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Subject: Solo or Coop variant? rss

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Robin Eriksson
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I know that this game is created for 2-players but I can se some kind of potential in making a solo/co-op variant using a big and hard event deck against the players.

There are some card games that could be used for a base since these games can be played solo or coop:

LOTR - The card game
Rune Age
Thunderstone - Towers of Ruin

My idea is to combine some elements from these games and playtest me through a balanced variant that scales well.


Are there any card templates avaliable?
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Alex
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I've always wondered whether something like that would work.
Good luck.
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Carsten Bohne
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newsguy wrote:
I've always wondered whether something like that would work.
Good luck.


Seconded. Please post your results! Good luck and have fun trying to balance this...
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John Paul Messerly
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Sounds interesting! Keep us updated.

You should check out the solo AI developed for the "Game of Thrones LCG", both games have a similar level of complexity. The GOT AI is functional (good for testing new decks against) but not very fun.

I've been trying to figure out how to make this game solitaire as well. My favorite idea so far is to make it more of a "States of Siege" style solitaire game, where its simply about trying to survive for a set number of turns. This would allow the AI to simply attack random locations each turn rather than having to have an AI that makes intelligent choices about how to build and maintain a capital.

There are also some great ideas in the game "Friday" that might apply. You could make it so that enemies that are not defeated go back into the deck and keep returning. Another idea would be to combine your deck and the enemy deck, enemy cards drawn would attack you... so you need to destroy them to get them out of your deck. This would allow you to optimize your deck over time. The challenge would be to change the way the enemy acts without changing anything about how the player acts or strategizes.
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Robin Eriksson
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mermuse wrote:
Sounds interesting! Keep us updated.

You should check out the solo AI developed for the "Game of Thrones LCG", both games have a similar level of complexity. The GOT AI is functional (good for testing new decks against) but not very fun.

I've been trying to figure out how to make this game solitaire as well. My favorite idea so far is to make it more of a "States of Siege" style solitaire game, where its simply about trying to survive for a set number of turns. This would allow the AI to simply attack random locations each turn rather than having to have an AI that makes intelligent choices about how to build and maintain a capital.

There are also some great ideas in the game "Friday" that might apply. You could make it so that enemies that are not defeated go back into the deck and keep returning. Another idea would be to combine your deck and the enemy deck, enemy cards drawn would attack you... so you need to destroy them to get them out of your deck. This would allow you to optimize your deck over time. The challenge would be to change the way the enemy acts without changing anything about how the player acts or strategizes.



Some nice suggestions here. I will look into them more further ahead.

I have a general idea on my first playtesting and will post updates when i have created all the cards necessary.
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John Paul Messerly
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I playtesters my concept tonight and really liked it. Here's the basics...

The core idea is that the player is defending his kingdom against attacking hoards. It's basically survival mode. Enemy units that are destroyed are discarded but those that survive are put in the 'victory deck' once the enemies starting deck is empty they will shuffle the 'victory deck' and continue attacking with it. This means that the enemies deck becomes more powerful over time.

Player- plays normally except that you never send troops to attack the enemy. Cards that let you indirectly attack/damage the enemy player/capital/units still work, you just can't send units from the battlefield to attack the AI's capital.

AI-The AI has a capital but doesn't develop it normally. All units go in the battlefield and attack immediately and all support cards go to the kingdom to add to resources or wait to be activated.

Sequence of play (for AI player)
1. Collect base resources (3 for kingdom + any support resources)
2. Draw for resources. Draw 1 card. Gain resources equal to the cards loyalty value. Then discard the card.
3. Build raiding party. Draw a card. Pay it's cost and play it into th battlefield. If the card cost more resources than you have you get the card at a discount (your current resource value). stop drawing cards when you have 0 resources.
4. Activate powers. If a card has a power that could activate make an activation check. Roll 1D6, if the result is even it activates, if odd it doesn't.
5. Attack. All units attack a random capital location. I'll 1D6. 1-2 is kingdom, 3-4 is battlefield, 5-6 is quest area. Resolve combat normally. Enemy units that are destroyed are discarded. Enemy units that survive move to the 'victory deck'.

Continue alternating turns like this until the player runs out of cards. The goal is to survive till you have drawn all the cards in your deck. The players deck should have at least 50 cards.

Notes-
Quests and tactics are not very useful in the AI deck. Some tactics will still make sense but others will simply clutter the deck. It's not necessary to remove these because the deck will optimize itself as you play. Each time you play through the enemy deck it will get stronger and more focused.

Ex. When the enemy deck runs out of cards you shuffle the 'victory deck' and play on using this optimized deck. During the game you will repeat this process several times with the enemy getting stronger each time!

