Holiday Gift Guide: 9 Great Solo Boardgames

Whether you have someone in your life who already adores (solo) board games or know somebody who is just discovering the endless possibilities in the space, a board game can be an excellent gift. But what do you give somebody? In this article you can find great recommendations for cheap, medium priced and expensive solo boardgames. This list is based on my own experience with playing solo games and on the solo top 200 people’s choice list.

Cheap solo games (under €30)

Super Skill Pinball: 4-cade:

Super Skill Pinball is a roll and write game that feels like playing a pinball machine. It is a lot of fun to roll the dice and bounce your ball all over the sheet, scoring combos and points. The solo game plays the same as the multiplayer so no extra rules overhead and you get the full experience. There are multiple versions available, including a holiday special. You can also download a printable Christmas themed pinball table from BGG and add it to the game for some extra holiday cheer.


Cartographers is a flip and write game where you will be drawing your own map. Every turn you flip a card and draw the Tetris shape on your map. You score points by fulfilling certain criteria for your kingdom every round. This game doesn’t require a lot of change from the multiplayer to play solo, the only difference are the monster cards because you won’t have another player to place those for you. Instead you will follow the placement rules on the card. A very minor thing that doesn’t really change the gameplay. You can also add some coloured pencils to the gift to enhance the experience of drawing the maps.

Under Falling Skies:

Under Falling Skies is a dice placement solo only game in which you defend a besieged city form alien invaders. You choose your action by placing your dice, the lane in which you place your dice will also be where alien ships will descend and the higher the number on your dice the faster the enemy will approach. You can play this game in single missions or you can play the multi-mission campaign in which you will defend different cities and build your base. It is a quick, fun and at times tense game that is meant purely for solo.

Medium priced solo games (€30-€50)

Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition

This is an engine-building game in which you are a corporation attempting to terraform Mars now Earth is no longer habitable. You will need to place oceans and raise the temperature and the oxygen levels to win the game. During the game you will spend MC’s (megacredits) to either directly influence the oceans, temperature or oxygen levels or to build your engine so you can buy increasingly better cards. Ares Expedition is a more streamlined and cheaper version of the original Terraforming Mars and I vastly prefer this one to its big brother.


Cascadia is a puzzly tile-laying and token drafting game in which you will build your wildlife terrain and populate it with animals. Each turn you will add habitat tiles and wildlife (animal) tokens to your tableau building it out. Four scoring cards will determine how the animals will be scored at the end of the game which will influence your playstyle while you always score the most for big habitats. It’s a thinky game with hardly any setup and almost no change to the rules when playing solo. Making it a perfect game for when you don’t have much time but still want a rewarding experience.


Wingspan is an engine-building game about birds. It features beautiful art and a very easy to run solo opponent. You play birds from your hand into three possible habitats and the birds you play will gain you immediate advantages or will gain you advantages every time you use that specific habitat (improving your engine). Your goal is to score the most points at the end of the game by playing birds and reaching certain goals.

Expensive solo games (above €50)

Spirit Island

This year Spirit Island was once again chosen as the number one people’s choice solo boardgame. That should already give you a pretty good idea about how great of a solo games this is. In Spirit Island you play as a spirit defending your home from colonizing invaders. Together with the islands original inhabitants, the Dahan, you will try to scare away the invaders using your unique powers. This game can be played true solo (with one spirit) or you can play with multiple spirits and let them help each other. You win by scaring the invaders off but be careful to not let the island be overrun or you’ll loose the game. Spirit Island is an immersive game in which you get more powerful as the game progresses. It is not an easy game but that makes winning even more satisfying.

Marvel Champions: The card game

Marvel Champions is a cooperative living cardgame in which you will play as different heroes from the Marvel universe and try to stop the villains. If you know someone who loves Marvel or superheroes in general this will be a great gift for them. The base game already has a lot of content to keep you entertained for a while and there are lots of expansions and hero packs to add to the game. And who doesn’t love the idea of teaming up Spiderman and Iron Man to take down Rhino? It’s fun and easy to setup while giving you a lot of replayability because you can build you own decks and try different strategies.

Ark Nova

If you want something that isn’t about fighting but more about building and creating then Ark Nova might be the perfect game. In Ark Nova you are tasked with building your own zoo and filling it with animals. You will need to score on different fronts, including conservation, and create a successful enough zoo. The solo mode is very easy to run and will give you a time restraint to accomplish your goals. There are always multiple paths to victory and exploring them is a lot of fun to do.

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