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Subject: Thoughts on the solo game rss

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Jorge Arroyo
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Today I played a few turns of a solo game and didn't enjoy it as much as I expected after liking the regular game a lot.

There are two problems I found: First, you spend more time playing the system player's pirates than yours. Second, you have to make decisions for the system player's pirates.

The first is basically what I liked the least. I should have known just by reading the rules, but it wasn't until I started playing that it downed on me. I was looking for an experience much closer to the multiplayer game: take actions with my pirates and tackle the antipirate actions that are played on me as best as possible. Controlling other players' pirates wasn't on the equation...

The second is not that bad, because most of the time their actions are obvious, but sometimes you do have to make decisions like for example: When a new merchant appears in India and one SP pirate is 3-4 areas away but has 2 merchants close at hand that I know will be worth much less. Going to India means wasting time and possibly getting much more booty, etc... Those are the sort of decisions you have to take with your pirate, and I'd like the SP pirates to be more automated. BTW, now that pirates can choose between fleeing or fighting, I decided that SP pirates will always flee, as it made more sense and would speed the game.

Anyway, next time I think I'll try playing with just one pirate on the table (mine), no SP pirates, but 1 AP action against my pirate per action taken by my pirate (with the same rules and setup as the regular solo game). I'm not sure how challenging it will be, but I know I'll have more fun. This way the game will play faster as I won't have to concern myself with the SP pirates.

I'm not all disappointed because I see this more as something that I can fix and tailor to my own needs, and the game lends itself well to variants (I think) so it's no big deal.

My opinion on the multiplayer game hasn't changed one bit. I still really like it and am very much looking forward to our next game.

Just one question: Was the original solo Blackbeard like this one? Did you have to play other pirates too?

-Jorge
 
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MacGilleEathain
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Clinton
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I have many of the same thoughts and impressions from my (abortive) run at the solitaire game. The system is not simple enough to remember (on top of all the regular game rules which must be kept in mind). It took me hours just to complete about 5 turns (with plenty of mistakes). Solitaire rules need to be simple and promote fast play.
 
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Chris Dorrell
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I also agree. I don't like the idea of having to play 3 other pirates as well as Blackbeard. I would be interested in any variants which tackle this and will post any ideas I have.

I also prefer solitaire rules where the game limit gives me a way of assessing how well I have done. For example having a limit on turns and seeing how many VPs I can earn.

So I think I'll try Jorge's idea of no SP pirates and 1 AP action against Blackbeard per action plus a turn limit. (any thoughts on numbers of turns?)

I also wonder whether the designers considered other approaches to solitaire play?

Let's keep this thread going.

Thanks
Chris
 
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Jorge Arroyo
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I was thinking this a bit more today and maybe the "effects" of the other pirates should still be there in some form. For example, maybe before your turn, roll 1d66 and remove merchants from that ocean. And if the port number is one with an antipirate governor, roll 1d6 and on a 1-3 the port is destroyed.

Also, I think I'd keep the mechanic of drawing three must play cards each turn, just like in the regular game.

-Jorge
 
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Paul Franklin-Bihary
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I found that my first solo game was pretty slow, and felt the same way that Jorge described it. But my SECOND game was very different. The three SP pirates usually had very fast, simple turns that took virtually no time at all. I don't know if this was because I understood how to play better, or if I was drawing different cards, or what. But I'd give it another shot.

I bet your second game turns out to be smoother and quicker. Since the SP pirates only draw one card per turn, their turn is usually pretty straightforward. Move or find a merchant, or if you have booty in your holds (and, therefore, a mandatory D&R) get to a port and cash in.

 
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Jorge Arroyo
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I'm willing to give it another try, of course.

Today I did try the variant (no SP pirates) and found it to be pretty entertaining. There were some challenging parts (when a warship did quite a lot of damage to my ship) but I did manage retire with about 140vps after 1,5h.

I did draw 3 cards from the must play deck between turns and also rolled one d66 to remove merchants from an area.

The rules don't say anything about retiring at a Safe Haven, so that's what I did.

Another thought (that applies to both solo games) is that when you draw a card for an AP action, many times you get an AP action that doesn't apply to the situation, especially warship sighting cards. I'm thinking of just bending the rules a little and placing the warship anyway...

-Jorge
 
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