J'ai une âme solitaire: Solitaire Boardgaming Megathread!

This is great to know. My son and I get smashed by that Troll scenario every time. And that’s two of us (yes, we’re bad). I’ll tell him it is ‘reduced frustration’ mode instead of easy though so he doesn’t feel bad.

I personally couldn’t get into playing it solo, but it’s a great game and the expansion adds an actual big bad to take down (General Volkare), rather than just having a timer in the form of a dummy player. Volkare is a stone bitch to take down, too. To give you some idea, your typical encounter in the game is one enemy, maybe two in some of the tougher locations. Volkare’s army is based on his level (which is determined by the number of players and the difficulty setting you choose to use), but can be in the double digits, plus an attack from Volkare himself. And you encounter all of them at once (your only real hope in higher player count scenarios is to coordinate a cooperative attack, in which case you can split the enemy load between the attacking characters) and must eventually kill every single one to defeat Volkare. Just surviving long enough to do damage is a feat. It also adds coop skills to replace the PvP skills the cooperative and/or solo game modes have you take out of the skill pool. Absolutely recommended for anyone desiring to play the game in a coop or solo mode.

Nah, no variant. It just plays surprisingly well solo. You can play with open hands on cards or turn the other sides cards face down when you play. The game rips right along.

Like Dagaar said, it’s really just reduced frustration mode. Some of those encounters are insane.

Which are the more soloable later scenarios?

Oh, you would ask. I’ll have to go look and see what I can remember, but suffice to say that adding newer cards opens up options on deckbuilding by quite a lot.

Part of the reason those Core Set quests are so hard is the restricted set of cards you have to work with. Also keep in mind that a single Core Set really doesn’t have enough cards to make more than one decent deck. And even then, you’re missing 3 of certain important cards. Unfortunately, for some reason they really made the Core Set kind of noob unfriendly, and I’m not sure what they’re thinking there nor why they haven’t gone back and fixed it.

Worst. Thread title. Ever. What’s with all that fancy French writing? I’ve enjoyed Pathfinder and Sentinels of the Multiverse as solitaire games. Darkest Night is kind of a sad little game, especially once you’ve tried Pathfinder. I can’t wait to break out Dawn of the Zeds again for a zombie solitaire fix. Of course, you can’t very well overlook the Phantom Leader and Hornet Leader games. That Cthulhu expansion for Hornet Leader is totally nuts, and not necessarily in a good way. I guess that’s the point.

But Navajo Wars? Navajo Wars is frickin’ amazing, but also a bit of a mess. But I hate to see any meaningful conversation about it buried in a non-dedicated thread. I’ll be posting a review soon and doing a podcast with the guy who made it, so I’ll definitely have more to say in the near future. Tom, why do you say you won’t play Navajo Wars unless it’s in digital form?


I own Magic Realm but have yet to try it. The rule book has programmed instruction and the first few teaching scenarios didn’t seem to have that many pages of rules. While I love Mage knight and the pathfinder game! Magic Realm is the game I really want to try. But truth be told, I’m more of a solo war gamer. I am about to get The Caucasus Campaign going, I want to learn OCS, and I seem to be on a WW2 strategy shopping spree recently.

Keep talking! Only you can save my $56.99! That is a terrible burden, but you have no choice! Don’t you remember what happened to Uncle Ben when Peter was too busy wrestling to explain to him about how Navajo Wars is a great game but the excessive bookkeeping makes it untenable as a boardgame experience? Yeah, that’s right. He DIED.

Very cool. I am finding it surprisingly difficult to learn. I think it is because it uses so many unique systems.

I think its mostly laziness but I also want to share a game experience like that with someone. It does seem kind of ridiculous because functionally its the same thing as having a cool Crusader Kings 2 story and having to share it the same way after the fact. I am just working on that last mental hurdle. Navajo Wars did sound interesting enough for me to want to go through the physical labor and fiancée wrath of having that set up.

I however may be able to avoid that. GMT supports their games wonderfully and the VASSAL modules they produce are top notch. I’ve been playing with that a little bit with one of my favorite thematic boardgames ‘High Frontier’ (not a GMT game but the module is ok). Now, I’m thinking of playing with the COIN modules now that I have all three physical games. Of course with COIN my preference is across table play with others but getting used to VASSAL would make something like Navajo Wars easier to play when I finally relent.

Tom M

Ah, it sounds like your issue is more with the concept of solitaire boardgaming. Fair enough. I’ve never tried anything over VASSAL, but I wonder if there’s some tactile stuff that might be lost when you play a digital version of Navajo Wars. The chit flipping for the enemy AI is pretty important, and I really like the way you deal with face-down intruder counters and corn counters. Of course, the raid cubes are the best component in the game. I keep them in a little cup because I don’t have room for that dopey oversized bag on the table. Also, I like to constantly see what cubes are still undrawn.

Rod, my guess is that Navajo Wars is hard to learn because the rules are so poorly organized. The systems themselves are pretty sleek, but the rules that tie them together are really hard to wrap your head around, and the documentation can be actively user-hostile. I’ve probably played ten games and I still have to constantly reference four separate sources as I play (two “player aids” which aren’t really “aids” because they’re the only source for certain rules, a book of rules, and a playbook with scenario-specific rules). Juggling experience helps. And I can imagine VASSAL would help, but I wonder if it might be harder to appreciate some of the gameplay dynamics that make Navajo Wars special.


