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I feel like most board games have an AI system using this that the player fights.

The only exception I think of atm is Orleans Invasion.

I guess solo puzzle games like Ricochet Robots also counts.

This is partially a recommendation question and partially a design question of how and what games bypass this, since I dislike card flips and die rolls (yes I know they average out if you have a lot of them, still dislike it and want to find more co op and solo games that don't have this)
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Richie Freeman
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Mysterium is one that I can think of off the top of my head.
 
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Patrick Hahn
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The AI opponent (Alexander MacKenzie) in Lewis & Clark simply marches forward one space per turn.

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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Not sure if this fits exactly what you're looking for, but Chess has inspired a lot of puzzles. Typically the reader is given a board position and told that one side can win in 3 (or some other number) of moves. It is the reader's job to figure out a solution.

Another possibility would be a solo variant for Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. The base game has no randomness; the expansions add randomness only in the initial setup (which buildings are available to be purchased). There are a number of ways to play solo here:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/119890/agricola-all-...
 
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I've been playing the solo mode of Town Center recently. Even though you draw random cubes each turn, you have to choose which cubes you keep each turn, and where to place them in your city.
 
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Freedom: The Underground Railroad has very little in the way of card draws and dice-rolling (One die roll at the start of every round, and the deck is constructed so you have early, mid, and late game cards, so you have a pretty good idea of what is coming out next). It makes the game much more of a puzzle, but it's also one where, once it's solved, it's pretty hard to not do well at it in future games.
 
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John Burt
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Maybe I don't understand your question, but there are a lot of euros that have deterministic solo variants. Here are a few examples:
Agricola
Fields of Arle
Glass Road
At the Gates of Loyang
La Granja
The Gallerist
Terraforming Mars

Uwe Rosenberg (designer of the first 4 above) almost always includes a solo variant and as far as I know they are all deterministic.
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I have a hunch, and this thread seems to bear it out, that a solo/co-op game without a strong RNG element would be more like a puzzle than a game.

But this raises the question: what is the difference between a puzzle and a game?
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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robwrigley wrote:
I have a hunch, and this thread seems to bear it out, that a solo/co-op game without a strong RNG element would be more like a puzzle than a game.

But this raises the question: what is the difference between a puzzle and a game?


I'll bite. A game has some element of unpredictability
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Conventional wisdom is that a solitaire game needs some kind of randomness/uncertainty to work well as a game. (And it seems true in my experience.)

A similar thread appeared recently in the specific context of abstract games which might be of interest:
Cooperative abstract games
 
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russ wrote:
Conventional wisdom is that a solitaire game needs some kind of randomness/uncertainty to work well as a game. (And it seems true in my experience.)


The many people who like at least one of the numerous solo-capable games without randomness would probably disagree with you. Personally, I don't like randomness in my solo games, though I do like some kind of variable setup.
 
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I find completely deterministic solo-versions of multiplayer Euro games like Uwe's to be interesting puzzles for a few plays to learn the game or try some new strategies on your own, but not something I want to continue doing.

The only true completely deterministic solo game that I love would be Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases. While not completely deterministic, games like Barbarian Prince and Ambush use encounter books to reveal the effects of player choices as a type of randomizer.

I really like chit pulls - more engaging than using die rolls with charts, and "feels" more player determined than card flips.

Some deterministic or near-deterministic sports simulations can be a blast where I am simulating a season, playing multiple teams against each other. Tour Free Cycle is an example of a completely deterministic racing game I'm learning now solo; Leader 1 is an example of a nearly-deterministic racing game I've played solo quite a bit (all movement is deterministic; just chances of crashing/breaking and the peloton speed use die rolls). Having variation in the abilities of each racer and composition of each team and figuring out the best strategy for each team from race to race is what keeps it from feeling like a puzzle to solve.



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quill65 wrote:
russ wrote:
Conventional wisdom is that a solitaire game needs some kind of randomness/uncertainty to work well as a game. (And it seems true in my experience.)


The many people who like at least one of the numerous solo-capable games without randomness would probably disagree with you. Personally, I don't like randomness in my solo games, though I do like some kind of variable setup.

Can you give some examples of solo games with literally no randomness or hidden info during play? I'm not denying that any exist; I just can't think of any.

