One-Player Wednesday

by bgg-uglywalrus. Posted on Aug 01, 2020    32    131

What are your favourites when you're playing solo? Are there any unofficial solo-variants that you really enjoyed? What are you looking forward to play solo? Here's the place for everything related to solo games!

And if you want even more solo-related content, don't forget to visit the 1 Player Guild on BGG


Humusatu 1

Been playing a good bit of Spell Saga lately, enjoy the wonder and sense of exploring, not really knowing what you'll find next

rokahef 1

I finally got around to trying out the first mission of Sine Tempore. It's a bit janky, and the luck is very swingy. But I'm getting the hang of it, and I think once I have the mechanics down, it should play fairly well!

kenjimurasame 1

Looking for some 1p input on Empyreal Spells & Steam and Mezo.

Also curious if Hoplomachus is worth investing in, and which to start?

Squittron 1

Anyone here experience with Petrichor solo? Interested in it with the new KS, and the theme is lovely.

FaceToTheSky 2

I tried it and found it very clunky. I wanted to like this game because as you say, the theme is lovely and the art is gorgeous. I played it twice on my own (multiple “players”) in order to learn the rules, twice with others, and once with the AI, and found myself having to refer constantly to the rulebook. Literally at every stage of every turn. Usually I learn games a lot faster than that. It’s not that the game is especially hard or complicated, it just has a lot of little edge cases, and a lot of moving, interacting parts (i.e. doing something early in your turn has implications for the rest of your turn and future turns).

Normally I don’t mind that in a game - I enjoy engine builders for instance - but for whatever reason I really struggled to hold all the possible paths in my head with this game. It was hard to come up with any kind of strategy - I actually found myself telling other players “just try something and see how it pans out, then it will make more sense.” I didn’t find it intuitive enough to be able to understand or easily remember the rules. And unlike other games with a steep learning curve, like RFTG or even Power Grid, I also didn’t get the sense that there is more game waiting to be discovered once I get the hang of the iconography or the game flow.

So I sold it.

Squittron 1

Hmm that is a pity. It does look like it does something different with the area control going on. I hoped that with multiple playthroughs some kind of strategy path would be clear.

I also feared a bit about the replayability, but the short gameplay makes up for that.

FaceToTheSky 2

Yeah, the area control is neat, but it’s very indirect. Again, not normally a problem, but there’s so many stages in order to achieve that control.

It’s very hard to make a strategy because your opponents’ turns can change quite a lot of the board state (also: normally fine) but it’s also hard to adapt your tactics because you’re so far removed from direct action.

Again, I don’t mind some of these aspects normally, but to have them all in one game made it hard for me to keep ideas for my turn in my head, because the logic tree just has too many branches. And I found that because the rules are not intuitive to remember, that added complexity. If you compare it to something like Wingspan, where the rules fade into the background very quickly because the turn structure essentially “explains itself” to you through the design of the components, in Petrichor I found that the rules were very front and centre, to the point of making it hard to perceive the game.

(It’s not as if I have a terrible memory, or only play very light party games, either. This game is, at best, Not My Thing. At worst I would say it is poorly designed in that the ruleset is needlessly complex compared to the depth of the gameplay.)

Squittron 1

The crazy thing is .. your description sounds like brass, which is a game I love: adapting to boardstate, the indirect take that elements,... Did you play brass, or am I just talking nonsense

FaceToTheSky 3

I have not played Brass.

And I don’t mind Petrichor’s mechanisms on their own, usually! Adapting to board state: I have two editions of Roborally for pete’s sake. I just didn’t like how Petrichor combined them all.

Squittron 1

Thanks for all your insights!

BillyMoustache 2

I've had a hard time being motivated to play anything these past few months. Sure I've been playing regularly online (BGA, TTS, etc), but my collection of physical games has grown at an alarming rate (thanks anxiety!) and I'm not getting them to the table. I'd like to ask for some motivational help.

I've made a list noting the games I have yet to play and, if you have a moment, please feel free to chime in and recommend a starting point for some solo gaming. I have 2 4 day weekends coming up in August and, with quarantine still in full effect, it'll be a mostly solo affair (including my birthday in the middle of August).

List can be found here ->

3ripmav 1

Hi, my name is David and I'm an addict...

I accepted that I was a collector as well as a player of games looooooong time ago.

(He says as his collection sits in multiple rooms to the scale of 1850+ games)

LevyTheMachine 1

Go for Terraforming Mars. It’s sort of a pop culture thing in the board game world. Might as well play it and see what all the hype is about! After playing a few games of that, try On Mars (I haven’t played that one) and let us know which game about colonizing Mars you like better!

philipneri 2

I have been playing Race for the Galaxy. The Gathering Storm solo bot was so ahead of its time. Really blows my mind.

