This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series The best board games

Board games are also often referred to as parlor games. You sit together and immerse yourself in another world. Even if this social aspect is an important point for the fascination of board games, there are now also variants in many multi-player games that are suitable for solo play. For players who only play them alone, there is often too much material included and the costs are higher as a result. This can be remedied by games that have been developed exclusively for one person. Occasionally there are also variants for two players, but the focus is clearly on the solo game. Here we have put together five games that are perfect for playing alone.

Good solo variants have long been included as standard in connoisseur and expert games and are a selling point. Solo players have the opportunity to face a mostly automated opponent (Automa) that simulates the interaction with other players. However, if you play almost exclusively solo, you have so much material that you will hardly ever use it. This “excess” is avoided by games that were developed from the outset for just one person. This is where you have to face the game. As with the solo variants, there are also different victory conditions here. There are games in which you try to get as many points as possible, but there are also games with a real win/lose condition. The following five games are great for dedicated solo players as well as for those who only want to play solo occasionally.

Coffee Roaster

Coffee Roaster
Coffee Roaster was published in this country by dlp Games. Image: dlp

Before we start our gaming day, a coffee is a good way to wake up. Of course, in order to get a tasty drink from the coffee beans, they first have to be roasted properly. That is exactly the task Coffee Roaster. From one of the 22 available types of beans, you choose one of the desired level and difficulty. In addition to interesting background information about the individual varieties, the bean leaves also state how many of which bean and flavor tokens and other tokens are put in the bag at the beginning. Depending on the position of the round marker, a certain number of tiles are drawn from the bag each round. The drawn bean tiles are roasted. Their value increases by one or two.
The flavor tiles you draw can be used for various effects. They can also be used to unlock other unique effects, useful for the cup tasting at the end of the roast. Once you have used all the desired effects and roasted the beans, you can decide whether to play another round of roasting and thus increase the overall degree of roasting, or whether to go on to the cup test. If you roast too much and roast individual beans above the value four, you lose the bean tile and receive a charred bean instead, which gives minus points.

In the cup test you draw tiles out of the bag one after the other. This is placed either in the cup or in the cardboard bowl. Each type of bean indicates a degree of roasting, for which points are awarded in the cup test. In addition, there are points for matching flavor tokens and roasting as evenly as possible. Tiles such as bad beans, burnt beans or smoke give minus points if they end up in the cup.

If you roast level I, II and III beans one after the other and add up the points you get, you can determine how skilled you are as a coffee roaster. The goal is to reach the master level.

Coffee Roaster is an accessible bag-building game that has a push-your-luck (you could also call it (french-)press-your-luck) element to the cup tasting. The game runs absolutely smoothly. The element of luck at the end of each roast can be to the detriment of the player, but this is where the appeal of the game lies. While roasting the beans you try to keep the dependence on luck as low as possible. The cup effects, such as an additional cardboard bowl to discard bad tiles or the sweetness tile, which acts as a taste joker when it is not required by the selected type of bean, help to react more flexibly to the tile drawn during the cup test.

If you play the complete game with three varieties, the playing time is about 30 minutes. The game is recommended for ages 12 and up.

Preview Product Rating Price
dlp games DLP01030 - Coffee Roaster dlp games DLP01030 - Coffee Roaster * 26,99 EUR

Eternal Light

Eternal Light
Lux Aeterna is available in Germany through Frosted Games. Image: Frosted Games

The last cup of coffee already looked suspiciously dark. What should have been coffee was probably a black hole and now we're sitting in a spaceship and flying way too close to a black hole. To make matters worse, the ship's systems are damaged and we don't have much time to prevent our spaghettising in the black hole. Round by round, four cards are drawn from the deck. These are placed on the console in four areas: Event, Action, Gravity, and Buffer. If one of the incidents is among the cards drawn, its negative effect must first be implemented and drawn on four cards.

