Thematic Solitaires for the Spare Time Challenged

A blog about solitaire games and how to design them. I'm your host, Morten, co-designer of solo modes for Scythe, Gaia Project, Wingspan, Glen More II, and others.

Archive for The Automa Approach

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Sagrada Bot vs. Viticulture Automa: Two completely different approaches to handling drafting and worker placement

Morten Monrad Pedersen
Denmark
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Microbadge: Fan of Stonemaier GamesMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Geoff EngelsteinMicrobadge: Level 18 BGG posterMicrobadge: Automa Factory fan
While writing another post, I stumbled upon what I felt was a rather interesting case of two games solving the same solo mode problem in two completely different ways. The two different approaches and the difference in the results achieved struck me as interesting and I hope that you’ll agree .
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Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:00 am
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Exploitable behavior of board game bots and agents

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Microbadge: Fan of Stonemaier GamesMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Geoff EngelsteinMicrobadge: Level 18 BGG posterMicrobadge: Automa Factory fan
As mentioned in my previous post the kind of highly simplified bots I recommend making for board games carry risks of degenerate and exploitable behavior. Yesterday I talked about the former and today I’ll talk about the latter.
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Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:24 am
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Degenerate behavior of board game bots and agents

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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When designing bots (artificial opponents) for board games I put a lot of emphasis on making them as simple as possible to make it faster for the player to learn the rules and to run the bots. This simplicity carries risks, though, one of which I’ll talk about today.
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Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:20 pm
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Hubris and the art of solo mode making

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Have you ever played a game and thinking that you could improve it, not realizing that your “improvement” made the game worse or caused problems you hadn’t foreseen?

I know I have and there’s a lesson here for those who make solo modes for other designers’ multiplayer game.
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Wed May 17, 2017 3:03 pm
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Are you OK with others using the Automa label? Won’t it dilute and hurt your brand? Did you invent the Automa principles? - The friendly neighborhood Automa FAQ comes to the rescue :-)

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Microbadge: Fan of Stonemaier GamesMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Geoff EngelsteinMicrobadge: Level 18 BGG posterMicrobadge: Automa Factory fan
Lately multiple solo variants, made by members of the solo community, have brandished the Automa label (Bombay, Cubist, Great Western Trails, La Granja, Oh My Goods!, Silk Road, Takenoko, Trickerion, The Voyages of Marco Polo) and the word has started to be used as a category label. Because of this and because of my Automa work in general there are some questions that I have been getting repeatedly.

So, I thought that it might be a good idea to address the questions in public and in more detail than I’ve done previously.
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Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:43 am
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Interview about The Automa Approach and my solo modes

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Microbadge: Fan of Stonemaier GamesMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Geoff EngelsteinMicrobadge: Level 18 BGG posterMicrobadge: Automa Factory fan
I was recently interviewed by Guilherme Felga from the Brazilian 1 Player Guild. The interview can be found here, but for those who like me can’t read Portuguese I’m posting the English version here on my blog.

The focus of the interview is my Automa Approach for making artificial opponents for multiplayer games. So if you’re interested in that, then please read along.
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Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:00 pm
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A return to the Village - Dice or cards for AI action selection

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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A while back I left you hanging after having provided half the answer to a question that Stephen Miller asked me in the comments of another post. Today I’ll remedy that.
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Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:31 am
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Does it play the game? - A guiding principle for making dumb or intelligent artificial opponents

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Microbadge: Fan of Stonemaier GamesMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Geoff EngelsteinMicrobadge: Level 18 BGG posterMicrobadge: Automa Factory fan
I was asked a very insightful question a few days ago by fellow solo gamer Stephen Miller that me think about a difference between two approaches to making Automas (an artificial opponents made using a specific method) that I’ve used. It occurred to me that making a conscious choice between these two approaches can be very useful in guiding the design choices when making an Automa.
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Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:28 am
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Don’t waste your time – work on the right thing at the right time and make robust solo modes – Part II

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Yesterday I talked about several time consuming mistakes I’ve made while working on my Automa solo modes. Today I’ll take about one more.
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Thu Oct 29, 2015 4:00 am
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Don’t waste your time – work on the right thing at the right time and make robust solo modes – Part I

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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I’ve learned a couple lessons the hard way. I’ve wasted a lot of work and initially I blamed someone else, when in fact one of the main causes for the wasted time was that I was working in a way that was oblivious to the reality I was operating in and what I made was way too fragile.

So what I’m I talking about? I’m talking about my work on making solo modes for multiplayer games by creating Automas (artificial opponents), where I’ve made things much harder on myself and my team than necessary.

It’s a bit of a special situation my team and I are in, when we do this work, since we’re working on a game that’s in the process of being designed by someone else, and that creates its own set of challenges.

I’ve made mistakes in my work and I hope that I can help you avoid wasting as much time as my team and I have by talking about those mistakes and about how I’ve changed my approach to avoid repeating them in our latest project: Scythe Automa, the solo mode for Scythe.

While the projects I’ve been involved in have all involved Automas, then I think that what I write here will likely also be relevant for other kinds of solo modes.
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Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:26 pm
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