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Trajan» Forums » Variants

Subject: I, Trajan. A solo variant ... rss

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Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
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Trajan turned up in the mail a couple of weeks ago, and I was keen to try it. (It may be weeks or months before I get to try it with real, live gamers). I tried to solo a two player game, playing both sides, but blew out my neural network. Game 1, playing two mancala puzzles with coloured stones, was a bit much for me.

I tried again with game 2, but this time only playing one player, with a reduced deck of cards representing a second player. It didn't run a player board, it had little/no intelligence, it simply ran the clock and did "stuff" to the main game board. It worked quite well - I could concentrate on playing my game, while the board chopped and changed as the robot did it's thing.

Here's how it worked.

Setup for a two player game, but only use the following pieces for the robot player. The meeples, the general, and one scoring token for the Senate.

Build a mini-deck of playing cards: 2D, 2C, 3D, 3C, 3H, 4D, 4C, 4H, 4S, 5S, 5C, 5D, 6H, 6S, Joker. Shuffle them up.

Play your turns as normal.
Play the robot turns as follows:
- flip up the next card in the deck. Advance the game clock by the face value of the card.
- the robot does the following actions depending on the card suit...

Joker (Shipping)
- flip up two new cards onto the two discard piles.
- if quarter 1, flip the "4 different cards" ship.
- if quarter 2, flip the "different pairs" ship.
- if quarter 3/4, flip the "4 of a kind" ship.

Spade (Construction)
- if the first construction action, take the most valuable tile in the left most column (top down breaks ties).
- subsequent actions, take the most valuable orthogonal tile.
- ignore replenishing the "pool", just place the meeple on the grid.

Club (Military)
- if the first military action, move the general to Alpes (2C), Raetia (4C) or Noricum (5C). Generals remove Forum tiles as normal.
- subsequent actions, place a legionnaire with the general if the general is alone (directly, don't use the pool), otherwise move the general to the most valuable adjacent space.

Heart (Forum)
- place a meeple on the first tile in the first column of Forum tiles (the extra actions), and remove it.
- subsequent actions, move the meeple one row right and one column down, and remove that tile, etc.

Diamond (Senate)
- Simply advance the marker in the Senate.
- If the robot wins the Senate, it claims the best bonus tile (from your perspective, at that time).

Trajan Tiles
- the robot is Trajan... it don't need no Trajan tiles!


The game was fun... I scored 124, but felt a lot more comfortable running the stones and pits in the second half of the game. I actually went negative during the second quarter with a -15 penalty. Once I got some +2 action working, the game really began to come together. The robot just did his thing, and I didn't need to burn brain power thinking about him.

The game reminded me a lot of Castles of Burgundy, in that there is a whole lot of stuff that is going to score you points, with a weird Feld-ian mechanic driving it (the die rolls). Same thing going on here, but instead of die rolls, or giant rotating cube cogs (Macao), this mancala thing is driving the action. This was by far the most difficult of the three to mentally process... it's very tricky getting the correct cubes in the correct pits at the correct time, but it was getting easier towards the end of the game, and when it works, it was magical. Interesting game.

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Loren Cadelinia
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dougadamsau wrote:

Trajan Tiles
- the robot is Trajan... it don't need no Trajan tiles!


Perhaps periodically you could roll a d6 to remove 1 trajan tile out of the game. Maybe 1 time per every 2 times around the time cycle. That way, the solo player isn't always gauranteed the trajan tile that they want just by waiting on it forever. It gives the player a bit of urgency to get the trajan tile they want if they really want it.
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Ken Thibodeau
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I'm currently working on my own solo variant. It should be ready in a couple of days. It shares some similarities with yours. Thanks for sharing.
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Michael Meyer
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Luzern
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Just played your variant. Very cool! I scored 128 whistle

Thank you for sharing!
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Dan W
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Very cool robot. robot My NIS Trajan just arrived and I want to bust it open so badly!!! Only no one to play with. Solo time!!!! I like your ideas here and I'll give it a go. Thanks!!
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Larry Buckel
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I played your solo variant this weekend. Very enjoyable. I assume the robot deck is just to eliminate tiles from play but I took it a step further and counted the robot in as a 2nd player and if it collected Demand or Senate tiles during the round, I factored them into the score. The Senate tiles it collected knocked me out of first place a couple of times. Thanks for posting this card deck idea.
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Doug Adams
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buck380 wrote:
I played your solo variant this weekend. Very enjoyable. I assume the robot deck is just to eliminate tiles from play but I took it a step further and counted the robot in as a 2nd player and if it collected Demand or Senate tiles during the round, I factored them into the score. The Senate tiles it collected knocked me out of first place a couple of times. Thanks for posting this card deck idea.


Thanks for trying it. Yes, it was designed simply to cycle game components, and run the game clock.

 
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Steven Van de Velde
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Just tried this, got Trajan in the mail yesterday.
Very enjoyable, I scored 162, and that definitely wasn't the maximum as I lost about 19 points on requirements.
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Shane Larsen
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fardoche wrote:
I'm currently working on my own solo variant. It should be ready in a couple of days. It shares some similarities with yours. Thanks for sharing.


Ken, please let me know when you get a solo variant done. I'm currently living in Guatemala and Trajan is one of the few games I brought with me. I failed to bring a game that plays solo (huge mistake!). So as I look at the games I did bring, Trajan stands out as the one that will provide the best solo experience.

I had my first solo go with it tonight. I didn't use the variant above, but I plan on using this one soon.

I used one in another thread where I roll a modified d6: 1,2,2,3,3,4 to determine the game timer, but no sort of robot. I wanted more of a challenge. Particularly, I wanted to feel like some of my options could still be taken before I get to them. It appears this (and hopefully yours) will do that for me.

I'll report when I try this variant. Thanks for making and posting it, Doug!
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frodo bolson
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Hi,
I've just tried this variant two times and works great, although I think the robot is moving the clock too fast, it always moves quicklier than me in average, I think with one point less each will be perfect.

Thanks for sharing!
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