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Subject: Solo game rss

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Didier Renard
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So this game is marked 1-4 players, which hints at the availability of solo rules. What will it be like to play this game solo, an optimization puzzle (my guess), or an automa approach (my hope), or something different?
 
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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For starters, it'll be an optimization puzzle.
 
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Jason Paterson
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boulou wrote:
So this game is marked 1-4 players, which hints at the availability of solo rules. What will it be like to play this game solo, an optimization puzzle (my guess), or an automa approach (my hope), or something different?


Like many of Rosenberg's games, which The Colonists reminds me of, I suspect it'll be an optimization puzzle designed to aim for certain scores rather than a struggle against an AI player... though there may be some aspect of that built in.
 
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Dennis Janning
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I hope, its not a beat your own highscore...
Automa will be great
 
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DJ85 wrote:
I hope, its not a beat your own highscore...
Automa will be great


I prefer the beat-your-high score optimization puzzle -- as long as there is some kind of "external" variability, as in the player powers of Marco Polo, or different environments, or something.

The Automa system works in worker-placement games, but it's really not the universal answer for solo systems. It was certainly disappointing in Scythe...
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Didier Renard
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Sure it is not the universal answer but I think this approach works well to adapt multiplayer games to solo play in many cases. I have developed Automa-inspired variants for La Granja and Princes of Florence, for example.

Your opinion about the automa in Scythe is certainly fine but does not seem to represent the majority of the solo player community, at least based on opinions I have read so far.

Well hopefully we'll get some clues soon about what it is!
 
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boulou wrote:
I have developed Automa-inspired variants for La Granja and Princes of Florence, for example.


That's interesting -- but I'm curious as to why you feel an automa deck is preferable to the vigorously playtested solo system that La Granja already has in place?

On a possibly related note: there seems to be an assumption among some that automa's strength is in providing an opponent to beat, as opposed to a beat-your-best score system. But in its Tuscany debut, automa was (is) a beat-your-best score system. The rules simply give you a target score to hit. The same is true for the Russian Railroads expansion. Great use of automa, and it's beat-your-best score.

Putting aside Scythe momentarily, the only genuine "opponent" that you actually have to work against (and with) is in "Between Two Cities," which is really ideal for the system.

So what's wrong with using automa to create a virtual opponent whose score you're trying to beat?

Firstly, automa works great in worker placement (or "action drafting") because it creates a plausible but unpredictable distribution of chosen actions. But of course that has nothing to do with creating a meaningful virtual opponent -- i.e., one whose choices affect you and vice-versa, as in the official solo variant for Five Tribes or the shadow player in Nations. (Interestingly, that system uses a die, but in conjunction with a stack of tiles that dictate conditions each round. It's possible that Morten Pedersen got at least some inspiration for his automa system from that game.)

It isn't difficult to create a virtual player that randomly collects resources, points, etc., without having any meaningful interaction with the player -- that is to say: interaction whose total effect will be more decisive (or nearly so) than the randomness created by the automatic system.

In those "bad" systems, the virtual player gets 82 points, and in the next game he gets 112. It's the same result you would get if you rolled dice instead of drawing cards, and your "win" in any given game is sort of meaningless. You got 91 points. In one of those games, you would have won; in the other game your same score would have lost.

Mr. Pedersen was clearly wise enough to recognize this in Tuscany, which is why he made it a "hit the target score" scenario.

So to be more concise, I propose:

1. Automa is an excellent system for dealing with worker placement, "action drafting," or any aspect of a game that requires a plausible but random distribution of resources for a virtual player.

2. Automa does not inherently facilitate the creation of a meaningful virtual opponent. It does not automatically create interaction whose total effect will be more decisive (or nearly so) than the randomness created by the automatic system.

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Jonny Green Thumbs
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nakedmeeple wrote:
boulou wrote:
So this game is marked 1-4 players, which hints at the availability of solo rules. What will it be like to play this game solo, an optimization puzzle (my guess), or an automa approach (my hope), or something different?


Like many of Rosenberg's games, which The Colonists reminds me of, I suspect it'll be an optimization puzzle designed to aim for certain scores rather than a struggle against an AI player... though there may be some aspect of that built in.


I was thinking about Rosenberg games too. It reminded me of Ora & Labora, but in my opinion Ora & Labora is well designed (maybe 10/10), while The Colonists was really boring.
 
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