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Subject: 3* Sessions of the Solo Mode... rss

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Greg
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After getting this is the mail from pre-order yesterday, I am itching to learn how to play the solitaire mode. The components are amazing and it all looks wrought in the similar style as its predecessor, Shadows of Malice.

To be continued...

Update:



Ok so I finished my first solo playthrough and I scored a 2 lol! Much much room for improvement. My first attempt at slaying the king with a stack of 3 Zimbies (2 sacrificed for +8) failed in a 10/10 tie on the dice. Took me a long time of scrambling back around to make another attempt but I eventually took it out. I feel a little bit like I just played a twisted version of Pacman The session was fun but I found that I hardly used any cards/scrolls during the game. I was mostly using mojo for gaining more Zimbies and moving them around the map. I tried a zombie, but they take 3 Zimbies to spawn so they are pretty pricey. Mine died on the first turn I spawned it, so that contributed to the low score too.

I actually look forward to trying this again tomorrow. Now that I am familiar with the rules, it will be a quick session.
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Time for round 2 to see if I can beat my last score of 2.

Update:



Too slow! I scored a 2 again. This time it took 3 attempts at attacking the king to kill it. Urgh! I think the score system is highly luck determinant. Had the dice favored me the first time, the score would have probably been 7 or 8. I find that once the king goes down, the solo made is way too easy. You just go around the opposite path of the Thugs with the crown and bring out 1 Zimby to slow the Thugs down during their movement. As you can see in the pic, I had 3 of them all wadded up in a stack from a single zimby that I moved out there Just before it was the thug's turn to move. Then I came around the other side with the crown. I tried both tribal board positions, either being closer to the patrol route or farther but it doesn't matter a whole lot if you just do what I described here. I feel like the multiplayer is where this part becomes chaotic, but the solo is just too easy and luck determines your score more than skill/good plan. I'm not sure if I need to play anymore games in order to conclude anything else. I think I have seen the entirety of what the solo mode has to offer in 2 plays. Good thing is that it was still fun, at least, trying to figure out how to kill the King. It's just after that, it's too easy to get it back to the lair, even with the movement reduction/penalty. Jim correct me if you think I am doing something wrong in this description.

___________________________________________________________________


I'm going to try this game again with a few tweaks to the Thug AI to make it more challenging once the King has been killed. The AI goes like this:

1.) As soon as the King is slain, the Thug farthest from the Tribal Board entrance is instantly teleported to the Portal closest to the TB (if a tie, both teleport). These Thug(s) still make a 2d6 move during their turn after they teleport.

2.) On their turn, if the King is dead, Thugs move at 2d6 speed and take the closest path that exits off of the central patrol route in the direction of the enemy Tribal Board entrance. This means that they will even go in reverse from the normal path routes if that exit is closest to them. Any Thugs that got teleported to the Portal will take the shortest route to the TB entrance. Once both spaces adjacent to the Tribal Board entrance are occupied by a Thug, the other two will patrol in circles along the indicated route as normal.

3.) The scoring will also be changed. Your score is the amount of spaces that the crown is from your tribal board entrance once time runs out or subtract the amount of cards left in the Scroll draw deck from 0 if you successfully get the crown back with cards to spare to determine your score. The lower the better.

Update:



The variant made it much harder. I had to use many more Scroll Cards to kill the Thugs. I think it is a nice touch. I scored a -4.

I'm still thinking that this game is mostly a 3+ player game and that the solo version truly is just a sort of "demo" of the game to learn and try stuff out. It played fast and was enjoyable for solo though. It really does have some sort of Pacman feel to it.
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Jim Felli
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Re: 2 Sessions of the Solo Mode...
I'm pleased you've had two easy successes thus far! I usually have more difficulty with the thugs' positions. Maybe I just roll too high on their 2d6 movement rolls? That, coupled with the Crown's movement penalty of +8/+4/+2 over the turns after the King's death, and I typically have at least 1 stationed outside my door by the time I get home and the other three active in my quadrant. (Also, don't forget that the thugs' brutality increases in a column -- 1 + X, where X is the number of thugs in the column, so they will make short work of a zimby.). I've also had several games where the my self-targeted witcheries have failed because of the Crown... That said, the solo mode is intended to be "not difficult to win" but hard to "score well." I'm interested in what other folks have to say.
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Greg
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Re: 2 Sessions of the Solo Mode...
Yeah the penalty to movement after you kill the King is quite stifling. But by the next turn you can move, you are at 1 Mojo per tile and that was enough for me to move the King two tiles in on the path around so that the thugs strolled right past me on their second move. I also had enough Mojo to send one of my Zimby's out 8 spaces from my tribal board so that that Pile-up happened. The next turn, I did the same thing. Moved my king as much as possible, now at 2 move per mojo, around the back passage and brought a single Zimby out from the TB to block the Thugs. And yes, while the Thugs do obliterate the 1 Zimby (specially with the 1+2x britality), it works to basically prevent them from even getting to the entrance by highly counteracting their 2d6 movement, since they end movement to enter combat and do not attack until all Thugs have moved (right?)

The fix I would make for this is to allow the Thugs to take the shortest route to the TB in solo mode. This would effectively cut off that back route and make getting back much more difficult.
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Jim Felli
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Re: 2 Sessions of the Solo Mode...
That sounds like a very interesting approach, Greg. Perhaps you could try it out and let us know how it works for you?
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Greg
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Re: 2 Sessions of the Solo Mode...
Indeed I will!
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Greg
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Added a 3rd session with some modifications to the Thug AI post King dying.
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