Solo Games

My experience with solo games is almost zero. I first encountered solo games when I was playing Vampire at a friend’s house (That was actually when I first met my current girlfriend, but that’s another story). One member of the group was constantly talking about her other character, about her stats, her adventures … yadda, yadda, yadda! Some of the things she mentioned left me wondering what GM would allow one player always to stand in the spotlight. That was until she told us that she played in a solo game with her boyfriend as GM. I don’t know what it was, but I always shunned away from solo games from that day on.

Some years later I used solo sessions after character creation to play out parts of the backstory of the newly-created character. Especially in the World of Darkness games that we played a lot in those years these preludes helped to flesh out the characters and set the mood for the upcoming campaign.

Recently I have been thinking more often about running a solo game with my girlfriend. Why? There are several reasons. At first we don’t play as often as we like, usually because it gets harder to organize gaming sessions because of work, family et cetera. Another reason is that I want to try out some of the RPGs I never played and Verena loves to create characters that never got played. So why not start doing solo games, perhaps even one-shots in order to try out something new? The last reason is that reading Chgowiz’s articles on that topic sound as if solo games are a lot of fun, so why shouldn’t we try it?

What are your thoughts on solo games? Have you ever run a solo game for your wife, friend, sibling? You can share your experiences in the comment section. Thanks!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

6 thoughts on “Solo Games”

  1. I've tried it and my wife still wants to play, but our schedules are so full, and there's also email to answer and books to read in the evenings, so that in the end just got in two sessions, and when I asked her recently she said she had forgotten so much and could not just jump back in. She would need some time to get back into the story.

    I'll keep trying. 🙂

    <abbr><abbr>Alex Schröders last blog post..Comments on Charles Stross and Clay Shirky</abbr></abbr>

  2. Alex – when we've had long pauses, I do "recaps" to bring her mind back up to where she was last game, and I'm a bit more forgiving with information (sometimes, I'm also a firm believer in taking notes, which she is learning to do…) than I might be with a group.

    <abbr><abbr>Chgowizs last blog post..A 20 year personal mystery solved (video)</abbr></abbr>

  3. I do run game for just my kids. There's three of them at home so those don't really qualify. We tried including Mommy once or twice but she doesn't seem to get the same thrill that the kids do.

    <abbr><abbr>Vulcan Stevs last blog post..I Do….</abbr></abbr>

  4. My wife and I have been solo gaming for ~12 years. Started with D&D, D6, then Vampire, and into indie-games like Sorcerer and Dogs in the Vineyard (or in our case, a mod I called Archons in Elysium). We even get Xmas presents from memorable characters 😛

    Unless, we're dungeon-crawling, we go very Narrative and system light. We've gone weeks without rolling dice, but instead making the most dramatic and appropriate choice for the tale we spin.

    Sometimes we delve more into a shared/interactive story-telling, but we still call it gaming because of the reason we do it- to have fun- and the fact that I'm still the GM and have a narrative authority. She's gotten much stronger in that sense over the last couple years- she's now very willing to improv characters and situations and throw me for a loop from time to time 🙂

    We've had epics spanning years. Our Vampire game is up to ~11 years now (we revisit it every couple months) and there's a couple fantasy games (can't call them D&D anymore because most have dipped into 3+ systems :P) running 3-4 years, too. Some weeks we game every night and other weeks once or twice.

    It's an amazingly intimate experience. It probably works best for people who already consider each other their best friend, because of the trust involved. We've made mistakes and agreed to redo entire sessions, we've cried and we've gotten so angry that the other can't see from our character's views.

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