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I'm experimenting with these mechanics to play the game solo so I can figure out the tech trees, planet combos, various strategies etc. The mechanic occasionally makes me choose between doing what I want (and the AI follows me) or doing something less optimal to thwart the AI. Furthermore, the AI tends to gobble up Tech and planets I like from time to time.
EMINENT DOMAIN – QUICK’N’DIRTY SOLO RULES
Set up for a 2-player game: you versus a dummy player (AI). Assign the dummy player a starting planet (face down).
Roll a 6-sided die and place it on the stack on the Card Display (1 = Survey Stack, 2 = Warfare Stack, 3 = Colonize Stack, 4 = Produce/Trade Stack, 5 = Research Stack, counting left to right). On a “6”, the dummy player is mimicking you, so set the die aside.
Play your turn. If you choose the Role that has the die on it, the dummy player follows you. If the die was a “6”, place it on that stack and the dummy follows you.
On the dummy player’s turn, draw a card from the stack the die is on. You may follow the dummy player or dissent. Re-roll the die.
The dummy player does not take Actions or dissent, but it takes Roles and it may follow your Roles.
Dummy Player Roles
Draw a card from the Stack that the die is on and put it face up in the dummy player’s area. Then play the appropriate effect.
Survey: Draw a planet card for each Survey symbol in the dummy player’s area (role cards, plus planets and Technology); put the last one face down in the dummy Empire and discard the rest.
Warfare: Draw a Fighter for each Warfare symbol in play (as above); if there are already Fighters sufficient to Conquer a planet, do Conquest instead and discard the requisite number of Fighters. If there is a choice of planets, choose the one with the highest achievable Conquest cost; resolve ties by choosing at random.
Colonize: Settle a planet in the Empire if there are enough Colonize symbols in play. Resolve ties by choosing the most expensive planet to Settle or at random if there’s still a choice.
Produce/Trade: Add 1 Resource per Produce symbol in play; if there are already Resources on planets, do not Produce but instead trade 1 Resource per Trade symbol in play.
Research: Buy the most expensive Technology the dummy player can afford, based on Research symbols in play and qualifying planets. If there is a choice, decide in favour of the dummy player’s starting planet or, if that doesn’t resolve things, choose randomly. The dummy player buys Permanent cards in preference to others in the same Technology deck, but resolve a choice by shuffling that deck and drawing the top card; add it to the dummy player’s area. (The dummy player may be unable to purchase Technology if it has no planets or not enough Research symbols in play).
Dummy Player Following
The dummy player behaves the same way as a follower, ignoring the rule that a follower cannot Settle or Conquer when it comes to the dummy player. The dummy player always draws at least one planet when following Survey. When following, the dummy player doesn’t distinguish between Produce and Trade; whichever you choose, it will Trade if it has Resources in play or Produce if it doesn’t.
After following, the dummy player removes 2 Role Cards of that type from play, if able.
Dummy Player Technology
The dummy player exploits the symbols on Technology cards when using a Role or Following, but does not make use of any Actions or other powers provided by Technology.
The game ends under the normal conditions.
If the dummy player ends the game, you get one more turn.
The dummy player scores its planets, Technology and Influence tokens but also gets Influence equal to its Fighters and Resources in play.
Very interesting concept.
The only thing I don't understand is the dummy player removing 2 Role cards when following. Is this supposed to encourage the human player to pick the AI role to keep the AI symbols minimized?
Yes, it gives you something you can do to affect the AI. It also helps restrain the AI whose symbol count can escalate.
Of course sometimes the AI can't catch a break.
A complicating sub rule would be this:
If the AI leads in a Role but can't enact it (eg Research but can't buy Technology because it has no planets yet), then instead of rolling the dice, just move it to the stack that would best help the AI in future.