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Subject: There is a solo variant... rss

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... here: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/139811/solitaire-mode-min...
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Dale Buonocore
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Thanks for pointing this out, WG. The availability off this solitaire variant helped persuade me to go ahead and order this game!
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Elad wrote:
Thanks for pointing this out, WG. The availability off this solitaire variant helped persuade me to go ahead and order this game!


No problem -- it's a good solo system. I traded the game because I was disappointed that the same cards came out every game; but now I believe the expansion fixes that, so I traded for another copy! Just waiting for the expansion now...


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Dale Buonocore
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WG -- I'll be interested to hear if/how this expansion works when paired with this solitaire variant. I'm wondering if it'll be a fairly simple "mesh," or whether some adjustments will be needed.

I should be receiving the base game today, and am considering the possibility of ordering this expansion -- so I would really love to hear your take on it. Thanks.
 
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Elad wrote:
WG -- I'll be interested to hear if/how this expansion works when paired with this solitaire variant. I'm wondering if it'll be a fairly simple "mesh," or whether some adjustments will be needed.

I should be receiving the base game today, and am considering the possibility of ordering this expansion -- so I would really love to hear your take on it. Thanks.


Good question -- I can't find much info about the expansion, so I can't tell. There is a whole new tower I believe, so that might monkey with things.
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Dale Buonocore
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Just got the expansion -- looks good! It also looks like most if not all of these new components/"modules" can be incorporated into this solitaire variant with minimal adjustments.

When I have a chance, I'll get into it and then report back here...
 
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Elad wrote:
Just got the expansion -- looks good! It also looks like most if not all of these new components/"modules" can be incorporated into this solitaire variant with minimal adjustments.

When I have a chance, I'll get into it and then report back here...


Thanks, Dale. Did you order it from that Italian retailer?

And can you confirm or deny my theory about the new cards? Namely, I assume there is a set of 24 for the new tower, and the other 24 give variability to the original four towers (2 new cards per tower per period).

... at least I hope!

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Dale Buonocore
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Got it through Amazon via Funagain Games. It is the Italian version, but came with an included (copied) English rulebook, which was certainly thoughtful and appreciated.

Actually the 48 "Special Development Cards" are all for the new tower. Plus there are 20 new leader cards, and lots more nifty stuff -- virtually all of which looks to be readily accommodated in this solitaire variant without too much hassle...
 
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Elad wrote:
Got it through Amazon via Funagain Games. It is the Italian version, but came with an included (copied) English rulebook, which was certainly thoughtful and appreciated.

Actually the 48 "Special Development Cards" are all for the new tower. Plus there are 20 new leader cards, and lots more nifty stuff -- virtually all of which looks to be readily accommodated in this solitaire variant without too much hassle...


Huh, that's interesting but slightly disappointing. My beef with the base game was that the same cards come out every round for the 4 towers. I appreciate that all the other new stuff offers variability elsewhere, but that still seems to leave the fact that if I want to play optimally I need to take advantage of my knowledge about which cards are going to be available in the 3rd period.

But I hate memory games!

I realize you can always just forget about tracking such things, but it just feels gross in a strategy game to deliberately ignore information that is, in fact, available. If they had just added a couple of extra cards for each tower (meaning a couple of random cards would not be used) -- even just for the 3rd period -- that would take care of it!


 
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Dale Buonocore
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You probably could just ignore the new Tower and mix the 48 new "Special Development Cards" in with all the others for the main 4 towers...?
 
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Elad wrote:
You probably could just ignore the new Tower and mix the 48 new "Special Development Cards" in with all the others for the main 4 towers...?


Ha! Yes, that would work -- but would probably unbalance things pretty wildly! I still look forward to the new things the new tower will introduce....
 
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Dale Buonocore
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So here is how I'm incorporating the Lorenzo il Magnifico: Houses of Renaissance expansion into this wonderful solitaire variant...

— Randomly pick and match 3 Family Tiles and 3 Auction Tiles; Lorenzo rolls a D6 to place an initial “bid” on each one (from the bottom up), re-rolling any 6s; you can then bid on any card, after which Lorenzo gets an “overbid” roll wherein he will overbid you by 1 if he rolls a 6 (and you could then overbid him if desired, giving him another overbid roll unless you’re at the top) — otherwise, your bid stands and you may take that card.
— Use the 5th Tower; it’s a secret tower, and only you have access to it.
— Use the 2P Adaptation Tile normally.
— Add in the new Leaders and “draft” 4 from a randomly selected 8 (i.e., pick one, randomly discard one from those remaining, pick another,
discard another… etc.; thanks to Pedro C. for this suggestion).
— Add in the new Excommunication Tiles (randomly pick) and the new Personal Bonus Tile (also randomly pick).
— Use the Special Tokens.

