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Subject: The Rising Trend of "Games" with Player Counts starting with 1. rss

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Désirée Greverud
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so the tl;dr of this thread is:
"I don't like Eurogames that I feel are multiplayer solitaire"

OK, good for you.

Moving on...
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Grant
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medievalbanquet wrote:
MK99 wrote:
I do feel this is a rising trend in hex-and-counter wargames. Solitaire games used to be extremely rare; when the genre was big back in the seventies there were probably less than a dozen solitaire games. They're still far from the majority but now it seems like about a tenth of new games released are designed for solitaire play against an AI opponent. I think this may reflect the greatly diminished popularity of the genre and the difficulty of finding opponents.


Interesting.

See, I think the gaming community has grown immensely and there are more and more people talking about games. They are in Barnes and Noble now. Ticket to Ride paved the way for this 'normalization'. There are more games produced now from a myriad of countries. More gaming groups and conventions.

Hmm.

He's talking about hex and counter wargames specifically, which have definitely not seen the same boom as tabletop gaming in general has over the last few years.
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Geoff Speare
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There is definitely a much more visible solo play market than there was 18 moths ago. Makes sense to serve that market!

There are some fairly interactive games, like Fire in the Lake and Scythe, offering solo play. I feel like complaints about new games not being interactive/confrontational enough go back way farther than the recent rise in solo play.

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Bryan
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medievalbanquet wrote:
Iridium192 wrote:
Any new games I buy HAVE to be able to play with 1 player. This is how I guarantee that I'll always be able to play that game whenever I want. If it's 2+ game I have no control over it ever getting played.


Don't take this the wrong way.... but, are you really playing a game? Are you really playing THE game if it plays with other players? I guess I find that insanely boring.

devil


Video games are a much more popular form of entertainment, and I see little difference in this style of game when compared to a video game. The game is leading you through an adventure, throwing obstacles at you, and forcing you to adapt to its tricks. I get a deep level of satisfaction from beating a very difficult co-op, and much less of a level of satisfaction from beating other players. Really the harder the better for me with co-ops (which I know some people hate). I'd rather lose 12 times to get that 1 high from finally winning. In a player versus player game, you can't have a level of unbalance. The players have to be on even ground to win, or the game is awful. With a co-op you can stack the odds in favor of the game, and winning is a true feat.
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Daniel C
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I'm not sure if you missed the Legacy game trend. So many Legacy games were coming out, people were up in arms every game coming out was going to be Legacy, all 4 or 5 of them nearly destroyed the board gaming market. It was the worst trend according to a number of people.

Yep so many Legacy games have came out in the past 2 years, so many I can count all of them on 2 hands, or a hand and a foot. Listen, out of the hundreds or thousands of games that came out in the past 2 years, maybe 1% have a one plus player count. Then there are the even lesser solitare games. There are 99% more games out there that are 2 and up. Your panicking over nothing.
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HenningK
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I agree that there is a trend in euros towards more multiplayer-solitaire-ish games where the interaction is along the lines of "taking away stuff that your opponent also wants at the right time". I don't think this trend is very new, however, it's at least 10 years old. Think of all the worker placement games that came after Caylus, which was released in 2005 (and features more player interaction than just stealing spots, by the way).

I don't quite get the differentiation between a "game" and a "puzzle" that seems to be very important to the OP. If a game features a static setup that doesn't change at all, I can see why it would be called a puzzle, but as soon as some randomization comes in, I'd say it's a game. I also don't agree that adding a solo mode is necessarily a sign of a game having almost no player interaction. In Scythe or Gaia Project, for example, there is a very sophisticated mechanism that simulates another player's behaviour.

Boardgames as a hobby are getting bigger and bigger by the year. Many enjoy playing a boardgame solo or don't have the opportunity to play with others, at least not as often as they'd like. So it just makes sense from a financial standpoint for designers and publishers to cater to solo players, too. Also, I am sure there are still new games released with strong player interaction, but they may be a little harder to find since they aren't "The Hotness" anymore like El Grande or Ra used to be.

P.S.: I can see why people don't like co-ops, but how on earth is Gloomhaven a point salad? Or a game with low player interaction?
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Radu Stanculescu
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The funny thing is that with the "teleportation" of the Automa pieces in Scythe, and the rules that state they are moving to hexes closest to you, I feel that the solo game is *more* interactive than the multiplayer one.

Terraforming Mars though is a very different game in solo vs multi-player. Since you play for a fixed amount of rounds in single player, you might need to focus on terraforming first, and having a high score second. In the multi-player game you can even win with very little input to the terraforming process, just by collecting points on cards. It's the other players' job then to hurry the end of the game before you run away with it. I think it's brilliant how they created a game that's challenging in both modes while not having to tweak the rules too much.
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Scott Johanson
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Like the OP, I'm not fond of point salad games with little or minimal player interaction. I like direct player conflict.

