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Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star» Forums » Rules

Subject: Solo NPC Behavior Questions rss

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Dan Zielinski
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First and foremost...

BEAUTIFUL job on the these NPC behaviors. Changes up each and every solo game. They play very different. Hate (but secretly love) the Collector Merchant. It's not long before he's gaining 1 FP every round. The Collector Title came into play and the Merchant had all 5 types. The game ended before I could destroy it for the Cargo!

Love how the combo of behaviors interact with each other.


Few questions...

Scoundrel Bully Card says:

Target
Player, if Tier 1


I want to confirm that after I buy a Tier 2 ship... the scoundrel simply never moves again for the rest of the game? If it's killed, (and not changing behaviors) then it will spawn and not move from its spawn point? I am assuming if the target doesn't exsist... the NPC does nothing.


Also want to make sure I'm playing the following correctly:

The Diligent Enforcer can beat down the Scoundrel over and over. In last game... Enforcer had 10k on him.

Each time the Scoundrel dies to the Enforcer(assuming 2k bounty each time) does:

A) NPCs get +4 to their roll because of gaining 2k this round

B) NPCs get 1 FP for killing Tier I ship

C) Both

D) Niether




Thanks Ira for giving us a way to enjoy the game even when players are not available!



EDIT: One more question I almost forgot...

If an NPC is the first to use the gate... do they gain the FP? I assume YES as they are the other "players" in the solo version.
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Ira Fay
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rent13579 wrote:
First and foremost...

BEAUTIFUL job on the these NPC behaviors. Changes up each and every solo game. They play very different. ... Love how the combo of behaviors interact with each other.
Thank you for the kind words, and for your well thought out questions, which make the game better for everyone!

General note for anyone considering Xia solo: We are getting into some nitty-gritty in this thread. Dan was a playtesterEDIT: has created a Print and Play version for himself and is already quite familiar with the solo rules, so I'm answering his questions, but it might be a little too detailed for anyone who hasn't already played Xia solo.

Once you have your copy in hand, I believe that if you enjoy Xia but have never tried solo, you will be able to pick up the solo game quite easily.

rent13579 wrote:
Hate (but secretly love) the Collector Merchant. It's not long before he's gaining 1 FP every round. The Collector Title came into play and the Merchant had all 5 types. The game ended before I could destroy it for the Cargo!
Fun! Note that in the final version that went to print, we changed it to "any 3 cargo," not just 3 different cargo. That way, if there are only 2 planets from the trade route, the merchant will still be able to start earning FP, and it doesn't stifle the desire to explore. The version that went to print is a bit harder, but you can block the merchant by buying cargo or simply destroying it.

Other solo rules changes that happened before we went to print, that you might not know about (these are specific to solo play!):
Merchant behavior: Market Manipulator: In step 2, add: If nothing discarded, +4 to this round's NPC FP roll.

Scoundrel behavior: Bully: Targets player if Tier 1 or 2.

Outlaw Planet Bounty: Each time your ship enters an outlaw planet using the planetary entrance, your bounty increases by 1,000cR, even if you were already an outlaw.

Bounty for Attacking: Each time the Merchant or Enforcer is attacked by the player or Sellsword, that ship gets +1,000cR Bounty (in addition to any Bounty earned by destroying the NPC).

I added these two Bounty rules specifically for the Diligent behavior, and based on my playtesting, they make a nice improvement. I'm glad to see that you were noticing similar things as I was (Bully, Diligent, Collector), and that the final version that went to print addressed all of them.

And now on to your questions:

rent13579 wrote:
Scoundrel Bully Card says:
Target
Player, if Tier 1 (NOTE from Ira: It actually says Tier 1 or 2)

I want to confirm that after I buy a Tier 2 ship... the scoundrel simply never moves again for the rest of the game? If it's killed, (and not changing behaviors) then it will spawn and not move from its spawn point? I am assuming if the target doesn't exsist... the NPC does nothing.
As mentioned above, the Bully card was changed to Tier 1 or 2 (which makes it more interesting and challenging), but your question is still valid, and the answer is: You're right, if an NPC doesn't have a valid target, then by default it won't move. In this case, if you have a Tier 3 ship, then the Bully won't have a target, and will do nothing on its turn (other than respawn, if needed). In campaign mode, there is a campaign upgrade that lets you "upgrade" a Tier 3 ship into Tier 1 (and loop around 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2... as long as you have the credits). So in that case, if you're ever back to a Tier 1 or 2 ship, the Bully will target you again.


rent13579 wrote:
The Diligent Enforcer can beat down the Scoundrel over and over.
Yes, this is possible if the player keeps their bounty at 1,000cR or less. For those following along at home, the Diligent behavior targets the outlaw with the most bounty, player if tied. The Scoundrel starts with 2,000cR bounty on it. With the solo rule changes mentioned above, it will be harder for the player to stay under 2,000cR bounty, but it's certainly possible.

