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Subject: Difficulties with the solo system rss

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Antonio B-D
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Before asking a couple of questions (and more will sure come soon) I want to point out a couple of things.

First of all I really like the game I see, and I think it will be a blast to play head to head with 3 players.

The game components are excellent (although overproduced for my taste) and the quality in general is on GMT's highest.

BUT, I am really frustrated with the solitaire system. First of all, apart from a couple of minimal changes (the US putting the 2nd front on the table and the USSR debating) there is almost no difference between each nationality. I understand that the sublety is in the cards and in the way the US (not the other bots) place their production. OK, in general, but it seems to me that the flowchart could be reduced to "play each side to the best of their abilities, keeping the strongest card to the end and when in doubt roll a die" and there wouldn't be much (if any at all) difference.

I understand that the solo system is more an aid to playing solo than a truly solitaire system. Ok.

But, even then the solitaire aid is not (at least for me, being English my second language) clear enough. In some instances I feel like in the munchin rulebook "Decide who goes first by rolling the dice and arguing about the results and the meaning of this sentence and whether the fact that a word seems to be missing any effect." So lets go with my questions.

- Agenda Segment. When the 2nd highest or 2nd lowest is considered, you take out of the equation all the cards that are lowest o highest, right? I.E. 5,5,2,2,1,1,1 In this case the 2nd lowest and the 2nd highest are the "2"s, right? (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook)

- Meeting Segment. The "2nd highest". Do we use the same system? So if we have a 2+3, a 5 and 4, do we use the 4 as the second highest? (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook)

- Meeting Segment. The value of the Chief of Staff for solitaire purpose is "1" (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook). So it is usually the lowest card and the one that goes out when we use the leader for a debate, really? I am very surprised with this. Chief of Staff are only valued 2 (1 + 1 bonus) 1 out of 6 times, and we have to through it away? I certainly think that how to play Chief of Staff in the solitaire system needs an explanation (even if it is as simple of "consider it a 1 + bonus value card for all purposes, whoever strange that is").

- Meeting Segment. Soviets Debating. Would the soviets debate twice in a row? This might be me being thick but, as I can see it the soviets might end up debating the US and then the UK. Correct?

- Meeting Segment. Soviets Debating. Is the rule "keep the best card for last" applicable to debates. I.e. if the only soviet card that might win the debate is the strongest card would the bot use it or not? (already asked in a previous thread with no answer).

- Meeting Segment. Advancing an issue. If the card has no preference, you just determine randomly which issue to advance amongst those that might end up your side of the table, right? so you would include those in the center and those close enough to be turned over to your side, right? (this is me being thick).

- Decision Segment. Theater Leadership. What does the bot (US or UK) prefer when winning the Theater Leadership. I understand that it will want to take, but that is not clear anywhere in the rules.

- War Phase. Clandestine operations. If the Conference card calls for a removal of a Clandestine operation in this phase for a particular nation, do you roll among the places where the nation has a clandestine marker or is 5.12 applicable to this situation? Just my confusion.

Thank you for your help.
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abendoso wrote:


- Meeting Segment. Soviets Debating. Would the soviets debate twice in a row? This might be me being thick but, as I can see it the soviets might end up debating the US and then the UK. Correct?

I had this happen to me last night. Order of play was UK, USSR, USA

UK played an issue, which USSR could debate, USSR the passed per item 3 on their Debating Issue flow chart.

The US then played, which USSR could debate. After that debate it was the end of the turn anyways.

Unless I understand this wrong. Should have USSR still advanced their issue and then passed on the next rotation round?

Top of Page.10 seems to signify that this is possible, as debating twice only allows you to still pass once.

abendoso wrote:

- Meeting Segment. Advancing an issue. If the card has no preference, you just determine randomly which issue to advance amongst those that might end up your side of the table, right? so you would include those in the center and those close enough to be turned over to your side, right? (this is me being thick).
I handle this in the following way:
Lets say I have some issues which could end on my side and some that dont. I roll a d6 ... 1-3 I focus on issues on my side, 4-6 I focus on the others.
Then roll another d6 until I randomly chose an actual issue within the initial d6 roll.
If there were 4 issues then I break the d6 down into 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 to help randomly select. (hope that makes sense)

abendoso wrote:

- Decision Segment. Theater Leadership. What does the bot (US or UK) prefer when winning the Theater Leadership. I understand that it will want to take, but that is not clear anywhere in the rules.
I would say US - Pacific, UK Europe - based on the fact that US have more fronts in Pacific, UK in Europe... thats just my thought (rather than rulebook guide).

abendoso wrote:

- War Phase. Clandestine operations. If the Conference card calls for a removal of a Clandestine operation in this phase for a particular nation, do you roll among the places where the nation has a clandestine marker or is 5.12 applicable to this situation? Just my confusion.