Each of the cards has several functions. If it is in the event area, the corresponding system that is the same color as the card takes damage. The status of the six systems is represented by dice. If the value falls below one, the system has collapsed. If the value rises above six, the system is fully functional. In both cases, the cube is removed and the system rotated according to the state. The positive or negative effect then occurs immediately, which has either a one-time or permanent influence on the game.

The action printed on the card in the Action area can be used. These allow various manipulations of the dice, removing the glitch from the deck or "flying away" from the black hole. The latter is important because in the Gravity area, the map pulls our spacecraft closer to the event horizon with its pull value. The remaining card that is in the buffer can be taken to the next round. If there are still cards left after the deal, they are simply discarded.

The game is won when the deck of cards is used up or at least three systems are fully functional and none of them have a dice left. In this case, the score can now be calculated. A defeat occurs when the spaceship reaches the event horizon or 4 or more systems have collapsed. Another difficulty of the game is the time limit. If the time runs out before one of the victory conditions is met, you lose the game.  

The fastest game on the list is also the most accessible. The clear rules allow a quick start and the different possibilities (number of incidents, distance of the spaceship to the event horizon at the beginning, time) to adjust the difficulty make up for it Eternal Light not only a visually appealing game. There is no time for extensive planning here, as time is of the essence. Some decisions are then not optimal. The attraction of the game is to deal with this pressure and possible mistakes flexibly and quickly.

The game is recommended for ages 12 and up. The playing time depends on the set timer. Normal difficulty sets this to 10 minutes.

Preview Product Rating Price
Frosted Games 27 - Lux Aeterna Frosted Games 27 - Lux Aeterna * 17,50 EUR

Warp's Edge

Warp's Edge
Schwerkraft Verlag was responsible for localizing the German version. Image renegade

The black hole seems to have somehow influenced our reality. Suddenly we find ourselves in Warp´s Edge once again. Here we take on the role of pilot recruit Taylor Minde. After numerous warp jumps, he has landed behind enemy lines and is now directly confronted with the alien mothership and its companions. It is not possible to defeat the mothership in one fell swoop. Over several warps (rounds), your own equipment improves bit by bit in order to be able to defeat all enemies in the end. Before you start you can choose from four space fighters and five alien mother ships. Each starfighter comes with its own set of POWER tokens. In addition, there are manoeuvre, laser and energy tiles in the same combination in each game. The starting equipment of your own ship can be found in the bag. From round to round and from warp to warp you overcome enemies and slowly improve the contents of the bag with the rewards.

Each round you face four opponents. From your own pool of five tiles, you can now assign them to the opponent as you like or carry out other actions. Lasers and maneuvers can be used to overcome or paralyze enemies. Energy can be used to repair your own shield, use skills or buy improvements. Once you have allocated all the tiles, all remaining opponents who are not paralyzed attack. Then you draw five new tiles for your own pool and start again with step one of the round, in which you fill up to four enemies. If at the end of the round there are not enough tiles left in the bag to fill up the pool, the current warp ends. All used tiles end up back in the bag. All defeated enemies are also shuffled and placed on top of the enemy deck. In addition, at the beginning of each new warp you receive two new ability cards, one of which you can keep. If the hull's stat drops to zero or the last warp ends before the mothership is defeated, you lose the game. If the mother ship was defeated first, you win.

As with Coffee Roaster do you have it with you? Warp´s Edge to do with a bag-building game. Apart from the common basic mechanics, the games each have their own unique feel. Warp´s Edge is the more tactical and less luck-heavy game in comparison. The rules are intuitive and quickly learned. The various possible combinations of your own space fighters and enemy mother ships allow a high level of variability. Each combination requires a new tactic to defeat the opponent. The level of difficulty is such that victory does not always await at the end of the game.

The game is recommended for ages 14+ and has a playing time of 30-45 minutes.

