Archive for January, 2022


Solo Games: a pandemic ideal?

January 30, 2022

I’ve been looking at a few of the solo games that have come out in the last few years. I still haven’t found one that has been close enough to all the things I’m interested in to get DEEP into, but from all the stuff I’ve seen, it’s also not too far from what I like, so I’m guessing it’s a matter of time.

Quite a few of my “non-roleplaying but roleplaying adjacent” geek friends gotten into quite a few of these and I think I’ve identified a few things that solo games have as strengths.

Time vs. pressure

You know what feels bad? It feels bad to cancel a game session. I don’t feel bad when a player tells me something has come up, but I feel bad when something comes up for me. Even if it is 100% legit. (last week, 3 hours of sleep from insomnia and a full day of work, I knew I wasn’t running a game).

So here’s a thing; if you’re playing a solo game and you get tired, you get bored, you lose track of time watching cat videos, or whatever? No big deal. You can play later, whenever it works for you. Hell, I have a solo game that’s been sitting for months, maybe I’ll go back and finish it out, maybe not. It’s also not a videogame where maybe quitting in the middle of something leaves you in a bad position or you lose resources for next time.

The pandemic has put extreme pressures on a lot of us. Mental and emotional fatigue is really high. Having a no-commitment game is a good option.

Learning the rules

The other pressure is… learning the rules. I have a sizeable shelf of boardgames, and I think there’s probably 3-4 Big Box Games that I got a few years back and never learned the rules for. The games look cool, and I think about how fun they would be to play, but then I remember it’s going to be a 2 hour commitment to learning the rules, 2-3 hours of play and probably 3-4 play sessions before I feel decently fluent in running the game.

And mind you, you have to have gotten other friends to jump in on this too and they’re looking to you to help THEM learn the rules.

Again, a solo game… no one else is committed. No one else depends on you explaining it right. You can learn it at your own pace, you can play it at your own pace, and if you got the rules wrong, there’s that many less people’s time that got futzed up depending on how you misread it.

Sharing online

I’ve seen a decent subset of games involve writing fiction, journal entries or making art. I’ve mentioned before that war games can use their cool terrain and painted models as things to draw in new players and interest – this sort of stuff works well for solo games as well. And doing it online is an easy thing given the needs for social distancing. This also allows players to pick and choose how they want to be public with their creations, and even if they want to hide under an anonymous account.

So, while I don’t think I’ve found the solo game FOR ME, it does seem like solo games are in a great place as far as market conditions and it’ll be interesting to see what else folks make in the next 5 years.

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A long video, a long standing problem

January 29, 2022

I’ve been bringing new people into RPGs since I was 12 and first got a Red Box D&D and later TMNT and Robotech. And, unfortunately, much of that time has always included warnings to non-gamers about gamer culture and the kinds of Hatebros and harassers that occupy the space.

This is a pretty long video on a few of the worst folks in TTRPGs. The first 10 minutes are simply setting the context and pointing towards resources to educate on the philosophies of the Hatebros in general.

Anyway, as I’ve been saying for years, the Hatebros have run roughshod over the scene, well enabled by (nearly always) fellow white men who wouldn’t listen to everyone else saying there was a problem.

So, I’m glad a lot of new spaces with reasonable people are being formed, because the spaces we had 10-20 years ago failed in the simple question of whether bigots are the only people who should matter, or, bigots are the LAST people who should matter. As folks like to say in RPGs, “You’re only limited by your imagination.”