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Subject: Solo Kingdomino rss

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Nick
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I have come up with two simple solo variants for Kingdomino. They are in the file section and I will also present them here for discussion. In both cases you are simply trying to get the highest score you can, and you can compare that with your previous plays.

In both variants I have tried to make the tile-drafting simulate the real game as much as possible. By that I mean that in both variants, sometimes you will have all tiles available to you in a given round (the equivalent of going first in a round in the regular game) and other times you will have fewer tiles available, or even only one tile (the equivalent of going last in a round in the regular game). Variant 2: Dwindling Choices regulates this evenly whereas in Variant 1: Crown of Thorns, your decisions determine how many tiles you have access to in any given round.

Variant 1: Crown of Thorns

The rules for placing tiles and scoring are the same as in the normal game.

Set-up:
Choose a color and take one king and the castle for that color, as well as a starting tile. Set up the tiles as you would for two or four players, with all 48 tiles in use.

Playing the Game:
Reveal the first four tiles and order them from the lowest number (1st tile) to the highest number (4th tile), as in the regular game. Choose the tile you want by placing your king on it, and then reveal and order four more tiles, as in the regular game.

The rules for drafting tiles in the second round and all subsequent rounds are:

If you take the 1st tile in any round, you are free to take any tile in the next round.
If you take the 2nd tile in any round, you can only take one of tiles 1-3 in the next round.
If you take the 3rd tile in any round, you can only take one of tiles 1-2 in the next round.
If you take the 4th tile in any round, you must take the 1st tile in the next round.

Continue in this way through 12 rounds, then add up your score.


Variant 2: Dwindling Choices

The rules for placing tiles and scoring are the same as in the normal game.

This variant divides the 12 rounds of tile-drafting into three phases, with each phase containing four rounds of tile drafting.

Set-up:
Choose a color and take one king and the castle for that color, as well as a starting tile. Set up the tiles as you would for two or four players, with all 48 tiles in use.

Playing the Game:
Reveal the first four tiles and order them from the lowest number (1st tile) to the highest number (4th tile), as in the regular game. Choose the tile you want by placing your king on it, and then reveal and order four more tiles as in the regular game.

The rules for drafting tiles are:

In each phase of four rounds of tile drafting, you must draft each tile position exactly one time. If, in the first round, you take the 4th tile (the highest number), you cannot take the 4th tile in any of the subsequent three rounds. Instead, you must take the 1st, 2nd and 3rd tile (in whichever order you like) in those three rounds. Once the first phase is over (after the fourth round), the second phase begins and in the first round of that phase (the fifth round overall), you are free to draft whichever tile you like. The second and third phase unfold in the same way as the first.

Tip: To keep track of which tiles you have already drafted in the current phase, and therefore which tiles are available to you in the remaining rounds of that phase, keep the undrafted tiles for that phase on the table in separate columns for each round. The ‘holes’ in those columns (where the tiles you drafted were) will show you which tile position (1-4) you drafted in each round and therefore which positions are available to you in the current round.

Continue in this way through three phases (12 rounds), then add up your score.
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miha hančič
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Both nice variants.
Thanks for this, will try them out.
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Catherine Wiener
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Henderson
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Tried the Dwindling Choices variant the minute my game was delivered and loved it. Now I'm off to try Crown of Thorns.

Thanks again for these wonderful variants!
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Nick
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Sadgrad wrote:
Tried the Dwindling Choices variant the minute my game was delivered and loved it. Now I'm off to try Crown of Thorns.

Thanks again for these wonderful variants!


Glad you liked them! How did you go with Crown of Thorns? Do you have a preference for one over the other?
 
