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Subject: The Variant Review's "Uriel's Robe" Fantastiqa Solo Player Variant rss

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Sky Zero
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You awaken alone atop a barren hill with a note in your hand:

"In your rucksack are three pieces of cloth torn from Uriel's robe. Each piece represents his guiding light and your hope to escape his memories. You may freely call upon the light three times in your journey, but should you call upon it a fourth, I'm afraid to say you shall cease to be."


The Variant
The 3 flying carpet tokens you start the game with represent "Uriel's Robe" and thus your life total. Attempt to use cloth from "Uriel's Robe" four times in the game and you shall cease to be. Easier said than done.

At Game Start
Game setup is per the standard 2 player rules with one exception, determine your difficulty level:

Easy = Obtain 8 Quest Cups to escape
Medium = Obtain 12 Quest Cups to escape
Hard = Obtain 15 Quest Cups to escape

Note: if you draw Rogue's Purse or Bitter Brew as your starting artifact, discard and draw again.

During Play
Play the game per the standard rules with just one change:

Rule Change #1:
Peaceful Dragons love to sneak into the rucksacks of those who are weary. If you begin and end your turn in the same location, you will find a new dragon friend atop your discard pile who's burned a piece of Uriel's robe warming up his tea. You're one step closer from ceasing to be.


In game speak, add a Peaceful Dragon to the top of your discard pile and lose a piece of Uriel's Robe when starting and ending a turn in the same location.

Points of Clarification
1. The Raven always targets you and only you
2. The three pieces of "Uriel's Robe" are your lifeblood. You can use them as intended to move adjacently, burn them to stay put when completing a quest, visiting a statue, etc... But remember, call upon Uriel's Robe a fourth time and you become but a memory. GAME OVER.
3. And remember, incomplete quests still count negatively against your final quest total.

End Variant

This variant's been play tested and won on easy, medium and hard. All levels can be won with good play and a touch of luck. I really have fun playing Fantastiqa with this variant and I hope you do as well...Enjoy!





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Amber Wells
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Thank you for posting this solo variant. I've played twice now at medium difficulty. I've been able to eke out a victory both times, but it was a fun challenge!
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KNelly wrote:
Thank you for posting this solo variant. I've played twice now at medium difficulty. I've been able to eke out a victory both times, but it was a fun challenge!


Really glad you enjoyed it. It's a great variant that doesn't alter gameplay and creates a nice little challenge solo. There are ways to tweak it to make it more difficult, but I find the way as written the most satisfying way to play it 1P.
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Ryan Jenkinson
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Finished my first game this morning - enjoyed it! Made the Easy goal, but I have a much better idea of how to handle the unique challenges of this variant next time.

After paying closer attention to the special abilities, I can see how important the Witch's flying carpet ability and the Rabbit's key ability are to surviving long enough to complete enough quests.

Seeing as I haven't gotten this to the table with any opponents yet, I realized that the side decks (artifacts, beasts, quests) were costly to go to until you had a Key to help you along. This variant makes these decks that much more special and costly to visit.

As a newbie to the game and desiring to have more access to these decks (to see what is available for future multiplayer games especially), I thought of a way to more fully incorporate these decks while trying not to drop the difficulty down too much:

-The Peaceful Dragon special ability (enchantress) is not of any use in this solo variant. Instead, use his ability as a Key, but at a cost of +2 gems when purchasing artifacts or beasts. Call it a dragon tax.

Additional ease of access to the special ability of the Key inevitably makes the game a bit easier, so I plan on adding 3 more quest points on each difficulty level. After more games of attempting my slight variant, we'll see how it affects the difficulty balance.

Thank you very much for creating this simple and effective solitaire mode, the feeling of the full game really shows as well as presenting some unique challenges that are separate from multiplayer.
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William Giant
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This variant seems like it would work well for 2-players co-op.
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zmapenguin wrote:
This variant seems like it would work well for 2-players co-op.


Yup. Tested that although I recommend using a shared pool of carpet tokens. Set your total to 5 for a good challenge.
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transcend11 wrote:
Finished my first game this morning - enjoyed it! Made the Easy goal, but I have a much better idea of how to handle the unique challenges of this variant next time.

After paying closer attention to the special abilities, I can see how important the Witch's flying carpet ability and the Rabbit's key ability are to surviving long enough to complete enough quests.

