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Star Wars: Rebellion» Forums » Variants

Subject: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks (Revised: Version 1.2) rss

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Dale Buonocore
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What an extraordinary awesome game, and one within which the theme and it’s immersive story-telling part shines through brilliantly. Then there’s the epic scale,the dazzling components, and the marvelous asymmetric gameplay with it’s multi-leveled and multi-faceted interacting tactical and strategic mechanisms, and a delicious array of choice points and paths leading toward victory.

But, for me (a primarily solitaire player), the one critical thing missing was a truly satisfying way of playing solitaire — not playing both sides against each other, but me playing as the Rebel Alliance against the Galactic Empire. That would be ideal.

So, I decided I’d take the plunge and see if maybe I could come up with one. A rather intimidating task given the structure and complexity of this game, not to mention the presence of a significant “hidden information” factor. Oy.

I played it by playing both sides against each other to learn the game and get a feel for the various choice points for the Empire which would need to be addressed, and wrestled with how to handle that hidden information component (i.e., the location of the Rebel Base). Gradually the different pieces of this puzzle began falling into place, helped by a small “breakthrough” regarding the Rebel Base issue prompted by an idea Mark Herman put forth in another thread about handling this while playing both sides solo.

Finally after many hours of stumbles, starts, and stops, it all came together. And so I offer it here for your consideration.

Bear with me as I attempt to explain it in as clear, concise, and user-friendly a manner as possible.

So, here we go...

------------------------------------------------------------------------

GENERAL PRINCIPLES & DEFINITIONS

First, you will play as the Rebel Alliance, and will play quite normally. The Galactic Empire will be run by an AI/bot which will be referred to simply as “the Empire” from this point forward.

Secondly, there is what I call the “Golden Rule,” which is this: in any ambiguous situation not explicitly covered here involving what choice the Empire should make (and there will inevitably be some), choose whatever is clearly the best choice for the Empire; if this is unclear, then choose randomly among equally good options (I use my trusty D6 for this purpose).

The Empire plays semi-intelligently, albeit fairly rigidly (not surprising in a militaristic and authoritarian bureaucracy), depending on its overwhelming resources and power to successfully deal with the Rebels and their Base, and thus bring about victory.

MISSION CARDS: The Empire does not draw Mission cards during the Refresh Phase. Keep the Starting Missions in a face-down pile — this is called the Starting Missions Deck. All other Missions will be drawn directly from the Main Missions Deck. Any Projects acquired are placed face-down (without looking at them) beside the Missions Deck, and are placed on top of the deck after it is reshuffled at the end of the Command Phase.

STRENGTH: The concept of “strength” often factors into the Empire’s decision-making, and is simply determined as follows:

— all Units symbolized by a triangle (e.g., X-Wings, TIE Fighters, both sides’ Troopers) count as 1 strength;
— those symbolized by a circle (e.g.,. Airspeeder, AT-ST) count as 2 strength;
— those symbolized by a square (e.g., Mon Calamari Cruiser, Star Destroyer) count as 3 strength;
— the Empire’s Super Star Destroyers and Death Stars count as 4 strength.

Directly related to this, the PRODUCTION VALUE of any System is equal to the strength of all the Units it is capable of producing during the Build stage of the Refresh Phase. Count all production icons, even if the System is subjugated — e.g., the Mon Calamari System’s Production Value is always 4. However, if the System is sabotaged, its Production Value is 0.

THE REBEL BASE: The Rebel Base will be located in one of the 8 non-populous Systems, and you will choose its location as usual after all starting Units and Loyalty markers have been placed. The Empires knows it is located in one of these Systems (it acquired this information through its intelligence networks), and will be aggressively searching for it. It will be revealed when the Probe Cards for the other 7 non-populous Systems have been obtained, OR when the Empire has placed any Ground Units in that System, as usual.

MOVEMENT: As this ties in with the issue of Movement, it should be noted that whenever the Empire’s Units move, they will move by the shortest possible route toward the nearest unexplored (Probe Card not yet obtained) Remote System — for simplicity’s sake, these Systems will be referred to as PRBs (Possible Rebel Bases) from this point forward. And if you are in their way, they will not hesitate to attack you, moving against your weakest fleet if there is a choice. When moving into a System, the Empire will bring all Units from adjacent Systems into the activated System, bringing along as many Ground Units as they can transport, prioritizing the strongest ones (NOTE: They will, however, always leave at least 1 Ground Unit behind — the weakest — in all Systems).

