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Subject: Single Player Variant rss

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Rich Lush
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Littlehampton
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I recently got given this game for Birthday and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Particularly I like that the more I play it, the more I see what I could do better and the speed of the game.

But, I'm also a big fan of single player games, or variants, and when I was teaching myself this, I came up with a very simple variant that plays nearly identical to the original.

Set up:
- Shuffle the deck as normal leaving the 5 player mission card out.
- Deal yourself 3 coins

Aim:
- The Aim is still to get to 12 points, the difference here is to do it before the deck runs out. If the deck runs out, the game is over.

Play:
- As normal, you draw cards until you decide you want to pick up. You can only pick up one card, unless there are more then 3 ship cards of different colours, in which case it's 2.
- Just like normal, if you reveal two of the same ship, that round is discarded. If this happens and you have a jester, you still get the one coin.
- All of the normal affects apply from cards, actions, tax etc
- The game is over when the deck runs out.

And that's it, very simply. I managed it last night with one card left. And the nice thing is if you want a greater challenge, you can up the number of points.

So very simply, plays quickly, and does the job.

Hope you enjoy and this all makes sense.



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Mike Qunell
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Puyallup
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Thanks for the idea. I actually played this solo variant this morning and scored 15 or 16 before the deck ran out.
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Rich Lush
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Glad you enjoyed it :-) that's a good score!
 
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Paul Cockburn
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Just tried this variant and it was quite fun, but left me feeling I was missing the full gaming experience.

What was missing was the push-your-luck element. If you want money, then as soon as you turn over a ship (especially if it is the first card) there is no reason not to stop drawing, take the money and start a new turn. So I found that most turns I was either just taking the first ship to give me more money or taking the first decent card I could already afford.

The one time I did push my luck successfully was in attempting to get out four coloured ships so that I could take two cards (the first being a ship which gave me enough money to hire someone I wanted). But this took a whopping twenty odd cards in the harbour, all for a two card pay-off. In the end I don't think it was worth it.

I'm not quite sure if there's a way to improve the solo variant, which is elegant in its simplicity, without introducing complicated rules. How about this?
Find a six-sided die to represent a dummy player.
On the dummy player's turn they roll the die and deal into the harbour that number of cards (regardless of duplicate colour ships).
They then take one card only. If they can afford to hire someone they will hire the highest scoring person, and the cheapest of these if there is a tie. They pay the full amount to the discard pile and also discard the person just hired. (The dummy player builds no tableau.) If they can't afford to hire anyone they will pick the highest ship and take money instead.
You may then take one of the remaining cards if you pay the dummy player one coin for the privilege.
On your turn, when you have finished taking card(s), if the dummy player can afford to hire a person then they will do so (following the same rules as above), otherwise they will take a ship (unless it is only a 1-coin ship). In either case they will pay you one coin.
When a tax card comes up, instead of the usual criteria you will gain one coin if you have fewer coins than the dummy player.
Go through the whole deck twice to see how many you can score.

I've not tried this variation yet - but I think I might go and try it now!
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Paul Cockburn
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I've just tried my dummy player variant and scored 19 points. I don't know if this is a good score, but it wasn't too complicated and it added some degree of tactics - e.g. I've already drawn a ship I want but if I continue to draw I might get a low cost card which the dummy player will buy (thereby earning me another coin). I'll post the slightly update rules below.
 
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Paul Cockburn
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Single Player with Dummy Player Variant.

Extra equipment needed: One six-sided die.

General principle: The dummy player builds no tableau but does have a hand of face down coins.

Taking a card: When it is the dummy player's turn to take a card he will do so in the following order.
a) He will, if possible, hire a person, taking the card with the highest score he can afford. If there is a tie for highest score he will hire the cheapest. If there is still a tie he will hire the one revealed earliest. He pays the hire cost to the discard pile and also discards the person hired.
b) If he cannot afford to hire a person he will take the highest value ship. If there is a tie he will take the ship revealed earliest.
c) If neither of the above is possible he will take no card.
d) If taking a card on the solo player's turn, the dummy player must be able to pay the solo player one coin in order to hire a person, and he will only take a ship if it is worth two or more coins (paying one to the solo player).

Each player begins with 3 coins. Decide the start player randomly.

On the dummy player's turn, roll the die and deal out that number of cards into the harbour, regardless of duplicate coloured ships. Any expeditions are then placed aside and any tax cards triggered and discarded.
The dummy player then takes one card only, according to the above priorities.
Then the solo player may take one card, paying one coin to the dummy player for the privilege.

