Naturally, I’m not one to get bored so often, but a number of readers have consistently written in with the question: Which pen and paper games can I play when I’m bored out of my skull at work?
Well, our jobs can get a bit boring at times. So, I got wondering if there is any fun pen and paper game I could play.
In such situation, most individuals would work on creating RPGish elements, but the problem comes in when you actually don’t know what storyline to follow.
Personally, I thought of looking into something I had created, but I failed to like every element in it. I really hate the random, rouge-like creation that comes along with customized pen and paper RPGs.
So, I decided to consult my colleagues on some of single player pen and paper RPGs they have come across during their gaming days given I only knew of Pocket Dungeon.
I managed to compile a list of 10 single player pen and paper RPGs, and I think they are the right ones to give you large variety and choice whenever you have some time spare and a pen and some paper at hand.
1. Pocket of Dungeons
This is one of the famous pen and paper solo adventures that has been ruling tabletops for several years now.
Pocket Dungeon Quest is a casual rogue-like tabletop adventure that can be played by a single player or more (at most 4 players). This game was inspired by classic video games like Sword of Fargoal and Rogue.
Gameplay begins by positioning the dungeon, then choosing a hero from four unique classes that will help in dungeon crawl.
According to the Kickstater:
“PDQ is a unique tabletop game that is inspired by classic video games such as Rogue and Sword of Fargoal. This truly original board game is made up entirely of tiles that represent a dungeon, monsters and the items that could be found within. At the start of each game the tiles are shuffled and the dungeon is randomized creating a new extremely dangerous adventure every single time!”
2. Agent of Death (Tunnels and Trolls)
It’s a role playing game that you can enjoy playing on your lonesome. It’s the second ever fantasy roleplaying pen and paper game to be published.
To help you understand, a fantasy roleplaying game is a game where a leader, commonly known as the game-master, has come up with an adventure for a group of gamers, and they play the game and try to solve the problems.
There are a good number of solo adventures, but Agent of Death has lived to the most popular of them all.
According to the Agent of Death writers:
“Something is stealing the magic of Trollworld, and Lerotta’hh, Empress of Khazan has chosen you to track down the cause and save the realms. But are you up to the challenge?
Agent of Death can be played as one long novel length adventure, or it can be played as three separate short story adventures. And for the first time, one segment of this solo has been specifically designed and written for mega character test them out.”
Each adventurer is defined by prime attributes: Intelligence, Strength, Constitution, Luck, Charisma Dexterity, and Speed.
3. Buffalo Castle – Tunnels and Trolls
Although the game’s apps turned out to be more popular than the RPG pen and paper (tabletop) version, Buffalo Castle’s solo adventures still remain to the best.
It was the first solo to be given the Deluxe T&T treatment. In actual fact, it was first republished in France for their edition in 2012.
The game permits you to come up with your own new characters or select from their pre-rolled set.
According to the developers:
“Buffalo Castle is the first adventure written specifically for solitaire play, designed for use with Tunnels & Trolls warrior characters. It is an excellent introduction to FRP game playing and solitaire adventure play in particular. Buffalo Castle has an abundance of rooms, traps, monsters… and treasure!
Buffalo Castle is Number 1 in a series of unique Solo Dungeon Adventures designed for play with the Tunnels & Trolls system of fantasy role-playing. If you have difficulty gathering enough friends to play T&T together, or if you have only a little time to play, then the Solo Dungeons are designed for you. You need only the rules for Tunnels & Trolls, a few six-sided dice, paper, pencil and this booklet to play.”
4. Adventure Compendium – Tunnels and Trolls
This is one of the latest additions to T&T collection of solo adventures and it’s actually a 9 mini-solo adventures and 3 GM put together.
I guess having this simplifies the quest of going out to find solo rpgs because this 88 page collection takes everyone on great adventurous experiences.
After the aforementioned titles (Agents of Death and Buffalo Castle), it’s the best piece to have to ensure you satisfy all your solo adventures.
According to its writers:
“This 88 page collection of mini solos and gm adventures from the Tunnels & Trolls archives will take you on swashbuckling, mystical mayhem through the streets of Khazan, the seaside docks of Gull and the frozen realms of the Circle of Ice. Then descend into the hidden depths of Trollworld in search of gold and glory.”
5. Chronicles of Arax
For gamers who would love to try something more different from the Tunnels and Trolls solos that are story driven, then Chronicles of Arax is the best way to go.
Unlike T&T solos that features pieces that limit the re-playability of the solo because the prior choices affect future replay, Chronicles of Arax supports the power of re-playability because upon completion of a mission, you can randomly decide the next mission until you reach your last destination.
According to the developers:
“Chronicles of Arax is a game where you, the reader, takes on the role of a Hero in the world of Arax. It is your job to fight against evil and injustice, to undertake various Quests to further the goals of good, and hopefully get some fame and loot in the bargain!
In Chronicles of Arax, you take on the role of a mighty Hero who, in the face of utter darkness, stands up for the light by undertaking missions and adventures (known as Quests) that will hopefully aid the forces of light.”
6. Doctor Who: Solitaire Story Game
This is a paragraph centered solitaire story game where you’re required to read several numbered segments one after another but the structure of the paragraphs is determined by tables and rules.
According to the developers:
“Evil events have overtaken the Universe! The Timelords and your home planet of Gallifrey have been destroyed in the Time War. You managed to escape, and now in a new regeneration, are standing at the console of your TARDIS as it flies through the Time Vortex”
It’s an adventure game played in ‘turns’, where each standard turn starts with you choosing an action like exploring, investigating or planning. Dependent on each action you select, you’re directed to a chart where you roll two dice, which indicate an event unit that you need to resolve.
In these era of smartphones and portable consoles, it’s easy to forget that we can actually entertain ourselves without an electrical outlet. We’ve just failed to recognize that pen and paper games are still essential when it comes relaxing and having fun.
To be sure, there are several types of games that we can play with only a writing tool and paper. The games range from ones that use strategy to those that let you become creative.
According to most gamers, playing them helps in developing the characteristic of effective learning, exploring, creating, and thinking critically, and active clearing. They also support learning areas directly given they are related to improving confidence and self-esteem. Thus, making them an essential piece in gaming for individuals who would love to have single player titles.
Here are some suggestions for solo play pen and paper rpgs