I would roll against the Pol-Mil table on the board. Note the small print underneath it 'if required action can not be taken treat as no effect'

Nice post !! Hopefully lets keep this going with solo specific questions, I am into my 2nd solo game and still learning.
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Gordon J
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I use the solo rules as a general guideline. But after you play through it a few times it ends up being pretty easy.
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Antonio B-D
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patton55 wrote:
I use the solo rules as a general guideline. But after you play through it a few times it ends up being pretty easy.

Gordon,

The rules are pretty easy and straightforward (which helps this being a masterpiece), but the solo rules aren't clear.

I don't mind playing both sides (although for a 3 player game that would complicate things) to the best of their abilities, and find helpful some general guidelines... but that is not a solitaire system.

And this game is supposed to come with a solitaire system, not a basic guideline to play all sides to the best of your abilities.

Now my main concern is that the terms are not clear and the matrix is loose. That means that this game would be unplayable with just 2 players if at least one of them is competitive (and I am not but I have friends that are very competitive).

Maybe it is all my lack of understanding of English, but I would really would like to know the official answers (and where in the rulebook or play aid do this answers appear) to my questions after 1 game!

Didn't any of the playtesters of the solo game ever considered what would happen to a theater leadership win by the solo player? Some of my questions might be clarification, but other are simply lack of information.
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abendoso wrote:
Before asking a couple of questions (and more will sure come soon) I want to point out a couple of things.


- Agenda Segment. When the 2nd highest or 2nd lowest is considered, you take out of the equation all the cards that are lowest o highest, right? I.E. 5,5,2,2,1,1,1 In this case the 2nd lowest and the 2nd highest are the "2"s, right? (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook)

That would be correct--not sure it needs clarification, as this seems pretty clear to me.



- Meeting Segment. The "2nd highest". Do we use the same system? So if we have a 2+3, a 5 and 4, do we use the 4 as the second highest? (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook)


The way I read this, is your first consideration is use whatever card that will move an issue the furtherest onto that 'bots track. If it's a 4 or a 2 (with a special ability). You are right though, this isn't super clear in the rules.


- Meeting Segment. The value of the Chief of Staff for solitaire purpose is "1" (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook). So it is usually the lowest card and the one that goes out when we use the leader for a debate, really? I am very surprised with this. Chief of Staff are only valued 2 (1 + 1 bonus) 1 out of 6 times, and we have to through it away? I certainly think that how to play Chief of Staff in the solitaire system needs an explanation (even if it is as simple of "consider it a 1 + bonus value card for all purposes, whoever strange that is").

Not sure I agree, as there are plenty of other 1 cards in the deck. But again, the Chief of Staff card and how it is used is a little unclear. I have played, with my own personal tweak, that Chief of Staff is not the lowest.




- Meeting Segment. Soviets Debating. Would the soviets debate twice in a row? This might be me being thick but, as I can see it the soviets might end up debating the US and then the UK. Correct?


Well, the rules do state if debating will move the issue on its track, it will debate, so again that seems clear to me.



- Meeting Segment. Soviets Debating. Is the rule "keep the best card for last" applicable to debates. I.e. if the only soviet card that might win the debate is the strongest card would the bot use it or not? (already asked in a previous thread with no answer).


I read this rule again as the 'bot holds onto their strongest/best card until its literally the last card in their hand. (It seems like in most of these questions you have answered the question yourself, and you seem to get most of these rules, which is good).



- Meeting Segment. Advancing an issue. If the card has no preference, you just determine randomly which issue to advance amongst those that might end up your side of the table, right? so you would include those in the center and those close enough to be turned over to your side, right? (this is me being thick).


Yes, you got it. Again I don't see the confusion here. but it's good to double check.



- Decision Segment. Theater Leadership. What does the bot (US or UK) prefer when winning the Theater Leadership. I understand that it will want to take, but that is not clear anywhere in the rules.


True, not clear in the rules. But this isn't hard to figure out, the bot will place the two free Offensive chits on one of their fronts in that theatre and then change the Leadership of that theatre to themselves. (If there is a choice of fronts, roll randomly).

