I am told that, in board gaming today, the rage is “solo play.”
I say “I am told” this, because when it comes to current trends, my finger is not exactly on the pulse. Indeed, it’s about as far from the pulse as you can get.
And yet, as purchases began rolling in, players asked me: What about solo play? Do any of the games work for one player?
Well, here is the long-delayed answer: yes!
There is a fine line between a puzzle and a solo game. As a rule of thumb, a puzzle is one-and-done. Solve it, and you’ve solved it forever. Sure, you could erase your answers to a sudoku and play it again, but only if you’re sufficiently forgetful (or sufficiently desperate).
By contrast, a game reincarnates. Win or lose, you may always play again, always with a possibility of success, and never with a guarantee.
Then again, the line can blur. For example, what is a Rubik’s cube—puzzle or game? Each arrangement of the cube is a puzzle. But the cube itself generates virtually infinite puzzles. Does that make it a game? A puzzle-game? A game-puzzle? Just a neat toy?
Anyway, this companion text collects a mix of puzzles, games, and riddles. I tried not to sweat the philosophical distinctions. The aim is to provide you with fun experiences for the solo gameplayer. A few stand on their own, but most are inspired by the games in the book Math with Bad Drawings, and may require a quick perusal of the rules in the original text.
I hope these pages offer some pleasing diversions. Enjoy your solo flights.