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Subject: Alternative Solitarie Variant rss

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Carlos Alves
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Hi, i wanted to share another solo variant for this awesome game.

After reading the other post of "A Simple Solitaire Variant", i made a few changes and took some playtestings.
You may try this variant i made if you want to make challenging and fun.

SETUP

- Setup the game as normal for 2 players in game, dealing 10 cards (7 Normal trains, 2 Lay Rails, 1 Station Expansion).
- Choose a color for bot to use.
- The Bot will use 1 six-side dice, 2 eight-side dice and 1 token to mark the bot position in the board (Must be diferent from his chosen color).
- Create the common Supply in order:

1. Waste / 2. Express Train / 3. Limited Express Train / 4. Lay Rails
5. Station Expansion / 6. Apartment / 7. Tower / 8. Skyscraper.

[Note: The numbers are the result of 2D8 when the bot perform the buy action]

- Draw 8 randomizer Cards to build another supplies and make stacks in alphabetical order:

9. ??? / 10. ??? / 11. ??? / 12. ??? /
13. ??? / 14. ??? / 15. ??? / 16. ??? /

[Note: The numbers are the result of 2D8 when the bot perform the buy action]

- The Bot always starts first.

BOT TURN

1. Draw X Cards [Easy: 2 cards / Normal: 3 Cards / Hard: 3 Cards]
2. Play X Cards [Same as above]
3. Clean up the used cards to his discard pile
4. End Turn

BOT PLAYING CARDS IN ORDER

- RED CARD: The Bot will perform 3 actions (Buy 1 Card, Lay 1 Rail and Build 1 Station) without gaining "Waste".

- GREEN CARD: The bot will lay 1 rail token ignoring tile cost to build then roll D6 to place a rail token adjacent then move the bot token. He gains "Waste" as normal, except on Hard difficult.

[Note: Before rolling D6, pick the number for each hex adjacent to bot. If the result of die is the hex that the bot already have a rail token, reroll the die.


- PURPLE CARD: The Bot will build 1 station token if able, following the building priority on cities (3 > 2 > 1). He gains "Waste" as normal, except on Hard difficult.

- BLUE CARD: The bot will buy 1 supply card at 2D8, ignoring the money cost and the new card in his discard pile. He gains "Waste" as normal, except on Hard difficult.

- YELLOW CARD: The Bot gains 1 victory point.

- GRAY CARD (WASTE): The Bot discards the waste card. Not used in Hard Difficulty.

END GAME
No Change
SCORING
No Change

I hope you like this and feel free to make suggestion to improve this variant.

Edit: Made a few fix some typos and to smooth any doubts.
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Pierre Philippe Goyer
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Looks good...I will try and let you know.

One (OK...two) question(s) to start:

Do the Bot plays all its cards one by one and in what order?
Or do I have to use your variant along the one you referred to?

Owll
 
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Carlos Alves
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On this variant.

The Bot start with 10 cards like players. But only draw 2 cards (Easy Mode) and play them in following order.

Red - Green - Purple - Blue - Yellow - Waste

When he buy cards, he ignores the costs.

Made a new additions ...
 
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Rogue Marechal
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Really like what you've done with this... Especially the fact that random laying of tracks is compensated by regular VP gain from the yellow cards (acquired through Blue cards).

... I do think that the way the waste work though is the most clever part of the bot, so I don't think the 'hard' level is keeping enough of the flavour of the game for my taste. YMMV.
 
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Alessandro Trovato
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When you say 2D8, do you intentionally want to use the bell curve of probability with Express Train and 16.??? at the extreme?
Or it's just a way to use a random number between 2 and 16?

TIA,

Alex
 
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Carlos Alves
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It's just the random number between 2 and 16.
The average number will be those yellow cards, the ones that give points.
 
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Carlos Alves
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RogueM wrote:
Really like what you've done with this... Especially the fact that random laying of tracks is compensated by regular VP gain from the yellow cards (acquired through Blue cards).


