Should Your Game Have a Solo Mode?
I used to think it was impossible to make a solo mode for Furtherance. There are so many potential combinations of cards and so many decisions players have to make, how could I possibly automate that for one player? Then, while attending Save Against Fear, I was challenged to think differently.
Many gamers came to me at Save Against Fear and told me that they loved the game, but often don't have time to play games with their friends, so they try to buy games that are one-player. I have a few one-player games myself, but I had never thought very hard about it for Furtherance until that day.
When I got home from Save Against Fear, I went online and quickly found that there is a HUGE community of solo tabletop gamers out there, always looking for new one-player experiences. I was missing this entire demographic of gamer because I limited my game.
This intrigued me, and I sat down for a few hours everyday for about a week with Furtherance and tried dozens of potentials for one-player modes. Finally, I had cracked it, an experience that captures what Furtherance is without any need for other players. And, since inventing it, I have been able to play Furtherance whenever I want! No need to wait for other players, it was amazing. And, something I once thought impossible became possible, and was actually fun!
Which is the key: the goal of any game is to be fun. So, when you are thinking about the possibility of a one-player mode just think what would be a fun way for you to play your game alone? Perhaps you did something similar while you were first creating or testing your game. So keep playing, testing, and thinking and, if possible, find a way to make your game one-player.
Now, obviously, there are limitations. If it's a social deduction game, there's not much you can do. But, remember, in the board game community, you're not alone. Ask your play testers and other designers for suggestions. All it takes is one good idea to launch the one-player version of your game, and once you crack the code, you immediately open your game up to whole new group of gamers.