Crusaders Games

Solo Board Games

An increasingly popular element of board gaming is the ability to solo play when your group or family are not available. This page takes a look at my favourite games in this category with a fantasy theme, either designed specifically for this style or adapted, and where a storyline or journey is very important for increase the enjoyment. Commentary here will focus on solo elements of the game.

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

This card game is the most engaging and varied solo game i have ever owned, and there are 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 that 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 will tend to play adventures over and over to try and beat them, and then once successful maybe replay using a different set up of heroes. This game is so versatile, has amazing artwork and is my favourite solo game of all time. My webpage focuses on the best quest scenarios using a single deck solo game > Lord of the Rings

2. Too Many Bones – Chip Theory (2017)

A dice based solo outdoor adventure where you select gearloc heroes to beat one of 6 tyrants. 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 newer game has leapt into my top solo list 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. Hopefully some extra solo cards will be added one day too.

3. 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, this is in fact really easy to solo with the core box rules as you have a time tracker built into the game and a final enemy to beat within that time. It also has story cards which help generate theme to your adventure. The only real issue is that you have to also control the combat for the enemy using the thrown tokens, but given it is pretty obvious to see what the best moves are, this is not hard if you play honestly. This game for me overthrew the famous solo Mage Knight game for outdoor adventuring due to its less complex rules and combat, and its built in storylines add interest to your game. A new and welcome solo and co-operative expansion has been announced for autumn 2017 which may well complete the solo experience.


4. 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. This debut independent release is a great solo game.


5. Descent 2nd Edition – Fantasy Flights (2012)

A miniatures fantasy campaign dungeon game that became fully co-operative or indeed solo with three small expansions packs and then even better with an app called Road to Legend. Dungeon monsters are now controlled for you rather than having an overlord player, and these new quests feature a story narrative and breathe new life into this immense game. The app allows you to select which content expansions you want to use which offers a unique way of tailoring your chosen game. Quests within the app are story based and great fun, although it is still best as a co-operative experience you can now control two heroes and solo play the adventures making it a strong alternative to Silver Tower. Details about the many expansions can be found on my specific game page > Descent 2nd


6. 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 an interesting challenge. 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.

7. 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 a great dungeon crawl game that actually works well for the solo player.

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

This card game works so 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

9. Eldritch Horror – Fantasy Flights (2013)

A co-operative board game which you solo play as two investigators facing a race against the clock to collect clues while also fighting monsters and closing gates that open into other worlds. Their ultimate aim is to stop the ancient ones invading and destroying their world before the doom track runs out. This game is set in the Cthulhu world and has great story telling themes using encounter cards to keep the game interesting for a solo play. Ultimately though I do prefer the theme and mechanics of Runebound, but this a good solo game.

10. Dungeons & Dragons – Wizards of the Coast (2010)

This light miniatures co-operative dungeon adventure game is a simple and quick solo play experience for when you want a more relaxing dungeon crawl. With one 20 sided dice roll deciding most things, it is quick to set up and play and the miniatures are excellent. The opening one hero solo escape scenario is great fun and works really well to provide a quick 30 minute game but you can easily play two or more heroes in the more complex storyline. The great thing about this is that the rules are easy to remember and it scales well so you cant go wrong when playing. You can also add to Castle Ravenloft (undead themed) with monsters and heroes from Wrath of Ashardalon (dragon themed), Legend of Drizzt (dark elf themed), and Temple of Elemental Evil (elemental themed).

Other highly rated story led solo games are missing from this list such as Mage Knight and Robinson Crusoe. If you want want a deeper, more challenging and mind taxing game to play, these offer tougher strategy and experience and are indeed highly recommended. 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, which currently i don’t have time for.