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Subject: Solo Game - Strategies, Difficulties, and other thoughts rss

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David Jones
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Wilsonville
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I'm curious how all of you solo players are doing with the game so far. I played my first game at Easy, winning 65-27 and then again at Challenging, winning 67-32. So its obviously not feeling challenging so far, but I may jump up to Very Difficult since I seem to understand how things are working. I'm curious what difficult level the rest of you are finding to be the real challenge in the game.

Some thoughts....

The Book Seller and the Book Swap tend to be the locations I destroy immediately. Since they force three cards into the discard every round, the longer they are in play, the more they help the library. Wishing Well is next on the list. Unless I have a lot of banned books in my hand that I can use to "poison the well" it seems like this location helps the library more than it will help you.

Similar to above, the biggest point disparity seems to occur in the banned books section. Since you can use the Donation Center or Book Swap to dump bad cards, you can force negatives onto the library that it has no way of shedding.

Garbage Dump might be the key building in the solo game. Not only do you take away points from the library, you have the possibility of scoring them yourself. In fact, in one game I knew we were close on Prominent Works, so I made that my symbol of choice. Turns out the library was ahead by one, so I stole a card with two symbols on it even though I couldn't shelf it - effectively a 12 point swing. In the other game, I think I simply took two of its focus symbols away, again not bothering to shelve. I haven't tested this yet, but I suspect my scores might go down if this were the last location in the stack.

Not really a strategy consideration, but it feels like the solo game is very short. Since you can only use each location once, it seems pretty clear up front what actions you are going to want to take each round - the only question is what order. Not counting setup, scoring, or breakdown, I can finish a solo game in about 15 minutes. It feels like the tension and decision making of the competitive game is lost in solo. I don't dislike the solo game, but its not even half as interesting as the PvP game.
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Kirk Monsen
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davypi wrote:
Turns out the library was ahead by one, so I stole a card with two symbols on it even though I couldn't shelf it - effectively a 12 point swing.


If you don't shelf it, then it is in your hand. You discard your hand at the end, adding to the opponent scoring.
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Decatur
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I've had the exact same experience with my (only) 3 plays so far. Last score was 73-43 on Very Difficult.

As you suggest, I'm afraid my easy victories were all due to the fact that Garbage Dump has come out early in all 3 games. It creates an enormous swing, and I suspect your score is going to be determined almost entirely by when that location comes out.

The only fix I can see (if it really turns out to be a problem) is to just to decree that the Dump goes on the bottom of the shuffled stack at setup. Or maybe add a rule that when you use the Dump you have to draw and discard cards just as you do in the Preparation phase.

A little disappointing. I was hoping, too, that there would be more game-to-game variety. Everybody kept talking about the plentiful locations; but I didn't realize until I got the game that half of them get thrown out in solo and you'll end up seeing the same ones every game.

 
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David Jones
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I've only played once more since this post at the four card difficulty. Surprisingly scored did not change that much. I think I still won by with my score near 70 and the library in the high 20s. I think the problem with giving the library more cards is that you are also giving them more banned works. I'm sure there has to be an incremental benefit to the library by letting them have more cards, but it doesn't yet seem to be a pronounced one. Given the error in my play as pointed about above, the AI should have a higher score than this, but I've only had a few cards in hand when ending the game - not enough to cover a 40+ point gap.

I'm wondering if a simpler solution to the garbage dump would be to require the player to make this one of the two locations they have to purge. If you put it at the bottom of the deck, the player can rely on this showing up on the last round, giving them the best option. So you will only get to use it once, but you don't know what round it will be on. Similarly, the round it does appear, the player's choice of which locations to dump is reduced to 1 of 3 instead of 2 of 4.
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Decatur
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davypi wrote:
I've only played once more since this post at the four card difficulty. Surprisingly scored did not change that much. I think I still won by with my score near 70 and the library in the high 20s. I think the problem with giving the library more cards is that you are also giving them more banned works. I'm sure there has to be an incremental benefit to the library by letting them have more cards, but it doesn't yet seem to be a pronounced one.


True. Adding cards has to be beneficial for the public library because its favorable category outweighs the negative by 2 to 1. But it is a small increment. I'm even doubting the "impossible" level is really so.

Quote:
I'm wondering if a simpler solution to the garbage dump would be to require the player to make this one of the two locations they have to purge.


Yeah, that is a better idea. And it relies much less on randomness than an adding-cards option.

Edit: Just played "near impossible" with your suggested fix above. I won 88-47. I wish they had playtested this.



 
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