The Top Ten Solitaire Boardgames of All Time

So you’re sitting at your dining room table and there’s no one else there to play boardgames.  What do you do?  Glad you asked, because I have ten suggestions. 

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The one constant of all Tom Chick lists is that whatever game is used for the article image will not be on that list.

I enjoy boardgames as much as Tom does the Roman Empire. :P

So what would you say is preferable about 2nd Edition Dawn of the Zeds over 3rd? It’s a purely academic question at this point for anyone who (like me) doesn’t own the 2nd edition, I can’t imagine it’s in print or ever will be again…but I’m still curious. Especially as someone who likes some things about some older editions of certain games (Descent, A Study in Emerald) that don’t make it into the version you can actually buy.

Also, you like Apocrypha that much, eh? I really need to get back to it.

Dammit. Hexplore It didn’t even make the top ten! Now I’m second guessing myself for ordering it. Should I have grabbed Champions of Hera, instead?

I highly recommend ditching the minis in KD:M. I did and I’m much happier with it. What is really like to do, though, is make cardboard standees of the monsters. Anyone want to take hi-res photos of each monster from all four sides (left/right/front/back)

This is a wonderful article. So glad you’re feeling better.

I currently have Eldritch Horror on a coffee table, and have been meaning to get back to Comancheria…I got such a buzz from playing that.

Really intrigued to try the four or so of these games that I don’t own.

Look what you did, Tom. You left Sentinels of the Multiverse off this list and it made Legacy go all Iron Legacy…

I just spent a bunch of money on the Steam sale. I should not read this article.

I should not read this article.

I really should not read this article.

Seriously though, I need to avoid reading this article.

God dammit.

Very cool list. I’ve been away from single player board games for awhile, largely for lack of space. In the not-too-distant future I’m hoping to be able to come back to them, though, and this seems like a great list to start from.

I picked up Blackout Hong Kong and Teotihuacan recently for more solo play Euro-y options because I’d heard they were good.

Blackout Hong Kong is better solo than multiplayer, I think. It comes with different scenario setups and plays super smoothly. This is largely because the multiplayer game has essentially no interaction at all. It’s one of the few Eurogames I’ve played where I really don’t know why I’m playing them with someone else (I usually get frustrated when people say that about Eurogames). Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s that satisfying a game.

Teotihuacan I’m really digging. I’ve only played it solo, so not sure how it compares to mulitplayer, but the bot play in it is really clever. Bot actions are selected using two dice which makes certain actions way more likely than others. It allows some pretty clear counter-play with the chance of a surprise upset. I’m not sure the theme on this one feels there at all, but the game is incredibly satisfying. I think it’s a keeper.

After this article, I think I’m going to try some solo Spirit Island this weekend. I’m definitely intrigued by Renegade also, though I guess I’m waiting on the new edition for that one.

FYI, anyone considering Apocrypha should get it before July 1st, directly from Lone Shark:

Core game’s down to $25, and the two expansions are $20 a pop. Makes the whole thing weigh in for less than what the core box would normally run you and makes it a much more affordable affair.

@tomchick no Palm Island love!? (Honestly, I haven’t played it much since we talked about it on the podcast).

The map is better in terms of layout and presentation. Also, third edition added a lot of incidental stuff that’s ultimately over-engineered busywork. Very nearly Fantasy Flight cruft, actually. Third edition also has some really stupid rules shrugs. That sort of half-assed “enh, just play how you wanna play, it’s ur game after all…!” There’s more Hermann Lutmann, wargame designer, in second edition, and less Victory Point Games, Kickstarter publisher.

Plus, the chaos markers in second edition are way better! They look like bright sharp chaos!!! The chaos markers in third edition look like candy corn.

I really like the Pathfinder system and I really like horror, so that’s a lot of it. But, yeah, I think it’s a bit of an unsung masterpiece, probably because of the way the rules are presented.

Well, apples and oranges! Hexplore It is a fine fine overland party RPG adventure epic. Champions of Hara is more of a short sharp battle arena.

Did you sell them? And were you the one who posted the picture here of a Skylander as the monster? I wish I could remember who that was, because it was inspired.

Good way to put it, although “buzz” feels a bit upbeat for me. But there is a uniquely emotional element to playing Comancheria and Navajo Wars. A kind of gravity I don’t feel with many boardgames.

When I was doing videos about a month back, I enjoyed a brief re-dalliance with Sentinels. God, I love what they’ve done as a game and a comic books world, but I wish they’d tuned it better and made it more accessible. I own all the stuff – yes, all the stuff! * – and it’s a goddamn nightmare trying to figure out a reasonably challenging combo of hero, villain, and environment. Interestingly enough, someone commented on one of my YouTube videos today pointing me to this randomizer, which looks pretty good.

But one of these days I’m going to go full-on Oblivaeon just to see how it goes. I love that they made their own Endgame for Sentinels of the Multiverse.

The good news is that two of the ten games are all but impossible to buy!

Ha ha, you’re playing Blackout: Hong Kong.

Actually, Andrew Pfister is a fascinating designer and I kind of like Blackout: Hong Kong. However, I think the whole system for scouting and closing off blocks is undermined if you’re playing solitaire. You can see that’s where the interaction is supposed to go.


* except some of the foil cards

Given my user tag, yeah, sad to not see the base Sentinels on the list. Of course I am the SotM fanboy.

And of course now I know what my review request is going to be.

Love the bait and switch with Gloomhaven LOL.

Dammit and all the Apocryphas are on sale at my local right now (ie in Australia)… ;)

What is the optimal character count for a solo game? I struggle a bit with multi-handing.

So, I’m not clear. I like what I see of the setting, but is Apocrypha based on the Pathfinder system? Because that game is so fucking dull.

I play with four, but it can be a handful. Even more than Pathfinder, there’s a lot of character interaction. In Pathfinder, you can usually just ignore all the characters who aren’t taking their turn. But Apocrypha has a ton of cards that work during other players’ turns (some cards only work during other players’ turns) as well as situational interaction where it really matters who’s to a character’s left and right.

That said, the player count scales just like Pathfinder, so I’m sure you could play with just two characters. But for me, partly because I really like the character interaction, four characters is a real sweet spot and well worth the extra effort. You can drop into any given moment of one of my playthrough videos and probably get a sense for how hectic it might feel to you.

I tried to make it clear that Apocrypha is indeed based on the Pathfinder system, but I guess I didn’t get that across. Yes, it’s basically the Pathfinder system, but with a very different approach to modular rulesets. Seems the goal was to break Apocrypha out of the usual “hunt down the single baddie” structure of the early Pathfinder series.


OK, might be a pass, but I just found a Tabletop Sim version, so I’ll give it a try before taking the plunge. We get games like Aeon’s End and Arkham Horror on the table all the time, but I’m still a bit scarred by splashing out big money on Pathfinder.

I definitely do like the Secret Worldish-ness of the plot.

Oblivaeon is suitably epic, and I also don’t think I enjoyed it much. Keeping all the modifiers and special cases in your head in a normal game of Sentinels is challenging enough. Oblivaeon practically doubles that. And it’s also just HARD (my evaluation after only one attempt, I should note).