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Subject: Is there a market for single-player games? rss

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Shanen Opolis
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People have been playing video games by themselves for years and years, but there seems to be some unwritten rule that all board/card games must require at least two players. I'm wondering if this is really a result of demand, or if developers just aren't creative enough for it.

I have in mind a single player role playing card game, using multiple small decks of varying purpose to create the player's challenges. Something a hard core gamer could sit and play for hours, trying to see how far they could get. Or setting smaller goals for shorter game time.

I'm curious what you guys think about the general idea. Would you purchase a single-player game that had hundreds of cards? Something involved and complex? A procedurally generated experience that's unique with each play? Or is that a stupid idea, because no one wants to play alone?

Just looking for your thoughts, don't be shy :-)
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Jay Lacson
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There are quite a few single-player capable games. They seem to do fine, although I think your market gets smaller if it's JUST single player only.

Personally, if it's good...I'll buy it. I could always use some good single player games.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Shanenopolis wrote:
I'm curious what you guys think about the general idea. Would you purchase a single-player game that had hundreds of cards? Something involved and complex? A procedurally generated experience that's unique with each play? Or is that a stupid idea, because no one wants to play alone?


I really, really, really want to play Thunderbolt Apache Leader. It looks awesome. I've watched video reviews of it. I've looked for it in auctions. I marvel at the weight of the box in stores. But everytime I consider purchasing it, I balk at the price. Do I really want to spend $50-$80 out of my board game budget on something I won't be sharing with anyone else? Inevitably, I always end up getting something else. I honestly don't think I could justify spending more than $30 on a solo game... and even that seems excessive.
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W Scott Grant
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You know, that's a tough one.

I have Race for the Galaxy and the first couple expansions for it, which has a solo mode. I've never played it.

I have a library of Tunnels and Trolls Solitaire Adventures. I've played all of them, some of them many times. I even wrote and self-published one. (Sold a whopping 60 copies of it, too!)

Several of the games I've designed have a solitaire variant, of which some I've played just to play test.

I also play my own games on my own, playing as many as 6 players at once.

I've played published games on my own as well, playing multiple players simultaneously.

I can't tell you how many thousands of times I've played classic solitaire using a real deck of cards... well, lots of different decks! I'd hate to see what a deck would look like after a few thousand solitaire games. gulp

I can't tell you if there's a viable market, but I think that if your game can be played both solo and multi-player (at least two), you have a better chance. From what you've described, your game might be well suited as a team game - players vs the game (coop like Pandemic).
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Eric Etkin
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My interest (and believe me, there's interest) in a single player game is directly related to:

- How dense are the rules (ie. the less complicated, the better, since I have no other players to puzzle things out with)

- How long does it take to set up and take down (quicker the better)

- How long it takes to play (under an hour, preferably, but not TOO short)

- How badly my game is screwed when the cat jumps up onto the table while I'm in the bathroom
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TTDG
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Yes.

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/186592/solitaire-games-yo...

There is a whole guild here on BGG for solo players.
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Jorrit Rensen
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The recent kickstarter for Hostage Negotiator got over 1000 backers for a solo only game, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1459655047/hostage-nego...

So there seems to be a market. Maybe you could contact the designer for some hints?
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Ed Sherman
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Shanenopolis wrote:
I'm curious what you guys think about the general idea. Would you purchase a single-player game that had hundreds of cards? Something involved and complex? A procedurally generated experience that's unique with each play? Or is that a stupid idea, because no one wants to play alone?


You should ask here: 1 Player guild

But I've purchased games that are exclusively single-player (Victory Point Games offerings are mostly single player games and all the ones I've tried are quite good)
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Santiago Eximeno
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I play alone and I've several only-solo-games (as Victory Point Games or Friday, for example), and other games that have solo variants or can be played alone (as Flash Point: Fire Rescue or Mage Knight).

Market seems not to be big, but there are people playing alone around the world that probably buy a good solo game with a hundred of cards (I'll do it).
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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Edit:ninja'd repeatedly!

There is absolutely a market for solitaire games. TAL, while not for everyone, is a great selling game for a reason. Not to mention the other Leader games from DVG, which are all designed for solitaire play. Victory Point Games has made a business out of selling primarily single player games.

If in doubt, check out this kickstarter for Hostage Negotiator, a solo game with a $5000 goal that raised almost $50,000:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1459655047/hostage-nego...

Or the Solitaire Games on Your Table geeklist which features over 600 posts a month from people who play games mostly solitaire.

Or the 1-Player Guild which currently has over 1000 members!

