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Subject: Solo/Cooperative AI opponents Gaming ideas rss

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Iam TwinWarrior
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Today I took the time to look over the rules. From what I've read, I started to get an idea for how to play a solo or cooperative game with some AI controlled opponents:

Each turn a robot can perform four actions. Depending on cards and abilities, some actions can be taken once, multiple times or not at all. Part of the appeal of this game is that you don't know what cards and abilities your opponent has until you see them being used. So the first thing I wanted was an AI deck of cards.

When putting together robots, you choose a pilot ability, three robot abilities and an ultimate ability. You then choose pilot and robot abilities until you have fifteen cards and an ultimate ability card. This, I feel, wouldn't work very well with the AI. Mostly because the player, or players, would have to choose the cards and would know what to expect. There might also be an unscrupulous player who would make their choice based on giving themselves an advantage.

So my initial thoughts, and I may change in time, is to create a personalised deck of AI cards for each opposing robot/beastie. I'm leaning more towards AI Kaiju, since they won't need to complicate things with a pilot. Something along the lines of thirty to fifty cards detailing various moves, actions and counter attacks.

Each card will provide one of three actions based on their proximity to the player:

GREEN: No enemy in sight
ORANGE: Enemy in sight but more than 2/3 hexes away
RED: Enemy in sight and closer than 2/3 hexes away

That should cut down on ridiculous moments when a robot is attacking an AI and it leisurely walks away while being repeated punched. Lame.

As I type, my brain fired a suggestion so I will share this. Rather than delete what I've already said, I'd like you to follow the thought process. Here goes:

Each AI Kaiju will have about thirty six cards. The cards themselves will be Red, Orange and Green. The player draws the relevant card based upon the circumstances as mentioned above.

RED DECK
This will be a deck filled with attacks, defence and even an ultimate. Since at close range, or right next to the opponent, the monster is more likely to attack.

ORANGE DECK
This will be a more balanced combination of attacks and defence, allowing the monster to either launch an attack or respond to a robot attacking it.

GREEN DECK
Focused more on movement, building energy, and keeping some amount of defensive ability just in case.


These are my early thoughts. I did just read the rules today. More to come, and some fine tuning, soon but for now I'm putting this out there and seeing what people think.

Be gentle.

Gamer "Bearded" Tom
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Nate Parkes
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I like that you're starting this, and I like the idea of using a color system to represent different "modes" of action.

I was thinking about the whole idea of an AI opponent, and I think a helpful question might be:

What game or games have given you the most fulfilling solo experience?

In my case, the three that jump to mind are:
* Gears of War
* Sails of Glory (solo chart)
* Descent (POD)

Gears of War uses a simple "flip a card, do that thing, if that thing isn't valid draw another card" mechanic, with some sub-prioritization.

The Sails of Glory solo movement chart uses a 2d6 system, based on the positioning of the two ships. It executes the corresponding maneuver and then uses a priority tree for whether to fire, reload, etc.

Descent uses a "flip a card, do the first two valid things on the card" system that is simple, but occasionally results in suboptimal moves.

I'd love to know what anyone else's favorite solo systems are.
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Iam TwinWarrior
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I've not played an official solo play system. But I am going for the flip a card approach. Heard Mantic Games did this for one (or more) of their games.

But I second your question. The more information I get about what others have found enjoyable the better.

This may be my idea, but I'd like it to be a community rules system.

Never know, if we do a good job Giga-Robo! might make it official in the future.
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Paul Richardson
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I haven't played a solo system either but here are some thoughts

I think it should be possible to set up the deck similar to a player's deck. This would then have the benefit of being able to use the existing robots/pilots, but also if a human player wanted to play as a Kaiju then it would be the same as controlling a robot/pilot.

So for a robot/pilot

roll a die to determine robot, roll a die to determine pilot

pick up all their cards

Then it should be possible to sort the cards into piles
e.g.
put all the cards that cost FS 1-5 in a pile (pile 1)
put all the cards that cost FS 6-10 in a pile (pile 2)
put all the cards that cost FS >10 in a pile (pile 3)

There might be a better split than FS cost but it has the advantage of being on the cards.

then shuffle each deck then select the top, say:
7 cards from pile 1
6 cards from pile 2
2 cards from pile 3

We'd need to work out how to best split the cards and into how many piles. Then how many to select from each pile.

shuffle pilot abilities and then select the top pilot ability

shuffle robot abilities and then select the top 3
(will need some exceptions e.g. if have cards that require Azyn's IRON FUSION STAGE 3! AYZN BLACK! ability then you get those abilities automatically).

For a Kaiju should be broadly the same except it has 9 abilities to pick 4 from in order to match the robot/pilot (6 robot + 3 pilot) and 43 cards to select the 15 from (33 robot + 10 pilot).

