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Subject: Rules and Setup for a 1 vs. Borg game? rss

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Simon Beeeee
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Hey everyone,

I checked out all of the community FAQs and the revised community rule set.

However something I haven't found is a definitive answer on how to play and set up a game 1 vs. Borg (or at a later date: 2 vs. Borg).

Could anyone direct me to a set of rules (if that exists )?

Thanks!
 
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Mattias Elfström
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To my knowledge there is no usable set of rules for one or two player games. The official rules in the Borg expansion don't provide a working game, even if all official clarifications are included.

Check out this collected Q&A: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1864073/collecting-question...
 
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Barry Miller
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I'd checkout JPlay's YouTube videos where he plays a solo game against the Borg.
He struggled with a few rules, but they're the same rules we're all struggled with, independent of the player count.

I'm currently playing a solo 2-faction (Feds & Klingons) vs the Borg game, and find that the current GF9/Community rules (i.e., Mattias' rules) to be entirely satisfactory. (Though granted I haven't yet encountered all situations).

So given that Mattias wrote a very complete set of rules, and also given that GF9 includes a section in the Borg rulebook about how to play solo or two player, I'm not sure what Mattias means when he wrote, "...there is no usable set of rules for one or two player games". Mattias, why do you say that?

Again, while I'm struggling to simply learn the Borg rules during my current 2-faction game, I haven't yet discovered a situation which isn't covered anywhere.
And be sure to check out J-Play's video of his solo game.

 
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Mattias Elfström
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In my opinion, although the Complete Rulebook covers 99% of the situations, the main attraction of this game is the player negotiations. Those are lost with fewer than three players.

Add to that that the Borg are just moving randomly, unable to react to what players do, and you get a solo or two player game that doesn't have much strategy.

To me this means that the one and two player versions of the game just isn't very interesting.

In the Complete Rulebook I wrote the following:

Quote:
1.3.3 The 1 & 2 Player Games
The Star Trek: Ascendancy game is first and foremost a negotiation game where many of the interesting decisions points appear in the interaction with the other players. The game is self balancing in the sense that players have to judge who is in the lead and act accordingly. The 1 & 2 player versions of the game were introduced as options in the Borg expansion and they rely on the Borg to create a competitive situation when there are less than three players involved. The solo version is completely random, the only challenges come from luck and the automated Borg opponent. In the Complete Rulebook these versions of the game have been removed.
 
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Barry Miller
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Ah, OK, I get where you're coming from. I respectfully submit two counterpoints to ponder...

1) I understand why the Trade Agreements are a huge attraction for this game. But I recently played a (non-Borg) 2-player session and we decided to simply leave the Trade Agreements OUT of the game as we both realized that the Trade Agreements don't work with two players, so we ditched them and played on!

And you know what? We still enjoyed the game, nonetheless! Sure, it's a different game without the Trade Agreements... but it's still enjoyable. Especially if you're a Star Trek fan! I mean, we were still able to explore and build a unique galaxy. We were still able to build fleets and invade planets. We were still able to conduct Space Battles, and do Research, and homogenize systems, and , etc, etc. And we did all that without negotiating a single Trade Agreement.

Thus in a 2-player game against the Borg, the fact that you can't negotiate a Trade Agreement with the Borg really doesn't detract from the experience enough to be sour on it. Quite the contrary, the Borg expansion makes the 2-Player game possible in a fun way! Again, yeah, a lot of the negotiation element is missing. But OK... so what? As long as you understand that going in, then enjoy the game for everything else it offers, is where I stand.


2) I get the feeling - based on some of your previous comments - that you're not much of a solo player. I might be wrong. But if I'm not, then I totally get your perspective that the Borg's random movement patterns hampers strategic thinking. ...

But if you've been playing solitaire games for a while, you'd realize that random enemy movement is very common in solo designs. So in a good solitaire design, the value of playing such a game comes via other devices. A smart design will make the enemy's random movement meaningful, or will will provide a meaningful or interesting decision space in which the player needs to deal with the enemy's random movement. And other designs may rely on creating an overall experience to sort of "hide" the problems inherent with random enemy movement.