Seeing as I haven't gotten this to the table with any opponents yet, I realized that the side decks (artifacts, beasts, quests) were costly to go to until you had a Key to help you along. This variant makes these decks that much more special and costly to visit.

As a newbie to the game and desiring to have more access to these decks (to see what is available for future multiplayer games especially), I thought of a way to more fully incorporate these decks while trying not to drop the difficulty down too much:

-The Peaceful Dragon special ability (enchantress) is not of any use in this solo variant. Instead, use his ability as a Key, but at a cost of +2 gems when purchasing artifacts or beasts. Call it a dragon tax.

Additional ease of access to the special ability of the Key inevitably makes the game a bit easier, so I plan on adding 3 more quest points on each difficulty level. After more games of attempting my slight variant, we'll see how it affects the difficulty balance.

Thank you very much for creating this simple and effective solitaire mode, the feeling of the full game really shows as well as presenting some unique challenges that are separate from multiplayer.


Glad your're enjoying it. As far as further tweaks, I say change my base solo rules to your liking. There are ways to make it more difficult such as adding a peaceful dragon for every token use rather than just carpet tokens. But, as far as balanced play goes, I generally play the solo rules as written. Not too hard, not too easy, just right.
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Stasia Doster
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I played this variant for the first time this morning and very much enjoyed it. Thanks so much for posting it!
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scdoster wrote:
I played this variant for the first time this morning and very much enjoyed it. Thanks so much for posting it!


Thanks for giving it a play. What difficulty did you play on and did you win or lose? I generally play on Medium, win more than I lose, but always have fun playing it solo. The game has a great rhythm to it, especially when played 1 player.
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transcend11 wrote:
Finished my first game this morning - enjoyed it! Made the Easy goal, but I have a much better idea of how to handle the unique challenges of this variant next time.

After paying closer attention to the special abilities, I can see how important the Witch's flying carpet ability and the Rabbit's key ability are to surviving long enough to complete enough quests.

Seeing as I haven't gotten this to the table with any opponents yet, I realized that the side decks (artifacts, beasts, quests) were costly to go to until you had a Key to help you along. This variant makes these decks that much more special and costly to visit.

As a newbie to the game and desiring to have more access to these decks (to see what is available for future multiplayer games especially), I thought of a way to more fully incorporate these decks while trying not to drop the difficulty down too much:

-The Peaceful Dragon special ability (enchantress) is not of any use in this solo variant. Instead, use his ability as a Key, but at a cost of +2 gems when purchasing artifacts or beasts. Call it a dragon tax.

Additional ease of access to the special ability of the Key inevitably makes the game a bit easier, so I plan on adding 3 more quest points on each difficulty level. After more games of attempting my slight variant, we'll see how it affects the difficulty balance.

Thank you very much for creating this simple and effective solitaire mode, the feeling of the full game really shows as well as presenting some unique challenges that are separate from multiplayer.


Did you get a chance to playtest with the peaceful dragon key ability? Curious to see how it played out? I played another solo game last night with just my base rules to 8 quest cups and won with no carpet tokens left. It was a close one but I narrowly escaped!
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GAME #1 REPORT

Thanks for posting this variant Sky Zero. I just had my first crack at it and narrowly eeked out a win on the easy level with 9 quest cups (obtained from four quests) before ceasing to be. I have two questions after my initial play:

1. Gems: I found myself racking up quite a few gems, which would normally be useful for getting beasts or artifacts. But since you lose one of the three pieces of Uriel's Robe for not moving on a turn, it's not really possible in the early game to access the Beast Bazaar or Artifact Tower without giving up a piece of the robe, am I right? Accessing them on the same turn as moving (and hence not losing a piece of the robe) becomes possible later in the game once you have cards with the key icon, but there doesn't really seem to be a way to do it prior to that. As a result, I did find myself with quite a hoard of unused gems. I did use the teleport between matching towers action (cost: 2 gems) several times to help get to the locations needed to complete quests. What do you typically use these gems for in the early game with this variant?

2. Losing robe pieces when completing quests: I've been playing that I automatically lose a piece of the robe each time I completed a quest, since you can't move on the same turn as you complete a quest (it's your action that turn). However something tells me I might be forgetting one of the rules (it's been a while since I last played) and missing something obvious, because that makes this solitaire challenge awfully difficult on the harder levels. Am I playing it right, and basically you can complete a maximum of four quests, or am I misunderstanding something?

