Skip to Content

solo play

12 replies [Last post]
doho123
doho123's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008

Does anyone feel that there is a need to develop a strong solo play board game? It's just something I've been thinking about lately since I haven't had the time to actually play anything with people, therefore playtesting time is nil.

But I've got an idea for, I believe, a neat play mechanic, and I've been thinking about just trying to build it as solo play (initially) to work out the kinks, and then advance it towards multi-player.

Just rambling...

Ska_baron
Ska_baron's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2008
solo play

Are you talking about a game that can be EITHER solo or with others? Regardless - I think there is a definite need for a strong, interesting solo mechanic, and not just some add-on afterthought either...

Open the floodgates, doho!

jwieringo
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
solo play

Quote:
Does anyone feel that there is a need to develop a strong solo play board game? It's just something I've been thinking about lately since I haven't had the time to actually play anything with people, therefore playtesting time is nil.

No. I feel that board games, or any type of game for that matter are meant to be played with others. It brings forth more enjoyment, in my opinon. Sure, a game which can be played both ways is cool with me but one that is just being played by one person seems dull.

Don't you have fun playing with some friends? Laughing?
How about trying to win against eachother and then having a friendly bragging "constest"?

Of course, all of this is in my own opinon so take it with a grain of salt if you wish!

Rick-Holzgrafe
Rick-Holzgrafe's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/22/2008
solo play

jwieringo wrote:
Don't you have fun playing with some friends? Laughing?

Sure I do. I also prefer performing with a jazz band over merely listening to a CD, and I prefer dinner with congenial company over dining alone. But sometimes I'm stuck without a jazz band to play with, or any good companions to share my meal, and then I must make do.

If you don't want to play solo games, or design solo games, then I suspect you're a member of a very large majority. But that doesn't mean that solo games are pointless or uninteresting.

So what's a good solo game like?

Most games are designed so that you struggle against your opponents within the context of the game. You don't struggle against the game, per se. So without opponents, there's nothing interesting to do.

However some games are designed so that the game system itself offers significant opposition. Cooperative games such as Arkham Horror and Shadows Over Camelot are good examples; there may be some non-cooperative games that fit the bill too. These games can be played solo because you do have an opponent who is always available: the game itself.

Sen
Offline
Joined: 12/20/2010
solo play

I used to play the solo games by GW - like Chainsaw Warrior - a lot as a kid. I didn't have a lot of friends who were into games unless it was hockey (coming from a town in northern Canada). I also loved Chose Your Own Adventrue books, especially the ones that allowed for character development and had some dice-based fighting action.

I would definitely be interested in a solo mechanic, however I think that most people nowadays leave their solo gaming to video game consoles and computers. There's not so much room for the solo board game anymore.

Don't let that stop you though. If you could come up with something interesting enough I think it'd be worthwhile. If you could make something as immersive and fun as Shadows over Camelot, but for 1 person, that'd be something to write home about ;)

stumps
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
solo play

I would personally like to see some innovation in solo-play board games.

Not that I don't like playing with others...I do quite a bit.

But the aspect of a "puzzle", so to speak, is always fun.

There are those Triangle board games with golf pegs where the object of the game is to remove all by one peg by a series of checkers-like jumping patterns.

That's a pretty simple, but good solo-play game...though not really much in the way of repeated play...which is where I'd like to see more innovation.

Further, I would personally play any evolutionary/progressive game by myself if the object was to sustain something or the system ran off of avoidance contengencies to keep something from happening.

That could also be continually fun to come back to over time....like one plays solo-chess at the coat rack.

I think one potential way to look at solo-play board games is to see them as novelty games.

*shrug* dunno...but it's interesting to me at least.

JackDarwid
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
solo play

Hi everybody !
I think I will say something here because I have made 2 solo games (check my site).

One of the possitive point about solo games is that we can try/playtest it many-many times in a short time, thus the game will improve much more quickly than a multiplayer games (I have some multiplayer games in development process, and move way slower than my solo games).

I choose to take the 'novelty' way for my games because I like a strong themed game. But then usually a game like this require a lot of luck (as in my first game), and I tempted to reduce the luck factor and at last my second game was born (and I'm really happy with the result, see Review/comment in BGG for my game).

Someone says here in BGDF (I forget which post) that in a solo game, usually there's 2 types of challenge : a puzzle type (set up before the game starts) or a random challenge.
The biggest challenge (I think) is to adjust both together : after each random event shows up, it will become a sort of puzzle (at that point) for the player, and it must challenge the player. This way, the player will be challenged with every decisions he made (and make the game interesting).
In IOD2 : for every Location revealed, or for every mission (gathering Items,etc), the player have to think the best way to achieve it. (I have tried this with my first game, but it works wonderfully with my second game).

