This past year (and a bit) I’ve been running this blog as a kind of self help to get over the fact that life gets in the way of living and to do more of the things that I love. In this case it’s playing games. Not digital games but table top games. In that regard it’s been a huge success. I’ve got a South African board games distributor sending me games to review. I have 3 semi regular games nights per week and I’ve found a love of playing games by myself.
A lot of people that know me would say I’m an extrovert and I’m always up for playing some games. Almost always. It’s usually a social affair, with some drinks and food and lots and lots of laughs. In fact being social was one of my main reasons for playing games. Even when I boot up my xbox I’m usually sharing a whiskey with some friends from all around the country.
It’s generally looked down upon
Last week I read a post on Board Game etiquette over on CarboardQuest. It’s an excellent site and I read it often I even chat with the authors a fair bit, great bunch of guys that I’m looking forward to sitting across the table from. However there was something in one of the posts that actually got under my skin. Punishment for a breach of etiquette was something along the lines of being rewarded with links to the Top Ten Solo Board Games on BGG. I know it’s just a joke but it did get under my skin for a few seconds. You see I’m a solo gamer.
That’s right I play board games on my own.
In some groups that I’m part of, the idea is frowned at or even looked down upon. I don’t understand why. I understand that some people are of the opinion that it’s just easy to play video game than to setup a table for one but why is it seen as a bad thing?
People go fishing alone, they read alone, or watch TV alone, that’s acceptable. Even doing a Crossword or playing Sudoku is fine but board games are looked down upon.
Solo gaming is on the rise
I don’t think that attitude will continue for much longer though. Solo gaming is growing. There’s an increasing number of 1 player games that are available. Kickstarter campaigns are either having solo support from the word go or adding it in as a later stretch goal. Game designers are noticing that people want to play board games on their own and they are catering for them.
There’s also a guild on BGG for solo gamers. The 1 Player Guild. It’s the 3rd largest guild on BGG and it’s been active for 5 years. I found it by accident earlier this year and since then my activity on BGG has gone up in leaps and bounds. It’s a great place with lots of friendly people all brimming with advice on how to go broke buying games 😉
Through the guild I’ve found blogs and a podcast and YouTube channels that embrace solo board games. I love it.
Why do I play solo games?
It started off as a means to do something while everyone is busy. The kids have homework and Pria always has something to do in the afternoons. This year she is studying. Since I don’t want to distract anyone with anything noisy I started playing solo board games.
Then I found myself enjoying the games and I was on the look out for more and more of them. Sometimes it’s just a quick, fun push your luck kind of game, other times it’s some serious mental exercise that can be heavier than playing against other people.
Now with the guild, I’m playing alone but with other people. There’s monthly challenges that people setup and others try to beat. I take part in the Rallyman cup. It’s actually a lot of fun. I wish I had the time (and the games) to join in a few of the other challenges.
I’m sure that some of you have noticed a “How does it play solo?” section in some of my more recent reviews. I intend in keeping that up. I’m going to put a solo gaming slant on things. I’ll be updating my older reviews with solo musings where I can.
I’ve got an icon that I’m going to add to the game index to denote solo games. I’m also going to try to get my hands on some purely solo games. I know that will most likely mean importing them myself but if there’s no other way to get them then it’s what I’ll have to do.
The main thing I’m going to do is keep playing by myself. If you’re wondering about my heard image, there’s 2 solo games there that I have recently collected.