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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Solo-ing rss

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Robin REEVE
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Hi all,
I saw some occasional posts where players spoke of playing solitaire.
Put apart switching sides between heroes and the Overlord, has someone thought of some special mechanism adapted solo play?
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Jon Anderson
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I've thought about it. The only way that I could see it really working is to drop the Overlord cards and give the monsters and additional yellow (or something). I would also think maybe a rule saying x KOs is a loss for the heroes.
 
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Andrew Dale
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Agreed re dropping the OL cards - too subjective on what to play and when.

I was wondering whether an AI deck similar to the Gears of War system might work. Some quests would need specific monster and lieutenant AI rules though I imagine. I.e. not just "whack the nearest/weakest hero"

Not assuming for one minute that it would be easy to do!
 
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Wil
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A Gears of War AI system would be fantastic. I was actually hoping that the first expansion would include exactly that.

The cards could say what monster groups move, provide extra attacks or movements for the monster group, and even say things like draw 3 overlord cards face down and reveal them at the start of the hero's next movement, etc. The folks at FFG could definitely come up with something remarkable here.

All of that said, as long as you keep yourself in the mindset of playing both sides to win and don't over think it, playing solo with both sides is fun.

One solo variant that has been on my mind is this: randomize the play order. For example, if you're playing two heroes against two monster groups, put four tokens in a bag to represent these. Then draw out one and that hero or monster goes, draw out another and that hero or monster group goes, etc. I think this play order scramble of not knowing if your hero companion will go next or if a monster will go next could be interesting.
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Andrew Dale
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I like your idea of randomising play with tokens - something that is used to great effect in the wargaming community. It is said to model the chaos in battle - that could help the solo approach.
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Robin REEVE
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Thanks to all for the inputs !
I don't have the game yet, but I am wondering if separating OL cards in decks of cards that he can play during his turn and of those which he can play during heroes movement, and having a die roll system to test pick out a card during a hero's movement and a draw two new cards, discarding the previous ones, during OL's turn, would allow some good "fog of war"...
Now, as with wargames, I presume that one can play "as if" he did not know about the OL's cards - which are the only unknown element of the game.
 
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Wil
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andrewmdale wrote:
I like your idea of randomising play with tokens - something that is used to great effect in the wargaming community. It is said to model the chaos in battle - that could help the solo approach.


Great to hear. I'll give this a try in the upcoming week to see how it feels.
 
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Andrew Dale
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Great, it would be interesting to hear how it goes.
 
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Wil
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Robin wrote:
I don't have the game yet, but I am wondering if separating OL cards in decks of cards that he can play during his turn and of those which he can play during heroes movement, and having a die roll system to test pick out a card during a hero's movement and a draw two new cards, discarding the previous ones, during OL's turn, would allow some good "fog of war"...


Some nice ideas here. It's definitely worth exploring.

I've convinced that there is a great solo game here. It just needs some exploration and play testing to be worked out.

It may also turn out to be that the Overlord is who you play as that's where the secret information is. Then the AI could be flipped and on the heroes expressing how they should play out that round.
 
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Albert
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Actually I started a 'coop' game where the players control the OL and the heroes. We figured that since the OL can 'hear' all the heroes strategy it is not a big deal for the heroes to play the OL as well. And we try to make sure we do not make decisions because 'Oh the OL has a tripwire or pit trap, so lets do this instead'.

The heroes focus on the objectives and the Ol will play cards on the heroes that would do the most hard to the heroes (ie not play trap cards on heroes with high perception or non-critical moments).

This works well as the traps don't always work either.

The monsters routinely focus on weaker heroes or the heroes with abilities/attributes most beneficial to the scenario.

This has actually resulting in an enjoyable game experience!
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Robin REEVE
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I read on FGG's forum that a player simply played solo with the OL's cards visible.
Of course, the heroes know that they will be attacked by tripwires and other traps during their moves, and simply have to put up with those risks.
As good tactics are mostly about adapting to a given situation, it will generate a slightly different game than with hidden OL cards.
However, all the other data is known anyway, so solo game does not seem too difficult to develop.

