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Subject: Solitary Variant: Simple but Challenging rss

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Dan Zielinski
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Jenks
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I feel this variant keeps the feel of the regular game but with 2 AI cities. It will also help teach balance play rather than focused play.

Set-Up

Choose your city and 2 AI cities in the manner of your choosing.
Set-up the boards and the decks as a normal 3-player game.

Game Play

Your first deal from the desk (from here on out called the Draw Pile) will be 1-7-1; one card, face-down, to your Left Neighbor. Seven to yourself. Then one more, face-down, to your Right Neighbor.
Play your turn as normal. Your 6 unused cards will be placed faced-up in a used cards pile. This is not to be confused with the Discard Pile.
Following your play, flip both neighbor cards and play them into their respective cities.

When playing the neighbors’ cards, follow the following rules:

1)The Neighbor will Build the Structure at all costs.

a.The Neighbor will buy any resource(s) he does not supply himself.

b.The Neighbor will always choose to buy resources from the cheapest source (with Trading Posts, Wonder Powers, Leaders, etc)

c.If all costs are equal, the Neighbor will always buy from the other neighbor, not you.

2)If Neighbor can not Build the Structure for any reason (lack of resources/coins or a repeat build) he will then attempt to Build his Wonder.

a.The Neighbor will buy any resource(s) he does not supply himself.

b.The Neighbor will always choose to buy resources from the cheapest source.

c.If all costs are equal, the Neighbor will always buy from the other neighbor, not you.

3)If the Neighbor can not Build his Wonder, He will discard the card for 3 coins.

Reminder: Any money exchanged during the round is not usable until the next round regardless of which order you played the Neighbors.

Note: See AI rules below on how to play special Wonder ability buildings.


Once finished, deal out cards again from the draw pile this time 1-6-1. One down left, six to you, one down right.

Make your play, discard the 5 unused cards face-up in the used cards pile and then both plays of your neighbors, always following the rules above.

To have enough cards for the next round, you will need to shuffle the used cards and then place them under the draw pile.

(Shuffling is required to prevent you from arranging your hand or calculating the positions of the cards as to know/cause the card your neighbor will receive.)

Once complete deal 1-5-1 from the draw pile.

Perform the turns.

Deal 1-4-1 from draw pile.

Perform the turns.

Shuffle the Used Cards back under the Draw Pile.

Deal 1-3-1 from draw pile.

Perform the turns.

Deal 1-2-1 from draw pile.

Perform the turns.

Put the remaining 3 used cards in the discard pile.

Resolve Military Conflicts for you and your neighbors.

Shuffle up AGE II and repeat the process.

Continue same through AGE III.


AI Rules for Special Abilities (Wonders)

Olympia (A): Build 1 Free Building for Each Age.

AI will use this ability on the first card that would be turned into 3 gold. (i.e. If Building the Structure AND Building the Wonder both failed.)


Olympia (B): Copy Any Guild from a Neighbor

AI will pick the Guild that will grant him the most points.


Halicarnassus (A&B): Build Now a Discarded Building for Free

Follow the following steps in determining the built card:

1)Card with highest Age in Discard Pile

If more than one card... out of those highest aged cards...

2)The Card with the highest resource cost.

If still more than one card...

3)Randomly pick from the highest Age, highest resource cards.


Babylon (B): Play the Last Card of Each Age

After the 6th round of the age, the 3 cards in the used cards pile are mixed up and a random one is chosen for Babylon’s 7th card. Regular placement rules from above are used for its placement.

End of Game Scoring

The change in the scoring is what makes this variant challenging.

In each scoring Category:

1st place in the Category awards you the full points you’ve earned.

Example: Military Scores

Left AI: 11
You: 13
Right AI: -6

Result: You score 13 points.


2nd place in the Category awards you the full points you’ve earned SUBTRACTED BY the 1st place AI’s points in the category.

Example: Civilian Scores

Left AI: 13
You: 12
Right AI: 2

Result: You score -1 point. (12 - 13 = -1)


Last place in the Category awards you the full points you’ve earned SUBTRACTED BY both AI’s points in the category.

Example: Guild Scores

Left AI: 12
You: 5
Right AI: 6

Result: You score -13 point. (5 - 12 - 6 = -13)


Ties for 1st place results in 0 points

Example: Treasury Scores

Left AI: 3
You: 3
Right AI: 0

Result: You score 0 points.


Ties for 2nd place results in points you’ve earned SUBTRACTED BY the 1st place AI’s points in the category.

Example: Commercial Building Scores

Left AI: 1
You: 1
Right AI: 2

Result: You score -1 point


A win is any score above 0. Above 10 is great. Above 20 is Excellent!

The key is to closely watch how your neighbor cities are panning out and stay in the lead (or at least close) in as many categories as you can. Focusing in one category may earn you some huge points but 3rd place in just a few categories can be devastating.



LEADERS EXPANSION

Solo variant with the Leaders Expansion.

Set-Up
The leader deck (of 36 cards) must be divided into two decks of 18. This is done in the following way:

All direct point leaders are removed from the deck to start a new pile. Direct Point leaders are those leaders who have a victory point icon in their symbol in any form. There are 17 in total. Also remove Solomon from the deck and put it in this new pile. This new pile of 18 will now be called the Late Leader Pile.

