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Subject: Question Regarding Multi-Player Solo rss

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Jeffrey Smith
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First, I do understand that the automa is designed for one person to play against one automated faction. So my question is not about using the automa to control multiple factions (although I've seen hints that this may be possible with some tweaks, though it has not been play tested)

My question is more about the possibility of one person playing a multiplayer game, and simply trying to win as each faction. This split-personality type of game play is common among those of us who often play war games solo. (It's sad, I know, but the game must go on!)

It seems that the combat system, with the hidden cards and selecting how much power to spend, would be the only sticking point in playing solo. I had already thought about some possible ways to tweak the combat (dice, random card draw, or something else). However, having looked a bit more at the official automa and seeing how combat is resolved by a chart on each card, I'm wondering if this might provide me with a combat solution right out of the box.

So my question, for those who have played the automa, and anyone else who has experience with the game, would a solo multiplayer game work (assuming that I am fully playing each faction, I'm not looking for AI) if combat was resolved by having the "active player" choose his power and cards per the normal game and then drawing an automa card and using the chart for the "Non-active player"?

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David Studley
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Hi Jeff. This is an interesting question. Certainly the cards could be used to provide a random decision for the 'other player' during combat. It would provide a small bit of intelligence (as it choose based upon it's current power level). I haven't played any war games this way, so I'm not sure how satisfying it would be for you, though.

There is a PnP available if you are feeling ambitious and want to give it a go. If you do, please report back.

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Jeremiah Power
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Not having tried it, I can't give a definite answer, but I don't see why that wouldn't work.
In my mind, I would think it would be difficult to maintain neutrality when playing two factions. Do you find that to be an issue, or do you just try to find the most optimal move for each "player"?
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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It sounds like a good idea to me.
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Jeffrey Smith
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powerhouse wrote:
Not having tried it, I can't give a definite answer, but I don't see why that wouldn't work.
In my mind, I would think it would be difficult to maintain neutrality when playing two factions. Do you find that to be an issue, or do you just try to find the most optimal move for each "player"?
I've played many games this way for years, including some 5 player games, so playing each faction objectively isn't a problem. Where this style of play becomes a challenge is when there is hidden information, bluffing, and no random elements. For example, I can't really play Chess or Go against myself. A game like Napoleon's Triumph that contains both hidden troop information and non-random combat resolution doesn't work at all (and Lord knows I've tried!) Obviously, it is always more fun to play against an opponent, and I'm fine with the designed automa as a back-up. I just happened to think that this game could work for this strange multi-player solitaire if combat were modified, and it looked like the way the automa resolves conflict might just be the answer.
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Jeffrey Smith
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mortenmdk wrote:
It sounds like a good idea to me.
Cool. I haven't looked at the actual automa cards yet. Am I correct in assuming the chart simply provides a number that the active player must beat to win? If so then I suppose I would have to treat it as a maximum and then subtract power and or cards sufficient to the card's total (or less if the faction does not have enough). I'm sure there are details that need to be worked out, but it seems like the concept is good.

So now I'll have three ways to play!
 
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David Studley
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The card tells you how much the Automa spends as far as power. It provides different values for that, based upon how much power it actually has. It also tells you how many combat cards to use. So, the Automa resolves combat against the player in the same way as in the multiplayer game.
 
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Juan Crespo
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DJStudley wrote:
The card tells you how much the Automa spends as far as power. It provides different values for that, based upon how much power it actually has. It also tells you how many combat cards to use. So, the Automa resolves combat against the player in the same way as in the multiplayer game.
Not only that, the card provides a number based on the power level, and in addition tells you how many combat cards Automa flips to add to the total combat number. So it is not deterministic, for you know the base number, but never the final combat number for the AI.
 
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Jeffrey Smith
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juanma99 wrote:
DJStudley wrote:
The card tells you how much the Automa spends as far as power. It provides different values for that, based upon how much power it actually has. It also tells you how many combat cards to use. So, the Automa resolves combat against the player in the same way as in the multiplayer game.
Not only that, the card provides a number based on the power level, and in addition tells you how many combat cards Automa flips to add to the total combat number. So it is not deterministic, for you know the base number, but never the final combat number for the AI.
Ah, then it seems like it will work perfectly.
 
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Joel Carr
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I also tend to play versus myself pending the game, but I for one would love to have two automa decks/ two AI factions to play against, i think this is discussed in another thread here, but I hope Morten edge out some time (***after the single opponent automa deck balancing) to make a 3p or 4p solo variant.
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Jeffrey Smith
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Another question I had is if the Automa could also be used to add a player to the game. In other words, if you only had four players but really wanted a 5 player experience could you throw in the automa?

I hope I'm not coming across as demanding, I'm really just curious if that would work or not.

Edit: what made me think of this is how the CivBots work in the game Historia.

Edit Again: Had another thought. Two player co-op or semi co-op against the automa. Yes, no?
 
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David Studley
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jbbnbsmith wrote:
Another question I had is if the Automa could also be used to add a player to the game. In other words, if you only had four players but really wanted a 5 player experience could you throw in the automa?

I hope I'm not coming across as demanding, I'm really just curious if that would work or not.