Whenever they move into an unexplored Remote System, they will station at least 1 Ground Unit there and thus obtain that System’s Probe Card (then reshuffle the deck) — and when they leave that Remote System, they must leave at least 1 Ground Unit stationed behind as usual (NOTE: if ever they have no stationed Ground Units there — perhaps following an attack of yours — that System’s Probe Card is returned to the Probe Deck, which is then reshuffled). Note that it is thus vital for the Empire to have adequate Ground Units in order to explore and control Remote Systems — you may be able to use this knowledge to your advantage. However, if such a fleet is unable to move but would otherwise be selected to move, a Leader will then move into that System, bringing along 1 Stormtrooper from the supply and activating that System accordingly, perhaps even drawing in more Units for the upcoming “push” toward that targeted PRB.

In addition, the Empire will obtain Probe Cards [via their intelligence network] when they Launch Probe Droids during the Refresh Phase, as usual. It helps to just keep the obtained Probe Cards for the Remote Systems out and face-up, as this information factors into the Empire’s decisions regarding the movement of Units.

Also, if the Empire has captured one of your Leaders, that Leader is considered a Ground Unit, and is held captive in the strongest Space Unit currently in the System where he/she is located.

Note that when the Rebel Base is revealed and/or when that difference between the Turn Marker and the Reputation Marker is 5 or less [thematically, this reflects the Empire’s increasing escalation of efforts given their realization that the threshold for the triggering of an all-out galactic revolt is close], Imperial fleets may move (still only once per turn) even if there is a Leader in their starting System (track this by, e.g., laying down the Leader activating the System initiating the movement).

SET-UP: Advanced set-up is used, and proceeds fairly normally. Remove the “Heart of the Empire” (Level II) Objective card from the game, and add 1 of each of the 5 different Project cards into the Empire’s Main Missions Deck. The Empire deploys his Units as follows (NOTE: use the D6 to randomize as needed):
— 2 TIE Fighters and 2 Stormtroopers in each of his 6 Systems;
— randomly deploy his 3 Star Destroyers in 3 Systems (1 in each), then the 3 Assault Carriers in the other 3;
— randomly place the AT-AT, then the 5 AT-STs (1 per System) in the other Systems;
— randomly place the Death Star.

Also, the Empire starts with 5 Leaders. Recruit his 5th simply by drawing 1 Action Card — if there are 2 options, randomly choose one of them; if the card drawn does not allow you to get another Leader, discard that card and draw another.

ASSIGNMENT PHASE: The Empire handles this phase quite differently than usual…

The assignment of Leaders to Missions and the undertaking of those Missions happen simultaneously later during the Command Phase.

On each turn, the initial Missions eligible to be undertaken by the Empire are as follows:
Turn 1: 2 Missions (1 Starting Mission + 1 regular Mission);
Turn 2: 3 Missions (1 Starting Mission + 2 regular Missions);
Turn 3: 3 Missions (1 Starting Mission + 2 regular Missions);
Turn 4 onward: 4 Missions (1 Starting Mission + 3 regular Missions).

Draw the specified number and type of Missions without looking at them, then shuffle them together and place them in a face-down pile — these will be the initial Missions eligible to be undertaken by the Empire for this turn, and so this will be referred to as the Initial Missions Deck.

Then the Empire will play any and all Action Cards (with their designated Leaders, as usual) playable during the Assignment Phase.

COMMAND PHASE:

The Empire will always undertake Missions first, i.e., before activating Systems for movement.

1 — Undertaking Initial Missions:
Flip the top Mission card of the Initial Missions Deck face-up, and then assign the best Leader (the one with the most matching Skill icons) for that Mission to undertake it (NOTE: If a chosen Mission has a Leader pictured who gets a bonus for that Mission and is available, that Leader is automatically the “best”). If there is no available leader with that skill or the drawn Mission is currently unfulfillable for any other reason (e.g., Capture Rebel Operative, Carbon Freezing…), draw another Mission card from its appropriate deck (Starting or Main) until you get a fulfillable one, returning any unfulfillable ones to the bottom of their appropriate deck.

When deciding where selected Missions will be undertaken when there is a choice, pick the System within specified parameters which has the highest Production Value — with the Golden Rule in mind, break ties by choosing the clearly best option if there is one (or narrowing it down along these lines if possible), then choosing randomly among remaining options. [NOTE: The Card Decision-Making List put together by Lines42 is now available and can be used to guide this process.]

