Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
30 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Cinque Terre» Forums » Variants

Subject: Most Persistent Robot Vendor - A Solo Variant Idea rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
John Kennedy
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This solo variant came together for me recently, very quickly. I have enjoyed it as a way to sharpen my gameplay as I learn the game.

I offer this as a reasonably tested rules set. There may still be balance issues but testing is showing mostly close games so far. Feel free to tweak the rules, send me feedback and otherwise enjoy this fantastic game, solo or with your gaming friends.


Edit: rules version 2

Thanks for feedback/testing/ideas from

Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Eric B
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb




Overview

You play the game following all the normal rules on your turn. Only the set up and end game are a little different.

You play against an automated opponent who I've called the Most Persistent Robot Vendor (MPRV). It has a different way to deliver and score points. The MPRV travels round and round through the towns giving customers just what they want and scoring as it does so. It scores at a fairly steady rate and so should give some constant pressure. It will swipe produce orders (for which it scores) and maybe a few produce cards each turn.

You need to keep up with the MPRV as you work towards completing 5 of the open goals/MPV awards (as well as your starting order.)


Set Up

Follow the rule book, except

1. Place out 5 produce order cards.

2. After dice are rolled and placed in position, order them from highest to lowest, left to right. If they are the same value, just keep the order that they were placed on the board.

3. The MPRV has a player board and matching score counter. Because of the way it moves, I use a small token to represent MPRV on the board.

4. The MPRV does not get a Starting Order.


Player Turn

Just like in the rule book.


MPRV Turn

Every turn the MPRV does 4 things

1. Move
2. Deliver produce and remove produce cards.
3. Place produce cubes into fulfillment boxes on the player board and score for produce delivered.
4. Check for produce orders


1. Move

On its first turn, MPRV moves on to the board and visits Monterosso. On its next turn it visits Vernazza and so on. From Riomaggiore it goes back to Monterosso and then down through the locations again.

The MPRV does this cycle 4 times, picking up 1-2 goods (see below). On the 3rd and 4th cycle it skips some villages (see below). After visiting Riomaggiore for the 4th time it has a 'reset' and continues visting all the villages again, as it did from the start of the game. (My games usually end a few turns after this reset.)


2. Deliver produce and remove produce cards.

The MPRV delivers goods, without having to go to the harvest spaces to get them. It just picks them up from the harvest area based on the rules that follow. (How does it do that...... ?!)

On its first visit to each village it will deliver 1 or 2 goods matching the colour of the die in the first (left-most) position. On the second cycle it will deliver goods matching the colour of the die in the second position. On the third cycle it will skip Corniglia (because it has no die in the 3rd position), and on the fourth it will skip from Monterosso straight to Riomaggiore. Then it heads back to Monterosso and will deliver 1-2 goods matching the die in the first position again.

I find it easier to mark which good the MPRV is delivering by using a small token and move it each turn to the next current die.

If the die shows the highest value for that good (including if it's tied with the other die of that colour), collect 2 goods of that type direct from the harvest area. Otherwise collect 1. If the second die has the same value, when the MPRV gets there it only collects one good. If it's the second time around, reset this rule and collect 2 goods for the highest die again and so on. (Yes, the second time around can be a points gala for the MPRV. That's also why the die were ordered by value during the set up phase - high ones first.)

Place the produce cubes delivered in the MPRV cart, ready to go into the fulfillment boxes on the left side of the board. (Once you understand rule 3, it's easy enough to drop the produce cubes straight into position on the left side of the board, but for the moment you might need a holding place....)

Then remove any produce cards from the display that match the colour of any of the the dice in the village that the MPRV is currently visiting. Place these in the discard pile. (The MPRV doesn't use them.) Refill the display and ignore any further matches.


3. Place produce cubes into fulfillment boxes on the player board and score for produce delivered.

Unlike in the rule book, for the MPRV, the delivered produce cubes ARE NOT all placed in the fulfillment boxes in the row matching the location where they were delivered.

For the MPRV, the fulfillment boxes are filled column by column. (The active player however follows all the normal rules for the fulfillment boxes.)