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Ben Cole
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I will try these versions, thanks for the suggestions. But my initial thought for 'Crown of thorns':
You shouldn't necessarily be deprived of the highest number tiles each time. So my suggestion would be that you draw the next four tiles but only turn over the appropriate number. Thus, the ones you are deprived of, are randomly chosen.
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Andy
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Thanks for sharing these! In the same vein as what Ben said, why not only deal out number of times = number of choices in dwindling choices?

you need a total of 12 tiles in your kingdom at the end, so you need to do three rounds of dwindling choices, where you collect a total of 4 tiles per round. Each round has 4 turns, with 4, 3, 2, 1 choices. So that's a total of 10 tiles you can choose from per round. So for three rounds, why not just remove 18 tiles, and use the remaining 30, only deal out 4 in turn 1, 3 in turn 2, 2 in turn 3, and 1 in turn 4 - but you can always take any one of tiles that are dealt

Did I do the math right? I think it would work out to be the same.
 
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Nick
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benc wrote:
I will try these versions, thanks for the suggestions. But my initial thought for 'Crown of thorns':
You shouldn't necessarily be deprived of the highest number tiles each time. So my suggestion would be that you draw the next four tiles but only turn over the appropriate number. Thus, the ones you are deprived of, are randomly chosen.


Thanks for the comments! I'm not sure I understand. You're only deprived of the opportunity to take the highest tile if you didn't take the lowest tile in the previous round. That seems to me to be a close simulation of the 4-player game, where whoever is drafting first can take the highest tile and then the other players are deprived of it. It's a way to get you the tile that you would have gotten in a 4-player game if each player were to take the highest tile available to them when it's their turn.

Pjandy wrote:
Thanks for sharing these! In the same vein as what Ben said, why not only deal out number of times = number of choices in dwindling choices?


Thanks for the comments! If I understand your suggestion correctly, the math seems correct but for me it strays too much from the 4-player experience. The (interrelated) reasons I prefer it as I designed it are:

- All tiles are used (even though not all of them are available). People have said the reason they don't like the 3-player game as much is that not all tiles are used, so I wanted to include them all in the solo game.

- I also think the drafting process simulates the 4-player game better. It simulates you choosing first, second, third and fourth once per four rounds, taking the relative strength of each round's options (according to the numbers on the tiles) into play. In a 4-player game, you typically end up with a range of 1, 2, 3 and 4 tiles, and this variant codifies that, whereas your suggestion seems to virtually do away with the ranking of the tiles because most rounds will not have four tiles laid out.

Anyway, feel free to play it however you like, of course. This is just my preference. Thanks again for the comments.
 
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Andy
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I see what you mean. It makes it feel a bit more like the regular game when you have 4 tiles out. Still also feels a bit like writing a fraction as 4/12th or 8/16th if you know what I mean. laugh

May try a few other tweaks...

 
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Cyril
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I played both variants a couple of times, and I have to say that Crown of Thorns is clearly my favorite.
I could believe it's the official solo rules.
 
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Andrew
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Played dwindling choices and scored a 32 -- not great. However, I missed my last tile which could have squeezed out some more. Solid variant! Going to play dwindling choices again, and then tackle crown of thorns.

EDIT: Beat myself on dwindling choices, with 47.

EDIT2: MUCH, MUCH prefer the crown of thorns variant, as my limitations feel self-inflicted. There's also a push-your-luck aspect of taking a great fourth tile and betting that the next four won't be ones you really need. More of an aspect of luck than the original game, but still, this is a really solid variant. Scored 46 in one try.
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Sébastien D
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Nice variants

I like "Dwindling Choices". Scored 43 on my first try (without counting the +10/+5 of the centered fully completed realm).
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Jason Loehr
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I just tried out Crown of Thorns and it was fun. I got 53 points. Will play again and be trying Dwindling Choices.
Thank you!
 
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Emma Edwards
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Hi, I have been testing a solo variant today that tries to emulate the experience of a 2 player game where the player builds a 7 by 7 grid.

You do need to use tokens or cubes from another game for this. I grabbed two bags of Pandemic cubes which worked out well as there are 24 in a bag.

You play with all 48 dominoes. Each turn, you lay out 4 dominoes in numerical order as usual. You can choose two dominoes from the column but the catch is that each domino has a price. The first and second domino cost one cube/token, the third costs two and the fourth costs three.

