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Subject: Should this game be called a game for 1 - 3 players ? rss

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Ben Bosmans
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The last 3 days I have been playing some solo sessions or better said learning sessions of Churchill and I think it is a great game for 3 players.

But 95% of my gaming is done solo these days and frankly I find the bots very light weight.


I thought I would see something like Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? which I think is a great solo experience, although the 2 player Labyrinth is also better.

As the bots decisions are more towards a "play all sides to the best of your knowledge" it seems there is some odd feeling I get when playing this game that I also had with The Peloponnesian War, 431-404 BC, another design of Mark Herman. In that game the history was not that appealing to me but the mechanic was interesting.

Here the problem is that you know all the cards of the AI and so when you play all sides, it is very difficult not to play "your" cards with the knowledge of the AI's hands.

I wonder if there could be a system used that would limit this knowledge somewhat. Such like the Jihad hand with Labyrinth.

Perhaps I am a bit too critical at the moment as I am certainly planning to do more sessions, but I REALLY think the game is best with 3 players and 5 conferences.

I will test Churchill with my son this week or next to see how it goes with 2 players, but even then these 2 players will know the cards of the AI after one card play already. It appears that the system forces the AI to play Stalin too.

Any thoughts ?





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Mark Herman
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Which Bot won? I could use some feedback.

If you play with 2 use the Churchill Bot.
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Michael Olsen
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Benny, I completely agree. To me this is not a solitaire game. It might be great with 3 players, actually I think it probably is, but for solitaire it falls completely flat *unless you are prepared to "improve" the bots on-the-fun*. That is, you need to be prepared to make decisions for the bots yourself.

This is, in my opinion, due to 2 things:

1: The bot rules are not detailed enough. There are too many questions, too many uncertainties. If I play a COIN game, say, I have no doubt about what the bots should do. It is all clearly described, and the flowcharts help.
In Churchill I have *some* rules, but it is, for example, not clear which rules take precedence in which cases. Flowcharts would certainly go a long way in helping here

2: The bots are much too easy (which might, or might not, be because I am playing them wrong, due to my confusion over the bot rules, see (1)).
For example, it is easy to force the Stalin bot to debate. Say I play as Churhchill. I play a low value card, Stalin bot will debate with high value card. Roosevelt bot will use high value card to drag same issue to his side, and Stalin will debate again. Continue doing that, and at the end of the conference you have high value cards, Stalin bot has no cards, and Roosevelt has low value cards (except one high value card).
(Please note, the above is from memory, I have traded away the game, so it is impossible for me to check).
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Mark
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Michael_Olsen wrote:
I think it probably is, but for solitaire it falls completely flat *unless you are prepared to "improve" the bots on-the-fun*. That is, you need to be prepared to make decisions for the bots yourself.


This is what I do. I try to think what each power/player would want to do in a given situation and go that way. I've found I just use the bots-by-the-book for the agenda phase and then kind of improvise after that.

It seems to work, although I've just gone through training scenario so far. I plan on playing the full campaign with dueling bots on my weekend.
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Ben Bosmans
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LeroyJS wrote:
Michael_Olsen wrote:
I think it probably is, but for solitaire it falls completely flat *unless you are prepared to "improve" the bots on-the-fun*. That is, you need to be prepared to make decisions for the bots yourself.


This is what I do. I try to think what each power/player would want to do in a given situation and go that way. I've found I just use the bots-by-the-book for the agenda phase and then kind of improvise after that.

It seems to work, although I've just gone through training scenario so far. I plan on playing the full campaign with dueling bots on my weekend.


I surely can understand this, but I guess we were spoiled by the Labyrinth solo mechanic and what was followed by the COIN series (although I still need to play Cuba seriously in solo mode).

I think I have fun playing solo with the 2 methods used: the pure solitair games with adapted rules or the I play both sides as such games.

But over the last few years we are really spoiled by the first category becoming better and better and the "I go/I go" category got a bit of a back seat lately.

So to me the game was a little bit awkward: I had full view of the opposing cards and why wouldn't I play as a human player with all this hindsight already ?