A column must be completely filled with cubes before the next column is started. Start with the left most column of boxes and follow these rules:

(a) If there is an empty space (in the current column) where that cube could be placed to help score a produce order card, place it in this spot. If more than one space qualifies, decide by looking left to right along the row of produce orders and choose the left most match.

(b) Otherwise place it in the empty space with the highest die value of the same colour (if both dice show the same value place it in the higher empty space).

(c)If there is no empty space with that colour die, place it in the highest empty space of that column.

If there are 2 cubes to place, apply the same rules again.

If there is one space left free in the column, the cube must go there. If there are 2 cubes to place, the second goes in the new column, using the placement rule above.

[This matching rule is the hardest to explain - it's like the MPRV breaks the rule when placing the cubes, then follows the rule book, checking across the rows, when looking for fulfilled produce orders... ok?]

Then, for the MPRV, score the value of the produce delivered on the scoring track. Using the price set at the location where the cube was delivered. (NOT where the MPRV is currently located.) E.g. one red cube delivered to a location with a red 4 dice will score 4 points. Two cubes delivered will score 8 points.


4. Check for produce orders.

Look for any match between the produce cube positions and the produce orders. (In other words, the ROWS the produce cubes are in are now checked.) If there is a match, take one order card only. If 2 orders are matched then take the one worth the most points. Score these points for the MPRV.

Remove the matching produce cubes from the player board and place them on the claimed produce order card. (They aren't needed for anything else, this just gets them out of the way for the next step.)

If it is possible to fill any empty fulfillment boxes by moving a cube to the left, do so. Leave empty any other boxes - they will have first priority for filling in the the next MPRV turn. (Columns must be filled before starting a new column.)

Flip over a replacement produce order - so there are still 5 on display.

[At this stage, it might be posible for the MPRV to get a match for a second order sometimes - I have allowed it to claim another card at this stage, but this needs more testing I think.]

NOTE: The MPRV does no compete for the MPV goals - it already has those letters in its name anyway!


Game End
The game end occurs either

a)when the player has obtained 5 produce orders / MVP awards, just as in the original rules. Also just like in the rule book, any orders that were obtained as "hidden" don't count towards the 5 and are scored as per rule book.

b) the MPRV reaches 5 produce orders - it's unlikely to reach an MPV goal.

Once the end is triggered both player/MPRV each have one more turn.

Scoring

As per the rule book.


Games seem to mostly run close and take 16-20 turns. Happy to hear how your games have gone.

There are some scores in the posts below, but these vary depending on how the dice rolled at the start.

-------------------------------------------------------------


Commentary / reflections

(Note: this was based on the first rule set.)

My aim was to make MPRV very easy to manage but this has probably been traded off against a lack of variety in how it plays.

Those of you with an analytic mind will see that, once dice are rolled and placed, MPRV has a pre-determined quantity of produce that it will deliver, with variation depending on actual game length.

I would comment that this gives MPRV a basic consistency and also its scores end up on a par with what the player will score - based on the value set for each produce.

The wrinkles in this orderly system come from a) the random matches for produce orders and b) the grabbing of the produce cards. I like this enough but maybe there are other ways that more dynamic play could be introduced?

I also wanted to make sure that there was enough incentive for the player to sell some of the high value produce for points, and not solely focus on puzzling out the produce delivery goals - because the tension in those 2 ways to score is a part of the multi-player game that I really like. So that's why I wanted the MPRV to have a score and keep the points pressure on - also why the high value produce are the first that the MPRV delivers. When the MPRV starts its 2nd cycle, it can really rack up points - that's the time when I like end the game!

So maybe I've made more of a training engine than a game, but anyway it's been fun to run with it.


5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric B
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the effort! I have been hoping someone (who is more creative than me) would put something together for this game, which I think is an overlooked, fun little game. I will try it out and let you know how it goes.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Played this evening and I thought it worked very well. The bot's turns flow very easily and you're always playing catch-up. Towards the end, I thought I had enough points to comfortably overtake him so the climax wasn't as tense as it might have been. I ended up winning 169-150.

