But What About Socialization???

When we experimented with homeschooling our kids, the biggest protest from those who didn’t understand the need or desire was “What about socialization???”

Saw this over on BGG:  Do you never miss the social aspect in solo gaming?

One thing in this hobby i really Like is the social aspect of gaming. I really miss that thing when i solo.

Do you ever miss the social aspect when you play solo?

Not really, no. While I enjoy playing some games with family from time to time, solo gaming is just a different beast entirely. They aren’t really a comparable experience. Some like one or the other. Some of us like both.

Some of the Highlights…

Continue reading “But What About Socialization???”

Can’t Keep a Good Man Down…

Of course, you can’t keep a good woman down either, but since I’m not a woman, using “or woman” or “person” would have been needlessly cumbersome…

Absence of Malice
Recently had an unplanned “break” from BGG thanks to the Secret Police once again not liking officially unapproved and unauthorized opinions being expressed (even when done so in polite but confident discussion). This is an area that needs to be addressed as I daresay in most cases the offender doesn’t realize they’ve touched a hidden third rail and just get suspended while the so-called “offensive” comment is left on the site. It’s a very odd way of handling things and not one conducive to constructive dialogue between differing parties… but that is a discussion for another time.

EDIT: It would appear “they” HAVE started removing unwelcome (by some) comments from the site. Hopefully in lieu and not in addition to suspension.

But I’m happy to say that in spite of not being able to post or comment on BGG for a spell, I made good use of my time, creating a few modifications for games.

Under a Blood Red Sky
First up, been loving Blood Red Skies but found that I wouldn’t have the time to paint the miniature planes and that in the end (as is most of the time with miniatures), they aren’t 100% necessary to the game. All measurement is from the round bases, which are about 1.5″ in diameter. So I ordered some 1.5″ wooden “coins” and then created 12 labels for each plane type. Made six level 3 and then two each of level 2, 4, and 5. All the coins got a 3 on one side and then another level on the other side. Sealed them with some RightStep Satin and started playing. They work great and less clutter makes it easier to play and measure.

The flight stands use an odd rock forward for “disadvantaged” and rock back for “advantaged” indicator. This not only looks silly, but causes planes to take up even more space on the table than necessary… which in a busy dogfight, can be a problem. To remedy this, I just use a green cube for advantaged, red for disadvantaged, and no cube for neutral. Another win.

Sowing the Gears of War
Gears of War: The Board Game is a bit of a mystery. Widely regarded as a great system and a respected IP, Fantasy Flight Games dropped the ball big time on supporting this game. Even with the IP license lost, the system deserves another sci-fi theme applied to it.

Be that as it may the community has geared up and created several missions and other mods for the game, including a collection of 24 new COGs created by user Alex Hajdasz. In order to make these more playable in-game without proxying other miniatures, I created a set of standees to go along with them.

You can get the COGs and the standees at the BGG file pages below:

Custom COG Pack Collection
alternate COG standees by ones upon a game

Shine On You Crazy Firefly
Another miniatures-replacement project I had in the wings and suddenly had a little time for was for Firefly Adventures: Brigands and Browncoats. Again, with no time to paint, had planned when I first got the game to add Standees. This was not only to make our intrepid heroes clearer on the board (in both casual and heroic states), but I was having a hard time matching the baddy miniatures to their respective stat cards. So while I was in the rhythm of making standees, put this set together as well.

At the very least it would allow people to quickly try out the game before they paint or while they paint…

You can find them here: Firefly Adventures Standees by ones upon a game

Gaming is Social, Games Need Not Be – The Cons of Solitaire Gaming

Despite all the benefits of solitaire gaming, it’s certainly not without its problems. Problems that are unique to most solo gamers and especially those of us for which gaming alone is nearly 100% of the experience. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a complaint in any way, shape, or form. Just an observation.

Inspired by this discussion on BGG, Fighting the funk, I decided to proceed with this post that I’d been “cooking” for some time.

First off, with respect the to the title. Gaming is social, games need not be. A lot of people malign the solo gamer because for them, games are “a social activity.” But they have this wrong. Gaming is the social activity, playing the actual game doesn’t have to be. It can be and certainly is for some party-type games that require a large number of people to even be played. But the game is just the catalyst to bring people together. The social interaction is the thing being sought after.

For the solo gamer, the social interaction is still there. We use BGG and other sites and social media platforms to establish a connection with other people, who, like us, normally play alone. This isn’t in most cases some pathetic “40 year old guy still living in his parent’s basement” stereotypical lifeline to humanity. It’s just a venue to share and discuss. Through forums, guilds, Twitter, Reddit and more, we can “test for echo” and see that there are other people out there with the same aligned interests. We can share our plays, our wins, our losses, our questions, our opinions. And let’s face it, for the most part all gamers use this same avenue for discussion. Game night is for playing not a Roman forum.

So while we will not or cannot get together with other people to play a game… most of the time it’s by choice or lifestyle situation.

And that’s fine.

But again, there are still problems that non-Solo gamers don’t have.

Sharing. To maintain that connection, we probably share a little more than others online. BGG monthly Solitaire Games on Your Table Geeklist where many share what they are currently playing along with mini reviews and results. It’s a dangerous list to follow as it makes you want to acquire more games.

Acquiring more games. In a regular game group, only one member needs to own a game. Jane buys a copy of this one, Dick buys a copy of that one, Spot runs away with the dice, etc… When together they can share their copies and experience the game. If a solo player wants to play it, they have to buy a copy (unless you live in one of those rare places you can borrow a game). Take note game publishers. You sell more copies with a solo game, just by improving the ratio of games to buyers.  But we don’t stop at games designed to be played solo. We will play two player games (mainly wargames in this regard) and play both sides. We’ll also play co-op games, taking on multiple roles. And then unsated as we are, we seek out: solo variants (dum dum dah!) of which there are many great ones that keep to the spirit of the core game and some that take the components and make a whole new game — is Patience Solitaire REALLY a variant of Poker???

Regardless, this can lead to an overwhelming collection of games. And I literally mean overwhelming. Doesn’t matter the number of games, it can be small or large. But if it’s more than you can possibly hope to play in a reasonable amount of time, it can be a problem. Studies have been done that show too many choices lead to difficulty making decisions (Survey Choices – How Much is Too Much?). We see it in many games with analysis paralysis. Fewer choices make the decision process easier and less guilt ridden.

Guilt. Why do I own so many games? I’ll never play them all enough. I’m currently playing a great game called Stonewall’s Sword: The Battle of Cedar Mountain and I’m just about finished the last turn. It’s a chit-pull game, so while I am playing both sides, it’s not hard to manage as a solo player (Designers take note: Chit pulls are AWESOME). However, it’s going on two weeks now on my table. Three weekends. It’s fun, but as I’m surrounded by the many other games I want to play/try. I feel this pressure to finish this one, box it up, and get to something else. And then I feel I’m betraying the current experience. But my time is limited and I want to give proper attention to all the other stuff I like too.

And then I get so frustrated. Insert head explosion here.

Fortunately for the “Funk” post above, I realize it’s not just me. And it’s cyclical in nature. Again the social aspect of solitaire gaming has paid off.

I’m not alone.

Neither are you.

The end result of all this though, for me, is going to be a dedicated attempt to not acquire anything new (or used, close THAT loophole!) for awhile. Some preorders are still on the way, so it’s not like I won’t be getting anything “new” per se. But really, when is enough enough?

A collection thinning is probably due as well. But I’ll procrastinate about that later. Now I’ve got to choose: Churchill? Zombicide? Thunder Alley? Star Wars: Imperial Assault?