In general, Tabletop Games are designed with at least two or three players in mind. Often there's no way to automate the physical base game, needing human players to make the decisions for each side. In the case of many Tabletop RPGs, a Game Master is required to fill the various roles that the players cannot, otherwise the story would be spoiled.
But Solo Tabletop Games avert this — they can be played with just one player.
So why would anyone play them alone? Well, some people could be living in a small town where few share their interest in tabletop gaming. Their schedules might not allow them to attend local tabletop gaming meetups. Some people want the interaction of games as opposed to watching TV or movies, but want to get away from screens. Others just want to be alone, though many probably just want to get the most use out of their purchases. Most hobby tabletop games cost at least $20 to $60, and some cost $100 or more.
Whatever the reason, games can make this possible because of their mechanics: dice rolling and separate card decks that determine what sort of challenges or effects that occur. Others provide a solitaire variant, turning a game into a Self-Imposed Challenge. Another way is the game comes with a Tabletop Game A.I. — in this case, a set of actions and rules that trigger based on what card is drawn, roll results, or player decisions.
There's plenty of House Rules by fans to allow their favorite games for solo play. To help narrow things down, examples listed as variants should be official.
Not to be confused with tabletop games based on Solo: A Star Wars Story.
- The 2005 version of Arkham Horror and its spin-offs Elder Sign and Eldritch Horror are listed for one to eight players. Game encounters and events are made by a separate deck of cards, while a character template covers the actions of the Big Bad.
- Chainsaw Warrior was marketed as a "Solo Board Game'' right on the box, though its main components are cards—the board was just used to track the player's status. Here, the player is a cybernetic supersoldier who must save New York from a zombie apocalypse by closing a dimensional rift within an hour.
- The 2011 version of Mage Knight allows one to four players. For solo play, there is a simulated player.
- All of the Tiny Epic games include a solo option, by having several different AI boards.
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown - the Board Game is for one to four players, who battle against aliens whose actions are determined by chance. There is also an app required, which gives random events and helps with combat calculation.
- The Omega Virus allows one to four players. The antagonist is controlled by a talking electronic console placed in the center of the board, making solo play akin to a computer game. A solo player only misses out on the chance for player characters to attack each other—and hear the Virus comment on the brazen lack of cooperation.
- Minion Hunter is a cooperative board game for one to six players. Enemy activity is controlled entirely by dice rolls and a deck of shuffled cards.
- Several standalone Warhammer 40,000 Gaiden Games have solo options, including Execution Force and Bommerz Over da Sulfur River.
- The Piecepack Wiki has a list of single-player piecepack games.
- Stardew Valley has special rules for a solo player.
- Terraforming Mars has rules for solo play, where instead of trying to have more points than your opponents when you collectively complete the terraforming process, you try to do the terraforming by yourself in a limited number of generations.
- Solitaire with its many variants, using a deck of standard cards. The Klondike version is the best-known type of solo tabletop game, with many computer variants, including the famous version included with Microsoft Windows starting with version 3.0 in 1990. Some variations like Spider use two decks shuffled together. Others use more or use "stripped" decks.
- Death Angel is solo or co-operative. Events are determined by a deck of cards, and the genestealers just keep on attacking automatically.
- Flip City is listed for one to four players. Using variant rules, every time the player reshuffles their deck, they remove one card from the common pool. The player must achieve a victory condition before the card pool is empty.
- Friday is a solo-only deckbuilder, with the player as the titular character trying to help Robinson Crusoe survive.
- The Deck Building Game Legendary has a solitaire-only spin offs based on the ALIEN and Predator movies.
- Fantasy Flight Games' The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is played by either 1 or 2 players. Encounters and enemies are drawn from separate decks.
- One Deck Dungeon is an RPG-style card game in the style of Roguelikes. The titular Deck contains all the monsters and treasure cards, and the Boss Monster is a template that is played when the players reach the end.
- The Pathfinder Adventure Card game is a Card Game/RPG hybrid that could be played solo. A series of cards - the Adventure Path - decide what other cards the player will encounter- monsters, locations, and cool stuff for the players.
- Race for the Galaxy gained a solo option with The Gathering Storm expansion. Here, an "AI" template using dice and chits to simulate an opponent.
- All games set in the Oniverse are solo-player with a 2-player cooperative variant. Set in a dream world with an Art Brute aesthetic, The Oniverse includes (among others):
- Onirim, a card game where the player uses keys to unlock doors before the deck runs out. This task is complicated with nightmares located throughout the deck, which force the player to choose between several negative effects if drawn. The second edition adds several additional mini-expansions, which can be mixed together or played separately.
- Castellion, a tile-laying game where the player must protect their castle from invaders. Each tile has a special ability, and if the tiles are in a certain layout, it gives additional bonuses like being able to reorganize tiles or gain additional time before needing to satisfy the level requirements. There are three different levels, each adding an additional layer of complexity, and easier/harder variants for each level.