Like the player above cited in his example, I got his exact same strange feeling, ... am I playing the US or do I want the bots to beat me ???


The fact it is a 3 way game makes it even more unusual. So I think the 9/9 solitaire display on the GMT website is simply wrong...

Certainly when the game hints at coordinating and even discussing/exchanging productions with each other... Sorry but I still can't discuss with myself in a game.

I need unexpected things and sudden "attacks" or moves from an AI.

Perhaps some people may like this internal solo challenge with a triple bottom (I pull US production to my side, although it is in vain, to let the USSR pull it in, or as a future exchange for a global issue etc...).

But sorry this little brain is too limited to handle 3 way fakes and solve them.

So probably an excellent game for 3 players, but I would no longer rate it as a single player game.

As for 2 players, I hope it delivers and we will try to tweak the solo bot accordingly, so the solo rules could still help with that. It may even be very challenging as cards are still hidden between 2 players !
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Michael Olsen
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Ben_Bos wrote:
The fact it is a 3 way game makes it even more unusual. So I think the 9/9 solitaire display on the GMT website is simply wrong...


Again I agree with you. I purchased the game solely for solitaire gaming, and feel I basically wasted my money. Luckily I was able to trade it away, but I still lost some euro 25 or so on a game which I feel was misrepresented by the publisher.

8/9 solitaire rating can be discussed, but 9/9 is simply wrong I think.
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Ben Bosmans
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To be more constructive to find a solution in the issues phase.

How about giving the bots 9 cards of which 4 only are visible at a single time. The rest is shuffled back into a "side deck" (Magic the Gathering style). Each turn you shuffle the cards back and create a new side deck with a 4 hand draw.

That way the player has no idea what the full hand is of the bots until well into the 4th Meeting turn of the Conference.

The bots will need to choose between the existing 4 cards BUT still may only play the usual 7 cards total.

It would be an element of surprise to the player and it would also restrict any deals between the bots and the players.


----
Just some rough ideas of course, but I use the face down "side deck" mechanics in lots of 2 player games like Up Front or the C&C simple series. That way a pure 2 player game still has some tension despite the cards. As a player you never know the available cards on the part of the AI. The side deck I create changes from game to game too. In a normal C&C I make a 3 card side deck, in Up Front and Napoleonics it usualy is a 2 card side deck due to the necessity of combos in Napoleon or bigger chance to keep Concealed cards in UF.

I am not a designer at all though, let alone a Jedi Master like Mark is. All this just comes from a dude who loves to play his thematic games solo...



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Mark Herman
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Michael_Olsen wrote:
Ben_Bos wrote:
The fact it is a 3 way game makes it even more unusual. So I think the 9/9 solitaire display on the GMT website is simply wrong...


Again I agree with you. I purchased the game solely for solitaire gaming, and feel I basically wasted my money. Luckily I was able to trade it away, but I still lost some euro 25 or so on a game which I feel was misrepresented by the publisher.

8/9 solitaire rating can be discussed, but 9/9 is simply wrong I think.


First off I am sorry you feel like you wasted your money. For the record the publisher did not misrepresent anything, the rating is based on my view of what I had produced, a fully self contained solo system. So, the only person to blame is me.

My view has always been that if the game comes with a self contained solo system then it rates as a fully solo game. I think the issue being raised in the single player mode is you did not find it challenging enough, but the Churchill 'Bots are what they are, a paper logic on how to play out the cards to the best advantage with some randomness to drive forward the game narrative.

I regret that your expectations were not met, but I have and continue to use the 'Bots in single and two player mode. I think the 'Bots work best in the two player mode as there is another human to offer what you would expect from an opponent, hidden activity. That said, I recently wrote an article for the next issue of c3i that develops a narrative in solo mode and the 'Bots did quite well.

Comparing the Churchill solo system to the COIN system which I am quite expert at is an apples and oranges situation. There is no hidden information in Fire in the Lake in both the solo and the human mode. Churchill and my Erasmus system in Empire of the Sun is dealing with a hand of cards. If you want surprises, use an earlier system where you don't deal out the cards and just draw them one at a time. I moved away from this as the 'Bots played poorly and I never lost. I and the playtesters did lose to the 'Bots that come with the game.

