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Subject: Solo income question rss

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Drake Coker
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The solo global rules remove politics and fix the politics marker in the start space and then go on to mention that this fixes the Free Market value of white cards at 5 WT. The start space is normally 4 WT sale price.

Is 5 WT a rule or a typo?

Also, I haven't seen any discussion yet of Interstellar since publication. Is anyone playing it? I'm still learning the standard game, but I'm a little surprised at the silence around Interstellar.

Thanks!
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Isaac Shalev
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The way I read it, politics are fixed in the middle, but FM is 5WT like in the Basic game.
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Dom Rougier
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I'm remembering how unforgiving Interstellar can be. Have started two games, and not gotten terribly far. Planning to get on top of it.

The thing with Interstellar is that you need to plan for things a turn ahead of when they're going to happen, but you don't know what's going to happen. So each turn you're basically playing the odds and trying to cover as many bases as possible.

I think 5WT is correct. It makes sense, especially as you have to buy the supports now, and the politics disc doesn't move. This means that you can (just) make a profit buying and selling them, and Finance colonists are very useful to liquidate funds quickly.
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Adam Gastonguay
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I actually have Interstellar set up behind me right now.

I'm only 2 light years away from Sol right now, but so far so good.

I've played it a handful of times. It's a very difficult game, but tells a heck of a story.
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Todd Pytel
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Domfluff wrote:
I think 5WT is correct.

Should we read that as an official ruling, Dom? I know you and a bunch of regulars here were involved with playtesting, but I don't know who exactly is responsible for the solitaire rules. 4 WT vs 5 WT is an important difference... it would be nice to know what's "right", even if it's just solitaire.

edit: Also, FWIW, my opinion is that it should probably be 4 and not 5. Buying a card + 1 support for 4 and selling both at 5 WT gets you a profit of 2 WT's per Op. So that's only a slight tempo penalty (you need 4 WT's to get started and then need to spend two more ops selling). That means you can freely cycle the decks looking for specific patents, and I think that makes the game a little too predictable. I think you should have to give up a bit more if you're going to fish for a card.
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Dom Rougier
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If it's from me, it's definitely not an official ruling
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Rus
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I think only Phil can declare something official, so we'll have to wait for him to weigh in. That said, if there is an actual ambiguity, Phil is very good at considering arguments from playtesters and the community.

I was not involved with the development of the solitaire variants, but here are some thoughts. As I understand, Hermes Fall was developed by Phil for 1E, and adapted for 2E and re-adapted again for 3E. Werner's Star was developed by Phil for 2E and adapted for 3E. CEO was a fan variant (developed by Victor Caminha / wykthor) for 2E and adapted for 3E w/o Victor's involvement.

They all had free market at 4WT, but had slightly different tweaks to auctions, which in 3E got merged into a single set of rules V0. So, the question is, does that merge justify bumping free market to 5WT?

Hermes 1E/2E was the only one with "no bid limits" and "pay 1WT to get card off bottom" rules. You also paid 2WT flat to auction a card, with free supports (3E rule is harder). It also lasted 19 turns (3E is 24 turns so is easier). So, I would guess 4WT is the right balance point for Hermes.

Werner Star had free auctions with crew (3E is much harder), but had bid limits and could not buy cards from bottom (3E is easier). I think Werner Star is probably better with 5WT.

The CEO variant in 2E had a flat 3WT auction cost (3E harder), with free supports (3E easier), no buying from bottom (3E easier), and bidding limits (3E easier). So, for CEO in 3E, I would definitely stick with 4WT, and even then it is probably too easy.

So it seems like 4WT is the way to go overall, though it would make the already challenging Werner Star even more so. I would say that it is a fine house rule to vary the difficulty setting of the solitaire scenarios by changing the free market cost, as well as: bidding / no bidding limits, auction rules, starting WT, and (perhaps) different time limits for Werner Star. If you do this, please post session reports -- those would be invaluable as continued playtests.

Disclaimer: nothing above is official.
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Drake Coker
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Quote:
Disclaimer: nothing above is official.


Beautifully researched and reasoned answer though
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Todd Pytel
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Thanks for the detailed explanation, Rus. The parallel development of the different solitaire variants explains where the discrepancy in wording came from, though it doesn't resolve it.

While it's obviously attractive to have a unified set of solitaire research/sale rules, I'm not sure that's the best path to take. Hermes Fall and Werner's SS are very much scenarios with a fixed, narrow goal and a rather short timeline. CEO, on the other hand, seems more like a general-purpose solitaire system that lets you play out something like a typical HF game, only solo. (I think that's why CEO is more popular here than the others.) The timeframe is open-ended provided you meet your targets.

I think these differences require different research/market rules, and that it's not quite as simple as "easier vs. harder". For example, the "buy off the bottom" rule gives the player a much greater advantage in a longer game (like CEO) where you can take your time and wait for cards to cycle. This is especially true if bid limits don't apply. What I've found in CEO (and which will be seen in my session report as it continues) is that you can play conservatively early on, gather up a specific set of cards on the cheap by buying them off the bottom, and end up with an uber-ship by the midgame. The cycling and eventual cheap purchase of any combination of cards you desire is just too predictable.

I'm going to test out the research/market rules listed below for CEO. I think they'll better emulate the market behavior in a regular game and make it much harder to rely on a specific strategy every game.