In fact you should post to the one-player guild about your game. The friendly folks there will let you know what to include/avoid to make your game appeal to solitaire players. There are lots of us!
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Joseph Courtight
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YES!!!!
there is.
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Riley Doyle
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Yes in addition to Hostage Negotiator it can make a difference for other Kickstarters

http://stonemaiergames.com/the-compelling-power-of-solo-play...
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Chip Gunnell
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I can't wait to play Thunderstone Advance solo, and when I get a copy of D-Day Dice I have a feeling my wife won't share my interest in that particular title.

I've played others (Elder Sign, Arkham Horror, Pandemic The Cure) solo with some success, and wouldn't mind it if a really interesting game came along that was geared toward solo play. Though, honestly, any game balanced for solo play should probably have a variant (or be the variant of a) multiplayer game.
 
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Nick Bolton
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I've bought many single player only games from the more complex Raid on St. Nazaire to the lighter Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp.

And yes Thunderbolt Apache Leader is well worth the money.
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Kendall McKenzie
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Shanenopolis wrote:
I'm curious what you guys think about the general idea. Would you purchase a single-player game that had hundreds of cards? Something involved and complex? A procedurally generated experience that's unique with each play?

I already did, it's called Mage Knight Board Game and I love playing it on my own or with friends.
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John "Omega" Williams
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No. There is no market for solo games. ninja

Now go away and make a multiplayer game so theres less competition for MY solo games... Beat it kid! devil
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Caroline Berg
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I can't fathom how this could be a question... but then, I love single player games of all types. I even make solitaire variants of games that don't come with solo variants, just so I can play them alone.

In fact, two player games are the type I have the least of... since I'm either playing games solo, or with 3 to 8 players.

When I'm looking to buy a game, and I really like the concept/art/etc..., if it also comes with a solo option it is pretty much an instant buy.

If it is awesome, I'll certainly think about it, and if I like it enough I'll still buy it, and then make my own solo variant. But that happens far more rarely.

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Bleicher
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I've bought before (Field Commander: Alexander), I'd do it again. There are currently seven strict 1p games on BGG top 1000. Friday, particularly, is ranked #240 and received 4288 ratings, so I guess that positively answers your question.
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Ed Sherman
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adularia25 wrote:
I can't fathom how this could be a question...


It's a perfectly reasonable question. Single player and co-op games are a very niche market. The idea that people could play a game cooperatively or solo is alien to most people.
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Caroline Berg
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edosan wrote:
adularia25 wrote:
I can't fathom how this could be a question...


It's a perfectly reasonable question. Single player and co-op games are a very niche market. The idea that people could play a game cooperatively or solo is alien to most people.

Sure, it might be a reasonable question, but I never said it wasn't.

I said that *I* can't fathom how it is a question, because I've been playing solo board games for years - so clearly, I know they exist, and I would never think to ask this question. In fact, solo board games have been around for a while. Just because one person doesn't know about them, doesn't mean that they don't exist, or don't have a following.

I'm at the point where I won't buy a board game unless it includes a solo option. It isn't worth it to me to only play games when around other people. I prefer not to be dependent on others for when I can enjoy my games.
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Paul Dodds
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lordrahvin wrote:
I really, really, really want to play Thunderbolt Apache Leader.

As a complete stranger, and therefore utterly trustworthy, you should do so!

TAL is damn fine game and will give you many, many, many hours of enjoyment because of it's great playability and replayability. It's definitely worth the entrance fee.
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Megan Potter
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There's a market for it, it's not as big as others but it exists. Most of the solo play card games I can think of CAN also play 2-player, though they are at their best solo.

You should join the guilds that others have linked you to, check out what us solo players are playing and look at the card games already out there as primarily solo.

Off the top of my head:

Onirim/Urbion family (there's a new one coming out)
SOS Titanic
Friday
Space Hulk Death Angel
Lord of the Rings Cooperative Card Game
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Warren Adams
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Is a single player game less of a game to be played and more of a puzzle to be solved?
 
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Guillaume Pages
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Out of the top 100 rated games, 15 support solo play. Clearly, there is a market for solo players.

Of course, creating a game for 1 player-only, will restrict the size of your public. Far more useful to create a 1-4 game. Even if your game is played as a multiplayer, you will broaden the appeal of your game considerably.

What must be done though, is make the solo experience engrossing. Not just a case of "see how many points you can collect in 14 turns (Agricola)" or "how many points can you collect against a repetitive robot (Ascension)", nor "play solo with all characters (Ghost stories).

Games like Leader series, or The hunters series, give a narrative, possibly taking several play sessions, with very different outcomes depending on events. That's what I am looking for in a good soloable game.

To this end, Robinson and MK are amazingly well done games which play solo and multiplayer game. That should be the bar for all soloable games.

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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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tallboy wrote:
Is a single player game less of a game to be played and more of a puzzle to be solved?


Nope! I play a ton of games solo and very few of them are puzzle-like. Would be very hard pressed to describe a solo session of zombicide or shadows of brimstone as a puzzle.
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