If you are looking for a PC experience, I think that is an unrealistic expectation, but it is my goal, as was the case in the other games, to improve the 'Bots over time and publish them on line as I get input. There is not much here for me to use from that perspective other to say that the 'Bots will improve as I get specific input or ideas.

Mark
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Michael Olsen
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Thanks for the reply Mark.

First, I am afraid I am derailing this thread. Out of respect for the original poster, maybe we should move this to another thread?

Second, I am afraid I am not getting my points through. One issue was the bots seemed too easy, yes. But that is what it is, and is no my main concern.
My main concern is that what I see is not a fully self contained solitaire system. It is simply, in my view, not possible to play the game, using the rules as given, without taking decisions for the bots.

My comparison with COIN was not related to hidden information (I have no trouble with this). My comparison was related to the fact that when playing a COIN game solitaire, there are no "loose ends" with regards on how to play the bot. You use the flowchart, get to the point where you are supposed to be, and then follow the clear instructions on how to proceed. I do not see this with Churchill.

So my point is, the game is rated 9/9 for solitaire, which to me means it must contain a full solitaire system (challenging or not challenging). I believe it does not contain such a system.

I hope this makes it clearer.
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Mark Herman
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Michael_Olsen wrote:
Thanks for the reply Mark.

First, I am afraid I am derailing this thread. Out of respect for the original poster, maybe we should move this to another thread?

Second, I am afraid I am not getting my points through. One issue was the bots seemed too easy, yes. But that is what it is, and is no my main concern.
My main concern is that what I see is not a fully self contained solitaire system. It is simply, in my view, not possible to play the game, using the rules as given, without taking decisions for the bots.

My comparison with COIN was not related to hidden information (I have no trouble with this). My comparison was related to the fact that when playing a COIN game solitaire, there are no "loose ends" with regards on how to play the bot. You use the flowchart, get to the point where you are supposed to be, and then follow the clear instructions on how to proceed. I do not see this with Churchill.

So my point is, the game is rated 9/9 for solitaire, which to me means it must contain a full solitaire system (challenging or not challenging). I believe it does not contain such a system.

I hope this makes it clearer.


That is helpful, but I play with it all of the time and I have gotten lots of feedback, but what is a loose end? As I state, when you have a choice you randomize amongst the choices, which is how things like the USSR declares war on Japan gets on the table. My experience is not taking what I wrote literally, but please be more specific as I am happy to improve the 'bot instructions.

Mark
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Rex Stites
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Churchill is a unique game in that in most circumstances, blindly acquiring VP is not a path to victory. If the bots are too "easy" and you can easily get a large VP lead and then sabotage the war to force a walk-away condition-3 victory, I'd suggest simply modifying the solo rules to require axis surrender for a human victory in the solo game.

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I like this suggestion.
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Michael_Olsen wrote:
Thanks for the reply Mark.

First, I am afraid I am derailing this thread. Out of respect for the original poster, maybe we should move this to another thread?

Second, I am afraid I am not getting my points through. One issue was the bots seemed too easy, yes. But that is what it is, and is no my main concern.
My main concern is that what I see is not a fully self contained solitaire system. It is simply, in my view, not possible to play the game, using the rules as given, without taking decisions for the bots.

My comparison with COIN was not related to hidden information (I have no trouble with this). My comparison was related to the fact that when playing a COIN game solitaire, there are no "loose ends" with regards on how to play the bot. You use the flowchart, get to the point where you are supposed to be, and then follow the clear instructions on how to proceed. I do not see this with Churchill.

So my point is, the game is rated 9/9 for solitaire, which to me means it must contain a full solitaire system (challenging or not challenging). I believe it does not contain such a system.

I hope this makes it clearer.


I have the same issue with the solitaire mechanic for this game. After reading C3i (which convinced me to buy the game), I was expecting a more COIN style bot, that had detailed system to handle situations, rather than a set of guideline for playing the bots to your best ability.