Purchase price: 2 WT + 1 WT per support (supports must be purchased if listed)
Market price: 5 WT
Hand limits: Apply as usual, unless you have Skunkworks
Inspiration: As usual when a 1 is rolled; When a 2 is rolled, cycle 2 cards instead of 1; During the 1st solar cycle only, treat Glitch and Pad Explosion events as "Inspiration 1" rolls.
Buy off the bottom: Not allowed

I think this will better emulate the beginning of a multiplayer game where patents come and go quickly as they're bought up. And the combination of not buying off the bottom and the possible 2-card Inspiration will make it much more important to buy cards you want as soon as they're available, because you may not have another opportunity. The research and market prices make money a little easier to come by, but having to consider hand limits balances that out. (Though it may be that 2 + 2 or 2 + 2 + 1 would be better costing - playtesting would be required.)
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Dom Rougier
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tppytel wrote:

Purchase price: 2 WT + 1 WT per support (supports must be purchased if listed)
Market price: 5 WT
Hand limits: Apply as usual, unless you have Skunkworks
Inspiration: As usual when a 1 is rolled; When a 2 is rolled, cycle 2 cards instead of 1; During the 1st solar cycle only, treat Glitch and Pad Explosion events as "Inspiration 1" rolls.
Buy off the bottom: Not allowed


Seems sensible.

I assumed that the intention behind a unified set of solitaire rules was that it makes it extremely easy to create other solitaire scenarios - landing humans on Titan and returning, fulfilling a random Glory mission, whatever.
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Todd Pytel
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Domfluff wrote:
I assumed that the intention behind a unified set of solitaire rules was that it makes it extremely easy to create other solitaire scenarios - landing humans on Titan and returning, fulfilling a random Glory mission, whatever.

Sure. Like I said, it's obviously attractive to have a unified set of solitaire rules. And it may be that the current set of rules is good enough for a range of narrow scenarios like the ones you describe. But I suspect CEO will play better with a set more tuned to a longer game.
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Rus
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For the CEO variant, I would dial everything into the harder direction, otherwise it is too easy (compared to the other solitaire scenarios). Consider -- the Werner scenario has you complete a GW future in 36 turns, which would also win the CEO scenario. How many times have you completed CEO in 36 turns?

In other words:
2WT per card in auctions, including 2WT per support(mandatory), if any. I.e. No change from current rule
Maybe cancel the world science symposium (I.e. nothing happens during elections)

Then, every other rule the same as in multiplayer:
Budding limits in effect
No buying from bottom
No change to inspiration.
Market price 4WT
Glitch and pad explosions always in effect

Also, I think the original CEO variant required an "achievement" for every board meeting. Eliminating that is part of the reason it is easy.
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Christian van Someren
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Wow, reading this makes me wonder what I am doing wrong. So far I've lost all my CEO games after the 3rd or 4th cycle - I just cannot get points fast enough. I can't imagine making the scenario harder!

But then, I'm currently playing without Bernals, Colonists, Freighters, etc. Maybe this makes CEO significantly more difficult?
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Dom Rougier
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Colonists give you additional actions (at least netting you +1 WT each turn for an income operation)

Bernals save an entire burn, since you can boost straight to the Bernal.

Both make getting a first factory significantly easier.

Playing without Bernals will also make labs more difficult to found (since they will have to be TNO sites).

So... yes.

Having said that, High Frontier is a sandbox, and the CEO game is a solitaire scenario. I don't think there's any real way to play it "wrong".
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Christianv wrote:
Wow, reading this makes me wonder what I am doing wrong. So far I've lost all my CEO games after the 3rd or 4th cycle - I just cannot get points fast enough. I can't imagine making the scenario harder!

But then, I'm currently playing without Bernals, Colonists, Freighters, etc. Maybe this makes CEO significantly more difficult?


Yes, CEO is not merely more difficult, but actually impossible to win without at least one of the following modules: freighter, colonist, GW thruster. And of course, the more modules you add, the more options you have, which only makes things easier. I find the colonist module especially important since it gives you more operations.

If you only add one of the modules, CEO is not quite as easy. It is also only easy as compared to Werner's star and (if you haven't figured out a few tricks) Hermes Fall. So, it is actually a pretty good challenge for beginners and probably the best way to learn the modules by yourself.
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Todd Pytel
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Christianv wrote:
But then, I'm currently playing without Bernals, Colonists, Freighters, etc. Maybe this makes CEO significantly more difficult?

If all you're playing with are Supports and GW Thrusters, then that's much more difficult. Colonists and Bernals are a huge efficiency boost.

Even with those modules included, I didn't think CEO was easy at first. I often had trouble hitting the second factory on time. But after a few plays you get a better feel of which cards and combos are particularly strong, and start keeping an eye out for them.

rbelikov wrote:
For the CEO variant, I would dial everything into the harder direction, otherwise it is too easy (compared to the other solitaire scenarios).

Again, I think it's helpful to think beyond just easier vs. harder. I think the reason CEO is widely played here is that it's the solitaire variant closest to a "normal" multiplayer game. The other two variants are clearly more puzzle-like. CEO provides a nice opportunity to learn the rules ahead of teaching them, or to practice a bit before a real multiplayer game. So there could be some value to a ruleset that leads to more typical play, even if it's not "optimally difficult".

That's why I rather like the Glitch/Explosion = Inspiration idea in the rules I suggested. Not only does it cycle cards fast at the beginning, but it also avoids some of the very gamey plays you want to take at the beginning of standard CEO to avoid crew/colonist loss to a random pad explosion.
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Todd Pytel
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I did some testing of my variant rules and had some further ideas. I split those off into a new thread since the OP's question here has been answered.
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