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Subject: #Solomode rss

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Chris Weinert

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Let's talk about solo mode!

we know (as seen in update #2) there will not be anything included on launch for single player. But that does not mean that we can't share our thoughts and ideas!

From my perspective: we already have plenty of parts and what I feel that the game needs is a set of mechanics for the opponent(s). I have already been brainstorming ideas and thought I would share some of mine.

In my mind, we need a conflict so when you wash ashore on the island you are not only saved by your first companion but a member of the rebellion. In this scenario, the island is controlled by the Sovereign who rules with an iron fist.

It is up to you the wretched to lead the rebellion and overcome the Sovereign.

The Sovereign would be played via a deck of cards that dictate where the Sovereign's Champion moves and special actions they can take. I was even thinking of having 7 different Champion's to change up your opponent.

Anyway, the game would have primarily the same rules, with a few additional ones in place. The Sovereign can win if the player is eliminated (killed by the Sovereign's champion), if they have the entire island under their control, if the Sovereign's honor reaches 100 or if the player cannot complete the necessary # of win conditions before the Sovereign's deck runs out.

I could go into further detail if yall want, but those are some of my ideas.


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Alexander Bergenstråle
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I'd sure love an automaton!
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Daniel E
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Has some experience with the Scythe automata deck? Would that be an option for this game? There are so many choices to make, can´t wrap my head around making a solomode work.
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Big Tom Casual of Orange Nebula
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I'm also interested in two player cooperative play, and it seems like most options for solo mode could lend themselves pretty easily to coop work.

Obviously the quickest choice for solo play is basically making an artificial player to compete with that performs the same basic gameplay that I human player would, giving you something to compete against in the basic functions of the game. That's awesome and if that is developed I'd be really excited to see it available for solo players.

What I'd like to see for coop fans is something that actually changes the way the game is experienced. New elements added to the playing field, new goals and hazards to consider, ways that players can do things TOGETHER and so forth. This could all conceivably be it's own expansion down the line.

So many wonderful options for this wonderful game!

It's nice how the modular nature of the game means that just by adding a few new tile/card sets Marc can introduce entire new mechanics to the gameplay.
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David Spangler
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I'm all for an AI Bot, if possible.

Failing that, I could see a scenario in which a player is saved from the ocean by the Gods who then tell him that he has x number of turns to gain x amount of honor to be worthy of redemption. If he fails, the Gods pop him back into the ocean! Good Riddance to a Wretch!

One possibility, too, would be to use the Treachery cards and seed them into various decks, and each time one is drawn, the player has to overcome some obstacle, in effect, making the Treachery cards part of an AI Bot opponent.

These two ideas could be merged, of course. But it's nice if a solo game has flexibility and plays as close to a game with opponents as possible.

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Mk G
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Random ideas...

- at each turn, the Sovereign's Champion (hereafter SC): either move towards the player, or control a number of tiles around SC's position
--- at each turn, if Sovereign controlled tiles are more than [put a number] %, Sovereign wins

Moving towards the player:
- the player must be "in sight" (a line connecting SC and the player)
- the moviment has to be determined through a number of factors: number of player's controlled tiles; time of the day (see below); any kind of obstacle might be in between (obstacles); fog-of-war
- if the SC reaches the same position of the player, the SC hits the player (see below)

Time of the day:
- turns can be of 2 types: daytime, nighttime
- refer to the day/night token
- flip the token after each player turn

Obstacles:
- they can be artifacts that allow the player to create landslides or fog (actual fog, not fog-of-war)
- some obstacles might not let the SC to move at all: in this case, if around tiles are already controlled, randomly *jump* over a tile (there might be a priority tile type order)

SC hits:
- it can be a number of effects: from a dice roll to a card deck of effects, to one simple effect
- some effects:
--- remove from the game 1 influence (choose from where?)
--- move # influence cubes 1 step back or remove from game
--- lose artifacts, companions
- the roll is limited, actually and way too random (though I'm an enthusiastic RPG player)
- card deck:
--- it is "one" additional component for solo game
--- it can be created at the beginning of the game from a larger variety of effects
--- it can be created dinamically with the fog-of-war thinning away (each drawn tile add a number of effects to the deck, or the actual available effects are only those of the surrounding tiles; player's controlled tiles do not intervene in the process)
--- effects can be removed from the game: this could trigger your end through run out deck)
--- effects are then reshuffle
- when some specific component is "exhausted", the player is dead (I'm thinking of influnce cubes, of course)
- if the player survive, it is sent to a safe haven (see below)