Edit regarding #2:
a) It looks like there is at least one way to complete a quest without losing a piece of the robe - by using a card with a flying carpet icon to move to the quest location before completing it. Are there others?
b) I have been assuming that it is legal to complete a fourth quest (without moving) to win the game just before losing a fourth piece of the robe at the end of that turn. But now I wonder whether that is Sky Zero's intention. If I've already lost three robe pieces, and then complete a quest without moving to get the final quest cups I need, do I win or lose?
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I have two more things in addition to the above two points:
skyzero wrote:
Note: if you draw Rogue's Purse or Bitter Brew as your starting artifact, discard and draw again.

3. Starting artifacts: Are you assuming the starting artifacts are chosen randomly? I thought that in a regular game they are chosen freely by the players, as discussed in this thread: Choosing starting quests and artifacts

4. Video: Jason Young has posted a video about the Uriel's Robe solo variant, which people reading this thread might want to check out. He raises an interesting question about the total number of quests that can be completed with this variant, and whether a 15 Quest Cup win is achievable:
https://boardgamegeek.com/video/51990/fantastiqa/fantastiqa-...
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EndersGame wrote:
He raises an interesting question about the total number of quests that can be completed with this variant, and whether a 15 Quest Cup win is achievable.

GAME #2 REPORT

I'm happy to report back that a 15 Quest Cup win is achievable. In fact I just won a game at the Hard level with 18 quest cups - and without using a single piece of Uriel's robe!

Tactical tips: The trick lies in the careful use of cards with magic carpet icon, and to a lesser extent cards with the key icon. I was fortunate to get a number of these into my deck early on. When almost ready to complete a quest, you keep a margic carpet in hand from turn to turn until you need it. Then you can just hop over to the quest location from an adjacent spot as a free action, and complete the quest without burning up part of Uriel's robe, since you have moved that turn. Completing a quest and then moving with a magic carpet card afterwards also works.

More tips: If ever you can't adventure or move, spend two gems to teleport, to again avoid using the robe, with the added benefit of cycling through your cards and improving your hand. Trying to end turns on one of the two middle locations helps keep your movement options flexible for your next turn. The Wardrobe of Changing artifact (a random choice) also proved very useful in my game. I was also able to use the key mid-game to access the Beast Bazaar as a free action (again not needing the robe), to spend 9 gems on three bigger creatures at the Beast Bazaar, which proved handy later in the game, after an immediate reshuffle as a free action. Commit the Peaceful Dragon as soon as you see him, so he can spend the rest of the game drinking tea under your Quest token.

From here it was a matter of careful hand management, fortuitous card drawing, and tactical movement. I completed my personal quest and then focussed on the open quests one at a time (committing cards as needed), and slowly climbing my way to 15 quest cups. Here's how the board looked midway my final turn - with the Warlock's Pet in hand, can you see how I can win this turn?

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EndersGame wrote:
EndersGame wrote:
He raises an interesting question about the total number of quests that can be completed with this variant, and whether a 15 Quest Cup win is achievable.

I'm happy to report back that it is achievable. In fact I just won a game at the Hard level with 18 quest cups - and without using a single piece of Uriel's robe!

The trick lies in the careful use of cards with magic carpet icon, and to a lesser extent cards with the key icon. I was fortunate to get a number of these into my deck early on. When almost ready to complete a quest, you keep a margic carpet in hand from turn to turn until you need it. Then you can just hop over to the quest location from an adjacent spot as a free action, and complete the quest without burning up part of Uriel's robe, since you have moved that turn. Completing a quest and then moving with a magic carpet card afterwards also works.

If ever you can't adventure or move, spend two gems to teleport, to again avoid using the robe, with the added benefit of cycling through your cards and improving your hand. Trying to end turns on one of the two middle locations helps keep your movement options flexible for your next turn. The Wardrobe of Changing artifact (a random choice) also proved very useful in my game. I was also able to use the key mid-game to access the Beast Bazaar as a free action (again not needing the robe), to spend 9 gems on three bigger creatures at the Beast Bazaar, which proved handy later in the game, after an immediate reshuffle as a free action. Commit the Peaceful Dragon as soon as you see him, so he can spend the rest of the game drinking tea under your Quest token.

