Recommend
13 
 Thumb up
 Hide
73 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Solitaire Games: with "AI" system or 2-player game played solo? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Bill Lawson
United States
Rutland
Vermont
flag msg tools
Boston Redsox
badge
New England Patriots!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"Comment: I'm just not a big fan of purpose-designed solitaire games. I prefer simple two-player affairs that can be easily played alone."

I agree with this comment 100% thumbsup
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Iden Hill
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
While I don't own any, Dan Versson games, Made to be played solo games seem to be very popular among war gamers On the other hand I do own several solo design games from Victory Point Games.Haven't met and played one that I didn't thoroughly enjoy time and again. Games designed for solo play have advanced tremendously in very little time due alot to these two companies. Looking forward to The Hero of Weehawken.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jan van der Laan
Netherlands
Leeuwarden
Friesland
flag msg tools
badge
Als u begrijpt wat ik bedoel.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The solitaire gamesystem which personally impressed me the most is D-Day at Omaha Beach. The AI feels completely "natural" and is almost impossible to beat. On a good second place is Where There Is Discord: War in the South Atlantic and third place is RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940. Different systems but fun to play.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonny Lawless
United States
Bountiful
Utah
flag msg tools
Four crazy kids and happy as a clam!
badge
My name is Glenn! Long have I carried Cyrus's hopes and dreams, and now I bear the Masamune as well! Henceforth, I claim them as my own! I shall slay the Fiendlord Magus and restore our honor!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ambush! makes you work a bit for the AI, but there simply doesn't exist a more satisfying solo experience, and I've tried a lot of them.
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rui Serrabulho
Portugal
Lisboa
Lisboa
flag msg tools
badge
You have to, at least from a distance, look as if you know what you're doing, and I can manage that.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jan van der Laan wrote:
The solitaire gamesystem which personally impressed me the most is D-Day at Omaha Beach. The AI feels completely "natural" and is almost impossible to beat. On a good second place is Where There Is Discord: War in the South Atlantic and third place is RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940. Different systems but fun to play.


+ 1
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Proudly annoying Capitalists since 1959
Cuba
Santa Clara
flag msg tools
badge
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
billyboy wrote:
"Comment: I'm just not a big fan of purpose-designed solitaire games. I prefer simple two-player affairs that can be easily played alone."

I agree with this comment 100% thumbsup


+1. Although I do own solitaire games (not al wargames by the way), I prefer a 2 player game...

Cheers, Haring
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darrell Pavitt
United Kingdom
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
While most games can be played solo, even card driven games (although not ideal), some situations are not suitable. One obvious one is the Pacific carrier battles. Anyone who has tried playing Flat Top and its ilk knows that it is possible but highly unsatisfactory.

This is where a specifically tailored solitaire system shines: Carrier

Some other solo designs are also very good: The Barbarossa Campaign, the field commander series and the John Butterfield games all mentioned above.
I find the worst systems are ones with solo rules which alter the original rules and change the game into something akin to a puzzle instead: The Hell of Stalingrad plays much better just playing the original game than the two solitaire versions, as does Frontline: D-Day (which I am sure cheats as the AI side). I don't like the solo expansion for No Retreat! much either.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hidden Among the Leaves
Greece
Heraklion
Crete
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Fields of Fire is both my favorite solo game and my favorite wargame.

M.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Smooth seas make the voyage more pleasant.
badge
A ship in port is safe, and that's just what ports are for.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dawn_cherri wrote:
There is an interesting comment by a game designer on CSW with a few follow up comments from other designers that I think is good for a real important topic.
Quote:
Comment: I'm just not a big fan of purpose-designed solitaire games. I prefer simple two-player affairs that can be easily played alone.

Important IMHO because as wargamers grow older solo play will IMHO be more important to them.

Some thoughts on this:

1. Wargames don't have to be simple to be "easily played alone." I've sometimes had more fun playing very complex wargames solo--playing both sides against each other. Complexity can help get one more immersed or involved with the game.

