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Lagoon: Land of Druids» Forums » Rules

Subject: Questions about solo rules rss

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Andrew Watson
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A few questions about solo mode (aka play against AJ).

1. Is the following statement (made by David during development of solo rules) still true?
"AJ's Eldrid tokens never leave play once they hit the board, even when he unravels sites using them. When AJ or you unravel a site with one or more of AJ's Eldrid tokens on it, the tokens are moved to a haven. It also doesn't matter whether his druids are exhausted or refreshed, as his game play is different than a human player's."

2. Is the following statement true?
"AJ only has Eldrids on the board, never regular druids."

3. Is the following statement true?
"AJ can have at most three druids on the board."

4. What happens when, during Explore, the tile drawn has a haven on one side and a non-Haven on the other? (In the base game, the non-Haven side will always be a Trove.)

Does AJ just follow the usual rules? If so, in some cases, it's a 50/50 chance that the Haven side is used.

Does human just follow the usual rules? If so, then human can decide whether or not the Haven side is used; placing it as Haven may well bring a new AJ Eldrid onto the board, and new druids into the token bag.

I think that the answers are all Yes. But I thought I'd check.

Thank you,
Andrew

ps there are already some threads about solo rules. But they all petered out over six months ago. So here's a thread for rules about the solo rules as printed for backers and other buyers.
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Tim Schmitt
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I tried the solo variant the other night, so I think I can answer these:

1. true
2. true
3. true
4. There are some guidelines by which AJ will try not to bring a site into play for which the color is advantageous to you. If this is not relevant, choose by whatever means feels right. I was flipping Druid tokens for this.
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Tim Schmitt
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To clarify: whether or not the tile contains a haven is not considered. Although I didn't look carefully at AJ's AI rules for the more advanced levels; there might be something more about it there.
 
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Mike Mullins
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Whangdoodle wrote:
I tried the solo variant the other night, so I think I can answer these:

1. true
2. true
3. true
4. There are some guidelines by which AJ will try not to bring a site into play for which the color is advantageous to you. If this is not relevant, choose by whatever means feels right. I was flipping Druid tokens for this.


These answers are all dead-on.

During the campaign, there was some interest in an extensive decision tree for AJ, which would address things like placing a haven vs non-haven site. While I am still willing to do something like this, I am fairly resistant because the "random" aspect of AJ's play was incorporated to mirror an unpredictable opponent, and not make the game calculable.

In terms of randomization, if there is not a factor that dictates AJ's choice, I place the first side I see as it comes out of the bag, regardless of what it is. Additional methods are the token flip Tim mentioned, playing the opposite A/B side that AJ just explored from, or even *not* being random and deciding that, for example, this game AJ will play havens at all costs in order to get his druids out.

(cross-post from Kickstarter comments page) For anyone who has tried the solo, I am so appreciative! Solo gaming is a passion for me, and I feel incredibly lucky to have worked on Lagoon. The design process was very difficult, however, because such a deep strategic game is difficult to translate to a solo mode. I will be the first one to admit that adding and drawing tokens may feel fiddly, and sometimes deciding what AJ should do can seem off-putting. However, these were design "sacrifices" I made to preserve the compelling and thought-provoking gameplay of the multiplayer mode.

After a few plays, making decisions for AJ will come more naturally, but that is because *you* are a better player, and you can see what would actually be the best play against you. This is the true difficulty slider for Lagoon, even beyond the various printed difficulty levels. Even now I probably only win 50% of the games I play on Legend difficulty.


Again, thank you all for playing, sending questions and comments. I admittedly don't check Kickstarter or BGG as much as I should, but I will always reply to tweets to @bluedevilduke.

Unravel on!
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Andrew Watson
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Thanks to all for the rapid and informative replies. Particular thanks to Mike for the solo player rules.

Mullins014 wrote:
During the campaign, there was some interest in an extensive decision tree for AJ... I am fairly resistant because the "random" aspect of AJ's play was incorporated to mirror an unpredictable opponent, and not make the game calculable.

Again, thank you all for playing, sending questions and comments. I admittedly don't check Kickstarter or BGG as much as I should, but I will always reply to tweets to @bluedevilduke.


