Friday Night Shots – Do You Cheat at Solo Games?

It’s been a while since the last Friday Night Shots post, but with the whiskey flowing, vacation rearing its beautiful head, and this idea occurring to me a lot when I started playing Storm Above the Reich, I thought this was the perfect place for it.

The pandemic lockdown actually had me buying a few solo games, including a couple of the GMT submarine games (and now I’ve done the P500 for the out of print ones).

It also made me buy the game that’s been dominating my solo plays for a while now (the aforementioned Storm game that you’re probably sick of hearing about, but if you’re not sure, start here and keep going).

An age-old question of solo gamers has come up, of course: do you cheat when things don’t go your way?

Or do you fudge a little at least, even if you don’t go all-out cheating?

When you’re setting up your campaign, or just a mission in your campaign, and it depends on you rolling dice, do you re-roll if you get something bad? Or even during a mission when the dice you just rolled would end up killing you?

I’ve often had the temptation when I’m starting a mission of Storm. Say it’s Early 1943 and I am doing an Inbound mission (see the chart above). For OP (Operations Points), I roll a 1. Oh my god, only 2 OP!!!

That means either I get either one of my fighters and 3 auxiliaries or just two of my fighters! What the fuck am I going to do with that? There’s no way I’m going to be able to shoot down any bombers with that kind of beginning.

I have to admit, before I decided to blog all of my missions, I did fudge things a little in my first two missions, mainly because I was new to the whole game and I wanted the experience. I didn’t want to start over because my rolls were terrible.

As I’ve been blogging my missions, I have resisted the urge to do that, sometimes to my detriment (including a mission I haven’t blogged yet…spoilers!!!!)

One thing I do allow myself, however, is to reset things if I realize I made a horrible mistake. Once a card has been drawn, I don’t do this.

However, sometimes I get the fighters organized into their positions and then I realize that I really should have done something else. I should have maybe had one of the auxiliaries stay at 10:00 Low so that I could get Position Advantage.

As long as I haven’t actually pulled a card for firing, I feel ok with rearranging things. I just delete the pictures that I took of the previous placement and redo them.

If I was doing a video of this, obviously I couldn’t do that.

However, I do not reroll, I do not pull another card because I don’t like the effect of the one I just drew.

What happens, happens in that case.

Would I feel the same if I wasn’t blogging my missions?

I honestly am not sure. It would depend on whether I was having fun with the increased difficulty or not.

Isn’t that what games are about? Fun?

The couple of times I’ve played The Hunted (which is extremely tough and I hope The Hunters gets reprinted soon), I tried to avoid fudging a die roll but then I lasted two missions before dying.

That’s one difference between me and somebody like my buddy Zilla Blitz. He does these wonderful submarine playthroughs on his channel.

Doing video, he basically can’t cheat. I mean, I guess he could and he would just edit it, but when he rolls badly there really doesn’t seem to be a good place to do that! It would look extremely obvious.

With me writing up my blog and having everything done after the fact, I can cheat all I want!

But I don’t. Especially now that I’m blogging it.

It just wouldn’t feel real to me. I’m trying to present what actually happened to my readers. I can’t do that if I cheat.

If I wasn’t blogging?

I think I might do it more often. I know that my wife and I, when we play co-op games, have occasionally fudged dice rolls (or just rerolled at least).

The goal is to have fun. If you’re not having fun, then why do it?

And if fudging dice in a solo game makes it fun, why not do it?

More power to you. That’s what I say.

What say you?

Do you fudge things, or flat out cheat, when you play a solo (or even a cooperative!) game?

Let me know in the comments.

(And join me on Twitter (@whovian223) tomorrow to glory in the sounds of 70s music with Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on Sirius XM)

8 Comments on “Friday Night Shots – Do You Cheat at Solo Games?

  1. Nice article and thanks for the shout out!

    For me, a bit depends on what I’m trying to do with a solitaire game. But if I’m playing to win or creating a video of a game session, then my house rule is to never cheat. I feel like it’s a slippery slope to entertain redoing things in order to win, and I don’t mind losing games.

    It can be frustrating, for sure, when you feel like you’ve done things right only to be done in the end by a series of bad dice rolls, but it only makes victory sweeter when you can finally achieve success.

    The trickier part for me is deciding what to do when I discover that I’ve made a rules mistake that greatly changes an outcome in my favor.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you got WordPress working!

      Thanks for the kind words.

      I know on video you almost definitely have to do the “no cheating” rule because video would really make it obvious (or could, anyway).

      It is a slippery slope, and that’s why I kind of feel bad if I do decide to fudge things a bit (mainly when I’m playing with my wife…I try not to when I’m playing solo).

      The rules mistake is a different issue that I didn’t even think to address. For you, with videos and everything, I guess it just matters how bad it is and how much trouble it would be to reshoot. And with video, you often find (I would imagine) that you don’t know you made a rules mistake until somebody points it out!

      I actually had that happen with the Scottgun videos for Storm Above the Reich. I pointed out an error that was so egregious he felt he needed to redo the whole campaign and shoot new videos.

      Now that’s power! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh boy yeah. When playing cooperative games, and someone does a play that we know will end the game we take it back and see if there’s something else.

    However, if it’s a game mechanic like a drawn card or something. Then it’s gg for real.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Very interesting question! I agree with you that you should do what is fun for you. (The same goes for non-solo gaming – if you feel like a rule change makes the game more fun for everyone involved, by all means do it. Just that in multi-person gaming you have to make sure that other people are on board with doing things not by the (rule)book.)
    Myself, I haven’t been sologaming a whole lot in that sense – either, it’s via an app (and our electronic devices don’t let us cheat) or I’m doing a multi-handed solitaire (like most of my Unconditional Surrender! games), so there’s no way a bad die roll or mistake of mine could cut my experience short. Still, I go by a similar rule as you: As long as I can still re-arrange things and haven’t received new information (like the outcome of a die roll), I feel free to undo my mistakes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely undo mistakes if I can (like I discovered after a few missions that I was supposed to also lose an EP each time one of my auxiliary fighters crashed or was destroyed and I hadn’t been doing that). I’m also not averse to saying “wait, why did I do it that way?” and resetting some of my fighter placements, as long as I’m not too far into the game (usually the same turn). Once the turn is over, no more resets.


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