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Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62» Forums » General

Subject: Solo player can't play FLN? rss

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Mike Chase
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Just broke out the game, and it looks like a great addition to an already solid series.

But wondering why no option is given for a solo player to play the FLN against a bot Government. That actually would be my preference for playing solo.
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Brian Train
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Vez A
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and I agreed pretty early on that a Government bot would be too complex to program to make a credible opponent, due to the number of operational choices open to the Government and the variables that would need to be considered.

I was wondering how long it would be before someone asked this question.

Now I know!

Brian
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Mike Chase
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This sounds like the kick-off of the "Colonial Twilight Botmaker Challenge", lol.

But seriously, thanks for the game.
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Jesse Edelstein
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What makes it more difficult in this case, compared to COIN bots like the US in FitL, who have a lot of options most of the time? Is a flowchart just no good for all these different variables? Just curious.
 
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Rory
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elcapclimber2001 wrote:
This sounds like the kick-off of the "Colonial Twilight Botmaker Challenge", lol.

But seriously, thanks for the game.


Paging Orejan!
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Adam Parker
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elcapclimber2001 wrote:
wondering why no option is given for a solo player to play the FLN against a bot Government.


When I first heard about this I thought it was odd, then this week I broke out Labyrinth to remind me that it too has one bot.

Sure Labyrinth 2 Awakening supplies a US bot now, and I’ve just ordered that.

But as far as Colonial Twilight goes, I’m finding the single bot/single side action a refreshing taster via Lab 1.

(Now, If a Govt bot should appear in a future C3i, let’s hope it wasn’t also a factor of it being left out of the COIN ColTwi box to help sell a mag. Lab Awakening’s “Card Event Summaries” were left out of its box too. And although the designer offered the same reason—too much work initially—they indeed were slated for release in C3i down the track. But GMT must have had some feedback about that because in the end, they published them online, free instead.)

Colonial Twilight is a different beast when it comes to other COIN games. It clearly advertised itself as offering one bot. So if a new bot is added and made available only via C3i, well it’s caveat emptor. For me, C3i remains too expensive via Amazon: to obtain a bot that way would be 1.5 times the cost of the entire game! So I’m fully expecting I’ll be happy playing solo against just the uprising, in this first for COIN also, a two-faction game.

Well, it’s back to Lab for now, and the aftermath of Colonial Twilight
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Brian Train
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jmedelstein wrote:
What makes it more difficult in this case, compared to COIN bots like the US in FitL, who have a lot of options most of the time? Is a flowchart just no good for all these different variables? Just curious.


When you get your copy (I mean, I hope you've got one on the way) you'll see... or the rules have been posted, so you can review the choices that are open to the Government player.
Anyone could make a flowchart with some simple weighted die rolls to make a brainless Government player - maybe good to practice against, but not satisfying as an opponent.
The way the FLN plays the game is straightforward - not simple, but straightforward enough that Vesa Arponen (who designed the very good substitute bots for A Distant Plain that recently came out in C3i magazine) could make a flowchart that fit on a card and had a definite strategy, one that's a challenging opponent for a human Government player.

The Government has many ways to play the game, and has to (or at least should) consciously change strategies during the course of a full game - which makes it not a good fit for a single flowchart.

Anyone is welcome to try and make a Government bot, let a hundred flowers bloom I always say... but I think it's more work than it's worth.

As a last resort of course, you can always take all sides... this is twice as easy to do as with the other COIN games!

Brian
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Brian Train
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Adam Parker wrote:
elcapclimber2001 wrote:
wondering why no option is given for a solo player to play the FLN against a bot Government.


When I first heard about this I thought it was odd, then this week I broke out Labyrinth to remind me that it too has one bot.

Sure Labyrinth 2 Awakening supplies a US bot now, and I’ve just ordered that.

But as far as Colonial Twilight goes, I’m finding the single bot/single side action a refreshing taster via Lab 1.

(Now, If a Govt bot should appear in a future C3i, let’s hope it wasn’t also a factor of it being left out of the COIN ColTwi box to help sell a mag. Lab Awakening’s “Card Event Summaries” were left out of its box too. And although the designer offered the same reason—too much work initially—they indeed were slated for release in C3i down the track. But GMT must have had some feedback about that because in the end, they published them online, free instead.)

Colonial Twilight is a different beast when it comes to other COIN games. It clearly advertised itself as offering one bot. So if a new bot is added and made available only via C3i, well it’s caveat emptor. For me, C3i remains too expensive via Amazon: to obtain a bot that way would be 1.5 times the cost of the entire game! So I’m fully expecting I’ll be happy playing solo against just the uprising, in this first for COIN also, a two-faction game.

