I'm not ready to introduce the game to my gaming group till I can figure out how to get the game to flow quickly and feel balanced. In order to do this I've been trying to play lots of solo games. This is the system I'm using to drive the AI.
I'm using a simple deck of cards to drive the AI. The deck is from the Mars Attack kickstarter but it would be very easy to create your own. Each card either tells which figure to activate or tells you to draw and play a guard card.
The activation cards have 2 sections of information. The sector to activate from (left/center/right) and the figure to activate (nearest/farthest/most powerful). So if the card says left and farthest I look for the guard that is farthest away from any of my ninjas in the left section of the board and activate them.
Center most powerful
One of the core concepts I wanted to capture is that the guards shouldn't be able to just move straight at the ninjas positions if they aren't making lots of noise. In order to capture this feel the ninjas move randomly if there is no noise token in their sector. This mechanic is inspired by the GW stealth coop game Assasinorum Execution Force.
Recruitment phase- In order to make sure there is money available for recruitment I've moved this phase to the biggining. The AI will recruit 1 guard each turn if they aren't already at the max. They pay for the guard normally but they place them face down to show that the guard can't be activated this turn. At the end of the guard turn stand up the figure and roll a d6 for its starting facing (see notes on direction and facing below).
Activation phase- Now draw a card for each activation token and activate guards based on the cards. Place an activation token next to a guard every time you activate it to mark how many activations they have had.
Guard actions priority list:
If in visual range Detect or Attack ninja
If not in range Alert or Move
Alert - if guard is alert and within range of unalerted guard... Alert the guard.
-If sound token in sector move towards sound
-If no sound move random - roll d6 and compare results to the models facing
1 is forward, 2 is right, 3 is back, 4 is left, 5&6 is towards nearest ninja
-If the guard runs into a dead end... stop movement and turn around
Direction and facing on spawn - roll a D6 and use the same results chart for moving but the board edge the player is sitting at is considered forward.
Problems - the biggest challenge has been balancing the spawning rate. I've currently limited the recruitment to 1 guard per turn because the balance can get thrown off by how many free spawning cards are in the guard deck.
When picking a guard to activate if multiple guards fit the description (same priority or distance) then the ninja player gets to choose.
Really interesting, I don't Know the others games so i will take a look to better understand the mecanic.