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The Builders: Middle Ages» Forums » Variants

Subject: The Builders: Solo Ages - Solo Gameplay Variant Rules rss

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Level 3 Tunt
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These solo rules have only been tested a few times, so consider them to be a rough draft. That said, all games played with the current version of the rules have been very close and a mixture of wins and losses. The AI turns are very quick since at most it’s only taking two cards.

I can't figure out how to indent a line here, so the formatting is a little goofy.

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Setup
Player receives 10 coins and one random apprentice
AI receives one random apprentice

Deal 4 cards to the right of the Builder deck
Deal 4 cards to the right of the Building deck

Player always goes first

Gameplay


Player takes turn normally
All standard rules apply

AI takes the most expensive (coin cost) available Builder card
If there is a tie, AI takes the rightmost of the same-value cards
Slide all cards to the left of the removed card into the gap and deal a new card immediately to the right of the Builder deck

If the AI acquires three Builder cards, it automatically builds the highest value (victory points) card in the Building row
If there is a tie, AI takes the rightmost of the same-value cards
The AI does NOT receive any coins when completing a Building
Set the completed Building and three builders aside
Slide all cards to the left of the removed card into the gap and deal a new card immediately to the right of the Building deck

The AI then begins collecting one Builder card each turn until it again has accumulated three Builders

End Of Game

If the AI reaches 17 victory points showing on completed Buildings/Tools, the game ends immediately
If the player reaches 17 victory points showing on completed Buildings/Tools, the AI gets one more turn

Count all victory points for player normally, including one point for every 10 coins
Count all victory points for the AI from completed Building cards, including one point for every 10 coins showing on the building cards
Sum coins first, then divide by 10

Most victory points wins!

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If anyone wants to give these a shot and provide feedback I’m open to suggestions. I’m actually pretty happy with how it plays in my first few games – my goal was to have the solo feel of Ascension: Deckbuilding Game (my favorite game to play solo) with the race/investment aspect of Rise of Augustus. I'll post updates here if my opinion changes or if I make any edits to the rules.
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Nat Levan
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5 point buildings are about 18 coins, and 4 points are about 15, so that's an extra 5-6 points just from coins on the buildings. Is that consistent with your tests?
Does the AI just build 1 building every 3 turns, or is it every 4th action, with 3 actions per turn. (i.e. worker worker worker building repeat)? I estimate that regular games take about 8-9 turns, so that seems pretty close.

What is your win rate? it seems like it would be very difficult to win if the AI triggers the end.

Nice work so far.
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Level 3 Tunt
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Sivilized wrote:
5 point buildings are about 18 coins, and 4 points are about 15, so that's an extra 5-6 points just from coins on the buildings. Is that consistent with your tests?


That's definitely consistent. I think the range is 4-6 so far. One game was almost all low-value buildings.

Sivilized wrote:
Does the AI just build 1 building every 3 turns, or is it every 4th action, with 3 actions per turn. (i.e. worker worker worker building repeat)? I estimate that regular games take about 8-9 turns, so that seems pretty close.


The AI builds one Building every three turns (worker, worker, worker/building combo). The Builders it claims serve as a countdown timer. Most of my games have been over in 9-12 turns.

Sivilized wrote:
What is your win rate? it seems like it would be very difficult to win if the AI triggers the end.


I'm 3 wins and 2 losses so far. One thing this solo exercise has taught me is that I need to explore "buying" extra actions more. It's not something that made a lot of sense to do when we played in a group unless it was a final turn, but I'm seeing more strategies now that I'm racing against the AI.

Sivilized wrote:

Nice work so far.


Thanks!
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Richard Hirschman
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Your solo variant looks interesting and I am looking forward to trying it. You mentioned that the AI builds every three turns.
Regarding the AI building its first building: The AI starts with 1 Apprentice Builder. Therefore is it correct that the AI builds its first building after the second turn (not after 3 turns) because after 2 turns it has 3 builders?
Thanks.
 
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Level 3 Tunt
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rich10 wrote:
Your solo variant looks interesting and I am looking forward to trying it. You mentioned that the AI builds every three turns.
Regarding the AI building its first building: The AI starts with 1 Apprentice Builder. Therefore is it correct that the AI builds its first building after the second turn (not after 3 turns) because after 2 turns it has 3 builders?
Thanks.


It's been a while since I played this solitaire, but I believe your interpretation matches the way I played. AI builds on the second turn and then every third turn after that.
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Ron Niksa
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Just got the game. Looking forward to trying it out solo.

-Ron
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J H
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Just tried this and won 17-14. Nice variant.

Thanks!
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Nick Shaw
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Just wanted to chip in and say this is a great variant! And, to note, I've only played it using the sequel game, The Builders: Antiquity, and it works perfectly in that too!
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Joe Flesch
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Tried this 4 times with antiquity just now. 3 games I dominated winning by more than 5 each time. The last time because of card draw the AI won 20-12. I'm not sure if this works well but it is an excellent start at least. It also maybe because I'm using antiquity as opposed to Middle Ages. After first two games I got rid of the investment system.
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Thanks for the comments, everyone! To the latest one I should say that I have only tried my solitaire mode with Antiquity once. In theory the balance should still hold but if I get back into the game I might try some solo games to see if any adjustments need to be made for the sequel game.
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Nick Shaw
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Ideas for making the AI in Antiquity a bit more challenging:

1) Give it any money earned from buildings. That'll rack up its score somewhat.
2) AI takes a random card from the investment line (specifically, either a tool, a prisoner, or a university overlay; no point in it taking a loan I don't think). Not sure when it would do this; possibly whenever it completed a building, so effectively every 3 rounds? It wouldn't use them, it would just serve to deplete these a little to force you to snap one up if you really wanted it, early on. As to how to decide... a dice roll perhaps (d6 would work - 1 or 2 = tool, 3 or 3 = prisoner, 5 or 6 = university)? Or just take a tool for its first building, a prisoner for its second, a university card for its third, and then loop around after that? That should work. And choose each randomly from its respective pile, shuffling first, so you can't game it by rearranging them if/when you take one yourself.

Thoughts? I've not tried #2 yet, but I do #1 every time anyway (and I still beat the AI most of the time).
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Roger S
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Thanks for these rules! I've played a few games and really enjoyed it. The AI is super-simple to run. I lost a couple and won my most recent game. One change I may suggest. There's no competition over machines since they are low VPs, the AI will probably never take them.

Maybe when he takes a building, if a machine is also available, he takes that as well. Or, if that's too much, there could be a condition like "if a machine is available to the right of the building he is taking." Or, if that doesn't make much of a difference, then the player only has one turn to take a machine and after that, it gets taken immediately by the AI.

Thoughts?
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