Preview Product Rating Price
Renegade Games 2072 - Warp's Edge Renegade Games 2072 - Warp's Edge * 40,49 EUR

Friday

Friday
Friday is international - the solo adventure game is also available in English. Image: Rio Grande

The last warp in Warp´s Edge brought us back to earth. We have landed on a quiet, lonely island, but an annoying shipwrecked person disturbs our idyll. It's very green and you can see the letter F. It's obvious that we're in a 2F game. In Friedemann Friese's game Friday we play in the role of Friday, who helps Robinson get off the island again. In this case, Robinson is an initial 18-card deck. Surviving hazards allows new and better cards to be added to the deck.

At the beginning of each round, two of the hazard cards are drawn and one chosen for Robinson to face. Depending on the current one of the three levels, the danger has a certain value. It also states how many Robinson cards may be drawn. If these reach the value of the active danger card, this is added to the Robinson deck. If you have not reached the value with the free cards drawn and the special actions of the Robinson cards are not enough either, you can either draw more by paying life points or give up. In the case of the task you have to pay the difference between the achieved and required value with life points. In return, you can then additionally destroy a card revealed in this round for each life point given up in this way. Clumsy cards shuffled into the Robinson deck when it's depleted and reshuffled cost two of the life expended. They simulate Robinson getting older. If the clumsy deck is empty, the game is lost.

When the hazard deck is exhausted, the discard is reshuffled and the next level of hazard cards begins. When the stack is played through a third time, Robinson must face two pirate ships. If he can also defeat them, the game is won and Friday has peace on the island again.

You shouldn't let the simple game principle fool you about the actual difficulty. The learning curve of this game is steep. Gradually it becomes clear how to improve the deck, when to use life points to draw more cards and which card to destroy and when. The push-your-luck element of drawing the card doesn't really feel punishing and the short set-up and playing time always allows for another game to follow.

The game is suitable for people aged 10 and over. A game lasts about 30 minutes.

Preview Product Rating Price
Friedmann Friese Freitag - A solo adventure board game Friedmann Friese Friday - A Solo Adventure Board Game* 17,59 EUR

Onirim

Onirim
Into the realm of dreams? All alone? Should you dare. Image: Pegasus Games

After an eventful day, we deserve a good night's sleep. But there is still a task waiting for us here. Onirim is the game that does that Oniverse has begun. Here we are dreamwalkers who have to find the oniric (oneirology=study of dreams) doors in a mysterious labyrinth in order not to be trapped forever. In order to find the doors, three cards of the same color must be placed one after the other in your own display (the labyrinth). These cards come from your own hand. Here you hold five cards. A newly placed card may not show the same symbol as the last card placed, regardless of its suit. When there are three cards of the same color in a row, you can choose a door of the corresponding color from the stack and place it in front of you. If you cannot or do not want to place a card, you discard a card from your hand as a second option in your turn. If it shows a key symbol, you can look at the top five cards of the deck and put four of them back in any order while removing the fifth from the game.

Then you draw cards one by one until you have five cards in your hand again. If you pull a door, you can immediately place it in front of you by throwing a key of the same color. If there is a nightmare among the newly drawn cards, you must resolve it immediately and implement its negative effect. Here you can choose from four options. If you have discovered all eight doors at one point, you have won the game. If the stack is exhausted and you would have to draw more cards to have five cards in your hand again, the game is lost.

With Onirim we are again at the easier end of the difficulty scale. Depending on the version, three or seven mini-extensions ensure that the simple basic principle of the game does not become boring. Without these, the game would eventually feel very "same". All of these expansions can be combined with each other and add various new tactical and playful elements that give the game a very high level of replayability. Managing the (hand) cards is a slightly luck-dependent task, which still allows enough tactics.  

The game is suitable for people aged 10 and over and takes about 15 minutes to play.

Preview Product Rating Price
Pegasus Games 18109G - Onirim (Metal Can) Pegasus Games 18109G - Onirim (Metal Can) * 31,30 EUR

Last updated on 3.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API