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For those who haven't seen it, the solo rules are here:
https://www.daysofwonder.com/five-tribes/en#goodies

It was easy to adapt Artisans to these rules, and, really, easy with Whims as well (there's just an 8-sided die involved now, etc.) The one thing I'm stuck on is the massive scoring for the Fabulous Cities. If you keep it the way it is, it allows a huge swing in points depending on how Yazid rolls, and it would make it foolish to to anything other than just try to snatch those Cities as quickly as possible.

Right now I'm thinking of just nerfing the bonus you get to 5 for one city, 10 for two, 15, 20, 25. But I'm not good with math -- i.e., figuring out correct or consistent proportions relative to the other scoring possibilities in the game. Any opinions? Better solutions?

 
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Matt Williams
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OK Bro, I’ll try since:

1) I like Five Tribes
2) I like a bit of math (potentially a corollary of 1)

Firstly can I state that this is my first post to the Geek, I prefer to read other people’s posts but you’ve coaxed me out of hiding.

Let’s begin.

Quote:
It was easy to adapt Artisans to these rules, and, really, easy with Whims as well (there's just an 8-sided die involved now, etc.)


Get what you saying but let’s not be too hasty as ‘etc’ leaves a lot open for interpretation. One of the aspects of the solo game that you must retain (IMO) is the fear of Yazid’s Double Clearance. In Base Solo this occurs 1/6 times and should be kept the same. Both AoN and WotS contribute 6 additional tiles of which 1 is non-playable which should be removed (Chasm and Great Lake). Therefore a 5x7 grid should be used for 1 expansion and a 5x8 for both combined. As you say an 8-sided die is perfect for a replacement ‘white’ die but when using only 1 expansion a result of 8 should simply be rerolled.

Furthermore as AoN as a new tribe to keep true to the spirit of the solo rules there must be a corresponding path to defeat. So I offer that when Yazid collects artisans he collects an equal amount of items and selects the most expensive one for which you must pay him from your stash. No money, you lose. If only magic items are drawn keep drawing until at least 1 precious item is revealed and discard the artisans and items after use.

It can be argued that as AoN offers a new way of scoring points the victory conditions need to be tweaked especially as some of the artisan combos are devastating. Not so IMO as by selecting an artisan pathway you will be neglecting other routes to victory. I’ll come back to this point.

Also for AoN the dilution of the other tribes should be considered. With 15 Artisans the chances of Yazid collecting the other tribes decrease by roughly 3%. Now for Viziers all you have to do is beat them so this is a slight player advantage. For builders there is the tax you must pay which is weakened but remember you also have to account for the Artisans now. For assassins the effect is negligible as if we decrease Yazid’s requirement to collect 7 assassins by roughly 3% then the closest integer would remain 7 (from 6.8). Likewise with the Djinns, the diluting effect is not enough to move the defeat condition from 6.

Finally when talking about AoN let’s not forget the tent as this will perhaps have the greatest effect on the game by potentially extending the game by 1 turn. This is difficult to quantify since on a couple of games that I have played the end condition turned out to be via lack of available moves which may will likely be exacerbated by the larger board and sixth tribe. However given the slight player advantages so far offered by AoN (powerful Artisan combos, less likely failure conditions) I think that increasing the victory conditions by 1/11 is reasonable. See below.

Now let’s consider WotS. Here the original 5 tribes get 3 additional meeples meaning that by itself the chances of drawing a tribe stays roughly the same whilst combined with AoN the diluation is slightly reversed (2.5% down on Base Solo). Insignificant again? Potentially, its hard to balance but the total size of the tribe has increased by roughly 1 sixth I think it would be justified in increase the defeat conditions of both the Assassins and the Elders by a corresponding amount, that is 8 assassins and 7 Djinns.

Finally, let’s talk about the Fabulous Cities. With the whims I’m of the opinion that, like items and artisans, focussing on this bonus will mean that other routes are neglected and although more optimal moves provide a player advantage this is too difficult to quantify. And to answer you question are the FCs OP’d when dealing with Yazid (a dumb opponent). Yes, and as such should always form part of the player’s strategy. I think Bruno hints as much in this thread where he talks about your opponents’ reactions and to take it easy on beginners: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1832005/utug-and-fabulous-c.... So let’s introduce a dumb increase to our victory conditions. On average Yazid will take 2.5 FCs so you can earn 5 x 2.5 x 2.5 or ~30 points per game from 2.5 camels. By contrast the average tile score (once you add the mandatory palace or palm tree) is 8 VP, 2.5 tiles giving you 20 points. Therefore on average the FCs add 10 points per game.

I appreciate that I haven’t really answered you question and that as you say FCs:

Quote:
allows a huge swing in points depending on how Yazid rolls, and it would make it foolish to anything other than just try to snatch those Cities as quickly as possible.


But IMO that’s what make FCs so fabulous – they go up quadratically with the number you own and I totally agree that aiming to claim these should form part of your strategy, perhaps an addition defeat condition of Yazid controlling 3 FCs would make the game more difficult.

To conclude all this has been a long winded exposition of my opinions. Your nerfing suggestion would work if you didn’t want to be forced to consider the FCs however you may find that you tend to ignore the FCs and if so why add them in the first place?

In summary my tweaks are:

Expansion(s)| Board | Defeat | Victory

AoN | 5 x 7 | + Cost of highest value item drawn from same number of collected Artisans | To the nearest 5 points: <205 is insufficient 206-240 is junior 241-275 is ambitious >276 is splendid.

