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Subject: POLL: How often do you play wargames solitaire? rss

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p55carroll
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In the late 1970s, Jim Dunnigan ran a now-famous poll which revealed that some 90 percent of wargamers polled were mostly playing wargames solitaire.

Maybe things have changed since then, but what about you? About how often do you find yourself enjoying a solo wargame?

And when you do, is it usually a game designed for solo play? Or a game designed for two (or more) players?

Do you play solitaire by choice, or just because you can't find an opponent?

Poll: How often do you play wargames solitaire?
How often do you play wargames solitaire?
I almost never play wargames solitaire; only against other people.
Once in a while I'll play solitaire, but the vast majority of my time I'm playing against another person.
I'll sometimes play solitaire, but most of my games are against others.
I play about half my games solitaire, I guess, about half against others.
I'll sometimes play against others, but most of my games are solitaire.
Once in a while I'll play against another person, but the vast majority of my time I'm playing solitaire.
I almost never play wargames against other people; only solitaire.
      285 answers
Poll created by Patrick Carroll
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Alex Treacher
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
What's this 'almost never' business? Where's the option for "I have never played wargames solo and hell will freeze over before I do so"...?
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Pete McNamara
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
I find myself now mostly playing pbem with vassal. I think it's fantastic. Mostly I play solo to learn a game or to sometimes test a "strategy" or tactics. It's especially easy to do this with Vassal when I want to "plan ahead" against opponents and see what might play out.

I truly value face to face the most and then pbem the next. I get bored with solo after about an hour.
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p55carroll
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
Prodromoi wrote:
What's this 'almost never' business? Where's the option for "I have never played wargames solo and hell will freeze over before I do so"...?


Let's just say hell might freeze over someday.

Actually I started out with "never" at the two extremes. But then I thought even a die-hard "no solitaire ever" gamer might decide to break down and try something like Silent War just to see what it's like.

And a die-hard "solitaire only" gamer like me might have a cousin over someday--and maybe he was just discharged from the navy, and maybe he notices Wooden Ships & Iron Men and gets curious about it, and maybe that game gets played by two for a change. (That happened to me once, in 1977 or so.)

So, I thought I'd put in the "almost," just in case hell freezes over.

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Phil McDonald
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
At the age of 53, with both sons left home, it's hard to conjure up F2F opponents. Vassal pbem is superb for playing Paths of Glory, memoir '44, C&C Ancients etc. But I like the process of actually playing the boardgames too, and that unfortunately means solo.

I have become adept at blanking out knowledge of each side, when playing the others turn. Card-driven games are excellent for this cos it's easy to see which is the best card to play at any point. Also, I don't treat either side as 'mine'. I just play for the joy of it.

Phil.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
Being slightly older than Phil but still having two young ones at home, I find myself playing the lighter and medium games with the kids and the hard core by myself. And I thoroughly enjoy both.

Regards,


Jim
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Christian Holmes
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
I never play F2F games, but only out of necessity. I would LOVE to get some of my wargames played with others, but I just don't have those types of people around me.

I have a mac, so I am only limited to Vassal, and getting up to speed on that is kind of hard by yourself.

I LOVE wargames though, so I still play them solo just to experience them. It is kinda hard with Card Driven wargames though....
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Steven Heinrich
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
I don't have much of a choice. The groups I play with are constantly bringing in new games, especially Vixentor (who does game reviews) so to get to play a game a second time is a luxury.

I create situations that are difficult on the board, and then figure out how to solve/survive and get better at the game. Most people don't want to continue to replay games.

Example: Memoir 44 (which I currently don't own) but was playing with a friend. We played an Epic map invasion. To say I just lost would be an understatement. However, I wanted to play again and he was shocked. He couldn't believe I wanted to play the same army on the same scenario again...yes, I lost again, but I tried a new strategy and extended the game out an hour longer, so I did do better! He wouldn't play it a third time.

Had I that particular game, I would sit down solo and work through where I went wrong in my decisions and become a better player.
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Erik Nicely
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
I solo every game that I play f2f. When I have a new game I'll play out at least a couple turns if I know for sure I'll be playing f2f. It's a very good way to learn a game, I'll show up with my head around some of the rules through hands-on experience. I never play solitaire-only games and I've never soloed a game that I didn't go on to play f2f.
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
I answered "almost never", but that might be misleading...

