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Subject: How do you like this solo? rss

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Vez A
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Hi all,

I've been wanting to get a copy of ADP for a while now and I was just reading an old thread on the solo system in this game that raised some questions in my mind.

While the game ships with bot charts for all 4 factions, in the thread Volko wrote:

Volko wrote:
you theoretically could solo as any of the 4 Factions ... But the system is optimized and tested for solo play of either of two factions ... Coalition or Taliban


If I manage to get a copy of ADP somehow, I'll be playing this game mostly solo. Now my question. Those of you who are experienced in soloing ADP, is there a notable difference in how the "optimized and tested" bot factions work as challenging opponents as opposed to how the other two work? What's the resulting quality of the solo experience?

Having done a little bit of searching in these forums, and with all due respect, I seem to get the impression that perhaps the bots in this installment to the COIN series are a little less refined than, say, in Fire in the Lake. For example, there was the thread about the GovtBot Train op to which Volko has also provided a variant (https://boardgamegeek.com/article/15539826#15539826), and a discussion about losing on the first turn (https://boardgamegeek.com/article/13543253#13543253). Discussions such as those make me think the solo rules in ADP might lack some of the tightness and quality we know from, say, Fire in the Lake.

Regardless of all that, I will definitely want to get a copy of ADP at some point down the line. I guess ultimately I'm just wondering, whether it makes sense to go for a(n expensive) 2nd hand copy now or wait for the reprint to come out, perhaps within the next 12 or so months, if we're lucky.

I'd appreciate any insights you guys might be able to offer.
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James
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I found the bots incredibly tedious to use. I didn't enjoy using them at all, most of the time was spent following instructions rather than thinking about the game so I stuck with "trad" solo. I don't really know how the bots compare to real opponents in a competitive sense but I wouldn't use them again.

I'm not all that bothered about trad solo with this game either. Too much is lost when you take away the people.

That said, it is my fave coin game and amongst my favourite games generally. Brilliant game.
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Vez A
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Thanks for you input, James.

moujamou wrote:
I found the bots incredibly tedious to use.


I've extensive solo experience in Fire in the Lake, so I'm aware and prepared for the fact that there will be a learning curve to overcome with the bots in ADP too. In Fire in the Lake it has certainly been worth the effort to get accustomed to the bots and I was just wondering whether there will be a similar reward there in the case of ADP.
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Mark Evans
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The AI in Distant Plain works similar to the AI in Fire in the Lake. It takes some getting used to before the AI becomes more fluid. I haven't tried using the Government or Warlords against the AI. I strongly recommend using the alternate Government AI provided by the designer.

The problem of losing on the first propaganda phase was fixed with errata.

I generally enjoy this game solo. I use the AI when I play 2 or 3 player. I was going to shelve this game for good until the alternate Government AI came around.

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Many thanks, Mark. Good to hear about the fix and the alternate Govt AI.

Anyone out there with experience of playing the Govt or Warlords against AI opponents?
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Oerjan Ariander
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masil wrote:
Now my question. Those of you who are experienced in soloing ADP, is there a notable difference in how the "optimized and tested" bot factions work as challenging opponents as opposed to how the other two work? What's the resulting quality of the solo experience?

I'd rate it as about the same as playing solo Cuba Libre as the Syndicate: your ally will play far too many Events that help you, assuming that you're a bot too.
Quote:
Having done a little bit of searching in these forums, and with all due respect, I seem to get the impression that perhaps the bots in this installment to the COIN series are a little less refined than, say, in Fire in the Lake.

Another way to phrase it would be that the Fire in the Lake solo rules benefit massively from the mistakes made in, and lessons learned from, the three previous COIN games

/Oerjan
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Oerjan wrote:
masil wrote:
Now my question. Those of you who are experienced in soloing ADP, is there a notable difference in how the "optimized and tested" bot factions work as challenging opponents as opposed to how the other two work? What's the resulting quality of the solo experience?

I'd rate it as about the same as playing solo Cuba Libre as the Syndicate: your ally will play far too many Events that help you, assuming that you're a bot too.


Hmm, interesting. Thanks for chipping in, Oerjan. So would you say the main thing to require "optimizing" in the ADP bots resides in the manner the bots take events when the player plays a faction other than the Coalition or Taliban?

Will the reprint of ADP (hopefully) coming out sometime next year contain revised bot rules? I know that's the case for Cuba Libre and I seem to remember reading that ADP will be revised too.

Oerjan wrote:
Quote:
Having done a little bit of searching in these forums, and with all due respect, I seem to get the impression that perhaps the bots in this installment to the COIN series are a little less refined than, say, in Fire in the Lake.

Another way to phrase it would be that the Fire in the Lake solo rules benefit massively from the mistakes made in, and lessons learned from, the three previous COIN games


Yup. Makes perfect sense.

Edited for a missing q bracket.
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Oerjan Ariander
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masil wrote:
Oerjan wrote:
masil wrote:
Now my question. Those of you who are experienced in soloing ADP, is there a notable difference in how the "optimized and tested" bot factions work as challenging opponents as opposed to how the other two work? What's the resulting quality of the solo experience?