From here it was a matter of careful hand management, fortuitous card drawing, and tactical movement. I completed my personal quest and then focussed on the open quests one at a time (committing cards as needed), and slowly climbing my way to 15 quest cups. Here's how the board looked midway my final turn - with the Warlock's Pet in hand, can you see how I can win this turn?



Excellent report and YES, it is achievable. I've won on all levels myself, but never completed 18. I hit 15 once. Awesome score! I'll see if I can figure out what you did to win on that turn and report back!
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EndersGame wrote:
Thanks for posting this variant Sky Zero. I just had my first crack at it and narrowly eeked out a win on the easy level with nine quest cups (obtained from four quests) before ceasing to be. I have two questions after my initial play:

1. I found myself racking up quite a few gems, which would normally be useful for getting beasts or artifacts. But since you lose one of the three pieces of Uriel's Robe for not moving on a turn, it's not really possible in the early game to access the Beast Bazaar or Artifact Tower without giving up a piece of the robe, am I right? Accessing them on the same turn as moving (and hence not losing a piece of the robe) becomes possible later in the game once you have cards with the key icon, but there doesn't really seem to be a way to do it prior to that. As a result, I did find myself with quite a hoard of unused gems. I did use the teleport between matching towers action (cost: 2 gems) several times to help get to the locations needed to complete quests. What do you typically use these gems for in the early game with this variant?



2. I've been playing that I automatically lose a piece of the robe each time I completed a quest, since you can't move on the same turn as you complete a quest (it's your action that turn). However something tells me I might be forgetting one of the rules (it's been a while since I last played) and missing something obvious, because that makes this solitaire challenge awfully difficult on the harder levels. Am I playing it right, and basically you can complete a maximum of four quests, or am I misunderstanding something?


Edit regarding #2:
a) It looks like there is at least one way to complete a quest without losing a piece of the robe - by using a card with a flying carpet icon to move to the quest location before completing it. Are there others?
b) I have been assuming that it is legal to complete a fourth quest (without moving) to win the game just before losing a fourth piece of the robe at the end of that turn. But now I wonder whether that is Sky Zero's intention. If I've already lost three robe pieces, and then complete a quest without moving to get the final quest cups I need, do I win or lose?


I typically use the gems for teleporting early in the game. But, I will gamble and burn a piece of robe from time to time in order to try and get an awesome artifact! As you now know, use a flying carpet card to complete quests and move.

Finally, you MAY complete a final quest cup before losing the fourth piece of robe to lose the game. Thematically, you escaped his memories just in the knick of time!
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Here are some of my overall impressions, having played this variant a couple of times now:

What I like:
Easy to learn: It's so simple, because there's only one small rule addition to the normal game, so it doesn't change the game much at all.
Skilful to play: Succeeding requires very careful hand management, especially in using the flying carpet cards, and wise tactical movement choices to ensure you avoid staying on the same location where possible.

What I don't like:
Less beasts/artifacts: You can hardly afford to visit the Beast Bazaar and Artifact Tower without a card that has a key icon (otherwise it costs you part of the robe), so these become less part of the game.
Solo feel: The feel of the game does change slightly, because there's no competition for the open quests; you're the only one going for them, so you don't really need private quests.

In short, the feel of the game does change, especially (a) how towers and the cards gained from them don't function as much as they normally would; and that (b) how unlike a normal game you now have to worry about ensuring that you don't stay on the same location in a turn. But on the plus side, the clever hand management of cards and tactical play in moving which is required to do well makes for a very fun puzzle, and I enjoyed that immensely. I do recommend playing with a random choice of starting artifact/quest rather than just picking the same one each time.
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GAME #3 REPORT

I gave the variant a third try, and I think it's safe to say I've mastered it, and maybe even "broken" it. I completed 14 quests, with 41 quest cups! Better yet, I did it without needing to resort to Uriel's robe even once. At that point I'd gone completely through the creature deck and had run out of quest bonus markers, so I retired victorious.

The challenges: It was enormous fun though, and still required careful and clever tactical play to pull this off. Since you're relying on cards with the magic carpet icon to complete quests without needing Uriel's robe (i.e. the variant's penalty for ending a turn on the same location you started on), it does especially get pretty tricky to complete quests which require you to commit broom cards with that icon. In the later stages you also have to deal with larger creatures when adventuring, which adds to the challenge, but by that point you've also got a more powerful deck, with artifacts and larger beasts to help you.

