$20.00
$60.00
Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

Trains» Forums » Variants

Subject: SoloPlay Variant for Trains is now available rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
SoloPlayGames
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This thread describes/discusses the design and development of the Trains SoloPlay variant.

The download is available using the following link(s):

Trains SoloPlay Rules

This file is #55 in the SoloPlay series.
More game files available here on the Geek can be accessed from the following Geeklist:

SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek

SoloPlay- BGG user GameRulesforOne
Design Goals: To create a solo variant that would be interesting and varied where you can try varied approaches to achieve success.

Preface:
Dominion with a board ... that sounds ... not that exciting really. When I played the game at a local shop it was exactly that. Once you get your mind wrapped around the waste mechanic you rip out a game in what seems like 15 minutes. To be fair playing the game 2 player on the base game board was not very interactive.

Flash forward about 1 year or so and I was able to get a bundle of AEG games for a good price which included Trains and Rising Sun. Since the price was right and I had heard that the expansion really improved the game, I went for it. Did it change my experience? No. Perhaps it is because of the number of deck builders that I have played (and the more complex ones) that I found the game somewhat blah. More space needed on the shelf (until I created my 1 box storage solution (sweet).

Early this year (2016) I decided I needed to do something about this. I think it was in May or so that I gave the game a look ...

SoloPlay Trains Design Comments:

What to address first?
The game is just too wide open even with the smaller maps (I have all of those that are readily available). The interaction is muted and the decisions were straight forward. I had to find the soul of the game to determine how to build this variant right.

I want tension, I want interesting decisions, I want to lose and lose because I made a bad decision or took too big a risk or set myself up to take too big of a risk ...

First goal: create tension and a strong element of planning.

How do I need to approach the game this time?
The route cards were the key to getting the ball rolling. They provide a goal and also a way to get the starting board set up quickly. The last expansion board did not have goals but I can do that later ...

Much like the Ticket to Ride SoloPlay variant I started by laying out your opponent so you can see how “successful” he has been in building a rail network. Completed 3 routes just like that. Your job: complete the other 2 and do it more efficiently.

I trimmed the supply stacks like I did with Dominion to increase the focus on efficiency and provide the illusion of interaction. There still was not enough tension ...

Waste not, want not
The core of this variant as with the novelty of the game is how to deal with your waste. To make sure the challenge was right the waste stack was going to be limited and provide an end game trigger. An immediate end game trigger. You run loosy/goosy you are likely to be run over.

The waste mechanic in this variant was retooled multiple times until I created the right amount of tension. Those that follow my variants know that I insist on play-testing them to death before I consider them for release. I rolled up my sleeves on this one. Doing this one old-school style.

I focused on my tendencies and found a ratio that seemed to fit the model I was building. The variant had to have a feel of building toward something but with the waste it kept getting in the way. Perfect. What is the breaking point? Found it and raised it.

The waste mechanic in this variant makes it work.

Not done yet
Still I had to provide a timer to create the development arc. I came up with an unusual idea (at least it seemed that way at first) of having your opponent score additional points during the game unlike the Ticket to Ride variant.

I wanted to have a decision point in this and this is where the waste came to the rescue again. When I added the 3 waste cards to your opponent’s deck and added a subtle decision point when one is flipped, the variant was in the home stretch.

Whoa ... not so fast there mister!
I still had to play all of the boards that were available. I had to play them with all different arrangements of cards, routes etc. As I said before, I was in for the long haul (pun intended).

Surprisingly all of the boards seemed to work well (albeit, the original boards were the toughest to play). The flow felt right, was challenging and balanced. The only thing that came out of all of the board play-testing was the need for route cards for Map pack #2 and to limit the Tourist Train. Other than that every game seemed like a nail biter. Perfect.

Let's bring this one into the station
I had to adjust some of the core “hardware” laying costs to balance the money and increase the competition and planning. This is different than the regular rules but was necessary to satisfy my end goals.

I now feel that the game is way more enjoyable in the solo environment than IRL In this way it now shares a space with Ticket to Ride and Power Grid. I don’t know if I will ever play any of those games with another player again. That’s just the way it is.

Goal of the rule design
1. Add some meaningful thought to the gameplay.
2. Give the game a strong development arc.
3. Increase the tension
4. Make the variant long-term replayable (increase variability).

Comments are always welcome.

Strategies:
1. Understand waste control in all of its forms. There are at least 3 ways to deal with it.
2. Build a balanced deck that drives your game to success.
3. Leverage your opponent’s lines.
4. It’s not always about the money.
5. Faster is better but only if you have achieved balance.

Final Thoughts
This was one of those variants that became a joy to play and was very different even on the same game board. The pacing and flow of the game made it enjoyable to play and the struggle for victory kept bringing me back.

Setup time: about 5-7 minutes
Play time: about 45-60 minutes

If you have questions about the rules, you can be post them here or to this user’s mailbox to be answered individually, if needed. I will add a FAQ to this post as I see the need.

Other games that will be/are available from SoloPlay/GameRulesforOne are posted within a Geeklist that I created:

SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek

All new variants and information about upcoming projects will be listed there.

SoloPlay Motto:
A game that sits in a closet is a waste. Get it out and play it any way you can. These are just my ideas.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Webster
United States
PA
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I am having fun with this.