TheGiuce 2

Lots of Gloomhaven, and a bit of Circadians First Light too. Ready to tuck into Tiny Epic Dinosaurs solo.

MagentaPide 2

I know it’s technically Thursday, but I wanted to ramble about how much fun I have with Ine Deck Dungeon... I’m currently playing through the campaign mode and beat the hydra. It’s the perfect combination of randomness and planning for me, between the dice rolling and trying to find the most efficient way to use your skills. Died once on the first level, then beat the hydra the second time around.

I’m looking forward to One Deck Galaxy. Space games will always have a special fondness in my heart for some reason, so taking a game I already love and changing the theme is a bonus for me.

markzone110 2

Recently got Ragemore published by Button Shy, and I’ve been really enjoying it. I have a bit over 15 games at this point! It’s an excellent game to fill in a small space of time with, while providing a fun puzzle with excellent artwork. Plus, it all being in a wallet means I can take it anywhere (not that I’m going anywhere right now)

SubjectRDT 2

I am looking forward to all the games I backed on Kickstarter these past few months. Main reason I backed all of these games was because they have some form of solo play.

Mini Rogue and Die In The Dungeon! are designed mainly for solo play, but they have modes for playing with two players. Mini Rogue holds a special place in my heart because I played the original 9-card PnP when I was still in high school.

I'm also looking forward to Fire Tower. I backed the expansion for it on Kickstarter which has added rules for solo play. I've only ever played the base game twice against one other player and that was super fun. I imagine the solo rules will be just as enjoyable.

Most recently, I did a late pledge for Tiny Epic Pirates and its respective expansion. The player cards have different AI for solo play on the back. Since players have 2 cards each that means that there are 8 solo cards that combine for both 4 difficulties and 4 different AI, so I expect a lot of replayability with the base game alone.

Finally, I'm still contemplating whether or not to maintain or drop my All-in-Gameplay pledge for Dead Reckoning. The game itself looks lots of fun, but the price point and crappy daily reveals have been very off putting. There are rules included for solo play and there's a video online by Roll Solo of a solo game.

Overall, I have a lot of solo games to look forward to, but since they're all off of Kickstarter I'll have to wait until next year to actually play any of them.

EquivalentStomach5 2

Pandemic solo with experimental meds fills a void of a fast solo play, interesting decisions and a game with tension. Endangered is also great for solo with 2 or 3 characters. Awaiting flame rouge this week to play. Excited.

CentaurCrossDresser 2

I've been having fun with Kingdom Death so far. I've also been playing the AI version of One Page Rule's Age of Fantasy. Though I'm not sure if that counts as a boardgame.

xiaopixie 2

Started mage knight on tts, what a blast. Took me two days to get all the rules correct, but its just a super great solo game. Feel free to join me on steam fellow mages or knights.

DarQraven 3

Been playing a bunch of Maiden's Quest. It's quite interesting. Think Palm Island meets dungeon crawling.

I initially built a first timer deck as suggested in the manual, took me 3 tries to get a win with that. Second setup was about the same, but seem to have hit a brick wall on my third one. The enemies either want lots of attack and cunning, OR lots of charisma and with my equipment it's really hard to get both.

Xonim 3

I ran across Under Falling Skies while looking through the GenCon event list this year. Turns out its available both on TTS and as a print and play directly from CGE. I tried the TTS mod and was maybe 5 turns in when I texted my FLGS to preorder a copy. I then printed/laminated the print and play, grabbed some extra dice and old tokens to make a copy to use in the interim.

It's fairly straightforward but has a ton of possibilities when it comes to placing your dice. Placing in one column might move a ship to another column which then means you're moving multiple ships down that lane and need to account for how those might fall. I've been nowhere near winning my first two games, but it's a FANTASTIC game and I can't wait for the official CGE printing later this year.

Telize_Chaocid 2

I really wanted to love this one... I think it's just a little too restrictive for my taste. I'm sure if I played it on a weekend instead of right before bed on a weeknight I would have more fun thinking through the moves but I felt choked by the system.

I realize that a lot of people love it and I'm glad it's getting a full publication, but it just wasn't for me!

Xonim 3

I get that! My 2nd game I gave up once I realized I wasn't going to win ... it's definitely one of those where you need to be in the right mindset to tackle it.

Telize_Chaocid 3

I think I'm generally more of a tactics over strategy guy... I don't like having to run through every possibility of every die before laying any of them. I end up placing some that seem good then having to work my way out of jams rather than optimizing every placement. Definitely a good game, just not my speed. For dice-chucking, I prefer Deep Space D6.

3ripmav 3

Terraforming Mars, Agricola, Spirit Island, Mage Knight, and the king of all solo games - Arkham Horror LCG.

Each of the first listings more about learning all the subtle nuances of the games and honing skills, they are exercises in patience and enjoying the game design and elements that went into those designs in my view.

Arkham Horror LCG is amazing, whether you play it one or two (or more?) Handed. Two handed is easier to win, but takes more management, so each to their own. Definitely the fastest way to become an expert at the rules and teaching the game if you're a rules follower and always want the "right" answer.

Saved the list to see what other games I need to be playing solo. Cheers!

LevyTheMachine 1

I would love to play Arkham Horror LCG but I worry about the cost. I don’t mind shelling out for an expansion but there are just so many.

3ripmav 1

Try it on TableTop Simulator on Steam - then you'll know. There's a bit of a learning curve though.

This is hands down my favorite game 10+ on BGG scale.


Cazargar 1

Just recently picked up a core set and and have played the first two scenarios with my gf. After our first game I was like, I'm gonna need a bigger core set. Very much looking forward to playing around with it.

PooPooFaceMcgee 3

I have Dawn of the Zeds 3rd edition sitting on my kitchen table. There are just so many rule books to go through that I've been putting it off for days. I don't know why but solo games are hard to get into.

IceCreamServed 2

Dawn of the Zeds is one of the harder games to get into. Do you have problems playing other solo games as well or is DotZ the exception?

PooPooFaceMcgee 1

So funny thing is I have played this game a handful of times. The problem is that it has been a year or two and I need a refresher. There are a ton of small rules that I likely have forgot about. This is one of the few solo board games I actually enjoy. I enjoy the game is very reactionary and I try to make the best of an increasingly bad situation. I enjoy trying to save everyone but ultimately watching some groups of people get eaten. I also enjoy that when all hope is lost something important seems to go your way and breath new life into the town. With all that said I'd rather play a 2+ player game any day.

SenHeffy 2

It's not so bad if you start at the intro level. You can skip most of those books.

PooPooFaceMcgee 1

I've actually played the second edition quite a bit but it feels like it has been a few years since I've played. I still find all the rule books daunting and I already kind of know how to play. The game flows pretty well but there are a ton of moving parts and tokens.

SenHeffy 2

I agree. I'm thinking of selling mine, just because it's a lot of work to setup and try to relearn how to play.

FaceToTheSky 3

I printed off Snowbirds (with both expansions) on the weekend and have been messing with it. It’s not super riveting but it satisfies my desire to push cardboard around.

I also found a fan-made AI for Wayfinders which I’ll probably try soon, as my partner doesn’t really like the game.

LardCream 3

Went through the tutorial for Fire In The Lake last night. Im excited. I really like what I see. Just gotta solidify my feel fore the bots a bit better, maybe get a couple 4 handed plays in.

Then maybe I can teach it to my partner and we can play

TravelingLemonTree 5

I’ve been playing a fair amount of solo Root. The BBP bots are really tough-difficulty can scale too-so it’s a bit of a mental struggle to beat them, which keeps it interesting. Also let’s me trial all of the factions to figure out which ones I prefer or to learn how to play them.

Wingspan is also good solo.

I’m looking at getting another solo game, but haven’t made up my mind yet.

papyrus_eater 1

Is there an app or web for this new automas?

3ripmav 1

Not sure, just barely getting into online (other than asynchronous Through the Ages - anyone want to play, PM me! I play 2p best 3 of 5 games simultaneously with a long time friend all the time) and TTS gaming with Covid missing my weekly (or more) f2f game nights.

Definitely post here if you find some online support for the bots to make their actions automated!

3ripmav 2

Odd question... who would be much more excited to play Wingspan if it was dragons and not birds? Lolol... I'm a biologist by training and really appreciate the efforts that went into this greatly produced effort, but the fantasy fanboy in me would rather "capture" dragons and role to have them eat cows... just saying.

TravelingLemonTree 2

Lol if there were the same diversity of dragons as there are birds, I’d say you have a game there.

3ripmav 1

Yeah, that's the rub... how small can the bird/dragon pool be?

Love the idea of rethemes that become something cult or real. (Thinking Zombminion/Dominion & My Little Scythe/Scythe, preferably the latter, clearly)

3ripmav 2

Root is amazing solo, I played with the proto solo bots, have yet to crack open the published ones.

Wingspan... true, comes with automa, haven't tried it yet (or Scythe or Race for the Galaxy or or or or or or that all come with automa)

ValhallAwaits_ 1

Sorry but I just recently got root and only have the base game. I know the first expansion allows one player but are there any way I could use bots to play solo in the base game? If so, can you tell me where would I be able to find those? Thanks!

