There is a famous, popular saying that goes like this:
“Rather alone than badly accompanied”
Well, my friends, this is true, and in a pandemic season, this is more true than ever. Maybe your colleague is asymptomatic, and you might get infected, but for those who are starting to play in groups, the maximum is worth it, follow the security protocols and be happy.
But come on, how to keep the passion for games and not be whining about being alone? Playing solo games, or solo versions — adaptations for playing solo. There are several renowned games that meet this requirement of solitaire fun.
But before we get into this universe, it's good to put things in their proper place. When I mention solo games, there are 2 categories: games who were meant to be played as solo and games that allows you to play solo. I will discuss the 2 types, later I will mention my favorite list of solos and then the pedagogical advantages of solo play.
Games meant to be played solo
Well, let's start with this category, which is games designed and developed to be played solely and exclusively by just 1 person. All the game balance, the rules, and other components were thinking about an individual fun, which stimulates this.
Let's take a look at some of these examples:
Friday is the best copy in this category, it is the first one that appears in the list of both Ludopedia and BGG. It is based on the story of Robinson Crusoe and his island adventures, you will be the native “Friday” to help him. It's a very challenging deck building; I think the images are a bit rough, but the game itself is great! Get a copy of Friday in Noble Knight.
Fields of Fire
Fields of Fire has the distinction of being based on three real campaigns experienced by units of the US 9th Infantry Regiment in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. That alone is worth the game.
It's a very nice game where you build the place, simulating the unknown terrain and also the actions according to what you have to face. No wonder it won the award for best historical simulation. Find the board game here.
Deep Space D-6
In Deep Space D-6 you are patrolling the Auborne system with your ship, and you receive a distress call, but it's a trap. So you need to survive the threats until the rescue fleet appears.
It's frantic as you'll roll dice for crew and allocate them to stations, planning ahead for taking care of internal and external threats is paramount. Click here to get this game.
Games that allows you to play solo
Okay, now let's go to the list of games that you can play alone, that is, games that have special rules for playing solo, often with a bot, artificial intelligence that interacts with the player. In some cases, this is wonderful and fun, but be careful, in others it is extremely poorly programmed.
Well, Gloomhaven is a game for up to 4 players, but you can play alone.
The cool thing about Gloomhaven is that the scenarios have prerequisites and your mission is to get by to accomplish the mission in this tactical combat game. It's as good as playing in a group. Worth every minute invested! We recommend the 2nd printing.
Here's another strong representative which allows you to play solo: Gaia Project.
The idea is the same as the game with up to 4 players, but obviously with less space sectors. The basic idea remains: develop, grow, and terraform neighboring planets into the form your faction can live on. It's very challenging! Gaia Project can be found here.
Terraforming Mars is a great game and even in solo mode it doesn't disappoint. The lore is the same, Planet Earth is overpopulated, and it's time to terraform Mars. A bit of adaptation and you'll have the same adventure. Terraforming Mars board game here.
My Favorite Games to play Solo
I won't repeat the photos, you've seen them before. Friday made me fight, agonize, and die several times before winning a single match, that's right, a single match only I managed to defeat the 2 pirates in the end, the rest was pure suffering.
But did that discourage me? By no means, the closer I got (and lost), the more eager to play again I became, the levels of difficulty go up and that's the maximum, this feeling is wonderful when playing Friday, you gain experience during the game at the same time your character ages, and that's awesome.
I know, you must be wondering: With so many cool games, he chose Peg Solitaire? Yes, I like it a lot! I grew up playing it, I felt challenged, drawing up new strategies until I managed to leave only 1 piece on the board. I grew up and bought a new version for myself, and I obviously have a mobile version. The idea is to capture pieces until only one is left, and it's a challenging brain exercise!
Obviously, my favorite game couldn't be left off, suspense and supernatural investigation in solo mode is pretty good. It has all the elements I like, cards and dice. The tension is the same as in the game with more players, only now you're broke alone, you can't ask for help or explore rooms in pairs. Elder Sign board game here.
The Solo Pedagogy
Very well, what can solo games or games played in solo mode offer or teach us? First, what everyone is looking for: fun! Yes, they bring fun and sometimes, when played in solo mode, some are better than if played in a group.
The more introspective, who until then had a small range of solo games, can now enjoy a huge range of games that can be played in solo mode, and great games, like the three I mentioned here.
Obviously, if you opt for the adapted ones, you will be paying dearly to play solo, but if you enjoy good games, you have money, and you like it, there is no harm in purchasing it to play your favorite game alone.
But let's get to the pedagogical part of the whole thing. This game mode, solo, requires much more reasoning and decision-making than you used to share with other players. Now you play “against the board” and fight to get more points with each game, that is, the parameter will always be your last highest score.
This is an excellent stimulus to get children (and adults) to test other means, discover new paths and new strategies, and the personal challenge is a dose of endorphin with each new achievement.
I highly recommend solo or adaptable games for solo mode, as they are worth every penny invested!