I find Tesserat2's bot to be very interesting. I think that it could use a little more fine tuning, but it is an excellent platform to work from.

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/120384/churchill-variant-...

I want to play with some of its decision making algorithms a bit (mainly just doing some probability adjustments), but it is the closest thing to a true 'bot' that actually simulates a real player (including not always making the decisions that you may expect).
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Ben Bosmans
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rstites25 wrote:
Churchill is a unique game in that in most circumstances, blindly acquiring VP is not a path to victory. If the bots are too "easy" and you can easily get a large VP lead and then sabotage the war to force a walk-away condition-3 victory, I'd suggest simply modifying the solo rules to require axis surrender for a human victory in the solo game.



Which is a very odd way to enjoy a solo game indeed ...

Also ...

The game as it stands promotes dealing and trading some issues between players. But I can't trade with myself and a bot. Let alone create a double bottom to exploit the system versus 2 bots.

That essential part of the human game is also not included in the bot system as such.

I don't think we would discuss this if Churchill was sold as a game for 2 or 3 players, but an AI in a solo game really needs short term surprises for the human player.

The longer you can plan the action cycle of an AI, the more difficult it is to make an impressive and interestng AI that is still surprising and fun for the player.

The best solo games always relate to sudden surprises by the AI and very limited player turns/reactions to the new situation. When you know the cards of the AI 7 turns in advance, that element of surprise is taken out.

In Labyrinth there are exactly 2 cards and a lot of other advantages to the bot and in the COIN intelligence it is just 2 cards ahead for everyone.

And since the negociation is not possible either, you are introducing a very uncomfortable dilemma: do I play the US for real or do I win by simply faking it? In both cases the tension of the 3 player game is gone in the solo game.

Perhaps some may enjoy it as a solo game, but I don't see it. As I said above, a solution could be done by creating side decks for the AI, so the human player only has a vague idea of the bots hands.









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Michael Olsen
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MarkHerman wrote:
Michael_Olsen wrote:
Thanks for the reply Mark.

First, I am afraid I am derailing this thread. Out of respect for the original poster, maybe we should move this to another thread?

Second, I am afraid I am not getting my points through. One issue was the bots seemed too easy, yes. But that is what it is, and is no my main concern.
My main concern is that what I see is not a fully self contained solitaire system. It is simply, in my view, not possible to play the game, using the rules as given, without taking decisions for the bots.

My comparison with COIN was not related to hidden information (I have no trouble with this). My comparison was related to the fact that when playing a COIN game solitaire, there are no "loose ends" with regards on how to play the bot. You use the flowchart, get to the point where you are supposed to be, and then follow the clear instructions on how to proceed. I do not see this with Churchill.

So my point is, the game is rated 9/9 for solitaire, which to me means it must contain a full solitaire system (challenging or not challenging). I believe it does not contain such a system.

I hope this makes it clearer.


That is helpful, but I play with it all of the time and I have gotten lots of feedback, but what is a loose end? As I state, when you have a choice you randomize amongst the choices, which is how things like the USSR declares war on Japan gets on the table. My experience is not taking what I wrote literally, but please be more specific as I am happy to improve the 'bot instructions.

Mark


Mark,

sorry but I can not be more specific at this point, since I no longer own the game.
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Ben_Bos wrote:
rstites25 wrote:
Churchill is a unique game in that in most circumstances, blindly acquiring VP is not a path to victory. If the bots are too "easy" and you can easily get a large VP lead and then sabotage the war to force a walk-away condition-3 victory, I'd suggest simply modifying the solo rules to require axis surrender for a human victory in the solo game.



Which is a very odd way to enjoy a solo game indeed ...



How so?

Quote:
Also ...

The game as it stands promotes dealing and trading some issues between players. But I can't trade with myself and a bot. Let alone create a double bottom to exploit the system versus 2 bots.

That essential part of the human game is also not included in the bot system as such.


As Mark has previously stated, you could play the game and never communicate with your opponents, and it wouldn't lose anything from his design intent.

Sure, you could negotiate for how production ought to be allocated. But why? The point of the game is to "negotiate" through the mechanics of the game, not through table talk.

