Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
 Hide
16 Posts

Scythe» Forums » General

Subject: In praise of Automa and Morten Pederson rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: notes [+] [View All]
Ryan Lopez
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have played two 2-player games of Scythe so far, and I'm over the moon with my purchase (even without the metal coins or realistic resources--I opted for the art book and couldn't budget more than that, unfortunately ).

Just now, I finished reading over the Automa rules, and I'm agog. I'm flabbergasted. My gast has been thoroughly flabbered.

My body was filled with that pleasant, giddy anticipation as I read the rules. Let me repeat that: I was filled with "kid on Christmas morning" anticipation while reading a rule book. That alone is an accomplishment!

I've never played Viticulture, so I don't know how this compares to that Automa, but this is a work of mad, creative, GENIUS! I haven't played yet (I hope to tonight), but early reports from others are very positive, and as far as I can see, in a game with so much going on, Morten Monrad Pedersen has managed to automate everything so there is no room for player discretion or poor decision making. When I first started reading (the setup and movement sections), I thought," Whoa! This is dramatically different!" And it is. But that is the genius of it. Sure, the AI gets some "unfair" rules, but those appear to be all the difference in keeping things streamlined and competitive. And the combat resolution/resource "drops" are also quite clever.

I'm not traditionally a solo gamer, but lately have become interested in it because my time and opportunity to get together with others has become so limited. And this looks like a thoroughly rewarding solo experience!

So, I tip my hat to you, sir! I clap you firmly on the back and shake you warmly by the hand! The game is great, and this stretch goal has given it a whole new dimension for me! I also am pleased to see that you have put up some suggestions for putting Automa in the multiplayer game (so my buddy and I can get some "3-player" games in when no one else is available) as well as using multiple Automas, which is exciting. I shall be exploring it all.

Thanks you so much for this, and congratulations on a genius piece of design!!

Warmest gratitude,

Ryan

P.S. I am also stoked about this because it gave me some ideas to work on an Automa-like system for an old favorite of mine, Earth Reborn. People have been trying to solo that tactical mini game for years, with little or no success, and I think some ideas from this system could overcome some of the biggest hurdles to that process (IF I ever have time to work on it). Thanks for the inspiration as well, and you can bet I'll be following your blog!!
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave
United States
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
It works as well in practice as in rules-reading-theory. The Viticulture Automa is very good, but this is truly inspired.

Its flexibility is amazing. You can play solo, multi-player co-op, or multi-player competitive and add in any number of AI opponents. Morten has said that playtesting wasn't done on these additional iterations, but it seems like it works just fine for all of them.

And its ease of use is outrageous. The movement rules seem intricate and nit-picky at first, for example, but after a very short time I realized how easily internalized they are.

Edit: Jason leaving a link to Morten's blog made me realize that this link might be useful as well: Games with Automa opponents for solo play.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Brown
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You're gonna want to go ahead and add Viticulture Essential Edition to your wish list...

Edit: Also, add his blog to your subscriptions - Thematic Solitaires for the Spare Time Challenged.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Studley
United States
Rockville
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Who fell asleep in the rain? Did you fall asleep in the rain? Yes you did. Oh yes you did.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's wonderful to hear that you're enjoying the Automa for Scythe. Thanks for playing. Morten has been fairly afk recently, but I'm sure he'll be thrilled to read your comments.

Leaving out player discretion for moves that the Automa makes is one of the key tenets that Morten established in the model we use (see his blog posts on the subject). It adds significantly to the design process, so it's always nice to hear that it's appreciated. I believe it's worth the effort.

As far as the Automa breaking rules, that's how we're able to minimize the overhead for the user while, at the same time, ensuring it's competitive (or insanely competitive, if Morten had his way).

I'm not familiar with Earth Reborn, but I hope you make some progress with an Automa for it. Please keep us informed with how it's going.

Enjoy, David


11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Moser
United States
Escondido
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just want to add my endorsement in the spirit of this thread. I was already enjoying Scythe in the few games I had played "multi-player solo" and once actual multi-player, but my very first play against the Automa two nights ago was an absolute revelation. I had heard that it was fun, but was not prepared for how utterly brilliant it was. I have a strong sense that Scythe will still be on my dining room table and getting played nightly for the next several weeks at least.

Many thanks to Morten and everyone else responsible for this creation of devotion and genius.

