My love for board games started in childhood, along with my passion for finding or creating good ways of playing solo, as I was an only child. I enjoyed chess, and remember playing Magic Realm
(wish I had my original copy now!), Dungeon
(that was the first game I started "tweaking," by adding in some abilities acquired when gaining some of the treasures), Broadside
, and some of the old Avalon Hill "bookshelf" games (e.g., Wizards
was a favorite). Played a lot of cards -- my grandmother was an extraordinary pinochle player who taught me a lot. Then into video games, and CCGs (especially loved Legend of the 5 Rings
), and miniatures games (which, in hindsight, were essentially tactical level war-games). Took a couple year plunge into backgammon, reading and studying up on it (as there were dozens of good books on it, much like chess -- in many ways), and playing against any and all available computery opponents, becoming quite a good player as a result.
Then my son brought Puerto Rico
with him when he came to visit for Xmas 2 or 3 years ago (yes, I had successfully passed on my passion for gaming!), triggering kind of a "renaissance" as I realized that a whole new generation of board games (especially euro-games!) was now available to be explored. And thus my passion for board games was rekindled, helped along nicely by my retirement 2 years ago which allowed me to fully and joyfully embrace this wonderful hobby.
I now have somehow (?) acquired 70+ games, and am most grateful to BGG for helping me along this path in so many ways since I discovered it. I now find myself leaning more and more toward medium to medium-heavy euro-games, as these seem to be the most satisfying and enduring games for me at this point. And my love for solitaire play, and for developing solitaire variants for games I like, continues -- and it's so nice to be able to share that with others here on BGG.
So I just received Archipelago
(thank goodness for Amazon, as I have no good game stores nearby!) with it's solitaire expansion (yay!), which is awesome. And Terra Mystica
is next on my "want" list.
And kudos and thanks to those designers who make the effort to accommodate solitaire play in their games (there have been a heartening number of those recently -- e.g., Snowdonia
...), and to those gamers who post solitaire variants they have developed here on BGG. My thanks to you all!
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So when I happened to look at this today, I realized how much time has passed since I wrote this, and thought a maybe a brief update would be in order...
Needless to say, the number of games I have acquired has expanded rather exponentially since then -- indeed, the quantity and quality of games out there these days is truly dazzling
, and I feel very fortunate and most grateful to be able to share in the joy of what seems to me to be this "golden age" of board gaming.
In addition, I have really been enjoying developing solitaire variants for games I like which do not have one, and then sharing them here. My preference leans toward variants which are as user-friendly and simple as possible, while still maintaining the basic integrity of the game and providing satisfying game play -- and, needless to say, it's often quite a challenge to find that optimal balance. I strive to make solitaire variants which are as smooth/easy to implement as feasible, such that they "mesh" as elegantly as possible with the game's natural flow without imposing any unnecessary additions or changes which might result in its becoming "unwieldy" and thus potentially more of a hassle to learn/use than one might deem acceptable -- but maybe that's just my "lazy" side coming through? (I prefer to see it as my "efficient" side nudging me to prioritize the "conservation of energy" principle, which seems increasingly important the older I get...!)
And the support, acceptance, and encouragement afforded me by the BGG community with regard to such efforts has been truly priceless -- my thanks to you all. I'm so delighted that others have found some of my variants to be worthwhile and fun to play, and to thus to be able to enhance not only my own enjoyment of this wonderful hobby that we all share, but that of others as well. A secondary goal of mine is to encourage/"nudge" others to get involved in the process of developing solitaire variants, as I feel there's a vast pool of untapped potential out there -- and so many great games! And kudos to others who develop and share such variants here, as well as game designers who take solitaire players into account and build solo modes into to their games. Whenever I'm considering purchasing a new game, the chances of my doing so increase dramatically if there's a viable way of playing it solitaire already available!
So I'm currently wrestling with Dominant Species
-- a magnificent beast of a game! -- to try to come up with a solitaire variant utilizing an AI opponent which will do it justice. No easy task, as those of you familiar with this game can understand, and maybe the most challenging one I have attempted thus far. Indeed, working on this
one brings back memories of long-term efforts devoted to major academic and work projects from days long ago (except this is more fun,of course!) -- and it is also reminding me of the value of patience
, of going slowly, of working it through in a mindfully step-by-step manner, carefully building upon preceding steps, and trusting in the process...
Anyway... things are indeed ever so gradually coming together and falling into place, and I'm hoping to have such a variant finalized and posted within the next month or so. Stay tuned...