The Solo RPG Exchange

Published on 2018-07-07

The Solo RPG Exchange, trendily represented as #SRPGX, is a community project in which we—that is, anyone who would like to participate—design one-player analog roleplaying games and then share them with each other. This event is open to all experience levels! Feedback will be positive, considerate, and supportive. We're all learning together.

A One-Player RPG?

Sounds strange, doesn't it? A solo RPG is one that a single person can play alone; the roles and responsibilities of players and/or GM is somehow simulated so that the experience is still interactive for the player. There is no "right way" for these games to play. A choose-your-own-adventure, a quest with dice-generated obstacles, even a mad lib, could all be considered single-player roleplaying games. For more information and examples of solo RPGs, I recommend this article by Sophia Brandt:

Designing the Games
Designing the Games

This event is in three stages: Designing, Sharing, Collecting. Each participant has two weeks plus a weekend to design their game; submit a journal of your play experience along with your game. I'll review the games over the week and randomly, anonymously send them to other participants (the journal is not passed on). Each participant gets one week plus a weekend to play the game and write a play journal for it. I take the week to review feedback and then shuffle the games around again. Each participant is expected to play three games, in addition to their own. Once we're done, the journals for each game are bundled and sent to the designer.

The Rules

A game must not exceed 1,000 words. A game must be interactive and possible to accomplish. Please use accessible components when writing your game—don't ask players to use expensive or rare pieces for play. Plan for no more than one hour of gameplay time; games can have the potential for long term campaign play, but needs to have a complete experience within an hour's time.

Your game can be about anything. In the spirit of accessibility, please be sensitive with heavy or emotional themes if you choose to include them—and label appropriately. This isn't a challenge, so there's no prompt requirements. If you'd like one, I recommend basing your game on the second result you get from one of these fine generators: This One, This Other One, A Third One.

Each game must also have a title.

The Schedule

Today to July 22: Design your own game and journal your experience.

July 27 to August 5: Play and journal the first game.

August 10 to August 19: Play and journal the second game.

August 24 to September 2: Play and journal the third game.

September 9: Journals are returned to designers.

While this looks like a two+ month commitment, the windows are large enough to give each participant time to experience the games. Ideally, you'll only be asked for about an hour or so of your time each week and each week begins and ends with a full weekend.

Play, Journal, Repeat
Play, Journal, Repeat

Finished games will be submitted to a form, along with the designers' journals. Design journals are to be about 500 words or so and answer the following questions:

What happened in the game?

How did the rules shape the play experience?

What was a clever or interesting approach to solo gameplay?

What was a challenge or obstacle in interacting with the game?

Once a game and its journal is submitted, the games are assigned to other participants to play and write a new journal for. We will repeat this in three rounds.

Journals are encouraged to be positive and, if critical, constructive in doing so. As we are open to all experience levels and this is not a "challenge" with winners or stakes, our goal is to support one another and provide feedback to help each other build and improve.

All participants are asked to keep their game secret as it goes from round to round, but after the Solo RPG Exchange concludes, you're free to publish, further develop, and openly discuss your game as you please.

Lets Create Together!
Lets Create Together!

Without any further ado, let's begin! Starting right now, you have two weeks and an extra weekend to make your game and submit. Let's make some good, rough, solo games—together.