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Alhambra» Forums » Variants

Subject: A solitaire variant. rss

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Donald Wilbur III
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Sacramento
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The normal Alhambra rules apply with the following changes:

The pack contains one of each money card; two of each is removed, i.e. only 36 money cards are used.. (This is somewhat unsatisfactory since it is now impossible to get two 4s of the same currency for example. But if two sets are used you will frequently run out of tiles before the second scoring round.)

Like the two player variant there is an imaginary opponent whom we will call Dirk. Dirk does not build an Alhambra but does collect building tiles. Dirk’s “turn” is taken at the end of your turn.

Do not give Dirk any tiles at the beginning (or after any of the scoring rounds). He will receive tiles in the normal course of play. Place his second counter (the one that would normally be on his starting tile) on the yellow circle on the Building Market.

Each turn you take your actions as you would in a normal game, but at the end of your turn Dirk takes the tile from the color he is on unless:
a) You bought that tile during the turn, or
b) You bought any of the tiles with exact change during the round. (This is much better since you get to take the additional action).

If you bought two tiles with exact change, Dirk does not get to take a tile next turn either. If you bought three with exact change, he misses the next two turns, etc. You may want to use some of the other markers to keep track of this.

At the end of the turn after you’ve placed your tiles, move Dirk’s marker to the next color (from yellow to green, from green to blue, from blue to orange, or from orange to yellow).

In the scoring rounds Dirk is awarded points for having the most of any of the different kinds of buildings, but not for an external wall. (Apparently, he has perfected the art of building internal walls.)

Unlike the two player variant you obviously don’t want to give any tiles to Dirk, but often it’s a good idea to buy a tile even if you have to put it in your reserve.

In most cases you probably will beat Dirk, but you can keep track of your scores to give yourself a challenge. My last score was 208 vs. Dirk’s 131.

If you like this variant feel free to give me tips. Otherwise I may be forced to review it.
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martina hellmich
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hi, want to spare you a review and tried your variant and was nearly satisfied. thank you. but a few questions are left (i would be able to make my own thoughts, but i guess it's nicer to stay in your thoughts

"Each turn you take your actions as you would in a normal game, but at the end of your turn Dirk takes the tile from the color he is on unless:
a) You bought that tile during the turn, or
b) You bought any of the tiles with exact change during the round. (This is much better since you get to take the additional action). "

i have to confess, i did both - Dirk didn't get his tile and i do take the addional action - it was good! devil

is it when i take the tile from the corner he is on with the exact change, he doesn't take tiles for this and the next round? i would like this - how do you play?


I found the first two scorings coming up very fast but the last end scoring takes a long while. i'm thinking of scoring the first time about the middle of going through the money cards, the second time at the end of the money cards before turning them around and the third time as normal in the end of the game. but i didn't try it yet.

looking forward to your answers, bye



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Jeremy Freeman
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I found this variant to be really neat, but I wanted a bit more of a challenge so I added a couple of things:

1) Dirk gets all points for adjacency. If you assume one interior wall with everything else connected you could use the all points for adjacency minus 2 formula.

2) When scoring the third scoring round add the points for first place and for third place to the leaders score. This allows a margin of 1-6 points for each lead in the first scoring round. 7 points for each lead in the second scoring round. and 8-14 points for each lead in the third scoring round. In case of a tie, add all 3 scores together and divide by two (rounding down) or score nothing in ties (whichever you prefer)

3) When distributing the final lot of 4 or less tiles (when bag cannot replenish) you only get the additional tiles to add to your alhambra if you could have purchased them normally anyway. If you dont have sufficient cash then the tiles remain un-purchased.

I found this variant to create a bit more tension and requires a lot of careful planning. Exact purchases become of paramount importance. Dirk will nearly always win the adjacency battles if he has an equal number of tiles. However, due to the fact that you can practically always win the towers and pavillions battle PLUS with a bit of luck sometimes win the adjacency battle by outpurchasing and clever planning things should even out. Tell me what you think.
 
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Jeremy Freeman
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I only play either/or: Dirk only skips THIS turn's purchase if you purchase the tile from under him or purchase one with exact change. If you purchase 2 tiles with exact change he skips this turns purchase and the next turn's purchase.

The variant gives little time for rearranging your Alhambra. Often it's better to purchase the piece that fits your Alhambra (with exact change of course) rather than take time to take one off your reserve board.

The real alhambra requires watching what money people are picking up to get an idea of what they have in their hand and their purchasing power. This variation is somewhat more deterministic since you "see" what Dirk can buy next. However, the elements are similar. You must still look at Dirk's Alhambra to see what colors you can/cannot beat him in and buy the right colors out from under him. Of course accumulating a ton of money early, especially in small currency numbers is very important. So I think it maintains the tension of the original very very well. Hats off the the OP for providing this excellent variant.
 
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