Digital Automas*
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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*And other solo game related tools and resources

Hi everyone,

I'm a Web Developer from New Zealand who decided to combine my coding background with my interest in solo gaming to create free online apps that assist and streamline official and unofficial solo modes for board games.

https://myautoma.github.io/

Some reasons for engaging in this project:

d10-1 One touch shuffling. Most Automa variants these days employ the use of cards to emulate another opponent. Now I've come to the conclusion that I seem to have a touch of OCD which means that I have a deck for minutes at a time before I can be reassured they are thoroughly shuffled. These apps mean that any Automa deck is shuffled by the press of a button, saving precious playing time for myself!

d10-2 Automatic saves. Sometimes being pressed for time requires temporarily putting a solo game on hiatus for a period of time. For most of these apps, I've incorporated an automatic save feature that automatically saves the state after every single turn. Simply close your browser, and reopen it, and there should be a "Continue" button that enables you to pick up right where you left off.

d10-3 Highlighting relevant information. Some Automa systems require that only a small portion of a card is used to evaluate a certain part of the Automas current action. Where possible, I've hidden/faded out the non relevant parts of the card to assist the player to know what they should be looking at.

d10-4 Intuitive help system. I've converted the information relevant to the solo mode for each game into text and images to be incorporated into each online app, and organized these into easily identifiable categories and subjects. These means that there's no PDFs to load and navigate, but rather, clean & easy-to-read instructions.

d10-5 Help quicklinks. On most of the online apps, when the Automa is to take an action, there will be a question mark generated in a prominent place on the screen. This will either take the user directly to the relevant help topic when clicked/pressed OR will first generate a list of potential actions if there are multiple actions displayed on the card at the time.

d10-6 Automatic scoring. For some of the games (Gaia Project, Tapestry, Wingspan etc) based on the code calculating each action that the Automa takes (and sometime with some limited user input) it's possible to work out the exact score of the artificial opponent at the end of the game, saving the human player to do two lots of tedious book keeping.

d10-7 Responsive design. I've tried (to the best of my ability) to make these apps responsive, so they should be able to be clearly and easily viewed on computers, tablets and mobile phones.

d10-8 Variable setups. Included in the majority of these games is the option to automatically randomize the setup conditions for the board games, saving you shuffling (and potentially wearing down) the components in the games.

d10-9 Recorded Move History. By going to the main menu -> move history, you can review the exact moves the Automa made during the game. this is helpful if you forget to action a move, or if you want to review how the Automa behaved during your game, perhaps comparing different difficulty levels.

In addition to creating these online apps to help streamline the managing of an artificial opponent, I've also started creating more simple apps that assist in the playing or setting up of solo games, such as PARKS and Space Base (read more about these apps below under each entry).

Anyway, that's enough from me! On with the solo gaming!

I hope you enjoy these apps, and stay safe and healthy!
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1. Board Game: Calico [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:324]
Board Game: Calico
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#calico

Solo mode included in Calico game.

As you may have noticed, I've modified the heading of this Geeklist, since not only is this entry not an Automa or a solo helper, it's actually a playable solo version of the game itself.
(albeit it's restricted to just the beginner setup + 1st scenario - the game itself has a LOT more playability).

After seeing a run-through by Rahdo which sparked my interest, I pre-ordered the physical game as well as the PnP files - using the latter to create a playable online version for myself. Then last week I contacted Flatout Games to see if they were up for me hosting the game files online - to which they very generously agreed.

It's worth mentioning that although the Kickstarter has finished, the pledge manager is still open for preorders - so if after playing this online version you'd like to have the physical copy later on in the year, click the link at the top of the first page.

Although I tend to gravitate towards more heavier games, I saw the potential of this game when having to make decisions about which one of your two tiles to place on the board, where to place them (out of the initial 22 available places), and then which of the three tiles in the market to take. The solo mode adds an extra step where after picking a tile from the market, the left-most one is also replenished, making your decision even tougher if there are multiple tiles that could qualify you for delicious bonuses on your board.

The kicker is that you're trying to match three tiles of the same color to gain the similar-colored button (3 points each + an additional rainbow button if you gain all 6 buttons), meet the pattern + group criteria for the cats on the right hand side of the board to earn the associated cat token (variable amount of points) AND try to surround the goal tiles on your board with the right configuration of tiles in both colors AND patterns to gain the max amount of points!

Add to this the cleverly designed scenarios which add more criteria to tick off successfully win the game, this is a winner for me.


