncovering the perpetrator, which is very fun.” “You’ve got a wonderful technology improvement for a solid board game,” says the author, “add in some VR-style gaming to figure out clues at some places of the crime.”
13. Spirit Island
Because it’s simple to play in a group, Spirit Island can be an excellent game to have on hand if you don’t often play by yourself. You play as ghosts attempting to convince colonizers to leave an island so that you and the local inhabitants can live in peace, according to Davidson. What’s really intriguing is that while you begin the game weaker than you would become later on, the invaders of the island are extremely powerful. Therefore, you must carefully consider how you will handle the situation until you are sufficiently empowered to take action.
Cartographers, another more difficult selection from Yurko, have players take on the role of mapmakers in an imagined world. You must adhere to certain criteria when playing alone in order to add monsters to your map. If you’re playing with someone who isn’t present in the room with you, the rules are the same. In other words, you may play this over video chat as well. Just make sure your Wi-Fi is strong because the game can take a while.
15. Mage Knight board game
Mage Knight board game is “the best solo game of all time,” according to Davidson, but it’s also likely the most challenging title on our list. It’s a game where you take control of a really strong character with fighting and magic abilities that essentially travels over the countryside energizing and capturing cities. This more straightforward translation reads, “You’re doing a lot of highly sophisticated movement, combat, and powering up all with one deck of cards.” It is challenging because of this, but many also adore it for this reason.
One of the reasons why people appreciate Mage Knight is because it’s challenging; therefore, if you play the same game repeatedly, it will change every time, according to Davidson. Additionally, it takes a while because it’s challenging. Some people set up the game on their table, she says, and return to it over the course of several days.
16. Bicycle Rider Back Playing Cards
However, there are other card games that can be played with only a standard deck of cards if you don’t want to play solitaire, and we’re sticking to what we said. The vast variety of game types, games played, and game strategies are so broad, according to Scott McNeely, author of The Ultimate Book of Card Games: The Comprehensive Guide to More Than 350 Games.
There are many variants of games that can be played with a basic deck of cards that are significantly more intriguing. Klondike is the official name for the seven-pile card game that people think of when they hear the word solitaire, which McNeely concedes is quite boring. A game called Hands can be completed with just one hand. Two decks are needed to play games like Crazy Quilt and Forty Thieves. Then there is Clock, a solo card game that is so difficult that McNeely himself has never triumphed in it.