I see Gates of Loyang and Agricola mentioned upthread, but as far as I recall, they both have random card draws, don't they? Alas I've not played the others in that comment. FWIW I see the BGG description of Terraforming Mars mentions drawing cards.
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russ wrote:
quill65 wrote:
russ wrote:
Conventional wisdom is that a solitaire game needs some kind of randomness/uncertainty to work well as a game. (And it seems true in my experience.)


The many people who like at least one of the numerous solo-capable games without randomness would probably disagree with you. Personally, I don't like randomness in my solo games, though I do like some kind of variable setup.

Can you give some examples of solo games with literally no randomness or hidden info during play? I'm not denying that any exist; I just can't think of any.

I see Gates of Loyang and Agricola mentioned upthread, but as far as I recall, they both have random card draws, don't they? Alas I've not played the others in that comment. FWIW I see the BGG description of Terraforming Mars mentions drawing cards.


It's true, those games have random card draws prior to the start of your move, just like in the multiplayer version, but there is no solo automata player or other extra mechanism generating randomness, which is what I thought the question was about. And yes, I was inaccurate to call them deterministic, since the games themselves aren't. Similarly, La Granja has dice allocation and card draws, so not 100% deterministic, but the solo mode adds no more randomness than the multiplayer game.

In contrast, I'd compare them with a coop where you roll dice to determine the outcome of your action, and the npc gets to roll dice to attack you, or even the random card drawn automa in the solo version of Viticulture. In those cases, it feels like randomness can really help or hurt you on a whim.

Three deterministic solo games I can immediately think of are Ora et Labora, Fields of Arle and Roads and Boats.
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quill65 wrote:
It's true, those games have random card draws prior to the start of your move, just like in the multiplayer version, but there is no solo automata player or other extra mechanism generating randomness, which is what I thought the question was about.

Ah, OK!

I understood the question to be about randomness anywhere in the game, not just randomness in an AI player's decisions.

Perhaps OP can clarify.
 
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russ wrote:

Can you give some examples of solo games with literally no randomness or hidden info during play? I'm not denying that any exist; I just can't think of any.


I don't know if you would call it a solo game, but I and others play it solo: Tour Free Cycle has no randomness or hidden information.

The OP mentioned Ricochet Robots, which I don't even consider a game but has no randomness or hidden info. I don't know if anyone really plays it solo, though.

Again, this doesn't really count, but I am sure there are some people out there that enjoy playing both sides of abstract strategy games with no random or hidden info.
 
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Ryan Keane wrote:
russ wrote:

Can you give some examples of solo games with literally no randomness or hidden info during play? I'm not denying that any exist; I just can't think of any.


I don't know if you would call it a solo game, but I and others play it solo: Tour Free Cycle has no randomness or hidden information.

The OP mentioned Ricochet Robots, which I don't even consider a game but has no randomness or hidden info. I don't know if anyone really plays it solo, though.

Again, this doesn't really count, but I am sure there are some people out there that enjoy playing both sides of abstract strategy games with no random or hidden info.

But playing both (or all) sides in a 2/multiplayer game is not really playing a solitaire game (in the sense of competing to win vs "the system" or against AI opponents). It's more of an "experiential" story/adventure thing. I sometimes solo both sides of a 2-player wargame, but it's certainly a different experience from playing a solitaire wargame which I will win or lose.

But sure, if OP means to include soloing both sides of a 2-player game just to watch the story unfold or to explore strategic ideas, then sure, every 2-player game with no randomness can be soloed in that way, just playing both sides. (And likewise for multiplayer games.) But I honestly understood the question to be about solitaire games in which you are a single player competing to win or lose against the game/AI (which seems a more interesting question and hard to come up with examples).


I like Ricochet Robots but solving individual puzzles from it solo does not really seem like "playing a game" to me, any more than solving a sudoku or nonogram puzzle feels like playing a game. The only "game" aspect of a game like RR is competing with other people to see who solves the puzzle first. (Just as my wife and I sometimes enjoy simultaneously solving the same sudoku to see who solves it first. Then it is a simple (non-interactive) game, as opposed to a solo puzzle-solving experience. (At least that's how these feel to me in terms of "game" vs "puzzle".)

E.g. at http://setgame.com/ they have the "The Daily SET Puzzle" - they evidently call it a puzzle because it's doesn't seem like a "game" if you're not directly competing with other people to solve the given puzzle.
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Several years ago I playtested a solo game with no randomness in it.

Instead what you had was a selection of numbers you could use to determine an outcome. Each number used had a specific effect at certain points or functions called on.

