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Subject: The Variant Review's Agricola Solo Variant rss

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Sky Zero
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Just finished up play testing my new solo variant for Agricola and I found myself enjoying it even more than I thought I would have (the wife is sick and couldn't play). Gameplay is identical to the solo rules with the only additional game requirement being TWO dice (6 sided). Below are the rules:

Please Note: For ease of explaining the variant, the dice player will be referred to as "Jackie".


The Variant
Setup the game as normal for solo play and select a second set of family members to represent the dice (Jackie). There are NO changes to the solo rules.

Place one of Jackie's unused family member's on round 9 and another on round 11.

Jackie starts the game with 2 family members just like you.

Jackie gets the starting player marker and goes first. Roll 2 dice. Starting at the top left of the board, count the number rolled in accordance with the actions reading top to bottom and left to right. Put Jackie's family member on the action rolled and return any resources that may have been on that space to the general supply. Subsequent rolls by Jackie will count forward from the previous action selected.

For example, to start the game Jackie rolls an 11. Counting top to bottom and left to right that would land her on the fishing pond. Place one of her family member's on the pond and return the food to the general supply. After you make your selection then roll the dice again and start counting from the previous action selected by Jackie. In this same example, if you roll a 6 on Jackie's next turn, that would land her on the Day Laborer since the fishing pond is the last spot on the board in the first round. Place Jackie's second family member on the Day Laborer. Continue playing this way until end game always removing resources if Jackie lands on one of the resource or animal actions.

Side note: When starting a new round and rolling the dice, you begin counting forward from the last action selected by Jackie in the previous round.

Family Growth for Jackie
Jackie gets her 3rd family member when the Stage 2 Family Growth card is revealed. Jackie now gets three rolls beginning that round. Jackie also gets her 4th and 5th family member in rounds 9 and 11 respectively. These family members count for 1 additional roll immediately at the start of those rounds.

Harvest Phase and the Major Improvement Board
First, remove the 2 cost Fireplace and the 4 cost Cooking Hearth from play (who said solo play is easy!)

Next, at the start of EVERY harvest phase roll 2 dice for Jackie. Starting from the top left of the Major Improvement board count left to right and then top to bottom. If a card is available based on the number rolled, then Jackie takes the Major Improvement from you and discards it from play!

For example, if Jackie rolls a 7 she takes "The Stone Oven" Major Improvement card and discards it from play! On the other hand, if the card has already been purchased or Jackie rolls an 11 or 12, then you're safe from losing a Major Improvement card that harvest round.


To Summarize:
Step 1 - Roll 2 dice for Jackie, count forward the number of actions and place her family member on that space. Return any accumulated resources to the general supply.

Step 2 - You Go

Step 3 - Repeat steps 1 and 2 until end game and follow the special Harvest rules as described above.

That's it! I know it reads long but I think you'll see if you give it a try, it really is intuitive and plays really well. I can't tell you how many times I'd roll and think "YOU MOTHER TRUCKER!" because my plans got totally hosed by a bad dice roll!


FAQ
Question: Can I place my family member on a space Jackie has selected?
Answer: Of course not!

Question: What happens if I roll the dice and it lands on an action already selected?
Answer: Move Jackie's family member forward to the first available action after the one landed on.

Question: Can I take the starting player marker from Jackie?
Answer: Of course, just select the action!

Question: Can Jackie take the starting player marker away from me?
Answer: Of course, if she happens to land on that spot on the board, she gets the marker back.

Question: What happens if Jackie lands on one of the "Expand Family" actions?
Answer: Move Jackie's family member forward to the first available action after the one landed on.

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J Ringblom
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Re: Jackie and the Solo Rules Variant
Yay, Agricola - the "Roll and Move" game

Nice idea, though I am not much into solo gaming.
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Sky Zero
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Re: Jackie and the Solo Rules Variant
mooselord wrote:
Yay, Agricola - the "Roll and Move" game

Nice idea, though I am not much into solo gaming.



The wife was sick and I REALLY wanted to play Agricola, but I found the existing solo rules way to dry and formulaic. This really added that tactful thinking that was missing in the existing rules and helps each solo game play out very differently from one another. And it does it with almost no overhead to the game. I can honestly say I felt "satisfied" after the game because I still had to think, adjust my plans and instead of cursing my opponent, I was cursing the dice


EDIT: Another thematic view to take is you can look at it as 3-5 natural disasters will be occuring every round throughout the game. Natural disasters ARE random cool
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Sky Zero
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Re: Jackie and the Solo Rules Variant
Got a chance to get two more games in today with a grand total scoring of...


