I’ve been thinking a lot lately about designing solo-play games, and about adding a solo-play option into games that are normally played with multiple players. It’s a different sort of task — and I think a harder task — than normal game design since you can’t rely on player interaction to add an extra layer of challenge for a player … you need to have the game system itself handle that part in addition to the main challenge of the game.
I’ve only finished one game like this so far — Blaster Waves. This game came about as part of the 2012 Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest at BoardGameGeek.com. There are print-and-play files available for those that like to print their own for free, and also a TGC-produced version that can be ordered.
I want to get better at designing for this type of play, and I think I’ve worked out a plan for that …
First, the 2014 edition of that same contest is underway at BGG again, and I have an idea for a game that might work. It’s something a bit off the beaten path for me, so I need to get some early tests in to see if it can really be something. Once I know I actually have something to work with, I’ll post the details here, of course. 😉
Second, I’m going to work up single-player-only rules for some of my existing games. I’m not exactly sure which ones will all get the treatment, but I’m starting with Jump Gate. I got a number of plays in over the weekend, and I think I’m settling down into a stable set of rules. Next I’ll want to write them up and then look for blind testers to see if they work.
To aid me in my education, I’m happy to have found the very active “1 Player Guild” at BGG. I’ve already gotten some great feedback and advice from the group along with links to other great resources for this type of game.
If you like to solo-play board and card games, please drop me a line and let me know your thoughts.