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Subject: Suburbia Solo Bot Play End Game rss

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Al bob
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I just got my copy of suburbia and finished my first solo (vs "Dale the Bot") play through. I liked the play through but I think the timing of end game is unnecessarily random. When playing the bot, the rules state that you should shuffle the -1 More Round- tile in amongst the last 12 tiles of the C (final) tile stack. (In the Bot Rules it also says play ends immediately when this tile comes out.) The problem is in each round of Bot Solo play you deal to the Market only 4 tiles. That means that your game may be up to 3 rounds shorter in one play than in the next. This *might* be a good feature to have in a multiplayer game, but it is I bad in a solo game. This is exacerbated in this game because the final rounds are the rounds where you get the most population (ie victory points). For example, in my first Bot play through the 1 More Round came out relatively early. If the 1MR tile was luckily the last tile in the C stack there were enough tiles for 3 full more rounds of play. When the 1MR tile came out, my population was 87 (pre end of game scoring bonuses). I played one more round just because I was curious and after that round my population was 99. From the rule book, the scoring for solo play is

136: CEO of Suburbia, Inc

At the time the game ended I was adding about ~12 population per round, which is pretty close to the difference between each tier in the end of game scoring. So through random luck of where that 1MR tile came out my game went from likely a lofty Principle Architect (or better) to a middling Draftsman.

I have read posts about people who play the Solo variant of Agricola very precisely and seriously. The best analogy I can make is what if your solo Agricola game could end randomly 3 rounds before it is supposed to? It would make all that careful strategizing from early in the game seem irrelevant.

I think a better rule set for solo bot play would be 24 tiles in each of the A, B and C stacks. Game ends after you play the last 4 tiles from the C stack. That would greatly cut down on randomness and make it so that you could more easily compare how well you did from one play to the next.

I should also say I like the game quite a bit. Strategically, I think the game boils down to getting you income engine cranking during the A stack (maybe playing a water tile to get through the early tight money supply), keeping your population and reputation low for about the first stack and a half so that the redline population penalties don't cripple your income later in the game, and then about towards the end of the second stack or so converting over to population and reputation grabbing mode while hoping your income has enough juice to make it to the end of the game. Game looks very well balanced to provide that and there is a ton of variability which means each play through (solo or multiplayer) you will have to adopt different tactics to execute your strategy. Good stuff.
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