I submit that a solo game of ST:A borrows from the latter two.
- While the Borg's movement may be random, it's not entirely random. And this is important... there's a system (or an "A.I") to how the Borg moves (i.e, there are rules to how the Borg moves). Thus the Borg's movement can be anticipated to a certain extent, just like a real life opponent's movement can be anticipated to a certain extent. So again, it's NOT a "bad" kind of random.

The point being, is that the rules by which the Borg move can be used by the players to anticipate, plan, and organize. The Borg's movement puts the solo player in a position where he MUST make GOOD, SOLID decisions on just about every action.

And that works for me, as a solitaire gamer.

- The game's production value, rich theme, and all the other actions which can be conducted as mentioned earlier, all work together to make playing this game a very satisfying experience. So despite the randomness that does exist, the overall experience of simply being immersed in the game goes a long way toward overcoming those shortcomings which you spoke of.

Bottom Line: Now that you and the rest of the community have worked graciously and hard to fill-in the gaps left by the Borg rulebook, I think the Borg expansion is very playable. And just as much so either solo, or with two players!


And by the way... yes, I read that excerpt you quoted above from your superb "Complete Rulebook", a few weeks ago! And since then, I've always wanted to comment on it. I guess this thread provided the right forum to do so. I'll finish with one more related thought, which I'll probably expand on in a more appropriate area... but I noticed that for your rulebook, you treated all of GF9's optional rules as standard while treating/relegating the standard rules which they replaced as "optional". Not that GF9's 2-Player and solo rules should be thrown into the "optional" category, but I did find it interesting that you didn't even afford them such treatment and decided instead to omit/dismiss them all together.

Regardless, I am thoroughly impressed with the "Complete Rulebook"! It's a work of love and devotion, and took an incredible amount of time. I actually had mine professionally printed and bound as I'm not a fan of using my tablet for reading rulebooks (fingerprints, scrolling, pinching and zooming, etc, etc). Though they can't be beat for searching! Anyway, it was VERY much worth printing! So thank you for that rulebook!



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Mattias Elfström
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You make a number of very good points!

Yes, I don't play many solo games. The only one I've found somewhat interesting is Raid on St Nazaire from Avalon Hill.

May I suggest you write some additions to the Complete Rulebook outlining how the solo and two player versions can be played? I'd love to include such rules in the next update but I don't think I'm the right guy to properly write them.
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Barry Miller
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Mattias wrote:
May I suggest you write some additions to the Complete Rulebook outlining how the solo and two player versions can be played?

I'll certainly give such additions some thought the next time I have the game on the table (with the Borg**). Though as I said above, I'm relatively happy with the current 1-player and 2-player rules as they are. Still, there's always room for improvement! So sure, I'll definitely be thinking of additions!


** When we* get the game to the table, the Borg is in play only about half the time as follows:

- The Borg is always in play for one or two player games.
- In play or out of play for three player games... depends on the group's preference for the session.
- Almost always out of play for four player games. With four players, the consensus is almost always to simply play against each other without getting the Borg involved. Though we did recently try a 4-player game WITH the Borg (after finding a large enough table!). It was fun... but the added game length cancelled-out the fun factor, compared to the equal fun we have playing a 4-player game without the Borg, if that makes sense.

* "we" = whomever I can coerce / happen to be playing with at the time... not a dedicated group!

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Mattias Elfström
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Just as an interesting (funny?) side note, one player actually got this answer from GF9 (emphasis by me):

Quote:
Hi Steve,

Thanks for the email,

You are playing the Borg correctly.

I would say that the game is not really designed for solo play with only one race on the table.

Borg are brutal if brought into the game early on if you have not had time to develop. I would suggest stacking the Borg disc further down the exploration pile, so you are never quiet sure when they will show up in your area of space.

