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Subject: Very impressed with the solo variant! rss

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Barry Miller
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Saint Charles
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Note: What follows is more of "what I thought about my first game", rather than a formal review. So you won't find the typical review tropes and headings here if that's what you're looking for. But still, what follows is what I think of the (solo) game, so ...

Wow, if you ever want to simply immerse yourself in the setting of tournament fishing and can't find anyone else whose in the same mood... well then the solo variant for Coldwater Crown will scratch that itch! Yeah, I'm writing this after only one solo session, but that was enough to realize that this solo variant is one that works. The solo rules are very, very simple, yet elegant at the same time. Essentially, you setup, play, and score exactly the same as you would for a standard 2-player game, except for a few minor changes to setup and play.

For my game, I lost to the opponent ("Silent Player") by three points. He won 32-29. We tied in trophies, 24-24. I took two out of the three primary contests, while he cleaned house with the Master Angular Contests. He edged me on the Mystery Weight challenge by one point, but I got him on the First to Eight Species. But he got me on being the first to catch 12 fish. (I had caught 11). But where he killed me, was in the Master Angular fish points. He was able to collect nine MA fish, to my four. Also, one of my points was from matching a tag color. I mention that last bit, as using tags for scoring is an optional element for the standard game. So you may want to cheat a bit by deciding at the very end if you want to include tag scoring or not!
whistle

OK, enough of how he got his points. The reason for this post is to share that at least for my first game, I found it to be a very balanced experience. During the entire game, my opponent and I were almost always in parity with each other (well, except for the aforementioned MA fish). When I had three fish caught, he caught his third within the next turn. And when he had nine fish caught, I was able to catch my ninth on the very next turn. It went like that for the whole game and was sort of eerie.

The method used to determine which fish the Silent Player catches is clever. And as its based on a random draw of the differently colored bait tokens, it means that he doesn't fish "evenly" among the fishing locations, and that he may catch 3 or 4 fish of the same species. I think this is the only reason I won 2 out of 3 of the location contests.

Thusly, while the "Silent Player" makes for a worthy opponent, he's NOT a "smart" A.I or 'bot opponent like those you may've have played against in other recent games. Thusly this is, I think, why he gains so many MA Fish cards - to make up for that. Though again, the number of MA fish he collects is based entirely on the number of times you draw the clear bait token. I drew the clear token 7 times during my game. Your experience may be different! For each draw of the clear token, the Opponent gains a MA Fish card. And this is where the Solo Rules force a devious decision upon you... then, after he gains that MA Fish card, you have a choice to make:
- Draw yet another Master Angler Fish card for the Opponent's score pile
or,
- Re-seed the discard pile with seven bait tokens, thereby increasing the Opponent's chances of catching another fish (sooner than later)

Ouch.

And there are of course, other "ouches" during the game play. The method used to replicate the Opponent's handling of the Angler Tokens is just enough to leave you cursing at the Opponent a few times during the game. More than once, I found myself saying, "Damn it! I needed to place my "2" strength token there! Now I can't, because you moved there [with a "1" strength"]! You suck."

Yup, it was a fun game.

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Kendra Rea
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Agree with you on the solo variant of this game! It was very well thought out. I did however miss the part when silent player draws and zmA card THEN chooses between the two. I've been closing between the 7 bait out or drawing the MA card. Either way this game is quickly becoming one of my favorite solo plays. I love the tension of where silent player is going to move the angler tokens. It's a feeling I feel too many solo games lack!
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Barry Miller
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Leftyrea wrote:
I did however miss the part when silent player draws and zmA card THEN chooses between the two. I've been closing between the 7 bait out or drawing the MA card.

Yeah,

I just double-checked the rules, and to confirm...
The "Silent Player" gets a MA card anytime the clear bait is drawn... doesn't matter who's turn it is. Then after he (she?) gains that MA card, you choose between giving him another MA card (a 2nd card), or seeding the discard pile with seven random bait.

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