WotS | 5 x 7 | + 8 Assassins or 7 Djinns held by Yazid, (+) Yazid controls 3 FCs | <200 is insufficient, 201-230 is junior, 231-260 is ambitious, >261 is splendid.

AoN + WotS | 5 x 8 | + Cost of highest value item drawn from same number of collected Artisans, + 8 Assassins or 7 Djinns held by Yazid, (+) Yazid controls 3 FCs | To the nearest 5 points: <215 is insufficient, 216-250 is junior, 251-285 is ambitious, >286 is splendid.

P.S. if playing with ToN, to make them relevant consider spending them to block one of Yazid’s tribal actions. No change to victory conditions as you will be throwing away points to block Yazid’s actions.

Hope that helps,
Matt

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Matt Williams
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Just play tested the above and I think some minor and major amendments are required(!). In my first game I just made it to final scoring (155 pts - insufficient!) having placed 6 camels (including 2 FCs), with 5 gold remaining. Yazid accumulated 7 assassins, 5 Djinns and 2 FCs. On the second I couldn't generate gold fast enough (due to those artisans, see below) and got taxed out of the existence in the middle of the game.

Firstly those sneaky artisans, instead of hiding up in the mountains they really ruin your day. Every time Yazid clears a tile with them it's guaranteed bad news for you. So they really need to be brought down a peg. Firstly where I said:

Quote:
If only magic items are drawn keep drawing until at least 1 precious item is revealed and discard the artisans and items after use.


Cancel. If a only magic items are drawn just discard them (similar to Merchants and non-fakir cards). Secondly, keep track of the number of Yazid's artisans to determine who has the most in end game scoring. Finally as the items are punishing you it would make sense to offer the player another way of generating money through collecting items. To that end I house-ruled that precious items can be exchanged for gold which was very helpful (I would have lost the first game as well without this change).

The suggested rule:

Quote:
an addition defeat condition of Yazid controlling 3 FCs would make the game more difficult


Really helped with the difficulty of the game, I enjoyed the ever present threat of Yazid capturing too many FCs and I kept track of them by placing palaces in his player area. I felt that I had to play sub-optimally by either clearing the FCs of meeples or taking multiple moves to claim them myself. In this way the game didn't feel broken, you have to stop Yazid from capturing the majority of FCs and this is likely to hurt your score unless you can get 4 or 5 which was not easy to do in my experience.

Overall I really enjoyed playing this adapted solo variant. It made for a excellent puzzle which was not destroyed by AP as I was constantly spinning plates between lack of funds, a network of assassins trying to kill me, oh dear he's getting too many Djinns on his side, he's almost got overall control of the fabulous cities and wait, I really need to start collecting Viziers.

Good times.



 
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Thanks so much for these great ideas! I'm swamped right now, but would like to get back to this soon.

One quick question: Why do you take the Chasm and Great Lake to be unusable for the solo game? I use 'em! ... or is it just so you can get that sweet 5x8 grid?


 
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Matt Williams
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No worries I'd been meaning to adapt it for myself anyway, hence why I read your thread.

Re 5x8 there's no great reason not to include the Chasm and Great Lake - I guess you make a 6x6 then a 6x7. My reasoning was pretty bone: first, on the black die a '6' result forces you to remember to preform a double clearance with a 5x8 as there is no sixth row; and if using an 8-sided die you never have to reroll the white die. They were the my original (minor) reasons.

But having thought about it some more there are a couple more considerations. Since the non-playable tiles never contain meeples, Yazid will never clear them and you get to chose the least damaging tile for him. Although this would only happen for 1/21 tiles I still think its quite an advantage. Also that non-playability limits your movement options which is mirrored somewhat by only using 5 rows (the mountains can be really difficult to manoeuvre around with 5 rows as I'm still ensuring they are placed in the central 3x6 section). What you do miss is the (frankly awesome) tile ability of the Great Lake which combined with the right Djinns can really make a palace or oasis tile very appealing.

In sum the 5x8 has 2 minor dice-play advantages whilst the 6x7 has a slight player advantage and the use the Great Lake. One could argue that to get the best of both would be to use the 8-sided die in lieu of the black die and double clear of '8'. But you would decrease the odds of the double clear by 4.2%.

Out of the 2 I would probably go for 6x7 in future (mainly because of the Great Lake) but I think either way works and if I get annoyed by the rerolling and if I forget to double clear I can just pick the 5x8 again.

Regards,
Matt
 
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Thanks again -- you bring up all sorts of issues I hadn't thought of.

Quote:
Your nerfing suggestion would work if you didn’t want to be forced to consider the FCs however you may find that you tend to ignore the FCs and if so why add them in the first place?


Good question. I just don't want there to be a strategy that I have to take in order to get the best score. I'd like the FCs to be enticing only if the particular circumstances of this particular game make them so, or if they happen to dovetail nicely with some other strategy I happen to be pursuing.

Regarding the general win/loss questions you so thoughtfully lay out: I feel like I've been getting tight games using all the tiles, 6x7, giving him the double-take on 6 (which I never forget: the 6 scares me). I've been keeping the assassin and vizier conditions the same (and just compare our purple meeples at the end of the game). I guess one thing I feel I have to do each game is to get a certain number of assassins off the board. If you don't do so, you're never going to get to that extra "tent" turn anyway.

I wonder if it matters much that the bigger grid means the player ends up spending more points to "cancel" Yazid's dice?

 
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