The safe haven:
- a place where the player cannot be reached by the SC
- it can be the starting position
- it can be moved throughout the board during the game (maybe thanks to a special relic ==> additional component for the solo game)

Passing control on tiles:
- SC simply removes the SC's control cube
--- a subsequent control action will give the actual control to the SC
- the player can gain control of an SC's controlled tile, but this action could bring the Sovereign's wrath upon him: a special creature could attack him (==> additional component), through tile specific effect cards (see above)


As a general rule, the player can do the very same things, with an eye on the SC's controlled tiles, so that controlling tiles become a top high priority of the game (or a count down).


Mh, ok, sorry, too general, I fear.
Well, hope it helps, though.
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Michael B

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The Gaping Maw could start as a revealed tile. Every set number of turns a monster escapes and starts trashing spots that eventually become not usable. If the spot has been discovered (location tile on it) then it takes longer or multiple monsters to destroy. Monsters could be killed but can just respawn later, spots could be "healed" through use of influence and become usable again. The goal would be to gain a certain amount of honor before the island is destroyed/unusable.

Not certain if the location tiles are double sided, if not then that could work easily without a lot more being added to the game.
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Chris Weinert

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Mk G I love your ideas!

Quote:

Moving towards the player:
- the player must be "in sight" (a line connecting SC and the player)
- the movement has to be determined through a number of factors: number of players's controlled tiles; time of the day (see below); any kind of obstacle might be in between (obstacles); fog-of-war
- if the SC reaches the same position of the player, the SC hits the player (see below)


For the movement, I was thinking that the special Sovereign's deck would dictate how they moved and acted. such as:

-Hunt them down
-Move the SC towards the player. If they are within attacking distance do so now. (more on attacking in a bit)

Crush the rebellion
-Move the SC towards the nearest Rebellion site. The Sovereign takes control over any adjacent tiles that are unclaimed, then remove all rebel influence in this area.

Shut down the Inn
-If there is an Inn under Rebel control. Move the SC to it and flip it facedown. This tile is no longer active until the player pays a fee.


Quote:
SC hits:
- it can be a number of effects: from a dice roll to a card deck of effects, to one simple effect


So for combat, I was thinking of going with the SC attacks your party and your group is not trained enough to deal with him. I.e. It's like rebellion forces trying to fight Darth Vader. It's just not going to turn out well for them.

-If the SC runs into you while in route to another issue or they end their turn adjacent to you then you are attacked.

-combat would be resolved using the two lovely dice already included in the game.

-I was thinking of just having the player role the black dice (as that is all the negative effects, but we could have them role the white dice to see if they can use some of their influence as the method that they avoid the damage from the attack.

-in terms of combat, the player would roll the black monster dice to see if anyone was injured or killed. (there is a 1/6 chance I believe of instate death if I recall my time as a play tester correctly.)

-Each companion including the Player can be hit a total of 3 times. If the get hit the third time its game over and they died. (this would be tracked by the Sovern's Influence cube color being placed on the injured character)

-Each time a companion is killed the Sovern gains more honor (5?).

-we could maybe some new companions to help protect the team though. Like a shielding/stealthy companion that would allow you to avoid combat if you activated them during your turn.

I was also thinking of having special SCs that could have different combat rules.

Such as the Archer (Greed Knight) who can attack from the other side of a tile instead of having to be adjacent.
Or the Wrath Knight, who gets to attack twice.
(yes I have made 7 knights for the SC and each is based around a deadly sin)

Quote:
Obstacles:
- they can be artifacts that allow the player to create landslides or fog (actual fog, not fog-of-war)
- some obstacles might not let the SC to move at all: in this case, if around tiles are already controlled, randomly *jump* over a tile (there might be a priority tile type order)


I love this idea!!!
I was thinking of giving the player two colors to play with. One for just the player's influence and another for the rebellions map control. adding a simple mechanic could allow for some thinking like a road block for the SC.

