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Subject: My solo variant attempt - The Rescue Mission rss

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Bruce Gazdecki
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I just typed up my attempt at a solo variant, which is named "The Rescue Mission". It's a lengthy word file that I was going to save as a pdf. Would it be better to paste the rules in the forum as a post (or more) or just upload the pdf file? Thanks.
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Brandon Freels
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Please paste it here so people have easier access to it and can make comments.

Have you tried out your solo rules yet? If you have, include comments about how it went when you played it.
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Bruce Gazdecki
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Here it is in all its "glory'. Sorry it's so long, I got a bit carried away I guess with the descriptive parts. Please let me know if you try it and let me know what you think, good, bad, or really bad. If you have any questions, feel free to ask here or PM me and I'll answer as best I can.

Report: I played it twice so far. Both times I got lucky and was able to use the Raider's Outpost to try and launch the space ship on my last turn. One time I had 3 fuel/ore, the other time I had 2 fuel/ore. Unfortunately I rolled 2's both times and lost. I thought it was enjoyable, and it only took maybe 10-15 minutes per playthrough if that.

Alien Frontiers by Clever Mojo Games
Solo Variant by Bruiser419 of BGG
The Rescue Mission v1.0


Background: A diplomat was sent to negotiate a treaty with the recently contacted Brutonians. However, his ship has crashed enroute on a planet previously inhabited by a technically advanced alien race that mysteriously disappeared many years ago. Unfortunately, the surface of the planet is toxic to the diplomat and his ship can only sustain a habitable environment for him for a short time due to the crash. Additionally, if you start trying to launch the ship but fail, the aliens will start to notice his presence and try to “capture” him; stories of the aliens’ treatment of prisoners are “disturbing”. Your mission is to rescue the diplomat (by fixing his ship and getting him off the planet) before he dies.

To rescue the diplomat (and therefore win the game), you must accomplish the following:
1.) Take control of Herbert Valley. (This would give you the ‘advanced’ facilities required to fix the ship.)
2.) Take control of Pohl Foothills. (You need to understand the alien technology to be able to use it.)
3.) Take control of Burroughs Desert. (Obviously you need to be able to get to the ship safely, and coincidentally the planet’s launch pad is located here.)
4.) Take control of a 4th colony. (Additional alien technology research and equipment is required.)
5.) Depending on the amount of fuel/ore used, roll the relic ship die once you ‘activate’ the Raider’s Outpost (see “To launch the ship” below) and roll based on the tables.

How you lose: Turns will be kept by moving a colony marker (any color but yours) along the Colonist Hub “lines”. The colony marker starts in last row last die box, so the end of your 1st turn will land the marker in the first circle. Start from the bottom and work upwards. Do not use the 7th space on each line for this application (it is still needed to build colonies). If after your turn is over the colony marker would move to the top line (the one you are using), the diplomat dies one way or another ending the game. (Basically, you get 18 turns.)

Setup:
Unbeknownst to you, the aliens did not actually die. A civil war caused by the technology they so coveted in the end caused them to shun it, reverting back to a simpler way of living. This unfortunately means that much of the old technology, while still functioning, has not been properly maintained for many years. This is reflected in the following setup:

Planet surface: Place 1 colony marker of any color that is not yours on each planet colony space. Control rules still apply. (The aliens are still there, and likely won’t look too kindly on you using their old technology.)

Solar convertor: Block off 6 of 8 spaces. Adjustment is made to payout: 1-2 now pays 0 fuel, 3-4 pays one fuel, 5-6 pays 2 fuel. If you control the Lem Badlands, revert to normal payouts and still add the +1 fuel. (You fixed it by realigning its orbit, optimizing its interaction with the sun.)

Orbital Market: Roll 7 dice (not your color). The number that shows up the most is ratio for the entire game (the market program is stuck). Place a pair of dice in one of the spots with the number rolled. If 2 or more numbers tied for most rolled, pick the lowest value. Controlling the Heinlein Plains allows you to use market at 1:1 per game rules. (Again, you fixed it. You realized it had picked up a virus and were able to remove it.)

Alien Artifact: Block off 2 spaces of 8. Only deal 2 cards to start. Use of die for replacement of cards only deals out 2 cards. Control of the Pohl Foothills returns card numbers to normal game rules. Fuel reduction also applies.

Raider’s Outpost: This is only used once you’re ready to try and launch the ship. (See “To launch the ship” below)

Lunar Mine: Block 1st and 2nd spots completely. In 3rd space, start with a die marked set on ‘2’. Once colony marker moves to 2nd row, change the ‘2’ to a ‘4’, after the colony marker moves to the 3rd row, change the ‘4’ to a ‘6’. If Van Vogt Mountains is controlled, die in 3rd space becomes a ‘1’. (You fixed the mining equipment.)

Colony Constructor: Block off one space; no changes. (This still seems to work as normal; maybe the lunar mine was already acting up and the aliens felt ore would be too hard to get to use this?).

Colonist Hub: No change; only top line can be used.

Shipyard: Block of 2 spaces of pairs; no changes otherwise. (As much as the aliens hate technology, they still need ships to occasionally obtain resources from other races and such, so this has been relatively well maintained)

Terraforming station: Non-operational until Burroughs Desert is controlled. (It appears the aliens sabotaged this on purpose to try and prevent other races from colonizing their planet. Smart aliens, huh?)

Positron/Repulsor/Isolation Fields are not used and no victory points are kept.

Gameplay: Play as normal taking into account setup/variant changes. After each turn, move turn marker one space forward.