The 18 cards that remained in the deck are now in the Early Leader Pile. Shuffle both new decks.

For dealing... start with the Late Leader Pile.

Deal 1-3-1. (One, face-down, to your left neighbor, three to yourself and one, face-down, to your right neighbor.)

Pick the Leader to keep for your hand and discard the remaining 2.

Deal 1-2-1 from the Late Leader Pile putting the new card for your neighbors face-down on top of the Leader drawn last time.

Pick the Leader to keep in your hand and discard the remaining 1.

Deal 1-3-1 from the Early Leader Pile.

Pick the Leader to keep for your hand and discard the remaining 2.

Neighbors should now have 3 cards in their Leader piles. (2 Late under the 1 early)

Finally, deal 1-2-1 from the Early Leader Pile.

Pick the Leader to keep in your hand and discard the remaining 1.

Neighbors should have 4 cards in their Leader pile. (2 Late under 2 Early)


AI Recruitment

For the first recruitment phase of the game, simply flip the top card of the neighbors’ leader piles and pay the cost to recruit the Leader.

For all following recruitment actions... follow the rules below:

Flip over the top two cards of the neighbor’s Leader Pile.

The AI will place the Leader based on following:

Affordable Late Leaders will always be favored over affordable Early Leaders .

If both Leaders are Early... AI will play the Leader with greatest cost that he can afford.

Example: The AI has 4 coins and flipped the two leaders of Leonidas (2 coins) and Caesar (5 coins). With enough coins, he’d play Ceasar over Leonidas because of the higher cost but AI plays Leonidas instead.

If both are Late... AI will play the Leader that provides the greatest amount of VPs based on the cards currently in play that he can afford. Ties in VPs will go to the cheaper of the two Leaders.

Note: Solomon is considered to provide 2 VPs in figuring recruitment.


Example: The AI is in control of 3 Green cards and 2 Red Cards. The Leaders up for recruitment are Pericles (6 coins and 2 VP/Red) and Hypatia (4 Coins and 1 VP/Green). Because Pericles currently offers 4 VPs over Hypatia’s 3VPs... the AI will favor recruiting Pericles. If the AI only had 5 coins... then Hypatia will be recruited. If the AI had an addition green card (4 Green and 2 Red,) then Hypatia will be favored over Pericles. Each providing 4 VPs favors Hypatia at the cheaper cost.

If a tie still exists after all the above rules are considered, then randomly choose which leader is recruited.

If the AI can not recruit any leader this round due to lack of gold, he will attempt to build a Wonder out of the Leader that was not favored to be recruited.

If a wonder can not be built, the AI will discard the non-favored Leader for 3 coins.


Special Rules for an AI Roma

Roma (B)

Wonder Stage I: Draw 2 cards from each the Early Leader Pile and the Late Leader Pile. Mix those 4 cards up and place them all under the AI’s current Leader Pile.

Wonder Stage II and III: Flip the top two Leaders and follow the instruction detailed above for Recruiting. The un-recruited Leader goes back under the AI’s Leader Pile. If no Leader can be recruited, both Leaders in question go under the AI’s Leader Pile.


AI Rules for Special Abilities (Leaders)

Courtesan’s Guild (Guild): The AI will place the Courtesan Token on the leader that provides the most direct points in the Leader Category. (Examples: Amytis, Sappho, Cleopatra, Pericles, Varro, etc.) If no direct points are available, they will pick the leader that provides them with the most coins based on the cards they have in play. (Examples: Croesus, Hatshepsut, Xenophon, etc.)

Solomon (Leader): See Halicarnassus (A&B) above.

Archimedes, Leonidas, Hammurabi and Imhotep (Leaders): The AI will always reduce the cost of a building to prevent having to pay you for a resource whenever possible.


End of Game Scoring

The scoring is the same as explained above with one addition:

Direct Points the leaders provide need to be kept in their own category regardless of how they are earned.

Direct Point Leaders are those showing a VP Icon in any form.

[Example: Midas grants 1 VP for every 3 coins. If you end the game with 9 coins... you’d have 3 points in the Treasury Category and 3 more in the Leader Category. Do NOT just count Midas’s power in the Treasury Category.]

[Example 2: Aristotle grants 3 VPs for every Science SET. A player with exactly one set will score 10 points in the Science Category (1+1+1+7) and 3 in the Leader’s Category.]



Hope you enjoy!
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Dan G
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Just tried this today. Nice variant, allows me to play it more often.

Somehow I managed to get 18 points first game, don't know if I'm lucky or that good.
 
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Dan Zielinski
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Thank you. I'm glad you enjoy it and I would like to continue to hear reports on how your plays are working out.

I got 17 point on my last play but got -2, -1, -7 and 0 on prior plays. Due to the nature of being a card game, there will be times of freakish easiness. It can also get freakishly hard. But most my games are between -10 and 10.
 
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Rob Lyon
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Have you tried this with Cities included yet, Dan?

Rob
 
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