Then instead of the red deck containing the attack cards. It now just has if able perform an attack that costs X FS.

We'd need to tailor the red, orange and green decks to the type of Kaiju or Robot. So Ayzn's red deck would be different to Dai Raijin V's red deck.
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Nate Parkes
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I think when designing an AI system, you have two ways you can go:

A) Design a system that attempts to autonomously replicate the decisions of an intelligent opponent with a symmetrical level of resources

Example: A system that would automate one of the existing robots, allowing a 1 v 1 Giga-Robo game.

B) Design a system that produces varied decisions by an unintelligent opponent with an asymmetrical level of resources

Example: A system that controlled a group of minion-like enemy bots that would attack a single human player.

A is attractive, because it is intended to just plug the AI into the game as a human player, and use the existing rule-set and game elements.

The issue is that "A" systems often become very conditionally complex (if this, then this, but if that, then this), and usually wind up requiring the human player to make some decisions on the AI's behalf.

I tend to prefer "B" type systems, because the suboptimal strategy of the "dumb" AI is compensated for by the asymmetry--there are MORE of them.

By no means do I want to dissuade anyone from attempting to design an "A" type system--the RAOV system from Descent is an "A" type system, and it has a lot of fans.
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Steven Hammerschlag
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The A system seems like it would dumb down the game. GR! is about having a deck of cards, yes - but the deck of cards are very conditional and are not meant to be drawn randomly. So to make an AI draw from a deck of cards randomly might present some surprises, but overall I think the game would lose the intelligence of the social interaction that exists in the Human/Zoider conflict.

I could see plenty of thematic and mechanic synergies if you had Kaiju AI running around, as it's easy to dumb down the currency mechanics, but it would cheapen the feel of fighting for a giga-shard. Giga-tech is rare in the universe, let alone on planet earth - so in a PvE version of GR! I don't personally think that makes the most sense to fight something that's AI, as AI can't harness Giga-tech. That's not to say there isn't a Kaiju element to this game that has been desired and thought about since day 1, but we're talking about PvE in the current universe.

A B system, which in my mind sounds like a tower defense platform (which I lovedon'tgetmestarted), might be the way to go, especially if you're involving things not giga-shard related.

I personally would want to always play this game with other people - I am of the camp that board games are not computer games because they're intended to be social. There's a reason people don't play solitaire or poker alone - let alone Monopoly.

It's hard to be unbiased and not want GR! to be a completely social experience, but I'm curious if there is substantial demand to have a PvE type experience with this game as opposed to expanding on the universe and allowing human (possibly zoiderrobot) players to utilize the litany of options to create more pilot/robot combinations to spar with other humans (and zoidersrobot) in the quest for a giga-core!
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Iam TwinWarrior
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Part of the reason for leaning towards AI Kaiju was that, unless I'm missing something, they don't require a pilot. Another reason is that they would have more instinctive behaviour, rather than being as adaptable as a human or zoider pilot.

One of the ideas was for something similar to the Tyranid Instinctive Behaviour from Battlefleet Gothic. It simply lists a series of criteria. When you get to a certain amount of criteria met, you perform the necessary action.

But that takes away the card element of the game. Unless reaching certain criteria means you draw X amount of cards from ? deck. That takes player decision making right out of the equation, allows a certain amount of strategy, but maintains the unknown element of what the card(s) might reveal.

I'm liking Instinctive Behaviour + Red/Orange/Green decks.


As to why I'm interested in AI, I can only speak for myself here: I don't always get to game with an opponent. I'm hoping to introduce a few friends, but they have jobs, wives and, in some cases, children. Without an AI, it might be months between games which would be a waste of a cool game. I could fight me, but that gets a little lame. I know what I'm going to do and I can react to what I'm doing. So an AI will allow me to enjoy this great game anytime, and allows me to enjoy doing so because I won't know what the AI monsters are going to do.


I'm not ruling out the possibility of adding pilots. Each Kaiju could have Instinctive Behaviour (the robot) and Intelligence (pilot). Could be a grey card deck.
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Oblivion Doll
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In another discussion where Kaiju were discussed, I mentioned that - based on Noriko's backstory - it might be a good idea to have a game variant where we can fight against conventional military forces. They could have tiny little (2.4mm tall!) infantry units, and small tanks, which do minimal damage individually, but are acting as support units for mass produced mech units. These would be smaller and much less capable than the machines powered by Giga-Shards, but would be more of a threat than their support units.

No conventional units (including their mechs) would have any resources to manage, just cooldowns on the mechs, and specific attacks and defenses for tanks and infantry.