Update: I've started a thread for people to post their scores if they like: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2424608/calico-online-solo-...

From gallery of gavmcgz


Flatout Games has approved the hosting of this game for the time being, but have stipulated that due to potential future plans + deals relating to Calico, they reserve the right to request the taking down of this playable solo version at an undetermined time.
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2. Board Game: Cascadia [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:4221]
Board Game: Cascadia
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://cascadiagame.github.io/

Solo mode included in Cascadia game.

Will write up more about this fantastic game when I get more time.
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3. Board Game: Clans of Caledonia [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:45]
Board Game: Clans of Caledonia
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#clansofcaledonia

Unofficial solo mode by svardosi.

To be perfectly honest - this is the Automa that started me down the rabbit hole of using my Web Development skills to convert these solo modes to an online format.

It's brilliantly designed by using only a few cards to represent each of the commodities in the game that the Automa will build, and by shuffling the deck after each card is drawn (apart from the one drawn before the current active card to ensure there's no risk of the same card coming out constantly) it means the human player has no idea about what the Automa will do next - making it a fantastically unpredictable opponent which forces the human player to carefully weigh up each of their own actions. My favorite type of game!

As touched on in the banner though, I need to shuffle decks many many times to reassure myself that they're shuffled - so to shuffle the deck after each Automa turn was quite daunting. Hence implementing my online solution!


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Shuffles deck (apart from last drawn card) every turn
d10-2........Hex decider tool implemented for tie breaker situations
d10-3........Ability to add/remove Automa cards from the deck depending on Automas supply

From gallery of gavmcgz
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4. Board Game: Clans of Caledonia [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:45]
Board Game: Clans of Caledonia
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://cocautoma.github.io/

Official solo mode by Juma Al-JouJou.

About a year ago Juma contacted me to say that he had designed an Automa that would be included in his upcoming expansion for Clans of Caledonia, and was wondering if I would be up for playtesting it. (Hint: the answer was a resounding YES).

After offering to digitize it in the vein of my other Automa projects, here is the result.


Note: This Automa is still in the playtesting phase - the digital Automa will stay online until the point that Juma is happy with the feedback gathered. Therefore if you own Clans of Caledonia as a solo gamer I STRONGLY recommend checking this out - as your feedback can have a direct influence on the final product.

Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Customizable starting difficulty
d10-2........Automa card actions translated into decision making screens to make it easier for the human players to determine what action the Automa will take
d10-3........Undo button if human player clicks through the decision screens too fast
d10-4........Round end reminders
d10-5........Help links every step of the way to teach how the Automa runs
d10-6........End of game feedback submission that emails you your final score

From gallery of gavmcgz
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5. Board Game: Euphoria: Ignorance Is Bliss [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
Board Game: Euphoria: Ignorance Is Bliss
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#euphoria

Official solo mode by Automa Factory

Another sterling official Automa from The Automa Factory that uses the side by side method of two Automa cards to dictate what action the Automa takes that turn. (action to take on the left hand side, tie-breaker on the right hand side).

Some factions were printed on the cards but then others would have a symbol for the Automas faction that game to be used. By getting the player to either randomly generate or manually choose the Automas factions before the game starts, the app now replaces those generic symbols with the actual faction symbols of the Automas chosen factions.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Automa faction randomizer
d10-2........Automatic difficulty level deck builder
d10-3........Automa cards dynamically update faction symbols with chosen Automa factions

From gallery of gavmcgz


This is not an official Stonemaier Games product and has no affiliation with Stonemaier Games. Euphoria was designed by Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone, with art by Jacqui Davis. All art in this app is from Euphoria. The Automa for Euphoria was designed by Morten Monrad Pedersen, David J. Studley with Nick Shaw who represent Automa Factory.
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6. Board Game: Gaia Project [Average Rating:8.49 Overall Rank:8]
Board Game: Gaia Project
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#gaiaproject

Official solo mode by Automa Factory

The solo mode for Gaia Project involves two Automa cards being used side by side to evaluate the information in the middle to decide what action the Automa will take. This online app faithfully recreates that functionality by animating the cards sliding in and out.