1a — Opposing Rebel Missions:
As long as there are more Leaders than unrevealed initial Mission cards, the Empire may (roll the D6 — if the result = 4+, the order is given) send their available “best” (most matching Skill icons) Leader to oppose a Mission you have undertaken. If no available Leaders have matching Skill icons, the Leader with the fewest total number of Skill icons becomes eligible, thus forcing you to at least roll one “success” result.

1b — Joining In A Battle:
Similarly, as long as there are more Leaders than unrevealed initial Mission cards, the Empire will always send an eligible Leader to join in a Battle when it doesn’t already have a Leader in that System with any Tactics values. Prioritize any eligible Leader with a “Start of Combat” Action card, then the one with the highest combined Tactics value — if the Battle involves Units in only 1 theater, choose the Leader with the highest Tactics value in that theater.

2 — Activating Systems:
Any Leaders who remain after all of the Empire’s initial Missions have been undertaken will be used to activate Systems and move Units toward the nearest PRB(s) (or Rebel Base if it is revealed), always bringing along as many Units as possible and leaving the weakest Ground Unit behind, as noted previously (see MOVEMENT).

3 — Unused Leaders:
Any unused Leaders which remain will undertake fulfillable Missions drawn from the Main Missions Deck.

4 — At the end of the Command Phase, shuffle both Missions decks separately and place any Project Cards acquired on top of the Main Missions Deck.

REFRESH PHASE:

The Empire does not draw Missions during the Refresh Phase.

When he Recruits, he just draws 1 Action Card, randomly choosing if there are 2 options and drawing again if needed to actually acquire a new Leader. Similarly, in any other situation where he can, e.g., “draw 2 cards and choose 1,” he just draws one.

The Empire builds and deploys his Units first. Look at his highest Production Value System, then at the theater (space or ground) with the fewest Units, and place his strongest available Unit there — if he has none of that type, place his strongest Unit of the other type into that theater (if there are the same number of Units in each theater, randomly choose which way to go). Then move on to the next highest Production Value System and continue in this manner, “wrapping around” to the first System where a Unit was placed if appropriate. The limit of 2 Units placed per System still applies.

WHEN THE REBEL BASE IS REVEALED:
Once this happens, the Empire shifts its priorities accordingly. Also, the Gather Intel Starting Mission should be removed from its pile and set aside (it could possibly come back into play if the Rebels establish a new Base).

First, only 3 initial Missions (1 Starting Mission + 2 regular Missions) are now drawn and undertaken, so that efforts to go after the Rebel Base can be maximized.

Secondly, the Empire’s deployment priorities change — specifically, the Empire now prioritizes eligible Systems closest to the Rebel Base.

Thirdly, movement priorities change in a couple of ways, and a “range-dependent” factor comes into play. Clearly the top priority for the Empire at this point is to move as many fleets as possible toward the Rebel Base if it is “reachable” for those fleets, which is determined simply by calculating the difference between the Turn Marker and the Reputation Marker (which is thus the likely maximum number of turns remaining). If all fleets within this range have been moved, the priority shifts to other fleets which will then target the nearest uncontrolled (no Imperial Ground Units stationed there) Remote Systems.

In addition, as mentioned previously (see MOVEMENT), when the Rebel Base is revealed and/or when that difference between the Turn Marker and the Reputation Marker is 5 or less, Imperial fleets may move (still only once per turn) even if there is a Leader in their starting System (best to track this by, e.g., laying down the Leader activating the System initiating the movement).

ESTABLISHING A NEW BASE:
The way in which the Rebels can attempt to establish a new Base is essentially the same as the normal procedure. But first, return all Probe cards of uncontrolled (no Imperial Ground Units there) Remote Systems from the Empire’s stack to the Probe deck, and shuffle it. Then the Rebels draw the appropriate number of cards (normally 4 or 8, depending on how many Leaders were assigned) but with one major change: the maximum number of cards which can be drawn = the current difference between the Reputation marker and the Turn marker. The Rebels may then establish a new Base in any Remote System drawn (if they don’t draw one, this attempt to establish a new Base has failed), and the Empire returns to searching for the Rebel Base per those procedures which it was using prior to those “When The Rebel Base Is Revealed” ones noted immediately above were implemented — and that Gather Intel Mission card is returned to its pile of starting Missions.

BATTLES:
First of all, you will play normally. The Empire, however, will not draw/use any Tactics cards — instead, use the following rules:
1) when the Empire rolls any Special icons, these count as hits;
2) for the Tactics value of the opposing Imperial Leader there in that theater, you must re-roll up to that many of your hits (starting with the “both colors” hits, then the regular/single hits) until they have all been used — thus these may carry over into subsequent rounds.