Of course, as with wargames, solo play asks some "schizophrenia", not to advantage one side...
I personally am used to that type of exercise - and I greet the fact that, having played boardgames for past thirtee years, I am not exactly what the majority of humanity would call "normal". Oh, well... who is "normal" anyway ? (or: aren't "normal" people boring zombies?)
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Albert
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Surprisingly too, when we played with the OL's hand open (and played as the OL and the heroes) the OL did better than when it was an actual player! We all keep coming up with new tactics or things to look out for as the OL....lol. And then it gets difficult for the heroes to react. >_
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Robin REEVE
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I have played solo two quests.
I have no problem just having the OL cards played open.
When there are tripwires or pit traps, the heroes must take into account the risks - and they are bound to take such risks on occasions.
 
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Edward Calabig
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Is there a way to randomize whether traps will be used on a player's turn? Possibly with the roll of a dice?
 
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demonhanz demonhanz
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ecalabig wrote:
Is there a way to randomize whether traps will be used on a player's turn? Possibly with the roll of a dice?


Yes, I imagine dice are the best way to randomize anything, lol.

Also, I think Robin and some others have attempted to Solo play D2e. Might want to speak with them on this too.

Another alternative is to ALWAYS use the trap cards when they come up. When you draw one, use it on the next hero that moves (or the one who has the lowest value of a skill rating)
 
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JH
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If I were doing a solo game, I'd probably write up a string of prioritized actions for each monster type to perform until all actions are used, and if a triggering condition can't be met you move down to the next one. Like:

ETTIN
1. — No hero in attack range — Move toward nearest hero
2. — Adjacent hero with lowest Might — Throw
3. — Lowest HP hero within range 2 — Attack

BARGHEST
1. — No hero adjacent — Move toward nearest hero
2. — Adjacent hero with highest HP — Attack
3. — Hero within range 3 — Howl

These could be tailored depending on quest, so that the hero with the Shadow Key could be the priority target for the fastest monster group, or something. Or add randomness so it's harder to game the system as heroes. Like for the Ettins:

2. — One or more heroes adjacent, roll 1 red power die. Surge rolled, Throw adjacent hero with lowest Might. No surge rolled, Throw adjacent hero with highest Might.

Always spend surges to the greatest disadvantage of heroes, and maybe roll dice for using OL cards, or simply use them at the first opportunity for each. Something like Word of Pain could be played at the end of any turn, while something like Rise Again could be triggered by a die roll (play card on 5+ for minion monster, 3+ for master monster). Priority lists could work for cards that have more nuance.

For traps, you could roll a die with each tile a hero moves, with a lower threshold for triggering the trap the farther they go. Like:

Tripwire — Roll one red and one yellow power die each time a hero enters an empty space during a move action.
First space — play on 5+ wounds
Second space — play on 4+ wounds
Third space — play on 3+ wounds
Fourth space and beyond — play on 2+ wounds
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demonhanz demonhanz
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
If I were doing a solo game, I'd probably write up a string of prioritized actions for each monster type to perform until all actions are used, and if a triggering condition can't be met you move down to the next one. Like:

ETTIN
1. — No hero in attack range — Move toward nearest hero
2. — Adjacent hero with lowest Might — Throw
3. — Lowest HP hero within range 2 — Attack

BARGHEST
1. — No hero adjacent — Move toward nearest hero
2. — Adjacent hero with highest HP — Attack
3. — Hero within range 3 — Howl

These could be tailored depending on quest, so that the hero with the Shadow Key could be the priority target for the fastest monster group, or something. Or add randomness so it's harder to game the system as heroes. Like for the Ettins:

2. — One or more heroes adjacent, roll 1 red power die. Surge rolled, Throw adjacent hero with lowest Might. No surge rolled, Throw adjacent hero with highest Might.

Always spend surges to the greatest disadvantage of heroes, and maybe roll dice for using OL cards, or simply use them at the first opportunity for each. Something like Word of Pain could be played at the end of any turn, while something like Rise Again could be triggered by a die roll (play card on 5+ for minion monster, 3+ for master monster). Priority lists could work for cards that have more nuance.