I know there's also another great online Automa app for Gaia Project (http://gaia-project.hol.es/) which even handles generating the map, but I still wanted to create my own version that has the help quicklinks associated with every card (helpful due to how heavy this game is), as well as keeping a running record of the Automas score.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........End of Round Goal Randomizer
d10-2........End of Game Goal Randomizer
d10-3........Booster Tiles Randomizer
d10-4........Technology Tiles Randomizer
d10-5........Automa Faction Randomizer
d10-6........Automatic difficulty level deck builder
d10-7........Automa VP Tracker

From gallery of gavmcgz


This is not an official Feuerland Spiele product and has no affiliation with Feuerland Spiele. All digital rights for Gaia Project belongs to Digidiced. This is not an official Digidiced product and has no affiliation with Digidiced. Gaia Project was designed by Jens Drögemüller and Helge Ostertag, with art by Dennis Lohausen. All art in this app is from Gaia Project. The Automa for Gaia Project was designed by Morten Monrad Pedersen, Lines J. Hutter, David J. Studley who represent Automa Factory, with Jan Schröder as consultant.
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7. Board Game: La Granja [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:168]
Board Game: La Granja
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#lagranja

Unofficial solo mode by boulou.

Another ingenius unofficial Automa that incorporates multi-use cards to decide what action the Automa will take depending on the current phase of the game.

Due to this method the card information that doesn't relate to the current phase of the game are faded out to help streamline playing the game.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Hides non-relevant card information
d10-2........Keeps track of which phase the Automa is currently in

From gallery of gavmcgz
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8. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:11]
Board Game: Great Western Trail
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#greatwesterntrail

Unofficial solo mode by wgerken. All card images by jparkerweb.

A fantastic streamlined Automa to begin with, this was a breeze to digitize.

Deciding what difficulty level you'd like to play against will dictate what Automa cards are used in the game (more move cards are removed as the difficulty increases - which means that the Automa will take more actions that interact with the board / tiles on offer / train position).


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Automatic difficulty level deck builder

From gallery of gavmcgz
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9. Board Game: Near and Far [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:153] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
Board Game: Near and Far
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#nearandfar

Unofficial solo mode by tdakanalis. All card images by Rapscallion_69.

This unofficial Automa mode has been created by splitting the cards up into a top section (town related actions) and a bottom section (adventure related actions).

The first card drawn by the Automa will be used to perform an action in the town, then the next card will be an adventure action, and then the next card will revert back to a town action and so on.

The online app takes this into account by fading out the inactive section, so you can quickly see what action the Automa will take.

The creator of this Automa also provided a fantastically detailed help manual with lots of helpful illustrations and charts to show exactly how the Automa handles each action.

I've converted this into an easily referencable guide, which as with all my other Automa helpers, is quickly and easily acccesible by clicking the question mark on each card which shows the shortcuts to the help sections of the actions that the Automa is taking that turn.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Hides non-relevant card information

From gallery of gavmcgz
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10. Board Game: Orléans [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:25]
Board Game: Orléans
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#orleans

Unofficial solo mode by mihnea_1309.

A very (IMHO) clever Automa system designed by BGG user mihnea_1309.

The base Automa deck they've created has 18 cards total, divided into 3 levels of difficulty (6x easy cards, 6x medium cards, 6x hard cards). Out of these 18 cards, you only use six of them for each game at a time (see the explanation in the app of how the chosen 6 cards are used for the 18 rounds of the game). The amount that you mix and match these different level cards into that initial Automa deck provides many difficulty levels to play against, where you can truly customize it based on the challenge you're seeking at the time.

To assist with this, I've converted the initial deck builder into a simple scrollbar that will automatically handle the picking of the cards from the different levels based on how low or how high the chosen difficulty is.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Automatic difficulty level deck builder
d10-2........Hides non-relevant card information depending on stage of game


From gallery of gavmcgz
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11. Board Game: PARKS [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:134]
Board Game: PARKS
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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Microbadge: My apologies:Microbadge: Due to other commitments...Microbadge: ... I can't be online regularly right now.Microbadge: My responses may be delayed.Microbadge: Thank you for your patience.
https://myautoma.github.io/#parks

This isn't a solo mode, but a tool that randomly generates the trail for any player count, rather than having to shuffle the trail pieces by hand.

It has the option to chose whether you're playing a 4+ player game to add the "Waterfall" tile.

It also differentiates the 4 extra tiles to add each season by highlighting them in bold, and also show with a "NEW" label which tile has just been added to the next season



From gallery of gavmcgz
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12. Board Game: Pulsar 2849 [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:214]
Board Game: Pulsar 2849
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#pulsar2849

Unofficial solo mode by hellvet.

