Why do you solo?

I have just returned from my yearly pilgrimage to the Bayou Wars wargaming convention in New Orleans—which was another unqualified success, by the way.

As a confirmed solo wargamer, I am forced to ask myself why I feel compelled to go to a multiplayer convention. And, there are several answers. For one thing, what is there not to like about The Big Easy? The seafood, the sights, and the sounds are wonderful. But, the convention itself is great too. One gets to see friends, play games, check out new figures, models, rules, etc., but when it ends, I am always anxious to get home and play some new solo games. I have a notebook filled with fresh ideas for new and old games and a suitcase filled with figures and models to assemble and paint.

So why am I a solo wargamer anyway? At first it was because I could not find another player in my area, but now I actually prefer to play alone. In my case, the primary reason is that I can make my own rules. And, since I made them, I can change them if they don’t work. I want my games to be fast, fun, and easy. I do not want to be bogged down in an encyclopedia of details. I want to emphasize the “game” in wargame, and every time I play, I try to think of a way I can make the rules better.

Now it is your turn. Why do you wargame solo?

Mike Crane

About mike crane

I am a retired high school teacher living in Texarkana, Arkansas, USA. Although I enjoy wargaming in all periods, my favorite eras are WWII, Colonial, ACW, and Napoleonic. I enjoy making rules that are simple, fast, and fun.
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12 Responses to Why do you solo?

  1. Bard says:

    I too initially started solo play because I didn’t have any opponents. But now, after playing with opponents on and off at different times in my life, I play solo pretty exclusively. I don’t think there’s one reason why, but several several, most of which are a question of choice:
    1. Lack of *readily available* opponents (I might be able to some opponents with a bit of effort; it’s really reasons 2-3 that keep me from making the effort).
    2. Wargaming is now for me more about creativity than competition. The narrative is far more important to me than winning or losing.
    3. Gaming time is my quiet solitude time, in an otherwise hectic life.
    4. Solo gaming fits my schedule. I often play a turn per day, maybe 15 minutes or so each evening after work.

  2. JAird says:

    One of my main reasons (as those playing in the Civil war postal games can testify – sorry guys it will be updated eventually!) is that I can leave a game set up for some time and make a turn or two when I can grab a moment (and am able to think straight at the same time).

    Do you ever find life gets in the way of good honest gaming time ?

  3. Alex says:

    My gaming group is all about GW. And I want something more, something different 🙂

  4. Jeffrey G. Chorney says:

    I would agree with all of the above. The biggist reason I solo now was due to a bad experience I had at a club. Some of the guys there were all about winning. That really turned me off as … at the time I was trying to get my youngest son involved in the hobby. He saw how poorly adults could act so it turned him right off. For me solo is perfect as you don’t have to worry about transporting stuff, people breaking/damaging your figs, and you play when you feel like it! Jeff

  5. Dale Hurtt says:

    Because I can play the games the way I want to. Right now a lot of Flames of War gaming is going on, but most players are unsatisfied with playing smaller point games. They want all the toys on the board and it gets a bit tedious. Also, I have a bunch of commercial scenarios to use, but they all assume you are using a lot fewer figures over the same table size. So, I either have to convert them for others’ use or use them straight for solo gaming.

    Bottom line: I can play the types of games I enjoy and not compromise by playing those I don’t just so I will get in some “game time”.

    • Paul Le Long says:

      Seems like we all pretty much feel the same way.
      I have a pretty busy job with lots of commuting – it’s time-consuming & tiring. I just can’t commit to gaming at a certain time for a certain period. And I wouldn’t want to anyway – like Bard, I want my spare time to be quiet time – I get more than enough human interaction at work.
      Misanthropic? Maybe.
      And like the rest of you, I want to play what I want to play, how I want to play it, when I want to play it. And I want to change the rules anytime I want if they are not working.
      And what I really detest is the slavish devotion that some gamers have to a particular set of rules or a particular range of figures, used to the exclusion of all else. That kind of commercialism really turns me off.

  6. George Arnold says:

    Wow! Lots of comments here that sound so much like me.

    I spent many years in gaming wildernesses, where I soloed because I had no choice: There were no potential opponents nearby. These days, there is a small group of gamers in the general neighborhood. They’re congenial enough, but they had been gaming together long before I showed up. And their common preference is monster games, with big tables, covered with figures, and games that move so slowly the players will sometimes set aside a three-day weekend to try to arrive at a single game’s conclusion after all those many hours of play. That’s just not my idea of a good time.

    I tried those types of games with them on occasion, and I also tried to interest them in some faster moving rules, but neither worked. I also found that fitting my schedule into those multi-player games was difficult. The group and I have pretty much gone our separate ways in recent years – amiably, I hope.

    Maybe I just got used to the freedom soloing gave me, for many of the reasons listed in other comments. It’s a luxury – and a delight – to be able to set up a game and play it out on my own schedule, maybe making a move or two per evening — sometimes more, sometimes less. It’s a relaxing, enjoyable way to spend some free time.

  7. Andy says:

    I play mostly multiplay with some great guys, and I would definitely miss it if I didn’t have it. Not just the comraderie, but the exposure to other facets of the hobby that I’m not aware of.

    That said, sometimes I just want to do what I want to do when I want to do it, and not worry about satisfying other people, or explaining it to them!

  8. Ike says:

    No convenient F2F opponents in any era I’m interested in playing is top. Second is that not only is it convenient to leave a game at any time, but changing from genre to genre – e.g., from WW2 skirmish to Horror – whenever the mood strikes me is very important to me. Third is related to #2: having campaigns going on without the weight to knowing others are waiting for my – basically – lazy self to finish last turn’s admin or referee tasks. Fourth is being able to write my own tabletop rules and campaign rules and make changes as I see fit without all of the drama and fuss that would ensue with other players in the game or campaign.

    After playing wargames and their related games since 1962, I’m more comfortable playing solo. And with today’s technology, whenever I feel like I’m missing something, I can go online and play a game of Red Orchestra or of <SOW- Gettysburg with my online gaming friends. Pretty much says it for me.

  9. max says:

    At first i was a part solo, part two player wargamer, as i played with friends and my brother using flames of war and warhammer, but, because i moved to France and also because my friends lost interest in wargaming, i have no opponents anymore.
    I do enjoy playing solo though, as i can play at my own pace, and when i play WWII 6mm i improvise a lot (it’s a T-34 but when you remove the turret it becomes a SU-100!) and i don’t think others like that too much. I tried to get some people into wargaming but it never really works and i find it funner alone as i don’t have to explain all the rules that i know so well.

  10. Steve Turner says:

    Too many arguments.
    Having suffered the attentions of overbearing Wargames’ Club secretaries (who believe the club personally belongs to them) and more than a fair share of argumentative members I gave up playing anything other than solo many, many moons ago.

    Oh yeh, I loath fantasy + D&D, which meant I couldn’t get a face to face opponent anyway. These types of war(?) games killed off all my local clubs in less than 18 months.

  11. My golden age of having reasonable numbers of people to game with is long gone. Due to a number of factors, gamers are few and far between where I live. Add to that the fact that people are not always interested in what you are interested in. Maybe I have a “beggar can’t be choosers” philosophy, but I’m willing to play just about anything! Unfortunately for me, it is not the case with others. So, if I want to have a game that is not popular with the cool kids, I have to game it solo.

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