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Century: Spice Road» Forums » Variants

Subject: Solo variant: the Coriandroid rss

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Ben Griffiths
United Kingdom
East Grinstead
West Sussex
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The Coriandroid is an extremely simplistic automated opponent that requires very little upkeep. There are three difficulty levels, ranging from Mild to Spicy. They differ only in how the bot scores at game end.

Set up and start the game as normal for a 2-player game.

On your turn: play as normal, except that all merchant cards are free (i.e. you never have to place any cubes when you take the Acquire action).

On the bot's turn: if the bot's caravan is full, the bot takes the left-most point card (plus coin, if available) and 5 of its cubes are returned to the supply. Otherwise, place one yellow cube (turmeric) on the bot's caravan.

Game end
As normal for a 2-player game.

You score as normal. The bot scores as follows for the three difficulty levels:

Mild:        the bot scores nothing for coins
Aromatic: the bot scores as normal (3 for each gold coin, and 1 for each silver)
Spicy:      the bot scores 6 for each gold coin, and 2 for each silver

Campaign mode

Start at Mild difficulty. When you win, move up to the next difficulty level. Each time you start a new game, you can keep up to 5 of the merchant cards you held at the end of the last game (these 5 do not necessarily have to include the two starting cards). When you beat the bot on Spicy difficulty, you win the campaign, and your score is the number of games played (lower is better).


Why yet another solo variant?

There are already a couple of clever solo variants for this game posted here on BGG. However, I felt that the design of this game was such that it ought to be possible to play the normal multiplayer game solitaire and enjoy the puzzle of finding the most optimal engine for the Points cards on offer, whilst also honing your multiplayer skills. There is almost enough of an enjoyable puzzle to the engine-building that the overhead of operating a procedural automated opponent seems unnecessary.

Century: Spice Road's engine-building is very streamlined, of course, and there is a fair amount of luck of the draw involved. It's also very much a race game, as I see it, so a very simple "bot" provides some competition to race against. The bot's scores will vary according to the draw, as will the solo player's, and while this variant does not include competition for Merchant cards (the solo player is able to pick and choose from all those that become available in order to try to come up with the most efficient hand), it does involve competing - and racing - for the available Points cards. The bot has the disadvantage of being utterly dumb in its choice of Points cards to purchase, but it has the advantage of being consistently fast to churn out points once it gets its engine going.

If anyone tries it out, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Edit: correct typo, fiddle with spacing, remove fluff from intro.
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