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Solo Game Design Problems


Having spent the best part of a year designing a game with a 1-6 player count I have also been spending that time and a bit longer playing solo count games with a designer's hat on. SSO was always designed to be not only playable solo but to have its single player mode as a central element and a single rules set for any player count. Since I've been playing solo games to research the market and to compare my design solutions to other designers I thought I'd share some general insights.

I've come to the conclusion that most solo games return to a few repeated flaws. I don't know why exactly, I suspect it comes from a combination of lower investment due to reduced perceived profits and the inherent difficulty of designing co-op and by extension single player games. Unfortunately solo mode is often seen as a profitable addition to a game that has already been written. In my opinion to build a good solo game mode the other players have to be a mode added on to the solo design rather than the other way around. Whatever the actual solutions these are a few common problems that designers should seek to avoid.

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