Quote:
I don't think we would discuss this if Churchill was sold as a game for 2 or 3 players, but an AI in a solo game really needs short term surprises for the human player.

The longer you can plan the action cycle of an AI, the more difficult it is to make an impressive and interestng AI that is still surprising and fun for the player.

The best solo games always relate to sudden surprises by the AI and very limited player turns/reactions to the new situation. When you know the cards of the AI 7 turns in advance, that element of surprise is taken out.

In Labyrinth there are exactly 2 cards and a lot of other advantages to the bot and in the COIN intelligence it is just 2 cards ahead for everyone.

And since the negociation is not possible either, you are introducing a very uncomfortable dilemma: do I play the US for real or do I win by simply faking it? In both cases the tension of the 3 player game is gone in the solo game.

Perhaps some may enjoy it as a solo game, but I don't see it. As I said above, a solution could be done by creating side decks for the AI, so the human player only has a vague idea of the bots hands.



I think a lot comes down to how much you want to game the bots to beat them. When I've played solo, I would play my agenda card before ever looking at the bots' hands. From there, I'd quickly go through their cards, just looking at the values to find the card they're supposed to play. After the agenda, I'd sort cards by value since I know that generally I'll be playing the highest/second highest card. I'd only at the first couple of attributes, though because that's all I needed to determine which issues to select for the bots. (This does result in potentially missing some of the A-bomb cards that are lower value, but give a +3 for it). I then make the plays from there with a minimal amount of knowledge about the bots hands. Since I'm not trying to memorize their hand, and am not studying their hand and the bot chart to determine what to play, I don't find that it is that bad.

I'm wondering, though, if you're not making a lot "make the best play for the bots" type decisions when you should actually be choosing something randomly. My first solo play, I did a lot of this. But on rereading the rules/charts, I realized that I should have been randomizing a lot of these choices. These random choices tend to add a lot of the uncertainty that you're desiring.
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Mark Herman
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Ben_Bos wrote:
rstites25 wrote:
Churchill is a unique game in that in most circumstances, blindly acquiring VP is not a path to victory. If the bots are too "easy" and you can easily get a large VP lead and then sabotage the war to force a walk-away condition-3 victory, I'd suggest simply modifying the solo rules to require axis surrender for a human victory in the solo game.



Which is a very odd way to enjoy a solo game indeed ...

Also ...

The game as it stands promotes dealing and trading some issues between players. But I can't trade with myself and a bot. Let alone create a double bottom to exploit the system versus 2 bots.

That essential part of the human game is also not included in the bot system as such.

I don't think we would discuss this if Churchill was sold as a game for 2 or 3 players, but an AI in a solo game really needs short term surprises for the human player.

The longer you can plan the action cycle of an AI, the more difficult it is to make an impressive and interestng AI that is still surprising and fun for the player.

The best solo games always relate to sudden surprises by the AI and very limited player turns/reactions to the new situation. When you know the cards of the AI 7 turns in advance, that element of surprise is taken out.

In Labyrinth there are exactly 2 cards and a lot of other advantages to the bot and in the COIN intelligence it is just 2 cards ahead for everyone.

And since the negociation is not possible either, you are introducing a very uncomfortable dilemma: do I play the US for real or do I win by simply faking it? In both cases the tension of the 3 player game is gone in the solo game.

Perhaps some may enjoy it as a solo game, but I don't see it. As I said above, a solution could be done by creating side decks for the AI, so the human player only has a vague idea of the bots hands.



Benny, I do want to understand your concerns but you raise several questions that I never tried nor think should be addressed.

I am not sure what a 'surprise' constitutes. I have played with all of the 'Bot systems on the market and I have not once been surprised by the 'Bot, so I am a bit confused in this regard.

The 'Bots are programed to play well and what I have found and seen from the play tests is a 'Bot regularly wins conferences and the 'Bots have won games. Is that what you see as a surprise?

