Is there a way I can play without having Steam running in the background?
There is no way to do so. Even if you navigate to the folder where the game is installed and run it directly, it will start the Steam client.
The closest you can get is to use the offline mode:
If you go to the Steam folder and try to launch the game from there, it usually also launches Steam together with the game. There are few exceptions, though:
Update: I tried grabbing the data files for a few point-and-click games in order to run them inside ScummVM, but is seems the format is slightly different and they do not work outside Steam.
Since games are using the steam library for achievements and so on, you basically just can't.
You have two options though:
protected by fredley♦ Oct 22 '12 at 9:24
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?