2. I have mixed feelings about designed-for-solitaire games. On one hand it's nice to face a challenge other than one you're creating for yourself. But OTOH, you have to operate the manual AI as you play. In this day and age, that can feel like using a slide rule instead of a calculator. If there's going to be an AI opponent, why not automate it (i.e., make it a computer game instead)? Having to go through the steps of running a manual AI takes me out of the narrative I'm trying to enjoy; it spoils some of the fluidity.

3. There are procedures in two-player games that make solo play difficult: basically, any kind of outguessing. So, if you're going to just play both sides of a two-player game, it works best if you steer clear of games where you try to outguess your opponent or psychologically manipulate him into making suboptimal moves.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken Kmak
United States
Parrish
Florida
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Can anyone comment on the solo play of GMT's Labyrinth?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
flag msg tools
Slowed - BGG's moderation policies have driven me partially from here
badge
http://thegamebox.byethost15.com/smf/
Avatar
mb
Designed for solo games with some sort of AI
are unlikely to ever be as interesting as any
two (or more) player game soloed; the kind of AI
you can write into a physical game is just less likely
to come up with interesting strategies than a human.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pelle Nilsson
Sweden
Linköping
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
calandale wrote:
Designed for solo games with some sort of AI
are unlikely to ever be as interesting as any
two (or more) player game soloed; the kind of AI
you can write into a physical game is just less likely
to come up with interesting strategies than a human.


Why would it have too? The Fields of Fire "AI" does a great job imo. The enemy isn't trying to come up with a strategy to "win a game", it has it's own unknown orders, and there are many interesting obstacles/puzzles created by the semi-random actions taken by enemy units. The designer's notes are well worth reading on that subject.

I used to believe paragraph-driven AI like in Ambush! was the only way to go, but playing some of the Minden Games games taught me that it can be very fun to play random AI opponents too, or even static ones. They don't have to do anything intelligent, just provide varied and difficult problems to solve.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pelle Nilsson
Sweden
Linköping
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Patrick Carroll wrote:

.
But OTOH, you have to operate the manual AI as you play. In this day and age, that can feel like using a slide rule instead of a calculator.


Not that simple. I think to some extent, a large extent in some games, operating the AI is part of the fun. Rolling dice and looking up results can be fun. Some games are all about that. The most extreme case, that really is ALL about that, I know of is Masada, where you have no choices at all, only book-keeping and rolling dice to see what happens... I prefer games were I have more options than that, but still the parts were you have to go through some rather complex process to see what happens can be fun, more fun than just clicking on something on a computer screen and instantly see the results. Plus having to know the mechanics, like on two-player boardgames, gives you a much deeper understanding about what is going on, what is being simulated, and what the possible outcomes are, compared to computer games that are more or less black boxes.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wanda Davies
United States
Olympia
Washington (WA)
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Panzer2C wrote:
Can anyone comment on the solo play of GMT's Labyrinth?

I have so much fun running both sides I haven't gotten to the solo variant. I'm not sure what use it has if one is able to play both sides oneself. I suppose there is a certain tension one might get from not having as much control over what each side is doing, but I get enough stress from coffee.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Willows
United States
Woburn
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hello Gregor wrote:
Panzer2C wrote:
Can anyone comment on the solo play of GMT's Labyrinth?


I have so much fun running both sides I haven't gotten to the solo variant. I'm not sure what use it has if one is able to play both sides oneself. I suppose there is a certain tension one might get from not having as much control over what each side is doing, but I get enough stress from coffee.


Labyrinth has a very robust solo game, but it isn't perfect. No AI is. So, you have to be willing to take over for the system at times and do what is logical from the Jihadist point of view.