-djm
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruce Chandler
United States
Burke
VA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Amen. I've been playing this game a lot in solo mode. Now I want to get a couple of extra automa decks to add a few more AI, but apparently I have to wait until they're offered as I do not like printing my own.

Well done Morten!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morten Monrad Pedersen
Denmark
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TheCrazyPiper wrote:
I have played two 2-player games of Scythe so far, and I'm over the moon with my purchase (even without the metal coins or realistic resources--I opted for the art book and couldn't budget more than that, unfortunately ).

Just now, I finished reading over the Automa rules, and I'm agog. I'm flabbergasted. My gast has been thoroughly flabbered.

My body was filled with that pleasant, giddy anticipation as I read the rules. Let me repeat that: I was filled with "kid on Christmas morning" anticipation while reading a rule book. That alone is an accomplishment!

I've never played Viticulture, so I don't know how this compares to that Automa, but this is a work of mad, creative, GENIUS! I haven't played yet (I hope to tonight), but early reports from others are very positive, and as far as I can see, in a game with so much going on, Morten Monrad Pedersen has managed to automate everything so there is no room for player discretion or poor decision making. When I first started reading (the setup and movement sections), I thought," Whoa! This is dramatically different!" And it is. But that is the genius of it. Sure, the AI gets some "unfair" rules, but those appear to be all the difference in keeping things streamlined and competitive. And the combat resolution/resource "drops" are also quite clever.

I'm not traditionally a solo gamer, but lately have become interested in it because my time and opportunity to get together with others has become so limited. And this looks like a thoroughly rewarding solo experience!

So, I tip my hat to you, sir! I clap you firmly on the back and shake you warmly by the hand! The game is great, and this stretch goal has given it a whole new dimension for me! I also am pleased to see that you have put up some suggestions for putting Automa in the multiplayer game (so my buddy and I can get some "3-player" games in when no one else is available) as well as using multiple Automas, which is exciting. I shall be exploring it all.

Thanks you so much for this, and congratulations on a genius piece of design!!

Warmest gratitude,

Ryan

P.S. I am also stoked about this because it gave me some ideas to work on an Automa-like system for an old favorite of mine, Earth Reborn. People have been trying to solo that tactical mini game for years, with little or no success, and I think some ideas from this system could overcome some of the biggest hurdles to that process (IF I ever have time to work on it). Thanks for the inspiration as well, and you can bet I'll be following your blog!!


Hi Ryan

As David said I'm mainly AFK at the moment, but during a brief time online your thread name caught my eye and I wanted to drop by and say a big thank you for your post - it put a big smile on my face.

I'm not sure whether you know this, but I've written a series of posts about my "Automa Approach" for making automated opponents for multiplayer games: The Automa Approach I: A method for making solitaire modes for multiplayer games.

Before I go offline again, I'll add that I didn't do the Automa on my own I had a lot of help from David who commented above, Lines Hutter who joined the team during development, and of course our great playtesters who helped a lot in making everything smoother.

Cheers
- Morten



  • [+] Dice rolls
Lines J. Hutter
Germany
Munich
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oh boy, an Automa for Earth Reborn would just be awesome.
Please keep us / me updated!
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dean Rogers
United States
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just wanted to join in on the praise. I play a lot of solo games, and this is easily the best I have experienced. I have only run through it twice but both games were actually thrilling. I love the effect of the Automa rules. I was skeptical at first but this system is a Winner. No really, it wins.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
"Landry" Lieve
Belgium
Leuven
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's finally weekend so I am hoping to break in my copy of Scythe tonight, looking forward to the Automa! Looks like I am in for some fun!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sumit K
United States
San Francisco
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I really want to try the Automa and it looks great. Can one of you guys make a simple video explaining how the game works? I am trying to read the rulebook but keep getting things confused.

Thanks!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Lopez
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mortenmdk wrote:

Hi Ryan

As David said I'm mainly AFK at the moment, but during a brief time online your thread name caught my eye and I wanted to drop by and say a big thank you for your post - it put a big smile on my face.

I'm not sure whether you know this, but I've written a series of posts about my "Automa Approach" for making automated opponents for multiplayer games: The Automa Approach I: A method for making solitaire modes for multiplayer games.

Before I go offline again, I'll add that I didn't do the Automa on my own I had a lot of help from David who commented above, Lines Hutter who joined the team during development, and of course our great playtesters who helped a lot in making everything smoother.