Well, it’s back to Lab for now, and the aftermath of Colonial Twilight ;)


From my discussions with Vesa, I am pretty sure he does not intend to make a Government bot later.
He certainly didn't when months ago we ritually stuck forks in Colonial Twilight and considered it done.
He has other projects to work on now.

And I'm happy to say that I had, and have, no intention whatsoever of touching anything bot-related!
Got too many other projects going myself....

Brian
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Vez A
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elcapclimber2001 wrote:
But wondering why no option is given for a solo player to play the FLN against a bot Government. That actually would be my preference for playing solo.


The answer resides in a bundle of coincidences.

I was offered to design the non-player option for Colonial Twilight sometime pretty late last year (October or so, if memory serves right). At that moment, I believe the game was due to print earlier than it turned out to print eventually, so I was under quite a bit of time pressure. Hence the decision was made to focus on the seemingly easier to play side, FLN, and mainly in the short scenario.

An additional factor here was that the Colonial Twilight employs a new, 2-player eligibility system, so it I was faced with the additional challenge of figuring out, for the first time in the series, how the bot deals with the complications that result from that system.

Now, as it turned out, to create competitive FLN non-player performance, there was actually no need to device a special way in which the eligibility system is handled. Yet, for competitive Govt play, such a system would probably have to be developed. In the time frame available, this just did not seem like a doable task.

A third factor here is that, unlike any other game in the COIN Series to date, this is a 2-player game, so the non-player has to be able to put up resistance all by itself. To answer Jesse's question, a bot like the US in Fire in the Lake is not alone in dealing with the player faction, but the three non-player sides collectively keep the player at bay. Thus, there is a significant difference in the design challenge between a US bot and a Colonial Twilight Govt bot.

Adam Parker wrote:

(Now, If a Govt bot should appear in a future C3i, let’s hope it wasn’t also a factor of it being left out of the COIN ColTwi box to help sell a mag.


Let's once and for all disperse any impression that something like this might be going on in the background. There is and never was no such plan and absolutely no one thinks along those lines.

Personally, I'm happy to see my (entirely voluntary, unpaid) work to be published in C3i because 1) it means my work gets dressed up in pretty graphics made by the professional graphics designer Charlie Kibler and 2) because Rodger is just a really nice guy. Thus, if there was to be a Govt bot, C3i remains an an attractive outlet. That said, as a COIN solo gamer myself, I very much understand the pain of seeing updated COIN bots pop up in a magazine that I cannot afford. I've been there myself, for example, with the Andean Abyss update from some years ago.

Again personally, I'd be delighted to see the updated non-players be made available in some form because of course I've got an interest as the designer that as many people as possible play my creations. Time will tell whether C3i or GMT move in that direction. If you look up Volko's Twitter stream, just a few days ago there was a discussion about whether the revisited Fire in the Lake non-players might be made available as an update kit of some kind. Volko is aware of the 1st printing owning COIN solo players' wishes here.

Edit: formatting.
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Adam Parker
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masil wrote:
Personally, I'm happy to see my (entirely voluntary, unpaid) work to be published in C3i because 1) it means my work gets dressed up in pretty graphics made by the professional graphics designer Charlie Kibler and 2) because Rodger is just a really nice guy. Thus, if there was to be a Govt bot, C3i remains an an attractive outlet. That said, as a COIN solo gamer myself, I very much understand the pain of seeing updated COIN bots pop up in a magazine that I cannot afford. I've been there myself, for example, with the Andean Abyss update from some years ago.


Personally Vez, I’d love to see you paid for your retail-related work because in this case, it’s essential to the marketability of the design.That’s all I have to say there.

But yes the new delivery direction of C3i has taken it out of my hands since #29.

I’m actually playing Labyrinth with the Bot provided in C3i #25 right now. I consider that a variant of the Bot inside the box even though it’s said to tweak play for the better too.
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Ryan Tebo
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I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of the game in the mail. Maybe it's taking a little longer to reach Stockholm.

My primary reason for being excited for the game was to be able to play the FLN solo, so I was disappointed to read that the bot is only for them. I'm afraid I'll always want to lose playing solo. But the option to play both sides is very interesting, and a good way to explore the history (which I know primarily from the film The Battle of Algiers and from reading Camus. Can't wait to get the game and try it out!
 
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