Also, there are several situations every conference whereby a staff card, such as Beaverbrook has no issue attribute, but is tied to Churchill for his strength. The 'Bot then tries to maximize its benefit and as there are several choices, you have to randomize, that is not a surprise? The 'Bots situation does vary and I do not see how you can know 7 cards in advance what it is going to do.

As far as the notion that I supplied guidelines, I would offer that in every situation the 'Bot leads to an outcome, perhaps requiring a random die roll, for which issue, card, or placement. Not sure how that is a guideline and not a definitive answer. You clearly do not agree, can you give me an example? If I missed something I can improve it, but I do not understand the distinction you are making.

As far as the lack of negotiation, the debate mechanic is the negotiation in Churchill. I am not fond of a design requiring negotiation to work. You could play an entire game of Churchill with no negotiation and when I play beyond trash talk, there is little to no negotiation in the Churchill games that I have played. That is not to say that you cannot, but the design does not require any to work. The 'Bots play in this manner. They have a philosophy on how to win the game and they prosecute it. I find that the Churchill 'Bot is a particularly tough opponent, so I would like to understand how you are seeing the situation.

Mark

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MarkHerman wrote:
First off I am sorry you feel like you wasted your money. For the record the publisher did not misrepresent anything, the rating is based on my view of what I had produced, a fully self contained solo system. So, the only person to blame is me.

My view has always been that if the game comes with a self contained solo system then it rates as a fully solo game.


For the record, a brief sampling of GMT's identified Solitaire experiences (which doesn't currently include Churchill, but probably should) showed that if a game has a 'bot that can drive decision making, it gets a 9/9 for solo suitability.

The only other solo-suitability numbers I saw were in the 1-3 range. In these cases a player could "play both sides" but had no guidance in the form of a script or flowchart. For example, Twilight Struggle gets a "2".

I'm somewhat surprised that solo capability isn't represented in a binary fashion (solo enabled ; not solo enabled) versus the 9 point scaling graphic, but it is what it is.

Regardless, I'm glad the bots exist in Churchill, I see them as one possible baseline strategy and have allowed me the chance to run through few sample turns to assist understanding.
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I confess I have a bias and that I fight my personal jihad against the wild use of 1-player declaration and high solo rating in clearly 2-players, chess-like games. Lately it seems the publishers make everything in their power to ride the solo-hype and get the attention of this growing niche of the market.

I pre-ordered Churchill for its solo playability too and I am very disappointed by what I am reading here, anticipated by the scarce notes in the rulebook.

I am going to try the BOTs soon, at least to finish the Training scenario played by 3 humans until the end of 2nd Conference.

Nowadays solitaire expectation is not a subjective perception anymore since we have many example of real Solitaire games in the market and it's very clear what an AI should be. Anything else, should be below 9/9 (see EA:A and yes, also COIN is quite close to the top)
The "fully self contained solo system" definition can not set any different expectation, it would be like a so declared card-driven game where you have to create the cards content by yourself, ok it can be fun but it's not what I wanted to buy.

However Churchill is demonstrating to deserve its space in the bookcase for its quality as multiplayer game and I can not say I wasted my money, to have some BOT "guidelines" is a nice add-on that can enhance the life-cycle of this game.
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Ben Bosmans
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Mark ... I will try to explain it.

A surprise is more than a row of 7 cards in front of me that I can look and analyse from turn 1 on and then roll a die to see which alternatives the bot played after mostly one line of decision making: the number on the cards + the appropriate strength they get for a discussed theme.

The surprise could be that only half of the AI cards are revealed from turn 1 and then later secret cards reveal themselves. This would cause a more uncertain situation to a player as the prediction per turn no longer is possible due to the more limited knowledge for the player and you could get a more random and possible dynamic game play.

The fact you use only 2 cards in COIN is better than you would have 7 cards on display and the knowledge of the cards that will be used in future turns.

I know COIN or Labyrinth or any other solo system can not directly be compared to Churchill, but all these solo games (from Ambush to the DDay series to the latest CoH) have all one thing in common: they use a rather limited knowledge mechanic for the player and thus they generate a reaction by the player, which makes for a tense game play.

Why should the Churchill solo player know the hands of both his opponent AI's ?

