How To Solo Play - Part 1
While many of us are lucky to have a spouse, older offspring, or siblings sharing our space during this quarantine, others have found themselves isolated. Some are extroverts going mad from the lack of social interaction, those same extroverts that had been insisting introverts leave their homes and socialize in public spaces (you know, be more like them). The irony is that those introverts now get to insist extroverts remain at home (something apparently they can't handle). When life returns to a measure of normality, we should all take a moment to remind ourselves who made this easier, and who made it difficult.
And on that, can we all agree now that Simon Sinek's rant against the use of technology as a tool of social interaction was incredibly tone-deaf? I mean, I hated the man when he vomited his misguided rant about millennials in the workspace or when he accused the youth as being addicted to technology. Now he, like the rest of us, must rely on that same technology as our sole means of interaction. Look up "irony" in the dictionary when you have a chance.
Obviously, the advent of technology allows us to play board games virtually via Tabletop Simulator and Tabletopia. I elect for the latter despite the popularity of the former in many online circles. But selection is limited (despite their claims), and they all cost money (and we should be frugal despite my fiancé and I buying a bunch of games just last week…we'll never learn). This could result in you perusing your selection of analog games, wondering what is available.
(I’ll be covering options in this entry, reserving digital tabletop gaming for a future entry.)
Most solitaire games are available as even ones stating a minimum of two players can often still be played by assuming two characters. Even games limited to two players often force them to play two characters each. Many of these are actually better (or at least easier) if you play with the maximum number. We just played Bastion with my fiancé and I each assuming two characters each.
And as I reach half-way through writing this, I realize I'm going to need a part two…just warning you now.
If you’re fortunate to own one or more dedicated solitaire games, those are obvious dependable possibilities. The oniverse games—Onirim, Sylvion, Castellion, Nautilion, and Aerion—are all excellent choices, though the first, Onirim, is clearly the most popular. There is also Deep Space D-6 and The Chosen Few, which are also strictly solo-only games.
Moving onto cooperative games, many feature solo mode variations. Gloomhaven can be played with a single character, as can Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition, Robinson Crusoe, Samurai Spirit, Spirit Island, Castle Panic, Aeon's End, and Rising 5: Runes of Asteros, the latter of which has you play with all the available characters regardless of player count.
This leaves a bunch of cooperative games that generally recommend 2+ players but can still be played with one taking the role of two or even four characters without sacrificing a game's dynamic. These include Legends of Andor, Flash Point: Fire Rescue, Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert, The Captain is Dead, and The Big Book of Madness. XenoShyft, both Onslaught and Dreadmire, claim to be playable with one player assuming one faction, but that would be foolish; you always play with four. Likewise, with Sub Terra, which technically cannot be played correctly with three characters or even one, you should always play with four. Star Trek Five Year Mission requires three players minimum, but even at two, my fiancé and I often play with three characters each.
And the enjoyment of these games mentioned so far is not affected by you doing this.
Despite this, I would avoid playing This War of Mine. I've gone into detail on my opinion on the game, found on The Dice Tower (https://youtu.be/x7B7sLB-Yj0), but to be honest, a game as depressing as that one should probably not hit a table at a time like this.
This leaves a bunch of games that are by default multiplayer competitive games that offer a solo mode, often against a clock instead of rival players…which I will go into NEXT TIME.