3ripmav 2

Look at the KS for the Underground expansion, also here:


TravelingLemonTree 2

Oh wow I didn’t know RTFG also had an automa. I am really fond of the Wingspan solo, it’s much more relaxing / much less work to set up vs Root lol.

Scythe and Race are on my short list for my next game.

JohanesYamakawa 4

I've played the first scenario for Longsdale in Revolt about 7 times this week and can't get anywhere.

philipneri 3

I just picked up Longsdale in Revolt a couple of weeks ago; I haven't played it (or regular Oh My Goods) yet. Let me know if you have any tips.

JohanesYamakawa 1

Personally, I kinda regret buying it. It's really quite frustrating how much luck is involved. The order that the events come out, the randomness of the deck draw (both to your hand and to the row) and the impossibly high targets make it a bit too infuriating.

I played a near perfect game last night where I ended up one point short of the goal. The only way I would have made it to the goal is if I had gambled and worked efficiently to grab an extra card. However, doing that in the past has led to dismal failure so it feels about as rewarding as playing a slot machine right now.

That said my strategy tips are to use corn farms as a good reliable source of building income. Make sure you get a second source of food money too I typically go for a mill + bakery combo since those cards are fairly common. If you do this it requires less luck to get the 10 cards needed to pay the end game requirements, but you will need to build other stuff too as well as assistants to get close to the points needed.

philipneri 1

Thanks for the tips. Yeah, I picked it up pretty randomly and have not been too inspired to play it yet. I bet I will eventually pump out a dozen games one month and then giving it away.

IceCreamServed 4

Played more Fields of Arle. I will try out Nusfjord and Chocolate Factory once it arrive.

eddwardl 17

I suffer the issue of loving the idea of a solo board game but not being able to play it. I'll buy them, I love setting them up, but then when its time to play I'll look at it for a bit then sigh and start to pack it up and I don't know why.

I feel like my brain makes me feel like it's equivalent to talking to yourself on the phone. Board games are a social thing and it's sad to play alone. Which makes zero sense because I play solo video games no problem.

I own mage knight, hero Realms, gloomhaven, paladins of the west kingdom, call to adventure, and a few other games with solo variants and I've loved them all playing with my girlfriend or friends but when I'm by myself I really really want to enjoy it solo but I've never been able to.

Robotkio 1

Do you think getting an exclusively solo game could help the mental block? I mean, I understand that could be a hard sell, but I got myself Coffee Roaster a bit ago and it really felt like a nice indulgence and mentality shift. This game was only for me. It only exists to be played with one player. It will never feel like I'm missing out or not "playing the real game" because I am experiencing the whole game, all the systems, with no added rules overhead.

lunatic4ever 1

Same here. I love the idea but feel a deep sadness when I sit there with a game in front of me. I usually pack it all up and play some PS4 instead which feels more natural. I'm intrigued by solo board gaming and honestly am fascinated by smart bots etc. and I read a lot about it but...I can get myself to actually playing it myself. It's as if I the social aspect of gaming adds something to the naked gameplay mechanisms that I'm missing when playing solo. All I see is game systems, round markers and ways to score and I can't spin up a narrative that distracts from it. I tried it with GMT games, beat your own score Euros or narrative driven games (Tainted Grail) and it just doesn't feel right.

FantasticWalrus 1

I'm the same way! Or I have games that i'm just waiting for that 1 person to play with...and it feels like it'll never happen! lol. I might just buckle down and start playing on my own.

LevyTheMachine 2

I use solo board games as an escape from screen time. I used to have a job that didn’t require much time on the computer, but now I stare at a screen 8+ hours a day. To me a solo board game falls into the same basic category as reading a book, working on a jigsaw puzzle, or physically writing or drawing with a pen on paper. It’s a connection to the real world. A way to live in the present. I enjoy video games too, but they are designed to be such exciting, dopamine high experiences. Solo board games are a way to relax and wind down. Don’t get me wrong, they are still exciting, but it feels like they work a different part of my mind. Like a quiet breath of fresh air.

FeelingChappy 3

So I experience a version of this. Do you play Mage Knight with others? Or, do you know how to play all the games you set up and tear down? For me it's a rules hump. I think I'm afraid to screw up and waste my time.

xiaopixie 2

Hey budd. Yeah its a rule hump, just started like 2 days ago on TTS, because i wasnt sure about getting the copy for one hundred dollars. went no-tomorrow mode and read most of the rulebook, and guess what its very very fun, even for me, as a avid pc gamers. I would really prefer the tactile feeling of being able to touch the pieces, but a simulator would have to do now. The mod on tts is scripted, not much setup or tear down. Feel free to join me on steam.good luck

n0rseMN 11

Telling yourself its sad probably doesn't help. For me its a replacement for additional screen time with video games. I like video and board games, but after staring at a computer screen for 9 hours, I feel the need to unplug. Solo gaming is a way for me to get a good chunk of my games played and to have that tactile, engaging experience even when I can't get a group together (which is inherently difficult when you have two small kids).

