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Subject: Scythe - with multiple Automa(s) rss

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Jay K
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So my two additional Automa decks arrived yesterday and I decided to try playing a four player game; me versus three Auotometta.

Ultimately, this ended up being a variant of the true solo game, as will become apparent shortly.

If you haven't played the solo game for Scythe, then I can thoroughly recommend it. I am not a huge fan of beat your high score solo variants, and whilst I prefer games where "solo" is the same or similar to the multiplayer experience, I am happy for some of the bookkeeping and mechanics to be abstracted in order for the game to play in a reasonable time. The Scythe solo experience follows this formula.

The game ships with one solo deck, and it has been excellently designed to be a player versus AI solo experience. So in essence it may not have been designed to be balanced for a player versus multiple AIs.

The game has players working towards multiple objectives; the first player to achieve six of these objectives ends the game and then points are awarded for money, hexes occupied, objectives achieved, resources held and there is also a variable scoring element linked to building placement.

The hex, objectives and resources scoring have a multiplier linked to an in game resource called popularity. The AI implements a simple timing device using a card which shows six stars, as turns pass the counter moves along the track and when it reaches a star then an objective is completed. The AI popularity is held constant and so the player can tell reasonably easily whether they are winning or losing in the solo game; more so than in the multiplayer game.

You can see the card tracking turns for each Automa on the right hand side of this picture.



I am currently playing on the easiest difficulty level with some success. However, I felt moving to a multiple Automa gain would ramp up the difficulty level and consequently I opted to keep all the Automa on the easiest difficulty. Next, I selected the Automas starting positions: they were yellow, black and white. I believe the proximity of the three AIs to each other made the game a little easier.

I also amended the rules slightly, such that if the AI was attacking and only another AI target was available then it would attack the AI instead of the player.

In the end I ran out as the winner with 66 points playing Red, versus 40 for yellow, 35 for White and 30 for black. The final board position looked like this, when I triggered the placing of my final star by attacking the yellow Automa on the factory space.




In summary, did it work. I think that the answer to that is a resounding yes. The main concern once you start playing multiple AI roles is that the play time increases to the point where you spend all the time trying to remember what you need to do next and the bookkeeping sucks all the fun out of the game. However, solo Scythe plays more quickly than multiplayer and so this was not a major issue.

As far as using the variant where the AI attack one another. I liked the fact that it felt more like a multiplayer game, although it required an extra rule or two to determine targets of attacks. Interestingly, it does add difficulty to the game because the AI can complete up to two objectives by making successful attacks and this can reduce the game time when compared to the standard player versus one AI game.

Looking forward to trying this out again.


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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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I've played 15-20 games this way now, and would likely never play against a single Automa again. It's just so much more interesting to play against 2-4 Automas. I've had my share of losses but can win pretty regularly against normal level Automas now, including a 120 point game yesterday. But yes, multiple Automas is the way to go!
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Marco Teti
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Awesome. When I get Scythe. (And it will be a long 'When') I will want to get multiple Automa decks. More and more games coming out should be like this.
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Al Johnson
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Are the multiple Automa decks different or just the same multiple copies of the same one.

If different, where did you get them from?
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Leigh Hathaway
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JK777 wrote:
As far as using the variant where the AI attack one another. I liked the fact that it felt more like a multiplayer game, although it required an extra rule or two to determine targets of attacks.


Sounds awesome Jay, my two sets arrived yesterday and i'm itching to get them to the table now.

Would love to hear peoples thoughts on the best way to house-rule these 'Choosing a target' situations with multiple IA's. With the Automa being so aggressive I worry that allowing them to fight each other would prompt me to just turtle and let them tear each other apart.
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Benjamin Tieman
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Al Johnson wrote:
Are the multiple Automa decks different or just the same multiple copies of the same one.

If different, where did you get them from?


You can order them directly from the Stonemaier Games website, and they are all the same deck.
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Dave Nish
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benjamininja wrote:
Al Johnson wrote:
Are the multiple Automa decks different or just the same multiple copies of the same one.

If different, where did you get them from?


You can order them directly from the Stonemaier Games website, and they are all the same deck.

You can get them here but they are sadly sold out until November.
https://shop.trycelery.com/page/474ecdd8-7dbb-4068-b1e9-4f5d...
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Simo Ahava
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This is quite neat also:

Scythe Automa - Online Simulator

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Jonathan Nagy
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It's a web application which has the logic for playing Automa cards in your web browser. The added benefit is that by firing multiple instances (e.g. browser tabs), you can play multiple Automas!
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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hath22 wrote:
JK777 wrote:
As far as using the variant where the AI attack one another. I liked the fact that it felt more like a multiplayer game, although it required an extra rule or two to determine targets of attacks.


Sounds awesome Jay, my two sets arrived yesterday and i'm itching to get them to the table now.

Would love to hear peoples thoughts on the best way to house-rule these 'Choosing a target' situations with multiple IA's. With the Automa being so aggressive I worry that allowing them to fight each other would prompt me to just turtle and let them tear each other apart.


I just play them exactly as written, so they attack whoever is in the factory, or closest to the factory. Turtling hasn't worked well for me, as then I'm often behind in terms of territory points. Presumably there could be some adaptations made for Automa attack priority, but I haven't found that to be a deterrent to my enjoyment so far.