Quote:
The safe haven:
- a place where the player cannot be reached by the SC
- it can be the starting position
- it can be moved throughout the board during the game (maybe thanks to a special relic ==> additional component for the solo game)



You took the words out of my mouth!
I was thinking that the rebellion would start where the player is and could be moved via the player's spreading of the rebellion's control.

I was also thinking of creating the tile Keep, which would indicate the Sovern's starting area and maybe making some rules around that.
Like:
-If you end your turn adjacent to the keep you are attacked.
-Maybe add special Sovern turn cards that extend the Sovern's influence from the keep.
-maybe having a dungeon recruitment mechanic where captured companions can be saved.


Anyway, I have a ton of ideas floating around in my head, but I have to head off to work! Keep the posts coming everyone!
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Big Tom Casual of Orange Nebula
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Wow you people are crushing this!
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Chris Weinert

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Oh and here are the 7 Sovereign's Champions (SC) I was thinking of:

1) Envy Knight - When activated by the Sovereign's deck the Envy Knight will force the player to lose companions until only one of each color is left.

2) Gluttony Knight - When activated he forces the player to roll the white attribute dice. All the player's current influence in any attributes is now converted into this one type.

3) Greed Knight- Can attack at range (over a tile), and when activated steals a relic from the player.

4) Lust Knight - When activated seduces the player's companions one by one to join the Sovereign.

5) Pride Knight- When activated the player cannot use their companions this turn. (must activate their own hero)

6) Sloth Knight (my favorite)- When activated gather all unclaimed revealed tiles that are not adjacent to the player and mix them back into the bag of wonder.

7) Wrath Knight - After the player is attacked, the wrath knight attacks again. And when activated instantly rushes to the player and attacks them regardless of location.

*note that activating most of the knights would be a result of Sovereign's Deck, which would have certain cards that allowed them to unleash their power.
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Mk G
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I think the seven sins are a bit out of place... though it's always funny use them in any subject. Cool.

Btw, as a general comment (I don't have that much time, you know, job's waiting), Epoch is more like a platform: tons of things can be added
- heroes powers
- villain powers
- objects of any kind (see the artifact thread)
- companions
- special tiles


The point is: what kind of experience should be the solo mode?
In the few posts, many different ideas already came out:
1. facing a AI (such as another player)
2. running against the time (such as the RtfG bot)
3. running against a series of evil events (Arkham Horror mith deck, one of many)
4. survive against something else (that does not follow player's rules, but its own)

1. Really?! How? Random choice or always the same series of actions? Either way, it's difficult to program and likely the game experience will be disappointing
2. That would be cool, but: the interaction with the player would be very low; it would take a huge amount of (yes) time to program the bot
3. The easist solution, maybe the funniest but too random, I fear... unless fine-tuned triggers are applied here and there so that the overall experience is smoother and more enjoyable
4. That's (more or less) your idea: I love it. Cool one... but inside it, an entire world can be - eh eh - awakened!

So, go forth? Ahm, go 4?
If so, does the SC follow common rule? In which extent?
Some boundaries: how many SCs? How powerful are they? Are all those necessary?


Mh, this solo mode - IMHO - could be actually an add-on for any coop game (from 1 to N players).
And, yes, it can be extended indefinitely!
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Mk G
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Well, a whole bunch of new powers!
Yes, I noted that the trigger is the S's deck: it is a clear time specifition.

What about SCs that share a deep connection to specific tile types? So that they can travel from one to the other wherever they are?
Actually, that could simply be an artifact...

Mh, so let's put all this at SC's creation level:
- draw a number of artifacts
- draw a number of companions
- draw a number of influence per each attribute
- draw a number of traits (among your sins, heroic traits (?!), taints, qualities)


And some solo ending triggers:
- overcome SC in a specific attribute
- kill all SC's companions
- steal (?!) all SC's artifacts
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Mk G
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Oops, I forgot the already existing appealing dices. My fault.

wiithegrim wrote:
I was thinking of just having the player role the black dice (as that is all the negative effects, but we could have them role the white dice to see if they can use some of their influence as the method that they avoid the damage from the attack

That's perfect!!

To be tuned how much influence is required (spent, removed from game (?!), just had) to avoid the bad things.

Still, what kind of bad things?