Hope it clicks for you eventually! Maybe try something a little lighter or quicker than you've stated above. Those are all quite meaty and I've found myself bogged down by the prospect of busting those beasts out at times as well.

For shorter solos, Architects OTWK, Cartographers, Oh My Goods (unofficial solo), or even Underwater Cities with a Plano box for a faster setup. And if you want really fast and small, The Game from Pandasaurus or Shardhunters is another fun, quick solo.

Telize_Chaocid 1

Lighter/quicker things have helped me navigate the exact same situation...I have 2-year-old twins, so free time is at a premium. I definitely get things like Aerion and Sagrada out more often than Jaws of the Lion due to time (and brainpower) restrictions.

Another thing that helped me a lot was finding games that I like and upgrading them. I really enjoy Architects of the West Kingdom, but wasn't getting it played as much as I wanted. I upgraded to the metal coins and that helped give me that little extra push to play it more often! It's like leveling up the game...or doubling down on the tactile aspect of board gaming.

I also ordered an insert to help with the setup time, which has been the single best upgrade for any game I own so far. I get it to the table much more often now that the setup and clean up are <1min, so +1 for that idea.

n0rseMN 2

Dang, now you have me wondering if I could jam a Plano box into Architects...

Plerophoria 22

I've found that there's an enjoyment curve involved in solo boardgaming. It's similar to reading / working out / etc. Basically it takes time and a touch of discipline to get the feedback loop started. You have to push through and play a few games over a series of weeks to get into the pattern of enjoyment similar to the first month of a new workout plan. I play so often that i now find myself craving a game regularly, but I do recall that it wasn't always like that.

I'd also say that for me I've found that I enjoy different aspects about solo gaming and group gaming. I love them both but see them as different things that don't replace each other. I don't solo game anymore because I crave group games, I just solo game when I can and group game when I can. I think "Boardgames are social things and it's sad to play alone" makes sense if you see solo gaming as a stopgap replacement for group gaming, but I believe once you dive deep enough into it it becomes valuable for it's own reasons (personal challenge, relaxation, active mind, exploration etc).

Don't get me wrong I'm not saying you need to change your way of thinking. It's not for everyone. Just trying to offer up some encouragement that there's a path to enjoyment if you push through but it's not instantly obvious.

3ripmav 2

Nemo's War has been sitting in my to play pile for over a year... (hat of shame worn...)


tyrnevar 6

Really enjoy playing Spirit Island and Arkham Horror:Lcg solo. Have tried a bunch of mid- to heavy-weight Euros but found them lacking fun without competitors.

xiaopixie 3

Hey man, im doing the same thing, started mage knight on tts also. Have you tried arkham with 2 players? I bought it thinking my wife can join me with the intense story telling, but it seems to fall asleep everytime. Sooner or later, i will probably have to solo it, would it be as fun tho?

tyrnevar 1

Yeah I've tried it 2 player, true solo and doublehanded solo and probably prefer 2p or double handed solo.

xiaopixie 1

Got it. Thanks

afjb 5

I have been playing The Gallerist and have found it to be a fun, challenging solo game. I made a few rules errors at first but now that I have corrected those I am really enjoying it. Getting to the second level of the solo mode, "experienced" will be a challenge but I think I am up to it! The setup takes a bit but the game play itself moves along pretty well in solo mode.

rokkiss 2

i’ve been thinking about getting this game ‘cause i have a background in art so i like the theme, but i’m intimidated by its difficulty level on bgg haha i’m just getting to the point where i can play a solo game of root competently (and still mostly lose to that damn mechanical marquis) do you think the gallerist is as steep a learning curve as i’m imagining, should i maybe try some other games of similar style with less complexity? or should i just hop in and start managing my gallery?

afjb 2

It really helped me to watch a couple of how to play videos, notably Rodney Smith's Watch It played and "Slickerdrips" on YouTube. Both were very informative and made it much easier for me to catch on. I highly recommend watching both.

rokkiss 1

love rodney smith! thanks!

wallysmith127 2

With Lacerdas, it's often commonly suggested to start with the theme that resonates with you the most. The commonality is that they're giant clockworks, with numerous smaller subsystems interlocking together. Take an action, turn the gear, watch the effects.