Game 1: 15

Game 2: 21


The game really punished me following the solo player rules (3 food per adults and 2 wood per round). So for slightly less abuse, I recommend following the 2 food per family member rule. I felt completely handcuffed the last two plays with this variant as I watched resource after resource vanish due to dice rolls each round. Since I haven't gotten anywhere near a score of 40 I'm going to ease up on myself a bit and use the standard 2 food multi-player rule (hey, dice are opponents too!). If anyone else gives this a try, I'd be curious to hear your score.


EDIT: Played tonight only paying 2 food per adult rather than 3 per the solo rules and scored a 42. The dice definitely fell in my favor tonight. After playing a few more times with this variant, it'd be pretty easy to have some basic check in to "improve" dice rolls for jackie. Gonna stick to this until I break 50.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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Re: Jackie and the Solo Rules Variant
Thanks for your variant. I'll try this soon!
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Fernando Robert Yu
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Re: Jackie and the Solo Rules Variant
I just finished a game using this ruleset (with 2 food as the requirement instead of 3) and it was indeed tight and tense. I really felt the pressure to expand my family since Jakcie got the headstart and was soon ahead 4 members to my 2. The only problem was that he kept on landing on clay and a couple of times had a huge wood haul, so that prevented me from expanding my house beyond a single wooden room! I also kept on praying that he would not get the single cooking hearth, and luckily I snagged it with the rare clay I managed to get!

I will continue to try this, but my initial impression is definitely a thumbs up!


Jackie's (red) improvements


My farm after the game. I managed to get 32 points.

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Sky Zero
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Re: Jackie and the Solo Rules Variant
Great post-game shots! Looks like I need to go back to the solo player food rules again to see if I can fare better than 32. I played another game last night and scored a 36. The wood kept getting hijacked by Jackie so I got screwed over round after round. I'm gonna go back to the original rules this weekend and see how well I can do!

For anyone interested, here's a few additional "A.I." rules you may want to add to the variant:

1. When Jackie lands on one of the "Stone" cards, she places her family member on the the card with the MOST stone. Your subsequent dice roll would count forward from that family member.

2. If Jackie has the first player marker and lands on the first player / minor improvement action, Jackie would instead place her family member on the next available action after that one.

3. If Jackie lands on the "Family Growth Even Without Space in Your House" action she instead places her family member on the next available spot.


BTW, it looks like you follow the same setup I do...put Jackie's improvements on the blank spots along with the starting player marker if she has it. Additionally, I like to leave the dice along with her family member on her last location so I always remember where I'm counting forward from next.
 
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Sky Zero
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Re: Jackie and the Solo Rules Variant
Played this tonight with the "Farmers of the Moor" expansion and MY BRAIN HURTS. Yikes was that exhausting! Scored 39 points, not very good cry
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Fernando Robert Yu
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Re: Jackie and the Solo Rules Variant
Played last night and I think I am finally getting Agricola now, as with this variant I finally broke the 40 pt barrier and got 49 pts!



Carpenter and Master Builder synergized very well, while the Well as well as the Chicken coop gave me food during rounds and lessened the pressure to feed, as I got to have a full sized family and even added 1 extra room in my nice stone house.

I will try the "regular" soloplay next and see if I can break into the 50-60s in my final score....
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Sky Zero
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Re: Jackie and the Solo Rules Variant
freddieyu wrote:
Played last night and I think I am finally getting Agricola now, as with this variant I finally broke the 40 pt barrier and got 49 pts!



Carpenter and Master Builder synergized very well, while the Well as well as the Chicken coop gave me food during rounds and lessened the pressure to feed, as I got to have a full sized family and even added 1 extra room in my nice stone house.

I will try the "regular" soloplay next and see if I can break into the 50-60s in my final score....


That beats my high score! My personal best with the variant is 47, but there were a few rolls that didn't go my way which kept me from clearing 50. I'm playing again Tuesday night and am shooting for 50...may the Dice Gods be on my side! And yep, playing with the variant has really taught me how to become a much better (and tactical) player.


