Top 10 titles to enjoy solo or pass and play on Tabletopia
A whole board game cafe on your mobile
Updated: Original list by Matt Thrower, Updated by Jupiter Hadley on December 8th, 2020.
Tabletopia is an open-ended board game engine. You download a module, learn the rules, open it up and get playing with anyone else online and up for a game.
At least, that's the theory. In practice its lobby rooms are often empty, especially around the exact time you want to play.
Game over, you might think. But the folk behind it have made a point of ensuring that a lot of their games work really well both solo and pass and play.
You'll still need to learn the rules, but it's a great way to try out a bunch of modern board games on your mobile.
To celebrate the fact it's now out on Android as well as iOS, here are our top picks to help you achieve Tabletopia.
As you might guess from the iconic character of the game's title, Nemo's War lets you voyage aboard the Nautilus as the famous captain. Designed for solo play, it's not constrained by the plot of the book. Instead you choose what kind of mission you want to sail, from exploration to science to various kinds of good old-fashioned violence. Then you build an encounter deck to navigate the Nautilus through. Featuring a fun balance of strategy, dice-rolling and narrative, it's a great game to dive into.
Clans of Caledonia
The economics of Victorian Scotland seems an unlikely theme for a popular boardgame. But it's as good a place as any to build an engine-builder like this. Building on a modular map you need to trade and upgrade your way to victory, producing and selling goods like cheese and whisky. And who isn't going to love producing cheese and whisky? Complex chains of related structures and decisions ensure a varied challenge over repeat plays. And solo, it's all about aiming for a high score.
My Little Scythe
This has nothing to do with horses but is, in fact, a stripped down, family friendly version of heavyweight strategy hit Scythe. Players explore the map with two units, gathering resources and having apple pie fights with other players. The pleasure in the game comes from the eight different ways you can score points, allowing you to tweak your strategy as conditions change. It also happens to come with a rather excellent solo mode, playing against a card-driven opponent called "Automountie."
Chai allows you to take on the role of a tea merchant, trying to combine various tea flavours to make a great blend of tea, perfect for your customers. You will need to buy and collect ingredients, serve customers as fast as possible, and gain different rewards. There is both the ability to play single player and to play solo-coop within the game. The cards are also quite beautiful.
If you've ever seen a film about people trapped underground, you'll get the premise of Sub Terra. Working co-operatively, the players have to explore a labyrinth of caves and tunnels to find an exit. Oh, and there are floods and cave-ins and natural gas to contend with as you race for the exit. Before your food or torches run out. Or you're caught by some horrible monster lurking in the darkness. Obviously. It's a wonder anyone goes below ground at all. Like most co-op games, it works well solo too.
Games in which you roll up a character to play are ten a penny. Roll Player takes a different tack by making a game out of the creation process itself. During the game you'll draw a character up in detail from their stats to their background story. The tricky bit is that scoring points depends on achieving certain goals. Yet most dice and cards in game affects multiple aspects of your character, making achieving those goals a careful balancing act. When you're done, masochists can even use the result as the basis for a real D&D character.
This game found fame as an engaging worker placement exercise that fit inside a pocket-sized mint tin. But if that's not small enough for you, you can now fit the whole thing into your mobile phone. It's a simple but challenging game where you're fine-tuning an engine using your mint-like workers to produce high value buildings as fast as possible. Nothing to do with mints, but you could chew some while trying to outwit the super-powered AI routines in solo play.
Taco Tuesday tasks you with putting together the best Taco Truck on Taco Street - a challenging task indeed. You will need to create a good taco menu, visit vendors to collect ingredients, prep recipes so that they can be completed, then serve completed meals to customers, to then gain money and re-invest in your business. Taco Tuesday is a quick game, lasting for about 15 minutes in single player mode.
Taking the role of a ninja who is trying to fight against corrupt governments and stop physical brutality, Ninja Squad is a stealth game about sneaking around. You will need to get past guards and lights, to get into the Shogun's palace. There is also a section of the game where you race through a garden. You can play Ninja Squad as a single player (or up to four player as a cooperative game) or if you have a few friends, you can also set the game up to be a player verses player game. There are a lot of options with this one!
A royal garden, with instructions from the Queen to be fixed, and a bunch of gardeners who need a bit of help - Alice's Garden allows you to be the hero in the eyes of some commoners, following a bunch of different, strange rules the Queen has put into place to then create a garden that can be perfect. This board game is more of a puzzle game, as you slowly place different plants around in hopes of following the rules and pleasing the Queen. Alice's Garden can be played as a single player game.