I love The Gallerist because the actions themselves most resemble that clockwork, since there are four action spots and you're constantly rotating between those four. So the relative decision space is actually small (aiding your learning) but you can just "pull a lever" and see what happens.

The player aid is top notch too. If you do end up getting it, set it up before diving into the rulebook then just do each action as its described in the rulebook. It's heavy, but it's also very reasonable.

rokkiss 1

thanks! it’s good to know there’s a great player aid to help me get a feeling for how a turn goes, that’s the hardest thing about learning a game by yourself is getting to the point where you get the flow of a turn, i’m definitely leaning toward this being my next game purchase

DarQraven 3

My 10c: Lacerda's games have their fair share of rules, but the learning overhead isn't quite as bad as the weight suggests. Most of that weight is in the considerations you have to make during the game. Playing well, rather than playing at all.

For instance: Root has a lower weight rating but IMO has a more involved teach and more to learn before you can really play.

rokkiss 1

difficulty to teach and difficulty to be great at a game is a distinction that, you’re right, the bgg difficulty rating doesn’t really reflect, but when you describe the game in that way it seems like it’s right up my alley, i love a game that’s not too difficult to get into but has a lot of complexity to get better at during replays, thanks!

DarQraven 5

If you decide to jump in, here's my tips:

  1. Gallerist, and most of Vitals games, are easier to be taught than learned. The manuals are perfectly clear, but there's no substitute for someone who actually understands them. If you don't have access to someone like that, do yourself a favour and watch a rules video before diving into the manual.
  2. Play a learning game where you all don't worry too much about making the right move or playing optimally, and just finish it in a reasonable time. These are games that you have to see in action in order to understand how to play. It's better to have that be a brief and friendly experience than risk souring people on the game because their first match lasted 6 hours. Play the game, don't worry too much, then check for rules mistakes afterwards.
rokkiss 2

thanks! yeah that’s how i usually teach games with my friends, i tell em not to worry too much about strategy and winning the first time around because a couple of them suffer from analysis paralysis with new games, i always stress it’s okay to lose a game you’ve just learned but we’re not gonna wanna play it again if it takes us eight hours to finish haha

jemd13 6

First time posting in this sub and I love this thread!

I've been looking into the Arkham Horror Card game. I would like to get it, but there's no guarantee that my girlfriend will like it enough to play consistently with me.

Can anyone tell me of their solo experiences with this game? Does it get repetitive? Is it fun? Is the difficulty balanced in a way that a solo player can beat it? (Not necessarily easily, just asking if with practice as a solo player you can do it with just 1 core set of the game, no additional cards)

SenHeffy 3

You can play 2 handed solo with 1 core set, you're just pretty restricted with your deck construction options.

Playing solo is great, but the intro campaign in the core box isn't especially great (for any player count). It should give you an idea of you'll like the game before you spend ~$100 on an expansion cycle.

Also the more you get into expansions the less you will feel restricted by not having a 2nd core set (though some people still want a 2nd,).

jemd13 1

Are you supposed to use cards from the core set in the expansion sets and vice versa? Or just keep each set limited to the box it came in?

SenHeffy 1

Expansions add cards to the card pool you can use in any set. They contain both new cards to build your decks and new cards which contain new scenarios. But you have to have the core set to be able to play the expansions.

jemd13 1

Hm ok, and what does the core set contain that makes it needed to play the expansions? Is it the resource tokens ans the other pieces? Or is there more?

NameIsJust6WordsLong 1

You get the resource tokens, chaos tokens, some core investigator cards that you'll use even in the latest releases, and most importantly you'll use the encounter cards in the expansions.

SenHeffy 1

It's a lot more than that. It's general cards that go into the scenario decks, and it would be essentially impossible to build a deck without using core set cards.

IronGiantRobot 7

Just ordered Paladins of the West Kingdom and Teotihaucan from the Amazon sale yesterday. I'm looking forward to trying them out solo, but I'm most looking forward to trying out this small indie game, To the Death!. It is a quick setup and small table presence but looks like it has a lot of variability and depth. My wife is gone for the weekend, so I should have a lot of time to play games!

Unifiedshoe 2

There is a series of play through videos on BGG that can help you get started with To the Death. If you have any rules questions, you can post there or message me directly.

IronGiantRobot 2

Thanks! I’ve already found some useful clarifications on BGG and watched a play through. Spent today just looking through all the cards!

slocki 12

I've been playing Terraforming Mars. I'd actually never played it before when I ordered it this month, and so far I've only played it solo. I've been really enjoying it, but after about 5-7 plays the solo mode is starting to feel a little one-note. It's a race to terraform by turn 14 with all else by the wayside—sure, I'll take extra VPs if I can get 'em, but I feel I've had to be pretty single-minded to avoid losing. Will be interesting to one day play it without that pressure. Still, really do like it!