Cheers

Gareth
 
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Barry Miller
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Hmmm... the last sentence of that excerpt is odd, as the Borg rulebook, on page 17, says exactly the opposite! It says that the single player especially needs to start the game with Delta Quadrant Connection (i.e, Transwarp Hub disc), and all red cards, in play from the start, as the Borg are the challenge to completing the game. That same page also says that placing the TW Hub about 18" away from the players' home system is a "good starting point".

Personally, I think the "fix" rule found in your "Complete Rulebook" - that is to place three activation tokens on the TW Hub to start the game and go through each of those before rolling for cube entry - addresses the "brutality" issue raised by Gareth in that excerpt.

I've played a purely solo game against the Borg only once. And have played 2-player against the Borg twice. I've found each of those sessions to be a good gaming experience. I guess that's the bottom line for me.

 
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Mattias Elfström
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You may be able to persuade me to change the Complete Rulebook...

Are you saying that you think the solo game is a good challenge if you use the delay rule and start with "Humble Beginnings"?

Also, would you consider writing a short paragraph on what to expect from the solo game?
 
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Kris Muir
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I feel like my group must be playing the game wrong...we have used the rules from the books and have the borg expansion and have played 1-5 player games with them no problems (one excpception being two views on the ferengi arms dealer...), and loved them (we add the borg to every game)..we have never felt that the rules were broken or anything that we couldn't discuss as a group and figure out...but I read all these comments and threads about how the borg are not playable and they don't make sense it really makes me question how my group has been playing...

I bought the borg so I could get some solo games and games with two players (one friend can't stand games that go on for 3+ hours but loves this game so a shorter two player game was a big plus!) and I felt the book did a good job of telling you how to set it up solo or two player (which is basically setting it up with the transwarp hub rules and 3 player distance rules) and after that you are just playing the game normaly with the borg in play...you just don't have the trading element (which I love in the fuller games but understand is missing in a solo). But with all the negativity I May be wrong in my interpretation.

I have read the "complete rulebook" and love how it brings everything into one place, and can appreciate all the time and effort that went into compiling it, but never felt that the rules were too vague or incomplete...just my two cents I guess.
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Barry Miller
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Mattias wrote:
Are you saying that you think the solo game is a good challenge if you use the delay rule and start with "Humble Beginnings"?

Well, with the delay rule, yes. But I don't know why any solo player would ever want to play with the "Humble Beginnings optional rule. That would make the game much too difficult, I'd think... us solo players relish a good challenge, but also want to enjoy the experience!

Besides, - and this is merely a "data point" for you - we never play with Humble Beginnings - for any session. We understand why GF9 included it as an optional rule - for the really expert, die-hard players. But no one I play with is interested in using that rule. And BTW, we do discuss the various optional rules before playing and pick and choose the ones we feel will provide for the most enjoyable game. "Humble Beginnings" never makes the cut!

Mattias wrote:
Also, would you consider writing a short paragraph on what to expect from the solo game?

Sure! But I'd need to get another solo game under my belt first. I can't promise when that would be. Perhaps others can also pitch-in?

Also, I failed to mention in my previous posts this thread, that I'm easy to entertain! So what may be an enjoyable game for me, may be a lackluster experience for someone else.

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Oncoming Storm
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My wife and I have been using a few house rules in order to make our two-player games work. After 7 games thus far, we've been having a blast playing a semi coop/competitive format. I'll try to get our rules up in a few days.
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Mattias Elfström
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bgm1961 wrote:

Mattias wrote:
Are you saying that you think the solo game is a good challenge if you use the delay rule and start with "Humble Beginnings"?

Well, with the delay rule, yes. But I don't know why any solo player would ever want to play with the "Humble Beginnings optional rule. That would make the game much too difficult, I'd think... us solo players relish a good challenge, but also want to enjoy the experience!


Would you consider trying it for the sake of science?

bgm1961 wrote:
Besides, - and this is merely a "data point" for you - we never play with Humble Beginnings - for any session. We understand why GF9 included it as an optional rule - for the really expert, die-hard players. But no one I play with is interested in using that rule. And BTW, we do discuss the various optional rules before playing and pick and choose the ones we feel will provide for the most enjoyable game. "Humble Beginnings" never makes the cut!


