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The Best Solo Board Games – 2019 Edition

July 15, 2019
I can’t believe having more balls hasn’t made me happy.

Games for When You Need Your Alone Time

Playing with yourself has never been socially acceptable. But it can be with solo board games!

If you want to talk reclusive gaming, then it’s time to get on the train, folks. The solo board games train. Woo-wooo! Next stop: Isolation Station! The solo board games train is a coal train, so consider this list a big lump of super-efficient coal fuel to get you on the way to your next rainy-day activity. 

To continue this helpful metaphor, we the writers are like shovels to the great, fiery engine that is the solo board games industry. Large, steely shovels with rippling muscles, not excluding those in the thighs. Never skip leg day, readers.

These solo board games are legitimately fun, so put on your oldest, most faded, moth-eaten clothing and don’t bother showering. Actually, you may decide to be like the staff here at Roll for Turns and go fully nude. Just a suggestion. 

Also, send pics.

The Best Solo Board Games to Play in 2019: A Gentleman’s List

Burgle Bros.

Bro, look at all that dang loot!

We are not talking about the frat dudes who take home souvenirs from wherever they party. Nobody likes those burgle bros. 

THESE Burgle Bros., on the other hand…

We just like saying “Burgle Bros.” You know you want to say it out loud. In Burgle Bros., you and your team (i.e. you) are carrying out an epic heist. You’re assembling a crew, planning it out, and going for the gold. Literally.

You’ll sneak into a randomized building represented by room tiles. You want to get in there, find the safes, crack the codes, and make off with the goods. Avoid getting caught using your limited supply of stealth tokens. This is a game of cracking and hacking. Live a little and play the villain. The charming kind from Ocean’s Eleven. 

Check Burgle Bros. availability on Amazon!

First Martians: Adventures of the Red Planet

First Martians, and then what? Venusites? Plutonians!? This used to be a family neighborhood!

Survival on the red planet is challenging, though decidedly less so than surviving Jupiter’s red spot. That shit is huge! Like, how many earths could fit in there? An unsettling number, that’s how many. 

Don’t go to Jupiter and play First Martian instead. This game integrates with a cool app that helps to keep track of things and keep it balanced. Lots of components all the same though. Set this thing up on a table in your basement or something, and be prepared to leave it out between sessions. It takes a long time to play through, and the setup itself is lengthy. 

But this is a game for anyone who liked that Matt Damon movie. No, not Ocean’s Eleven. The one where he’s on Mars.

No, you’re thinking of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Mr. Ripley is not on Mars. Explore, manage resources, experience the story, and take on events. Fun stuff for survival maniacs.

Check First Martians availability on Amazon!

Terraforming Mars

The other Mars game.

This is another one for all the people who saw Matt Damon’s movie and thought, I should read the book! And then they did read the book. And it was just a really long story problem from a whimsical, yet ultimately dry biology/physics exam.

If you really want to get your Mars survival fix, look no further than breakout hit, Terraforming Mars. In this game, you play as a corporation struggling to make the red planet habitable over the course of many generations.

Raise the temperature, increase ocean coverage, and other science stuff in an effort to maximize corporate profits. What else? 

This game is like an annoying grandmother who notices you don’t have enough food on your plate and loads it up with a triple serving from that broccoli salad bowl that you always pass immediately to the next person.

Which is to say that it drowns you in tasks that you feel you cannot possibly complete within the allotted time. But you can!

With practice. Don’t expect to be a Martian master on your first try. Do expect that Grandma will be watching you out of her one seeing eye to ensure you’re eating that broccoli bullshit. 

Check Terraforming Mars availability on Amazon!

Hostage Negotiator

“Heeeeey, buddy. You got some hostages, in there, huh? I’m a special police friend, can we have a fun friend chat as buddies? Do you like ice cream, pal?”

Are you one of those people who watches heist movies and feels like they could do the hostage negotiator’s job better than the actor on screen? Give it a try by playing Hostage Negotiator, the game of communicating with bad people by pretending that you are their friends, and that a tremendous prison term does not loom before them.

Is anyone fooled by that pseudo-friendly bullshit? If this were a family website, we’d say “pseudo-friendly horse honkey.” But our families were murdered by bank heisters who took them hostage and wanted to prove a lethal point to a patronizing hostage negotiator. 

Yeah, our families were all at the same bank at the same time. Any other questions?

Anyway, you play cards against the “abductor,” delicately navigating a scenario in which even small errors can lead to catastrophe. If you take out the abductor, for example, his second-in-command takes over, and that guy means business. Don’t lose more than half of the hostages!

Check Hostage Negotiator availability on Amazon!

Space Hulk: Death Angel

In the grim darkness of the far future, there are only solo board games.

How many cool words can you fit into one grimdark title? Space Hulk: Death Angel is Fantasy Flight’s answer to that question. It’s got space! It’s got hulks! Etc., etc.

Based on the old Space Hulk board game, this is a card game in which you maneuver genetically engineered, militant religious zealots in heavy power armor through a very old space ship infested with bug aliens. And like the other card games we’ve suggested in the past, this one has plenty of strategy and optimizations as a core mechanic of the game.

If you know your Warhammer 40k, you’ll get it when we say Blood Angels vs. Tyranids. In SH:DA, you are not, in contrast to popular belief, navigating the congested green veins of the Incredible Hulk in outer space. 

You are, however, tromping through a series of complex, interconnected regions in a ghastly old ship clotted with the remains of your space marine predecessors. Lurking in the shadows are fiendish genestealer Tyranids, insect-like organisms with razor sharp claws that turn the Emperor’s big boys into spaghetti.

But you, the foremost defenders of the Imperium of Man, have teamwork, brotherhood, religious passion, and like four hearts or something. And two stomachs. And steel rib cages. Purge the alien! Suffer not the xenos to live! Firmly, yet lovingly caress a wide variety of Chaos demons! 

Oops, how’d that last one get in there? Don’t tell the Emperor. 😉

Check Space Hulk: Death Angel availability on Amazon!

The Beauty of Solitude

Who needs other humans anyway?

They’ll just ask you to mow the lawn and empty a bucket of water with a dead squirrel in it. Seriously, people do those things sometimes. Don’t believe us?

What, do you live in some luxury palace full of wonderful people who never make you look at dead squirrels? We went to a luxury palace once. The servants talked for days about how hot the princess was, but when they opened the door to her chamber bedroom, having told us she was excited to meet us and mostly naked, it was instead a dark closet full of dead squirrels that had been emptied out of water buckets.

What we’re trying to say is that you should play solo board games. Whatever floats your boat though. Maybe you like the book version of the Matt Damon movie for instance. It’s okay to have bad taste.

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