I wondered if it might be more challenging if the bot could end the game when it took its fifth Produce Order card but that would have definitely had me in trouble as the bot probably grabbed that in round 16 and I would have had a couple of orders failed at that time. As it was, I triggered the end in round 20, knowing I wasn't going to get any penalty. As you can pretty much control when the game ends, this gives you a distinct advantage.

I'm not being negative in making these comments as I really enjoyed being able to play it solo. A few more tweaks might make it really challenging though.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Kennedy
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks Gary. You have hit the crux of my design question. I agree completely. Just need a couple of more kinks that the BOT can exploit, is my thinking. I'm hoping to keep the player turn as fully based in the rule book as possible though that might be another avenue to tweak the challenge... add some further restriction for the player? Not too sure about that though.

Or maybe some other way the game ends.... I purposefully let the player control it so as to have an interesting decision point to play with. I tried making it when 5he BOT got to 5 but hit the problem you saw. The BOT can get to 5 quite ahead of the player sometime.

One option would be to play a fixed number if turns. 20? But that seems a bit lame. Other ideas. .....?

I'm pleased to hear you found the BOT easy to run. This was my main aim and I want to retain that in any enhancements.

Thanks for playing and appreciate the thought you are giving it. Will keep in touch.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric B
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have played the variant a couple of times and have one question. You say the following in step 4 at the point where MPRV can complete a produce order:

"Remove the matching produce cubes from the player board and place them on the claimed produce order card. (They aren't needed for anything else, this just gets them out of the way for the next step.)"

In fact, once you remove the cubes from MPRV's player board then he/she will not get the benefit of those cubes in that row to fulfill produce orders in the future, right? If I am understanding that correctly then I wouldn't say that they 'aren't needed for anything else', since MPRV might have benefited from that produce in that row to complete an order on a future turn.

Hopefully I have made my question clear, otherwise I found it an easy variant to follow!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Kennedy
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Eric.

Thanks for the feedback and yes you have got the right idea. I can see how that is confusing. I was meaning that they don't factor into any scoring later but you rightly observe that it crucially impacts on the MPRV's ability to score produce orders.

Keen to hear any thoughts on balance and challenge level. Have your games been close and how many turns do they last?


 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric B
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
OK good to know I have got it right!

I have played it through twice and I should start by saying that I am new to Cinque Terre and am just figuring out the strategies myself. That said, the first game was quite balanced, with the MPRV ahead until final scoring and then the scores evened out nicely in the end. The second game was quite different, with MPRV managing to get lucky with a number of produce orders. Between that and the points he/she got for placing produce cubes, it was impossible for me to catch up (unless I wanted to stretch out the game past the point of enjoyment).

I also tend to forget to remove the produce cards when MPRV takes produce of the same type (not a fault of the variant, but rather of my memory). That said, I think that step is a nice way to cycle through the cards as if you are playing against an actual second player.

Still too few plays to say anything definitive other than its a lot of fun and a satisfactory challenge. Thanks again!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Royds wrote:
Hi Eric.

Thanks for the feedback and yes you have got the right idea. I can see how that is confusing. I was meaning that they don't factor into any scoring later but you rightly observe that it crucially impacts on the MPRV's ability to score produce orders.

Keen to hear any thoughts on balance and challenge level. Have your games been close and how many turns do they last?




I actually didn't remove any cubes so the MPRV still got the benefit of them for future Produce Orders. I figured removing them both hindered his ability to grab Future Orders and was inconsistent with how the multiplayer game works.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric B
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
John - did you playtest with or without the cubes remaining for future produce orders?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Kennedy
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I took the cubes off after making each match. I thought the MPRV might be too strong otherwise. Didn't try the other way but looks like that step might not be needed?

I like Garry's approach, in that it stays closer to the original rules. I'm in the middle of another solo game at the moment but feeling like I need to get back to CT soon and have a few more test games. Good thing it's quick!

Garry - if it works, stick with it. I suspect you have a stronger game than us newbies! If the cubes stay on the player board does this mean the MPRV could be competitive for the MPV awards?