3ripmav 1

First couple times I played solo I lost - didn't finish until rounds 15, 16 and one game 18! Was still playing multiplayer and going for points and not reaching the goal.

Reset - focus on income and the three end goals and winning everytime now. Solo requires a very different approach. Build your income engines, toss point cards that don't increase TR or income, use the Standard Projects often.

Now I'm playing each corporation to see how I score - saw a post on BGG that scoring 80s is common, 120s and more rare. I thought I must have been playing wrong, but went back and double checked... started recording scores with my each corporation play, thus far 124, 148 (stalled my play as I could have reached all three end game conditions easily on the 13th turn, so turn 14 was a lot of point grabbing), 136, 138 (ish, from memory) Yes, with Prelude - will have to return to BGG and see if the 120s and lower scores are without Prelude (I suspect they are).


LevyTheMachine 1

I thought with Prelude you only have 12 turns rather than 14 in solo mode.

3ripmav 1

I thought it was still 14, but also 63 TR?

Shit... if this is true, I think I've still never won a game. WTF?!!?! #FAIL

Edit: this is what happens when you don't reread the rules before starting something that you think you know how to play... FML!

Just checked YEP! You're right... w/Prelude the rules say 12 turns OR the New Variant is 63 TR in 14 turns - global requirements don't matter (and 63 TR in 12 turns w/Prelude).

LevyTheMachine 2

It’s all good. Sometimes I forget if I moved the generation marker up or not so I have probably had a few games that went a turn or two late by mistake. I think it took me 5 or 6 games of Pandemic Fall of Rome before I managed to finish the game without accidentally cheating/forgetting a rule.

I think 100 points was actually my highest scoring game, and I did that by getting lucky with a bunch of plant cards so I had a pretty crazy plant engine going, from a picture I took looks like I had 22 plant production. (I use dice to track production because those little cubes slide way too easily).

3ripmav 1

We used dice with the original boards but swapped back to the cubes with the multilayered boards, don't see any more issues and anything that would move the cubes would move the dice, so we've been happy with the switch.

LevyTheMachine 1

I need to get some improved boards one of these days. I’ve seen some cool 3D printed ones on Etsy.

3ripmav 1

Did you pledge for the big box on KS?

You can buy their player boards there for $20. Most the etsy sets I've seen are $40 for 5.

LevyTheMachine 1

No I didn’t pledge for the big box. I didn’t realize that had official improved boards you could buy, thanks! The big box does look nice, but at this point I still have a few more games I’d like to add to my collection before spending much on improved components.

eatenbycthulhu 2

I pretty routinely play TfM with all the expansions except Venus, and I just always lose. I got to the point where I stopped playing because I thought it was both impossible and a complete luckfest as a solo experience even though I really like the game. Do you have any advice?

My rule of thumb has just been, if it doesn't directly contribute to one of the terraforming conditions, it's a garbage card. In the first four or five rounds, I'll also get income cards as well. This strategy often has me discarding all four cards, sometimes for several turns in a row. Is there something I'm doing wrong?

3ripmav 2

Nope, that sounds about right... ANY income is good, plants, energy/heat and mega credits most critical. I would take out Turmoil for solo. And I played one game with Colonies and it almost seemed too easy to grab free resources.

I suspect I will have a fail/loss coming with card draw randomness... one of my last games was down to the wire - literally had to buy two oceans and three temp to win. Lost around 12-14 points from empty spots waiting for cities that never made it to the board.

Same name on BGG - I'm going to make a post today about solo plays - with pics - I started taking pics of my opening keep cards, corporation and prelude cards. Then a pic at the end of the game and a pic of the board. I'll post a couple old ones and start a list going forward with comments after the game, see if we can create a place for people to post their victories and fails!


boredaghast 5

I never understand people recommending TfM as a solo experience. There are so many better solo experiences out there, and TfM is so much better as a multiplayer game.

3ripmav 4

Funny, I see TM as one of the most solitary multiplayer games around. Without Turmoil (and to a lesser degree Colonies) other than a few race moments for bonuses on Temp and Oxygen, then the final push at the end, there's almost no player interaction and what your opponents do is almost irrelevant. My two cents anyway... cheers!

(Edit: spelling typos)

boredaghast 3

I agree with you, but the tempo of the game is much better. You get time to build an engine in multiplayer, where I find the solo variant doesn't allow you to play in the same relaxed manner and it makes some cards and strategies irrelevant.

