I've mentioned before that I used to have an unthinking prejudice against Tunnels & Trolls (I'm over it -- more on that later). One of the reasons I did so, aside from the spells names, which still bug me -- but I digress -- were the large number of solitaire adventures available for the game. Indeed, it seemed to me back then that there were way more solitaire adventures available for T&T than there were "regular" adventures. I took this as evidence that very few people actually played the game. As I reasoned, if lots of people did play T&T, why would there be a need for solitaire adventures? Why not just go and find a group of people to play with like "normal" gamers?
You have to remember that, when I felt this way, I was young and it was at the height of roleplaying's never-to-be-repeated faddish popularity. Back then, it really was easy to find a gaming group for just about any game you wanted to play. Between the pick-up games in game stores, the game days in public libraries, and RPG clubs in schools, it was amazingly easy to find other gamers who shared your particular tastes, whatever they might have been. Goodness knows I was introduced to a lot of games in those days through these avenues, so why couldn't "those T&T weirdos" find some others to play with?
As I discovered, Tunnels & Trolls wasn't the only game to have solitaire adventures. RuneQuest had them too and I had seen RQ players with my own eyes, so I knew they existed in large enough numbers to support campaigns, whereas I never met a T&T player in the flesh until years later. Granted, I thought RQ players were weirdos too -- like I said, I was young -- but RuneQuest always struck me as having a fairly large following. So, what was the appeal of all these solitaire adventures?
You have to remember that, although I did read them, I was never a huge fan of Choose Your Own Adventure-style books. I owned a few of the Fighting Fantasy books, of course, but they always seemed somehow "deficient" to me -- a poor substitute for actually sitting around a table with my friends and roleplaying "properly." On some level, I still feel that way, which is why I've similarly been unenthused about computer roleplaying games, even when they're really well done, like Planescape: Torment or Knights of the Old Republic. Obviously, not everyone feels this way -- nor did they back in the day -- but I have to admit to continued bafflement at the appeal of it all.
I do own several T&T solitaires, which I recently bought as part of my researches into that venerable game. I plan on playing them soon, since I've been meaning to do so for some time. Once I have, I'll be sure to make a post or two about the experience, since this is largely terra incognita for me and some may find my thoughts as I explore this area of gaming interesting (or at least amusing).