As a design note, this was an interesting decision for me: In regular Xia, the Enforcer can often fight the Scoundrel, and the Scoundrel fights the Merchant. In solo play, if the NPCs are fighting each other too much, it makes the game too easy for the player, and makes the player feel like they're watching someone else play a game, instead of interacting with the NPCs directly. But, I wanted the solo game to retain the flavor of multiplayer Xia, so I did allow the Enforcer to fight the Scoundrel, if the Enforcer happens to get the Diligent behavior and the player stays under 2,000cR bounty. Note that the Scoundrel never fights the Merchant in solo play, because when I playtested that, it was too easy and felt like the NPCs were fighting each other too much (when combined with the Diligent Enforcer). In the final version, the NPCs have infighting 1 out of ~4 games, assuming the player stays out of the Enforcer's way, and that seems good.


rent13579 wrote:
Each time the Scoundrel dies to the Enforcer(assuming 2k bounty each time) does:
A) NPCs get +4 to their roll because of gaining 2k this round
B) NPCs get 1 FP for killing Tier I ship
C) Both
D) Neither

A.

The reason is in a very close reading of the solo rulebook.

Solo Rulebook, Solo Round End, Step 2 wrote:
Add +2 for each 1,000% NPCs collected this turn (either from bounty due to destroying ships, or events.)
So, that's "destroying ships," which includes the Enforcer destroying the Scoundrel. This is a way to give the player some incentive to draw the attention of the Enforcer away from the Scoundrel.

Solo Rulebook, NPCs, NPC Bonus FP for Destroying the Player wrote:
NPC Bonus FP for Destroying the Player: If the Enforcer or Scoundrel destroys the player’s ship, immediately award the NPCs 1FP, 2FP, or 3FP depending on the tier of your destroyed ship.
So they only get the bonus FP for destroying you. This was a game balance choice, since it felt too hard for the Enforcer to get FP for killing the Scoundrel, and especially for the Enforcer to get 3 FP for killing Cinder-Beard. A diligent Enforcer will still go annihilate Cinder-Beard if it appears (and earn the 2k bounty and +4 to the roll), but it won't also get 3 FP, which is was the tipping point that made me decide to only give them +4 to roll, and not the FP.


rent13579 wrote:
If an NPC is the first to use the gate... do they gain the FP? I assume YES as they are the other "players" in the solo version.
You are correct.

rent13579 wrote:
Thanks Ira for giving us a way to enjoy the game even when players are not available!
Truly my pleasure!
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Dan Zielinski
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Thank you for the verification of the rules.

ira212 wrote:
Dan was a playtester and is already quite familiar with the solo rules, so I'm answering his questions, but it might be a little too detailed for anyone who hasn't already played Xia solo.


I wish I was a playtester! (but if I am... I didn't know it.)

I've just printed out the cards from the File of Cards you've asked us to edit on the Kickstarter page. I have a hand-drawn Economy Board. I roll a d20 when I get to Exploration Tokens and made a 1-4, 5-8, ect list of the 5 new exploration token abilities to test them. I use the different color player markers to mark 1x1 mods. And the Tier 2 Shield outfit to sub in for the Armor Plating and Cargo Hold. I haven't printed out the Campaign cards, 4 new missions, sectors or ships. So... we'll say I'm "testing" the modularity(?) of the expansion.

Truly... I'm getting things together to make a "GamezMadeEZ" video for this game. Like "Watch It Played" I do videos but focus on games with expansions! I'm trying to get it understood as well as I can so I can have the video out very soon after its release.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYu7oeqWgvhHiUGdzkDcFvA



 
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Dan Zielinski
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ira212 wrote:
Fun! Note that in the final version that went to print, we changed it to "any 3 cargo," not just 3 different cargo. That way, if there are only 2 planets from the trade route, the merchant will still be able to start earning FP, and it doesn't stifle the desire to explore. The version that went to print is a bit harder, but you can block the merchant by buying cargo or simply destroying it.

Other solo rules changes that happened before we went to print, that you might not know about (these are specific to solo play!):
Merchant behavior: Market Manipulator: In step 2, add: If nothing discarded, +4 to this round's NPC FP roll.

Scoundrel behavior: Bully: Targets player if Tier 1 or 2.

Outlaw Planet Bounty: Each time your ship enters an outlaw planet using the planetary entrance, your bounty increases by 1,000cR, even if you were already an outlaw.