Eric - the matches for the MPRV are random and I expect there could be unwinnable games if it got lucky. That goes both ways if the player gets a lucky break too with the right produce card coming up - its that kind of game. Thanks for the report.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Royds wrote:
Garry - if it works, stick with it. I suspect you have a stronger game than us newbies!


It didn't feel like a strong game (others would attest to the fact that I'm not that strong a player). However, it did just about work out. I managed to get another couple of bonus orders fulfilled so my end-game points really told.

Quote:
If the cubes stay on the player board does this mean the MPRV could be competitive for the MPV awards?


Not a chance. As the cubes are laid by column, there are not enough turns in the game for the MPRV to get to the end column.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Kennedy
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ok. I'll give it a go myself later this week.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think you'd need to get to turn 26 before the MPRV hit the eighth column.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I tried this again tonight but decided to allow the bot to trigger the end of the game when it produced its fifth produce order. I also slightly modified the column placing rule so that the bot looked for rows where a produce order needed a cube of the type being placed but skipped any where the cube was already present in this row.

This proved to be more tense and the bot triggered the endgame on turn 17 and I barely managed to deliver my cubes to fulfil two of my bonus produce orders, ending up by squeaking the win 112-106. Finished well within the hour.

I'm also tempted to skip scoring as the game progresses and score everything at the end just to add a bit more tension.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Kennedy
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good to hear Garry. This looks like the version to test. I'll get back to you when I have gotten a game in, with the same tweaks.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Kennedy
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Garry. I had a couple of games with your mods and both were crushing defeats for me. 50 points behind at end.

Just can't figure out how to even come close - the MPRV scoops 2-3 cards very quickly once its board fills up a bit and it's game over. How many produce orders do you manage to score yourself? Gotta take my hat off for your success, for me it's hard mode and I'll have to re-think my approach as it's not cutting it at the moment.

Will have a couple more runs and see if I can lift my form.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
How many points were you scoring and how many turns did the games last. It obviously depends on which produce order cards come up and whether they have similar requirements. I don't allow the MPRV to take multiple cards on a single turn but it can take a card every turn.

I've scored 150 points in 22 turns and 112 in 17 turns and I look for matching goods/location combinations between my starting order and those in the display so I'm working on 2-3 orders at any one time. I'll also gamble on taking a bonus order or two in the first half of the game. I've ignored the MPV objectives so far but could see going for one of those if it's a location with high goods prices and those goods are at the same country spot.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Kennedy
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The last game was 147 to 95. I almost failed my starting goal. Ended in turn 17. I had very few overlaps in produce needed for orders. Previous game was a similar story.

There's probably not much that can be done to moderate this sort of bad luck except allow the produce orders to be replaced more often. Or maybe a draft of produce goals at the start.

I'm interested to see how consistent the game length is for the MPRV to get to 5 cards. 22 turns seems quite long for the BOT to finish.

I guess it's just that kind of game. Lucky produce matches do help. Interested if there might be a way to even it out through refreshing the produce orders. Will give it some thought.




 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sorry, my 22 turn game was using your original version of the rules so the MPRV had achieved either 6 or 7 orders by then.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Kennedy
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Some more data is going to be helpful, so I'm posting scores here as I play more games using Garry's amended rules.
(With the addition of drafting 5 PO cards from a draw of 8 at the start)

I'm encouraging anyone else trying the game to do the same. This format is helpful: number of turns, points from goods, points from cards and how many cards completed.


Loss to MPRV 162 / 138
18 turns

MPRV
cubes 107
cards 55 (5)

JK
cubes 64
cards 66(4 plus S.O).
mpv 8

With only 17 turns, when it looks like the MPRV is finishing, I'm quite focused on completing my starting order, to avoid the points lost from not completing it. But in recent games the S.O. goods don't match many P.O.s, nor much high yield produce - tricky. Over a longer game (under previous rule version), you have a bit more time to cover the S.O more efficiently, as part of other lucrative deliveries.