Jay, what are the "extra rule or two" that you use?
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Jay K
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Grudunza wrote:
hath22 wrote:
JK777 wrote:
As far as using the variant where the AI attack one another. I liked the fact that it felt more like a multiplayer game, although it required an extra rule or two to determine targets of attacks.


Sounds awesome Jay, my two sets arrived yesterday and i'm itching to get them to the table now.

Would love to hear peoples thoughts on the best way to house-rule these 'Choosing a target' situations with multiple IA's. With the Automa being so aggressive I worry that allowing them to fight each other would prompt me to just turtle and let them tear each other apart.


I just play them exactly as written, so they attack whoever is in the factory, or closest to the factory. Turtling hasn't worked well for me, as then I'm often behind in terms of territory points. Presumably there could be some adaptations made for Automa attack priority, but I haven't found that to be a deterrent to my enjoyment so far.

Jay, what are the "extra rule or two" that you use?


Well the rules as written always refer to the AI attacking the player and therefore I suppose you could argue that another AI regardless of position on the board is not a "legitimate" target. So my rule was simply to replace the word player with player or other AI.

Similarly, if the movement/attack section quotes more than one option e.g. attack worker / move worker, then I assumed that the AI would attack another AI worker before it decided to move a worker. Again the upshot is that the AI is actually far less expansive and actually easier to deal with in 4 player games than with 2 player games.

Finally, not a rule but a point to note. Where you play relative to the AIs can have a massive impact on the game. In my game I had it easy as I effectively set the AI against one another by making them play Black, Yellow and White. Had the AI been Red, White and Yellow with me playing Black, it would have been a very different outcome.
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Roger S
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JK777 wrote:

Finally, not a rule but a point to note. Where you play relative to the AIs can have a massive impact on the game. In my game I had it easy as I effectively set the AI against one another by making them play Black, Yellow and White. Had the AI been Red, White and Yellow with me playing Black, it would have been a very different outcome.


I've played a couple of games against multiple automas and I've always worried that you can exploit the "reading order" tie breaker to make sure that another AI, and not you, gets attacked. It certainly helps if they all start out together on the top of the board and you are segregated on the bottom.

One idea for countering this is to either randomly or systematically flip between "reading order" and "reverse reading order" (bottom up, right to left), or use power as a deciding factor. So before going to the reading order tie breaker for automa movement, he would first look at power and move/attack toward the opponent with more (or less!) power.

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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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Not being attacked is not necessarily something you want to exploit. Sometimes you want to get attacked to potentially gain a star, or to deny another Automa a star. I don't find multiple Automas fighting each other to be unbalancing, generally speaking, because a lot of times they are still optimizing what might earn stars for them. And often I might be blocked out of the factory, losing that 3 territory bonus.
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Marty "Summer" Malone
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The rules specifically say that reading order starts where the star track is. Regardless of where you sit at the board. I tend to just have the board face me even if I play a different faction than the Crimeans to keep the reading order thing simple.
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fortheloveofdice
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Yup, if you use reading order you should be fine.

And yes, there might be language saying "target the player" or something, but the rules were not written and edited with the idea of multiple Automas, so you'll have to include Automas as players in that context.
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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After at least a dozen solo games against multiple automas, I can verify that "reading order" played as usual has no real impact on the different automas. Closest to the factory is still the first tie-breaker, and that is more than enough to offset the "reading order" clause in terms of practical outcome. If anything the only real difference to multiplayer in terms of balance is that the automas don't have limited riverwalk so proximity of the automas to the player can have some impact, but they still tend to thrust towards the factory in most cases.
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Jay K
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Great to see so much interest in this great game and the solo implementation. I am going to try another 4 player solo game this weekend if I get the time and I will try and post a detailed play-through and how I have dealt with any specific issues I encounter.
 
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Brian C
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Thanks for posting this. After investing in Viticulture/Tuscany just for the solo play, I was a bit hesitant to put up for Scythe -- not that the automa for Viticulture isn't a great addition... but just buying the game for the solitaire, in the end I don't consider it a great purchase. It's obvious it was built as a multiplayer game at heart, and in my eyes that's how it remains.

With multiple automa running though, attempting to simulate the multiplayer experience that you want out of a multiplayer game? Now you're speaking my language.

If it works without a hitch, this is going to seal the purchase for me.
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Mike Wescott
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The new app Scythekick greatly enhanced the multi-automa playability for me. took a lot of the drudgery away.I highly suggest it.
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Roger S
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Eusebius8346 wrote:
The new app Scythekick greatly enhanced the multi-automa playability for me. took a lot of the drudgery away.I highly suggest it.


Looks awesome. Any word on it coming to Android?
 
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michal michal2013
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ok.

I played 2 times solo with 1 automa.
Maybe i ask stupid question, but when you play with two automa in
his (AUTOMA) non-offensive or offensive move or attack
HOW DO YOU chose "opponent" - me or another automa?
 
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Roger S
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michal2013 wrote:
ok.

I played 2 times solo with 1 automa.
Maybe i ask stupid question, but when you play with two automa in
his (AUTOMA) non-offensive or offensive move or attack
HOW DO YOU chose "opponent" - me or another automa?


Automas don't favor attacking you or other automas. He attacks whomever is closest and meets the requirements, settling with the usual tie-breaker (reading order.)

 
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