The solo player takes their turn as normal, but the dummy player then takes one card from those remaining, according to the above priorities.

If a tax card is drawn, the usual halving of coins (if 12+) applies, but ignore any reference to swords or victory points. Instead whoever currently has the least coins takes one coin. (Both take a coin if there is a tie.)

Game end: When a card needs to be drawn and the draw deck is empty shuffle the discards to form a new draw deck. The second time this happens triggers the game end. Complete the current turn, and if necessary the other player's turn so that each player has had the same number of turns. Count your score.
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Marky Guinness
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Stupid me bought base and expansion !
Now back on BGG and enjoying every day because I can play my large collection of games and feel happy that my MS is not dictating my life.
Thanks so much for the solo Variant that simplifies my mistake.
Kindest regards to All who help with solo variants.
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playandenjoy wrote:
Stupid me bought base and expansion !
Now back on BGG and enjoying every day because I can play my large collection of games and feel happy that my MS is not dictating my life.
Thanks so much for the solo Variant that simplifies my mistake.
Kindest regards to All who help with solo variants.
I like the solo variant of the expansion more. Even though it's quite easy to complete, you can just make it harder.
 
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Mário Barbosa
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Thank you for your suggestion (the initial one in this thread)!
I've tried it a couple of times until I noticed I was avoiding merchant cards altogether and that even gathering money for more expensive buys was feeling detrimental, as they accelerated deck depletion with no guaranteed return.
So, to counter that notion of collecting/ spending money is too bad, I came up with the following:
* Do everything that you mentioned except that when buying cards you actually return the money to the deck and not to the discard pile
* Aim for 30 points instead (done it once but needed 3 completed quests to get there)

With this simple change I no longer stay away from cards with low victory points that just give me more money (deck depleting).
I find it more enjoyable.

Hope this may improve the experience for someone else!

Happy gaming!
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Rich Lush
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mbarbosa wrote:
Thank you for your suggestion (the initial one in this thread)!
I've tried it a couple of times until I noticed I was avoiding merchant cards altogether and that even gathering money for more expensive buys was feeling detrimental, as they accelerated deck depletion with no guaranteed return.
So, to counter that notion of collecting/ spending money is too bad, I came up with the following:
* Do everything that you mentioned except that when buying cards you actually return the money to the deck and not to the discard pile
* Aim for 30 points instead (done it once but needed 3 completed quests to get there)

With this simple change I no longer stay away from cards with low victory points that just give me more money (deck depleting).
I find it more enjoyable.

Hope this may improve the experience for someone else!

Happy gaming!
Hi Mário,

That's a great fix to the variant issue. I now have the expansion so have used the variant in that many times now, but I might have to go back and try this one now

Thanks,

Rich
 
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Mário Barbosa
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Hi!
You mean the single player expansion? That's "first contracts" or something like that? Do you feel it pays up for single player experience? I have not yet looked it up... perhaps I should.

Thanks!

richlush wrote:
mbarbosa wrote:
Thank you for your suggestion (the initial one in this thread)!
I've tried it a couple of times until I noticed I was avoiding merchant cards altogether and that even gathering money for more expensive buys was feeling detrimental, as they accelerated deck depletion with no guaranteed return.
So, to counter that notion of collecting/ spending money is too bad, I came up with the following:
* Do everything that you mentioned except that when buying cards you actually return the money to the deck and not to the discard pile
* Aim for 30 points instead (done it once but needed 3 completed quests to get there)

With this simple change I no longer stay away from cards with low victory points that just give me more money (deck depleting).
I find it more enjoyable.

Hope this may improve the experience for someone else!

Happy gaming!
Hi Mário,

That's a great fix to the variant issue. I now have the expansion so have used the variant in that many times now, but I might have to go back and try this one now

Thanks,

Rich
 
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Rich Lush
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Neon completely honest, although I’ve enjoyed playing it, I think it doesn’t add enough. Others might disagree with me! If you’re really interested in single player, then it could be, but I’ve found it far too easy and not that satisfying when you complete it!
 
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Mário Barbosa
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I'm not a very experienced player, no 😁
I like the game but hardly get anyone to play with.
Did a few games online in Yucata and confirmed that there's people playing it way better! It may very well be that I'll change my opinion once I improve.

richlush wrote:
Neon completely honest, although I’ve enjoyed playing it, I think it doesn’t add enough. Others might disagree with me! If you’re really interested in single player, then it could be, but I’ve found it far too easy and not that satisfying when you complete it!
 
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