A few questions

When Laying Rails in a city does "the number of stations pictured" replace the "1+" in the normal extra cost for laying rails in a city? Normally one has to account for the number of cubes and stations in the city.

Can I do a waste disposal action every other turn for free?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
SoloPlayGames
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
webstergroup wrote:
I am having fun with this.

A few questions

When Laying Rails in a city does "the number of stations pictured" replace the "1+" in the normal extra cost for laying rails in a city? Normally one has to account for the number of cubes and stations in the city.


Answer: Lay Rails card + (number of stations pictured + number of pieces of wood on the location) in coin.

Therefore, a red city with 2 stations and a GRN cube would cost: 2 (red city - 2 stations pictured) + 2 (2 stations) + 1 (GRN cube) = 5 coin needed.

Quote:
Can I do a waste disposal action every other turn for free?


For a single waste card ... yes. Remember you must get rid of all of your waste cards in your hand. You cannot choose to get rid of only one.

Additionally, it depends if there is a waste return card in play as if you have to place a waste card out of play or the GRN scores VPs (for more than 1 card **[edit at the end of the game for the waste card placed out of play]).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Webster
United States
PA
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I think I am doing the waste action wrong.

If I have a hand of lay rails, express train and 3 waste cards. How many points does GRN receive when I do a waste action?

I played three times tonight. Enjoying myself.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
SoloPlayGames
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
webstergroup wrote:
I think I am doing the waste action wrong.

If I have a hand of lay rails, express train and 3 waste cards. How many points does GRN receive when I do a waste action?

I played three times tonight. Enjoying myself.


Is there is a waste return card in the available cards? If so, you place 1 of the 3 waste cards out of play. (see 2A on page 2, Pass your turn ...) If not, then no card is placed out of play and all are returned to the supply.

The GRN will score 1 VP for each waste card placed out of play at the end of the game. The other 2 cards are placed back on the waste stack supply (returned). *** I placed an edit on my previous response as I would always just score the VP for the GRN immediately instead of waiting until the end of the game when I placed the waste card out of play. If I confused you on that, my apologies.

If you chose to perform a waste action the following turn, the GRN would score a VP immediately and then if you want to take a waste turn and return more than one card you would have to place another card out of play. Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.

Make sense?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Regarding when to award GRN three points on my turn...

I'm currently assuming that if I don't take a waste action [passing] but don't spend any coin during my turn (regardless of what my action is) then GRN gets the points. But if I do spend coin (regardless of how I spend the coin, whether buying from the supply or taking an action), then GRN gets no points. Is this correct?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
SoloPlayGames
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
skybreak wrote:
Regarding when to award GRN three points on my turn...

I'm currently assuming that if I don't take a waste action [passing] but don't spend any coin during my turn (regardless of what my action is) then GRN gets the points.

If you pass your turn and do nothing, the GRN gets 3 points. Not sure about your comment (regardless ...) as you were saying that you were not doing anything.

skybreak wrote:
But if I do spend coin (regardless of how I spend the coin, whether buying from the supply or taking an action), then GRN gets no points. Is this correct?

Yes, if you spend a coin to activate a card (Charitable Support is mentioned in the rules) then the GRN does not gain poinys. Buying a card is a coin action as is laying track (in most cases) etc. so no GRN points.

Hopefully this all makes sense.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thanks for the clarification. By "regardless of what my action is" I meant that if I do not pass, but take a turn, it is still quite possible to not spend any money. I said 'regardless' to cover any possible action I may take but in which I end up not spending coin.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
I think I see the confusion: I put [passing] to clarify that the waste action I was referring to was the passing waste action wherein I don't play cards but dump all waste in hand - this option is referred to as 'passing' somewhere I believe (don't have the documents handy right now). I put [passing] to clarify that I was not referring to a waste action that can be taken within the normal turn which consists of playing cards (because there are actions that let you get rid of waste).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
SoloPlayGames
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
skybreak wrote:
Thanks for the clarification. By "regardless of what my action is" I meant that if I do not pass, but take a turn, it is still quite possible to not spend any money. I said 'regardless' to cover any possible action I may take but in which I end up not spending coin.

What action could you take that won't spend money except in the case of lay rails in the plains?

Spending coin for a card action, laying rails (paying 0+ coin), place a station (1+ coins), buying a card ...

Sometimes you can get "stuck" as you are trying to draw into money but don't get any. In that case the GRN gains 3 points and you are unable to do anything. Those are the breaks.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Good question. Well, TBH I don't know all the cards and therefore what all the possible actions there might be that would allow me to do something without spending money. But certainly there are cards that let me trash a card in my hand, or dispose of waste. Or, the attack cards might involve an action without spending money, etc.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
SoloPlayGames
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
skybreak wrote:
Good question. Well, TBH I don't know all the cards and therefore what all the possible actions there might be that would allow me to do something without spending money. But certainly there are cards that let me trash a card in my hand, or dispose of waste. Or, the attack cards might involve an action without spending money, etc.

Ah, I see.

Attack card play only = 3 points
Trash only = 3 points

Consider the non-use of coins a 3 point trigger or the GRN (except in the lay rails situation that I mentioned).

The rule originated out of recycling waste as I found you could almost stall the game out if you took advantage of the situation. The 3 VP cost for not "interacting" was an easy and simple solution to the issue.

Let me know if you need any more on this topic.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.