I also strongly recommend randomly choosing who goes first each round (unless you placed a Family Member in the Council Palace space which makes you the first player for the next round as usual); and also, on Lorenzo’s turn, rolling all his unplayed dice and choosing the one with the highest result as the one he’ll play this turn (after re-rolling it to get its value), playing it on the leftmost spot of the “Mini-Board” as usual (thanks again, Pedro C.).

Oddly, while adding in more options for you, this does not seem to unbalance the game. After winning on the “Hard” level 107-102 and 77-72 before incorporating this expansion as noted, I then lost to Lorenzo 78-67 after incorporating it.
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Dale Buonocore
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After thumping Lorenzo last night (99 - 56!), clearly helped by dice rolling that was oddly and notably in my favor, some additional tweaks came to mind which I will include from now on...

1) As a regular tweak to this solitaire variant: whenever Lorenzo's die roll is so low that it precludes him from taking a card from that Tower, he will go to the Council Palace and take 2 Military (and claim first player for next turn unless you are already there).

2) To increase the difficulty levels beyond "Impossible" (with each building on the ones before):

INSANE -- Lorenzo no longer gets that 3rd Excommunication Tile penalty;
UNREAL -- Whenever Lorenzo's die roll is so low that it would normally preclude his taking a card from that Tower, he nonetheless gets to take the lowest floor card available there.

I plan on working my way up these difficulty levels, now moving on to the "IMPOSSIBLE" level...

Great game, and an excellent solitaire variant -- thanks to all involved!

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Thanks for your updates, Dale. I'm awaiting a preorder for the expansion from CMON. Looks like it'll be a while!

I have one question for those who use the Lorenzo solo variant. In this game, rolling higher on the 3 big action dice is strictly better than rolling low, from a player-performance perspective. In multiplayer, that doesn't unbalance anything because everyone has to deal with the same bad rolls and good rolls.

But as a solo rival, Lorenzo has the same capacity to collect cards and points no matter what the dice show. So that means the solo player is going to do worse in a game if the big dice happen to roll low.

I'm wondering if there might be a smart way to balance this out? One could do something blunt and inelegant, like subtracting points from Lorenzo if the total pips are 6 or lower and then adding points if the pips are 15 or higher. (And how many points would that be?) But I wonder if there's a better way?

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Dale Buonocore
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Hey, WG. I haven't found this to be problematic so far -- perhaps at least partly because it is mitigated by the randomness of Lorenzo's dice rolls, and sometimes he rolls low as well. In any case, things seem to even out over multiple turns, and it is always a nice challenge to make the best of what you rolled each turn.
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Wretched Git wrote:
Elad wrote:
You probably could just ignore the new Tower and mix the 48 new "Special Development Cards" in with all the others for the main 4 towers...?


Ha! Yes, that would work -- but would probably unbalance things pretty wildly! I still look forward to the new things the new tower will introduce....


Actually, Dale, when I wrote the above I don't think I understood what you were suggesting. Now that I have the expansion, I'm wondering if maybe you haven't hit on a great idea! It seems like you could take the new development cards and just distribute them by color among the regular cards, and then not bother with the 5th tower (which the solo rival doesn't use).

Yes, you would know when a new card was coming out because the back is uncolored, but that doesn't seem like a big deal. And I guess that means you should also not use the new adaptation tile, in that case? Not sure, as I haven't tried it yet...

Or! you could use the 5th tower to randomly overlay one of the original towers (so you can still get the bonus tiles), and then "rotate" the tower as you would the Adaptation tile. I'll try it out, then report.

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Wretched Git wrote:
Wretched Git wrote:
Elad wrote:
You probably could just ignore the new Tower and mix the 48 new "Special Development Cards" in with all the others for the main 4 towers...?


Ha! Yes, that would work -- but would probably unbalance things pretty wildly! I still look forward to the new things the new tower will introduce....


Actually, Dale, when I wrote the above I don't think I understood what you were suggesting. Now that I have the expansion, I'm wondering if maybe you haven't hit on a great idea! It seems like you could take the new development cards and just distribute them by color among the regular cards, and then not bother with the 5th tower (which the solo rival doesn't use).

Yes, you would know when a new card was coming out because the back is uncolored, but that doesn't seem like a big deal. And I guess that means you should also not use the new adaptation tile, in that case? Not sure, as I haven't tried it yet...

Or! you could use the 5th tower to randomly overlay one of the original towers (so you can still get the bonus tiles), and then "rotate" the tower as you would the Adaptation tile. I'll try it out, then report.



So I've tried what I described above several times -- shuffle the new cards into the regular towers' cards, use the 5th tower as an overlay on a regular tower that shifts to the right after each round, no Adaptation tile, and otherwise use Dale's rules above -- and it seems to work nicely. If you're an experienced player you may want to give the bot a 5 or 10 point handicap.

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I was just thinking I needed a solo variant for Lorenzo and Jarhy posted a link. Much appreciated.
 
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