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Subject: Would you play this solo? rss

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Yiorgos Golfinopoulos
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Patras
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I am liking what I see so far in Battlelore 2nd ed. and thinking about getting the game. The instances when I play with a real opponnent though are somewhat rare, so unless I can solo this, it will end up collecting dust in my closet except for the times that I take it out to drool over it.

I was thinking about trying the following variant:

- Randomly choose scenario cards
- Randomly choose army cards
- Randomly place units on the map (this is easy using the Deployment cards)

After that, it's playing each side to their best interest and pretending as much as possible, that you dont know what the opponent has in store for you.
Or, if this doesn't work, play with open hands and be done with it.

What I will be missing is army creation, all the meaningful decisions during setup regarding scenario choosing and deployment and of course, the joy of being realy surprised or surprise my opponent.

What I will be gaining is getting to see how non-optimal situations, due to random setup, play out.

Every other game element stays intact, but do you think that what is left is worth my time or that the game would be actually castrated after these changes?

 
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Aswin Agastya
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No. The card play is really the meat of the game.
 
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Donny Behne
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I would focus on coming up with a way to generate an AI component for the other side. Playing both sides just destroys the game entirely. For the opponent - pick a random scenario card. If it is tailored to a specific unit (Rune Golems for one, cavalry for another, etC) then use the pre-built army card that features the most of that unit. If not, just pick a random pre-built army. Setup the board and shuffle the army cards and decoys. Methodically (or randomly) layout the army in the deployment zones then flip them and replace with minis. When its the enemy's turn, pick a random command card from their deck and then use the mini army cards in those zones to randomize what moves. You'll need to create a sequence of steps to determine if a ranged enemy moves or stays. Enemy melee can always move towards you and attack, enemy ranged can always move towards VP conditions.

It would be tough and not remotely the same as a thinking opponent but you could pull it off. May not be worth $80 though.
 
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Ava Jarvis
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Yes, I would play this solo. I have played many C&C games solo in the past and this would be not that different. The key is that solo has different objectives than head-to-head, or you create a solo opponent more powerful than you, or you use a particular solo technique I saw elsewhere on the forums (but I don't remember where).

The first method is what you mention. Playing as a third observer each side to the best of its abilities. You may do random set-up, or do specific army builds to see how they perform on specific scenario set-ups. It becomes an experiment. This experimental set up can be used in the other three methods in fact. And should be.

The next two ways mimic head-to-head. A more powerful opponent is achieved by drawing two cards during command play and using both of them for the opponent. It will create a great challenge for you and force you to put your best card play game on.

The third way is a variant of the second way. Pick five different choices for your opponent, assign better probabilities to the ones that seem best, and roll a die to determine which way they to. This captures surprise by the opponent, though not necessarily as challenging card play.

So yes, solo.
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Yiorgos Golfinopoulos
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Wow Ava Jarvis, that second method sounds great to me, definetely better than my idea.
If the opponent doesn't have a hand and executes two randomly drawn cards, than the element of surprise is still there and the extra difficulty should somewhat compensate for the lack of a greater strategic plan for the dummy opponent.
I will definetely be trying it if I decide to take the plunge.

Really appreciate the suggestions guys, keep 'em comin'.
 
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Ava Jarvis
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Just thought of something. We'd need to come up with rules for Lore cards, since they operate differently from command cards.

So my first thought (which I hope to test soon) is to allow the opponent to gather up Lore as usual OR at a doubled rate, then each turn draw 2 lore cards and choose one to execute, spending the opponent-gathered Lore on the most costly card it can afford. In combination with a dual command card draw, this can be deadly if you're not prepared with your A game.
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Ava Jarvis
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Report on my recent 1st solo attempt with Lore cards and mustering:

Scenario card selection: picked one card for me, and the same lettered/numbered card for the opponent. I can see doing this randomly, or with weighted possibilities, or just going for the campaign.

Mustering: mustered as normal for me, and for my opponent I drafted an appropriate army for them (playing up their strengths in the scenario of course) and used randomization with the complement of decoy cards to set up the units. This resulted in less-than-optimal placement, of course, but it seemed not to matter as much....