That being said, I generally support the efforts of designers to include a 1 player mode/variant when possible. I play all my games solo at some point; it's not a problem for me to mentally segment the sides apart in my mind. Others don't enjoy that kind of exercise, and a game already suited to SP with rules for it is probably welcomed by that kind of solo player.

I have a hard time getting anyone to play the boardgames I like with me, so playing solo is my typical option. More designers trying to make their games compatible to solo play is a good thing in my mind.
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Larry L
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medievalbanquet wrote:


The need of the designer to make it playable at 1 player does a lot towards making it less of a game and quite simply, more of an elaborate puzzle it seems. With low player interaction and wide open point salads at game end.

What do people think?

Andy
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I think you have the notion of cause and effect reversed. There is no reason to believe that having single player play was a goal in the design of these games instead of a side project made easier by the low player interaction.
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April W
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The fact is, some people like co-ops and some don't. Like most arguments, it's unlikely that anyone on either side is going to convince the other side that their argument is better. We all have different tastes.

As for the 1 player starting count, my theory is that many people don't have others to play with. Often on BGG the new comers to the hobby are former video game players- you don't need opponents to play video games (or if you do, they're easier to come by due to the internet); thus to appeal to video game players I think companies and designers are heading more towards 1 player games. I don't think that's a bad thing- sometimes I enjoy a good solo game myself. But I personally do feel that the heart of what makes gaming great is the player interaction- which comes on all different levels.

Anyway, there's my ramble, for what it's worth.
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Koen Dekker
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Likewise I've only played Terraforming Mars and it sometimes does feel like a puzzle. Specifically, Shut Up & Sit Down referred to it as Sudoku. A game where there is an optimal move, a puzzle to solve.

Not sure if I completely agree with that. Still feels like there are plenty of decisions to make, especially when things don't go your way and you have to abandon the obvious strategy and make due with the cards your dealt. But sometimes the game does devolve down to a lot of math; calculating exactly how many resources you have, what will get you the most points and deciding how you need to play it out to maximize everything.

As for the rise of games playable solo I feel as though that can be attributed to the Kickstarter demographic. It feels like a lot of people buy games but rarely get to play them. They back a project because it looks cool or because of FOMO (fear of missing out). Having a solo player mode ensures they can at least play the game, which makes it more interesting to back it.

That's how I look at boardgames currently. With more people around me that own boardgames I get to play my own games less. The only game that I own that sees regular play is Eldritch Horror. That's all down to the fact that you can play that game solo. So it makes sense for me to look for new games with also have a solo mode. However EH doesn't feel like a puzzle. You can try to make optimal moves but because of the randomness of dice and events you have to treat it as an adventure/story game.
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medievalbanquet wrote:
Iridium192 wrote:
Any new games I buy HAVE to be able to play with 1 player. This is how I guarantee that I'll always be able to play that game whenever I want. If it's 2+ game I have no control over it ever getting played.


Don't take this the wrong way.... but, are you really playing a game? Are you really playing THE game if it plays with other players? I guess I find that insanely boring.

devil


Don't take this the wrong way, but it is pretty rude to say "hey that thing you enjoy? That thing is boring." Like what purpose does that serve? If you don't like solo games, don't play them.

Yes, there are more co-op and solo games around now than there were 5 years ago. You know what else there's more of than 5 years ago? *Everything*

-Chris "Doesn't really care for the Grateful dead but will happily rip off Pete's .sig flair"
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Jacob Schoberg
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Ah, right, solo games aren't actually games. That's right. Thanks for the heads up.
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Brian Cox
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If you were playing from 2004 to 18 months ago, there were plenty of highly rated and well-regarded "plays 1 - x" games, including, but not limited to:

Agricola (2007)
Le Havre (2008)
Pandemic (2008)
Troyes (2010)
Mage Knight Board Game (2011)
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island (2012)
Eldritch Horror (2013)
Caverna: The Cave Farmers (2013)
Fields of Arle (2014)

The fact that games like these did so well helped lead to newer games including solo play. The more types of play a game can include, the more possible sales.



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Einmal ist keinmal
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emodiu5 wrote:
Ah, right, solo games aren't actually games. That's right. Thanks for the heads up.

What's with all the thin skin? It's okay for others to not like our hobby, and they can even generate a discussion about it. Instead of being offended and lashing out, just hit back:
I don't think golf is a sport. It's more like a pasttime. Any game where you can have a conversation or conduct a business meeting concurrently cannot be a sport, by my definition.