As a side note, anyone try playing with the Farmers of the Moor expansion? I have the expansion but have yet to try it.
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Red Whalen
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Re: Jackie and the Solo Rules Variant
I know this is an old thread, but I found it and thought to give it a try.

Three games: 38 points, 58 points, and 45 points.

I am playing with only 1 player professions (all from the E, I, and K decks) and only the I minor improvements. Instead of doing it as a solo game, I treat it like a normal game, so 2 food to start and 3 wood each round.

For the 58 point game: I played the conservator and the master brewer, plus I had the Baker's Kitchen (4 VP), Corn Store House (1 VP and it let me auto sew 2 grain on empty fields at harvest), Cooking Corner (3VP), and the Rake (2VP). I managed to get five meoples out, 4 stone house rooms, 5 fields, 4 pastures, and a decent amount of animals. Doable, and the dice were not terribly lucky. What really helped was that I prioritized getting more meoples out there.
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Paweł Małecki
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Old thread, but in my opinion definitely worth bumping. This variant is a must for every solo player, and I strongly advice all new players to practice with it in their free time. It is also very entertaining.

I've just finished a game with occs for two players from all three decks and all the minors. I scored 56, but Jackie was really messing my plans. She took almost all the stone and constantly blocked both the occ and the grain. Fortunately she didn't take the animals, but she stole almost all the majors, starting with kitchen and stone owen...

I used all three AI fixes. This variant is really tough.

EDIT: In the second game I had terribly bad luck. Jackie kept collecting wood, reed and animals. Finished with 52 points with 3 starting food and one starting occ from the first game, but still I didn't manage to get the required 55 points to continue the game, so Jackie managed to beat me in the second game ;C

EDIT2: I'm so proud of myself - today I got exactly one point better scores: 57 then 53 ;C Still cannot get to the third game.
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Sky Zero
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Glad to see folks enjoying the variant. I have broken the 50 point barrier twice now with 53 being my high score. I've been wanting to get this to the table again and seeing scores like 57 is giving me something to shoot for.

I will be trying this with Farmers of the Moor as well and will report back.
 
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Austin Williams
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I'm definitely going to try this tonight. This way im not bored of the Solo play (even though im not yet (bought the game recently)) but I would love the feel of 2P!

I will get back to you on how much I enjoy it

Thanks!
 
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Austin Williams
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So I tried this Variant last night and it was pretty good.
It was difficult to get past the thought that those remeasures that you see might not be there in the next turn or so. Very Fun but my brain hurts.

I even tried this with the Agricola: Through the seasons expansion.

Would the pieces land on the specific season action spots? I would think so , but let me know and if there would be any other alterations to the rules for that expansion.

Thanks!arrrh
 
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Sky Zero
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ThunderRam wrote:
So I tried this Variant last night and it was pretty good.
It was difficult to get past the thought that those remeasures that you see might not be there in the next turn or so. Very Fun but my brain hurts.

I even tried this with the Agricola: Through the seasons expansion.

Would the pieces land on the specific season action spots? I would think so , but let me know and if there would be any other alterations to the rules for that expansion.

Thanks!arrrh


Yup, they would land on the specific seasons spots. Playing this one solo tonight for tabletop day! . I want to break 60!
 
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Paweł Małecki
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I know I shouldn't bump the same thread again, but I just love the idea... My scores in multiplayer games got much higher after some playing with Jackie.

We finally got a reprint of FotM in Poland and again, it's hard for me to find a team to play. Has anyone developed rules for Jackie getting the Special Action cards to prevent me from getting horses and cutting peat?

I've tried few games with multiple AIs (in order of appearance: Jack, Jacqueline and Jake), but the idea needs polishing when it comes to AIs' Family Growth and discarding Majors. The variant needs to place a stable together with AI's peep, so you know what was AI's last action.
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Jozef Merges
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skyzero wrote:
Got a chance to get two more games in today with a grand total scoring of...


Game 1: 15

Game 2: 21



I wanted to play solo agricola tonight, but 1st time I played it, didnt fullfilled me it much (I think the official variant is too easy in comparison with 2-player game), so tried your variant - and I have to say, I like it very much! . I scored 23 points for the first time and 12 (!!!) points for the second time -- will try the variant with paying only two food tomorrow.

