Hello, I’m Billy Board Game and I’m a solo gamer.
It sounds like some kind of admission of wrong doing, doesn’t it? Solo gaming has been viewed as the dark underbelly of the table top world. A place where all of the seedy gamers go to make their nefarious plans against everyone who just want to play games with their friends and have a good time.
That was the way people viewed solo gaming. But lately, I have seen a great outpouring of support for solo gaming. From Kickstarter to Board Game Geek, solo gaming is now more accepted as a way to play table top games than any time before in history.
As people struggle to find the time or players needed for a game, they see now that just as much fun can be had alone. The Golden Age of Tabletop continues unabated, and the pariah that is solo gaming has begun to thrive.
This isn’t an admission of guilt; this is a proclamation. I am a solo gamer and I’m proud of it.
The solo board game is a ritual. Pulling out the board, moving the tokens, packing it all up in baggies, planos, and inserts. Each piece and each moment is part of the experience. It’s my experience, one I can choose to keep to myself or share with others.
Here now, the ritual has begun.
I fight to stay ahead of an opponent incapable of thought but capable of winning. It’s excites me as much as any video game; it’s just as immersive.
I step into a dream world and find peace or wade through my nightmares. It’s just a game, but I find myself lost in a strange new world.
I race against time in a global conflict to keep an ancient horror at bay. It’s an epic saga that is made better by the fact that I have created a story out of the whole cloth of a game.
All of these are my unique experiences, made different through me. It’s not a shared experience, but the experience may still be shared. We share our tales of adventure with other solo gamers and they share theirs in return. We do so within a community as open and welcoming as any I’ve seen in gaming.
Why can’t we game with others? Some of us are like you; some of us lack time; some of us lack transportation; some of us just prefer gaming alone, and some of us want to play in our pajamas for the entire weekend and not be seen by another human being.
Sometimes our situations are more dire. Some of us suffer ailments which prevent social contact or the manual dexterity required for video games. Some of us have been scarred by the past. Some of us can’t even leave the house. And some of us are lonely, looking for a world outside our own.
We are solo gamers. Together we game alone.*
*This is the official slogan of the 1 Player Guild at Board Game Geek. They are responsible for a great deal of my money being converted into cardboard. I thank them heartily.