3ripmav 2

Absolutely agree - it's a very different approach to the game. Once you become skilled at solo, you'll see how efficient your engine building is though. I'm probably 10-12 solo games in and depending on card draw have over 50-60 MC income (MC production + TR) by round 9-10.

slocki 5

Happily accepting suggestions!

eatenbycthulhu 3

My personal favorites are Nations, Scythe, Anachrony, and Teotihuacan for solo games!

3ripmav 1

Two plays of Nations and I was out, years ago, but something didn't click multiplayer.


slocki 3

Anachrony looks super-cool!

boredaghast 5

My favourites, your mileage may vary, are Gaia Project, Teotihuacan, Anachrony and Spirit Island.

slocki 1

All games I’m definitely curious about.

3ripmav 2

I'll have to give Teotihuacan a try... it's still sitting unplayed since its arrival.

I didn't know (forgot?) Gaia Project had a solo/automa option. I still prefer Terra Mystica - btw, the new Merchants expansion is badass!

boredaghast 3

The Teotihuacan automa is a bit finicky at first, but bear with it a couple of times using the manual. Then when you have the general idea, use the online Teotibot - it makes things a lot smoother.

3ripmav 1

Thanks for the intel/heads up! Much appreciated.

TopBanana69 5

Highly, highly recommend picking up prelude to boost the solo experience!

slocki 2

I really want to but it’s out of stock everywhere I look!

TopBanana69 1

Dang I didn't realize it was out of stock! I'm sure they'll reprint soon since it's so popular!

3ripmav 2

Check out to find where it might be available, I just ordered my gf a copy so she can play solo after getting addicted to 2p & 4-5p. I think I ordered from Monrovia --> Macronova (edit) games or something like that. I believe it also just got back in stock on coolstuffinc and/or miniaturemarket

EDIT: currently in stock, CSI and MM both out of stock (again?). Worth noting, I placed my order on the 24th and it still hasn't shipped... Grrrrrr

slocki 1

I’m in Canada so that complicates things too (that’s a great site though, and does work up here)

3ripmav 2

Yeah, the US does well overall and is usually in the cheapest or closet to cheapest shipping group for online orders and KS games so I can't complain. Good luck on your hunt! I'd also check trades and marketplace AND Facebook! So many game trade/buy/sell groups and almost always find what I'm looking for.

LevyTheMachine 3

Once I was able to win solo consistently I started trying to win intentionally trying different strategies or not always taking the optimal cards or cards I had used before. Helps to keep things fresh. Still, I know what you mean. It isn’t the kind of solo game I want to play exclusively. I like to play a solo game of TM maybe every 5th or 6th solo game I play I suppose. The prelude expansion really does make solo better though. I feel like it gives me the opportunity to focus on cool card effects more. With the base game it seems like I needed to focus a lot more on standard projects, which aren’t really very thematically exciting. And it kind of sucks when you just stop buying cards because you need to just buy standard projects to win by turn 14. So, prelude all the way.

3ripmav 1

I'm still enjoying the challenge and play 1-2 times a week with my new, "play all the corporations with just Prelude" plan/reset.

What kind of scores are you hitting in the end?

LevyTheMachine 2

I’m not great about recording every game; the last 3 scores I remembered to record were 75, 85, and 100.

3ripmav 2

That seems to be the standard range from a reading on BGG a couple weeks ago (not sure if those included Prelude). Oddly, I've been crushing those scores, I think my lowest since refocusing my play style has been around 110. If you're curious check out my post on BGG later today (user: 3RIPMAV). If I remember I'll come back and post a link once I've created the geek list...


dolirn 16

I've been playing Spirit Island solo this week. I'm getting consistently too good at the game for the difficulty level I've been playing, so it's probably time to bump that up!

xiaopixie 1

I gotta get on this.

ValhallAwaits_ 3

If you want to add some variety, come over to r/spiritisland and check out some of the community challenges we post every week! It gives you spirit pairing you may not do along with different adversary levels and optional scenarios. Its really fun to do the games and read how other peoples went as well!

dolirn 1


Plerophoria 3

I've just started with spirit island solo and find it really tough. Any tips you'd share? I'm pretty bad so anything you can offer up would go a long way I'm sure haha.

EquivalentStomach5 2

Thanks for asking that....I've been struggling with that too !!!

dolirn 6

I've been playing two-handed (so using two spirits by myself). The game is at its best when spirits can help each other.

Other things to think about: the most obvious priorities are preventing builds and ravages. The terrain types already out are the biggest targets. Simple actions like moving a town or explorer out of a land can prevent the invaders from doing anything there. An explorer ravaging by himself is no threat. Also, sometimes you can just let a land get blighted. If you don't have enough to prevent it, just let it happen. Try to let that happen in lands where you have no presence, so you don't lose anything.

Plerophoria 2

Thanks! Lots to think on for my next round.