Thematic Solitaires for the Spare Time Challenged

Do you enjoy board games, but due to family, work, health or other reasons have trouble finding the time for a gaming group? Are you interested in solitaire game design? If so, this blog is for you. I'm your host, Morten, designer of solo modes for games such as Scythe and Gaia Project.

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Voluntary and forced pivot points

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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A core concept in many games – particularly engine builders – is the pivot point and understanding it is important for both game designers and gamers.

So, let’s talk about the pivot point and its evil twin.

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Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:49 am
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Are solo modes added in expansions more likely to be slapped on?

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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DISCLAIMER: This post sails smack in the middle of the waters that pay my bills, so while reading keep in mind it’s an opinion piece written by someone who has an obvious financial and emotional interest in solo modes developed independently of a game’s designer.

Thus, I’m biased and because of that I’ve argued with myself about whether to participate in the discussion. In the end, I decided to do so, because I hope that my experience with making multiple published solo modes can add something to the debate.
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Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:28 pm
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Showdown: Reykholt vs. Loyang

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Two new Uwe Rosenberg games were released at Essen this year. Spring Meadow as the final game in his puzzle trilogy (Cottage Garden and Indian Summer) and Reykholt which is inspired by At the Gates of Loyang.

In this post, I’ll let Reykholt face its parent, At the Gates of Loyang, in mortal combat to determine which one is the better game (in my opinion). I’ve seen people write that they’re very different games, but I think that the mechanical similarities are significantly larger than the differences.

Let’s dive into why I think this is so and which of the two I prefer.
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Tue Nov 6, 2018 10:59 am
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That’s it, I quit :-)

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Thu Nov 1, 2018 4:58 pm
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Fine Sand: Solo campaign – first impressions (updated after the full 10-game campaign)

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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I’m back home after two days of the chaotic madness that is called Spiel (or Essen). The games/expansions that I was looking forward to the most were: Reykholt, Fine Sand, and Nusfjord: Plaice Deck.

I basically knew nothing about Fine Sand apart from thinking that it’s the first game in Friedemann Friese’s Fable series that is solo playable. I’m very interested in trying it out, because the series’ concept of a campaign where the game evolves from play to play.

Also, after last year’s Spiel Friedemann’s game Fast Forward: Flee (the first solo playable game in his Fast Forward series) was the most interesting one that I bought because it does some things that I hadn’t seen in a game before and like Fine Sand it has an evolving campaign system, which was fun to play and explore.
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Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:17 pm
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Essen: Day 0

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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It’s time for the madness to start again, it’s the day before tomorrow, it’s the day before Christmas Spiel in Essen.
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Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:51 pm
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Guest post by Scott Allen: Automa Alternatives in Solo-Only Games - My Experiences

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Automa Alternatives in Solo-Only Games - My Experiences

Morten has done an outstanding job creating automa opponents that allow us to solo-play many games originally designed for multiple players. And Morten’s blog posts in this space have educated and entertained many of us who are interested in solo games and the design of solo games.

I think when designing a game from the start to be a solo only experience, the design process is a bit different. So, in this post, I will take a bit of a random walk (as opposed to Morten’s somewhat scientific approach) ”behind the curtain” on a few of my solo game designs in hopes of providing maybe a small bit of wisdom to this community, or at least maybe start an interesting discussion.
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Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:43 pm
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The 2018 People’s Choice Top 100 Solo Games Meta Contest

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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I heard a scream yesterday. It sounded like someone fleeing from their worst nightmare.

I couldn’t figure out who it was at the time, but after I saw that Kevin had started this year’s People’s Choice Top 100 Solo Games it became blindingly obvious that the source of the scream was my wallet.

I’ve spent all the night comforting the poor thing. Hope you’re happy now, Kevin, picking on small defenseless wallets. Tsk tsk.

As in previous years, I’ll host a meta-contest, where the winner gets to go home with the world famous No Prize™ award (if the winner is already at home she or he is allowed to stay there without doing any going).
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Tue Oct 2, 2018 12:28 pm
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Fixing the biggest flaw of Stonemaier Games :-)

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Since I joined Stonemaier Games a few years back, I've noticed that the company has one reaaally big flaw. I know that Jamey has also noticed it but he has skirted the issue. So, yesterday my family and I took matters into our own hands.
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Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:29 pm
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How important is solo playability when you buy games?

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Since I make a part-time living developing solo modes it’s crucial that publishers believe that solo playability drives significant number of sales.

Because of this and because I’m primarily a solo gamer myself I’m interested in knowing how important solo playability is to purchasing decisions and to figure that out I need your help.
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Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:11 am
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