Thanks for your rules
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Edward Cabagnot
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Really enjoy this variant over the official one.

Here's another suggestion to make it a bit more "heartbreaking".

1). En route to her rolled dice's destination, "Jackie" automatically stops at the first Action Space that has an accumulation of five (5) or more resources.

2). Her next move starts from there.

This simulates the way other players would naturally be enticed to pick up piled up resources.

Thanks again for an excellent variant!
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Paweł Małecki
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The 5 resource rule is nice. I added 3 animals rule as well and it works fine.

However, I cannot come up with a decent FotM variant. All of my ideas are weird, I think I have to keep closer to the official solo rules.
 
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ourdailyplanet wrote:
Really enjoy this variant over the official one.

Here's another suggestion to make it a bit more "heartbreaking".

1). En route to her rolled dice's destination, "Jackie" automatically stops at the first Action Space that has an accumulation of five (5) or more resources.

2). Her next move starts from there.

This simulates the way other players would naturally be enticed to pick up piled up resources.

Thanks again for an excellent variant!


Really great tweak to the variant! I'll update the base rules and extend my thanks!
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Guillaume Pages
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Have just found this solo variant. Love it. So much more interesting than with the regular solo game. Feels like there is more of a second player screwing up my strategies.

Works particularly well with the latest fixes. i always felt a bit like cheating when I would let animals and stone accumulate and grab them in later turns. With Jackie, you never known when she might take it, so you are forced to go on a space before you would really want to, because Jackie is likely to grab it first, especially when you have 5 resources or 3 animals.

Have GG!
 
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Pawelec123456 wrote:
The 5 resource rule is nice. I added 3 animals rule as well and it works fine.

However, I cannot come up with a decent FotM variant. All of my ideas are weird, I think I have to keep closer to the official solo rules.


My base Agricola and Farmers of the Moor solo deck will be posted soon. The solo deck and your competitors are called "local farmers" and it has a rumor mechanic to reduce the luck factor. Really enjoying playtesting it right now.
 
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Mike Freitas
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Before clearing the table and shove Agricola back on the shelf from last night's tight 4player session, I felt the urge to give a try to the Solo variant.
By reading it from the official rule book I felt it a bit dry.
I'm sure it's a great way to improve high scoring strategies, but just by reading this 'Jackie die' variant I knew right away that it would add the multiplayer-feeling that is lacking in the official solo variant!

In my first attempt I made so poorly (18points)..
Despite that, I loved it!
So much tension to get enough food and resources to evolve the farm, with 'Jackie' always stealing the good stuff from me..
Felt the same cut-throat sensation like in a multiplayer playing session.

Then I gave it another try using the tweaks mentioned:
- 2 food per family member, instead of 3
- greedy 'Jackie' getting the 1st resource with 5+ in the dice path

Much more satisfying! 40 points made me happier
Without making it too easy thou.. 'Jackie' is still a pain, but the tweak gives some AI feel, allowing us (the human) to plan ahead knowing that resources after the 5+ pot will be safe despite the dice roll.

Thanks for the share!
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Sky Zero
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zmig2000 wrote:
Before clearing the table and shove Agricola back on the shelf from last night's tight 4player session, I felt the urge to give a try to the Solo variant.
By reading it from the official rule book I felt it a bit dry.
I'm sure it's a great way to improve high scoring strategies, but just by reading this 'Jackie die' variant I knew right away that it would add the multiplayer-feeling that is lacking in the official solo variant!

In my first attempt I made so poorly (18points)..
Despite that, I loved it!
So much tension to get enough food and resources to evolve the farm, with 'Jackie' always stealing the good stuff from me..
Felt the same cut-throat sensation like in a multiplayer playing session.

Then I gave it another try using the tweaks mentioned:
- 2 food per family member, instead of 3
- greedy 'Jackie' getting the 1st resource with 5+ in the dice path

Much more satisfying! 40 points made me happier
Without making it too easy thou.. 'Jackie' is still a pain, but the tweak gives some AI feel, allowing us (the human) to plan ahead knowing that resources after the 5+ pot will be safe despite the dice roll.

Thanks for the share!


Glad you enjoy it! Feel free to check out my 1 player card driven solo game I designed. it pits you against the local farmers of Agricola!
 
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