By Rob Morgan
In several of the diverse publications, newsletters and the few e-blogs, etc., for which I write, members regularly send in news of the publication of articles specific to the relevant field of interest. Castle and ordnance enthusiasts are particularly keen on this activity. They actually publish annual bibliographies, so why aren’t we so keen to exchange information? Admittedly, articles on solo gaming are less frequently published than we could hope for, but they do crop up in all sorts of places.
The other day, I was wading through my old copies of Practical Wargamer, arguably the best broad-church wargames magazine ever published, looking for notes on Lepanto, and noticed a surprising number of solo scenario articles over just a few years. That’s what brought this to mind. In fact PW had as editor Stuart Asquith who was clearly tuned in to the solo gaming world. I found a handful of scenarios which I copied and will try, and like many solo games, they will transpose to other eras with little difficulty. A surprising number of these solitaire scenarios were written by Graham Harrison, who might well be, or have been, one of SWA’s members. A few are worth mentioning, as they are likely to be of interest to many readers. In September 1993, Graham produced an excellent solo game on Braddock’s 1775 defeat in the American colonies, while in February 1999, he provided a set of skirmish rules of immense value. My favourite from that pen, however, came in July 1997, when he wrote “St. Radu’s Finger,” a C15th Holy Roman Empire adventure. Stuart himself often dipped in, and in November 1993’s issue there was a substantial solo game based on the Sudan in 1884, with gunboat!
Other journals sometimes provided a solo effort, like Battle! as long ago as November 1978, which came up with a single-page “Commando Raid: France 1943” by F.J. Taylor, a short one-player game which has few equals in print. I’ll stop there, but no doubt others will know of similar solo games from other publications.