Solo Board Gaming

Viticulture Essential Edition

Viticulture Essential Edition

I get my love for solo games from my mom. She loves playing solitaire (almost exclusively Klondike) and doing jigsaw puzzles. As far as I can tell, she was never into the competitive aspect of card or game playing (unlike my dad, whose love of cards and poker was passed down to me and my brothers).

Within my circle of gaming buddies, I’m one of the few that enjoys playing board games by myself.  Whenever I mention my love of solo gaming, I usually get one of two responses:

  1. “Oh, I prefer interacting with others during a game.”
  2. “If I’m going to play a game by myself, then it’ll be a video game.”

Sometimes I want to be snarky in my reply: “Well, I like playing games with others, too. It’s why I’m at game night. Duh.”

As for opting to play a video game: yes, it’s easier and faster to play games on my smartphone or laptop, but I find it more enjoyable to be at the tabletop with an actual board with real physical bits and pieces.

Much like doing a jigsaw puzzle, playing a board game by myself is a form of meditation and relaxation. I like quietly taking turns and trying to find a way to win or post the highest score possible. I like being away from my phone and computer while I’m at the tabletop. I like the feel of those dice, cards, and tokens as I pass the time before my next “real” game with others. And I like not feeling rushed to do anything during a solo game. Everything is done at my pace: win, lose, or draw.


Day 308: Steampunk Rally


Steampunk Rally.

While I love science fiction I’m not the biggest steampunk fan. After playing Steampunk Rally tonight, though, I might have to take a closer look at the genre; for gaming purposes steampunk was awesome.

Steampunk Rally looks like a simple race around a track, but it’s much more than that. Each player builds a contraption to get around the track. The card drafting and dice rolling mechanics give everyone lots to do on each turn, with plenty of options to re-roll dice or play special event cards.

With all of the dice and cogs and cards it seemed a bit overwhelming, but after a few turns it was easy to get into the swing of things. I missed a few opportunities to build a better contraption and I had bad luck with my movement, but I did get to play a “ray gun” card that put a ton of damage on my opponents. Even though it had no effect on the winner (who seemed to be way ahead throughout the game), it was hilarious to play the card.

If you can’t beat ’em, might as well ray gun ’em.

Day 211: Sushi Go!

Sushi Go (image from

Sushi Go (image from

Seeing all of the tweets from Gen Con has got me ready for game night here at the house. I may run a solo game of Pandemic before bed, but I wish there was a Sushi Go! single-player variant. My wife and I gave it a quick run-through to learn the basics and I loved it.

The graphics on the cards are uber-cute, from the salmon nigiri to the dessert puddings. I love the card-drafting mechanism; it’s easy to learn and the interaction with other players is always a good thing in my book.

I’ve read this elsewhere, but I’ll say it again here: I believe this physical interaction is what has been fueling the board game renaissance. Even though we have more ways now to communicate with each other, from Facebook to Snapchat to text messaging to the next technological breakthrough, we’ve lost the daily interactions that were a bigger part of our lives just 10 (5?) years ago.

I’m guilty of it as anyone. I always seem to be quicker to respond to a text or an e-mail. In a world of multi-tasking, it’s just easier to do it this way.

But board games require you to be in the moment. It’s not as much fun if you’re playing a game while someone’s on their smartphone or laptop. So the electronics stay off the table while we deal cards, roll dice, and move meeples around.

We’ll be running a bigger game of Sushi Go! soon, but just based on our little preview, I know it’ll be one of our go-to games on game night. It’ll be fun to disconnect from the electronics while connecting with our friends and families.