This was a very interesting one to digitize as rather than be card-powered the AI creator used dice to decide what actions the artificial opponent would take.

I'm really happy with how this turned out, as there was quite a bit to take into account with information to display and to code.

I ended up converting the whole dice selection part of the board online, which means that the app handles all of the dice rolling and the human & Automa players choosing dice phase.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Goal and technology randomizer
d10-2........First player randomizer
d10-3........Even start variant implemented
d10-4........Completely automated + digitized dice phase
d10-5........Turn order calculator
d10-6........Production automatically calculated for human player between rounds

From gallery of gavmcgz


This is not an official CGE Games product and has no affiliation with CGE Games. Pulsar 2849 was designed by Vladimír Suchý, with art by Sören Meding. All art in this app is from Pulsar 2849.
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13. Board Game: Space Base [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:211]
Board Game: Space Base
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#spacebase

Unofficial solo mode by Carrielies.

This one was a very very simple solo mode, where on the turns of the other 3 artificial opponents, two dice would be rolled which would trigger any deployed ships on your board, and then the one dice would again be rolled to pick a column of available ships to buy to replace all 3 ships in that column.

I realize that some may ask what the point is of digitizing an already simple variant, but it didn't take much to do, and I found it good as a reminder of how many turns were left, what the initial end score was that I had chosen (since the variant dictates this can be more than the standard games 40), and also for the sanity of my non-gamer wife who now is exempt from hearing the clickety clackety of dice whenever I'm in the mood to play this great solo variant.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Difficulty + Goal score picker
d10-2........Digital dice roller
d10-3........Turns remaining tracker
d10-4........Winning score reminder displayed
d10-5........Dice color coded for easy reference

From gallery of gavmcgz
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14. Board Game: Star Wars: Outer Rim [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:265]
From gallery of ZeroCool_ITA
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#starwarsouterrim

Unofficial solo mode by game green, and are based off the AI cards from Star War: Outer Rim, published by Fantasy Flight Games.

The standard solo deck that came with the game provided the same 10 cards to choose the Automas actions no matter what character the AI played as.

Game green saw the potential to take these base actions and to tweak them depending on what character the AI was playing as. The result is a much more thematic experience where certain characters will perform unique actions, and interact with other characters in a certain way based on their "real" relationships in the Star Wars universe.

Based on some encouragement from a 3rd party who notified me off this great solo variant, I digitized it with the added feature of playing up to 3 AI characters at the same time.


Extra game specific features:


d10-1........Character randomizer for human player
d10-2........Character randomizer for AI player(s)
d10-3........Functionality to play against 1 - 3 AI opponents
d10-4........Color coded to show what character is active while playing multiple AIs
d10-5........Human player can still flick between the last actions of the other AIs without disrupting turn order


From gallery of gavmcgz


This is not an official Fantasy Flight Games product and has no affiliation with Fantasy Flight Games.
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15. Board Game: Tapestry [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:233]
Board Game: Tapestry
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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https://myautoma.github.io/#tapestry

Official solo mode by Automa Factory

Easily the most challenging and involved Automa helper I've created - and the one I'm most proud of.

The Automa system created by The Automa Factory is indeed wonderfully designed given the myriad of choices open to each player. Using a similar card system to Gaia Project and Euphoria, two Automa cards are drawn each turn with Tie breaker info on one card and extra information on the other card.

By having the human input whenever they take one of the landmarks, I was able to program the app to figure out exactly which track the Automa would choose to move on, saving the human player having to assess each turn which track the Automa would progress on.

The latest update added the map function to show where the Automa would explore + conquer, further streamlining the Automa experience.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Full Automa mode + Shadow Empire mode implemented
d10-2........Quick start screen for experienced players
d10-3........Human Civ and map randomizer
d10-4........Automa and Shadow Empire Favorite Track randomizer
d10-5........Automatic difficulty level deck builder
d10-6........UI animates the AIs exact move
d10-7........End-of-round phase all automated
d10-8........Conquer + Explore functions automated with map screen
d10-9........Automa score automatically calculated

From gallery of gavmcgz


This is not an official Stonemaier Games product and has no affiliation with Stonemaier Games. Tapestry was designed by Jamey Stegmaier, with art by Andrew Bosley and sculpts by Rom Brown. All art in this app is from Tapestry. The Automa for Tapestry was designed by Morten Monrad Pedersen with Lieve Teugels and Nick Shaw who represent Automa Factory.
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16. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:95]
Board Game: Trajan
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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Microbadge: My apologies:Microbadge: Due to other commitments...Microbadge: ... I can't be online regularly right now.Microbadge: My responses may be delayed.Microbadge: Thank you for your patience.
https://myautoma.github.io/#trajan

Unofficial solo mode by bikefreak.