I am glad that you didn't build the solo game around a very extensive decision tree. That would have made things doubly more laborious for the human involved: once for AJ's turns; and once for the human's own turns, which might well have become more about gaming the decision tree than about playing the game.

Andrew
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Manu
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I had these same questions on my mind, and you beat me to it. Thank you, that clarifies a lot of things!

More often than not, when rules deviate from the norm as is the case with AJ, it is worth stating the obvious... otherwise we sometimes second guess ourselves. e.g. the rules on AJ do not mention that the druids never exhaust, and that had me gnawing my teeth for a bit, thinking "did I miss something"?

Thanks for the solo variant Mike, you rock.

ps: hope to get my first play vs a real person later today!
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Mike Mullins
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Great point about being explicit in the rules, especially since managing your exhausted druids is such a key feature of the standard game.

Thanks for the kudos; I am just glad folks are playing and enjoying it.
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Josh Eads
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AndAgainMA wrote:
Thanks to all for the rapid and informative replies. Particular thanks to Mike for the solo player rules.

Mullins014 wrote:
During the campaign, there was some interest in an extensive decision tree for AJ... I am fairly resistant because the "random" aspect of AJ's play was incorporated to mirror an unpredictable opponent, and not make the game calculable.

Again, thank you all for playing, sending questions and comments. I admittedly don't check Kickstarter or BGG as much as I should, but I will always reply to tweets to @bluedevilduke.


I am glad that you didn't build the solo game around a very extensive decision tree. That would have made things doubly more laborious for the human involved: once for AJ's turns; and once for the human's own turns, which might well have become more about gaming the decision tree than about playing the game.

Andrew


I love this game, and I'm very appreciative of folks like Mike who put in hours of work so us hardcore gamers can still play by ourselves after all the regular gamers have gone to bed. That said, I do find this variant is bogged down with an extensive decision tree, perhaps not as extensive as it might be without the random drawing of tokens, but too extensive for me to enjoy... Kinda the opposite of what you're saying here, Andrew. I'm really happy to see that I may be the only one here having that experience, so that's good, maybe I'm missing something?

Has anyone tried to play this game solo with a different system? Maybe one that doesn't have the players managing an AI? Would playing just with a single set of druids and a Knizian style scoring system against a "clock" work? (not an actual clock - but a timed mechanic like drawing/summoning from a fixed group.) Just a thought.

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Mike Mullins
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Onus wrote:

I love this game, and I'm very appreciative of folks like Mike who put in hours of work so us hardcore gamers can still play by ourselves after all the regular gamers have gone to bed. That said, I do find this variant is bogged down with an extensive decision tree, perhaps not as extensive as it might be without the random drawing of tokens, but too extensive for me to enjoy... Kinda the opposite of what you're saying here, Andrew. I'm really happy to see that I may be the only one here having that experience, so that's good, maybe I'm missing something?

Has anyone tried to play this game solo with a different system? Maybe one that doesn't have the players managing an AI? Would playing just with a single set of druids and a Knizian style scoring system against a "clock" work? (not an actual clock - but a timed mechanic like drawing/summoning from a fixed group.) Just a thought.



Your feeling that playing AJ's turns is cumbersome is a fairly common reaction. This was the biggest point I struggled with in my design, but as I explained above, I think the final result is the most rewarding experience.

That being said, I want Lagoon to be something that everyone can enjoy solo; I've been exploring many different ways to make the experience more "Knizian."

Most of my initial efforts were directed at a mode with no opposing circle of druids that uses the punchboard tokens (including the extra ones such as the 3 hares logo) as a timer. The main problem with this is limiting the player's control of the board; it is simply too easy to dictate a game's progress by leaving powerful sites on the board.

Subsequent attempts to limit this with token draws from the bag are frustratingly random, and rules that set artificial limitations feel forced and/or are ineffectual. The most promising avenue here is a campaign-style game that limits the player in a different way each time, but so far it just means the games are unsatisfying in a different way each time.

An entirely different possibility exists in conjunction with David's next project in the Lagoon universe. The new components (cards) provide just the right amount of information and specificity to dramatically streamline the decision algorithm for AJ. I am very excited about this new way of playing, but it will not discourage me from making an alternative out-of-the-box solo option.

Thanks for your interest and input!
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