Command cards, dummy player turn: Draw 2 cards and treat them as one big card, i.e., complete both movement steps while not moving the same unit twice unless otherwise indicated, and complete both attack steps while not attacking with the same unit twice unless otherwise indicated.

Lore upkeep: dummy player always collects 2 lore. This is because...

Lore cards, dummy player turn: Draw 2 Lore cards at the beginning of turn and choose one appropriate one if possible and can be paid for. This is where selection is necessary, helped by the two command cards, this is still quite difficult to deal with.

Lore cards, my turn: Haven't decided how to deal with this, since a fair number of Lore cards are played on the opponent's turn. So I didn't.

The "AI" still beat me, as I wasn't playing my top game. I made mistakes, and had I played differently I would have juuuust eked out a victory.

The experience was highly satisfying, if rather more complex to keep track of than in other C&C games, where the possibility of counter-play is far less.
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Mike Martin
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BilboAtBagEnd wrote:
Report on my recent 1st solo attempt with Lore cards and mustering:

Scenario card selection: picked one card for me, and the same lettered/numbered card for the opponent. I can see doing this randomly, or with weighted possibilities, or just going for the campaign.

Mustering: mustered as normal for me, and for my opponent I drafted an appropriate army for them (playing up their strengths in the scenario of course) and used randomization with the complement of decoy cards to set up the units. This resulted in less-than-optimal placement, of course, but it seemed not to matter as much....

Command cards, dummy player turn: Draw 2 cards and treat them as one big card, i.e., complete both movement steps while not moving the same unit twice unless otherwise indicated, and complete both attack steps while not attacking with the same unit twice unless otherwise indicated.

Lore upkeep: dummy player always collects 2 lore. This is because...

Lore cards, dummy player turn: Draw 2 Lore cards at the beginning of turn and choose one appropriate one if possible and can be paid for. This is where selection is necessary, helped by the two command cards, this is still quite difficult to deal with.

Lore cards, my turn: Haven't decided how to deal with this, since a fair number of Lore cards are played on the opponent's turn. So I didn't.

The "AI" still beat me, as I wasn't playing my top game. I made mistakes, and had I played differently I would have juuuust eked out a victory.

The experience was highly satisfying, if rather more complex to keep track of than in other C&C games, where the possibility of counter-play is far less.


I tried this approach and liked it a lot. I tweaked it a small bit - for the AI lore, I skip lore cards all together - no drawing cards or drawing tokens. I keep lore tokens as normal when rolled and not used for abilities, and allow the AI to cash in every 4 lore it accumulates for a VP at the end of each turn (just like the training scenario). When rolling , I do use lore as normal during play to remove stun or poison as needed. I figure the lost benefit of lore cards is balanced by allowing the AI to play two command cards each turn.

For my lore, I play as normal, without being able to cash them in as VP.

Playing this way was a very close game, with the AI winning by a few points. It streamlines the play a little, since you don't need to juggle the AI's lore cards, and I felt like it was a good match (but that may well be because I'm a bad player...)

The only thing that I really feel is missing is the setup piece...
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Dave van Zundert
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Thanks for this guys! Bought the game yesterday and will try this tonight (after soloing the intro game). Looks like good fun and like the idea of drawing two command cards!

Did you try using a stronger dummy army? So more miniatures for him. Like you are being overwhelmed
 
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Dave van Zundert
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So I tried it. Made a lot of rule mistakes because it was my first playthrough but did enjoy it. Although I think the enemy was to fast for me to manouvre a little (cause of the 2 command cards). I think I will try how it works when I use a stronger army for the dummy player (like 70 points).

The rule for a victory point every 4 lore was a real good one. I don't think it would be fun playing lore cards for the dummy player.

Also I made a 'rule' for the dummy player that, they always go for the victory point. When going into combat they encounter the closest. If there are units to choose from they encounter the weakest. Also archer fire arrows as soon as they are within firing range.
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