The Empire’s priority is to destroy as many of your Units as quickly as possible — so when assigning hits, the weakest Units (in terms of remaining health) are prioritized, then Unit(s) with the greatest firepower (i.e., number of attack dice rolled) — and then use the D6 to break any remaining ties. However, if there is an Ion Cannon present, that becomes their top priority in the Ground theater.

THE DEATH STAR:
The Death Star will only target (i.e., for destruction) the Rebel Base, a PRB, or a System with Rebel Loyalty and/or any Rebel Ground Units.

MISCELLANEOUS: First — and this is just a practical issue — just use the same build queue (obviously, the one on your side of the board) for all built Units. This makes things a lot easier.

Secondly, the Empire will do seemingly “dumb”/useless things on occasion, and that’s quite alright. Thematically, as noted previously, this happens inevitably at times in any sprawling militaristic bureaucracy — so embrace those little “gifts” which may come your way now and then, remembering the Empire’s advantages in terms of overall resources and power.

Finally — as making the best choices for the Empire in terms of some of the options on certain Action, Mission, and Project cards can be a bit uncertain, Line42 (many thanks!) is putting together a handy reference guide for making these decisions which he will post when completed.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

Whew. That’s pretty much it. I must give credit to my son who, while visiting for the holidays, helped with the final play-testing and “fine-tuning” of things. I truly hope I managed to explain things reasonably clearly. I know it seems like a lot at first, but once you become familiar with it, it actually begins to flow rather smoothly and intuitively. And to be able to play this awesome game solitaire in this manner is a wonderful thing, and is just plain fun!

I truly hope you find it to be as much fun as I have. Any questions, feedback, and/or suggestions for improvement would, as always, be appreciated. There are a number of ways to “tweak” the AI/bot to play more intelligently, but each one of those changes increases the complexity of the AI/bot and its utilization by another notch — and what is presented above seems to be, at least to me, the optimal balance between those two factors at this point.

Happy New Year, and may the Force be with us all…!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1/12/17 EDIT: This is the revised version, at last! And I am deeply grateful to the many individuals who provided so much support, and especially to those who so generously took an active and collaborative role in making various priceless contributions which played a major part in bringing this undertaking to its current (and much improved!) state. In particular, I would like to thank and credit Lines42, who jumped in early and offered a wealth of suggestions (many of which are now included in this revised version), and in general helped to shape and upgrade the way in which the now “smarter” AI/Empire plays, ultimately resulting in a better balance and a more robust challenge. I would also like to single out klkitchens, The Professor, JK777, and carlwhite for their unrelenting support and various contributions — some of which are yet to come! Indeed, efforts are already underway to devise more nicely formatted and more concise and user-friendly versions (undertakings well beyond my limited capabilities), along with that card reference/guide noted above which Lines42 is working on.

This project has been a true joy. And it is both an honor and privilege to be part of this extraordinary community where such love and passion for this kind of gaming can be openly and uninhibitedly shared, and where efforts like this are embraced with such support, patience, and skilled assistance. Wow.

Let me know if you find any obvious errors which I missed in my umpteen proofreading run-throughs, and I’ll make the appropriate corrections. My thanks and best wishes to you all — and have fun!

1/20/17 EDIT: This newly revised version incorporates relatively small changes serving to simplify and streamline how the Empire proceeds through the Assignment and Command Phases, and also simplifies and clarifies a couple of other issues. Again, many thanks to Lines42 for his significant and productive efforts in helping to bring this about.

In addition, 2 helpful player aids are now available:

1 — That Card Decision-Making List put together by Lines42:

Star Wars Rebellion Card List

2 — A Solitaire Turn Tracker devised by carlwhite:

[filepage=https://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/142111/star-wars-rebe...][/filepage]

These contributions are true gems — thank you!
Also, be aware that additional ones are in process and will be forthcoming — so stay tuned…

EDIT 2/2/17: And now...

3 -- A wonderfully distilled/concise and user-friendly (not to mention beautifully re-formatted) version of these rules, lovingly developed by Joe Pilkus and Lines Hutter, ready to be downloaded from the "Files" section:

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/142973/rebellion-solo-var...

EDIT 2/13/17: For those desiring a tougher challenge, these 2 adjustments are recommended:

1) With regard to normal (vs. "When the Rebel Base Is Revealed") movement: if there are no PRBs within 2 Systems, then prioritize adjacent Loyal Rebel Systems (highest Production Value to break ties); if none, then return to prioritizing the nearest PRB.

