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Subject: Solo variant rss

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Covert - solo variant


This looks complicated at first, but it's really just a crude way of replicating how an opponent can get in your way, take cards from the offers, etc. The only unexpected element is a penalty you will suffer when the rival collects every second intel cube of your color. Beat your best score.

In addition to the regular components, you need an extra D6 (not from the neutral dice) and a D4 (or a D8 acting as a D4).

Set up as 2-player game, including rival’s agents. For the purposes of these instructions, let’s assume the neutral colors are Green and Yellow.

The game ends after 5 rounds. Keep track of the round number using a neutral die. I keep mine above Moscow.

The rival starts as first player. You play your turns normally. Here’s how the rival’s takes action in the various phases:


Roll and place dice:

Roll the rival’s dice and put them in a horizontal line. The order doesn’t matter.

Roll the D4 (A) and a Green (neutral) die (B)

(A) determines which Action Circle the rival wants to place a die on. (He never puts dice on Special Operations or Code Breaking.) If more than one of his dice could legally be placed in that Action Circle, use (B) to choose from among those eligible dice.

(As always in this variant, if (B) or any die is inappropriate as a selector -- say, because he has 4 choices and the (B) roll was a 5 -- just reroll that die or the D4. Of course, a D6 is always appropriate for selecting among 2 or 3 choices.)

If none of the rival’s dice can legally be placed on the chosen Action Circle, check the Circle to the right (wrapping back to the beginning, if necessary) until you find a Circle in which he can legally place one of his dice.

If none of his dice can legally be placed in any Action Circle, the rival passes and takes the lowest turn-order token available.


Code Breaking:

Following turn order, the rival will make one swap among the Cipher Tiles. Roll the Green die, Yellow die, and Extra die. Find a target tile: the Green die determines the column, the Yellow die determines the row. Use the Extra die to determine which tile adjacent to the target will swap with it. (I always designate the tile to the left of the target tile the “first” option, if possible, and then go clockwise from there.)


Dice Resolution:

For each of the rival's turns in this phase, roll D4, a Green die, a Yellow die, and the Extra die. The first time you need a random D6 determination, use Green. The second time, use Yellow. The third, use the Extra. Use the D4 in cases where appropriate. Reroll any of them if you need more random determinations.

On his turns, randomly determine which Action Circle the rival will activate (among those he has one or more dice on) and do the following:


Movement:

The rival removes all his dice from the Circle and moves 2 of his 3 agents that many spaces. Move the 2 agents that will collect the most of your cubes (first priority), or the most neutral cubes (second priority). If only one or zero of the rival’s agents can collect cubes, determine which other agent(s) move randomly. When the rival must move without collecting cubes, determine the direction of movement randomly at every crossroads. The rival always poops out intel cubes as normal.

The neutral cubes the rival collects are discarded. When he collects one of your cubes, however, store it on the board (above England, say). When he collects a second cube of yours, you must discard an Agency or Mission card of your choice. If you have none, discard a broken code card. If you have none of those, discard a completed mission of your choice. If you have none of those, nothing happens. Your two cubes are then returned to your supply.


Take an Agency Card:

The rival removes a die; then choose a region randomly from among those his agents occupy. Discard the Agency card in that region’s card slot. (The Special Operation that allows you to take a discarded card can be used at this point.) Replace the card as usual.


Take a Mission Card:

The rival removes a die; then discard a random face-up Mission card. Replace it as usual.


Complete a Mission:

Remove the die. Nothing else happens.


The game ends after 5 rounds. Don’t forget to advance the round number on the neutral die at the start of each round.


Suggestions for improvement are greatly appreciated.

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Rick Scholes
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What is a good score? I had 58 on my first play.

I did not see any need to use so many dice. Unnecessarily complicated the solo rules. I just re-rolled one d6 or d4 when choices were needed more than once per turn.

It is a fiddly game so probably no way to avoid that in a solo version. Solo didn't create more than seems necessary but see next paragraph.

Once I understood the game the solo worked to impede my plans and is as much fun as multi-player except that it adds lots of dice rolling. I hate dice rolling.
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bankrupt wrote:
What is a good score? I had 58 on my first play.

I did not see any need to use so many dice. Unnecessarily complicated the solo rules. I just re-rolled one d6 or d4 when choices were needed more than once per turn.

It is a fiddly game so probably no way to avoid that in a solo version. Solo didn't create more than seems necessary but see next paragraph.

Once I understood the game the solo worked to impede my plans and is as much fun as multi-player except that it adds lots of dice rolling. I hate dice rolling.


Thanks for your thoughts. I don't think I've played enough to know a good score, because I would tweak the solo rules a bit after each play. I would think at least 70 is a score to shoot for.

I agree that all the dice rolling is none too elegant. I play so many multiplayer games with fan-created solo rules that I'm used to using dice of all kinds to make random determinations. (One of my favorite things is my set of 8-sided D4, which roll so much better.)
 
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Rick Scholes
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I also made an eight sided d4. It has two sets of one to four pips. One red. One green. For moving a pawn left or right on a line of cards.

I'll think more about Covert solo.
 
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