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Subject: Solitaire Variant: "The Magnate" rss

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Dale Buonocore
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In this solitaire variant, you will be playing against an auto-player/robot who will henceforth be called “The Magnate.” Use the 2-player framework, with the following exceptions: 1) the Magnate starts with 100 Elektros; 2) the 17th city built triggers the end of the game. Otherwise, all rules/procedures remain the same, with the following exceptions/changes -- all of which refer to how the Magnate plays...

Phase 2: Power Plant Auction -- If the Magnate goes first, he will always choose the highest # power plant and start with the minimum bid; if you wish to contest his bid, you must raise by 3 (raises are always 3) -- then roll a D6 to determine whether the Magnate will raise you by 3 (D6 roll = 4 or higher) or pass and let you have it (D6 roll = 3 or less), and this process continues until either you or the Magnate passes. If you go first, again roll the D6 to see if the Magnate contests your bid, and proceed in the same manner until one of you passes.

When the Magnate must replace a power plant he already owns, make the choice which is the most advantageous to him -- if there appear to be equally good options, use the D6 to choose among them. (NOTE: I tried to come up with a more structured way of making this decision, but there are just too many variables to consider, which would result in such a structured decision-making process becoming too unwieldy. So just be honest here, and make the choice you would make if you were in the Magnate’s position...).

Phase 3: Buying Resources -- The Magnate buys the resources needed to power his plants (as efficiently/cheaply as possible) such that he can power 3 more than the number of cities he currently has in his network, if possible (or as little over that number as possible). So, if he currently has 7 cities, he will buy resources with a target of 10 in mind (i.e., the capacity to power 7 + 3 = 10), going a little over this number if he must in order to reach this threshold. The Magnate’s power plants cannot store any resources.

Phase 4: Building -- Randomly choose the starting city for the Magnate in some manner (I typically use the D6 to choose among the 3 areas selected, and then a D20 to choose among the 7 cities there).

The Magnate will then add cities to his network in the most efficient/cheapest manner, i.e., factoring in the connection cost + the available city space cost at each choice point -- and he will add as many cities to his network as he possibly can each turn. When faced with equal options, use the D6 to choose between them.

Phase 5: Bureaucracy -- The Magnate will power as many cities in his network as he can in the most efficient/cheapest way.

That’s about it. I played around with other possible structured ways of making the Magnate play more “intelligently” (e.g., Should he always go for the highest # power plant? Should he at times choose not to go for any power plant and stay with what he’s got?), but again there are so many factors to consider in making such decisions that it quickly became apparent that trying to do so would make the process painfully unwieldy. And, thus far, this variant seems to play quite nicely, and is both challenging and fun to play. So give it a try, and let me know what you think. Any suggestions regarding additional “tweaks” would be most welcome, especially any relatively simple ways of helping the Magnate to play more “intelligently” without making the process too unwieldy.

Great game, by the way -- I’m finding that the more I play it, the more I like it! The many interactions among the various parts, along with the associated tactical and strategic options, seem to gradually reveal themselves a little more with each play... Very cool!
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Which maps have you played with this variant?
 
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Dale Buonocore
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Warren
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Just the US map so far...
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Peter Chien
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Hi,

Thanks so much for this solo variant. Trying it out right now. One question about buying resources for the Magnate.

Is the Magnate supposed to purchase enough resources to power X+3 cities (where X is the current number of cities he currently has), even though he doesn't have the plant capacity to utilize all of those resources?

That seems illogical: The Magnate will be throwing money after things he can't use and, by these solo rules, can't save. UNLESS the idea is to make the solo player pay more for resources.

In the solo game I am playing now, I'm having the Magnate pay for enough resources to power X+3 cities or the full capacity of his power plants, whichever is less.

Thanks, again, for a simple-to-use solo variant for a great game.
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Israel Waldrom
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Regnad Kcin wrote:
Hi,

Thanks so much for this solo variant. Trying it out right now. One question about buying resources for the Magnate.

Is the Magnate supposed to purchase enough resources to power X+3 cities (where X is the current number of cities he currently has), even though he doesn't have the plant capacity to utilize all of those resources?

That seems illogical: The Magnate will be throwing money after things he can't use and, by these solo rules, can't save. UNLESS the idea is to make the solo player pay more for resources.

In the solo game I am playing now, I'm having the Magnate pay for enough resources to power X+3 cities or the full capacity of his power plants, whichever is less.

Thanks, again, for a simple-to-use solo variant for a great game.


You're playing it correctly, even though your initial reasoning is off.
The X+3 puts a target/limit on how many resources he buys for his current set of power plants, but allows the Magnate to have the ability to power any cities that he connects to later on in the turn (up to 3 additional).
 
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