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Subject: Another Automa inspired solo variant - Low Upkeep! rss

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David Doyen
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I wanted to take a crack at a solo variant that allowed the AI to block village actions, have a hand for you to play off of, and take cards you may potentially want without a lot of upkeep or fiddlyness and this is the idea I have come up with. I was inspired by Morten Pedersen and his Automa approach of mimicking the multiplayer experience with a minimum amount of AI mechanisms bogging things down. I would love input from anyone willing to try it!

The only thing extra you will need is a single d10 and 8 home made tokens numbered 1-8.

Use the two player setup (9 indians). Take one Indian for your expedition board and put one in the newcomer space in the village. Put the extra 7 Indians in a stock off of the board.

Give the AI an expedition board. (You could add the 7 stock indians to their board I suppose!)

Shuffle the 8 resource badges and distribute them randomly to the 8 village action spaces.

Do the same for the numbered tokens that you made earlier.

So now each village space will have a random resource badge AND numbered token assigned to it.

Give yourself the normal starting resources but do not give any to the AI.

Set up the card offer as you normally would in the solo game.

After each of your turns, roll the d10 for the AI player's turn.
If you rolled 1-8 do the following unless you rolled for the Canoe Manufacturing or Horse Trader space:

Place one Indian from the stock on the village action which was assigned the same numbered token as your die roll. Also take a resource from the stock pile that matches the resource badge on the village space and place that resource in an empty space on the AI players expedition board. The AI does not allocate resources that the space would provide a normal player, only the single resource from the resource badge assigned to the space. However, if you roll for the Farewell space, the AI will place an Indian on the space and take the badge's resource and they will take the Farewell action by clearing all cards in the card offer.

-If the AI players expedition board has no free resource spaces on their boats, do not add the resource but still place the worker.

-If there is only room for one Indian in the space you rolled and the space was taken, do not place another Indian but still take the resource that is on the badge at the space and add it to the AI player's expedition board.

-If the AI player cannot place an Indian on their turn because they have none in their stock, place the resource that is on the badge at the village space rolled on the AI player's expedition board and the village space will remain open.

The Expedition Upgrade space only has room for one Indian instead of two.

If you rolled for the Canoe Manufacturing or Horse Trader space:
Do not place an Indian from the stock on the space but still add a resource corresponding to the badge on that village space to the AI player's expedition board. Then, move the AI scout forward the same number of resources on their expedition board.

If you roll a 9:
The AI player uses their Interpreter ability and takes all Indians assigned to the board back to the stock but leaves the newcomer on the board. There is no village space that corresponds to this roll so no resources are taken and no indians are placed on the board. Also remove and replace the lowest card in the offer as usual for the Interpreter action.

If you roll a 10:
The AI player sets up camp by removing all resources from their expedition board and returns them to their stocks. The AI scout does not move backwards. There is no village space that corresponds to this roll so no resources are taken and no indians are placed on the board.

Unlike the official variant, you do not use the badges on the board to determine how many badges you get to work off of for gaining additional resources. These are only used to determine what type of resource is added to the AI player's expedition board. Instead, use the actual resources on the AI players expedition board as a substitute for what would be their cards in play. So for example if you played a card to get 1 food and powered it with a strength 1 card and there were also 2 food resources on the AI expedition board along with 1 food badge from a card in your play area, that means there are three food badges in play. Two are from the AI expedition board and one is from the badge on your card which means you would get three food. Of course there would be a multiplier as usual if it was powered with a higher strength card.

If the AI scout reaches the finish before you set up camp beyond fort clatsop, you lose!

That's it! There will potentially be some big bursts of AI movement due to resource allocation but since there are is only a 2 in 10 chance of rolling a movement action, hopefully the two offset each other!

I'm thinking difficulty could be scaled down by allowing a few less maximum resources on the AI expedition board, or scaled up by letting the AI scout start ahead a certain amount of spaces.

Please let me know what you think!

Update: After about a dozen plays now, I am thinking that it might be better to make it a little bit harder for the AI to move through the mountain spaces. I'm finding that due to lucky rolls the AI is just blowing through the mountains and it becomes impossible to catch up. I have been making it so the AI has to use two of the resources on it's expedition board for a mountain terrain space instead of just 1. Mountain+River spaces will still only cost 1. So say the AI has 10 resources on their board and they are one space away from a the first mountain+river space on the board. Use 1 resource for the first move and that leaves 9 resources. They will then move 4 mountain spaces which uses 8 resources leaving 1 unused resource. If the next space on the board is a mountain space, the last resource can't be used to move to the next mountain spot. If it is a river or mountain+river spot, the final resource can be used for that space.

If you are finding this to be too easy, start the AI scout a little further up the river. This may be a better way of fine tuning the difficulty and also mitigating some crazy swings from a handful of lucky rolls by the AI.

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