Part 2 of The Best Solo Games
Written by Jonnii Small - Jul 30 2020
While we're still social distancing, it seems the perfect time to give you a Part 2 to our roundup of the best solo games to play. If you haven't already checked out Part 1, it's worth a read!
SHERLOCK HOLMES: CONSULTING DETECTIVE
Wanting to solve ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ like Sherlock himself? Well there are a lot of board games and video games that give you that opportunity, but to me, none give the experience as well as Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. You’re put in the position of solving a ‘Sherlock-level’ mystery all across London where you decide where to go, what clues you discover, who murdered who and so many more questions in each different set of cases! Originally printed in 1981, Consulting Detective has no board, no dice and no cards, just a few books, a map, and a newspaper. The rest, my dear Watson, is up to you.
This game can be played with as many or as little amount of people as you would like! But, as many of us may know, more heads do not equal more success. Sometimes it’s just easier to put your head down and figure out a mystery on your own, as opposed to people on your left and right chiming in every 10 seconds! Consulting Detective lets you decide how you solve the mystery and how many notes you feel that you need to take; before Sherlock comes in at the end and tells you everything you missed! What you can then do is count up how many ‘points’ you got (based on how many answers you correctly gave at the conclusion of the case) and gift it to a friend to try and beat your score.
With all that being said, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective can take a decent amount of time, especially if you want to brush through every description of each location with a fine-tooth comb! But, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from pausing and continuing another time, which makes Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective (on top of a myriad of other reasons) one of the most adaptable board games EVER!
Of course, this was here. This little darling of a board game has been on everyone’s lists everywhere since it came out. And while there are far superior games in terms of strategy and mechanics, Wingspan’s beautiful art, components and easy to learn mechanics make it incredibly popular with people outside of the hobby as well as within it. In Wingspan you play Birdwatchers attempting to lure various species of birds to your habitats. All of the birds are unique and have special effects that can dictate how many victory points you get at the end of the game!
As with most other Stonemaier Games board games, Wingspan has an Automa. An Automa is a dedicated system designed purely for solo play and to give the consumer the same gameplay experience as they would get with more players around them. Wingspan’s Automa is very simple (it has an app too!) where the Automa player will perform certain actions, some of which will hinder you, but most will gain the Automa itself more points. Like Wingspan acts at a higher player count, it’s very much a solitaire experience too where there is very little interaction between the yourself and the Automa. You’re aim as a whole is to get more points than the Automa, as well as beating your previous scores.
Board games that have very little interaction between players are ideal for solo play and Wingspan is no exception to that. With an app to help out too, this birdy-based game is very flexible with who can play. This game has had a glowing reception from most all outlets, and we are no exception!
Back to Stonemaier with Viticulture Expanded Edition (EE), a game where you’re put into the shoes of a new winery owner. You’ll have to build your wine-making structures, plant grapes in your fields, as well as smush them with your own two feet (in the game obviously!).
As a Worker Placement game, you’ll pick up your staff and pop them onto different spaces on the board in order to perform a variety of actions. These actions act as a puzzle for you to solve, asking questions like ‘How best do I optimize my wine-making process?’ or ‘How am I going to make the best quality Sparkling Wine so I can fulfill my customer orders!?’. It’s almost like a real job, but you get to push transparent beads and name your workers cute things like ‘Arabella’ and ‘Gerardo’.
Solo play, much like Wingspan, is done through an Automa. This Automa does not compete against you however, it simply blocks your path to gaining points with its own deck. With this very simple system to play with, Viticulture EE brings forth probably the easiest Solo Play system to board gaming. With the Tuscany expansion too, it adds even more to the gaming experience in both solo and multi-play!
SHADOWS OF KILFORTH
What class do you want to be and what weapons do you want to start with? These are questions you’ve likely had to think about before if you’ve ever played a roleplaying game in either the physical or digital world. Another game asking this question is Shadows of Kilforth!
In Shadows of Kilforth you take the role of a hero on a journey in this dark and gloomy world of magic and mayhem! You will travel around the landscape of Kilforth, meet strangers, collect loot and face down ravaging enemies. Encounters are dice roll based and randomly occur on different locations, sometimes giving you rewards and rumours to further improve your own skills for the coming battles. The game ends once you defeat the big bad boss (or ancient) at the end, simple.
Shadows of Kilforth shines in solo play, taking the cue from so many single player adventure video games where you play as one hero, improve them over time, sometimes gathering friends and equipment along the way, before facing down the gigantic enemy at the end. The only differences at higher player counts depend on the variant you play cooperative or competitive. If you play cooperative, it’s practically the same as playing solo, just with someone else around to help you beat the baddie at the end. Whereas, if you compete against 1 to 3 others, it’s a race to see who can beat the boss first!
So that's it for Part 2 of the best solo games - we're enjoying solo gaming so much, there might even be a Part 3 - check back for more!