Adventuring tip: One important strategy tip I discovered for mastering this variant: when adventuring, only subdue one beast per turn. Since there's no opponent, the number of turns used doesn't matter. In this way you can discard cards and cycle through your deck more quickly. This allows you to set up your hand for your next turn, and also get further into your deck to find the cards you need to complete quests (including a card with a magic carpet icon). Teleporting is another way to use up a turn action, then discard your entire hand and draw five new cards in the hope of getting what you need.

Protecting the robe: There were numerous times I could have resorted to Uriel's robe to complete a quest. But I found it a fun challenge to try to play without ever taking that option, and instead keep adventuring or teleporting, cycling through my deck, searching for the cards I needed, and trying to find a way to complete quests the hard way. In most cases it should be possible.

Needed change: Great fun to play regardless! Perhaps a timer is needed, e.g. a limited number of times that you can cycle through your deck, and you need to have accomplished the objective by then, or there is some other way to ramp up the difficulty? I hereby also suggest a new level for this variant - "Extreme!" - in which you don't even get to use Uriel's Robe, and fail immediately if you resort to using it even once!
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EndersGame wrote:
Perhaps a timer is needed, e.g. a limited number of times that you can cycle through your deck, and you need to have accomplished the objective by then, or there is some other way to ramp up the difficulty?

Suggested deck-size change: Better yet, how about this: use a reduced-size Creature deck of 39 cards (the 19 top deck cards plus 20 random bottom deck cards) as a game end trigger? A two player Creature deck would normally be 69 cards in the Enchanted edition and 49 cards in the Rucksack edition. So this means removing 30 bottom deck cards for the Enchanted edition and 10 for the Rucksack edition. The goal can then be this:
The game end is triggered when you can't refill the playing area after drawing the last Creature card, or when you lose a fourth piece of the robe. Your objective is to get as many Quest points as possible.
This has the added advantage of giving you different scores each time you play, so you can try to beat your own best scores. Some experimenting might be needed to see whether that deck size is about right.

Robe/Peaceful Dragon clarification: An unrelated issue is a loophole in the current variant rules when it says: "add a Peaceful Dragon to the top of your discard pile and lose a piece of Uriel's Robe when starting and ending a turn in the same location." You can easily avoid getting this Peaceful Dragon by just using the magic carpet treasure token in the normal way to move, thus not ending your turn in the same location as you started. The rules could easily be amended to solve this, here are two possibilities:
a) you must also add a Peaceful Dragon to your discard pile any time you use the magic carpet treasure token for movement (my recommendation).
b) starting and ending a turn in the same turn is never permitted (i.e. forcing players to use the magic carpet treasure token for movement in such cases).

With a bit of polishing along these lines, the Uriel's Robe variant has real potential to be an excellent and fun solitaire challenge.
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Ava Jarvis
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I thought that using a carpet token to move was burning a piece of Uriel's Robe already? At least, I play that way and it seems more fun than the other way.
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BilboAtBagEnd wrote:
I thought that using a carpet token to move was burning a piece of Uriel's Robe already? At least, I play that way and it seems more fun than the other way.

It agree that's the best way to play it, Ava, and to add a Peaceful Dragon regardless of what you used the magic carpet treasure token for; as you say, it's part of the robe. It think it just needs to be explicit that this is how it works.

There are two other unrelated tweaks to the variant that I think will be necessary:

1. Artifacts: When visiting the Artifact Tower, you'll sometimes draw artifact cards that are rely on interaction with other players, and are useless in a solitaire game. Examples include Deck of Misadventure, Rogue's Purse, and Bitter Brew.
Suggested clarification: Whenever you draw an artifact at the Artifact Tower that requires interaction with other players, immediately discard it and draw a replacement.

2. Peaceful Dragon free action: The Peaceful Dragon icon on the Enchantress and Fairies cards doesn't actually do anything, making these less attractive to subdue and have in your deck. One option is to take Ryan Jenkinson's idea to give it the same function as a key icon, with a two gem penalty (dragon tax). It's a good idea, but I'm not sure I'd find myself spending two gems to use this rather than wait for a card with a key. Would a one gem dragon tax work, or would it make the statues too easy to visit? Another simpler option which changes things less is to just add a gem to all these cards.
Suggested clarification: Creatures with the Peaceful Dragon icon (Enchantress, Fairies) are given a gem when placing them on the board, to compensate for the fact that the Peaceful Dragon free action has no effect in this variant.
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41 cups...total and complete victory. Wow!