Edit: what made me think of this is how the CivBots work in the game Historia.

Edit Again: Had another thought. Two player co-op or semi co-op against the automa. Yes, no?


Hi Jeff! You are not coming off as too demanding at all. We love hearing creative suggestions and questions. The short answer is no. It isn't designed to work like that. What I will tell you is that during the course of development, we discussed many ideas such as this and the earlier versions of the system did accommodate any combination of human and Automa players. It needed to be scaled back to make sure that the 1 on 1 experience was enjoyable and balanced properly. So, the potential is there and it's perhaps not far off from being able to accommodate that sort of thing. But, I don't think it would handle it in it's current state.

Morten has said elsewhere that he's open to taking Scythe Automa further and has also said that he would look into putting something together that would be untested, but players could give it a try. I believe that he's talked about a two against two sort of thing and if I know Morten, he has plenty of other things he's going to want to try, so we'll add your vote to the list.

Cheers, D

Edit: speling and Grammar
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Jeffrey Smith
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DJStudley wrote:
jbbnbsmith wrote:
Another question I had is if the Automa could also be used to add a player to the game. In other words, if you only had four players but really wanted a 5 player experience could you throw in the automa?

I hope I'm not coming across as demanding, I'm really just curious if that would work or not.

Edit: what made me think of this is how the CivBots work in the game Historia.

Edit Again: Had another thought. Two player co-op or semi co-op against the automa. Yes, no?


Hi Jeff! You are not coming off as too demanding at all. We love hearing creative suggestions and questions. The short answer is no. It isn't designed to work like that. What I will tell you is that during the course of development, we discussed many ideas such as this and the earlier versions of the system did accommodate any combination of human and Automa players. It needed to be scaled back to make sure that the 1 on 1 experience was enjoyable and balanced properly. So, the potential is there and it's perhaps not far off from being able to accommodate that sort of thing. But, I don't think it would handle it in it's current state.

Morten has said elsewhere that he's open to taking Scythe Automa further and has also said that he would look into putting something together that would be untested, but players could give it a try. I believe that he's talked about a two against two sort of thing and if I know Morten, he has plenty of other things he's going to want to try, so we'll add your vote to the list.

Cheers, D

Edit: speling and Grammar
Thanks for the information! I am all for developing a more narrow focused product that works well than one that attempts multiple things and only marginally succeeds. And I definitely have an appreciation for the amount of work required to develop and implement a simple to use yet challenging to play against AI. Just sort of thinking out loud here.
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Matt S
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jbbnbsmith wrote:

So my question, for those who have played the automa, and anyone else who has experience with the game, would a solo multiplayer game work (assuming that I am fully playing each faction, I'm not looking for AI) if combat was resolved by having the "active player" choose his power and cards per the normal game and then drawing an automa card and using the chart for the "Non-active player"?


Even though both Morten and David have chimed in here, I will add my vote of approval. I think it can be done as you described. The automa deck will give you the combat resolution and if you can keep the rest objective in your head you are golden.
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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jbbnbsmith wrote:
powerhouse wrote:
Not having tried it, I can't give a definite answer, but I don't see why that wouldn't work.
In my mind, I would think it would be difficult to maintain neutrality when playing two factions. Do you find that to be an issue, or do you just try to find the most optimal move for each "player"?
I've played many games this way for years, including some 5 player games, so playing each faction objectively isn't a problem. Where this style of play becomes a challenge is when there is hidden information, bluffing, and no random elements.


There is hidden information in Scythe. You have two secret objective cards and your combat cards are secret. The latter also impacts how well combat will work for you, since you'll know what combat cards your "opponent" has and that's normally secret.
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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DJStudley wrote:
jbbnbsmith wrote:
Another question I had is if the Automa could also be used to add a player to the game. In other words, if you only had four players but really wanted a 5 player experience could you throw in the automa?

I hope I'm not coming across as demanding, I'm really just curious if that would work or not.

Edit: what made me think of this is how the CivBots work in the game Historia.

Edit Again: Had another thought. Two player co-op or semi co-op against the automa. Yes, no?


Hi Jeff! You are not coming off as too demanding at all. We love hearing creative suggestions and questions. The short answer is no. It isn't designed to work like that. What I will tell you is that during the course of development, we discussed many ideas such as this and the earlier versions of the system did accommodate any combination of human and Automa players. It needed to be scaled back to make sure that the 1 on 1 experience was enjoyable and balanced properly. So, the potential is there and it's perhaps not far off from being able to accommodate that sort of thing. But, I don't think it would handle it in it's current state.

Morten has said elsewhere that he's open to taking Scythe Automa further and has also said that he would look into putting something together that would be untested, but players could give it a try. I believe that he's talked about a two against two sort of thing and if I know Morten, he has plenty of other things he's going to want to try, so we'll add your vote to the list.

Cheers, D

Edit: speling and Grammar


I also didn't see it as demanding at all - quite the contrary, I've very happy that you're showing interest in the Automa.

As David alludes to the Automa was initially designed to allow any combination of human players and Automas. If I can find the time I'll try and reintroduce that in a variant and put it here on BGG. It'll be untested, though.
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