When there are reasonably high die rolls across some regions, the MPRV gains good points just from delivery, as was the case in this game. (Looks like I need to be cashing up higher value goods more, to match the MPRV.)

The draft helps even out the luck either way - my loss was under 50 this time!

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Kennedy
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
garrylloyd wrote:
Sorry, my 22 turn game was using your original version of the rules so the MPRV had achieved either 6 or 7 orders by then.


Thanks Garry. Thought that might be the case. Looks like 17-18 is the norm for game length based on plays so far.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Played this morning and the MPRV reached five orders and triggered the end-game again on turn 17. I completed 6 orders (two of which were bonus orders) plus my starting order (which was only worth 10 points). I won 140-127. Pip value of the dice was 64.

Win over MPRV 140 / 127
18 turns

MPRV
cubes 63
cards 64 (5)

Garry
cubes 67
cards 73 (4 plus 2 bonus plus S.O).
mpv 0

As the pip value was quite high, I did spend one or two deliveries going for points rather than working towards my produce orders and my last turn delivered 12 points of tomatoes as I wasn't going to be able to complete another order. I was getting a bit worried at one stage about my S.O. because no tomato cards appeared until turn 13.

Here is the game at the end (scoring markers only show cube scoring).

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm wondering whether to complicate the fulfilment box placement rule slightly.

Quote:
Place the produce cube in the highest empty space in the column, UNLESS there is an empty space (in the current column) where that produce could be placed to help score a produce order card. In this case place it in this spot. If more than one space qualifies, decide by looking left to right along the row of produce orders and choose the left most match. If there are 2 cubes to place, apply the same rule again - either the top space or an empty "scoring" space.


Each produce cube is placed as follows:
(a) If there is an empty space (in the current column) where that cube could be placed to help score a produce order card, place it in this spot. If more than one space qualifies, decide by looking left to right along the row of produce orders and choose the left most match.
(b) Otherwise place it in the empty space with the highest die value of the same colour (if both dice show the same value place it in the higher empty space). If there is no empty space with that colour die, place it in the highest empty space of that column.

This is a bit more logical and should give the MPRV a few more points from cubes over the course of the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Kennedy
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
garrylloyd wrote:
I'm wondering whether to complicate the fulfilment box placement rule slightly.

Quote:
Place the produce cube in the highest empty space in the column, UNLESS there is an empty space (in the current column) where that produce could be placed to help score a produce order card. In this case place it in this spot. If more than one space qualifies, decide by looking left to right along the row of produce orders and choose the left most match. If there are 2 cubes to place, apply the same rule again - either the top space or an empty "scoring" space.


Each produce cube is placed as follows:
(a) If there is an empty space (in the current column) where that cube could be placed to help score a produce order card, place it in this spot. If more than one space qualifies, decide by looking left to right along the row of produce orders and choose the left most match.
(b) Otherwise place it in the empty space with the highest die value of the same colour (if both dice show the same value place it in the higher empty space). If there is no empty space with that colour die, place it in the highest empty space of that column.

This is a bit more logical and should give the MPRV a few more points from cubes over the course of the game.


Good thought Garry - I can't see why not. I also now think I can see why I am struggling to beat the MPRV.

When you place a cube on the MPRV player board it looks like you are scoring based on the die value for the location where the cube is placed. Am I right?

What I've been doing is scoring the for the cube based on the die value of the region where the MPRV is located on the board. Hence higher scores result, especially when 2 cubes are delivered on an MPRV turn.

If I have understood your scoring approach correctly, it is more logical, rules-consistent and I'll get back to the game and try again, scoring this way.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garry Lloyd
United Kingdom
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Royds wrote:
When you place a cube on the MPRV player board it looks like you are scoring based on the die value for the location where the cube is placed. Am I right?

What I've been doing is scoring the for the cube based on the die value of the region where the MPRV is located on the board. Hence higher scores result, especially when 2 cubes are delivered on an MPRV turn.


Well, they were your rules first so you can play any way you want

You've worked out correctly how I've been scoring cubes and I think this follows the spirit of the multi-player game pretty well. I'll be interested to see what you think when you've played it this way.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.