I tried to make the bot being used like a time track. The game ends when he spends all rail tokens.

RogueM wrote:
... I do think that the way the waste work though is the most clever part of the bot,


I made the bot to waste his actions in order to give more time to the players planning.

RogueM wrote:
so I don't think the 'hard' level is keeping enough of the flavour of the game for my taste. YMMV.


The hard level still need revision and better testing. Thanks for your reply.

 
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Alessandro Trovato
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BGFreakDag2PT wrote:
It's just the random number between 2 and 16.
The average number will be those yellow cards, the ones that give points.


Thanks Carlos,

I am currently giving a try to this variant and I have never played Trains before at all.

May you explain better the Purple card effect: what if there is no City in the Action hex? In which case the priority you mention should be used (City 3>2>1)?


Moreover, the yellow card VP, should it be counted only at the end like in the original game (AKAIU)or every time that card is drawn for the BOT?

Alex
 
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Rogue Marechal
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I have played it that yellow cards count at the end as well.

For purple however I have only built if there is a hex where the bot has a track in and can build... otherwise he could end up handing out VP to the player (and requires a lot more explanation of how it works if that is not the way intended).
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Alessandro Trovato
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For the record, first solo game lost 28-22. BOT made 14 VPs from Cities&Destiantion, 14 VPs from cards. Game ended with all BOT's rails placed on the map.
 
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Eddie
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Just got this game... can you add some newbie friendly instructions? (I woudln't awesome only long-timer pros play solo)

How do we decide where the bot starts?

Why did you specify the "use another color" for the bot's "position on the board"? EDIT: answered, see the green card action - you have introduced a "current position" which is where any rail laying action happens at. Starts at the starting rail token position, then follows every new rail token.


Maybe more questions once I go through this once...

EDIT: where does the bot decide to place stations? any bias? (where he is closest to?)

EDIT: final score: bot 56, me 40. Easy bot. Ended w/ bot placing final rail.

Score breakdown: me: 14 cards + 5 remote locations + 21 city bonus
bot: 29 cards + 9 remote locs + 18 city bonus

I suppose I would say that stations should be built in priority order but only on cities the bot already has rail tokens on (possibly sometimes not building anything?). Then again the bulk of the bots points were really about the cards.. slurping up skyscrapers "for no effort"...
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Shir E
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Hello Carlos,

I tried your variant yesterday, and I liked it.

I had a few thought/questions.
It wasn't quite clear where the bot places his stations.
I was placing them by this order of preference:
1. Place where the bot token is if possible.
2. Place on the highest ranked adjacent city.
3. When those options failed, I divided the board into a grid and rolled appropriate die for a location, that became the temporary bot token location, then i repeated steps 1 and 2, until it worked.

I didn't like my solution, it seemed very cumbersome.

Further the bot also managed to get its rails stuck in a corner surrounded by its own rails, what dd you do to get out of such a situation?

Lastly, when playing a red card, did you do the 3 actions in order? Or would you build a station where the bot token is, before building a rail if it helps 'it'?

Overall it was a good feel, i liked that the bots actions depended on what he was dealt in his hand (unlike the other variant).

thanks
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Dave Schleicher
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I've used your variant as a great starting point, just tweaking it a little bit. Really enjoy the game, and it is fun to be able to play it solo when I can't get the gaming group together.

Thanks!
 
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ben holley
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I've played against this bot many times now(at least 10) with different set ups on both sides of the board and with varying number of players. I think I've got a pretty solid opinion of it.
First a disclaimer regarding the ambiguities in the directions of the bots behavior. In this post there is not a designated starting rail placement behavior. In the other bot's description that he references there are three locations to be chosen randomly between and that's what I used.
Second there is no direction for when the bot's active hex becomes stuck in a corner or became surrounded by his own rail. When this occurred I just assumed he was supposed to stay there and would not place any more rail but would do other actions such as buy cards and expand stations when he could.
Third in regards to the order in which the cards are to be played from his hand. I assumed that the cards in his hand were to be played in the order that they were described in the directions. This seemed to be the order most in the bot's favors so that's what I assumed was supposed to happen. (I hope Carlos comes back and clarifies these ambiguities.)

