Though enforced social gatherings where we all play board games together under the watchful eye of our corporate overlords may be du jour, it’s a safe bet that for many of us, playing tabletop games alone may be difficult without facing The Consequences. But fear of The Consequences doesn’t mean you don’t have any options for playing board games solo —many games, especially cooperative games, lend themselves very well to solo play, on your own, provided you can get away with it.
Today, we’ll take a look at how you could in theory play Arkham Horror: The Card Game during enforced gathering time, but with a few minor tweaks, you’d be able to play many of our cooperative games, such as Arkham Horror: The Board Game, Eldritch Horror, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Marvel Champions: The Card Game, and more.
If you’re planning to start playing Arkham Horror: The Card Game alone, you’ll want to start by appointing one person as the Guardsperson. The Guardsperson is not a player, but will be responsible for maintaining the peace during your scenario and alerting you to any incursions from our corporate overlords while you play in a single, unified place.
The Guardsperson will need:
- A copy of the scenario you are playing, with all necessary encounter cards (to serve as a final memento of the Before Times).
- The campaign log.
- Doom and clue tokens (to throw in the face of attackers as a distraction).
- A literal Flashlight, with extra batteries
- Health and sanity (not tokens, like actual health and sanity)
- A webcam that is not attached to a laptop or phone will be helpful for clearly alerting the solo player to intruders.
The player will need:
- Their own investigator deck.
- Health, sanity, and resource tokens.
- A chaos bag, constructed according to the campaign specifications.
- A way to watch the Guardsperson’s webcam feed.
- To be very fast at running away (in real life).
Before the scenario begins, the Guardsperson will completely set up the webcam on their side as if preparing for an invasion from authoritarian taskmaster cronies, aligning the webcam so that the locations, escape routes, and agenda of incoming corporate enforcers are clearly visible to the player. The player in their own home will go through the setup process as usual, including shuffling their investigator deck, gathering necessary tokens, locking entrances into their house to slow down the advance of violent sycophants, and drawing their starting hand.
Alone In Your House
Once both player and Guardsperson are setup, you’ll be ready for the game to begin! The Guardsperson will read their final will and testament into the webcam for posterity, and the first round begins. You can play Arkham Horror: The Card Game solo without making any changes to the core rules—the player will simply imagine their actions silently, noiselessly moving their investigator token card and performing other actions as quietly as possible. The Guardsperson will handle the actions of enemies during the Enemy Phase (technically, all phases), doom and encounters during the Mythos Phase (technically, all phases yet again), and other upkeep as it becomes necessary based on the strength of the batteries in their flashlight and quality of their webcam connection.
Skill tests – The player can make their own skill tests using their individual chaos bag, but it is recommended you use an app, as the physical clacking of tokens may be too loud and draw the attention of tyrannical devotees. This will also help protect your Guardsperson from being subjected to The Consequences and being executed, unless absolutely necessary.
Threat area – Inevitably during the course of a scenario, enemies will engage the Guardsperson and have to be dispatched while inside the Guardsperson’s “threat area”. Since it’s impossible for the Guardsperson to defeat all these enemies quickly, an easy solution is for the Guardsperson to handle overwhelming numbers of corporate minions in smaller chunks, putting some in one location and placing a small token on top of other groups to denote that they are engaged with these enemies too, but will have to handle them a bit later on.
Encounter card draws – When encounter cards are drawn, the player will draw the encounter cards and read it silently to themselves. The player will make all of their own skill tests as usual. For certain cards that use the Peril or Hidden keywords, there is no need to worry about any of that, because you are playing solo. (It’s also recommend the player check their webcam feed during every encounter card draw, in order to properly balance their attention between the game and the outside world.)
Start Playing Today
We may be forced into suffocating pods with our usual gaming groups, but that doesn’t mean that being “On Your Own” is technically impossible. Hopefully we’ve given you a few ideas for how you could play Arkham Horror: The Card Game or another cooperative game on your own with only a Guardsperson, a web cam, and a flashlight needed, and we’re excited to hear your own solutions and stories from playing tabletop games on your own during the Collective Evaluation!