This is a solo variant using a Spoiler Nemesis mechanic where you have a goal and the AI player is trying to stop you reaching it. Came up with the idea a year ago after getting the game, and have made a few adjustments since, so thought maybe it was time to put it up here and see what people thought.
When Dahlgaard returned to Magoria he sought one magician to be his successor but rather than picking a talented illusionist from each of the four fields he has instead just chosen you to take on his challenge and prove you are worthy of his legacy. But in the shadows of the Dark Alley a rival watches and plots. This Shadow Magician is angry that you have been chosen over them to take the challenge and they will do everything they can to make you fail, and let them prove they are more worthy to be Dahlgaard’s chosen.
To win the game you must complete the challenges set out by Dahlgaard, but the Shadow Magician will use their resources to block and sabotage your efforts so you fail and they can get an opportunity to become the chosen instead.
Before the end of the game the player must have completed the following three tasks
Perform 1 Riverside Theatre performance
Perform 1 Grand Magorian performance with at least one 16 threshold Trick on it.
Perform 1 Magnus Pantheon performance with at least one 36 threshold Trick on it.
The game is played the same as a two player game, and the Duel of Magicians rules can be used.
The Shadow Magician doesn’t have a player board, they only have the character disks and trick markers.
Pick the Magician card for the Shadow Magician. If playing with the Shadow Magician powers shown later then turn it Dark Alley side up otherwise leave it basic side up. Also take the Magician’s poster, a set of character disks, and matching trick markers for the Shadow Magician.
Take the Magician character disk and an Apprentice character disk and a normal set of assignment cards and place them next to the Magician card.
Now take the three specialists disks, mix them up and place them in a stack with the remaining three Apprentice disks next to them. These characters will be added to the Shadow Magician as the game progresses.
Discard at random a threshold 1 trick of the Shadow Magician’s speciality class.
~ Playing Card Variant ~
Need sixteen playing cards that give you eight matching pairs.
One set will be the Identifier cards and one set will be the Order cards.
Place the Magician and the first Apprentice each on a separate face up Identifier card.
Take the two matching Order cards and shuffle them to form the Order deck.
Place the three specialists and three remaining Apprentices separately on the six remaining Identifier cards.
Take the matching Order cards for the Specialists and shuffle them, place them face down for Specialist deck.
When adding a new Specialist draw the top card and add that Specialist and the Order card to Shadow Magician.
One Apprentice will get added automatically with the Specialist so add an Apprentice and their Order card also.
Take the poster for the player and the Shadow Magician and shuffle them and place them on the first two Initiative order spaces. Place the tokens for the Player and Shadow Magician on the relevant spaces and remove all the posters, before the advertising phase.
On the third and fifth turn add an extra poster from another Magician not in the game and shuffle as above. When all the posters have been placed these extra Magician posters are removed, to be used again the following turn.
The player can pay 1 Shard to swap with the space 1 above them in the Initiative order. This can be done multiple times during set initiative.
At the start of a turn place the Shadow Magician’s active characters in a bag or stack them randomly. Or use the playing card variant above.
Shuffle the Shadow Magician’s assignment deck.
When it is the Shadow Magician’s turn to place a character, pick a character from the bag or stack, and turn over an assignment card from the Shadow Magician’s assignment deck.
Now place the character on the leftmost space in that area and perform the Character’s task as shown below.
If there are no available spaces in that area then the character performs the Shadow action for that area and the character is left off the board, ready to use again next turn.
Workshop actions place the Shadow Magician’s characters in your Workshop.
After all modifications for the slot the character will always be considered as having at least 1 Action Point.
The Character doesn’t perform any of the actions for the spaces but only the relevant Action listed below, once.
Special Assignment Action
Special Assignment cards are not used for the text but instead deduct fame from the player equal to the action total of the character being placed, this includes the base action points of the character, the slot modifier, and the extra action points from the special assignment card.
The character will then perform their normal action for that area or the Shadow action if no space is free.
If no space is free then the slot modifier is 0.
Special Assignment cards can only be used once just like normal and are discarded after character is placed.
With the Downtown action the Shadow character is taking away tricks and characters that you need.
Magician – Reroll all dice not showing “X” and lose 1 Fame point for each die now showing X.
Engineer – Reroll both Residence dice and discard a random trick from the two decks. (Shuffle decks)
Assistant – Turn both Inn dice to their X face.
Manager – Take highest money die and discard that much from player’s money.*
Apprentice – Downtown actions cost 1 extra from now on this turn.
Shadow – Player picks one Specialist they already have, to deactivate for next round.
If a die to be selected shows “X” then Shadow character rerolls it until “X” isn’t a result.
If a die shows “?” then reroll it to determine result.
*If full amount can’t be paid, the player loses two fame points for each coin not paid.
With the market action the Shadow character is influencing the market to make it hard for you to buy components.
Magician – The base price of components is doubled for this turn.
Engineer – Orders are removed and no more can be ordered this turn.
Assistant – Bargain is disabled for rest of turn.
Manager – Components each now cost 1 extra coin this turn.
Apprentice – Market actions cost 1 extra from now on this turn.
Shadow – Lose 1 component of your choice from Workshop.
With the dark alley action the Shadow character is gaining special assignment cards and using dark actions to affect you.
Magician – Shadow Magician gains 1 card from each Special Assignment deck
Engineer – Draw Further Cards action is disabled for rest of turn.
Assistant – Shadow Magician gains 1 Special Assignment card from deck relevant to placement space.
Manager – Fortune Telling is disabled for rest of turn.