Now in regards to his performance I think I can say that he is a little over powered even at the normal level(which is the only level I set him to). In a normal game with just me and him he usually creams me by about 20 points. This is because of one of two scenarios. First scenario is that this bot sometimes becomes stuck and will no longer place rail and eventually no longer expands stations. These are great ways for him to gain waste and bog down his deck and with those gone then he just sits there and buys cards, usually yellow and red cards, which gets him a great deal of points for next to nothing and even nothing if he buys them with a red card. These games usually take a long time to end. They usually end by running out of 4 decks of cards. In these games when it's time to score he has more than 6 skyscrapers and more than 4 towers and more than 2 apartments and he's down the track by at least 10 if not 15. In the second scenario he lays his rail down very quickly and doesn't leave much time in the end game. When he doesn't become stuck he's laying a lot of rail, 1 or 2 or maybe even 3 rail per turn, once he gets going. He lays rail with green and red cards and also buys with blue and red cards. So while he is laying rail he is also buying up those yellow cards and moving down the points track. In these cases by the time I realize he has a few rails left there might be 2 or 3 rounds left in the game. In games where this happens though I usually fair better because he also doesn't have time to expand stations, move down the point track, or buy more yellow cards.
One last thing to note would be that his deck grows very thick by the end of the game. He usually has 60 or more cards at the end.

I've only managed to beat him once and it was close 96 to 94. I had a few things that really helped me. We played on the Tokyo side. He had the first turn. The randomizers were collaboration(green), command central(red), control room(red), early train(blue), garage(red), signals(red), tourist train(blue), and tunnel(green). The first thing that helped me was the non red randomizers one of which was number 9 in the line up. The second thing was that he became stuck by laying rail. However he didn't get stuck too soon or too late. He had laid 14 rails and half of them in cities. This meant he gained a lot of waste for laying rail and expanding stations. The second way the non red randomizers helped me was that after the became stuck the green and purple cards were just as useful to him as the waste cards. So they just clogged his deck. The two blue randomizers also helped since when he bought a yellow card with those he gained a waste as well. Third was that he just had some bad rolls in this game, he bought a lot of apartments with blue cards and also got other non point scoring cards. Fourth was that I was able to lay rail into all but one of his cities and the one that was left was only worth 2 points. Last but certainly not least was that the Tourist Train was one of the randomizers. I bought those up like they were going out of style.( I had 9 of them in the end. He had the other one.) By the time he bought the last skyscraper and ended the game I was at 55 on the points track and he was at 20. I was feeling really good. The final score broke down like this.
Point From the: Me:Bot
Track: . . . . . . . 55:20
Board: . . . . . . . 35:20
Deck: . . . . . . . . .6:54
---------------------------------------
Total: . . . . . . . .96:94
---------------------------------------
Waste: . . . . . . .10:29

Why did I count waste? Really it's just as a pick me up for the times I lost to the bot. There's a variant that I'm sure that anyone who's played this game much has thought about, where at the end of the game when the scores are tallied you also count the amount of waste in the deck and subtract that amount from the score. Most games when I use this form of scoring it brings his score back down to my level and doesn't make me feel so bad for losing.

Overall I'd say this was a good attempt at making a bot that was different from the source material and still quick and somewhat fun to play against. I say somewhat because it really doesn't feel good when he buys a yellow card with a red card. He's a little over powered at normal difficulty and I imagine it would be a god-like difficulty on hard. One thing I would personally change is that when his score is tallied that his waste is subtracted from his score or that he isn't moved down the point track during the game(except maybe for skyscrapers or tourist trains).

TL;DR
He's a little over powered so I give him a score of 3 out of 5, since I will keep playing with him.

I would be glad to hear of others experiences with this bot and their opinions and perhaps some corrections to my understanding of how the bot is supposed to act if anyone else would care to share.
 
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