So far, I have played with a starting pot of 48 cubes and 42 cubes. 48 cubes felt far too easy, 42 cubes was good but next time I think that I will try 36. With 42 cubes, I had to take the lowest cost dominoes for the last three turns even though they were sub-optimal choices. Even so, my score was 152 not including bonuses as I prefer to deduct points for not achieving them when playing solo.

I did consider a 0,1,2,3 price structure which would mean that there would never be a risk of not finishing the game but running out of tokens/cubes does emulate being stuck with a domino that you can't play in a multi-player game.

I like it so far, It's very fast to play and makes for an interesting puzzle. The choices of whether to spend now or save for later give some depth.

Please try it out with different starting pots and let me know what you think.
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Israel Waldrom
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Nice variants. I ended up picking this up (and ordering Queendomino) from a local bookstore because you had made these variants that are of the style I like. Played my first session using Crown of Thorns, scoring 38.

I would suggest one minor modification to the Crown of Thorns Variant:
In order to remind yourself of what tiles you are allowed to choose, when placing the next set of tiles down, leave facedown (starting from the bottom) a number of tiles equal to the number of tiles that are currently above your king meeple.
This provides a visual reminder of the constraints listed for it, and is very simple to implement. With that amendment, the rules for the variant can be summaries as - Play as you would for a 4 player game, but when laying out the next set of tiles for drafting, leave facedown (from the bottom up) a number of tiles equal to those that are currently above your king. Facedown tiles cannot be chosen.

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Israel Waldrom
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Played a few more games, and am considering the following addition to the Crown of Thorns variant, to allow for a 7x7 grid (Mighty Crown of Thorns):

Play through the deck of tiles two times. During the second cycle draw only 3 tiles instead of 4. All other rules apply, and you're constrained to a 7x7 grid.

I had though about adding an additional constraint that your castle has to be in the center of the grid, but I am not sure if that is necessary.
Related to that tho are the Middle Kingdom and Harmony variants. You make no mention of them, so I assume they are not used, but it would be something that I would consider applying to Crown of Thorns and Mighty Crown of Thorns.
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Simon Maynard
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mogust wrote:
I would suggest one minor modification to the Crown of Thorns Variant:
In order to remind yourself of what tiles you are allowed to choose, when placing the next set of tiles down, leave facedown (starting from the bottom) a number of tiles equal to the number of tiles that are currently above your king meeple.
This provides a visual reminder of the constraints listed for it, and is very simple to implement. With that amendment, the rules for the variant can be summaries as - Play as you would for a 4 player game, but when laying out the next set of tiles for drafting, leave facedown (from the bottom up) a number of tiles equal to those that are currently above your king. Facedown tiles cannot be chosen.

That's a good suggestion however...I like to see all the tiles going down even if I can't take them; just so I know which tiles are going by. For instance, if I'm waiting for a rare mine tile, I want to know if it's gone sailing by rather than waiting fruitlessly for it!

I like to look at them all then turn back over the ones that I'm not allowed to take.
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Israel Waldrom
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Fried Egg wrote:
mogust wrote:
I would suggest one minor modification to the Crown of Thorns Variant:
In order to remind yourself of what tiles you are allowed to choose, when placing the next set of tiles down, leave facedown (starting from the bottom) a number of tiles equal to the number of tiles that are currently above your king meeple.
This provides a visual reminder of the constraints listed for it, and is very simple to implement. With that amendment, the rules for the variant can be summaries as - Play as you would for a 4 player game, but when laying out the next set of tiles for drafting, leave facedown (from the bottom up) a number of tiles equal to those that are currently above your king. Facedown tiles cannot be chosen.

That's a good suggestion however...I like to see all the tiles going down even if I can't take them; just so I know which tiles are going by. For instance, if I'm waiting for a rare mine tile, I want to know if it's gone sailing by rather than waiting fruitlessly for it!

I like to look at them all then turn back over the ones that I'm not allowed to take.


Fair enough
 
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Kanit D SMUTHKOCHORN
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Thank you - will try both variants out over the weekend
 
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