Pretty much all my wargames get the solo treatment when learning the rules - but I don't count that as really playing. After coming to grips with the rules, a game is either shelved until a face-to-face session (extremely rare) or played online against actual opponents.

Without the internet, wargaming wouldn't be a viable hobby for me. In fact, it's barely a viable hobby "as is".
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
Interesting how the poll is shaping up. I get the impression most wargamers play wargames solitaire quite often, but those who don't often have strong feelings against solitaire.


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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
I'm interested in solo games like Fields of Fire or Silent War from a design perspective. I'm curious to see how they play and things like that. but I spent money of on computers and video games specifically so I can have fun when no ones around! Why let them go to waste?
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
I have been soloing from the beginning due to lack of (0) ftf opponents. There are fewer wargamers in VT than Mcain supporters. With my discovery of vassal I pbem and occasionally real time . I have a solo (WWM) and 2 pbem games (AVL, DitT) going currently. I always do a solo run through of a new game. I love solo gaming (note my newest microbadge).
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
newuser wrote:
I answered "almost never", but that might be misleading...

Pretty much all my wargames get the solo treatment when learning the rules - but I don't count that as really playing. . . .


That's what I used to say. In 1973, I ran a wargaming club, and all my games were FTF. In 1974-75, I was down to playing occasionally with a college roommate, but not often enough for my liking, so I'd end up "playtesting" games solo, expecting to later play them with him or someone else. After 1976, I was completely out of touch with other wargamers, but I still liked the games, so I kept buying and "playtesting" them--telling myself it was just to learn the rules so I'd be ready for a "real game" someday.

During the next twenty years, I played maybe two or three FTF games. All the rest were solitaire. So, I stopped fooling myself into thinking I was just "playtesting" and getting ready for a "real game."

But then again, that's about when I stopped playing altogether. I pretty much turned to computer games instead of wargames.

Ever since then, I've been wanting to wean myself away from the computer. I feel I spend way too much time on it, and the last thing I want is to get into online or PBEM games with people. So, I'm trying to find a board wargame I can enjoy just playing by myself.

I'm finding that many of the more recent games are pretty interactive, using some form of impulse movement (chit draw or cards or whatever). That can be annoying when you're playing both sides. Too much back and forth.

I also find that for some reason I feel embarrassed about playing a two-player game solo. I catch myself rolling the dice lightly so my wife won't hear from the next room. Yet, if I'm playing a computer game, it's no big deal. Somehow it seems natural to play a computer game solo, but unnatural to play a board game solo. Go figure.

I've usually rejected designed-for-solitaire wargames like B-17: Queen of the Skies, Mosby's Raiders, Ambush!, and so forth, because I don't like having to operate a manual AI while also playing the game. But lately I'm thinking of giving those solitaire games another try. I have Mosby's Raiders in my closet, and I've been looking at Silent War and its recent revisions.

Most embarrassing at the moment is that I'm attracted to Wings of War: Burning Drachens every time I see one of those prepainted miniatures images here on BGG. Back in the day, I always wanted a game like that. Dreamed of making one, but didn't have enough craft skill or ambition for it. Now I could buy the game and just collect the miniatures. But I'm restraining myself for various reasons: (1) budget constraints, (2) the fact that I'd really be embarrassed to be caught playing with little airplanes by myself, and (3) the realization that I'd soon tire of a game that's likely designed as a just-for-fun thing and isn't that great a simulation of WWII air combat.

So instead I'm about to embarrass myself with a solo game of Battleground. It looks like fun. blush
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
philmcd wrote:
At the age of 53, with both sons left home, it's hard to conjure up F2F opponents. Vassal pbem is superb for playing Paths of Glory, memoir '44, C&C Ancients etc. But I like the process of actually playing the boardgames too, and that unfortunately means solo.

I have become adept at blanking out knowledge of each side, when playing the others turn. Card-driven games are excellent for this cos it's easy to see which is the best card to play at any point. Also, I don't treat either side as 'mine'. I just play for the joy of it.

