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Subject: Solo Variant - Race against the deck rss

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Derek J
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First solo variant I've ever tried to create since my wife isn't a huge fan of this and I wanted a chance to test strategies.

1) Set up game as a 2P game (deal 5 cards for yourself, one task each face down for you and your dummy opponent, two cards on the floor)
2) Play your turn as normal
3) For the dummy's turn, put their previous task onto the floor and draw a new task. After revealing the task, discard the same number of cards as the cost of the card into a discard pile (Paper - 1 card, Cloth - 2 cards, Clay and Metal - 3 cards)
4) Rotate back to your turn and follow normal turn conventions
5) Play continues until the deck is empty of cards. Once any action that is triggered empties the deck, the game ends immediately.

End game scoring follows the usual conventions except you win all ties by default and thus score back order points based on what you sold and what is in your hand.

There are 12 cards in the game that the printed rules are not applicable anymore. For those, disregard the effect printed on the card and instead the 12 cards function as a set collection. Those cards that I identified are:

Cloth - Mask, Puppet
Stone - Frog, Tower
Paper - Curtain, Lampshade
Clay - Jar, Cup
Metal - Shuriken, Ring, Sword, Turtle

The set scores bonus points based on the amount of cards collected across both wings. The formula is:

1 card - 1 extra point
2 cards - 3 extra points
3 cards - 6 extra points
4 cards - 10 extra points
5 cards - 15 extra points
6 cards - 21 extra points
7 cards - 28 extra points
8 cards - 36 extra points
9 cards - 45 extra points

In effect, you are not playing against an opponent but are racing against the deck since the dummy will be discarding cards every turn. And also evaluating whether or not the set collection cards are worth building or using as tasks.

I play tested this a few times and it seemed to work fine and I would finish with scores in the 15-30 range. A few times I had unlucky dummy draws where the dummy would siphon 9 cards in 3 turns from the deck, eliminating 1/5th of the deck in 3 turns. So it becomes more of a race to build out your tableau and strategize based on your available actions and how far the deck has been consumed.

Possible tweaks of this would be to reduce the amount of cards being discarded per turn, maybe 1 less per card value since sometimes the velocity of discards really speeds up the game to the point where there's not much time for you to set up a good engine.
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Chris Cieslik
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Neat idea -- the set of attacks is a clever way to get around those cards' function.
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Silver Bowen
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You could just have the dummy discard 2 cards a turn (the average), right?
 
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Chas Heath
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Tried this last night and got 32 (quilt definitely helped me out). Not as strategic as a real game, but fun for playing around with certainly.
I actually think the random discard is a good thing to keep. It represents how there are ways an opponent can abruptly end the game quicker than you would expect when they build the right work.
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Derek J
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It's been awhile since I've played this (latest obsession is LOTR for me) but the past few times I played I was scoring into the low 40's.

I found piling up on helpers a great way to execute multiple moves on both your turn and the dummy player's turn.

I would also collect at most 3 of the set items since with the random discards it'd be hard to guarantee having them in your hand. But I figure the set collection is just an added bonus since completing works and covering sales resulted in the vast majority of my points.
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Stephen Hicks
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I played a few solo games like this and enjoyed it, though I can't seem to get over 20 with much regularity at all.

One slight modification I'd suggest: I found that the floor was consistently much more full than it tends to be in head-to-head games, so on the opponent's turn, for each Potter or Monk task that's showing, I discard one card from the floor: whichever is next alphabetically from whatever card was just discarded. This makes the floor less of a sure thing, since the card you were hoping to use could always disappear (and everything is vulnerable since anything could come up for discard).
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Byron Campbell
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Thank you for this clever variant. It seems to work well, especially with kupopo's modifications. I made my own modifications to it that made it even more like a human player, for a bit of extra work, and scored 16 points.

Changes: using kupopo's variant, except the dummy maintains a tableau. On the dummy's turn, move 1 card from the floor to its Gallery for each Monk task (using kupopo's rules) and 1 card from the floor to its Craft Bench for each Potter task. In addition, move 1 card from the floor directly to its Gift Shop for each Clerk task, using the same rules.