Indirect damage - cards and abilities that damage the enemy player or capital instead damage the 'victory deck'. Total all the inderect damage you can do and then flip over the top car in the victory deck. If the damage is higher than its defence discard the card, otherwise return it. Cards are placed into the victory deck face down. I usually place cards in the discard deck face up so it's easy to tell the two stacks apart. Cards that remove enemy support cards work normally.

...

I like that this system doesn't require you to have any special cards or components. The only thing it adds is a single D6. The pacing is still a little off... Games are either brutaly short or drag on but it has potential.
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Robin Eriksson
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Sounds interesting. I will playtest it when I get a chance and give you my feedback. Im sure others will also,


Just a quick question.

Ragarding the discount of a raiding card. What exactly is the current resource value?
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John Paul Messerly
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The idea is taken from the Game of thrones Solo rules.

If AI can afford a card, it pays for it normally. When the AI draws a card that is more expensive than it can afford it get the card and pay whatever money(resources) it has left. This guarantees that the AI will always get a card each turn.

So the discount means the aI pays the last of its resources for the card rather than the cards full price. This allows the AI to get powerful characters out early. This also guarantees that the AI always spends all its resources each turn.

...

The endgame still needs a lot of work. I'm thinking about adding a legendary character or hero to the enemy deck each time you cycle trough or increase the number of resource cards draw each time you cycle through. It might also give a more cinematic feel to have solo specific quests you are trying to complete before running out of time. The solo variant still needs a scoring system...
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John Paul Messerly
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So far the system plays very well with Orc AI but it may not be able to handle the dark elves milling or the corruption of chaos.

Warlords and questing-
I'm also testing rules for AI questing. If a quest card is recruited its placed in the quest area and the next unit recruited is assigned to the quest. Questing units don't get discarded at the end of the turn. This makes the questing character a warlord... Each round they stick around and attack with any new units recruited. If you do enough damage to destroy the questing unit then the next recruited unit will be assigned to the quest.

Deeper goals-
The basic goal of survival mode is to keep from having two sections of your capital destroyed before you run out of cards. This doesn't play well with milling effects. Milling simply makes your task easier. The game needs a difficult task to accomplish so loosing time is a negative. I'd love to have a set of 3 goals that must be accomplished on top of the basic survival goal but I don't want to add extra cards or components to do this...
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John Paul Messerly
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Played a few games against the Dark Elf AI last night and had a blast. The milling wasn't a problem, in fact it made for a faster and more satisfying game.

The biggest flaw is that the game is over long before you have to face the 'victor' deck. I need to test some smaller AI deck sizes.
 
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John Paul Messerly
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Played a few games against the chaos AI tonight. It took several tries to refine the deck to be threatening enough. Even after balancing the threat level I kept finding that the endings were anticlimactic!

The final battle-
I tried a lot of ideas to fix this and finally found one I like...

Take the enemy AI's deck and cut it in half (only use 25 of the 50 cards). This smaller AI deck becomes the new timer for the game. You must stay alive until you have defeated all the enemy cards! This makes the game much faster and the conflict more focused than the old system (staying alive till your deck runs out). Cutting the deck in half Also allows you to play the same AI deck many times and still not know exactly what to expect.

This is the important part- Once the enemy AI deck is empty, shuffle the enemies 'victor' deck and continue playing. Units recruited from the 'victor' deck are NOT discarded at the end of each turn. This means that all the toughest enemies return at the end and combine to fight you for a massive final battle.
 
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John Paul Messerly
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I've been playing with a few more ideas...



1. The quest icons on the AI card tell how many cards are drawn to collect extra resources.

So in the example above the enemy in the Tainted Forest gets 3 resources from his Kingdom and then draws 1 card for extra resources (collecting resources equal to the cards loyalty value). The enemy in the Under Empire collects 2 resources from his Kingdom and draws 2 cards for extra resources. The enemy will get resources equal to the highest loyalty value of the two cards (do not combine the values of both cards).

2. Events- each capital board has events that can trigger when the enemy draws extra resource cards with 3,4, or 5 loyalty icons.

3. The enemy can be given a little early game boost by giving them more that 1 starting race icon on their capital board. The Tainted Forest location gives chaos an extra starting symbol.

4. The original VS mode of Warhammer Invasion is created for competitive play so each capital board must have the same stats. For Solo play changing up the AI's boards allows for more flavor and storytelling potential.



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Robin Eriksson
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You got some really neat ideas going on here.
A question though. When are units played onto the battlefield in your latest example, and how and when do they attack?

Or maybe you havent finished that part yet?
 
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John Paul Messerly
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All units purchased in the recruiting phase are placed in the battlefield and attack in the next phase. After attacking they are either...

Moved to the discard pile if killed
Moved to the Victor deck is they survive.

There are 3 times when this is not true:

1. If you recruit a quest card, it is placed in the quest zone and the next unit recruited is assigned to the quest. The Questing unit attack each turn (alongside battlefield units) but do not get moved to the Victor deck at the end of the turn. It keeps attacking until killed.

