Solo Gaming: Stardew Valley

I’m going to be honest … I wasn’t very good at the Stardew Valley video game. But, when I saw this cooperative board game, I had to give it a try because I love the idea of the video game. It turns out to be a great solo game. I love how charmingly sweet the game is. You are making friends, digging in the mine to find ore and artifacts, fishing, and building up your farm.

In the solo version, you are doing exactly what you do in the multiplayer version, with just one tiny change to the way the specialty cards work. Below I describe how the game changes for the solo game and how it worked for me, but I don’t go in-depth into the basic game play. For that, check out one of the many reviews or play throughs on YouTube.

Game play

The game is set up exactly as it is for the multi-player game. The board is set out, forage tokens placed on their spots of the board, fish drawn out of the bag and placed at the bottom of the board, and the mine set up at the top. The season deck is set up as usual, Four of grandpa’s goals chosen and placed face-up at the top of the board. And six community center bundles placed face-down at the top of the board.

You choose a character and the tool set for that character. The big difference in the solo game is that instead of having just the specialty cards for the one character the player has chosen, all specialty cards should be placed nearby.

As you play, when you would normally draw two specialty cards from your character’s deck and chose one between seasons, you’ll instead draw three cards from three different specialties and choose one to keep. This way you are able to get a few additional special abilities to help out with the goals.

Many of the player goals are scaled for player-count, so in the solo game, you just use a player-count of one to fulfill those. If you’re able to deliver all of the community center bundles and meet all of grandpa’s goals before the end of winter, you win!

How did it work?

I love how charming this game is, and that’s no different in the solo play. I like that the goals scale down to one player. It’s a little challenging when you get a goal that doesn’t scale, like the one requiring you to get to the bottom of the mine, but it’s still do-able with a single player.

I also like that you get to choose specialty cards from different decks at the end of each season, because this can help you meet some of the goals that would be hard for your current character.

I’ve been finding my solo plays of Stardew Valley to be a relaxing, pleasant experience. Even if I don’t pull out a win, I’ve had a good time exploring the mine, fishing, and making friends.

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