Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Zombicide and solo scenarios

Today I spent some hours playing Zombicide and this got me thinking about solo tabletop gaming scenarios.

One problem that solo games must address is providing challenge for the players, and the solution often comes in the form of unpredictability. In the case of Zombicide, for instance, there are the card decks for zombies and items.

However, there is also the issue of setting up the game, that is, giving context to the action that is about to happen. Many rule sets have generic scenarios (i.e. attack or defend) and some have scenario generators. While useful, these often lack in depth or leave too many details for the player to fill.

This can be a problem for solo gaming, as setting the terrain in a mindful manner implies thinking about the tactics that can be used there. It can work if you want to explore different tactical situations in a given board. If you want to be able to play against the rules, it can feel as you have an unfair advantage.

One possible solution is to look for scenarios built by other people on the Internet. The problem is that in many cases, these will require miniatures, models or terrain that the player does not have.

The interesting thing about Zombicide is that, being a board game with a definite set of components, it is easier to share scenarios created for it. The official site has over 40 scenarios just for the base game and even an application to aid creating new ones.

I do not have any concrete proposals at the moment for this. On one hand, I enjoy the freedom given by tabletop games, i.e. I can set up a board with anything at hand. However, at times I may be stumped at creating any scenario, or may make one that is too favorable for one side.

In the end, I think that the relevant question is: how are other tabletop gamers creating their scenarios for play?

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