The Top Ten Solitaire Boardgames of All Time

Well, now you’re really making it sound appealing! This is why I took up bonsai this summer… but you’re telling me I can get that vibe from boardgames!?

Haha. Mm. Yes. Trying to figure out where that distraction free place is in my house with four kids…

Because I just played it tonight, I’ll add that the solitaire version of Pax Pamir 2e is really, really good. Like playing a regular two-player game, except your opponent is a really powerful crazy person.

Yeah I love that too. I’ve never played it with anyone else so don’t know what I’m missing there. If I had a list that would be on it! :)

Me too. Orlando to Washington…ugh

Hi Tom,

A big omission to your list is Star Trek: Frontiers.

It removes a good amount of fussiness and fiddly rules from Mage Knight (for example, no day/night cycle), and blasting Borg Cubes never gets old.

The base game is excellent for solitaire players in its use of a “dummy” player (essentially used as a timer), but it reaches sublimity with the “Return of Khan” expansion.

The expansion has you fighting Khan - who has survived the events of Star Trek II and now commands his own Dominion starship - and enables you to play as the U.S.S. Enterprise-A, which includes a card for Captain James T. Kirk himself.

Khan has his own AI deck, making solitaire play a blast with no upkeep necessary for the AI.

@Terry welcome, first off. Just didn’t want you to lost in the shuffle of a bunch of newcomers that swarmed another thread to review-hate.

I’d heard good things about the ST:F version of Mageknight. I think Tom’s review even mentions it. If I had the room that is something I’d probably be all over. I’ve had Gloomhaven for over a year and still haven’t unboxed it. 5 teenage kids between me and my wife means there is maybe 1.6 square feet of available tabletop at any given time. If I’m lucky. :(

Thank you, lostcawz. As a newcomer, I appreciate the warm and friendly welcome!

That sounds great! I’d skipped Frontiers because I’d already played tons of Mage Knight and had almost no Star Trek context when it came out. I’ve seen a bunch of Star Trek at this point and playing vs an AI deck of Khan is pretty dang intriguing.

Welcome to Qt3, @terry.

Welcome! Stick around. Talk tabletop games with us!

BTW, those of you waiting for Apocrypha to ship, here’s the best tutorial video on youtube I could find. It’s very thorough and a little too dry at times, but he hits up the rules well.

And then when you’ve absorbed that, Tom Chick played one of the Candlepoint scenarios:

Cool. Thanks for those. Started reading the fan made rules file on BGG. Then stopped. Videos will be better.

BTW, go to @tomchick’s excellent playthrough to hear and watch the rules invoked correctly and explained nicely.

Stay to hear him charmingly refer to Dr. Zeez by his proper last name throughout…

It’s bizarre that they go to the bother of making a pre-built tutorial deck, and then don’t do a proper tutorial with it. Even the official “how to play” video for it doesn’t actually tell you how to play. I gave up on it half way through and watched this instead, which is infinitely better even though it’s not using the tutorial scenario.

Hey, @Terry, glad you brought up Star Trek: Frontiers, because I am definitely a fan! Maybe not Top Ten of All Time fan, but still a fan. Andrew Parks is a truly talented designer, and if there were any solitaire play in the Marvel minis boondoggle he’s making, I’d probably be all over that. But when Parks adapted Mage Knight into Star Trek: Frontiers, he did a fantastic job breathing life into the game, and addressing a lot of my Mage Knight complaints.

I do think it gets a bit weird with the theming, and I say that without even really knowing much about Star Trek. But I seem to recall weird counter-lore things happening and thinking that Star Trek fans would might strenuously object. Stuff like, uh, Romulans teaming up with Ferrengi or whatever, or Wharf working on the USS Deep Space Nine. That sort of thing.

Uh-oh, there’s an expansion? Damn you, @Terry!


You can tell I like a game when I keep accidentally using the lore.


Several of my personal favorite solitaire games:

  1. Coffee Roaster
  2. Twice As Clever (doppelt so clever) / That’s Pretty Clever (Ganz schön clever)
  3. Onirim
  4. Spirit Island
  5. Sentinels of the Multiverse

I tend to play bigger games with friends cooperatively, that’s how I played through several PACG seasons, I would prefer the simpler mechanics as a solitaire game.

Got it for 50€ at the end, but I don’t know how long it will take to arrive.

It’s not like I don’t have other things to put time into!

As someone who enjoys Mage Knight + expansion(s) I have always waffled on whether getting Star Trek Frontiers + expansion is worth it.

Pros: great theming (I like Star Trek)
Cons: from what I read the gameplay is so close to the same it’s not worth owning both.

For me, I would say there are 3 factors that differentiate Star Trek: Frontiers from Mage Knight:

  • As you’ve already noted, the Star Trek theme is compelling. You really get the feeling of exploring the galaxy, and the endgame of attacking the Borg (or Khan, in the expansion) makes more sense to me than attacking cities in Mage Knight (which always came across to me as malicious).

  • Star Trek: Frontiers has a “Diplomacy” resource that can be used to recruit crew members (similar to recruiting allies in Mage Knight), but it also can be used as a resource to win planetary encounters. If, for example, I do not have sufficient long range attack to win a planetary encounter, but I have Captain Picard and/or diplomacy skill tokens/cards, I can win the encounter (sustaining no damage) without having to use Long Range Attack or Attack. Again, the Star Trek theme of peaceful diplomacy really comes alive.

  • With Mage Knight, blocking is all or nothing; either I block all of the attack, or none of it. In Star Trek: Frontiers, your ships have a “Shield” resource, enabling a partial block of incoming attacks. To me, this enhances your strategic options and encourages riskier play. It also supports the theme, as shields in Star Trek are notoriously leaky when it comes to blocking damage.

My two cents, for what it’s worth.