Nowadays, everyone has heard of Dungeons and Dragons. However, a new way to play has emerged – solo journaling games. It brings the joys of creating a character and living out their adventures, however has you as the sole player in your own story.
What Actually Is A Solo Journaling Game?
The purpose of a solo journaling game is that it can be played independently. There isn’t the need of a dungeon master, or any other players for that matter. All someone needs is themselves, some paper, a pen, and some dice. While some of these games can be played with others through writing letters or something similar, it is mostly down to the player.
Journaling games are given the name because of the format they are played in. They are made to be written in a journal, taking the role of something like a diary. This is because most journaling games focus on the character and the thoughts, feelings and experiences of said character. The game will give prompts, based on dice rolls, which the player will then write about.
This format or playstyle isn’t for everyone. If the reason you play Dungeons and Dragons is because of combat and bloodshed, these games may not be for you. If you’re more the player that enjoys thinking about a character’s motivations, or prefers roleplay-heavy games, then this playstyle might be more your speed. For those that aren’t familiar with tabletop games, these are perfect for aspiring writers and authors. Another perk around journaling games are that these are designed to be played independently – though can also be played with one other person if you so choose. This makes journaling games perfect for those that don’t have the time to commit to a tabletop game, but still want the experience of taking the role of another character.
There are many different genres of journaling games. There are ones based on horror, exploration, or even daily life. The world of journaling games is great and constantly expanding, meaning those that are interested in the format will likely find something that appeals to them.
How Do I Get Started?
All people need to start is something to write with, and something to write in – and that’s it! Some games require dice, but an online dice roller works just as well to randomly allocate prompts to write about.
Many journaling game manuals can be found online through websites such as itch.io. Additionally, there any many online communities surrounding journaling games which can help you find the right game for you, or help if you feel stuck or confused. If jumping immediately into a new game is somewhat daunting, there are people online that have changed games such as Pathfinder to make it solo friendly.
Which Ones Are Recommended?
The world of solo journal games is a big one. There are many out there and even more coming out each day. However, if you need some guidance on where to start, here are some.
- Thousand Year Old Vampire. You take the role of a vampire. As get used to your immortality, you begin to lose memories of what you were once like. This is one of the more famous journaling games.
- Ex Novo. This one includes both writing and drawing. Draft a city from your imagination. You take the role as the guardian, watching it grow and prosper. It creates settlements with a sense of history and depth – which can then be used in other games or stories.
- Pilgrimage of the Sun Guard. Create a pilgrim who embarks on a final quest. It presents moral quandary about whether your oath matters more to you, or the completion of your quest.
- ARTEFACT. This game has you take the role of a magical, or cursed, item. Write your story as you are passed through the hands of different adventurers over time. This is another game that helps create items with a sense of history, that can then be used in other games.
- Quill. Take the role of a letter writer trying to impress lords, ladies, and much more. Rather than journaling adventures, this game instead has the player writing real letters to earn favors – though a badly written letter could result in a player getting into hot water.
Have you ever tried a solo journaling game, and what was your experience? Will you now be trying them? If you have any questions, comments or recommendations for other games, let us know in the comments!
This is a great list of solo journaling games! Alone Among the Stars (on Itch.io) and my own solo journaling game Journey (on graycastlepress.com/journey) would be two solid additions to the list
Thank you so much for the recommendations!
All this games are great for journaling, really enjoyed it alot so far.
Cozy Town: A co-op town building game.
Witasy Express (https://sparuh.itch.io/witasy-express) A worldbuilding journaling that focuses on hopping on a train and traveling around a fictional world. Very enjoyable.
House Spirit (https://tadhgthebard.itch.io/house-spirit) House Spirit is a tiny journaling and storytelling RPG which can be played solo, or with friends. You are the tiny god which inhabits a home; a brownie, a domovoy, a kobold, the ghost of an ancestor, perhaps you have no name at all.
Scopicity (https://sparuh.itch.io/scopicity) Where you play the as some microscopic organism known as Scopicitiae. Plenty of world-building and some character creation. Very good prompt and quite and interesting take of a new world.
Of Moon & Leaf (https://mothteeth.itch.io/of-moon-and-leaf) You are a solitary forest dweller. Each day you set out into the Forest with your journal, your satchel, and your walking staff. You collect magical plants, encounter creatures and magical spirits, and explore the wonders of Nature. When night falls, you return to your home to mix new potions, craft new spells, and cast dream magic to carry into the night…
These all seem great – thank you for the recommendations!