Cheers
- Morten





I didn't realize that there were others on the team, and certainly didn't mean to exclude them--congratulations to all! This is a really fine piece of design. I indeed had my first game last night (interrupted frequently by a waking infant snore cry ) and it was very interesting. I played the "normal" difficulty and won handily, so I may have done something wrong. I think I basically have movement figured out, but may have missed some options in my hurry to keep the game short-ish (under 2.5 hours). Final score was 81-54, but if the last Automa card had awarded it a star, my estimate says I would have won 68-64. Indeed, the game FELT much closer throughout, and it was only the fact that a move/recruit combination on my last turn allowed me to grab three hexes (two of which were undefended workers of the Automa--but I had enough popularity to remain in level 2). That was a 5-hex swing in final scoring, plus a 2-star swing (6-5, my favor, rather than the reverse). I can see how it'll get much easier as I go on. Now I need to find those rules for co-op, multiplayer with Automa, and multiple Automas and give them a whirl!

Thanks again. This is a fantastic addition to a fantastic game!!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Reverend Uncle Bastard
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TheCrazyPiper wrote:
I played the "normal" difficulty and won handily, so I may have done something wrong.


I would imagine you missed something, it is tough to beat normal difficulty in your first few games.

Things that are easy to miss:

1 - Once the Automa can cross rivers it can also use lake hexes as if they were regular hexes (for all units including workers) and will also score end game points for lake hexes it controls.

2 - Automa scores stars for hitting stars on its tracking card, plus reaching full power on the power track, plus up to two combat victories.

3 - Automa never gains or loses popularity.

4 - If executing moves correctly Automa will never have more than one combat unit and/or one worker per hex (i.e. never two mechs, two workers, or a mech and character on the same hex).

5 - Automa can only spend power it has on the track for combat, but can use multiple combat cards even though it will only have one combat unit in a contested hex.

6 - The "skip an Automa turn" symbol is only used for "easy" level.

7 - If Automa forces you to retreat from a hex with resources, those resources are removed from the board.

Great game indeed! Have fun.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Lopez
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
reverendunclebastard wrote:
TheCrazyPiper wrote:
I played the "normal" difficulty and won handily, so I may have done something wrong.


I would imagine you missed something, it is tough to beat normal difficulty in your first few games.

Things that are easy to miss:

1 - Once the Automa can cross rivers it can also use lake hexes as if they were regular hexes (for all units including workers) and will also score end game points for lake hexes it controls.

2 - Automa scores stars for hitting stars on its tracking card, plus reaching full power on the power track, plus up to two combat victories.

3 - Automa never gains or loses popularity.

4 - If executing moves correctly Automa will never have more than one combat unit and/or one worker per hex (i.e. never two mechs, two workers, or a mech and character on the same hex).

5 - Automa can only spend power it has on the track for combat, but can use multiple combat cards even though it will only have one combat unit in a contested hex.

6 - The "skip an Automa turn" symbol is only used for "easy" level.

7 - If Automa forces you to retreat from a hex with resources, those resources are removed from the board.

Great game indeed! Have fun.


Well, I'm certain I did all of those things correctly--i was going slowly and double checking most things. I did forget number 7, but it didn't matter this time. I won two combats to Automa winning just one, in which I had only a mech. Combats were lucky for me: they were rare and Automa only got one card each time (as printed in the combat line.) Come to think of it, I actually forgot to award myself resources for the two hexes where I drove out workers. I think my win was a combination of lucky cards (like the last card not awarding a star . . . and yes, I double checked the star count on the cards as well) and possibly a couple of messed up movements that might have resulted in a slightly easier position for me. Also, Automa was Polania, which meant it didn't have a faction benefit (extra encounter card bonuses means nothing to Automa, if I understand correctly). At any rate, or was fun and interesting.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Reverend Uncle Bastard
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TheCrazyPiper wrote:
Also, Automa was Polania, which meant it didn't have a faction benefit (extra encounter card bonuses means nothing to Automa, if I understand correctly). At any rate, or was fun and interesting.


Actually the Automa never uses faction benefits, no matter which faction it is (i.e. Saxony can only get 2 combat stars etc.)

I have compiled a larger list of common mistakes here:

Common Automa Mistakes

Congrats on the win! If you keep winning against normal level Automa you are going to have to come back and give me some pointers.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Costas Taliadoros
Cyprus
Nicosia
Strovolos
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmb
Lines42 wrote:
Oh boy, an Automa for Earth Reborn would just be awesome.
Please keep us / me updated!


+1
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.