I've got a way to ratchet up the difficulty, but still make it simple fun. I've got a few massive contracts I need to wrap negototiations on in the next several days, but I'll playtest my changes and have an update out before end of August.

In the meantime, keep the ideas coming, I will playtest people's input!
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BilboAtBagEnd wrote:
I thought that using a carpet token to move was burning a piece of Uriel's Robe already? At least, I play that way and it seems more fun than the other way.


That is how it is played. You're correct!
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EndersGame wrote:
Better yet, how about this: use a reduced-size Creature deck of 39 cards (the 19 top deck cards plus 20 random bottom deck cards) as a game end trigger? A two player Creature deck would normally be 69 cards in the Enchanted edition and 49 cards in the Rucksack edition. So this means removing 30 bottom deck cards for the Enchanted edition and 10 for the Rucksack edition.

The goal can then be this: The game end is triggered when you can't refill the playing area after drawing the last Creature card, or when you lose a fourth piece of the robe. Your objective is to get as many Quest points as possible. This has the added advantage of giving you different scores each time you play, so you can try to beat your own best scores. Some experimenting might be needed to see whether that deck size is about right.

GAME #4 REPORT

I gave this amended variant a whirl today, using a 39 card creature deck as a timer as described above. I also used the changed rules about discarding interactive artifacts, and adding a gem to the Enchantress/Fairies. To mix things up I used Tailfeathers of the Hairy Crane (an expansion card) as my starting artifact, which is a useful ability to have.

It was terrific fun and worked well. It proved to be a harder challenge than my last game, because I didn't get as many cards with the magic carpet icon or key icon into my deck early on. I also didn't get many beasts into my deck, so the larger creatures were harder to deal with when they came out. Even so, I was able to play carefully enough to avoid having to resort to using the robe until the closing stages.

A neat thing about having the creature deck as a timer is that you have opportunity to get some last minute quests, especially if you have gems or parts of Uriel's Robe remaining at this point. When I had the last creature on the board, before triggering the game end, I was able to expend my final resources teleporting and moving around using the magic carpet/robe, while cycling through my deck as quickly as possible, and with some lucky draws I was fortunate enough to be able to get the pieces together to complete two final quests this way. Not only does this way of playing reward you for any gems or pieces of Uriel's Robe that you have left, but it makes the end game quite exciting.

My final score was 30 quest points, and in total I completed 10 quests, half of them being single cup quests. Game time was easily under an hour. The deck-size felt about right, because I got to see several double-symbol creatures come on the board, without it going too long or dragging. In the picture here you can see my adventurer just making it to the Frozen Wastelands, where he successfully played hockey with the Wily Arctic Foxes of Frobox, thus completing one last quest before burning the last piece of Uriel's Robe to end the game. All in all it was a very satisfying experience, and I highly recommend that others trying this variant give these amended rules a shot.

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GAME #5 REPORT

Here's a report on another session of the updated solo variant, again using a reduced-size 39 card creature deck as a timer, and the amended rules regarding interactive artifacts and cards with the peaceful dragon icon. My final score was 53 quest points, having completed 17 quests. Yes, crazy, but great entertainment!

Early game: My starting artifact this time was the Hamster of Histrionic Haggling (This turn, each card you purchase at a Statue is discounted by 1 Gem), which proved to be enormously helpful throughout the game, especially early on when I was able to spend 6 gems to recruit three double-symbol creatures at the Beast Bazaar. Again I avoided using Uriel's Robe until the end game, except for the above-mentioned early visit to the Beast Bazaar (since at that stage I didn't yet have a card with a key icon in my deck). I was also able to purchase lots of beasts and artifacts throughout, all of which proved very handy.