- Sylvion (of no relation to "Sylveon"), a combination deckbuilder/castle defense style game where the player has to organize woodland efforts to save the Sylvan forest's denizens from a menacing forest fire. Players draft their deck before trading turns with the game, trying to both extinguish encroaching flames and revitalize the forest that's been already burned. If the blaze becomes too much for the forest to recover after the enemy deck is depleted, it's game over.
- Nautilion, a take on roll-and-move where the player rolls 3 dice and allots them to either their own submarine, an opposing vessel, and the Darkhouse, which can potentially cause negative events depending on what value was given to it. The player has to make their way across a path to the other side before the opposing sub does, and collect a complete set of crew members on the way, who can only be placed in certain spots relative to the previous members already on the ship. Fortunately, there are ways to change results to something more in the player's favour.
- Sentinels of the Multiverse plays with this trope. It's meant to be played with anywhere from three to five people working together, but due to the fact that they're all on one side, there's nothing preventing anyone from simply playing every Hero by themselves. The Villain and Environment are designed to play by themselves, rather than having anything resembling a hand, cards are simply played off the top of Villain and Environment decks at their play phase and according to their rules.
- Star Realms and its fantasy spin-off Hero Realms have official solo/co-op challenge cards. These challenges automatically attack, then removes a card from the trade row. A new card is added, and another effect occurs based on the drawn card's alignment.
- The publishers of Thunderstone released an official variant - with a few rule changes, the single player can play the deckbuilder without the need for others. It helps that the enemies also have their own deck and when drawn are laid down into a row.
- XenoShyft, being basically a tower defense game, can be played solo. The enemy cards are drawn from a separate deck, and the player fights each drawn card down a line.
- Ani-Mayhem could be played solo, since Disaster cards would activate either right away or before the player could make any moves.
- Magic: The Gathering has published three solo/co-operative Challenge Decks for its Theros block: Face the Hydra, Battle the Horde, and Journey into Nyx. Each deck has their own unique cards, and is self-running with its own special rules. The player wins depending on if they fulfill the right conditions.
- The Mythos CCG is based on the Cthulhu Mythos. There are solo rules in which events and threats are placed in a separate deck. When the player moves to a new location or passes a turn, the Threat deck activates. Here, the player must complete his Adventures before running out of Sanity points.
- Surprisingly for a CCG from 1999, the Tomb Raider CCG had solo rules. Avoiding the problem of most card games based on video games, Tomb Raider was able to recreate the exploration and adventure aspect.
- The Dungeon Masters Guide in the 1st Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons had a random dungeon generator based on dice rolls with notes on how to use it for solo play - as long as the player had a little self-discipline to play any encountered monsters intelligently and keep his and his character's knowledge of traps etc. separate it was perfectly usable.
- Dwarfstar Games in the 1980's released two solo-only roleplaying games: Barbarian Prince and Star Smuggler. Using boards and various pieces to keep track of the player's progress and options, the games also used a paragraph booklet which detailed information on events and actions. However, this meant the player had to reference the booklet often.
- Fighting Fantasy books were an early experiment to create single-player Tabletop RPG gameplay by mixing it with the Gamebooks format.
- Four Against Darkness is a dungeon crawler designed for solo play only. Rooms, events, encounters and the like are decided by dice rolls and roll result tables.
- Solo play is a main play mode of Ironsworn, where one person plays a lone hero in a perilous land. The game eschews the need for a gamemaster with oracle tables to roll on and solo principles, aspects that also are useful for guided play.
- Relately, Ironsworn: Starforged retains all of the solo support of its predecessor.
- Mythic Role Playing features independent Game Master Emulation rules composed of charts and tables that allow a player to randomize events with dice rolls. The GM Emulation rules outshine the game itself and are highly recommended by solo roleplayers.
- Wanderhome has a section on "journeying solo," permitting a player to play with one's imagination and giving some advice for what works for playing by oneself.
- In the official rules for the Pocket Edition of OGRE has this option: just have the titular supertank head straight for the objective and attack anything in range. All the player has to do is roll the dice for it. The official website also provides variants to decide the Ogre's actions - including using cards or dice rolls.
- The States of Siege series by Victory Point Games is a series of historical solo scenarios. Hapsburg Eclipse and Ottoman Sunset deals with World War I, with the player taking the roles of Austria-Hungry or the Ottoman Empire, respectively.
- Osprey's The Men Who Would Be Kings includes an option to play against "Mr. Babbage" who is unfortunately not present in the club, but has left a series of rules according to which he plays his miniature wargames. There are some basic concepts (always assault if possible when playing natives) and tables to determine whether an opposing unit flees the table or regenerates.