Did you ever try it before dismissing it?

bgm1961 wrote:
Mattias wrote:
Also, would you consider writing a short paragraph on what to expect from the solo game?

Sure! But I'd need to get another solo game under my belt first. I can't promise when that would be. Perhaps others can also pitch-in?

Also, I failed to mention in my previous posts this thread, that I'm easy to entertain! So what may be an enjoyable game for me, may be a lackluster experience for someone else.


Anything Star Trek is entertaining for me to. I even watched all episodes of TNG...
 
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Mattias Elfström
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Here is a starting point for adding the one and two player games to the Complete Rulebook. What do you think?

Currently the Complete Rulebook says the following:

"The Star Trek: Ascendancy game is first and foremost a negotiation game where many of the interesting decisions points appear in the interaction with the other players. The game is self balancing in the sense that players have to judge who is in the lead and act accordingly. The 1 & 2 player versions of the game were introduced as options in the Borg expansion and they rely on the Borg to create a competitive situation when there are less than three players involved. The solo version is completely random, the only challenges come from luck and the automated Borg opponent. In the Complete Rulebook these versions of the game have been removed."


I'm suggesting this be changed to:

"The Star Trek: Ascendancy game is first and foremost a negotiation game where many of the interesting decisions points appear in the interaction with the other players. The game is self balancing in the sense that players have to judge who is in the lead and act accordingly. In a solo or two-player game these aspects are removed and the game is turned into a tactical war game where resource growth will be dependent on random factors. In a solo or two player game the Borg is always in play from the start and will complicate the tactical situation.

Solo rules:

A solo game uses all rules as outlined in the Complete Rulebook with the following amendments:

Victory:

The game can only be won through an Ascendancy victory.

Set up:

Remove Confrontation Crisis Cards and Trade Agreements.

Exploration cards:

Any Allies drawn during exploration stay with you throughout the game.

Optional rules:

The following optional rules are never used in a solo game: No Borg, Delta Quadrant Probe and Some Borg.

Two player rules:

A two player game uses all rules as outlined in the Complete Rulebook with the following amendments:

Victory:

The game can only be won through an Ascendancy victory."
 
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Where is this Complete Rulebook?
 
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Mattias Elfström
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SanguinousRex wrote:
Where is this Complete Rulebook?

Try looking here: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/159987/unofficial-complet...
 
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Barry Miller
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Mattias, you beat me to the punch! I acted on your request to come up with a set of rules changes for playing solo and 2-player. So I've had the following rules sitting on my desktop for the past several days... been too busy to type them and post, until today.

I'm presenting them as I originally wrote them, then in another post will try to "mind meld" them with yours.
Also, I highly suggest that we take this part of the conversation and start a dedicated thread in the Variants section. I'll probably do that anyway.


Edit: This entire post is formally presented here: Suggested Solo and 2-Player Rules Against the Borg
Please go there to view current discussion or comment on this post.


OK, here goes...


SUGGESTED RULE MODIFICATIONS FOR SOLO AND 2-PLAYER GAMES WITH THE BORG


While the Solo game is a fun experience, it can also be a demoralizing experience as it's almost impossible - if not actually impossible - to win against the Borg when playing solo per the official rules.
So the following rules are presented for comment* with the goal to make the solo game actually playable, while also being fun! At the same time, rules are presented for the 2-Player vs Borg game, as 2 player games also suffer some of the same issues as the solo game.
Use any or all of the following rules as desired.

OFFICIAL RULES: These GF9 official optional rules (pg 26) should be considered as "standard" when playing solo or 2-Player against the Borg:

E "Extra Starting Resources"
Solo: Player begins with 8 Production, 6 Research, and 4 Culture.
2-Player: Players begins with 6 Production, 4 Research, and 4 Culture. (As can be seen, the starting numbers are modified from the official rule for two players).