Bounty for Attacking: Each time the Merchant or Enforcer is attacked by the player or Sellsword, that ship gets +1,000cR Bounty (in addition to any Bounty earned by destroying the NPC).


The Kickstarter Card file show these as you've stated above ... except the Scoundrel Bully. That is only Tier 1 instead of 1 & 2.


ira212 wrote:
In campaign mode, there is a campaign upgrade that lets you "upgrade" a Tier 3 ship into Tier 1 (and loop around 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2... as long as you have the credits). So in that case, if you're ever back to a Tier 1 or 2 ship, the Bully will target you again.


I'd assume a player would do this for a cheap Fame Point (new ship for only 2k) and the uses of a 4th, 5th, 6th, ect Ability Card?
 
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Ira Fay
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rent13579 wrote:
I wish I was a playtester! (but if I am... I didn't know it.)
Well, maybe I used the term too loosely. I meant that you were playing the game before it was officially released and asking good questions.

rent13579 wrote:
ira212 wrote:
In campaign mode, there is a campaign upgrade that lets you "upgrade" a Tier 3 ship into Tier 1 (and loop around 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2... as long as you have the credits). So in that case, if you're ever back to a Tier 1 or 2 ship, the Bully will target you again.


I'd assume a player would do this for a cheap Fame Point (new ship for only 2k) and the uses of a 4th, 5th, 6th, ect Ability Card?
Right, though Tier 1 ships cost only 1,000cR, and the campaign upgrade also gives you a 2,000cR discount on Tier 3 ships, so the full loop costs only 12,000cR for 3 FP, which is less than buying 3 FP for 15,000cR. Also, there is an event that prohibits buying more than 1 FP per turn, so this campaign upgrade is a way around that. Also, the Enforcer has a behavior that only targets the player if they're Tier 2+, so it's useful to be Tier 1 against that. Of course, the most fun part is having a whole lot of ship abilities.
 
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Dan Zielinski
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Another just poped up...

Merchant is "Market Manipulator"

Market Manipulator reads: wrote:


Target
Buy space of next trade route planet

Behavior
1. Move to target
2. If arrived, discard all cargo of that type from the Economy Board. If nothing discarded, +4 to this round's NPC FP roll instead.
3. Repeat steps 1-2


If the Merchant was close enough to the Buy space to get there in its first move... am I right to think that it would remove the cubes the first time it performs #2 and then the second time it performs #2 ... it would add +4 to the roll? This is running on the instructions that you repeat ONLY Step 1 and 2. You do NOT repeat the Target portion.

EDIT: An add on. If the Merchant arrives at the Buy point on their first move and it is already In Demand... is it +8 to the roll?
 
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Ira Fay
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The design intent is that the second time through step 1, it would pick a new target if it's already on the buy space:

1) Move to buy space
2) Discard all cargo
1 again) Move to next buy space
2) Discard all cargo (if possible)

I recall the "don't pick new target" rule, but intended to remove that, and go with (what I think is) the more intuitive rule that you'd just go to the next target if you're already on the buy space. Can you tell me where you see the "don't pick new target" rule in whatever file you're currently looking at? It's possible that I missed it.

Either way, as I wrote above, design intent is clear - go to the next spot if you're going through steps 1-2 again and you're already add the current spot.
 
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Dan Zielinski
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From Kickstarter Card PDF

 
Card Image Removed by Request.

On this card... the "identify next target" is Part of Step 2... so it wouldn't repeat the +2 Die roll if already at its target.

 
Card Image Removed by Request.



On this card... There is no mentioning of "identify next target", so when repeating Step 1 and 2... and you're already at the target... the +4 is applied. (Total +8 if it was In Demand when it arrived on first run through.)


Quote:
Can you tell me where you see the "don't pick new target" rule in whatever file you're currently looking at?


I would think it's implied when Step 3 is "Repeat Steps 1 and 2."

If Step read: "Run behavior card one more time" (or the like) then I'd read it as repeating the Target part of the card as well.

EDIT: Better yet! Number the Targeting as Step 1... then say repeat Steps 1-3 ... or only 2-3 if you intend to not repeat the targeting.
 
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Ira Fay
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Great, thanks for that explanation - I did catch that, and my solution was to remove the "identify next target" language from the Usual Suspect behavior.

That way, the general rule is that "repeat steps 1-2" will identify a new target, if the NPC reached the target already.

I considered adding a line for targeting specifically, but that took up more space on the card and was generally unnecessary (I think).

I'll clarify this in the FAQ, but hopefully the general intuition will be to go to the next target in these cases, especially if you don't see the "identify next target" language in Usual Suspect.

Also, to avoid confusion in the future, it would be nice if you deleted the old card image for Usual Suspect from BGG (but not a huge deal if you want to keep it up for some reason).
 
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