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Subject: 1 player games for intelligent 9yo boy rss

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Vicki Hobbs
United Kingdom
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My eldest loves games and has picked up the rules and strategies of the adult games I've played with him. Unfortunately I don't have as much time as I'd like to play with him at the moment as he has the misfortune of being the oldest (by 5yrs) of three demanding siblings. Would you be able to suggest a good one player game? Can be any type, but he's a big scaredycat so wouldn't want a game to add to him struggling to sleep - he has a very vivid imagination! Thanks in advance xx
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Josh Sauer
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There are a lot of co-operative games that can be played solo, which means that when you COULD play with him, you could still play that game.

Forbidden Island is a good beginning co-op, with variable difficulty, not scary at all so far as I can tell.
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KYEO
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https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/224746/item/5379857#item5...

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/209280/best-games-sorted-...

You can also sort these by rank and put in some filters:
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamefamily/5666/solitaire-gam...

I cannot say anything useful about all these games, but at least you have a few to check out.

My first thought was this series of games:
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamefamily/9547/dungeons-and-...
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Nate Phillipps
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Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game is very enjoyable.
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Rob Milverton
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I would take a look at One Deck Dungeon.

My son also enjoys 3 player Terraforming Mars, but I suspect solo play might be a bit trickier for him.
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Sean McKitrick
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I think that Burgle Bros would be a good choice. It's a fun puzzle, is easy to play solo with 1-4 characters, and the artwork is very engaging.
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Joe S
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I would've loved to have Runebound (Second Edition) or even Talisman (Revised 4th Edition) when I nine. Formula D would've been awesome. These are all older games you can find cheap too.
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Alexandre Santos
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A bit off-topic, but I'm in a similar situation (10 yo elder with a 5 year gap), and it turns out a couple of games did work:

- PitchCar Mini : a simple flicking race game, very easily allows younger kids to play with older ones
- Monza : another car race game, but this time you throw dice and is extremely random, keeping young players in play. Provides fun times.
- King's Gold : a pirate-themed yahtzee game, not much strategy, but a lot of robbing fellow pirates, to keep them in check. This game achieved the feat of allowing me to play with a 10, 5 and 2 yo, and it was my 2 yo daughter who won the game, which totally evaded her, she was happy throwing the dice and fiddling with her mounting stash of coins

None of these games are deep or demanding, but they entertain a lot kids of different ages. None of these would work for my eldest on their own, but when playing with their siblings it becomes fun.

Another angle of attack are cooperative games (Hanabi, etc). Sure the eldest will try to alpha play, but allow participation of the youngest ones.
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Vicki Hobbs
United Kingdom
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Thank you everyone.

We've got Forbidden Island...I think he's only played it by himself a couple of times but although we both loved it at the start (our first co-op game) I think it's one that has to only be played every now and then for us to still find enjoyable.

Thank you for the lists - definitely a good place to look, tho I do like the fact you guys are simplifying my job in finding a good game for him!

I think he'd love dungeons and dragons but he's still be playing it in his mind at bedtime and end up scaring himself!

Orchard looks great but I can't seem to find how to buy it...? I'm in England.

I've not looked at your suggestions yet dancingrob but will now, thanks.

I think he'd love burgle bros but I can't find it cheaply...may have to dig deep for it cos it looks awesome.

Formula D looks good but as my ex is into Formula 1 it'd make me cringe buying him that!!

I gave my mum pitchcar for Christmas last year so we could play! Great game. I'll have a look at the others too. My kids are 9, 4, 3 & newborn so any activity that could involve the majority of them is always very much welcomed here!

(Sorry I don't know how to do the quotes thing!)
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Jessica Eccles
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Vickivixen wrote:

Orchard looks great but I can't seem to find how to buy it...? I'm in England.

Orchard: A 9 card solitaire game is a print & play game. Just look at the file section and print out the cards onto thickish cardstock (the cards were originally double sided for the contest the game was designed for, but they don't have to be double sided, just shuffle up and use 9 cards per game). If you don't have the required number of dice you can make up some little counters that have the values 1, 3 and 6.
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Car Los
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I had fun with a quick 1-2 player game, Saboteur: The Duel.

The standard rules are a bit restrictive to my taste, but when playing solo you may change them to make it more of a puzzle game.
 
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Ian Bennetts
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If I were 9 years old again, I'd be delighted by : Thunderbirds
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Vittoria Gnecchi Ruscone
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outside the box suggestions

The Penguin Book of Patience

I know it's not a board game per se but I remember whiling away the time playing solitaire as a child.
This book by David Parlett should keep him busy for a long while.

A maze game or a puzzle might do too.

Lonpos 4D Puzzle Game

This is only one example there are a gazillion of them
there are a lot of variants:
pyramids, little virus shaped jigsaws or blokus\tetris tangram joining pieces.

Perplexus
this is a very neat one - a 3d balancing game

there are a lot of companies that produce similar products (if price range or avalaibility in your country is an issue)
Thinkfun Smartgames Lonpos etc.


the unlock/escape room series of games might be a possibility too
Unlock! The Tonipal's Treasure
they differ in difficulty and age range - you might be able to help him if he gets in a tight spot should worse come to worse.

Again - these are not exactly "proper" board games
You could add to the list
-Gamebooks (neat - you said he likes dnd right?)
-puzzle books --> the usborne series of puzzles is smashing
-the where's waldo series is a timeless masterpiece
-brainteasers and jigsaws

add to it klutz activity books and crafts and you should be set

I'll update my post should something more pertinent come to mind
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Robert Zaleski
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Honestly, why bother with a board game for single player? Seems kind of pointless.