2. Legendary characters are placed in the center of the capital card and attack each turn. They also do not do moved to the Victor deck at the end of the turn.

3. Final Chapter- once you have gone through all the cards in the enemy draw deck you will shuffle he Victor deck and draw cards from it for the final battle. This chapter of the game plays the same as the previous chapter except that all cards stay in the battlefield until killed.


...
Units go to the battlefield
Support cards go to the kingdom
Quest cards go to the quest zone
...

I'm planning on finishing two more AI boards today and then I'll rewrite the rules so everything is clear and in one place.
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John Paul Messerly
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doomsday solo adventures...


These new capital cards have doomsday events that will instantly end the game. In "The roots of the World" the dark elves are raiding the jungles of the old world in search of the World Tree. If they can sacrifice 3 heroes on the tree they will bring about the end of the world. In "Mork Returns" the orks are are trying to gather all the necessary artifacts to bring their unfathomable god into the mortal world.

I also clarified some of the text in the original two solo capital cards...



...
The endgame

I'm still fine tuning the endgame to keep the pressure up till the last seconds of the game.

- the game doesn't end when either side runs out of cards in their draw deck. The player is defeated if two of his capital locations are burning (or 1 location in the hardest difficulty). The AI is defeated when all their victory deck units have been destroyed.

- once you reach the final battle (recruiting units from the victor deck) the AI no longer draws cards for extra resources. It's recourses at this stage are its kingdom value + any support cards. Using victor units to get extra resources seemed like a waists of great units!
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Robin Eriksson
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Fantastic work on the templates and rules! Keep it up.
 
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John Paul Messerly
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Heroes and legends-
Normally the AI battlefield units randomly pick a zone to attack. This represents random raiding parties attacking in an uncoordinated manner.

When a hero or legend are present they will always attack the most damaged (but not burning) location. This means that once they find a weak spot the AI will keep attempting to break through there.


Endgame rush-
Last post I talked about how the AI doesn't draw cards for extra resources in the final battle stage. This means you will have to face all the victorious enemy units in the final battle. The problem is that if the AI hasn't built up some support structures he may only get out 1 new unit per turn! The solution for this is to have the AI get bonus resources equal to the loyalty of all units in his battlefield. So once he has a few units out the rest will be able to get out quickly.

These changes plus the addition of a few legendary characters in the AI decks have made the game very challenging!
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John Paul Messerly
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Rules writeup...


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Frank S
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Looks great! Will you post a PDF?
 
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John Paul Messerly
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Here's a link to the PDF...

http://mermuse.jmwebdesigns.com/post/WI_solitaire_sm.pdf


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Carsten Bohne
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Great work! This is looking very promising. Now there's only the small task to find some time...
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John Paul Messerly
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Warhammer: Invasion » Forums » General
Re: Solo or Coop variant?
New Mission...



"No soldier left behind"

I got tired of the endless meaningless bloodshed of the usual battles and wanted a mission that was a bit more purposeful and uplifting. In this mission your leaders have been cut off from the rest of your forces. They are surrounded and will surely be destroyed if you don't reach them.

Your goal is to reach the cut off units, regroup with them, and fall back in good order without loosing any more units. To win this mission your losses must be 0!

Setup - take the 3 units with the highest cost and place them in our discard deck.
Victory conditions - if at the beginning of your turn there are no units in your discard deck you win.

Hold the Line - This mission has 1 special rule. "Hold the Line" allows you to turn a unit in one of your Capital location into a development in order to make the AI draw another Foraging card. You can do this as many times per turn as you have units to turn into developments.

All foraging cards count towards resource collection and special events. This allows you to sacrifice a unit (without it going to the discard) to improve your odds of getting the events you need to recover wounded units (by the AI drawing cards with high loyalty values) while at the same time making the AI stronger.

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John Paul Messerly
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Here's a link to a demo game. The production quality isn't great but it should give you a good overview of the game's flow...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FkxOWx2O1s&feature=youtube_g...
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John Paul Messerly
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After watching my own video I was surprised by how often I was rolling dice! It really makes me want to remove the rule were you roll dice to see if an enemy's ability activates. Honestly I'm not even sure why I added that rule originally?

I think I added the rule to deal with things like rock lobbers that could either attack normally or do an activity that required them to sacrifice themselves. It allows for the enemy to surprise you but I'm not sure it's worth the distraction of dice. I'm glad I was able to use the loyalty icons to drive most of the games random number generation needs.

Without that rule, the dice would only be needed to pick the location of enemy attacks (if the enemy are leaderless). I would still like to find a way of doing this without using dice if possible. Any thoughts?
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John Paul Messerly
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http://mermuse.jmwebdesigns.com/post/WI_solo.pdf
Updated rules PDF with all the new mission specific capital boards...
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