2) During set-up, in addition to automatically starting with Coruscant as usual, also automatically start with Corellia (Loyal: with 2 TIEs, 1 Assault Carrier, 2 Storm Troopers, and 1 AT-ST) before drawing Probe Cards and setting up the other 5 Imperial Systems normally.

This ramps up the difficulty level a bit, and does indeed provide a tougher challenge.

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Barry Miller
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks

I look forward to sitting down with your post tomorrow, to take the proper amount of time to absorb it. For now, I've only skimmed it and it looks interesting. In the meantime, could you provide the link to the Mark Herman post you talked about in the 4th paragraph? (His name jumped out at me during my skimming).

Thx!

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Dale Buonocore
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Sure (assuming I can get this to work right):

[thread=https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1577955/solo-practice-v...]

It was after I read that and mentally played around with the basic idea presented that things started to "click"...
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Elad wrote:
Sure (assuming I can get this to work right):

[thread=https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1577955/solo-practice-v...]

It was after I read that and mentally played around with the basic idea presented that things started to "click"...


Just do the tread # (1577955) not the url.
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Dale Buonocore
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Ahh, I see. Thanks! I'm just starting to learn how to do some of these fancier things... blush

I'll definitely try that next time. And thanks so much for your active support and kind words.
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Barry Miller
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks

Dale, thanks!

And as Kevin said above, it's easiest to insert a BGG link by using the "Insert Geek Link" drop down menu, found above the subject line of your editing window.

Use the "Thread" option and paste the thread number into the entry field.

Let's say I wanted to share a thread with the ID number: "9999999"...
It will look like this when you're done, in the body of your post: [thred=9999999][/thred] (except "Thread" will be spelled correctly)

And you can find the thread number in the URL field at the very top of your Browser window. (Just make sure you've clicked on the thread title, and not a post in the thread, otherwise you'll see the reply or article number, instead). Be sure you see the word, "thread" just before the number.

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Robert Smith
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Quite interesting! I'll have to give this a go.

You haven't seemingly introduced any rules regarding the Imperial special projects deck, even though you mention utilising the DS. I may have missed it, though. It's possible you expect it to just be part of the Empire mission deck when appropriately pulled.

I feel that the best way to incorporate this is to automatically keep them faceup in the mission pile when drawn through standard missions, using them ASAP. The only card from the projects deck that I can't imagine needing to be used ASAP is the death star firing - some sort of parameters for when it is okay to fire it need to be discussed. Thematically, intelligence networks for the rebels let them know the Empire is planning something big (I.E build a super star destroyer, build a factory, etc).
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Dale Buonocore
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Smith606 wrote:
Quite interesting! I'll have to give this a go.

You haven't seemingly introduced any rules regarding the Imperial special projects deck, even though you mention utilising the DS. I may have missed it, though. It's possible you expect it to just be part of the Empire mission deck when appropriately pulled.

I feel that the best way to incorporate this is to automatically keep them faceup in the mission pile when drawn through standard missions, using them ASAP. The only card from the projects deck that I can't imagine needing to be used ASAP is the death star firing - some sort of parameters for when it is okay to fire it need to be discussed. Thematically, intelligence networks for the rebels let them know the Empire is planning something big (I.E build a super star destroyer, build a factory, etc).


Yes, I just incorporate them apart of the Empire's Mission deck as you noted -- although your idea is indeed intriguing, and certainly could be utilized as a way to facilitate the Empire's getting more of those Projects into play. Indeed, I may have to try that one out.

Certainly there are many nifty "tweaks" which could easily be incorporated (I considered and ultimately decided not to use several that presented themselves, usually when I was starting to feel like the AI/bot was on the verge of becoming more complicated than I liked), and I really appreciate your sharing this one -- and I am very much looking forward to hearing other ideas from others who love this game and try out this variant.

Thanks again for this suggestion.

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Joe Pilkus
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Great work! I plan on playing the game tomorrow with friends during our Gaming New Year's Eve Party!

When I get back to VA, I'll definitely try this variant as I'll need a way to play this epic game solo.

Cheers,
Joe
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Happy new year!

thank you so much for this solo variant! Looking forward to playtest it and it seems pretty solid!
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
I am a little confused. I think you are saying that you have 8 planets you can put the Rebel base on, and you don't need to include these in the probe deck. Is that correct? Does the Empire still draw probe deck cards? And if so are they simply ruling out planets where you are not able to place the base?