Apprentice – Dark Alley actions cost 1 extra from now on this turn.
Shadow – Clear the Pending Prophecies and draw three new ones.
Take a special assignment card – can be used as its +1 energy by Shadow character
With the theatre action the Shadow character is messing with the setup of your performances.
Magician – Place 1 Shadow trick marker on newest performance, player loses 3 fame if not linked.
Engineer – Remove a player’s trick marker from the oldest performance with a trick of theirs on it.
Assistant – Player can’t add any additional characters backstage for remainder of this turn.
Manager – The Player’s Performance this turn is classed as Thursday regardless of day performed
Apprentice – Theatre actions cost 1 extra from now on this turn.
Shadow – Remove all Tricks from one performance.
Shadow Magician doesn’t perform, but is always placed in the Performance slot.
Shadow Magician tricks deduct 3 fame points when performed.
Player can reschedule the Shadow Magician’s tricks.
With the workshop action the Shadow character is breaking into your workshop and disrupting your work, destroying preparation and plans.
Magician – Lose one Shard.
Engineer – Remove one trick marker from each trick in the Workshop.
Assistant – Deactivate rightmost Apprentice for next turn, including the free one.
Manager – Characters who have to be paid wages have to be paid one extra coin this turn.
Apprentice – Workshop actions cost 1 extra from now on this turn.
Shadow – Pay coins equal to the action points of this Character to fix damage they do to workshop.*
* The player loses two fame points for each coin they can’t pay.
You can bribe the Shadow Magician’s characters to stop them acting. Before you are going to place one of the Shadow Magician’s characters on a space you can pay the total value of their actions if they were to be placed on that space to make them not be placed this turn.
If there is no available space in that area then you pay them their base action value to stop them performing the no space Shadow action in that area.
If it was a special assignment placement then 1 is added to the bribe value.
The Shadow Magician can’t be bribed.
In the return characters step the Shadow Magician will gain an extra Specialist and Apprentice if any are still available.
Take the top specialist from the Shadow stack along with an apprentice and mix them in with the other characters the Shadow Magician already has, and add them to the bag or stack for the next turn.
Shuffle all of the Shadow Magician’s assignment cards, including any newly acquired Special Assignments, ready for the next round.
Shadow Magician Abilities
The Shadow Magician has a special ability but it works differently to the ability in the normal game
~ The Mechaniker
The first Apprentice the Shadow Magician places increases the action cost for that area by an extra 1, in addition to the normal 1, from now on this turn. Place the Apprentice face down on the space to show this. If the first Apprentice is to be placed on an area that has no spaces left then this effect doesn’t take effect this turn.
~ Priestess of Mysticism ~
When the Shadow Magician places a Character in the Dark Alley they discard the Active Prophesy, then replace it with the first Pending Prophesy and draw a new one in its place. If the character is to be placed on an area that has no spaces left then this effect doesn’t take effect.
~ Master of Chains ~
At the start of the Performance the player has to Reschedule one of the Shadow Magician’s tricks on to the Performance being done. If this can’t be done then the player loses three fame points. Normal penalties for linking the trick and performing apply.
~ The Great Optico ~
The player can only use the effect of a Special Assignment card if the Shadow Magician has already played a Permanent Assignment card of the same location this turn.
~ The Red Lotus ~
Player loses one Fame point for a Performance for every Link circle that contains a Shadow Magician Trick and one of the player’s Tricks, regardless of if a link is formed between them.
~ Yoruba Spiritmaster ~
When the player is about the perform they either pay 1 Shard or they have to perform the performance with the least number of their Tricks on it. If there are several with the least then the newest performance has to be performed.
~ Electra ~
When the Shadow Magician’s Trick Marker is setup on a performance an additional Trick Marker is placed on that Trick slot. This gives this Trick an additional 3 Fame deduction for not making a setup link and performing.
~ The Gentleman ~
Whenever the Shadow Magician is placed on a Downtown, Market Row or Dark Alley slot, the player loses Fame equal to the number of Trick cards the player has. If the Shadow Magician is to be placed on an area that has no spaces left then this effect doesn’t take effect.
All of the Magicians when played by the player can use their powers as normal except for the two below who have new powers.
~ The Red Lotus ~
Treat one Shadow Magician’s Trick on the Performance as if it was one of your Tricks not present on the Performance with an equal or lower threshold to a Trick you do have on the performance, and lose 1 Fame point.
~ Yoruba Spiritmaster ~
Pay one Shard to ignore all Shadow Magician Tricks on a Performance.
If a performance is discarded with a player’s tricks still on it then they lose fame equal to the linking bonus value for the threshold of that trick.
I look forward to trying this out... when I can get it to the table!
I've only read the first three sections yet, but the idea seems splendid!
I've only read the first three sections yet, but the idea seems splendid!
Hope you enjoy it, and thanks for the tip.
Any news on try-outs?
Feel free to give it a try, you might like it.
Have finally submitted the file version of this variant, will add link when it is up. But thought I would add a few notes here about what I wanted to add in the future.
In the current version you have the set goal of the 3 performances to complete before the end, but I would like to expand this goal to a wider Judgement system that will give you a variation to the 3 goals you are given with a Judgement Matrix, and adding a timing system based on the Action value of the slot modifiers where you place you characters.
I also will incorporate the new things from the Academy expansion when I get my copy of that.
File version of this variant is now available on here, will continue to develop ideas for it.
Next on the variant plans, after I finish my own game, is a solo kitchen sink version of Anachrony.