The Best Solo Tabletop Games To Play During Isolation

Published: Sunday, May 24, 2020 - 12:00 | By: Giaco Furino
Drop your controller and grab some dice

With stay at home orders, social distancing, and various levels of quarantine being followed across the globe, you may be itching to step away from a screen for a bit and play a game that's a bit more tactile. That's where the wonderful world of tabletop gaming comes to the rescue. But if you're quarantining alone, or the people you're with aren't interested in tabletop games, it may feel like your options are severely limited. Rest assured, you're not alone in wanting to play games alone. Solo gaming is alive and well in the tabletop world, and to prove it, I teamed up with our Tabletop Editor Adam to run through six of our favorite games that are fantastic single-player experiences.

Choose Your Own Adventure Game Line

Choose Your Own Adventure

The Choose Your Own Adventure system of games (there are 2 out currently: House of Danger and War With The Evil Power Master) by Z-Man Games recreate the experience of the original series of adventure books. In the game, players flip through decks of cards, making decisions and following those decisions through to their (sometimes grisly) conclusions, all while attempting to uncover mysteries, gain powerful items, and avoid as much danger as possible.

 
 

Why It's Great For Solo Play

I recently reviewed the first Choose Your Own Adventure game here on TechRaptor, and I played through the entire story twice on my own, and it was a fantastic experience. While the game is perfectly playable with multiple players, the very nature of the mechanics of the game are meant for a single, decisive force going through and choosing the twists and turns that they think will lead to success. It's much less strategic than other games you'll see on this list, but if you're in the mood for a highly interactive story, this is the game for you. - Giaco

Core Space

Core Space

Core Space from Battle Systems is an adventure miniatures game, that fuses skirmish wargaming and RPG elements into a tight, board game style product. It's not only an incredible game but a great example of hybrid products that are coming into the market. Battle Systems are known for their awesome scenery, and Core Space includes a very adaptable set of cyberpunk terrain to create the ships your adventures will take place on. There's a solid and straight-forward AI system, that allows you to play cooperatively with your friends or semi-coop as is usually the case. There's a load of expansions and crew options, and Battle Systems release regular scenarios for free online, to give you a huge amount of reliability, even if you don't want to create your own missions.

Why It's Great For Solo Play

We are huge fans of Core Space here at TechRaptor. The On The Tabletop Team loved it and we were playing a regular campaign before social distancing stopped it. It was also voted our 2019 Tabletop Game of the Year Reader's Choice and came second overall. Solo play Core Space is a fantastic experieince, and you can take 1 or multiple crews through the campaign, or just hit up one-off missions to level up your crew and gain equipment. The AI keeps the challenge up, and if you add in the criminals and security teams from the expansions, the AI will handle multiple factions battling against each other, while you try and gather loot amid the carnage. - Adam

Dark Souls: The Card Game

Dark Souls The Card Game

Dark Souls the Card Game by Steamforged Games came out with the release of the Dark Souls the Board Game. Dark Souls the Card Game can be played solo or co-op and captures the challenge and theme of the Dark Souls franchise. DStCG is a deck builder, where the cards are also your life. Players need to manage their actions, while battling through rooms of enemies, working towards the boss fights. Enemies spawn and operate with a fixed AI and bosses come with a deck of AI controls, to keep you guessing on their next action. 2 expansions are available to extend the challenge, as well as give you more character choices.

Why It's Great For Solo Play

Dark Souls the Card Game was our 2018 Tabletop Game of the Year and I have played it solo and cooperatively hundreds of times since. It always offers a fresh challenge, especially with the 2 expansions. Being able to make themed enemy decks, and working out prefered combinations of character classes keeps the game fresh. It's a very tight package, easy to set up and play, straight-forward to run and I actually prefer to play it solo over cooperatively. The final boss combinations, multiple character classes and large amount of treasure to build your decks with make every game different. - Adam

Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is the absolutely massive story-forward adventure game by Isaac Childres for Cephalofair Games that follows a group of lowly "adventurers" (term used lightly here) on a quest to eke out a living in the dangerous realm of Gloomhaven. With deep strategy and an evolving, branching-path story played out through a huge book of adventures, Gloomhaven boasts hours of gameplay.

Why It's Great For Solo Play

Gloomhaven is one of the most perfect candidates for solo play for a number of reasons: It has an in-depth and rewarding story, the built-in enemy AI is impressive and challenging, and, it can be hard to convince a larger group of players to join in on a campaign that could last months (if not longer). When playing this game solo, players take on the role of two characters, but the addition of an app like Gloomhaven Helper removes a lot of the heavy lifting in the set-up and tracking departments. - Giaco

Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth

Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth

Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth by Fantasy Flight Games brings the sprawling adventure of J.R.R. Tolkien's world home to your tabletop. With an entirely new story to discover, players take on the roles of one of several established characters (Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, or Bilbo) or one of two new characters and moves through the adventure with the help of a companion app. Players work together in this cooperative game to slay orcs, thwart bandits, uncover secrets, and acquire better items and skills.

 

Why It's Great For Solo Play

Like GloomhavenJourneys is a large, story-driven board game that rewards players the more you work through it's campaign. And, also like Gloomhaven, solo play involves taking on the role of two different characters (this helps with balance issues and keeps you from getting overwhelmed by foes). I personally love making my way through this game solo, and while there's a lot to set up, the official companion app that comes with the game completely manages all enemies, and offers up several interesting "choose your own adventure" scenarios for me to work through. - Giaco

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Adventures

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Change is Constant is part of IDW Games' Adventures Universal Game System. The system is a set of core mechanics, that will let you add in other AUGS products, like the upcoming Batman Adventures release. AUGS games can be played solo, cooperatively, or competitively with a player taking control of the enemies. There's a large amount of characters and enemies in the box and a full campaign to play through with a narrative comic. When combined with TMNT Cityfall, the character and enemy combinations is huge.

Why It's Great For Solo Play

The On The Tabletop Team loved TMNT Change is Constant when we played it earlier this year and I've been playing through the Change is Constant and combined CiC and Cityfall campaigns solo, using the core Turtles. The AI is simple, yet effective and the different named character enemies feel incredibly thematic. It's a great challenge, even if you're not a TMNT fan.

 

 

What are some of your favorite games to play solo? Have you tried any of the games we've listed above? Let us know in the comments below!


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Staff Writer

Giaco Furino is a screenwriter, writer, and editor living and working in Brooklyn, NY.