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Subject: Idea for a different way to do solo play rss

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Peter Kossits
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Hi Everyone,

I just treated myself to Runebound yesterday due to a lot of the comments that I've read on here. My initial purchases were a little strange - I got the base game in English but 3 of the extension decks in French since my neighborhood store was all out of (or they never ordered) the English versions. Ha! Anyone who plays with me will have to be bilingual I guess.

I bought this game mainly for the solo play, however and I'm at the tail end of my first game. Lots of fun. Has a nice D&D flavor. The fights are fun but it never gets bogged down in minutae.

I'm familiar with the solitaire method that most people use (the doom track) but I decided to try something else to see how it would work. I often use this tactic when playing games solitaire to quickly get some "AI controlled" personalities happening that won't take too much thought and dice-rolling to implement.

I'm playing with my own hero, but there are two other heroes controlled by the "system". One of the AI heroes is always assumed to roll 12 whenever he rolls the dice, the other will always roll 10. You can change these numbers as desired to scale the difficulty of your game up and down.

For movement, the AI heroes don't use the terrain dice, they just pick their destination (either closest adventure counter for their level; or closest town if they're more than 50% injured; or specific town if there is an Event or special task in play) and go there based on terrain costs (3 for swamp, river, mountain; 2 for forest and hills; 1 for everything else). Speeds AI movement up immensely.

For combat they always attack in the phase with the greatest to hit probability. They always use combat related cards at first opportunity. Since you know what they will roll, you can almost always figure out the end result after just doing one phase and it's very quick to resolve.

When AI heroes level up - I pick an experience counter at random out of a cup.

It's working quite well and seems to be having the desired effect. Managing the AI controlled players is pretty quick due to the special rules. Instead of the doom track pushing the game forward, things get propelled forward by the AI heroes wandering around doing adventures and you don't have to lose/redefine any of the cards and rules related to PvP which do add a certain fun element to the game.









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Thomas King
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Out of curiosity, what was the intended effect of having AI players? I don't really see what it adds to the solo game besides fluff in between your turns
 
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Drew
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For solo play I just play multiple characters -- just play each character such that they are all trying to win. I don't really pick a character to be mine.

When I play a bunch of heroes I do not use the knockout rule -- dead is dead. This does help thin the herd pretty quick. I base the cost to level on the number of heroes left alive at the XP phase.


 
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Peter Kossits
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I thought it would be fun to not have easy access to every green/yellow adventure on the board. The AI players are doing appx 2/3 of them so I have to travel around a bit more and I have to maybe move up to blues/yellows before I would otherwise because there aren't any yellows/greens left.

The AI players are also sucking up market items and allies (they buy the most expensive thing they can afford when in cities) so I can't have a guarantee of getting whatever I want when I want it.

I also thought PvP versus one or both of the AI controlled players might be interesting. I also don't have to fudge any of the PvP rules or cards. I can use those normally. There are also some nice races between me and the AI players for some events/rewards (ie. first player with 5 exp to arrive at Tamalir gets a free item) that would otherwise be non-events.

If you don't roll any dice for the AI players ever and make their decisions based on hard-coded heuristics, their turns go really quickly and I do end up spending about 80% of the time on my own turns.

An AI player can certainly win using my rules, so that replaces the pressure that the Threat/Doom tracks provide in other methods.
 
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Peter Kossits
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Just finished my first game playing this way. It was quite long (6-7) hours but it was a fun way to learn the rules/cards. God, this game is a time vacuum cleaner. You feel like you've only been playing for an hour, but then look at your watch and it's actually been 3.

My system worked well until the end-game and then we got into a spiral of death once we hit the reds and it almost looked like no hero would be able to successfully tackle them.

Once all the green/yellow/blues are off the board and the heroes have spent all their gold, there's no way to heal wounds apart from items - and those items eventually were also removed from play due to heroes falling in battle.

The strong AI player entered the endgame in best shape at level 10 while the weak AI and myself were at level 7. Strong AI tried and failed on the first two reds and he lost his allies and items in the process. The random level up that I was doing for the AI characters left them with some holes in their profiles that the reds were exploiting for 4-5 damage. It didn't look like my AI players were strong enough to win against a red challenge.

Then I discovered Margath's location and had a go at ending it. I got him down to his last health but was defeated. A few turns later I returned (minus my staff of light) and tried again and failed. Strong AI player attempted Margath and also failed. It was looking hopeless. Every fail made us weaker and there was no way to heal wounds and we had lost all our allies with no chance at getting another.

But then we started making progress against the Dragon Lords and the runes we gained started tipping the balance. Strong AI obtained one and then I obtained one and then another. A long trip across the board finally gave me my third rune. The AI players each finished with 1. Strong AI and myself each finished at level 12 and weak AI finished at level 10.

Now I'm mulling over how to approach my next game - try my AI system again and just try to smooth out the weak areas (balancing out the experience counters to cover weaknesses better); or give the threat track system a try.

On another topic - the game store in my city is having a descent demo tomorrow. If I liked Runebound, is it a good bet that I will also like Descent? I'm shying away from it a bit, due to the lack of solo rules and difficulty getting a group together - but it does look like a blast and closer to D&D than Runebound.






















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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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peterk1 wrote:


On another topic - the game store in my city is having a descent demo tomorrow. If I liked Runebound, is it a good bet that I will also like Descent? I'm shying away from it a bit, due to the lack of solo rules and difficulty getting a group together - but it does look like a blast and closer to D&D than Runebound.



I've played Runebound many times and only played Descent once. Descent was OK, it plays very different than Runebound. Descent is more the tactical/battle part of D&D. And you really need at least a DM ("Overlord") player against at least one if not more heroes. I suppose an AI could be developed for the overlord though.
 
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Thomas King
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peterk1 wrote:
Just finished my first game playing this way. It was quite long (6-7) hours

I must applaud your persistence, I think most gamers would have called it off after the 4th hour surprise

peterk1 wrote:
On another topic - the game store in my city is having a descent demo tomorrow. If I liked Runebound, is it a good bet that I will also like Descent? I'm shying away from it a bit, due to the lack of solo rules and difficulty getting a group together - but it does look like a blast and closer to D&D than Runebound.

While there will probably solo rules cobbled together by players at some point (I've also been dreaming up ways I might turn it into a straight-forward Diablo style dungeon crawler with full coop rules, no overlord player), it plays very differently from Runebound. Until good solo rules are created that you think you would enjoy, I'm not sure I'd recommend it to some one who has trouble getting a group together.
 
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Peter Kossits
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Just played two games using the more or less official solo rules by Mr. Skeletor that everyone uses and yes, it definitely plays better than my way and is more immersive. Got 2 easy wins with the starting threat set to 20 and then 19. Really easy to pick up great equipment/allies early on with these rules providing the cards co-operate. I think my gear pretty much won both games - I was taking out most enemies until the reds just with my "before combat" move and an ally special ability. Getting wounded was really, really rare.

The exercise definitely exposes the possible problems with multiplayer. When I played using these rules, not all that many cards got played off the encounter decks and because of that the story was fun. My hero was well equipped to win by the end game. I advanced to the next encounter levels well before depleting all of the easier encounters.

When I played with the 2 AI players, I cycled through all encounter decks at least once, almost all of the special events got triggered and the 3 players were still not able to easily handle reds when it got to that point. The 3 player game seemed a lot more chaotic and less clean.

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