Ugh, it's so hard to say in English, I hope you all understand. And thanks for reading this :)

CDRodeffer
Offline
Joined: 08/04/2008
solo play

I think there's plenty of room for solo board games and puzzles alongside traditional multi-player games. Different people have different preferences, and also different social opportunities. Providing choices for everyone sounds like a great idea to me.

As others have already touched upon, there should probably be some distinction between puzzles and games for one player. For example, is a Chess problem of the sort "white to move and mate in three turns" a game or a puzzle? I would say it's a puzzle because it has a known starting and ending condition, and the player's job is merely to trace the path from one to the other. There's nothing working against the player except knowledge of the potential movement tree, which can be mapped. I would categorize such problems as puzzles, even when, as in this example, such problems are based upon games. Likewise, I would categorize peg solitaire as a puzzle. The many moves necessary to reach the end are not hidden or actively working against the player. They just need to be mapped. Doing so may not be trivial, but it could be done.

Y'all may disagree with me, but I would categorize something as a game if there is any sort of antagonist. In most games, this is one or more other players, but I would also count passive antagonists such as random or hidden elements. So in, for another example, Vanished Planet, which can be played by one or more players, I would count the randomly drawn event cards as an antagonist, and therefore classify Vanished Planet as a game, even when played solo. On the flip side, I would classify something as a puzzle if there is no antagonist, even if there are multiple players. An example of a multi-player puzzle would be the island building exercises in Don Bone's excellent Sunda to Sahul.

So I think there is room, and a market, for both games and puzzles, played both solo and with multiple players. Don't be discouraged! Go ahead with your design, and good luck!

Clark

zaiga
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
solo play

CDRodeffer wrote:
As others have already touched upon, there should probably be some distinction between puzzles and games for one player. For example, is a Chess problem of the sort "white to move and mate in three turns" a game or a puzzle? I would say it's a puzzle because it has a known starting and ending condition, and the player's job is merely to trace the path from one to the other. There's nothing working against the player except knowledge of the potential movement tree, which can be mapped. I would categorize such problems as puzzles, even when, as in this example, such problems are based upon games. Likewise, I would categorize peg solitaire as a puzzle. The many moves necessary to reach the end are not hidden or actively working against the player. They just need to be mapped. Doing so may not be trivial, but it could be done.

I agree with the above.

The difference between a puzzle and a game is that you solve a puzzle, and you win or lose a game. This is somewhat the same thing as what Clark so neatly calls an "antagonist", but not quite. You cannot win Solitaire or Rubik's Cube, you either solve it or you don't, but you can win or lose Reiner's Knizia Lord of the Rings, when played solitaire.

Perhaps a puzzle changes into a game when you have to solve it in time. In that case time is the antagonist. Same for when you compete against another player during a Rubik's Cube tournament.

What about a solitaire game of Simply Genius? It's not a puzzle, because there's randomness and a undefined end state, but you cannot win or lose it either, merely beat your own high score. In that case your own high score would be the antagonist. However, if you play for the first time then you have no high score to defeat, yet in my mind it is clearly not a puzzle, but a game, so my definition must be off.

This shows that Clark's definition of a game needing an antagonist, and whereas a puzzle lacking one, is better than my definition of a game needing a winner/loser, whereas a puzzle can be solved or not.

Hamumu
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
solo play

Sounds like a great GDS challenge... hope Bryk is listening!

CDRodeffer
Offline
Joined: 08/04/2008
solo play

As luck would have it, this month's issue of GiocAreA spends quite a bit of space discussing solo play:

http://www.davincigames.com/giocarea_eng/18/index.htm

Clark

ilSilvano
ilSilvano's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/31/2008
solo play

CDRodeffer wrote:
As luck would have it, this month's issue of GiocAreA spends quite a bit of space discussing solo play:

http://www.davincigames.com/giocarea_eng/18/index.htm

Clark

Being the Chief Redactor of GiocAreA I was going to add just this information to this thread, then I saw your post.
Thank you!

Dralius
Dralius's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
solo play

ilSilvano wrote:
CDRodeffer wrote:
As luck would have it, this month's issue of GiocAreA spends quite a bit of space discussing solo play:

http://www.davincigames.com/giocarea_eng/18/index.htm

Clark

Being the Chief Redactor of GiocAreA I was going to add just this information to this thread, then I saw your post.
Thank you!

Nice to know you are taking an interest in what we are doing here.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut