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Subject: 2 player. Solo mode as a cooperative. rss

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Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
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A note before we get to how this played out. My husband and I have played single player video games together for years due to my husband’s vision disability. When we play, the joke is that I’m the brawn since I use the controller and he’s the brain since he excels at tactics. However, in reality, we both put our input into taking actions. The same applies to how we played Castle Dice in solo mode as a cooperative.

Overall, we felt the game was challenging against Joan, the proxy player. Of course, the strategy level in this game is lighter than compared to many euro games. It is a dice drafting game so it will not be on par with euros like Agricola, and it will be lighter than Castles of Burgundy though it is close.

Anyway, we were going for the Epic Win but missed by one point since we forgot to take the pork chop action in the last round. So we ended with 12 points. The dice rolled really badly for us on the last round. So even though we had Gatehouse, Deep Moat and Royal Chambers in our hand, the resources we needed did not roll out. The good news was that we rolled a lot of animals and were able to draw 2 market cards and got one Bard.

Learning the solo mode was not hard, though we did have to reference the back of the booklet often for how Joan would act in certain circumstances. And we only encountered two issues with how solo mode interfaced with the normal rules.

First, with the King’s Messenger, there is no other player to choose a villager type. So we were not sure how to handle it. We came up with a way to use the solo player die to randomize it and that worked pretty well. Wood=Guard, Stone=Worker, Gold=Merchant, Barn=Farmer, Land=player choose, Iron=reroll.

Second, at the end of game scoring, the player with the most villagers wins a point, but Joan does not ever build villagers. So do you score on this for solo play? We went ahead and included it, though it did not make a difference this time.

My husband didn’t have a problem with it, but he can imagine people getting tired of rolling Joan’s dice and trying to interpret it. Granted, if you have a problem with that then Castle Dice may not be the game for you anyway since it is all about chucking dice. However, playing the solo mode coop makes this a bit easier as one player takes on rolling Joan’s dice while the other rolls the players’ dice.

As for getting stuff built, surprisingly a lot of the difficulty comes from the fact that Joan isn’t playing any cards, which in some cases would generate more dice. But this is mitigated by the fact she’s not attacking with the Market cards, like Shepherd which can steal animals.

At this point, we don’t know if this will continue to be a challenge. We’ve only played the game twice, one competitive and one solo-cooperative and both times we scored above 11. So it may become repetitive for some to play over and over as a solo/coop, but we are not sure until we play more and see if we actually lose.
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