And another question: how many turns is the solo game expected to last?
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Chris Weinert

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I'm loving the feedback
If I had my own copy of the game I would be trying out my own custom mechanics, but for now, it is just me plotting.

Quote:
to be tuned how much influence is required (spent, removed from the game (?!), just had) to avoid the bad things.


I was thinking it would simply use one cube of that influence type. Which can be rather expensive since the white dice has Courage (orange), Wisdom (green) and Vision (Purple) on it. So it would be a 50/50 chance of requiring a specialized type of influence.

Quote:

Still, what kind of bad things?


The bad things are injuries and possible companion death from accumulation of wounds. (Which are indicated by a separate cube color not in play).

Quote:
And another question: how many turns is the solo game expected to last?


Good question. Ideally, I would try to keep it in the games goal time of 15-30 minute per player. The Sovereign's deck/honor track should be refined to limit the amount of time the player has to complete the game and make that possible.
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David Spangler
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These are all good ideas and sound like they could create a fun game. But they also seem to diverge from the theme of the game which is redemption and regaining lost honor by doing honorable things, study, meditation, meeting challenges, influencing companions and so on.

I think introducing a conflict element, such as leading a rebellion against evil rulers, is a fun fantasy trope, but personally, it feels out of sync with the spirit of the game.

I don't have any better ideas myself, other than the one I suggested that there is a time limit for the player to accomplish a specific (but random each game) set of objectives in order to gain honor before the gods decide he or she cannot be redeemed and cast the player back into the ocean. And certainly if Marc or others feel something like a rebellion scenario is the way to go, I won't object. You guys have put a lot of creative thought into your proposals, which is great.

But it just feels off to me, given the overall spirit of the game. Sorry!
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Chris Weinert

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David Spangler, there's nothing to be sorry for! This is an open discussion. I just threw my ideas out there to get the ball rolling

I suggested the evil ruler in order to create conflict and reason to explore the island. Without it, I thought it would just be a player walking around the island as they please, which I don't necessarily think is a great single player experience.

The god's redemption challenge could be an interesting idea, but does anyone have any ideas on how to implement that without it becoming a "walk around the island quickly fetch quest"?
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David Spangler
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Thanks, Chris. I really do appreciate you getting the ball rolling. I imagine Marc has his own ideas already, but all the good ideas here on this site can only help but inspire him.

You raise a good point. Having an adversary can spice things up. I was wondering if there were a way the treachery cards could be used, such as every turn one is placed on the board. If ever all are placed, the player loses as the island is lost to treachery and collective wretchery. So in this instance, the player is trying to redeem himself AND redeem the island as well before time runs out and the Gods lose patience.

Or the Gods could send temptations in the form of Treachery to him to see if he falls back into old ways. Treachery could be a "companion" that cannot be refused that sucks up his influence unless he spends honor or conviction to remove it from his play area.

Anyway, there are some possibilities but I don't know enough of the game to work them out more than that.

Thanks for your kind response!
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Mike Vander Veen
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DSpangler wrote:
These are all good ideas and sound like they could create a fun game. But they also seem to diverge from the theme of the game which is redemption and regaining lost honor by doing honorable things, study, meditation, meeting challenges, influencing companions and so on.

Good thought here. This is exactly why the concept of the 7 Deadly Sins resonated with me (as a general concept) when I read other posts on this thread. As our hero works towards redemption, they are always struggling with inner demons. The knights suggested above could be personifications of those inner struggles and dealing with past mistakes that lead to the drastic loss on honor in the first place.
 
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Mike Vander Veen
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CasualToast wrote:
Wow you people are crushing this!

100% agree! These are all awesome contributions. What a great and giving community here! Together we are better.
 
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Mk G
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Of course you got the point: sorry, the holy fire of rule-making is burning hot in our heart... and it's not that easy to tame :-P

So, redemption, amends, atonement.
What about a number / a series of trials on each of the 6 attributes? The atonement path.
There could be a list of attribute specific trials per each attribute - of course -, and the player has to pass each of them, one at a time.
Among the trials there might be the 7 sin knights, sure! As well as some of the above ideas. Or simply a numeric target (pretty challenging, right?). In which order? Well, the white dice could define it: randomly, as the game teaches :-P
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David Spangler
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Nice idea, Mk G!
 
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Luc Bélanger
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Just got an idea I want to share with you guys!

