As a young child, I loved playing with action figures. I collected everything from GI Joes to He-Man. In my world of imagination, all figures coexisted in a constant struggle with one another. There was never peace. There was always a story of one faction against another or one figure betraying another. I was Shakespeare and He-man and his fellow figures were my actors. And all this happened in the solitude of my bedroom.
I stopped playing with toys in my early teen years (yeah, I was old). I traded them in for video games, which I still played alone. Though I still play video games, my gaming energy has shifted to board games, which I play with others. I enjoy gaming with others, but there are still times I enjoy playing board games by myself. Many of my games have a “solitaire” mode which allows me to enjoy the game and enjoy the solitude.
One reason I enjoy solo gaming is that it allows me to broaden my collection somewhat. Many games that have a solo mode are more complicated games than my normal group (my family) would enjoy. With these games, I’m able to play the games I enjoy, while not having to worry about finding a group to play with. Because these games have longer play times, I can also leave them set up. This gives me the opportunity to walk away and come back. That’s something you can’t do with a normal game group.
Another reason for solo gaming is that it helps you to sharpen your rules knowledge. Playing the game in solo mode first gives you a good idea of rules and feel of the game. No one wants you to drag them through the first play with limited rules knowledge. I can spend as much time as I like playing the game and learning the nuances of the rules. Then, teaching the game to my friends becomes much easier. After that, I can better apply the rules to situations that will arise. No one like to play a game in which no one knows the rules. Solo gaming eliminates that.
The best reason to play solo games is that it keeps your mind ticking. Many folks use other devices to do this like crossword puzzles, logic problems, and sudoku. Though I like those things, board games bring color and the physical element that can’t be had on a piece of paper. The visual and tactile experiences involved in a board game can keep your mind sharp. I read a recent study that looked at the link between your internal thoughts and the physical world. These associations and connections keep your memory more intact as you grow older
Playing solo games does take some time to get used to, but the investment is worth it.