There's plenty of computer games like Civilization that are much more immersive and in depth.

He should also hone some skill on his own, whether it's Soccer, Basketball, a musical instrument, Programming, Art (Digital or Real), wood working.

I'm all for board games my kids can play together or that I play with them, and some games it's nice you can do it as solitaire, but if my kids going to sit at a table, I don't think it matters if it's a computer game or a board game. I'd rather they did something active some of that time, and worked on honing something that was outside their normal curriculum the rest of the time.

Agricola is one option he can play on his own, but is interesting enough you'll be able to play it sometimes with him when your little ones are sleeping and he's still up.
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Paula T
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Good suggestions already!
I know puzzle games can be frowned upon on this site, however, things like Rush Hour could be brilliant for a 9 year old boy. At least in Europe we also have a Junior version. Thinkfun has many others. My daughter is 6 so she's a bit young but even she'll have a go at the easier puzzles.


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Vicki Hobbs
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Ahh thank you so much everybody. Some really great suggestions. I've got too many options now cos your suggestions sparked other ideas and led me to other similar games! Probably got his birthday AND Christmas covered now (for the next 3 years haha!)

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Vicki Hobbs
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rzaleski wrote:
Honestly, why bother with a board game for single player? Seems kind of pointless.

There's plenty of computer games like Civilization that are much more immersive and in depth.

He should also hone some skill on his own, whether it's Soccer, Basketball, a musical instrument, Programming, Art (Digital or Real), wood working.

I'm all for board games my kids can play together or that I play with them, and some games it's nice you can do it as solitaire, but if my kids going to sit at a table, I don't think it matters if it's a computer game or a board game. I'd rather they did something active some of that time, and worked on honing something that was outside their normal curriculum the rest of the time.

Agricola is one option he can play on his own, but is interesting enough you'll be able to play it sometimes with him when your little ones are sleeping and he's still up.


Thanks for your thoughts... Rest assured, he has plenty of interests and enjoys plenty of the options you have given me in the list of skills he should be honing!!! If you were to meet him and see what he gets up to you'd see how laughable that censure was...but it was obviously just an accidental misplaced assumption and no offence meant.

We've got a section of time some days when it'd be great for him to have something fun to do that wasn't reading (we don't do screens in the evenings as struggling with his sleep and it's not meant to be good before bed). I'm a single parent of four, so have to divide my time between them, and although he does a bit of piano practice whilst I'm sorting the 4yo and 2yo for bed, he doesn't practice for very long, so goes to bed and often ends up reading for a couple of hours! It'd be nice to have more things he can do quietly while I'm sorting out #2 and #3 - if he was midway through a boardgame I'd be able to join him... but that's usually the time my newborn is tricky so a solo one would mean I'd be able to dip in and out without spoiling the game if I had to give the baby more attention.
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Billy Mark
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Burgle Bros is self published, so it's going to be expensive. Will be the cheapest here - https://fowers.games/

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Robert Doolan
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Board Game Basics Podcast please give us a listen. A father and 9 yo
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Hi Vicki,
My 9 year old son also loves board games and started a podcast with me about games we have and what he likes from his perspective. It might be something your son would be interested in listening to. It is called Board Game Basics Podcast. We would love to have feedback from him, you or anyone : )
We do talk about games he can play with his younger sister and on his own as we try to discover the great single player games. One coming soon we got on kickstarter that we tested from a print and play is called Unbroken. My son loves that and it is only solo play.
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Anitra Smith
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Nearly any co-operative game can be tweaked to play solo, so I'd start there with a co-op he already enjoys.

My 7-year-old and I have been loving Sprawlopolis lately. It's really satisfying to build a city, and different every time you play. Button Shy has some other good co-op / solo games, but your mileage may vary.

Many roll-and-writes also work solo, like Balloon Pop!, Rolling America, Welcome to Dino World, and Welcome To...

There's a solo variant for Takenoko, if you already have that: Takensolo

One last one. Gamewright put out some solo card games a while back that they call "Cardventures" - think Choose-your-own-adventure represented as a deck of cards. They might present an interesting puzzle for a nine-year-old who already loves to read. (Jump Ship! and Stowaway 52 are the ones I've tried.)
 
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Tomasz Miernowski
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Speaking about solo variants of other popular games, this list might be interesting for you to check : solo variants

My 10yo son tried the solo variant of Zooloretto once or twice and he seemed to enjoy it (although I found the rules a little too fiddly).
 
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Mystery McMysteryface
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My daughter enjoyed logic puzzles:

Chocolate Fix

North Pole Camouflage

River Crossing
 
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Andrew Marshall
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I used to love the old Fighting Fantasy gamebooks when I was that age. Perhaps a trip to the local second hand bookshop (or ebay) could yield some treasure!

Ex Libris has solo play rules, although I haven't tried these myself. It's certainly great fun with 2,3 or 4.





 
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April Parekh
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Not sure about the "vivid imagination part" on this one but Onirim might be a good choice, the artwork is cute but it is a game about nightmares...or Sylvian could be good too. I'll also second one deck dungeon.
 
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Eliot Aretskin-Hariton
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Obelisk is a puzzle-like coop game that can also be played solo. It is marked 12+ but we have played with 10 year olds and they can successfully grasp how the game works to the point that they started teaching new players. There are Stone Demons in the game but we illustrated them to generally not look scary (one of them is even sticking out its tongue). No explicit content / no killing (the monsters turn to stone when they are captured).

There is a Print and Play here:
https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/obelisk-pnp

Cheers,

-Eliot
 
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