Thanks
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
JK777 wrote:
I am a little confused. I think you are saying that you have 8 planets you can put the Rebel base on, and you don't need to include these in the probe deck. Is that correct? Does the Empire still draw probe deck cards? And if so are they simply ruling out planets where you are not able to place the base?

Thanks


Greetings, JK777! Let me respond to your question and thus try to clarify things here...

You do have only 8 Systems (those outer non-populous Systems) where the Rebel Base can be located, and you do indeed include their Probe cards (minus the one you've chosen for the Rebel Base, of course) in the Probe Deck. The Empire does draw Probe cards as usual (searching for your Base through its intelligence network), and is also simultaneously working to find your Base by sending fleets to check those non-populous Systems since, through its intelligence networks, it already knows the Base is located in one of those 8 outer Systems.

Thank you for this question (it will likely prove helpful for others, as well), and please let me know if this response adequately clarifies things? And, of course, any and all questions are always most welcome.

And Happy 2017!
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
to speed up the setup, the eight outer non-populous Systems are:

Yavim
Endor
Ilum
Dathomir
Tatooine
Dantooine
Dagobah
Hoth
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Hi,

Did anybody try out this variant already? I'm still wondering if I should buy this game. I do have a gaming group but as a house rule, I only play games that can be played solo, as well.

However, as a huge Star Wars fan it is very hard to resist right now.

@Elad: I was hoping that you come up with a variant :-)
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Lines J. Hutter
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Sitting over this in my first turn and need help:
During an Empire movement, how many units does it bring to the new system?
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Dale Buonocore
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Lines42 wrote:
Sitting over this in my first turn and need help:
During an Empire movement, how many units does it bring to the new system?


Greetings, Lines42. In answer to your question: the Empire brings them all (they are very aggressively searching for your Rebel Base), unless the movement is from a non-populous System, in which case they must leave behind one (their weakest) Ground Unit.

I hope that clears things up adequately? Please let me know if that is to any degree not so -- and thanks so much for this question (I figure any questions asked here are likely to arise in the minds of others as well, so asking them here really is helpful!).
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
mauer wrote:


@Elad: I was hoping that you come up with a variant :-)


So glad I was able to oblige. Honestly, I wasn't sure it would be possible with this game -- but after seeing how the "hidden information" factor could be handled thanks to an idea offered by Mark Herman about this on another thread, the pieces began slowly falling into place. Hope you find it satisfying and enjoyable!
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Elad wrote:
...the Empire brings them all

Dale, thanks for the quick reply.
I assume with all you mean all tranport units and as many non-transport units they can bring with them.
Haven't played enough (2-player and your version), but it feels a bit odd that they leave their valuable starting systems behind without much/any protection. Wouldn't this make some Rebel missions too easy?
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Lines42 wrote:
Elad wrote:
...the Empire brings them all


I assume with all you mean all tranport units and as many non-transport units they can bring with them.
Haven't played enough (2-player and your version), but it feels a bit odd that they leave their valuable starting systems behind without much/any protection. Wouldn't this make some Rebel missions too easy?


That is correct -- they will move as many as they can.

With regard to the second issue: generally, the Rebels will probably not be focusing on going after these Systems with their limited forces given 1) the Empire's primary focus on quite aggressively searching for their Base, in conjunction with 2) the relatively small advantages of doing so (e.g., freeing subjugated Systems and thus reducing the Empire's production a bit is all that comes to mind at the moment) compared to other uses for these forces. And keeping in mind that the Empire will still be able to oppose any Rebel Missions in these Systems with their available Leaders as usual despite the number of Imperial Units there, so this wouldn't really impact on the difficulty of many (if any?) Rebel Missions there that I can see. Now I may be missing something here (not an uncommon occurrence!) -- can you perhaps provide a specific example of a Rebel Mission that would be significantly affected by the number of Imperial Units there?

Thanks for that thoughtful question. I hope this response is equally thought-provoking and at least somewhat helpful...?
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Lines J. Hutter
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Dale, here´s more for you

1. Empire moving all units (topic above):
I went through the objectives and found a few cards that could profit from systems abandoned (or halfway abandoned) by the Empire:
- Crippling Blow (Level I)
- Cut Supply Lines (Level I)
- Liberation (Level II)
- Major Victory (Level III)
- Return of the Jedi (Level III)
Not sure if this justifies a (definitely more complex) rule for moving units.

