Going Alone Into The Darkness

By Anthony “LibrariaNPC” DeMinico,  28 March 2021

Browsing online RPG shops like Floating Chair can be almost as dangerous to my wallet as Kickstarter. I went in to order a print copy of Iron and Lies (review forthcoming!), and saw Go Alone.

Like the siren call of a magical sword in a stone, I found it in my hands and ready for battle…

==The Pitch==

Go Alone is a solo, GM-less roleplaying game in which you play as a sentient magical sword. Weary of years of battle, isolation after your wielder dies, and repeating the process again, you are endeavoring to convince your current wielder to give up the life of adventuring and retire.

Now if you can do it before you or they die, that’s for Fate to determine…

==What You Get==

Go Alone is a small book of only 20 pages, including covers. Within it, you have the premise of the game, the process of setting up, the the prompts given to record your story (whether via text or voice).

==The Good==

I’ll be blunt: is there anything not good about this game?

Running through a game of Go Alone is an experience, simply put. Each time you do an adventure, you roll a die, draw the appropriate cards, move the appropriate number of blocks, and work on your “journal.” It is everything I would have wanted in a writing prompt in my college days.

Seriously. Due to the design of the game, you are writing your journal over each adventure you take. Each card has a result to push your story ahead, leaving you with FIFTY-TWO individual writing prompts, all written in an easy-to-read layout and font reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda.

From a storytelling perspective, Go Alone is worth more than just a solo experience. With the various prompts and the actual gameplay approach, one could easily turn this into a background creating tool.

Need a legend for your magic item? Play Go Alone.

Need to know about the corpse holding the magic weapon? Play Go Alone.

Looking at playing Wield by John Wick and want more nuance for character interactions? Play Go Alone.

Need to figure out what you’ve done before walking into a higher-level game? Play Go Alone one or more times.

As a long-time GM, having something that helps me get my thoughts in order is worth more than I can readily express.

==The Bad==

If I had to find a gripe for Go Alone, I’d have to get into nit-picking territory.

The book is art-light, with only three unique images (the cover, inside covers, and a sword at the back of the book which I believe is Excalibur). It’s short enough, so we can probably give my art critique a pass.

For those who struggle with creativity or mobility, this may be problematic. From a creativity standpoint, those who struggle to utilize story prompts will find themselves adrift trying to determine what to do; would still make a good training tool, but not everyone sees it that way. From a mobility standpoint, having a Jenga tower is problematic for those who have difficulties using their hands; this is thankfully resolved with an optional rule to make yourself unbreakable, but it does impact the game in the process, or by using one of the alternatives mentioned in the Wretched Jam discussion forums.

Finally, there’s a cost of entry here. To get the full experience, you’ll need a deck of cards, a six-sided die, and a Jenga tower. This isn’t the sort of game you can shoot through on a car ride or without a stable surface away from animals unless you’re using one of the aforementioned alternatives.

Again, being nit-picky. If I had just one complaint, it’s that I want even more of this.

==The Verdict==

While I may not be worthy of wielding a blade such as Excalibur myself, Go Alone is worthy of 4.5 buns.

Well-written, well implemented, easily readable, and a solid, multi-purpose tool, Go Alone has everything I would ever ask for in a game. Not only can I enjoy it playing alone, but I can use it to build legends for relics in other games. I haven’t even had the game for a month and it’s already proving to be worth the $10 investment.

If you are a GM that could use some extra storytelling tools, someone trying to branch into better storytelling, or just want to have a fun way to build a backstory, then you’ll want to grab Go Alone.

If you hate storytelling, don’t like dealing with multiple randomizers, and don’t like solo games, give this a pass.

Go Alone is created by Chris Bissette, the created of THE WRETCHED. You can purchase a print copy for $10 from Floating Chair, or a PDF (with three formats and a soundtrack) via itch.io.

Anthony, better known as LibrariaNPC, wears many hats: librarian, gamemaster, playtester, NPC, game designer, and our Editor-In-Chief. You can support his work on Patreon, his tip jar, via Ko-Fi, or by buying his games.


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