Regardless of whether you use the flow charts as a guide or in a more strict fashion, the most important thing is to keep the plot markers hidden and shuffled so that the player must still make tough decisions with regards to their removal.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean McCormick
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I tend to prefer playing both sides of 2 player games to running a solitaire AI and will frequently do so in games where there is a solitaire component. But there are situations which really lend themselves to solitaire systems, and I think solitaire designs like Tokyo Express or Fields of Fire capture the uncertainty of coming into contact with the enemy in a way that no 2 player design can.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken Kmak
United States
Parrish
Florida
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Thanks for your reply. I wanted to hear from someone who actually played the solitare version of Labyrinth. I should have been more explicit.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Kluck
United States
Hudson
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The trick is to make a paper computer, an adversary that is intelligent or at least reactive and the less player effort required to make it work the better.

I don't blame players for not liking whats out there, most games are simplistic 'roll a die/pull a chit to see where that army attacks' or massively complicated paper algorithms. Many games (PC games among them) just cheat at the AI by making the games units far stronger than historical and maintaining a defensive posture no matter what.

But I think a good solitaire system is possible, as noted, Ambush! and D-Day at Omaha Beach attest to that. And even if there existed a two player variant for Fields of Fire I don't think it would be improved at all. That is the true test of a solitaire game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Smooth seas make the voyage more pleasant.
badge
A ship in port is safe, and that's just what ports are for.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pelni wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:
But OTOH, you have to operate the manual AI as you play. In this day and age, that can feel like using a slide rule instead of a calculator.

Not that simple. I think to some extent, a large extent in some games, operating the AI is part of the fun. Rolling dice and looking up results can be fun. ... Plus having to know the mechanics, like on two-player boardgames, gives you a much deeper understanding about what is going on, what is being simulated, and what the possible outcomes are, compared to computer games that are more or less black boxes.

True--there is that other side of the coin too. I always resent the "black box" aspect of computer games.

As to rolling dice and looking up results being part of the fun--it can be, yes. For me, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. I quickly got tired of all the charts and die rolls in B-17: Queen of the Skies. And as good a game as Ambush! is, I grew weary of looking up paragraphs in the booklet, and I eventually sold that game too.

Administrative busywork is not fun (not for me, anyway). But I do like learning how a game works in a conscious, hands-on way (rather than by trial and error, which is the case in "black box" games).
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
flag msg tools
Slowed - BGG's moderation policies have driven me partially from here
badge
http://thegamebox.byethost15.com/smf/
Avatar
mb
pelni wrote:
calandale wrote:
Designed for solo games with some sort of AI
are unlikely to ever be as interesting as any
two (or more) player game soloed; the kind of AI
you can write into a physical game is just less likely
to come up with interesting strategies than a human.


Why would it have too? The Fields of Fire "AI" does a great job imo. The enemy isn't trying to come up with a strategy to "win a game", it has it's own unknown orders, and there are many interesting obstacles/puzzles created by the semi-random actions taken by enemy units.


See? That's the difference. You're facing obstacles/puzzles.
That's not what I want out of a game. I think I want more of the psychological
aspects - which I'm not going to 'get' out of a simple AI.

I want MY psychological aspect to affect my opponent.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Smooth seas make the voyage more pleasant.
badge
A ship in port is safe, and that's just what ports are for.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pelni wrote:
calandale wrote:
Designed for solo games with some sort of AI
are unlikely to ever be as interesting as any
two (or more) player game soloed; the kind of AI
you can write into a physical game is just less likely
to come up with interesting strategies than a human.

Why would it have to? ... They don't have to do anything intelligent, just provide varied and difficult problems to solve.

I guess it depends on what you want from a wargame.

If you want tense head-to-head competition, complete with all the psychological interaction (outwitting, outguessing, and all that), you need a human opponent (preferably one at least as clever as you are).

If you want to practice armchair generalship, and you believe an important part of that is creating and executing a strategy that will best whatever your opponent can come up with--well, you need a human opponent for that too. Either that, or, if you're patient enough, you can devise a few reasonable strategies for each side and pit them against each other, playing both sides yourself and just doing your best.

