None of my friends like board games!
We’ve all been there, you want to play board games but you have no one to play with. Maybe you and your friends are just too busy and scheduling a time feels like a far-off dream. Perhaps you simply don’t have any friends who are into board games. Or maybe you think gaming alone isn’t feasible. Regardless, the end result is the same: you can’t play. It doesn’t have to be this way though! End your wallowing in self-pity and follow our helpful guide to board gaming nirvana.
Play single player games
Just because you don’t always have access to people to play with, doesn’t mean you should be missing out on the fun! A common misconception is that board games are inherently a group activity, and while gaming with your friends can be a fantastic time, there are a lot of awesome single player experiences on the market as well. Here are just a few that I personally would recommend.
Dinosaur Island is a Kickstarter project is filled with promise. It is not yet for sale, but it has been given a release date of September 15, 2017. The game will task its
players to compete in order to create the best dinosaur theme park, but thanks to a Kickstarter stretch goal, it will also pack a fully fleshed out single player mode. It is being developed by the people behind Dead of Winter and Titans of Industry so its pedigree alone makes it worth keeping an eye on. We gave Dinosaur Island a full Kickstarter spotlight because we’re so excited for it.
The cool thing about Friday is that there is absolutely no multiplayer mode. Friday is built to be a single player experience. And while that may just pique your interest, it also has some solid mechanics to make playing it worthwhile. The player is tasked with defeating hazard cards using fight cards and to build their character’s power as the game progresses. The culmination of all this feels like the most exciting and addicting game of solitaire you could ever hope to play. This one is on the cheaper side so it’s hard not to recommend it to just about everyone.
Eldritch Horror is a cooperative game where 1 to 8 players must fight horrific monsters and solve unique mysteries. While this game is definitely best played with friends, I have found it to be a worthwhile time on my own as well. A lot goes into this game and it makes no attempt to hide its complexity and long game time. While getting over the learning curve does take some time, it has a ton of interesting content. The initial time investment is a small price to pay in the long run for such a great game. If you are a fan of creative experiences and don’t shy away from atypical games, then this may be the single player game for you.
What to Remember
Even if you do have a group to play with, I’d still recommend you play these gems anyway. It’d be too bad if you missed out on some exceptional gaming experiences just because you refused to play single player games.
Teach your friends to love board games
Single player games can be a blast, but never playing with friends can get pretty monotonous and lonely. Trust me when I tell you that if you can get your friends to play one well-made gateway game, you will have them hooked. Soon after you will have cemented your shiny new board game group! The following are some exciting gateway games to get your friends going as well as some materials to help you plan your gateway experience for your friends.
What is a Gateway Game?
1. It must be simple so as not to scare off any board game newbies. Please do not try to start your friends off with Dungeons & Dragons. They will likely be overwhelmed and won’t appreciate it.
2. The mechanics must be somewhat ubiquitous across many games. As a result, playing one will give newcomers an understanding of key mechanics that will be useful when playing other games.
3. It must be fun and addictive. If it can’t show newcomers why board games are a good time, then numbers 1 & 2 are rather pointless.
4. (optional) You may want to try a game that doesn’t tend to cause exorbitant amounts of rage. Those who find joy in the demise that Mario Party causes their friends, resist the urge to the best of your ability. Obviously though cater this to your group, you know your friends better than I do!
Ticket to Ride
In all likelihood, you’ve heard of this one. Ticket to Ride rose to fame by being both an approachable and addicting game to newcomers. It definitively falls into the category of being easy to learn and difficult to master. When starting out with your friends, they will appreciate its elegant simplicity and will stay for the intense strategizing that comes with many playthroughs. The premise of the game is to claim train routes while simultaneously hindering your competitors from claiming their own. The whole experience comes together as a juggling act where you need to be extremely conscious of all the possibilities the board holds.
King of Tokyo
In King of Tokyo you and your friends take on the role of giant monsters and aliens. The rules are simple, either collect 20 victory points and destroy Tokyo or be the last surviving creature. The simple rules make it very approachable to newcomers, but you can still have a great time fighting dirty and discovering the awesome ability cards with your friends. Short game times make this one an obvious choice for quick sessions and these sample size tastes will keep your friends coming back for more. We also did a full review of King of Tokyo if you’re interested in learning more.
Werewolf is a card game in which the townspeople attempt to root out the werewolves in their midst as the werewolves kill them off one by one. The beauty of this game lies in its simplicity. Personally, my friends and I have played countless rounds and it would be impossible to recall how many times we kept saying “just one more game.” While it is easy to understand, the rounds are truly invigorating. Don’t be surprised when people get very invested in the mind games and begin to take the game a bit too seriously. However, if your friends don’t fancy being forced to bluff to win then they may not have a great time.
What to Remember
Some people may be opposed to board games at first and some very stubborn people simply won’t allow themselves to be pushed into playing board games at all. If you can get that foot in the door, though, be patient and just show your friends why you love board games so much. Passion is truly contagious. Before long, they will be asking you to play instead of the other way around. For more information, check out our step by step guide to teaching your friends to play board games.
Get Some New Friends
If for some reason you can’t get the friends you already have into board games then this option is for you. I’m not telling you to ditch your current friends, but attending meetups is a great way to meet some fun people and have a great time playing board games. The following are some ideas for getting into an existing meetup group or making your own.
Meetup.com is the place to start your search for a group with similar interests to you and can feature many board game groups. I’ve met some close friends through the platform. If there are no groups near you or you’re looking to find new members for an existing group then go ahead and create your own! It should be noted that while making an account and joining meetups is free, running a group on Meetup.com comes with a cost.
Board Game Clubs & Local Game Shops
I know it sounds simple, but googling board game clubs in your area could turn up a group that is perfect for you! The problem with this is that, unlike Meetup.com, it’s a bit of a toss-up whether these groups are still active. Regardless, it can’t hurt to try. Also, if you enjoy board games (and you don’t just order all of yours off of Amazon) then it’s likely that you are already familiar with at least one friendly local game shop. Many shops hold game nights where patrons come and enjoy playing together. Next time you’re at your store of choice, why not ask about their events and find out what they’ve got going on.
What to Remember
Board game meetups are a useful way to find friends that share your interests. The really important thing to remember is that every group has their own dynamic. (personalities, what kinds of games they play, etc.) and that you won’t fit in with every group. Your priority should be to find a group you mesh well with and once you do to have fun!
Having nobody to share your passion with can be disheartening at times. Being passionate about board games can such thanks to the majority of games focusing on group experiences.
However hopefully this guide has given you plenty of options for jumping into the world of single player games and given you hope if you are a lonely gamer. Meetups can be an amazing experience and a great social activity, and converting existing friends into board game fanatics can lead to some of your most memorable experiences as a group.
We’d love to hear about your experiences as a lonely gamer so be sure to let us know in the comments section below!