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Time of Crisis: The Roman Empire in Turmoil, 235-284 AD» Forums » Variants

Subject: Solo Variant rss

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Mark Hunter
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Time of Crisis has become one of my all time favorite games. Every play seems to present a new or different challenge to overcome. But let’s face it, getting 4 players to the table can be difficult, and scaling the game down to less players just doesn’t seem as satisfying. So, enter my Solitaire Variant

The system will simulate the actions of three opposing factions. I tried to minimize the fussiness of keeping track of the non playing faction’s action cards so you can focus on your own strategy. It is by design an asymmetrical system so sometimes (especially early game) the non playing factions may be able to do something you cannot yet do. Most importantly it taught me that there are many more routes to victory than I imagined since the system might lead a faction down a type of play I would not normally think of doing only to discover...”hey, that is working!”

Always happy to receive comments or suggestions. Enjoy!



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Scott Daniel
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I played this solo today. Pretty interesting as the three AI players are quite unpredictable, but still scored pretty well. My one recommendation would be automatically seed the second card in the first round as a blue 1 so that the AI always grabs a second province on turn 1.

In my game, the AI neglected expansion and allowed me to grab 4 provinces pretty quickly which then steamrolled into lots of powerful cards for me. The early improvement building they did kept them in the game on score for a while, but eventually the provinces proved to be too big a hurdle.
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Brad Johnson
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Really nice work. It's similar in some ways to what Wray has been working on, but I will say that Wray's is much more prescriptive on what specific actions the AI players take. I'll leave it at that for now - I know Wray is really keen to get his take on it finished soon, and I'll let him comment further as he sees fit.
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Mark Hunter
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Formersd wrote:
My one recommendation would be automatically seed the second card in the first round as a blue 1 so that the AI always grabs a second province on turn 1.


Yeah, I thought the same thing, and even tried it that way too. I decided that the more unpredictable aspect was better, particularly since what I saw happen a few times. In one game a faction seemed to completely avoid placing governors. Mostly build military et al. But then, when it was able to zap a bunch of barbarians sucking up legacy points that way I was impressed. Even took the lead at that point. I also found that their seemingly avoiding expanding was a mixed blessing for me because as you probably know expanding too much too soon just makes you a juicy target in other ways. So for example, a faction that spends yellow to become popular in a small holding can begin to break out surprisingly later.

But you’re right, most players in the first turn play their Senate cards to place governors so to seed the AI factions that way wouldn’t be a bad idea. Always like to hear of any other things you discover in future plays.
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Mark Hunter
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tempus42 wrote:
Really nice work. It's similar in some ways to what Wray has been working on, but I will say that Wray's is much more prescriptive on what specific actions the AI players take. I'll leave it at that for now - I know Wray is really keen to get his take on it finished soon, and I'll let him comment further as he sees fit.


I’m not familiar with Wray’s solo variant. Look forward to seeing it in action. I can say though that I specifically avoided the overly perscripted model for a couple of reasons. Mostly I didn’t want something that was too fussy or distracting to bog the player down with flow charts and if/than conditions. I love the COIN games and understand the necessity in that case, but sometimes working through the AI conditions seems more burdensome than the game rules themselves. In Time of Crisis the game design itself lends itself to chaos in general and as such a more open ended system seemed to work. And like I said, many times the choices seem self evident given the action cards. My focus was on developing the faction’s deck to reflect some sort of personality that at the same time scales to the game.

Always like to hear other ideas though. Thanks fo giving it a look.
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Richard G
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ProfessorDoom wrote:
Always happy to receive comments or suggestions. Enjoy!


Any thoughts on what to do when the AI kills barbarian leaders/rivals? Maybe:

Priority:
1. Take support increase if available
2. Upgrade both cards this round
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Paul Norell
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Thanks Mark,

Playimg your variant now and it's very exciting an unpredictable. Thus far the player is enjoying a healthy lead, but not sure how long that will last.

Paul
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Wray Ferrell
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ProfessorDoom wrote:
I’m not familiar with Wray’s solo variant. Look forward to seeing it in action. I can say though that I specifically avoided the overly perscripted model for a couple of reasons. Mostly I didn’t want something that was too fussy or distracting to bog the player down with flow charts and if/than conditions.


Nice system, well done. The solo variant I have been working on is a bit more structured along the COIN bot systems, but not near that level of complexity. I had hoped to finish it out over Christmas break, but still working on it. But I am of the opinion the more the merrier when it comes to solo variants. Thanks for the taking the time to do this.
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Mark Hunter
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rgnet1 wrote:
Any thoughts on what to do when the AI kills barbarian leaders/rivals? Maybe:

Priority:
1. Take support increase if available
2. Upgrade both cards this round


That’s a good point I overlooked. They should get something. If people think the AI is too nerfed we could possibly even give them both, but certainly one or the other.
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Scott Daniel
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I've played this twice more and lost narrowly. The AI players create some interesting problems as they can get very good at something and really hammer it. I think I was a little lucky on the first try. Definitely enjoying it, thanks for the variant!
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Paul Norell
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Me too. Played it once so far and the player achieved a convincing victory despite being overtaken at one point. However, it wasn't easy.

With the AI potentially able to take 15 actions in a single turn, the possibilities are jaw-dropping. I saw the Imperial diadem change hands several times.

The key to most games is getting control of the emperor early on and keeping the lead in 'Emperor Turns.' Once a rival claimant appears on the scene, any imperial claim is stalled, so that early advantage can be crucial.

I really loved not knowing what each AI faction was going to do until the cards were turned over. It's also challenging to have the AI racing ahead with the card progression and auto-discarding, while the player struggles to gain enough points to buy better cards and/or discard.

Thank you again Mark
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Mark Hunter
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pnorell wrote:
With the AI potentially able to take 15 actions in a single turn, the possibilities are jaw-dropping. I saw the Imperial diadem change hands several times.

Yeah, I was concerned at first with the scaling of the potential card pulls... like what happens when a faction pulls an upgraded card right on turn two ending up with six points in one color so early. But in practice I found it eventually evened out and in the mean time left the player with interesting challenges to deal with. I had one play through where a factions on fire seemingly unstoppable got a weak pull right at game end causing them to lose control of Rome.

Thank you for your kind words.
 
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Mark Hunter
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Formersd wrote:
The AI players create some interesting problems as they can get very good at something and really hammer it.


I had a similar experience in one game when one faction seemed to always draw military cards. At first it seemded problematic until I saw the potential as they racked up points killing barbarians and occasionally weak Roman legions. Not sure a faction like this can score enough to win via points without more expansion or holding Rome, but it sure caused me to play my faction differently.
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Ted Leiker
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Thanks for creating this variant. I enjoyed it very much!
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