2. Mission cards:
I might be doing something wong here, but it seems like the Empire will run out of Mission cards (in hand) in later rounds.
Let´s take a look at regular mission cards only:
Round 1: Starts with 2, plays 1, rest 1
Round 2: Draws 2, has 3, plays 2, rest 1
Round 3: Draws 2, has 3, plays 2, rest 1
Round 4: Draws 2, has 3, plays 3, rest 0
Round 5: Draws 2, has 2, is unable to play 3...
What am I calculating wrong here?

3. Forcing opposing to avoid Empire movement:
Let me first verify if I´m playing correctly.
Let´s say I´m in later rounds where the Empire has all its 9 Leaders.
It will always reserve 5 for its 4 Missions.
Unless some of these missions are cannot be undertaken or a matching Leader is missing, the it will have 4 Leaders for other duties. Never more.
If this is correct I see two problems (which I found I can easily cheat the system):

1. I always assign at least 4 Missions. This way I can be sure the Empire will send the 4 "other duties" Leaders to oppose these Missions.
The result is that I prevent any system activation and thus Empire movement.

2. The Empire is close to my home system, and will move into it on its next "activate system" action. Even if I cannot prevent this by using mehtod 1 (see above), I just start a mission in the Empire system adjacent to my home system. I know the Empire will oppose and place a Leader into that system. Now that there is a Leader it cannot move units out of that system into my home system.

Let me know if I´m messing up rules here or if this is valid.

Thanks and greets,
Lines
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Great questions, Lines. My responses are as follows, addressing the issues you raised here one by one...

1) Indeed, there are a few Objectives which would be made a bit easier in varying degrees, as you noted. I see these as opportunities which the Rebels should seriously consider seizing if/when they come up, and do not see them as warranting any changes in the movement rules for the Empire at this point, keeping in mind the Empire's aggressive prioritization of searching for the Rebel Base. Seems like a fair trade-off overall.

2) Remember that some Project cards will find their way into the "regular" (non-starting) Mission cards stack, so this will stretch the number of regular Mission cards available for the Empire's use -- and some of these drawn Missions may not be feasible, and will thus return to the stack (which may also resulting shifting a Leader to "other duties" for that turn).

Also, once the Rebel Base has been revealed, the Empire shifts back to undertaking only 2 Missions per turn, which will also slow down the number of regular Missions drawn.

Although I haven't had the Empire run out of regular Missions yet, if it would happen (which would ultimately be relatively late in the game), that would serve to free up more Leaders for those "other duties," thus allowing for more opposition of your Missions, more movement of fleets, and more Leaders available to help with any Battles you might initiate -- all of which thematically fits in with the Empire's increasing desperation to find the Rebel Base before the Rebels gain enough support to trigger a full-scale galactic revolt and thus overthrow the Empire.

3) Indeed, this is one very useful tactic which the Rebels can and should utilize effectively when the opportunity presents itself. As noted above, there actually will be times when the Empire has more Leaders available for "other duties" (Missions that are not currently feasible, after the Rebel Base has been revealed, if the regular Mission deck should run out), thus increasing the Empire's movement capabilities for that turn. Plus, although you may be able to "lock" the Empire's fleets in one System for a given turn with an opposed Mission there, the Empire will then look to move its other available fleets.

So it does seem possible that this delaying tactic could prove a bit too much of an advantage for the Rebels -- I'm not sure at this point. If it proves to be so, perhaps a simple "tweak" of some sort could address this issue (e.g., the Empire would be forced to bring a second Leader into that System to "override" the fleets current orders to stay there before sending yet another Leader to activate the System which they want to move into?; or... other ideas?). So at this stage I'm thinking that this issue could be dealt with if indeed it turns out to be problematic, and any ideas regarding possible "tweaks" to address this if needed would certainly be appreciated...!

Thanks so much for these excellent questions, and for the associated issues raised. I look forward to further thoughts, questions, feedback, and ideas for improvement, as this marvelous game certainly deserves the best solitaire variant possible -- and such feedback will definitely help to "fine-tune" and improve it.









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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
mauer wrote:
Hi,

Did anybody try out this variant already? I'm still wondering if I should buy this game. I do have a gaming group but as a house rule, I only play games that can be played solo, as well.

However, as a huge Star Wars fan it is very hard to resist right now.

@Elad: I was hoping that you come up with a variant :-)


Exactly this.

I've been gazing longingly at Rebellion for ages, but without a solo mode I can't justify buying a game that is so unlikely to see regular, or even occasional, play. Really interested to hear what this solo variant plays like, and whether those that playtest it think it is enjoyable enough to warrant shelling out for this beast.
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Lines J. Hutter
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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Dale, thanks for your answers.

1. I agree, I don´t see the need to change anything at this points. This needs more testing and input. Until then I´d keep it as it is.

