A mystery box filled with miniatures to enhance your RPG campaigns. All official miniatures and for a bargain price!

Buy Miniatures Box »

Not sure what game to buy next? Buy a premium mystery box for two to four great games to add to your collection!

Buy Premium Box »
Subscribe Now »

If you’re only interested in receiving the newest games this is the box for you; guaranteeing only the latest games!

Buy New Releases Box »
Subscribe Now »

Looking for the best bang for your buck? Purchase a mega box to receive at least 4 great games. You won’t find value like this anywhere else!

Buy Mega Box »
Subscribe Now »

Buy 3, get 3% off - use code ZATU3·Buy 5, get 5% off - use code ZATU5

5 Great Games Genres For Multi Player Solo

Multi Player Solo Games Terraforming Mars

Multi Player what? Multi Player Solo! Yes, that’s right, you’re playing all by your lonesome but you’re playing as more than one player. Much like a bridge player plays the dummy hand you make all the actions and take all the decisions for however many players on the board one after another until “someone” wins. All right, we know it’s always going to be you but which you?

Most of the latest games have good solo rules these days – see the features “The Top 6 Solo experiences for the Top games” and “The Top 5 Solo experiences in games you may not know” – but there’s nothing like playing it like it’s meant to be played. Doing this as 3 or 4 players one after another whilst being a bit mind-stretching lets you try different strategies and see how they play out against each other.

Bidding games, trick taking, hidden movement, bluffing and deception are all ruled out so which games are good to be played this way? Here are 5 to whet your appetite. Well rather than just 5 games I’m going to consider 5 types of games and a prime example of each. if Queen gave you the 7 Seas of Rye (google it) I give you the 5 C’s of Multi Player Solo : Complex, Co-op, Campaign, Conflict x 2!

1. Complex Euro Games – Terraforming Mars

I lean towards the heavy side in many things and my taste in games is no exception. I’m happy to spend hours learning rules, mastering involved game mechanics and playing games where you have to do lots of stuff even if it takes hours. I understand that not everyone is like me!

There are lots of so-called Euro games that would fall in this category:- Scythe, Arnak, the Century series, Great Western Trail, Wingspan etc. etc. A pantheon of the biggest and the best. What you are looking for to get a good Multi Player Solo (MPS) experience are games with little player interaction so you just concentrate on your own actions or, indeed, the actions of up to 3 or 4 “you’s”. All of the above work well like this but the one I would single out as the best to try is Terraforming Mars.

Terraforming Mars has so many different options going on in terms of different cards, different corporations, different ways to get VPs then it’s great to try multiple variations pitted against each other. The solo play is good and there’s Automa on the way but why restrict yourself to one approach. With MPS you can play as a mineral rich Mining Corporation on the one hand with a Green Eco-Friendly set up on the other. Is it better to concentrate on building structures or nurturing Flora and Fauna?

I’m not going to lie to you it takes a certain discipline to keep track of where you are with each “Player” and it’s worth using a marker to show whose turn it is. Also with Terraforming Mars in particular there are a lot of resource cubes to pile up and pay out. The payback, however, is well worth it.

At the end, what if the one you secretly favoured didn’t win the other face of your multi-faceted character will have triumphed instead. So that’s all right.

2. Co-operative Games – Alien Fate Of The Nostromo

Co-operative games are, perhaps, the ideal candidate for playing Multi Player Solo. Even when playing with others you are supposed to converse and all work together to achieve the common goal but there are two problems with this. Both can be overcome with MPS. First you may not get enough players together to explore all the roles and secondly, and far worse, the game may be taken over by an Alpha player who wants to tell everyone what to do. Well, with MPS, take on as many of the roles together as you like and that you feel your brain can handle and as for that all-controlling Alpha beast well that’s you, so that’s all right, again.

Co-op games include: Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert, Castle Panic and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective etc. with the best known of all being Pandemic. Unfortunately, though I’ve played Pandemic, I don’t have it, so I’m going to suggest Alien: Fate of the Nostromo!

Alien, as most of you will know, is a seminal SF film where the doomed crew of the freighter Nostromo fight off the eponymous Alien until Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley becomes the Final Girl. TBH if you don’t know the film Alien, then Alien FOTN may not be for you as all the atmosphere that drips through it like alien protoplasm through the spacecraft hull would be wasted on you.

Here you can take on the roles of Captain Dallas, bickering Engineering duo Brett and Parker, trans Navigator Lambert or resourceful Ripley (Ash is one of the villains and Kane has already suffered his ultimate Irritable Bowel Syndrome moment!) so why not go MPS and play them all? You get a series of tasks to complete before the choice of final ending scenarios whilst being chased around by the seven foot, sable, xenomorph.

Unlike the horror of the movie, nobody dies in Ravenburger’s family friendly Alien: FOTN you just run off to a far corner of the ship which can sometimes be quite useful. It can be quite tight to beat, so worth trying differing character combos.

