If Only I Had Someone to Play With

Sociality in Single Player Board Games

  • Liam Nougher Canterbury Christ Church University


Since 2004, the tabletop board game market has seen a surge in solo compatibility. COVID-19 restricted multiplayer board gaming, attracting new players to the world of solo play. Despite that, games research has somewhat overlooked explanations as to why solo board gaming is a growing phenomenon. This paper takes a multidisciplinary approach, considering scoresheets, gaming capital, and chores, to examine whether sociality exists in solo board games. The importance of sociality in solo board games is also brought into question, highlighting benefits and flaws of group presence, including negative effects of social influence. Motivations of solo players are explored through a questionnaire and session report, presenting three themes: social reasons, genre preferences, and playstyle choices. Conclusions drawn provide practical applications for tabletop designers, outlining how they can more effectively approach the design of solo games or solo variants.

May 15, 2024