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Subject: What's the point of a solo game? rss

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James Bjork

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I have an odd schedule, so I often need to play solo.

So I picked up a copy of O&L at 75% off list because the box was torn (components were fine), and I have enjoyed Agricola, Glass Road, and especially Fields of Arle solo. These games feature a random element each game, in terms of resources, target building available, so as to provide a tactical puzzle for me to solve, which is satisfying.

As I complete the rules for O&L, though, I'm not seeing where there would really be anything like that. Everything is available, right? How do you get replayability solo without the random dynamic of OTHER PLAYERS and their choices to acquire resources?

Does someone have a link to a good solo run-thru?
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Jac Paris

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It's amazing how much tiny differences in early game decisions make the middle game options vastly different. Yes - there is no randomness in the setup it's true but I've played both countries about eight times each solo and I still find it a very enjoyable (and long) experience.
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Michael W.
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patrocles wrote:
It's amazing how much tiny differences in early game decisions make the middle game options vastly different. Yes - there is no randomness in the setup it's true but I've played both countries about eight times each solo and I still find it a very enjoyable (and long) experience.


That's totally right. Actually you could play the exact same game every time (like most of the sandboxy game) if you do exact the same actions in the same order. But there are so many things you can do so you try out other strategies and other actions. This leads do an another game after a few turns. And you'll find yourself in a complete different game situation.

But if you want the game telling you to do specific things (because of another setup etc) this game is not the best for you. Agricola and Glassroad have more variability.

The main point I think is: Agricola for example you plan your complete game right from the beginning. In Ora et labora you decide during your game what you want to accomplish. Both are very enjoyable ways in my opinion.
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E Thomas
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Uwe is betting that he's made a game so vast that randomness to create variation is unnecessary. In my experience, he's made a good bet.
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Rob White
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saxguy007 wrote:
I have an odd schedule, so I often need to play solo.

So I picked up a copy of O&L at 75% off list because the box was torn (components were fine), and I have enjoyed Agricola, Glass Road, and especially Fields of Arle solo. These games feature a random element each game, in terms of resources, target building available, so as to provide a tactical puzzle for me to solve, which is satisfying.

As I complete the rules for O&L, though, I'm not seeing where there would really be anything like that. Everything is available, right? How do you get replayability solo without the random dynamic of OTHER PLAYERS and their choices to acquire resources?

Does someone have a link to a good solo run-thru?


James, I'm more like you I think. When I game solo I want something to create some change to the games state (die roll, card draw, etc.). I enjoyed solo Glass Road more than Agricola and Fields because of the card draw. Actually, Fields didn't have enough variability in buildings for me solo-wise (2-player, it's awesome). Everybody's different, of course.

As an aside, great game with strong solo play for me right now is Terraforming Mars. It has lots of different starting corporations that make for wildly changing games. Also, it's all about working with the cards you draw each round.
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James Bjork

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Rob in Richmond wrote:


James, I'm more like you I think. When I game solo I want something to create some change to the games state (die roll, card draw, etc.). I enjoyed solo Glass Road more than Agricola and Fields because of the card draw. Actually, Fields didn't have enough variability in buildings for me solo-wise (2-player, it's awesome). Everybody's different, of course.

As an aside, great game with strong solo play for me right now is Terraforming Mars. It has lots of different starting corporations that make for wildly changing games. Also, it's all about working with the cards you draw each round.


Thanks Rob for this tip. I'll check it out!
 
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James Bjork

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So I watched Rahdo's run thru, and did three solo games.

Scores: 278, 314, 305.

It just seems unfathomable how anyone could hit the loosely-suggested target score of 500, even with more shrewd placement of buildings around settlements. I hit or approach target scores in Agricola, Glass Road, and Fields of Arle, but I must be missing something big time in this game.

Until I somehow get an epiphany for solo play, I'll set this one aside for times I can get an opponent or two. I think having to navigate the possibility that another player will grab that building or resource I want will make the game much more compelling.

 
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Jac Paris

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I'd personally suggest - don't give up yet. The score of 500 is very manageable once you get better at it and extremely rewarding the first time you hit it because it was something you had to persevere to do!
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James Bjork

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I guess I just don't see where the points would come from. I can see where maybe I can figure out a way to get an extra 10-15 points of proximity bonus to each settlement but that doesn't get me anywhere near the 200 points.
 
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Jac Paris

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You're counting target is about 200 points for settlements, 200 points for buildings and 100 points for goods? And you're only struggling to see how the settelement points could get close to their target?

I'm just trying to understand.

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John Burt
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saxguy007 wrote:
I guess I just don't see where the points would come from. I can see where maybe I can figure out a way to get an extra 10-15 points of proximity bonus to each settlement but that doesn't get me anywhere near the 200 points.


I just finished my first solo Ireland game (I've played 6 multiplayer games), and I got a score of 470 - my highest yet, and I know I can pass 500 w/ a bit tighter play. Two hints: Sacristy and Castle are your friends.
 
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James Bjork

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My favorite words of wisdom from the Dos Equis World's Most Interesting Man are:

"Find out that one thing you don't do well... and DON'T DO THAT THING."

Well... so I tried once more- with Castle and Sacristy... and got 309 points. I have plateaued.

I ended up having bought 26 cards/buildings, four additional districts and two coasts (no mountains).

The only thing I can think of is that maybe I always too crazy on buying buildings instead of focusing on one or two production pipelines and using my clergy more often. There were several of these cards/buildings that I never actually used with my clergy.
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John Burt
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As I recall, the trick to getting a higher score with Sacristy was getting some early buildings that gave the VP items (pots, reliquaries, etc) needed as input for Sacristy to make wonders. Then used them regularly so that by the time I built sacristy had the items I needed to generate multiple wonders over several turns (I ended up with 5).

For castle, I made sure I had organized the board and had open settlement spaces and resources to build them. I think I added 2 settlements due to castle, which added nicely to the score (I think it was artists colony and farming village).

Here's a picture I happened to take of the end game board, in case that's helpful to you.

 
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Andrew J
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saxguy007 wrote:
My favorite words of wisdom from the Dos Equis World's Most Interesting Man are:

"Find out that one thing you don't do well... and DON'T DO THAT THING."

Well... so I tried once more- with Castle and Sacristy... and got 309 points. I have plateaued.

I ended up having bought 26 cards/buildings, four additional districts and two coasts (no mountains).

The only thing I can think of is that maybe I always too crazy on buying buildings instead of focusing on one or two production pipelines and using my clergy more often. There were several of these cards/buildings that I never actually used with my clergy.


It would be interesting to see what your ending board looks like, because while 500 points takes a bit of effort to achieve, 309 strikes me as a score on which you could easily improve. I'm assuming that a fair amount of it has to do with how you are placing your settlements--in that you are not taking advantage of having two different settlements score the settlement bonus off of the same building (e.g., making it so at least two settlements score the 8 settlement points available from the Church). You also should be getting the castle to maximize your ability to play the vast majority (if not all) of your settlements.

Now, that said, I think my top has been 498 (though it has been quite some time since I played), so obviously I'm not quite there yet either.
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