Thank you for your help.

I think overall the solo rules are fairly clear. Definitely some stuff is not addressed, but not enough to not make this an enjoyable solo play. But then again I have been playing the game for over a year, and I take for granted the difficulties one might have playing for their first couple times.

(I did address some of your concerns during my solo play tests, but some of the stuff didn't get addressed, not sure why, maybe to keep the solo rules to a minimum)

Again this is not the type of system that will hold your hand for every decision. Because the solo 'bot rules are pretty easy to use means sometimes you are gonna have to make a judgement call on things that pop up. If Mark had to make a rule for every exception, then the rules would get bogged down and you'd get a rulebook for the solo rules that would be like the 60+ pages one gets for Enemy Action.

I'd say give the solo rules another spin. Seems like now that you got it down it will play better.
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abendoso wrote:
patton55 wrote:
I use the solo rules as a general guideline. But after you play through it a few times it ends up being pretty easy.

Gordon,

The rules are pretty easy and straightforward (which helps this being a masterpiece), but the solo rules aren't clear.

I don't mind playing both sides (although for a 3 player game that would complicate things) to the best of their abilities, and find helpful some general guidelines... but that is not a solitaire system.

And this game is supposed to come with a solitaire system, not a basic guideline to play all sides to the best of your abilities.

Now my main concern is that the terms are not clear and the matrix is loose. That means that this game would be unplayable with just 2 players if at least one of them is competitive (and I am not but I have friends that are very competitive).

Maybe it is all my lack of understanding of English, but I would really would like to know the official answers (and where in the rulebook or play aid do this answers appear) to my questions after 1 game!

Didn't any of the playtesters of the solo game ever considered what would happen to a theater leadership win by the solo player? Some of my questions might be clarification, but other are simply lack of information.

I, too, was hoping for a more robust bot system. I guess that I was spoiled by the COIN bots, that are very detailed and give more of a felling that there is an opponent there rather than you are just playing all sides.
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Tim Korchnoi
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I too had a hard time the first time with the 'bots (I played FDR) but I am now on my second game and it is much easier (and more tense) this time. Once you get the hang of how to prioritize each hand, the game flows better.

I think the national characteristics come through pretty well especially the Soviets who will debate ANYTHING they think they can get their commie paws on The UK is working fine for me although I think I need to do some reading to have a better grasp on their over all geopolitical goals (unlike the USSR which I have studied extensively).

So I like the 'bots but I can see how three player will totally kick butt!

 
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Antonio B-D
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patton55 wrote:
abendoso wrote:
Before asking a couple of questions (and more will sure come soon) I want to point out a couple of things.


- Agenda Segment. When the 2nd highest or 2nd lowest is considered, you take out of the equation all the cards that are lowest o highest, right? I.E. 5,5,2,2,1,1,1 In this case the 2nd lowest and the 2nd highest are the "2"s, right? (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook)

That would be correct--not sure it needs clarification, as this seems pretty clear to me.



- Meeting Segment. The "2nd highest". Do we use the same system? So if we have a 2+3, a 5 and 4, do we use the 4 as the second highest? (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook)


The way I read this, is your first consideration is use whatever card that will move an issue the furtherest onto that 'bots track. If it's a 4 or a 2 (with a special ability). You are right though, this isn't super clear in the rules.


- Meeting Segment. The value of the Chief of Staff for solitaire purpose is "1" (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook). So it is usually the lowest card and the one that goes out when we use the leader for a debate, really? I am very surprised with this. Chief of Staff are only valued 2 (1 + 1 bonus) 1 out of 6 times, and we have to through it away? I certainly think that how to play Chief of Staff in the solitaire system needs an explanation (even if it is as simple of "consider it a 1 + bonus value card for all purposes, whoever strange that is").

Not sure I agree, as there are plenty of other 1 cards in the deck. But again, the Chief of Staff card and how it is used is a little unclear. I have played, with my own personal tweak, that Chief of Staff is not the lowest.




- Meeting Segment. Soviets Debating. Would the soviets debate twice in a row? This might be me being thick but, as I can see it the soviets might end up debating the US and then the UK. Correct?


Well, the rules do state if debating will move the issue on its track, it will debate, so again that seems clear to me.



- Meeting Segment. Soviets Debating. Is the rule "keep the best card for last" applicable to debates. I.e. if the only soviet card that might win the debate is the strongest card would the bot use it or not? (already asked in a previous thread with no answer).