Late game: The closing stages of the game were fascinating. With the last creature card on the board, any more adventuring would trigger the game end. Just as in my previous game, I simultaneously cycled through my deck and protected the robe by finding other ways to move around, i.e. using cards with the magic carpet icon, spending gems to teleport, and occasionally using the Coddington’s Fog Machine artifact. It's amazing how long you can keep the game going this way if you have a decent deck at this point. With constant cycling of cards, clever play, and some lucky draws, you can get the cards you need to complete more quests. With the help of a card that has a magic carpet icon you can then do these quests without needing Uriel's Robe, plus you earn gems which you can use for further teleporting, which in turn buys you an extra turn which you use to cycle through more cards! Eventually though I had to use the robe to buy turns in the hunt for cards I needed, and my luck ran out. Even so, I did complete quite a number of quests after all the creatures were on the board. Here's what the final haul looked like at game end (the bonus quest tokens are stacked - there were 16 in all!):



Reducing the deck: I really do enjoy this final part of the game, because it requires a lot of fun tactical play trying to create and maximize your opportunities. But even a 39 card creature deck seems too big given the results I've had so far, and probably the variant needs to be shortened further to a 29 card creature deck. There are two options to do this:
a) Standard: Use all 19 top deck cards as previously, and only use 10 random bottom deck cards.
b) Hard: Reduce the top deck cards from 19 to 9 (probably best to have one of each creature?), followed by 20 bottom deck cards. One potential difficulty is that you could run into quests that require three of a symbol without having had opportunity to get two other single-symbol creatures of that type into your deck. On the other hand, it means you'll get opportunity to subdue double-symbol creatures earlier on, and makes it more similar to how quickly a two player game gets into the bottom creature deck cards. Maybe I'll give a "Hard" 29 card creature deck like this a try next time I play.

Anyone else? Has anyone tried playing beyond the 15 quest points with the original Uriel's Robe variant, or are people finding that too difficult to achieve as is? When using the strategy/tactics I've described above, it should actually be fairly easy, hence my suggestion for the alternate game end trigger, which has the bonus of a more satisfying and exciting end game.
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EndersGame wrote:
Even a 39 card creature deck seems too big given the results I've had so far, and probably the variant needs to be shortened further to a 29 card creature deck. There are two options to do this:
a) Standard: Use all 19 top deck cards as previously, and only use 10 random bottom deck cards.
b) Hard: Reduce the top deck cards from 19 to 9 (probably best to have one of each creature?), followed by 20 bottom deck cards. One potential difficulty is that you could run into quests that require three of a symbol without having had opportunity to get two other single-symbol creatures of that type into your deck. On the other hand, it means you'll get opportunity to subdue double-symbol creatures earlier on, and makes it more similar to how quickly a two player game gets into the bottom creature deck cards. Maybe I'll give a "Hard" 29 card creature deck like this a try next time I play.

GAME #6 REPORT

Here's the results of my attempt at playing the modified Uriel's Robe variant using the new 29 card creature deck with the "Hard" setup: 29 quest points, having completed 10 quests.

Early game: This particular game was very challenging in the initial stages, forcing me to use a couple parts of the robe early on. Fortunately I was able to get rid of the resulting Peaceful Dragons some time later with the help of the artifact Tox’s Ill-Tempered Tortoise (I was playing with the Audacious Artifacts expansion cards). I really struggled to get cards with the magic carpet icon into my deck, and had to rely on useful artifacts (e.g. Ender's Tollbooth!) to help me out.

Late game: Once my deck started humming, my options opened up and things went much better, although having the double-symbol creatures come out as quickly as they did proved quite challenging at times - a good thing! But it's still possible to get some additional quests done once you stop adventuring, just by clever movement and card play, and that's enormous fun. Here I am chilling out at an Artifact Tower, getting some brief respite:



Overall impressions: The game length felt much better with just 29 cards. You can get somewhat unlucky with your initial position, as happened in this case, and for a while I thought I was heading to an early finish! It is a good thing that you can resort to using the robe to help you out in the early stages if you need it. It felt like a much better and tougher challenge this way, and the time also felt about right. Again, one of the best parts is the final stage of the game, where your deck is built and you can gallop around and get to have fun with it; you cycle through your deck and use your more powerful cards to manipulate the game and knock off quests more quickly.

The "Standard" and "Hard" ways of setting up the Creature deck also seem quite fair. When using the "Hard" setup, instead of picking out nine cards to use from the top deck, for convenience you can actually just use the middle deck cards instead (minus the Mischievous Raven), since that contains exactly one of each single symbol creature. Next time I'll try a "Standard" setup of the 29 card creature deck and see how that compares.
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