Great thread! My experience is pretty similar to the original poster’s. Earlier on this year, some semi-random surfing (I’d actually been reading some really good blog posts on solo RPGing) lead me to the discovery that some of the board games that had been discarded to the loft many years ago actually had some decent solo variants if you were willing to put the effort in. Well, once I started down that rabbit hole it didn’t take long to find that there was a whole bunch of games that were either designed to be played solo or played great solo. Add to that I found Box of Delights on YouTube and the really great solo geeklists on BGG and that was it, I was doomed. Many purchases and trades later, my solo collection is now bigger than I have time to play :

Mage Knight
Arkham Horror
Sentinels of the Multiverse (and almost all expansions)
Space Hulk Death Angel
LotR : LCG
Rune Age
Castle Panic
Elder Sign
Gears of War
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Legend of Drizzt
Darkest Night
Dawn of the Zeds
Nemo’s War (you can chalk these last two up to Tom)

Naturally, that’s almost killed my video gaming time but some of those games there have given me my favourite gaming experiences in a long time.

I played Legions of Darkness tonight. After Zeds, it’s easily my favorite State of Siege game. I used the Book of Magic expansion too, which I think of as being absolutely essential.

Some highlights:

Thanks to the Orcish ram, the gate was breached on the first turn.

All three of the Heroes that attacked the Orc warlord were wounded! When I faced his enraged form, the Ranger joined the party and took the automatic wound, leaving everyone bloodied but alive.

Immediately after the victory, there was a Heroes’ Council, returning all wounded heroes to the reserves…

With the enemy at no less than three walls with two breaches, my Wizard cast Alacrity, speeding up time and giving us the breather we needed for a counterattack.

On the penultimate turn, the Wizard drew the one card that could save me from a goblin assault at the breached Western wall- a fireball. I had one mana left, no other spell would’ve done!

Vicious terror raids and Dragon attacks made it so on the turn I won I had one footmen, one archer, and a bevy of wounded heroes left.

Really great game. It is also incredibly easy to set up, since it doesn’t require any deck manipulating, just shuffle up the daytime and night cards and you’re good to go.

It’s pretty great as a solo game (assuming you don’t mind the setup and whatnot, which is a given since that’s the topic). I’ve still never done the expansion scenarios, but I’d imagine they’d be solid given the nature of the game. Hard as hell by the looks of it, but solid.

My wife and I recently started the Pathfinder card game but I’m thinking of picking up Mage Knight for a solo fix too. A 2-yr-old plus a 2nd daughter on the way has sucked away any sort of gaming group time even though I think there’s a good one around here in Long Beach. Looking forward to when the girls will be old enough to game (and also dreading them growing up too fast!) I’m hoping Kingdom Death: Monster and Myth from Kickstarter turn out to be great solo and/or two player games whenever they finally ship next year.

Are there any upcoming 2014 solo or cooperative-that-can-be-played-solo games that you’re looking forward to?

Great thread guys, this has made me look at a bunch of games I never realized existed. That Legions of Darkness game looks pretty darn awesome. I love how Victory games puts up the PDF of their rule books so someone can see how complex it is before purchasing. I have never actually played a solo board game but that will likely be my first with Pathfinder also on my list to get soon as well.

I keep getting tempted by LotR:LCG but the buy-in is so expensive at this point (as I’m a completist…) that I’m seriously considering playing with my collection of I.C.E.'s MECCG solo for my Tolkein solo fix. Anyone played both solo and can speak to that?

I think mixing co-op games with true solitaire games is kind of cheating, but I will start my list off with this one, which is co-op for up to six players but plays very well as a solo game. You are basically trying to keep Norse monsters from conquering Asgard as they cross the Rainbow Bridge. A combination of progressive advantage, draw analysis, and chaos management mechanics means you have a lot to think about but there are always clear choices but rarely obvious solutions. Bonus fact: there is an iOS version.

In Magnificent Style
Even people who don’t like wargames should enjoy this light solitaire wargame about Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. It uses a “push-your-luck” mechanic that works great for the situation, and the tension that builds as some of your troops cross the field toward Cemetery Ridge while others break and rout is perfectly paced. The game is tuned well so that you’ll need both luck and boldness to win, just like in real life!

The Hunters
Just came out a few weeks ago. Also a wargame, and slightly more wargamey than In Magnificent Style, but still very straightforward with an interesting evolving narrative. You command a German U-boat between 1939 and 1943, and are tasked with completing patrols to various areas (North Atlantic, West Africa, Mediterranean, Arctic, etc.) and sinking as many ships as you can while avoiding aircraft and escorts. The game specifically mentions the old Avalon Hill classic B-17: Queen of the Skies, but The Hunters has the narrative progression of B-17 without the rote mechanics: you’ll have very clear, meaningful choices to make. Furthermore, the game has a small, elegant footprint that keeps the setup compact without sacrificing style. A real gem.

The two best solitaire games I know are too hardcore-wargamey for general play, but I’ll mention them anyway: The Barbarossa Campaign about the Eastern Front, and D-Day Omaha Beach about you know what. Both are amazing designs but require some mastery of the rules.

And of course Nemo’s War, but that has already been mentioned several times.

This one was made by Hermann Luttmann, who did one of my favorite solitaire boardgames, Dawn of the Zeds!


Gah, I’m finding myself drawn to getting a LCG (despite my efforts to resist it above). Torn between LotR, GoT, and SW (for some reason I really love the art on the SW one). Does anyone have a capsule summary (or contrast between them)? I’m looking for a great solo experience but with the possibility of two players. Fairly fast and easy to learn. LotR has issues for me in that catching up is very pricey and it does overlap with my MEtW collection (which was a great game), but I could overlook that if it is clearly the best.

I think only LOTR is made for solo play, since GoT and SW are competitive games. Unless there’s some solo variant I’m not aware of.