2. At least this shoud be mentioned in the rules. I was sitting there in round three with 2 regular mission cards in my hand and was told to use 3. Now that I know it, I´ll play with that and see what happens.
I only had 2 Project cards in my deck at that point. Since gaining Project cards is based on random card draw (you need the mission that lets you draw Project cards) you cannot rely on it happening.

3. I quit the game after round 5 or 6. The rebels clearly won (and I´m a bad Rebel player). The Empire moved only once or twice (!), which does not represent how they behave in a real game.

Honestly, I think this needs a fix.
Not sure what´s the best way to go. I think opposing should be more unpredictable. The last round I simply rolled a die and only on a 4-6 the Empire would send a Leader to oppose my mission.
Although this might not be the smartes solution, it will mess up the tactic mentioned in my previous post.

Also I´m thinking of reducing the Mission Leader pool by 1, meaning that each mission will only bring 1 Leader.

3b. As a side effect the Empire only had settled on 1 non-pop planet, so when I moved the rebel base, 6 non-pop cards were mixed back into the deck, which broke the Empire´s neck, too.


All critics aside, this is a great effort, Dale, and it works pretty well. I was so much hoping someone would come up with a solo variant and this is great.

So, lets see how this developes, iron out some minor issues and have fun with it.
Unfortunately I won´t have time for extensive playtesting sessions...

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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Lines42 wrote:



3. I quit the game after round 5 or 6. The rebels clearly won (and I´m a bad Rebel player). The Empire moved only once or twice (!), which does not represent how they behave in a real game.

Honestly, I think this needs a fix.
Not sure what´s the best way to go. I think opposing should be more unpredictable. The last round I simply rolled a die and only on a 4-6 the Empire would send a Leader to oppose my mission.
Although this might not be the smartes solution, it will mess up the tactic mentioned in my previous post.

Also I´m thinking of reducing the Mission Leader pool by 1, meaning that each mission will only bring 1 Leader.

3b. As a side effect the Empire only had settled on 1 non-pop planet, so when I moved the rebel base, 6 non-pop cards were mixed back into the deck, which broke the Empire´s neck, too.


All critics aside, this is a great effort, Dale, and it works pretty well. I was so much hoping someone would come up with a solo variant and this is great.

So, lets see how this developes, iron out some minor issues and have fun with it.
Unfortunately I won´t have time for extensive playtesting sessions...



Excellent feedback and ideas, there, Lines -- thank you, as always. In light of this potential movement issue (and thus in order to facilitate the Empire's movement capabilities), certainly the ideas of giving the Empire just a 50% chance of opposing any Rebel Mission as you described and/or reducing the Mission Leader pool by 1 both clearly warrant consideration.

Another idea I had was to have the Empire cancel its standing order precluding fleets to move out of Systems where there is a Leader under either of the following 2 conditions: 1) once the Rebel Base has been revealed; 2) when the difference between the Turn Marker and the Reputation Marker shrinks down to 5 (i.e., is 5 or less).

Interestingly, any or all 3 of these possible tweaks could also be viewed and used as ways to strengthen the AI and thus increase the difficulty level of the variant as desired. Further play-testing will help to determine where the optimal "balance point" actually falls. I think next time I play, I'll incorporate all 3 of those tweaks and see what happens -- and if any one else plays, please provide feedback noting which one(s) if any of these tweaks were used so we can get this just right. The value of play-testing by others is truly priceless, as using just my results is a very limited sampling (e.g., in my plays, the Rebels did win -- but it was close) -- especially in trying to find that optimal balance point with regard to the AI's strength.

Many thanks to you all for such feedback and ideas, as well as your kind words.

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Re: Solitaire Variant: The Empire Attacks
Dale,

With only a handful of plays under my belt, I can't offer anything constructive as to the variant. However, as a game designer and developer I will tell you that your approach...from the way you laid out the initial material, to the way you accept critiques, to your responses have been nothing short of absolutely professional.

Many times, I find users with the tag BGG NEW USER offering their "insights" on games and how they could've been playtested more; or the designer could have written more cogent rules; or my favorite..."Hey, I've developed a variant because the designer clearly didn't think about something" ~ So much twaddle.

Anyway, it's always refreshing when a thread enters my Subscription box with something not only interesting, but well thought out...truly developed. On top of it, having the opportunity to go back time-and-time again to read the interaction and true discussion taking place among fellow-gamers has proven wonderful to encounter.

Great job...keep up the good work, and of course, May The Force Be With You!
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