If you used the exact same pattern of numbers and made the exact same steps then youd get the exact same result. But due to the way the game played you could get quite a bit of variety in what happened just by making one different choice along that path.

Also my Small Adventures series of postcard games has no random elements and in a solo or co-op game.

There are also a rare few games with a randomized starting map. But after that the outcomes are not random. IE you lay down counters at each location and then have to figure out how to defeat them with what you have or can get at.

Theres also one or two games where you have a limited supply of successes you can spend to make it through an adventure. So you have to decide do you want to pass this test now or save that success type for later and take some harm or setback now.

There is also odd ones like Universalis which has no dice rolls. Instead you have a pool of points you can spend each round to advance the story your way or to aid or oppose someone elses attempt to steer the path
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Randomness creates replayability. If there is no randomness, then once you beat the game one time, you can beat it every time by just doing the same things.

If you really want to avoid randomness, I suppose you could also have scenarios or variants--a bunch of related puzzles that use similar rules but are just different enough to require different solutions. I haven't played them, but I believe T.I.M.E Stories and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases both follow this approach.

quill65 wrote:
there is no solo automata player or other extra mechanism generating randomness...the solo mode adds no more randomness than the multiplayer game.

I don't see why that would matter. Lots of solo or co-op games don't have a competitive version at all, so by definition there is no added randomness to make the co-op version.

One could perhaps draw a distinction between co-op games that have a randomized opponent and co-op games that have a randomized system, but I think that's merely a question of presentation. For instance, Pandemic places infection cubes randomly; you could interpret that as a randomized opponent that is placing cubes to beat you (but not very well, because it's random) or as simply a chaotic environment that creates cubes with no particular intentionality. The only difference is in the story you're telling about the game, not the gameplay itself.
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Antistone wrote:
Randomness creates replayability. If there is no randomness, then once you beat the game one time, you can beat it every time by just doing the same things.

If you really want to avoid randomness, I suppose you could also have scenarios or variants--a bunch of related puzzles that use similar rules but are just different enough to require different solutions. I haven't played them, but I believe T.I.M.E Stories and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases both follow this approach.

And then similarly each scenario has the problem that once you've solved it once, you can't really "play" it again. :/
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Quote:
Randomness creates replayability. If there is no randomness, then once you beat the game one time, you can beat it every time by just doing the same things.


Randomness is only one mechanism for creating replayability. There are at least two other mechanisms, the first being variable initial setup. Changing initial conditions changes the game enough to keep the game replayable. For example, in Fields of Arle, several buildings are randomly selected before the game starts. The subsequent game is still deterministic (i.e., NOT random), but every game is a little bit different due to the different start buildings.

The second non-random mechanism for replayability is having a very large and divergent decision tree space. For example, Ora et Labora has no setup variability, so in theory you could play every game exactly the same way. However, in practice the situation is very different. First, this is a "beat your score" game, and so you will certainly try at least one different thing in every game to optimize your results. And once you do, the game options branch and from then on you are on a different path, and that path diverges even more with every move, providing a different experience.

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russ wrote:
Antistone wrote:
Randomness creates replayability. If there is no randomness, then once you beat the game one time, you can beat it every time by just doing the same things.

If you really want to avoid randomness, I suppose you could also have scenarios or variants--a bunch of related puzzles that use similar rules but are just different enough to require different solutions. I haven't played them, but I believe T.I.M.E Stories and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases both follow this approach.

And then similarly each scenario has the problem that once you've solved it once, you can't really "play" it again. :/


That's why you burn the Sherlock Holmes clue book when you're done. Legacy before it was called Legacy.
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This discussion made me think more clearly about why I play solo games. I find I get bored of ones where the goal is to simply win (e.g. playing very difficult co-ops repeatedly) or to improve my score (the Uwe and similar solo games). For these, since the focus is on the end, there's not enough to keep me engaged while I'm playing game after game without human interaction. But when I play both sides of a wargame I love or do a multi-game race simulation, there's no puzzle to solve, "I" cant' win, I can't maximize my score. I'm playing simply because I enjoy playing the game - so it's more like an activity for me than a game perhaps. Whether there's randomness or not isn't really important for replayability, but different scenarios is critical - I need to have a wide variety of scenarios like in M44 or different track set-ups, driving me to want to try new ones.
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Seems like we've wandered a bit from the original question. Leaving Earth has high replayability as well as very low luck factor. It's got cards, yes, but they will only affect play in a limited way. It is still the player decisions which drive the narrative.
 
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