For traps, you could roll a die with each tile a hero moves, with a lower threshold for triggering the trap the farther they go. Like:

Tripwire — Roll one red and one yellow power die each time a hero enters an empty space during a move action.
First space — play on 5+ wounds
Second space — play on 4+ wounds
Third space — play on 3+ wounds
Fourth space and beyond — play on 2+ wounds


Probably one of the better "scripts" I've seen. This could get a bit tedious with monsters that have many surges and abilities, such as Elementals, but it seems to be the most ideal way to go about it.
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JH
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Thanks. I pretty much used the system in Final Fantasy XII (and Dragon Age Origins to a lesser extent) as a model. It had very intuitive and effective logic: target + action + priority. That's all this is.

If I have time I'll work up a file with basic commands for 2e monsters.
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Darrell Pavitt
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A simple way is to decide what the heroes will do during the turn, then draw a fresh Overlord hand and apply any relevant cards.
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Wil
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nyhotep wrote:
A simple way is to decide what the heroes will do during the turn, then draw a fresh Overlord hand and apply any relevant cards.


Nice and elegant! Possibly a bit rough on the heroes but in a solo game that makes sense.

For reference, I use this same approach on Memoir '44 and it works quite well there.

Personally I hope that FFG releases an Overlord expansion in which it contains cards that represent the Overlord player. The AI they created for Gears of War works fantastically and it's something that could certainly be ported over to Descent to achieve this goal.

They love making expansions and this opens the game up for solo players or players that all want to be on the hero side so it seems like it could be a hit.







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Robert Fairmont
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Any one thought of soloing as the OL and AI'ing the heroes instead?

It seems it would be much simpler to play this game like a table top version of the video game Dungeon Keeper, with the pesky bothersome heroes trying to foil the OL fun.
 
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demonhanz demonhanz
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MrBob0069 wrote:
Any one thought of soloing as the OL and AI'ing the heroes instead?

It seems it would be much simpler to play this game like a table top version of the video game Dungeon Keeper, with the pesky bothersome heroes trying to foil the OL fun.


For one offs, I think it might work, and well. But if you play the campaign, or with Epic/Advanced Rules, as soon as you start accruing more and more abilities, you'll have too many different possible actions for them to take, more so than the OL's.
 
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Robert Fairmont
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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) » Forums » Variants
Re: Solo-ing
demonhanz wrote:
MrBob0069 wrote:
Any one thought of soloing as the OL and AI'ing the heroes instead?

It seems it would be much simpler to play this game like a table top version of the video game Dungeon Keeper, with the pesky bothersome heroes trying to foil the OL fun.


For one offs, I think it might work, and well. But if you play the campaign, or with Epic/Advanced Rules, as soon as you start accruing more and more abilities, you'll have too many different possible actions for them to take, more so than the OL's.


I couldn't disagree more.

I've played the OL more then I've played as a hero. And you can almost predict exactly what every hero is going to do every turn.

ALL of the heroes abilities and choices are played face up on the table.
It's NEVER a surprise what they are able to do or choose from, regardless of the number of options they have. Where the OL is all about secret moves and hidden cards played unexpectedly.

Also in a solo game I would suggest only running 2 heroes.
You could invent an AI deck for each class adding cards as apropriate when new abilities are gained.

But for the most part, very few hero abilities actually give "new" options for the players. They either augment existing abilities, or change their "basic" attack option.

Trust me the heroes like to think they are all stratigraphic geniuses, but in truth they are extremely predictable and repetitive in design.


As an after thought.
A lot of issues with playing this game solo, stems from the campaign design. The existing campaign encounter were designed to be competitive and two sided.
It would be better to design a new solo campaign that made one side (the non AI'd side) make all the choices and the other (AI'd side) be more linear and direct in design.

For instance design encounters where one side is "tower defensing" versus an onslaught of "stupid" monsters who single mindedly throw there bodies at the heroes and their defenses.
 
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