To launch the ship: Once you have satisfied conditions 1-4, you must roll a sequence of 3 to use the Raider’s Outpost (In this variant it’s being used as an orbital launching control station). The minimum cost to try to launch the ship is 1 ore and 1 fuel. See Table 1 for the value required based on how much fuel and ore you use. If you fail, the fuel and ore is not consumed and can be used for other actions, or for another chance. The Raider’s Outpost can be used multiple times in one turn, but the dice used the first time can not be used the 2nd time and they must be a higher sequence as normal.

Table 1
Number of fuel and ore used: Die roll required
1 fuel and 1 ore: 5 or higher
2 fuel and 2 ore: 4 or higher
3 fuel and 3 ore: 3 or higher
4 fuel and 4 ore: 2 or higher

On turn 18, if you don’t roll the required sequence to activate the Raider’s Outpost, you still get one chance. However, the minimum is now 2 fuel and 2 ore (you have to perform an uncontrolled, totally manual launch) and the roll needed is as follows (Table 2):

Table 2
Number of fuel and ore used: Dice roll required
2 fuel and 2 ore: 6
3 fuel and 3 ore: 5 or higher
4 fuel and 4 ore: 4 or higher

If you are able to get a successful roll: Congratulations, you saved the diplomat and the treaty was signed. It is a great day for all.

If you are not able to get a successful roll: The diplomat has died, either due to the toxic environment, or worse, and tensions rise with the Brutonians…

Additional notes: Since you’re playing by yourself, it may be easier to simply keep track of fuel and ore on a piece of paper instead of using the actual fuel/ore tokens.

Future testing (if I have time and people seem interested enough in this):
Removal of alien tech cards that are victory points or are not useful (holographic decoy and cards that deal with other player ships). This may remove too many cards from the deck however.

Change Lunar Mine bonus when controlling Van Vogt Mountains to also move die from 3rd square to 2nd square

Develop bonus for Asimov Crater (remove fuel/ore requirement for settling colony?)

Develop bonus for controlling Bradbury Plateau
Adjust launch die roll. Non-sequence turn 18 roll may be too harsh.
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Brandon Freels
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Do I get to count the alien colonies if I pick up a Data Crystal?

I admit that haven't tried this yet, but from your rules it appears that a good method of attack would be to cycle for the Orbital Teleporters / Polarity Devices / Temporal Warpers and get the aliens out of the 4 territories that you need. Easier to drop 4 colonies than 8.

In some solo games you have to roll a "7" on d6 at the end to win. Each goal completed gives you +1 to your roll at the end. Complete all 6 tasks and you win since it is an automatic "7". Then you can even have rankings of winning with style.

I would like to see you try it out more and tighten it up. I really like the "scenario" thought you have put into this.
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Interesting. I also like the scenario.
It would be great if you could post a session report.
 
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Bruce Gazdecki
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Spittledung wrote:
Do I get to count the alien colonies if I pick up a Data Crystal?

I admit that haven't tried this yet, but from your rules it appears that a good method of attack would be to cycle for the Orbital Teleporters / Polarity Devices / Temporal Warpers and get the aliens out of the 4 territories that you need. Easier to drop 4 colonies than 8.

In some solo games you have to roll a "7" on d6 at the end to win. Each goal completed gives you +1 to your roll at the end. Complete all 6 tasks and you win since it is an automatic "7". Then you can even have rankings of winning with style.

I would like to see you try it out more and tighten it up. I really like the "scenario" thought you have put into this.


Thanks for commenting. I'll have to put some more thought into how the alien tech cards work. I have a couple ideas off the top of my head, including needing control of the Pohl Foothills to use alien tech cards (you have to figure out the alien tech first) and/or each alien tech card is only allowed to be used once, then discarded for the rest of the game. (Again, lack of maintenance). I'm also thinking to maybe allow having the holographic decoy allow you an extra chance to roll to win if you activate the Raider's outpost and the first roll fails (however, this increases the roll needed by 1).

As for the way the Data Crystal would currently work, you would count the alien colonies when using it, but the only colonies you could use it on initially would be Asimov Crater and Bradbury Plateau. The rest require repairs or understanding to "fix" the spaces.

As far as rolling a "7" on a d6, I'll see if I can develop an alternate way to end the game using that method.

Thanks again for commenting.
 
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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Well, I haven't tried it, but it seems like it is really hating on low rolls. One of the things I like about the base game is that low rolls have plenty of places to go, but you've reduced that even more with your changes to Lunar Mine, Solar Converter and Orbital Market, not to mention the high straight required to finish the game. Can't even think how bad it might be with single use tech cards.

To me, that seems like it forces this down a much more "luck" (I just need to roll high to win!) path rather than "alternative tactics" (I can win with low rolls or high rolls if I play things right!) path.

Is that intended or am I being shortsighted?
 
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Bruce Gazdecki
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Well, it was intended to be hard to win, and while I didn't intend for the low numbers to be bad initially, it ended up that way. There are ways to help make low numbers more useful (such as controlling the Lem Badlands or the lunar mine colony). And the low numbers can always be used in the colony hub.

I'll have to think about the mine and converter and see if I can make the lower numbers slightly less penalized.

And even a 1-2-3 straight at the end will activate the Raider's Outpost.
 
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Brandon Freels
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On solo versions of games...
The best way to do AF solo in my opinion is to play all players in an unbiased manner. This is one of the few games where it is possible since you don't have hidden or secret information. I have done this at home and on Vassal and it has considerably helped my play.

As for a solo game scenario, I find that the best ones help you improve your tactics in the game so that you will be more skilled when the time comes to play others. If all the solo game rules are "You can't do this, you can't do that." like a Houdini death trap, then you just have a puzzle and not a solo game. The better solo games offer resistance but not an amputation of options.
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Bruce Gazdecki
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Well, based on the comments I've received so far, I've decided to stop any further development on the variant. Thanks to everyone who gave their opinion.
 
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