I'd rate it as about the same as playing solo Cuba Libre as the Syndicate: your ally will play far too many Events that help you, assuming that you're a bot too.


Hmm, interesting. Thanks for chipping in, Oerjan. So would you say the main thing to require "optimizing" in the ADP bots resides in the manner the bots take events when the player plays a faction other than the Coalition or Taliban?

I'd say it is the most obvious thing, but I doubt it is the only one. The Coalition and Taliban bots also mostly lack instructions to backstab their allies if necessary, just like how CL's GovBot only very rarely Assaults the Syndicate on purpose.

Quote:
Will the reprint of ADP (hopefully) coming out sometime next year contain revised bot rules? I know that's the case for Cuba Libre and I seem to remember reading that ADP will be revised too.

No idea, sorry. I've been too busy with LoD to even think about updating ADP, so I'm hoping that Jordan Kehrer will do that instead

Later,
Oerjan
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I'd also say that until FitL came out, I think ADP was considered the pinnacle of bot AI in the series. As Oerjan says, each game gives him a chance to learn from previous iterations and make the new volume better. But that doesn't mean that earlier versions are deficient.

In regard to the factions the bots are not optimized against: I'd say whether this is a factor for you depends on whether you just want an opportunity to play as that faction or if you're looking to get a real challenge. They'll definitely give you the opportunity at the former, and with the latter you can, as Herman notes in the rules for Churchill, use common sense when the bot is supposed to do something that is greatly beneficial to you and do something else instead.
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rstites25 wrote:
I'd also say that until FitL came out, I think ADP was considered the pinnacle of bot AI in the series. As Oerjan says, each game gives him a chance to learn from previous iterations ...

Hopefully not just me, but all current and prospective bot designers! I had very little to do with the ADP bots (IIRC just some late tweaks to the Warlord bot), and of the four COIN games currently in P500 development I've only designed the bots for one (LoD); the other three already have bot designers, so I'll be a playtester at most. (Probably a playtester with a lot of opinions and suggestions for changes, but still.)

WRT playing for the challenge or not, if the solo play turns into getting boosted to victory by an allied bot, the replay value of the solo game drops fast. Sure, once or twice can be interesting, but after that it pretty much becomes easy-mode play

/Oerjan
 
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rstites25 wrote:
In regard to the factions the bots are not optimized against: I'd say whether this is a factor for you depends on whether you just want an opportunity to play as that faction or if you're looking to get a real challenge.


That's a really helpful distinction. I do like to get challenged; that would be my main aim, yes. To be more precise, I like the puzzle-like quality with a long view, as one might call it, that beating the bots poses.

In that perspective, that the bots' moves are predictable (cos they follow a chart) is an essential part of the fun actually. But then, I don't like it when it's possible to overtly game the bots either and just manipulate them into doing just the things you like. (For those here who know FitL, playing the short scenario as the US hits a very sweet spot in this respect: it's immensely tight, and there's almost no opportunity to game the bots, but you'll need to throw in all your creativity to beat the bots militarily and over the hearts and minds. I absolutely love that way of FitLing!

I do understand that my solitaire preferences might be very particular and not everyone's cup of tea.

Oerjan wrote:
WRT playing for the challenge or not, if the solo play turns into getting boosted to victory by an allied bot, the replay value of the solo game drops fast.


Speaking of which, it was the work of an evil genius to have the ARVNbot take the shaded Lansdale when the US is a player!
 
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Rockhopper01 wrote:
moujamou wrote:
I found the bots incredibly tedious to use. I didn't enjoy using them at all, most of the time was spent following instructions rather than thinking about the game so I stuck with "trad" solo. I don't really know how the bots compare to real opponents in a competitive sense but I wouldn't use them again.

I'm not all that bothered about trad solo with this game either. Too much is lost when you take away the people.

That said, it is my fave coin game and amongst my favourite games generally. Brilliant game.


I'm the same way. I'm sure the bot charts and instructions will become easier as I continue to learn the game, but as it is I find them a bit tedious. I use the bot rules as a rough guide (I like using the random province charts, and I like the instructions on what to do with particular cards), and just do what seems to make sense for everyone.


I see this differently. If I'd begin to spice the bot moves with the flexibility and attention to detail of a human player, I'd soon have no chance against them. Plus I like them as "the other" who (mechanically) do their thing. They are part of the puzzle in the above sense. This of course makes playing against the bots quite unlike playing humans, but that's part of the deal: I've got my flexibiluty and attention to detail, the bots have got their ganging up against me and a bunch of other advantages. That's the equation the bots give me and with which I've got to deal with.
 
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Rockhopper01 wrote:
masil wrote:
I see this differently. If I'd begin to spice the bot moves with the flexibility and attention to detail of a human player, I'd soon have no chance against them.


Ha, I hear you. I probably have it way easier than you do when I'm playing solo... I'm playing against a dumb jarhead.


Hehe... joking aside though, I didn't mean to imply that bots spiced up with MY comprehension of the game makes them impossible to beat. Rather, given that the bots effectively gang up against the player, it quickly becomes impossible to stem their tide if you give the bots human flexibility too.
 
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