This unofficial Automa has been created with an ingenious inbuilt scoring feature, where each Automa card not only dictates each action the artificial opponent will take, but also how many points they acquire each turn.

This wonderfully goes hand in hand with an online implementation where the Automa score can be automatically calculated based on the cards that are drawn by the app.

The difficulty levels also dictate some of the score values are doubled, so again having the app handle this book keeping makes the entire experience nice and streamlined using the online app.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Automatic Automa scoring based on difficulty level
d10-2........Extra action functionality

From gallery of gavmcgz
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17. Board Game: Viticulture Essential Edition [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:23]
Board Game: Viticulture Essential Edition
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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Microbadge: My apologies:Microbadge: Due to other commitments...Microbadge: ... I can't be online regularly right now.Microbadge: My responses may be delayed.Microbadge: Thank you for your patience.
https://myautoma.github.io/#viticulture

Official solo mode by Automa Factory

This has the merit of being the first solo mode where the term Automa was coined (even though it's been said the concept predates the term).

Simple app that displays each Automa card and depending on which season, hides the non-active sections, making it even easier to see which spots the Automa will go each turn.

There is also the option of playing the Tuscany expansion, which further breaks up the year and introduces Autumn and Spring.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Tuscany Expansion compatible
d10-2........Season tracker
d10-3........Hides non-relevant action spaces

From gallery of gavmcgz


This is not an official Stonemaier Games product and has no affiliation with Stonemaier Games. Viticulture was designed by Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone, with art by Beth Sobel. All art in this app is from Viticulture. The Automa for Viticulture was designed by Morten Monrad Pedersen and Automa Factory.
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18. Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:56]
Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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Microbadge: My apologies:Microbadge: Due to other commitments...Microbadge: ... I can't be online regularly right now.Microbadge: My responses may be delayed.Microbadge: Thank you for your patience.
https://myautoma.github.io/#marcopolo

Unofficial solo mode by orlopesdesa. All card and route images by Sir_Yaro is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

Another great unofficial Automa that has a hierarchy of preferred moves that the Automa takes, and then if those spaces are blocked, will get a variable amount of points.

The Automa creator also has created 4 different paths for the Automa to take, so that if the AI travels at all, there's no need to make any decisions for the Automa or weigh up several factors. Just look at the Route screen, how many moves, and place the Automas character on the next destination.

The added feature of shuffling the entire deck on the last round adds to the unsureness of what moves the Automa will take which adds to the juicy challenge for the human player.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........Automa route screen to show next destination the Automa moves to
d10-2........Shuffle button when game enters Round 5.

From gallery of gavmcgz
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19. Board Game: Wingspan [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:20]
Board Game: Wingspan
Gavin McGruddy
New Zealand
Hastings
Hawkes Bay
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Microbadge: My apologies:Microbadge: Due to other commitments...Microbadge: ... I can't be online regularly right now.Microbadge: My responses may be delayed.Microbadge: Thank you for your patience.
https://myautoma.github.io/#wingspan

Official solo mode by Automa Factory

Probably one of my most played solo games.

The online app handles the vast majority of book keeping for the Automa, apart from actions such as replacing the face up bird cards when the relevant symbol appears.

Between rounds, the human player enters how many of the target item for that round that they accumulated, and this will automatically calculate whether the Automa won, lost or tied for the round goal - which will give them the relevant points.

The rest of the Automas scoring is all automatically calculated at the end - you just need to enter your own points for each category for the app to tell you if you won against the difficulty you initially chose.


Extra game specific features:

d10-1........European Expansion compatible
d10-2........Randomize Automas bonus card
d10-3........Difficulty Level Selection
d10-4........Round bonus randomizer
d10-5........Quick reference to see each round goal and Automas base amount an each category
d10-6........Manages Automas stats and score automatically

From gallery of gavmcgz


This is not an official Stonemaier Games product and has no affiliation with Stonemaier Games. Wingspan was designed by Elizabeth Hargrave, with art by Natalia Rojas, Ana Maria Martinez Jaramillo, and Beth Sobel. All art in this app is from Wingspan. The Automa for Wingspan was designed by David Studley and Automa Factory.
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