You don't know the exact hands of the human players either...

I just mentioned the possibility of a side deck but this could be created with any other form of play.








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Rex Stites
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Ben_Bos wrote:
Mark ... I will try to explain it.

A surprise is more than a row of 7 cards in front of me that I can look and analyse from turn 1 on and then roll a die to see which alternatives the bot


Why would you look at and analyze the Bots' hands? Do you analyze the COIN bots to see how they'll play if you make a certain move? Just because you are theoretically allowed to do something doesn't mean you should. If you're not being "surprised" because you've already analyzed the bots hands and determined how they're going to play generally, then that's on you for not getting a satisfying solo experience.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Ben_Bos wrote:
The last 3 days I have been playing some solo sessions or better said learning sessions of Churchill and I think it is a great game for 3 players.

But 95% of my gaming is done solo these days and frankly I find the bots very light weight.

You're suggesting that to be categorized as a game for various numbers of players, it has to be of equal weight no matter how many are playing? Sounds like a bizarre premise for criticism to me, but then again Churchill attracts weird complaint threads like my porch light attracts moths.

You've been playing it solo, ergo it plays with 1 player. There's a section on the game page where people vote on "best with x players"; that's there for a reason. It's a rare game that plays equally well regardless of the number of players.
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Sphere wrote:
Sounds like a bizarre premise for criticism to me, but then again Churchill attracts weird complaint threads like my porch light attracts moths.


That sums it up perfectly ...
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Sphere wrote:
Ben_Bos wrote:
The last 3 days I have been playing some solo sessions or better said learning sessions of Churchill and I think it is a great game for 3 players.

But 95% of my gaming is done solo these days and frankly I find the bots very light weight.

You're suggesting that to be categorized as a game for various numbers of players, it has to be of equal weight no matter how many are playing? Sounds like a bizarre premise for criticism to me, but then again Churchill attracts weird complaint threads like my porch light attracts moths.

You've been playing it solo, ergo it plays with 1 player. There's a section on the game page where people vote on "best with x players"; that's there for a reason. It's a rare game that plays equally well regardless of the number of players.


I don't think that my question about the solo play is weird at all. And it certainly has nothing to do with moths.

The solo game plays with full hand knowledge of all opposite (AI) cards, which is the exact opposite in the deciding strategy of the 3 man player game.

So I think the question of the thread is legit because I am basing my purchases on >90% solo play. It is my money after all. Likewise an argument like above "you may not analyse the cards" tells me something is weird and that something is not my question.

May I play to win ? Or do I let the bots win to satisfy my scoring ? I am sorry but it is not working for me as a 9/9 solo game like indicated on the box AND advertised.

I think it is more like 6/9 on the solo bar so people should know that the real challenge is the 3 player game, which I suppose is excellent. A pity I will probably not be able to play it that way.

I get the impression Mark introduces solo play as learning tools for his games to prepare for the "real thing" with 3 players or to assist you when playing with 2.

The problem is that solo games are the "real thing" for me (and many others). So I buy games with 9/9 on the box. I think GMT is right in trying to get as many games out with a solo tag these days, but solo to me is more than training for the "real game".

When I have the choice of playing dozens of solo games I am not chosing the training for the multi player one.
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Ok, stimulated by this dicussion i played solo last night Conference 10 of the training scenario. I was Stalin, as a continuation of Conference 8 and 9 played with other 2 humans.
The play was unexpectedly fast, the BOT guidelines did not cover all the cases so I applied the random selection more often than stated in the BOT sheets. Some BOT instruction were not clear at all, I will look in the forum if already addressed. Debating seems to become quite marginal and the use of BOT Leaders seems too predictable (replaybility?).
About the BOT cards, yes you have to look at each of them to put them in the right order for each round but to be honest I already have difficulties to remember my own cards, so I did not perceive this as a big problem.
On the other hand the overall feeling was quite boring, mostly like just housekeeping, not a real challenge but just a follow-the-flow effect, until the final d6 roll in Victory Condition 3 that moved back Stalin to second position 1 pt behind Churchill....
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