25 – The Family Gamers Podcast – Solo play

Solitaire, anyone?

Playing board games solo is a great way to improve your skills, using strategy and critical thinking. There are unofficial solo variations available for nearly every game, mostly on BoardGameGeek.com, and there are even groups (ironically) dedicated to solo play, such as the 1-player guild.

What we’ve been playing recently:

Ticket to Ride
World’s Fair 1893 – the retail copy! We reviewed the pre-Kickstarter prototype last year, and we like the finished version even more.
Monopoly Deal
Build a Robot (“like Cootie, but better in every way”)

We did a 1000 piece puzzle. We love Presto Puzzle Saver to preserve a finished puzzle for framing.

Ratchet & Clank
Mario Kart 8
Wario Ware: Smooth Moves

Nintendo recently announced the “NES Classic”, a miniature, self-contained system with dozens of classic 80s NES games. We are interested and think it could be a great gift for kids whose parents grew up with NES.

We briefly mentioned toys-to-life and other expansion-heavy games. Stay tuned for more next week, and let us know what you think of these types of games for your kids.

On to the solo games!

Twilight Struggle can be played solo digitally! From the same publisher is a game called Labyrinth, which can be solo or 2 player.

Codenames has a one-player variation in the official rules.

We like Logic Dots, a one-player-only series of logic puzzles.

Andrew really wants to try Zpocalypse as a solo play, to really master the mechanics.

Most co-operative games can be played solo without too many changes:
Shadows over Camelot (here’s our favorite guidelines for playing it solo)
Forbidden Island
Mice and Mystics, or really any pre-built role-playing campaign that doesn’t require a game master.

Games designed to be single-player:
Labyrinth the marble-race game
“Solitaire” with cards, dominoes, mah-jong tiles
Jigsaw puzzles!
logic puzzles
math puzzles
crossword puzzles
Scrabble? Try to beat your own high score (or try the Words Alone app to really hone your skills)

Games that can be turned into single-player against one or more artificial intelligence players:
Tokaido (either against one AI, against 2 or more AIs)
Tesla vs. Edison with the Powering Up! expansion (coming soon)
Takenoko (TakenSolo)

Games that already feel sort of like solitaire, because they are parallel play:
Machi Koro
Race for the Galaxy
Puerto Rico

Jenga lends itself very well to solo play.
So does Zombie Dice, since your turn is not dependent on others’ turns.

Maybe the more players that are in the game normally, the easier it is to solo? We’re not sure. It’s a large, lonely world of solo play out there, but maybe you should try it out with your favorite game!