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Subject: Solo - still holding my attention! rss

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Edd Allard
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Colorado Springs
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I normally write reviews, and even this report may not fit exactly with the category "Session." But I've played solo 6 times, and felt there was some value added in offering some insights. (There really is a session report at the bottom, I promise!)

We're really enjoying Viceroy with two players, but I'm surprised at how much I like the solo version! A lot of games that can be played by one tend to lose my interest quickly. They become "puzzles" to solve, and once you arrive at an optimal solution, there really isn't much point (or enjoyment) in playing anymore.

Not so with Viceroy. With so many different cards coming into play, there's plenty of variety. And with every card offering up to 7 options (1 for each each of the first 4 levels of the pyramid, 2 for level 5, and the option to discard for more gems), the combinations are virtually endless.

In my first solo play, I focused on mechanics -- getting the most actions out of each turn. I was less concerned with which cards worked well together than with which cards would allow me to amass more cards and gems and keep going. I ended up with a 5 level pyramid that scored 62 points.

In my second solo game, I focused more on collecting tokens on cards. Again, if a card granted bonus tokens, power point tokens, infinite gems, or other tokens, I went for that card. My pyramid reached only 4 levels, but I scored a respectable 86 points.

Since then, I've played 4 more solo games, and my scores hover in the high 80s with one score reaching 115!

The best part is that each game was truly unique. A strategy that works one time may not even be feasible the next. You've really got to look hard at the cards you have, the tokens available to spend, and which combinations will work the best both in the current round, as well as one or two rounds ahead!

In my most recent solo game, I started out with two cards (one in play and one in hand) that granted me two more cards. I drew from the small deck and ended up with 4 characters on the table after one round. In round three, I had amassed 9 cards in my pyramid, including a Viceroy that granted two infinity stones, and two powerful end-game Law cards -- one that grants 2 points for every adjacent character and one that granted both a magic token and a magic bonus token.

On turn 4 I "rested" and collected three gems. However, there were two cards in the draw that would offer an opportunity to finish a 12 point scoring combination of defense, magic, and science. Since at least one of them was going to move to the top of the draw, I knew I could get one for my pyramid.

Turns 5 thru 7 were marathon card play sessions again, with combinations that allowed me to draw and play extra cards, and obtain 3 more infinity gems.

Turn 8, like turn 4, I "rested" and collected more gems to have purchasing power and more card play options in the home stretch.

On turns 9 thru 11, I continued to buy/play cards that would capitalize on the bonus tokens and infinite gems I already had in play.

By turn 12, I had a major decision to make. There was one Viceroy card in the draw that would score me 13 points if I played it to my 3rd level. However, it would cost 4 gems to play it, and with only one gem of the correct color to purchase it, there was a 25% chance I would not get it.

Conversely, by "resting" one more time, I could amass enough gems to cover all of my mixed color circles in my pyramid -- a net gain of 19 points!

Needless to say, I rested. I ended the game with 94 points -- my second highest score in six solo plays.

The game "feels" intelligent. By that I mean the mechanics behave like a thinking opponent. While the tokens you draw during the auction phase are random, you still run a 25% risk per draw that the game will "outbid" you. And, the way cards are moved to the discard pile from the auction feels much the same as in the two-player game. With only 16 gem tokens in play, you really need to think through when and how to use them. Infinity gems have great value for building your pyramid, but too many and you may lose the opportunity to purchase more/better cards in the late game. Of course, infinity gems also generate scoring, so it may be a good trade off. (This is true in the multiplayer game as well, but it feels more strategic in the solitaire game, because you have perfect information -- you know exactly where all of the tokens are at any given time, since the game never takes them.)

I'd still prefer to play this with two or more. But as scalable games go, this is currently one of my favorite solitaire experiences. You really have to make only minimal changes from the multiplayer rules to have a solo game that plays -- and feels -- remarkably like the multiplayer version.

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United States
San Antonio
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I'm going to make a custom die that has each Gem color, and two blanks. I will roll the die for my "Solo Opponent's" Gem selection, if I roll a blank, I will reroll it. If I roll a second blank, then my opponent passed his turn.

I'll post my thoughts after a dozen or so plays.
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darryl benzin
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Royal Oak
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That's a pretty good idea. I just realized that the dice for Ghost Stories will work perfectly for this when you consider the white & black sides as the reroll/pass options. I may start doing this as well to alleviate the need for a gem bag to draw from.
 
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Vlastimil Mensik
Czech Republic
Praha 5
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All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
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I am a little bit confused with the initial setup for the solo play. Do you begin with 32 gem stones as in a regular two player game or only with 16 gem stones?
 
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Daniel Peterson

Layton
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16 gems, four of each color.
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Kris Verbeeck
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dancingdanslc wrote:
16 gems, four of each color.

Since I saw this played wrong. I will give a long answer.

Step1 : Put 16 gems, four of each color, in the gem supply for the game for each player. Return the rest to the box. They won't be needed this game.

Step 2 : Each players takes from the gem supply 8 gems, two in each color, and returns two to the gem supply.

Step 1 means you play the game with 16,32,48 or 64 gems.
Covering soloplay with 16, head to head with 32, in a 3p game 48 and 64 with the full compliment of players.

The game I saw played wrong was a two player game that had 44 gems in it
And 13 blue gems...
When explaining their mistake one guy said that he liked it better this way...

shake

One of the reasons why viceroy works is the scarcity of gems. If you do that away you are playing a different game.
 
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