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TIL I have been playing Video Games Puzzles and Pinball Machines Puzzles for years.
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fuzzydice82 wrote:
If you were playing from 2004 to 18 months ago, there were plenty of highly rated and well-regarded "plays 1 - x" games, including, but not limited to:

Agricola (2007)
Le Havre (2008)
Pandemic (2008)
Troyes (2010)
Mage Knight Board Game (2011)
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island (2012)
Eldritch Horror (2013)
Caverna: The Cave Farmers (2013)
Fields of Arle (2014)

The fact that games like these did so well helped lead to newer games including solo play. The more types of play a game can include, the more possible sales.

?? My copy of Troyes does not include solo rules.
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Shaun Morris
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It's not much different from playing a video game against a computer.

Ultimately all games are a type of puzzle, regardless of whether you play against the game itself or other people.
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cferejohn wrote:

Don't take this the wrong way, but it is pretty rude to say "hey that thing you enjoy? That thing is boring." Like what purpose does that serve? If you don't like solo games, don't play them.


It's lucky nobody on here ever does that with Munchkin or Monopoly then.
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Desiderata wrote:
emodiu5 wrote:
Ah, right, solo games aren't actually games. That's right. Thanks for the heads up.

What's with all the thin skin? It's okay for others to not like our hobby, and they can even generate a discussion about it. Instead of being offended and lashing out, just hit back:
I don't think golf is a sport. It's more like a pasttime. Any game where you can have a conversation or conduct a business meeting concurrently cannot be a sport, by my definition.



Haha, yeah. People who play real sports mock golf for having no player interaction.

"So what sports do you play, RingelTree?"

umm....
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You left out A Feast for Odin. You can play that and Scythe with other people sitting at the table. While they don't matter in any kind of gameplay sense they're nice to have if you want to take a break and have a little chat. After all, those games take a while.
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medievalbanquet wrote:
MK99 wrote:
I do feel this is a rising trend in hex-and-counter wargames. Solitaire games used to be extremely rare; when the genre was big back in the seventies there were probably less than a dozen solitaire games. They're still far from the majority but now it seems like about a tenth of new games released are designed for solitaire play against an AI opponent. I think this may reflect the greatly diminished popularity of the genre and the difficulty of finding opponents.


Interesting.

See, I think the gaming community has grown immensely and there are more and more people talking about games. They are in Barnes and Noble now. Ticket to Ride paved the way for this 'normalization'. There are more games produced now from a myriad of countries. More gaming groups and conventions.

Hmm.


While it's true that games like Ticket to Ride and Pandemic have broken out into the mainstream and are available at Target and the like - that doesn't necessarily translate into more available players for ALL games - just those games.

Plus, those break-out games tend to be in the gateway game swim lane - simpler, easy to learn rules set, straight-forward mechanics, and typically under an hour game length. Games like Scythe and Terraforming Mars are not gateway games and are a not unsubstantial leap from games like Ticket to Ride. So the availability in big box stores of certain games are certainly not an indicator of more available players for games like Scythe. Having an included solo-mode for these games makes sense.

Personally, I think there are two reasons for publishers and designers to have a game that has a solo-mode: 1) As discussed, removing a barrier to the question of "Whom can I play this with?" and 2) increasing the return on investment/replay value of the game (like this game a lot and can't get enough of it? Well, it includes a solo-mode that allows you to play by yourself and maybe even presents a altered challenge).

In any event, it only can be a good thing.
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Desiderata wrote:
?? My copy of Troyes does not include solo rules.

Never played it. Just did an advanced BGG search for 1 - x games, and it's in there.
 
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I hate "point-salad", low/no interaction multiplayer games as it does tend to devolve into everyone looking down at their own stuff the whole game trying to maximize points with little conversation around the table.

I don't mind these types of puzzle games when solo, however, as I would only have myself to converse with anyway.
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Soleia wrote:
The fact is, some people like co-ops and some don't. Like most arguments, it's unlikely that anyone on either side is going to convince the other side that their argument is better. We all have different tastes.

As for the 1 player starting count, my theory is that many people don't have others to play with. Often on BGG the new comers to the hobby are former video game players- you don't need opponents to play video games (or if you do, they're easier to come by due to the internet); thus to appeal to video game players I think companies and designers are heading more towards 1 player games. I don't think that's a bad thing- sometimes I enjoy a good solo game myself. But I personally do feel that the heart of what makes gaming great is the player interaction- which comes on all different levels.

Anyway, there's my ramble, for what it's worth.


I agree. But, I also think the BAR is lowering with respect to some caught up in this trend. They defend games with lower player interaction as ones with a lot of it. I played Lisboa twice last week. I can't really find where there was a lot of tense player interaction. It was fun to 'play' the game, building buildings, producing goods, shipping them. But, I was VERY alone doing this- no one threatened my plans. The games's rule structure did a bit (can't do this without that, lose this when doing that, etc.) but the tension was non-existent.

Andy
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