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Close Action: The Age of Fighting Sail Vol. 1» Forums » General

Subject: Solitaire Modules rss

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I was reading a Raymond Chandler novel the other day, and in it Phillip Marlowe plays solitaire chess from scripted moves he reads from a book. This got me thinking.

Why not script log sheets for solitaire games of CA, and of course sell/trade them.

Some solitaire rules would have to be added, such as if within range, the pre-plotted ship always fires at your ship. The fire could be high or low depending on the nation controlling the preplotted ship.

I am sure there would be other necessary rules to make things flow well.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Chris Hall
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I like the concept of Solitaire Modules! First, it would provide some entertainment. Second, it would be a great way for newbies to really learn the rules. [Yes, you can read the rules, but the only way you can learn them is to play. If the only time you play is when you can get 4 to 6 people together, then it is going to take a long time to learn the rules.]

I have thought about the scripting process and it is very difficult! Basically it is creating an elementary AI. Creating rules for firing is not difficult. But it is the creation of an intelligent movement generator which seems to be the biggest problem.

I've created a small scenario which avoids the AI problem to some extent by having the solitaire player's ship attempt a boarding and then escape versus a shore battery and an anchored with springs ship. (Maximum of about 15 turns to complete.) (Theoretically running a blockade & capturing a ship, at the same time.) The shore battery requires no AI, it just fires when it can. The anchored ship pivots based on the results of a 1d6 roll.

At this point the scenario is in a somewhat elementary stage. I'm working on how strong my blockading unit should be and how the Solitaire player can evaluate his performance at the end of the scenario.

I like your idea and would be interested to know if others have made some attempts at creating Solitaire Scenarios.

jch


"I was reading a Raymond Chandler novel the other day, and in it Phillip Marlowe plays solitaire chess from scripted moves he reads from a book. This got me thinking.

Why not script log sheets for solitaire games of CA, and of course sell/trade them.

Some solitaire rules would have to be added, such as if within range, the pre-plotted ship always fires at your ship. The fire could be high or low depending on the nation controlling the preplotted ship.

I am sure there would be other necessary rules to make things flow well.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?"
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Chris Montgomery
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I don't think movement is that difficult of a problem if you keep the actions that are scripted down to a manageable number of ships--say three or four per side.

Generally, players adopt the same strategies, anyway: sail for the enemy and open fire. Attempt a rake if an opportunity presents itself. Maneuver close enough to have the marines fire, if possible. I suppose the actual, technical, execution of this with programmed AI responses would be more difficult with lots of IF-THEN statements.

But except for the command and control element (which is a significant part of the game and one element that you can only get with multi-player, anyway)--with the exception of command and control, this game is very suitable for solitaire play without the need to resort to any sort of complex scripting, I would think.

Many times, the "right" action is pretty obvious.

The real issues arise when ships are very close to one another and you are attempting to anticipate your opponent's next move. I suppose in such situations, you could roll a die when determining which way to turn.

I have played this solitaire a few times but just used common sense when trying to make my plots.
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Chris Hall
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I agree that often the right action is obvious in a general sense. The problem that I have been wrestling with is the fact that, as to solitaire player, I know exactly what I am going to do. When I then try to decide what my AI opponent is going to do, I cannot forget what I am planning. [It is like trying to run around the house 3 times without thinking about the word "wolf".]

I have tried making it more realistic by having the solitaire player and AI opponent plotting (their best move) first and then rolling a die to see if one or the other gets to re-plot a better move. If 1 or 2 then I get to re-plot; if 3,4, or 5 then the opponent gets to re-plot; if 6 then everything stays as it is.

I can only handle, at most, a couple of ships per side using this method. I'd like to hear about what others might be doing.

Chris
 
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There was a computer game called "Front Page Sports Pro Football" (American football) back in the 90s that had an outstanding module in it for when you wanted to "simulate" a game.

Essentially the game provided scenarios and actions.

For example:

1st Down, Winning, 1st Quarter, More than 8 minutes left = Power I-Formation Strong side pull.

The known quantities were basically tracked and a given outcome was provided.

Without owning the game (This discussion has me VERY interested however) I could envision a similar setup though less strict.

For example

Ship Against the Wind, in Range gun range, not marine range, Closest Enemy Starboard.

You could even give each movement some weight in cases where it may be unclear what the best course of action might be and allow a dice roll to determine.

I'm unclear how detailed you'd need to make it, but my guess would be you'd only want it detailed enough to provide you guidance to follow the general instruction rather than making it so scripted that you could essentially force the AI into bad situations.
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