Table for One – Why Play Solo?

“Why do you play games by yourself? Don’t you have any friends?” If I've heard this question once, I've heard it a thousand times. There are a multitude of reasons why people solo game, read on to find out why I love setting a Table for One.

Hello, my name is Wendy, and I’m a board game addict. Yup, I love to play. When I’m not playing, I’m probably thinking about playing, or even writing about playing, as in this case. Unfortunately it’s not always easy to find others willing or able to play as often as I like. That has brought me into the world of solo gaming.

The Rise of Solo Gaming

Solo board gaming is a widely growing area of the hobby we all love. In 2014 Board Game Geek added Solo Gaming to its list of annual awards, with categories such as “Best Solitaire Game”, “Best Multiplayer Game Played Solitaire”, and “Best Solitaire Variant”.  More and more games are adding solo variants to their rules, often offering these adaptations as stretch goals on crowdfunding sites. Many older games have had fan-based solo rules created for them which can be easily found on the internet. Solo play has been one of the biggest considerations for my most recent purchases.


Solo Gaming Options

There are many different ways to solo game. Some games can be played solo by playing two-handed or controlling two different characters, factions, etc. You can play solo games that challenge you to beat a high score, or even beat your own score. Some solo games have win/loss conditions to meet, giving the player a genuine feeling of satisfaction once completed.

So, why do I solo?  Several reasons.


Until recently I worked full-time, went to school full-time, and had a family that includes a 5-year-old daughter. This does not leave a lot of time for me to make it to organized game nights or to schedule them on my own. Solo gaming allows me to play whenever I have a chance, even if that chance happens to be at 3 in the morning.


Sometimes I want to have some time to de-stress. Although I love my family and friends, I don’t always want to be with them. Solo gaming allows me to immerse myself in a different world for a bit, and forget about the real one.


Not everyone I know likes the same games I do. Not everyone I know likes games at all. Shocking, I know, sad, but true. Solo gaming gives me the opportunity to play games that I want without relying on other people.


When I get a new game, I want to play it now!  I don’t want to have to wait until Stu can get a babysitter and Liz can clear her calendar. I want to play now!  Solo gaming lets me get that hot new game to the table as soon as possible. I hate to wait, and now I don’t have to!


Before I started playing solo, I never knew there was such a large solo community out there. The people that I have met since beginning this journey have been amazing. There is a ton of fan made content, and most people are just dying to share it with you!  This has allowed my games to stay fresh, coming back to the table more often. Solo gamers are a friendly group of people who are always eager to help out with rules questions!


At times it is easier, and definitely less stressful for me to take a game out for a spin solo before bringing it to a bigger audience.  I’ll play a solo game or two ahead of time, to fully understand the mechanics, especially when playing with newer, or younger gamers.


Resources for Solo Gaming

If you are interested in learning more about solo gaming and the solo community, there are many websites, blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels dedicated to solo gaming.  A few that I frequent are:

Singlehandedly– A new blog that is following my own solo gaming exploits. Not all games on this blog will be mainstream, giving the reader a chance to see some games they might have not otherwise noticed.

Boardgames with Niramas– Josef and his pet dragon, Drako, take a fun look at board games. His series on Terraforming Mars was the selling point for me. Based in Sweden, Josef posts many games that have not yet made it to the US, allowing a sneak peek of what’s to come!

One Stop Co-Op Shop– The name of Colin’s channel may say co-op, but the majority of his videos are solo games. He does an excellent job of going through rules, making some of the more challenging rulebooks easier to understand. Colin has recently expanded into the world of podcasts, here.

Rolling Solo– Adam Smith does a great job of delving into new games from a solo prospective. In a little over a year he has amassed quite a library of videos, with new content posting regularly. I have seen games on his channel that I didn’t know had solo variants available.

Beyond Solitaire– Liz brings a fresh voice to solo gaming through her blog. She seems to have her finger on the pulse of the new gaming community, and I often find new games that I might have otherwise missed

Both Sides of My Table– Giles brings his own unique personality to every post that he makes! His blog focuses more on playing two-handed, showing the reader what the game looks like, well, from both sides of his table!

Low Player Count– Although their content is not exclusively solo, Donny, Shawn, and Travis give their opinions on games, and sometimes a lot more in this fun podcast. You are guaranteed at least one good laugh per episode.

Why Not Give Solo Gaming a Try?

If you have never tried a game solo before, I suggest you give it a go. I am sure that in your vast collection there is a game or two that can offer solo gameplay. Try it out the next time you have an urge to play. You might just surprise yourself! Let me be the first to welcome you to this group!  I’m sure that you’re going to like it here!

I even came up with my Top 6 Solo Games which might offer you a good place to start.

Header photo by Robert Bieber.

About the author

Wendy Barlow

Hello, my name is Wendy, and I like to game. A lot. Maybe like isn’t a strong enough word here, but we’re a little off course here. I like all kinds of games, and am always looking out for new ones to try. The problem is, life gets in the way sometimes, and I can’t always find someone to play with, as often as I would like to. So, recently I have veered into the solo gaming world. If you'd like to read more about my solo gaming adventures please check out my blog here:


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  • I really enjoyed this article. A lot of times you see posts about games to play with 4+ people and that is not always the case. I love reading your blog and am looking forward to checking out some of your recommendations. 🙂

  • Really appreciate this article, Wendy. Overall, I am in the same boat here. While there are a few family members and friends that would want to try a game or two, location is a bit of a factor (i.e. living miles apart). And truthfully, mutual interest in the games would be a barrier. When I recently started on my love of tabletop, and realized that solo games are a thing, I was thrilled. Problem I have now is to actually get the time to play them all. Oh well. At least I’m enjoying this hobby we all love. Take care!

  • great article. i am another solo gamer. i live in a place with no gaming community at all. my friends and family have 0 interest in tabletop games . its good to see other people share my problem. if only bgg would add a search by player count feature our lives would be so much easier

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