3. Campaign/Legacy Games – LOTR: Journeys In Middle Earth

Next up for our MPS genres is Campaign or Legacy games. Here the issue is that you are supposed to play the same game over and over in a series until reaching an ultimate conclusion. This can be straight replaying of the original with, maybe, characters gaining in strength on the Campaign side or completely changing the play and ripping up the rules (well some of the cards, anyway) in Legacy games.

If you are the sort of person who finds it hard enough to get a gaming group of friends together to play one reasonably complex game, imagine the difficulty in time, willingness and availability in getting the same group together to do the same thing 15 times in a row! Throw in the fact they may have to learn new rules each time just when they thought they’ve got the hang of it and there’s virtually no hope.

Step up to the plate Multi Player Solo. Here you can settle in to however long a campaign you desire with as many different “players” as you want. They will always be available whenever you feel like playing and in between sessions will quietly wait in the back of your mind until you command them forward again.

There are many excellent games like this that might otherwise not be able to demonstrate their full potential. Again, Pandemic Legacy, in it’s various forms, is probably the best known. I also have Risk: Legacy and I would regard Undaunted: Stalingrad as a Campaign/Legacy game, albeit a resettable one. Scythe: The Rise of Fenris also provides a veritable feast of options in a developing scenario.

However The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth is my suggestion for today. played as a table game with terrain tiles, Hero character cards and combat decided by drawing from a deck it also works in symbiotic relationship with an App on your Phone or computer (Tip: use your phone or tablet. I ran it on my PC because of the bigger screen but knacke---- exhausted myself getting up from it to the table and back all night!) This is truly ia great RPG experience with tons of themed atmosphere; plus all the miniatures are worth painting too.

4. Conflict Games - Miniatures – X-Wing

Talking of miniatures, tabletop conflict games with miniatures are another area that rewards MPS. Typically if you are a fan of this genre you will have spent hours (days, weeks, months, years!?) building up your forces, sometimes literally, then painting them in great detail, poring through the background lore and research material and learning all the ins and outs of your particular set of combat rules: whether it be Games Workshop’s Space Marines versus hordes of Tyranids or Flames of War pitting Monty’s Desert Rats against Rommel’s fabled Afrika Korps.

And then what? Unless you’ve been working hand-in-glove with some equally devoted fan who just happens to be building up your perfect opponent you are all dressed up and nowhere to go! So, play MPS. Admittedly this does take the surprise element out of clever tactics and you do have to build two armies yourself but, hey, that’s half the fun!

A game I would chose to combat both these issues is Star Wars: X-Wing. First the starter set gives you opposing forces: X-Wing and TIE Fighters straight out of the box and ready painted and as you get further models they each have their own story and can be banded together, or not, in loose alliances, as you fight in a skirmish-like scenario.

Secondly its Manoeuvre system means you plot all the moves in advance and reveal them together. This is where the fun lies in mentally grappling with not only where your ship will end up but where it will be in relation to everyone else. There are often a lot of surprises, good or otherwise, when you think your nifty move will put you on the tail of an enemy only to find they’ve rolled away and are, in fact, behind you. Even if you’ve plotted all the moves yourself!

The Initiative system of pilot’s abilities is good too. The lower numbers move first but then the higher numbers shoot first, to the potential devastating detriment of the less able. You can have a lot of fun exploring the capabilities of different craft against each other.

May the Force be With You!

5. Conflict Games - Board Games -  Quartermaster General WW2

And finally there are Conflict games of the board game variety. Now you might say: “Isn’t this the same as the last category but without the miniatures?” Well, yes, and also there are a lot of main board games that involve conflict to some degree like Scythe for example but I’m looking at the group of table Board Games where conflict is the main driver. So we have : Small World, Root, Risk, Axis and Allies, Star Wars Rebellion, Kingmaker II and the Undaunted! series in the main stream and a whole host of paper map and cardboard counter or blocks wargames from the likes of Avalon Hill, Columbia Games, Compass Games and Avalanche Press.

However the one game I want to suggest here is Quartermaster General WW2 – 2nd Edition as it almost perfectly fits into the ethos of Multi Player Solo. With a map board that covers the entire world you are invited to play all the 6 major nations that contested World War II : Germany, Italy and Japan; UK, Russia and the US each time regardless of how many players there are. So you might have to play two or three nations anyway, even if you have got physical opponents, so why not go the whole hog and play all 6?

Each nation is played one after another as part of one of the two teams, Axis and Allies, until a round is complete and then you all go again. Play is controlled by your hand of cards. Each nation plays one card a turn to either move an Army or Navy, conduct combat or engage in Economic Warfare. There is no random element to combat, an attack will always succeed unless a defensive Resonse card is played. Play revolves around supply centres – you must keep your forces supplied at all times – and they gain you VPs, if you get 30 VP ahead of the opposition you win.

Each nation has different characteristics with varying splits between Armies and Navies and a greater or lesser set of resources represented by their combat decks. So why not compare and contrast their abilities bty playing them all Multi Player Solo?

Well, I hope all the above has whetted your appetite for trying Multi Player Solo and for those of you, like me, who have little choice in the matter through lack of opponents, will feel it’s not such a bad way to spend your game time!

Editors note: This post was originally published on 13 September 2023 Updated on 24th April 2024 to improve the information available.