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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Variants

Subject: Solo play card drawing variant to increase strategic options! rss

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Wendell Beitzel
United States
Mountlake Terrace
Washington
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I have played several rounds solo and am still figuring out all of the details. However, the one thing I don't like that is kept from the main ame is taht you draw 4 cards to choose from each round. I think this leaves entirely too much up to chance, and even with a card drawing engine going with only 14 rounds you would be unliekly to ever see more than half of the 208 cards.

What I propose is a version of a drafting mechanic each turn. Each turn you get to draw 10 cards to choose from. Instead of the cards each costing exactly 3, the cost goes up for each card you choose to keep. The first card is still at 3. The second one is 4, third one 5, and so on.

This does two things. By allowing the player to draw 10 cards it gives more options for the player to select. This in turn makes it easier. This is countered by increasing the cost of each card taken. It makes selecting cards much more of a strategic decision against the cost vs benefit of that extra card you might want.

In 14 turns you would now go through 140 cards of the 208 card deck. This still leaves 68 cards to go through using other card drawing mechanics within the game from other cards or abilities.

Looking for input!!
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Derek Fearnley
Canada
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I think with this kind of modification, you will end up discarding a lot of good cards. In the early turns, megacredits are so valuable, then I'm often only buying one or two cards. I want to buy the most powerful cards with credits left over to play them. With this modification, I will almost certainly never purchase 3 cards and early on, even 2 would be tough. However, the card quality, may just be enough to make up for the deficits.

I wonder if this modification would promote MC engines and strategy.
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Wendell Beitzel
United States
Mountlake Terrace
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EnPHard wrote:
I think with this kind of modification, you will end up discarding a lot of good cards. In the early turns, megacredits are so valuable, then I'm often only buying one or two cards. I want to buy the most powerful cards with credits left over to play them. With this modification, I will almost certainly never purchase 3 cards and early on, even 2 would be tough. However, the card quality, may just be enough to make up for the deficits.

I wonder if this modification would promote MC engines and strategy.


I certainly see your point!

What if there were different "eras" based on number of TR? Once you go above a certain TR rating then it ups the amount that cards cost. So you start with it being 1,2,3,4,5, etc... Then there is a trigger that shifts it up to 2,3,4,5, etc...

I just think there is a better more strategic way to go about drawing cards than just have 4 random ones that all cost the same. No really difficult decisions to be made.
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Kim Choy
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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Perhaps, draw 10 but you're only allowed to buy 4. That way, you still get to see more cards but you can only keep the same number you would otherwise have gotten.
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Marcus S
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I think this type of variant reduces the strategic decisions in a solo game. The more cards you go through, the more likely you are to get "that card". Once you know most of the cards, you could then "rely" on having pretty good odds (or possibly 100% with a good card drawing engine) of getting exactly the card you need/want/have been waiting for. Only seeing half to a third of the cards leaves you uncertain of what you will get, and forces you to make tougher decisions, and make better use of the cards that you do see. Something like a titanium engine will almost always be reliable, because you know you are going to see most of the Space cards and be able to make good use of those cards. To me, this simplifies the game, and reduces the risk of going big for titanium...

If you think about it, by playing this variant you are moving it further away from the multiplayer game... In multiplayer, all players combined may go through more cards, but you will most definitely see less yourself... and the point of the game is to build the best engine with what you are given, not to go through every card in the deck and hope they turn up in the right order.

Additionally, going through less then half the cards per play lends itself to increased replayability... heck sometimes I'm lazy and don't even shuffle the deck, just start by playing the cards i didn't use in the previous game (only when I'm really lazy though, cause this too allows you to have a decent idea of what cards will come up)
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Kim Choy
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In a 4 player game, you will see 10 cards per round (if you use the drafting variant) and you will only be able to keep 4. I don't think my suggestion or the OP's original suggestion strays too far from that.

Mine differs slightly in that you get to see all 10 cards at once, whereas in the 4 player draft you only get to see 4 then 3 ...

I suppose you could do a self draft this way as well: Draw 4 keep 1; then draw 3 keep 1; then draw 2 keep 1; then draw 1. From those four cards, decide which ones to buy as per normal.
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Marcus S
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umchoyka wrote:
In a 4 player game, you will see 10 cards per round (if you use the drafting variant) and you will only be able to keep 4. I don't think my suggestion or the OP's original suggestion strays too far from that.

Mine differs slightly in that you get to see all 10 cards at once, whereas in the 4 player draft you only get to see 4 then 3 ...

I suppose you could do a self draft this way as well: Draw 4 keep 1; then draw 3 keep 1; then draw 2 keep 1; then draw 1. From those four cards, decide which ones to buy as per normal.

True, and I can get on board with the self draft, I think that is a better way of doing it... But it still doesn't change the fact that there is a difference between the cards you "see" and the cards that are "gone through" in a game. In a draw 10, or self draft scenario you see 10 cards, but you see all 10 cards that are used that round, whereas in a 4 player game you will never actually see/get the chance to purchase 6 cards every round. There are ways around this too if you want to go that far.

In the end, it's a solo game and you can really play it however you want... I personally see no need to house rule anything.
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A big part of the solo game is figuring out which of the three metrics you just aren't having at the moment and responding to that need in time---though "make more megacredits and bulk buy standard actions" is basically always the answer. (Yes, I'm a novice. Why do you ask?)
 
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Nick P.
Germany
Munich
Bavaria
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umchoyka wrote:
I suppose you could do a self draft this way as well: Draw 4 keep 1; then draw 3 keep 1; then draw 2 keep 1; then draw 1. From those four cards, decide which ones to buy as per normal.

This is a variant that was suggested by german gaming magazine "Spielbox" and which works very well.

Personally I use the official rules, hoping to get a high score that I can post here on the highscore list.
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Kim Choy
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CarcuS wrote:
But it still doesn't change the fact that there is a difference between the cards you "see" and the cards that are "gone through" in a game. In a draw 10, or self draft scenario you see 10 cards, but you see all 10 cards that are used that round, whereas in a 4 player game you will never actually see/get the chance to purchase 6 cards every round. There are ways around this too if you want to go that far.

In the end, it's a solo game and you can really play it however you want... I personally see no need to house rule anything.

I wasn't clear in my suggestion above but I meant that for each "pack" of cards, you keep 1 card and discard the rest. In that way you can only keep and use 4 out of 10 cards in the round in the same way you would if you were playing 4 player. The other 6 are discarded and are not able to be used this game.

I agree with your conclusion though, there's no real need to change the solo game like this other than to improve your chances of winning and/or getting a high score.
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David Arlington
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Spanish Fort
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Eh, I like the challenge the way it is in the solo game. I LIKE trying to find ways to increase my card draws past the initial 62 you know you will see. And I LIKE the challenge of having to deal with a limited card set each time. Having the options of so many cards available would reduce the appeal of this game as a solo game for me.

It's the same reason I like the SoloPlay version of Agricola (with limited and variable resources and improvements) versus the standard solo game where all the actions and improvements are always available to the solo player.

I guess I'm just a curmudgeon, but I like the solo game as it is. I think there are plenty of strategic options (and challenges!) already.

Dave
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Kim Choy
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You know you're posting in the variant forum?
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