I read this rule again as the 'bot holds onto their strongest/best card until its literally the last card in their hand. (It seems like in most of these questions you have answered the question yourself, and you seem to get most of these rules, which is good).



- Meeting Segment. Advancing an issue. If the card has no preference, you just determine randomly which issue to advance amongst those that might end up your side of the table, right? so you would include those in the center and those close enough to be turned over to your side, right? (this is me being thick).


Yes, you got it. Again I don't see the confusion here. but it's good to double check.



- Decision Segment. Theater Leadership. What does the bot (US or UK) prefer when winning the Theater Leadership. I understand that it will want to take, but that is not clear anywhere in the rules.


True, not clear in the rules. But this isn't hard to figure out, the bot will place the two free Offensive chits on one of their fronts in that theatre and then change the Leadership of that theatre to themselves. (If there is a choice of fronts, roll randomly).

Thank you for your help.

I think overall the solo rules are fairly clear. Definitely some stuff is not addressed, but not enough to not make this an enjoyable solo play. But then again I have been playing the game for over a year, and I take for granted the difficulties one might have playing for their first couple times.

(I did address some of your concerns during my solo play tests, but some of the stuff didn't get addressed, not sure why, maybe to keep the solo rules to a minimum)

Again this is not the type of system that will hold your hand for every decision. Because the solo 'bot rules are pretty easy to use means sometimes you are gonna have to make a judgement call on things that pop up. If Mark had to make a rule for every exception, then the rules would get bogged down and you'd get a rulebook for the solo rules that would be like the 60+ pages one gets for Enemy Action.

I'd say give the solo rules another spin. Seems like now that you got it down it will play better.

Gordon,

Thanks for your help. Indeed some of the questions were double checking and I am, playing the solo game and somewhat enjoying it. Still, in your answer there are still 2 questions that you reply by saying that it is not clear from the rules but that you do x or y. This is (rules wise) an extraordinary. Simple game, with a simple bot so it is hard for me to understand that standard questions that will happen every single game (how to play Chiefs of Staff for example) are not addressed in the rulebook or the aid.
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[/q]Gordon,

Thanks for your help. Indeed some of the questions were double checking and I am, playing the solo game and somewhat enjoying it. Still, in your answer there are still 2 questions that you reply by saying that it is not clear from the rules but that you do x or y. This is (rules wise) an extraordinary. Simple game, with a simple bot so it is hard for me to understand that standard questions that will happen every single game (how to play Chiefs of Staff for example) are not addressed in the rulebook or the aid.[/q]

Yeah, I'd like to see Mark chime in on how Chiefs of Staff cards work. Because that is one every time I play, I have to think about, and that could have been easily addressed.

But for example, I know you got troubled with the European/Pacific Leadership Issues, and how exactly you use them. And maybe that should be more clearly stated, but its obvious I think what the bot does with them, they are just extra offensive markers to be put down on a front--a rule for that couldn't be very specific since one would never know what front it might be put on.

But for sure, this game is meant to be played 3-player.
 
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patton55 wrote:


Gordon,

Thanks for your help. Indeed some of the questions were double checking and I am, playing the solo game and somewhat enjoying it. Still, in your answer there are still 2 questions that you reply by saying that it is not clear from the rules but that you do x or y. This is (rules wise) an extraordinary. Simple game, with a simple bot so it is hard for me to understand that standard questions that will happen every single game (how to play Chiefs of Staff for example) are not addressed in the rulebook or the aid.[/q]

Yeah, I'd like to see Mark chime in on how Chiefs of Staff cards work. Because that is one every time I play, I have to think about, and that could have been easily addressed.

But for example, I know you got troubled with the European/Pacific Leadership Issues, and how exactly you use them. And maybe that should be more clearly stated, but its obvious I think what the bot does with them, they are just extra offensive markers to be put down on a front--a rule for that couldn't be very specific since one would never know what front it might be put on.

But for sure, this game is meant to be played 3-player.[/q]

Gordo,

You were doing so well... actually I have commented on this several times, the CoS is a 1 until you roll the die. He is a 1 + attribute during the hand determination and meeting segment if you play him on his issue.

You are correct about the theater leadership issues, it works the same for the 'Bot as if it had them from production and the core game has clear rules on how you have to play offensive chits when their is a navy/offensive option.

I hope that clears up the two questions.

Mark
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abendoso wrote:
Before asking a couple of questions (and more will sure come soon) I want to point out a couple of things.