Infantry could get an attack against every target in range, while tanks would only target the nearest for a slightly more powerful attack. Mechs could have their own board which just has a cooldown meter and space for their attack cards when not in cooldown. An easy way to manage them would be to have one permanently-available 0 cooldown counter they could ONLY use as a counter, one ability with 1 cooldown, and therefore usable every turn (barring power surges) and one or two randomly-selected 2 or 3 cooldown abilities from a small deck, with slightly more damage/range and possibly some utility effects. Whenever there's a target in range for an available attack, they'd attack it.
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Iam TwinWarrior
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Not a bad idea.

I've seen some good models for using as Kaiju, some small, some big and some huge.

I really prefer 6mm as the absolute smallest tank and infantry models, despite knowing 3mm is more in scale with Giga-Robo!

But since I'll be getting the models for use in another game anyway, I might add infantry and tanks, as well as smaller monsters, later.
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Steven Hammerschlag
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Okay so been thinking. I think this could be a unique twist down the line. It would solve the question of why all these robots are constantly fighting in a large urban area and the ELM government never sends in troops to stop it. All the characters in the game are not model citizens so it would make sense that some non-giga forces would try to intercede at some point.

This could get Tower Defense-y (now you've got me started) and scale based on how difficult you want the "attack wave" to be based on what units you use. Easy to also throw together different scenarios with set starting positions for troops (Noriko being chased by CNS forces for example). Different themed PvE expansions based on the pilot (Takashi would fight Zoider foot soldiers not armed with giga-tech, Kong could fight off a rival war lord), though you can face off with any pilot|robot combination. You could score yourself on different metrics (how many turns it takes to win, health left, damage done etc). There can also be defensive and offensive set ups depending on what type of scenario played.

As these troops are non-giga they'd move along the streets only, which could be an interesting mechanic (on map A and what eventually is map B) and have range enough to hit hexes from the street (and not need to travel off the street to engage you). You could also have air support troops, etc. A lot of ideas there, though would work a lot like Zombicide in terms of managing the enemy troops movement.

That would be fun I think, and it would introduce some more, albeit smaller, miniatures to the game. There are still robots used by ELM and CNS, so it might be fun to have Ayzn running around trying to stomp out smaller robots, tanks and the like.

For Kaiju I think we have an idea of where we want to go eventually if we can get to an expansion. The story and thematic elements of the creatures in GR! would allow for the same type of "pilot|robot" build, with obvious differences in title/theme and game currency. There would have to be a lot of time invested in coming up with a true AI deck as I wouldn't want it to simply be cards drawn from based on distance. This will definitely be a fun little project to take on in the next few months.
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Iam TwinWarrior
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Just a recap:

INSTINCTIVE BEHAVIOUR
Each of the Kaiju, or Kaiju species, will have a chart which dictates how it will act, how many cards it will draw, and what deck, or decks, of cards it will draw from. But each Kaiju will also have a Grey Deck which can override the Instinctive Behaviour.

INTELLIGENCE
This is the Grey Deck which represents the personality, aka pilot, of the Kaiju. Some examples include Hunter, Nesting, Foraging etc. There might also be an Intelligence card which instructs to simply stick with the Instinctive Behaviour.

On the hunt, a Kaiju will keep itself hidden as it advances on the enemy before launching a savage attack designed to cripple or kill quickly. Nesting would mean staying still, or at least close to "the nest" but being very aggressive if approached. Foraging would involve destroying every building and spending a round in the rubble.

Those are just examples and still in the brainstorming stage.

CARD DECKS
Based on Instinctive Behaviour and Intelligence, the Kaiju will draw from one of three, or a combination of the three, decks of cards for abilities. Green is focused around healing, building energy and some defensive. Orange is an equal balance of offensive and defensive abilities. Red is all about bringing the hurt and will likely contain any Ultimate Ability.

COOLDOWN
Even living creatures have an amount of energy, and some actions take more than others, so there will still be a cool down period for the cards. However, because this is an AI, cooled-down cards will be placed in a discard pile. Once all the cards from a deck are used up, shuffle the deck and start drawing from the cards again.


Infantry and Tanks, not forgetting smaller Kaiju, will get some thought once the bigger stuff has been worked out.
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Stefan Yates
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Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures has an actual solo play app that's not too bad and uses a lot of the "range factor" ideas that you mention. You might check it out just to see how it works: Mark 13: X-Wing Solo AI in the Google Play Store

Great idea!
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Oblivion Doll
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styates wrote:
Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures has an actual solo play app that's not too bad and uses a lot of the "range factor" ideas that you mention. You might check it out just to see how it works: Mark 13: X-Wing Solo AI in the Google Play Store

Great idea!


There's also at least 2 free versions, one of which I've used on PC (since my phone can't handle apps or internet connections)
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