I’ve only run Solo-play (one player, one GM) once. It was 23 years ago, I hadn’t been gaming long and this was my first attempt at GMing. I’d bought the Games Workshop boxed edition of Middle Earth Role Play (MERP) and then tried to run it without really paying much attention to the rules. What I ‘ran’ didn’t last long and also bore little resemblance to the MERP rulesystem as I recall. It was the first and it was also the last time I ran a solo game.
The problems I have considered with Solo games is that, much like my liking for computer games, the fascination is all about the interactions with others. I like video-game racing or combat with friends and strangers, I like roleplaying with other humans too. This is why the Fighting Fantasy books didn’t hold my interest much and though I admired the technical excellence of NeverWinter Nights, I never could be bothered doing it all by myself. Online MUSH games resolved some of this because it was a pure role-playing experience, involved a lot of imagination (it’s text-based so, much like a novel, most of the imagery comes from your own imagination.) With Solo play, you’ve only got one person to deal with, one person to bounce ideas off and as a result the interactivity is limited. Plus, if one person fails to show, your entire game is SOL.
One of the advantages of a Solo game is that you only need to schedule with one person (which is only marginally harder than scheduling only for yourself). Scheduling with four other people can be a real pain (especially now we are adults with wives*, family** and social lives***).
So, endeavouring to start a Solo game with Aidan (who inconsiderately can’t stay in one country for any length of time) seems like a good idea for me (and him) to get the gaming fix. The game we’re choosing is Wild Talents. And the premise is simple, it’s the real world, but now, at game start, there is a single superhero (the player). The Powers are going to be rolled randomly but it’s up to Aidan to provide the background and personality for the character. The campaign, fittingly, will be called Solo – respresenting a solo player and a solo superbeing.
*yes, this tells you that we geeks have something that interests a woman (and also that my gaming group are all male)
**this tells you that we geeks, however awkward, have had sex. Yes, hard to believe.
***again, breaking the stereotype, we find it hard to find time to game because we’re busy with our social lives.