The dummy's helpers, sales and craft bench have no function except for use with works that interact directly with the opponent's tableau (Ring, Sword). The dummy does not get any extra actions for helpers.


On the dummy's turn, for each Smith task, one of the dummy's discards becomes a completed work instead. Use the last one or two cards discarded. This work is considered in both wings at once. If the dummy completes 5 works this way, the game ends immediately.

The dummy's completed works have no effect EXCEPT for those that directly, negatively impact an opponent on an ongoing basis. These are: Kite, Mask, Bangle, Curtain, and Tower. The opponent's works are also considered for any Frog or Shuriken works you complete.

When YOU play one of these obstructing cards, resolve them as follows: for Tower and Curtain, the dummy does not get any benefit from your matching tasks, I.e. does not collect helpers/materials/sales (Tower) or does not complete works (Curtain). The dummy still gets those benefits from its own tasks. For Mask, the dummy discards one fewer card each turn, minimum 1, if there is a card in your Task slot. For Bangle, the dummy discards 1 fewer card (minimum 1) for EACH of its helpers that matches the card in your task slot. These effects stack.

For any works that interact with an opponent's hand (Puppet, Jar), reveal 5 cards from the top of the deck to act as the opponent's hand. Unmatching cards (for Jar) are returned, and your previous hand (for Puppet) is discarded.

That should cover all interactive cards. Obviously, you can interact with the dummy's task. This makes the game even more tight, time wise, but I prefer to play with the full variety of cards in the game.

Edit: I played another game, testing out a weaker Smith action, but I decided the stronger action is better, since it is the only incentive to complete Curtain. Got 15 points this time. The deck ran out so quickly! Added a few more card clarifications.
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Trevor Taylor
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Only my first try, so I might have been lucky, but with Chopsticks and Sketch helping preserve the cards used I managed to score 45 points. I'll try again soon!
 
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Kolja Geldmacher
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Since i like to keep the discarded cards from the deck face down, i rely on the dummy players task for alphabetical reference for the card that has to be transfered to its tableau. Just my 2 cents
Kolja
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Jonathan Dunn
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Have to say I am loving playing Mottainai solo with Yayaba's rules (main post), Kupopo's variant (5th post) and my own extra rule which is to keep the floor at a maximum of 10 cards - when going to place an 11th card on the floor for any reason, return (to the bottom of the deck) the card from the floor which is next alphabetically from the one you're adding. This is just to keep the play area nice and compact.

I play to beat the deck and also get a minimum of 30 points.

Will have to try Kittenhoarder's dummy tableau variant soon too.
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Peter Bhat Harkins
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silverbowen wrote:
You could just have the dummy discard 2 cards a turn (the average), right?


It's almost the average value: (1 * 12 paper cards + 2 * 11 stone + 2 * 11 cloth + 3 * 10 potter + 3 * 10 smith) / 54 cards = 2.14 average. So in 10 turns you'd average one card too few.

I prefer discarding the value, and not just to satisfy nitpicky arithmetic. If the dummy is leaning towards 1s or 3s it gives a changing situation to respond to.

As long as I'm writing: thanks, yayaba and kupopo for putting together a great solo variant.
 
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Mark Saya
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I've been enjoying this solo variant– using just Derek J's original rules.

First eight games = 22, 19, 29, 16, 42, 36, 37, 20

9th game = 59!

How it happened–

Completed works: 3 metal + 2 stone + 1 cloth = 15
Importantly they included Tablet (returning 7 floor cards to the deck lengthened the game), Chopsticks (previous task to sales– wow!), Pin (morning Tailor action), and especially Coin (count backorders twice– double wow!!).

"Special" completed works: 0

Covered sales: 4 metal + 3 stone = 18
(Sales also included uncovered clay, cloth, and paper, 1 of each.)

Backorders: 2 Clay + 3 Cloth + 1 Paper = 13 x 2 (due to Coin) = 26
Note: On my last turn I used my morning Tailor action and 1 prayer to get my hand up to 6 cards. The dummy then drew the last card from the deck to end the game, leaving me with a 6-card hand full of double goodness!

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