Just like in the normal game you end up on the island after your crew throw you overboard but when they learn that you are still alive and searching for a new life they decided to end it with you for good.

Your goal is to get the population of the island on your side before they kill you.

At the start of the game only crew member start on the map, instead of moving from triangle to triangle they walk from hex to hex. When on a hex they lock that case and you cannot activate it, all the hex next to it are under his control and if you activate it he gain honor(you lose if he get to X honor)

To move the crew member you play two 6 sided to move him twice each side of the hex is a direction 1 is up 4 is down... If he get a double instead of moving twice in the same direction he drop an influence token of the hex gain two honor and if you activate that case he gets honor. You can take the control back just like in the regular game. If he ever control X number of tile you lose. So just like in pandemic you have to balance between accomplishing your objective and your crew member from taking over the island.

But what is your objective you ask! That's the beauty you can see all the end game trigger as challenge with those set of rules.

Lets take as an example the end game trigger where you need to control 4 locations.

Disclaimer I don't have the game so it will need balance!

The challenge become you need to gain 50 honor control 4 locations when you get 25 honor a new crew member appear on the map. If they ever control 4 locations or gain 20 honor you lose the game.

Each end of game card could have multiple level of difficulty so you can get a lot of reputability out of the box!


 
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Joe
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This might be more of an expansion than a "mode", but it seems to me that once a person has found redemption, the noble thing to do would be to help others do the same. So perhaps the solo mode could involve a person attempting to help others face their temptations, while also avoiding falling back into his or her old ways.

Players would start with a certain amount of honor, some of which would need to be spent to help others. Care would need to be taken as to how and when to spend honor, however. Spending too much honor would cause the player to give in to his or her temptations, and fall back into his or her old ways. Spending too little, however, would cause the player to fail in his or her mission to help others on their path.

The others who still needed to find redemption could also be playable characters. They would have fewer abilities than the main character, but could help each other while helping themselves. The goal would be to get some number of them to a minimum amount of honor each along with the main character who would need to return to the honor with which he or she started. These values could be varied to adjust for a level of difficulty.

A co-op variation of this could be played where each player was playing one of the people needing to be redeemed, and the returning "guide" was played by an NPC. The goal of this variant would be the same as the solo version, and the players would need to ensure that the NPC didn't give in to temptation while also working on redemption themselves.

There might be cases in the co-op variation where one player might need to risk some of his or her own honor in order to help another succeed. But what could be more honorable than that?
 
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Maricel Edwards
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You guys are awesomesauce! Perusing this thread makes me feel like I'm reading a novel (or at least synopses of novels anyway), and my imagination is firing on all cylinders. The English teacher in me is mighty impressed and the fantasy geek in me is positively giddy with possibilities.

I was one of the folks who really needed a solo variant for this game since I'm a lone wolf (new to gaming and completely wretched at finding a gaming group in my area), and now you all have given me multiple scenarios from which to pick.

Will totally be stalking this thread from now on. Please keep the ideas coming!
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Big Tom Casual of Orange Nebula
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mtsedwards wrote:
You guys are awesomesauce! Perusing this thread makes me feel like I'm reading a novel (or at least synopses of novels anyway), and my imagination is firing on all cylinders. The English teacher in me is mighty impressed and the fantasy geek in me is positively giddy with possibilities.

I was one of the folks who really needed a solo variant for this game since I'm a lone wolf (new to gaming and completely wretched at finding a gaming group in my area), and now you all have given me multiple scenarios from which to pick.

Will totally be stalking this thread from now on. Please keep the ideas coming!


It makes me so happy that there are people new to gaming who are just realizing what a fantastic world there is out there for them to explore.

There are some really fantastic solo player geeklists out there, do some forum searches and 'subscribe' to some of the lists. There are MANY (not enough but many) wonderful games that can be played by one.

I have always been sort of hohum about the idea of playing solo. I play with my spouse, we don't have friends, but we play together and that's my group. If I'm solo I've always just played a videogame or read a book. Recently though I started playing the Arkham Horror card game by myself and LOVE IT. Now I'm all sorts of excited about the prospect of solo gaming.

I think you're in for a world of new imaginings and adventures. Have fun. let me know if you find anything that plays particularly well with one.
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