E "Starting Advancements"
Solo & 2-Player: Player(s) start with two Completed Advancements. One is their 'Starting Advancement'. The player chooses the other.

E "Starting Project"
Solo: Player starts with one Project in play, with one Research Token placed on it if a "3 cost" Project, or two Research Tokens if a "4+ Cost" Project. (Note: The added Research tokens is not official).
2-Player: Players start with one Project in play.

E "Easier Ascension"
Solo & 2-Player: Ascendancy Tokens cost only four Culture, instead of five.

E "Focused Research"
Solo & 2-Player: When Launching a new Project, a player may look through their Advancement deck to choose a specific Project.


UNOFFICIAL RULES: These "house rules" should be considered as standard:

E "You're Fully Supported!"
Solo & 2-Player: Automatically gain a Command Token (exhausted) during the Command Phase of the 2nd turn.

E "Increased Power to Weapons!"
Solo: The Player starts with Weapons Level "4+". Each Weapons upgrade after that (Lvl 3 thru Lvl 1) costs 1/2 of printed cost.
2-Player: The Players start with Weapons Level "4+".

E "The Borg can be hit!"
Solo: The Borg suffers Collateral Damage for each hit when a player attempts to Reclaim a Borg World. I.e., if the player rolls any hits during a round while invading a Borg World, the Borg will lose a node for each hit, regardless of the number of hits rolled for that round.
2-Player: The Borg suffers Collateral Damage for each hit after the first during a round, when a player attempts to Reclaim a Borg World. I.e., if the player rolls any hits during a round while invading a Borg World, the Borg will lose a node for each hit after the first hit, regardless of the number of hits rolled for that round.

E "Delayed Delta Quadrant Connection"
Solo & 2-Player: Place three Borg Activation tokens on the Transwarp Hub. As long as there is at least one token left on the Hub don’t roll for the Hub to generate a Borg Cube during the Borg Building Phase. Remove one Borg Activation token from the Transwarp Hub after each Borg turn.
(This house rule is taken verbatum from Mattias Elfström's "The Complete Rulebook", rule 5.3.2)

E "Delayed Borg Hit Roll Increase"
Normally, the Borg's "To Hit" roll level increases with each Spire placed on the map. This rule delays that effect.
Solo: The Borg's Hit Level does not begin to increase until the 3rd Spire is placed, at which point it increases by one for each Spire placed. Note that this rule prevents the Borg from ever obtaining a Hit Level of "1".
2-Player: The Borg's Hit Level does not begin to increase until the 2nd Spire is placed, at which point it increases by one for each Spire placed.

E "Immature Borg Adaptive Shield Technology"
Normally, the Borg is able to adapt their shields quickly. This rule considers their technology to still be in development. As such, this rule delays the increase of the Borg Shield modifier during Combat.
Solo and 2-Player: The Borg's Shield modifier does not begin to increase until the the end of the 2nd Round of Combat, at which point it increases by one for each Round after that.

E "Immature Borg Regeneration Capability"
Solo & 2-Player: Borg does not use regeneration. (Make up your own thematic reason).

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Barry Miller
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Mattias wrote:
Here is a starting point for adding the one and two player games to the Complete Rulebook. What do you think?

...

Mattias,

I love all those changes you posted! I think they would compliment the rules I added, above, very nicely. Would make for a "complete package" so to speak.

Though I think some of the hardcore, expert players such as yourself may find that my rules set makes the game too easy. I don't know. I haven't actually played a full solo game yet using my rules. I thought of them while playing my last game.

If people think they are too easy, then it's a simple matter of treating them as a menu, and choosing which rules suit them. For me, for my next game, I'm going to try them all to see if I feel Like I have at least a shot.

And finally, I suggest we take this to the Variants forum. I'll copy and paste to there in a bit.

 
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Mattias Elfström
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See you in the variants forum!
 
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Barry Miller
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Mattias wrote:
See you in the variants forum!

Done! Go here: Suggested Solo and 2-Player Rules Against the Borg

(I called you out in that post as an invite to join that thread with your set of rules, as well).

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