First of all I really like the game I see, and I think it will be a blast to play head to head with 3 players.

The game components are excellent (although overproduced for my taste) and the quality in general is on GMT's highest.

BUT, I am really frustrated with the solitaire system. First of all, apart from a couple of minimal changes (the US putting the 2nd front on the table and the USSR debating) there is almost no difference between each nationality. I understand that the sublety is in the cards and in the way the US (not the other bots) place their production. OK, in general, but it seems to me that the flowchart could be reduced to "play each side to the best of their abilities, keeping the strongest card to the end and when in doubt roll a die" and there wouldn't be much (if any at all) difference.

I understand that the solo system is more an aid to playing solo than a truly solitaire system. Ok.

But, even then the solitaire aid is not (at least for me, being English my second language) clear enough. In some instances I feel like in the munchin rulebook "Decide who goes first by rolling the dice and arguing about the results and the meaning of this sentence and whether the fact that a word seems to be missing any effect." So lets go with my questions.

- Agenda Segment. When the 2nd highest or 2nd lowest is considered, you take out of the equation all the cards that are lowest o highest, right? I.E. 5,5,2,2,1,1,1 In this case the 2nd lowest and the 2nd highest are the "2"s, right? (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook)

- Meeting Segment. The "2nd highest". Do we use the same system? So if we have a 2+3, a 5 and 4, do we use the 4 as the second highest? (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook)

- Meeting Segment. The value of the Chief of Staff for solitaire purpose is "1" (clarification that, in my humble and honest opinion should be stated in the rulebook). So it is usually the lowest card and the one that goes out when we use the leader for a debate, really? I am very surprised with this. Chief of Staff are only valued 2 (1 + 1 bonus) 1 out of 6 times, and we have to through it away? I certainly think that how to play Chief of Staff in the solitaire system needs an explanation (even if it is as simple of "consider it a 1 + bonus value card for all purposes, whoever strange that is").

- Meeting Segment. Soviets Debating. Would the soviets debate twice in a row? This might be me being thick but, as I can see it the soviets might end up debating the US and then the UK. Correct?

- Meeting Segment. Soviets Debating. Is the rule "keep the best card for last" applicable to debates. I.e. if the only soviet card that might win the debate is the strongest card would the bot use it or not? (already asked in a previous thread with no answer).

- Meeting Segment. Advancing an issue. If the card has no preference, you just determine randomly which issue to advance amongst those that might end up your side of the table, right? so you would include those in the center and those close enough to be turned over to your side, right? (this is me being thick).

- Decision Segment. Theater Leadership. What does the bot (US or UK) prefer when winning the Theater Leadership. I understand that it will want to take, but that is not clear anywhere in the rules.

- War Phase. Clandestine operations. If the Conference card calls for a removal of a Clandestine operation in this phase for a particular nation, do you roll among the places where the nation has a clandestine marker or is 5.12 applicable to this situation? Just my confusion.

Thank you for your help.

I have read down through the thread, so the only two issues are answered above.

The point I will address is regarding the 'Bots being very similar with only a few differences. This was quite intentional as when we play tested it the overall systems asymmetries in the card decks makes each 'Bot play differently all by itself, so no need to mess with it further. Check out my third strategy primer on the strengths and weaknesses for each side. So, while the 'Bot logic is similar, the built in differences make these play differently, at least that has been my experience and that of the play testers. Hopefully you will agree once you have had a few more sessions.

That said, the 'Bots logic, cards and situation are 100% transparent, so they will never be akin to playing against a human, at least none of the ones I know.

Thanks for sharing your experiences to date, I note that you were having fun, so that is a good sign from my perspective.

Mark
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Antonio B-D
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HiMark,

Thank you for chiming in. I will play my first 3 player game today and I am looking forward to it for a week now. I am pretty sure as a 3 player this will be a 10.
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Antonio B-D
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Gunderian007 wrote:
As to theatre leadership being taken, we do this:

Brits choose Brits.

US chooses US.

Stalin always changes.

If you live in America today, then you know how we always swap party leaders every other debate. Stalin understands American strategy for keeping power in check!

I like your system.

BTW, played my first game yesterday with 3 players and it was a blast. This game with 3 human players was almost perfect.

Still, remember when I said I would not be able to play this game 2 player with one of my friends? Well, he kept discussing things that were not clear from the cards (like when a card says "if X is on Y track then +1" saying that it did not say that you had to play it on that issue, etc.). But he is really a nice guy!
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