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Subject: SoloPlay variant for No Thanks! is available in the files section rss

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I am trying to get caught up on my design blogs. This variant has been available for some time.

This thread describes/discusses the design and development of the No Thanks! SoloPlay variant.
The download is available using the following link(s):
No Thanks! SoloPlay Rules

This file is #44 in the SoloPlay series.
More game files available here on the Geek can be accessed from the following Geeklist:
SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek

SoloPlay- BGG user GameRulesforOne

Design Goals: To see if I could devise a quick solo variant that was both interesting and strategic.

Preface:
After working on a complicated solo variant like Steam I often like to cleanse my design pallet by working on one that can be done quickly or is just very different from the previous design. In this way I cannot get stuck in a rut and look at the proposed ideas with a clear head.
As a quick little filler with a ‘bidding’ mechanic I thought that No Thanks! would fit the bill. It turned out to be a good choice.

SoloPlay No Thanks! Design Comments:
What was going to be really interesting is the lack of material to deal with. It may be difficult to ‘mask’ my ideas within the game structure and have to change the play too much thus making a new game instead of a solo variant.

Since the game is simple to play, I started by laying out a card and try to envision what kind of decision that I could make by seeing the card. All I have are chips. I pondered the ‘card’ and the chips for a few moments and devised the core mechanic.

The ‘Pass’ came first:
As this is the crux of the game play there needs to be a cost to passing. The single flip was too random, 2 cards went on too long, 3 cards seemed to fit but I tried 4 and it was too easy. 3 card flip it is. It also divided into the number of cards in the deck so it made sense.

To give the chips purpose and to give you a real decision I devised the hierarchal ranking of the cards to differentiate the options. This is where the 20 and 30 value card breaks were created. By breaking up the cards into ranks there was going to ‘levels’ to your decision. The cost of passing on a card was now variable. This increased the importance of valuing the cards that you see.

Taking a 3+ player card game passed a 2 player game and down to solo:
The challenge was now to determine how many opponents you would have. Since the game is a 3+ player game I had to figure out if I could build a 2 player variant within the framework that I was devising. As it turned out the head to head affect that resulted fit the 2 player competitive feel and still maintained the spirit of the game.

Putting it all together:

Since the components are severely limited, the construction of the game was going to be simple and balance was all that was needed. This actually took a bit to work out. The card hierarchy was very important. At one point the game was too easy and then it became way too hard. I left it way too hard and worked back from there.

To ultimately make a game of it I instituted the scoring track that I designed and included with the variant. A single game was nice for a quick solo fix but I wanted more game in it. When cards are involved you could get a bad situation that you cannot work out of get the perfect storm. This could only be mitigated by playing a series of games to truly test your ability to play the odds.

This still proved to be very difficult to succeed at as I was still not being successful in putting myself into winning even semi-regularly. I determined I must have a play defect. I started to focus on odds and the economy of chips. A light came on and I started to win on occasion and then a little more frequently. I would still get slapped down but I would find a way to claw myself out of some of the holes that I had dug.

I remember that first victory as I played more slowly and focused on the mechanics (playing, not designing) and determined how I could find the points where I could take chances and other times when I would pay through the nose to hope to set up a following turn. The last week is always the best period of the playtesting a I really get into playing the game (enjoying it) and not the work of putting the design together.

As the rules were destined to be short given the nature of the game, finishing this one up came very quickly. My pallet was cleansed and a new travel solo variant was put to bed.

Goal of the rule design
1. Create an interested limited component solo variant.
2. Increase the decision making component to give the game ‘depth’.
3. Create a challenging experience

Comments are always welcome.

Strategies:
1. It’s all about the chips
2. The game is played over several rounds, remember this. Taking big risks in one round can make success impossible.
3. Learn when to take the 30+ cards and how to force your opponent to take the cards that you want.

Final Thoughts
This was a nice short design. The break was appreciated. I knew what was on the horizon (Core Worlds) and I wanted to be ready.
Setup time: about 2 minutes
Play time: about 5-7 minutes per round, 25-40 minutes total.

If you have questions about the rules, you can be post them here or to this user’s mailbox to be answered individually, if needed. I will add a FAQ to this post as I see the need.

Other games that will be/are available from SoloPlay/GameRulesforOne are posted within a Geeklist that I created:
SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek
 
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