If you want to just re-create a military engagement on your tabletop and immerse yourself in it, learning how things work and adapting as the situation unfolds, you can probably get by with playing both sides or playing against an AI opponent. Playing both sides gives you more to do and lets you control events to a greater degree. Playing against a competent AI opponent can be more of a test, as you're focused on achieving just one side's goals.


Personally, if I wanted a game with tense, head-to-head competition, I'd pick a game like chess instead of a wargame. It'd save me from having to deal with all the administrative busy work; I could focus squarely on strategy and tactics.

As to practicing (armchair) generalship, I have my doubts about how well any wargame maps to real warfare. Furthermore, I've grown less and less interested, over the years, in practicing generalship or making studies of battles and campaigns via wargames.

So, a wargame, to me, is basically just make-believe war. It's a fiction to immerse myself in, learn something from, and enjoy. As long as there are no obstacles to solo play (e.g., hidden movement), I'm usually happy to just play both sides of a two-player game against each other. But if there's an AI that's not too much work to handle, I can enjoy that too.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Carey
United States
West Coast
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Comment: I'm just not a big fan of purpose-designed solitaire games.


I disagree with this comment 100%.

dawn_cherri wrote:
Any examples of good board wargame "AI" system??


D-Day at Omaha Beach (and to a slightly lesser extent, it's Dieppe follow-up magazine game) is among the very best - very tense and immersive gameplay, variable enemy troop formations, and the brilliant map (which can be disconcerting at first glance) saves the player from having to make a plethora of LOS checks during the game.

Victory Point Games States of Siege Series is my favorite solo series - I started off very dubious, then became a fan, was a playtester, and now I'm a designer. The cards and a few special rules almost effortlessly handle the AI for you, they are very challenging to triumph over, there's a large variety of topics available, and the games can usually be played in under an hour.

I'll often play a 2-player game solitaire to learn the mechanics before ftf play, but despite the best of intentions to finish, I often find myself quickly bored so the game gets swept off the table.

With the purpose built solitaire games, if designed properly then they are very engaging to me from start to finish, and they also see repeated play (dozens of times for some titles). I simply enjoy the narrative portion of the solitaire session as much (or more) than just winning or losing.
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thom0909
United States
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The one thing I really don't like about solitaire games/systems is beat-the-high-score win conditions. Solo war games are usually good at avoiding this.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Brillantes
United States
Livermore
California
flag msg tools
This space left intentionally blank.
badge
One last tour here on the Death Star and I can retire. What was that noise?!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dawn_cherri wrote:
Quote:
Comment: I'm just not a big fan of purpose-designed solitaire games. I prefer simple two-player affairs that can be easily played alone.

I disagree with the quoted comment 100% as well.

Although I DO prefer to play games with live opponents, I have all too often found myself in locations and/or situations where live opponents were thin on the ground. Where opponents are available, I will always play multi before solo.

During those lean times, I enjoyed purpose designed solo games more than playing all sides of multiplayer games. (I have played all sides of multi's I have newly acquired just to get a feel of the game.) Ambush! and B-17 are older ones, Steel Wolves and Space Empires 4X (solo) more recently and I am looking forward to both The Hunters and Navajo Wars from GMT.

I think my failure with playing 2Ps alone is that I know, not just think I know, what the other player is going to do. I have tried to play a turn every few days (as little as once a week) but it never works for me. It is just unsatisfying IMO. Obviously others have had more success at it than I.
7 
 Thumb up
0.06
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
john f stup
United States
damascus
Maryland
flag msg tools
mb
one problem with AI's with either computer or board games is that the victory conditions are tilted to make the game competitive because the AI's often just aren't smart enough in most cases to compete with a human. so you often end up with an unrealistic situation even though the game might be lots of fun and entertaining(as in some VPG's We Must Tell the Emperor). it becomes a lot like playing the slot machines.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.