Phil.


I agree 100%. Though, from time to time I do find myself kind of pulling for one side. In cases where they lost the actual historical battle and such.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
billyboy wrote:
I have been soloing from the beginning due to lack of (0) ftf opponents. There are fewer wargamers in VT than Mcain supporters. With my discovery of vassal I pbem and occasionally real time . I have a solo (WWM) and 2 pbem games (AVL, DitT) going currently. I always do a solo run through of a new game. I love solo gaming (note my newest microbadge).


Actually, Bill has gained a fearsome reputation for playing with himself.
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
oneilljgf wrote:
billyboy wrote:
I have been soloing from the beginning due to lack of (0) ftf opponents. There are fewer wargamers in VT than Mcain supporters. With my discovery of vassal I pbem and occasionally real time . I have a solo (WWM) and 2 pbem games (AVL, DitT) going currently. I always do a solo run through of a new game. I love solo gaming (note my newest microbadge).


Actually, Bill has gained a fearsome reputation for playing with himself.



Thats why I'm blind and shaving constantly . By the way your jokes are older than the women I sleep with.
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
I deliberately play wargames solitaire from time to time, but I never find myself doing it.
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
I only solo when I need to do a controlled play test say of a new variant or scenario, or when I'm trying to prove a point such as that the all out against India attack in A&Aacific doesn't work.
 
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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
Never against an opponent.

By choice I prefer solo board wargaming to me its an exercise in thinking about a topic rather than a game. I do not buy any wargame that isnt solo freindly or does not have solo rules.

I get annoyed by publishers who print incorrect solo ratings on their boxes.






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Re: POLL: How often do you find yourself playing wargames solitaire?
Sometimes you just want to play the smartest person in the room...



Good Gaming~! Mick

In all reality though...I've boxed myself into a corner regarding most of my gaming. My interests have become so specialized and specific that it is difficult to "scratch my gaming itch" with another person and have them anywhere near enthusiactic enough to enjoy the games I want to play. We are becoming a very tribalized society...
 
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rodvik wrote:
to me its an exercise in thinking about a topic rather than a game.


Good point! As I'm thinking about it here, wargaming seems like a strange pastime for two or more players--unless maybe they're military-history buffs brainstorming a situation together.

As a matter of fact, I guess that's the conclusion I came to years ago, when I dropped ASL: if it's just a game (i.e., a contest between two people), I'm going to choose one that lends itself to friendly competition--maybe backgammon or cribbage. Certainly not one with a ton of rules that seems to simulate warfare but really doesn't.

I used to shake my head whenever I'd read about ASL tournaments (or wargaming tournaments in general). "It's not that kind of a game!" I'd say to myself. But apparently many other people think it is that kind of game.

When I play a wargame, the main thing I'm doing is immersing myself in the game's subject. It's a lot like reading a good book, except that it's participatory and involves experimental decision making.
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chargetheguns wrote:
I only solo when I need to do a controlled play test say of a new variant or scenario, or when I'm trying to prove a point such as that the all out against India attack in A&Aacific doesn't work.
Well yeah, that 'strategem' does 'work', but just NOT as effectively as when "Japan" is also then 'captured' during the same TURN!
surprise
I also concur with the 'reasonings' about doing this in the SOLO manner, as it then allows the respective "perspectives" for everything then being SEEN from one 'side' to the next. You're doing your BEST (at least I sure hope so!) for each of these, in order to 'gauge' what their "responses" may entail for anything, and then be well aware for such!
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It would be interesting imho to conduct some polls to see teh breakdown of players time spent playing wargames solo vs. FTF
 
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I play all of my "monster" wargames solo - I can't find F2F opponents where I live, and besides, I'm the only opponent I know that I can rely on regularly to play when I want to play.

Much like others here, most of my wargaming I do to study or learn more about a bit of history. So it's best done at my own pace, and unspoiled by the whims of others who may not be looking for the same thing.

But there are some games I play that I almost never play solo - Ogre/GEV being one of them. More broadly, I never play science-fiction or fantasy -themed wargames solo. Well, almost never - but the few times I do are very rare.


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