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Subject: Adapting the For $olitaire Robot for a 2-player game rss

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Kenny VenOsdel
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I just received my copy of For Sale from the support drive giveaway and when opening it up was hit with an idea. Could I use the robot from my For $olitaire variant to make an interesting 2-player variant? I had seen a few variants for 2-players that were quite simple but didn't seem to add any layer of strategy. The way the robot works does, at least I think, add more strategy/tactics to the first half and more speculation to the second. Here goes:

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I used the Gryphon Games version. Any other versions may need further adaptation. If any rule seems unclear follow the rules as the printed rules suggest. If it doesn't make sense post here and I'll clarify.

Setup

1. Setup the game as per the 3 player rules. (Each human player gets $18. Discard 6 cards at random from each deck)

2. The robot player starts with a bid of $3, use a separate pile of chips to track this. You may start it with $4 if you want a more difficult third player (alternately you may start the players each with $2 less. Feel free to adjust either to find the difficulty you enjoy).

Buying

3. During the bidding phase turn up 3 properties. Players bid as the normal rules suggest but may not equal the bid of the robot player; they must either bid over or under it. Ex: The robot has a bid of 3. If I open the bid at 2 you must either pass or bid 4 or higher.

4. Properties are distributed as normal. If the robot's bid is higher than both player's it gets the best property and its bid is decreased by one for the next round. If its bid is in the middle it gets the middle property and the bid stays the same. If it has a lower bid than either player it gets the worst property but its bid is increased for the next round.

Edit: If the robot is overbid, the player who won the bid opens the next one. If the robot wins the bid, whoever passed first opens the next.

EDIT: In any case, whichever player has the higher bid pays the entire bid to the bank. The other player pays half rounded up.

Selling

5. Turn up 3 checks for each round of selling. Each player chooses and reveals a property to sell. Then shuffle the robot deck and deal out two properties. The robot will use one card, the other will be returned to its deck. Checks will be distributed according to the normal game rules.

6. The robot will always try for the best property possible, even if it is only better by 1. The robot will also use the lowest possible card to obtain it. The card not used is returned to the robots deck and shuffled in.

Ex1: Checks are a 7, 10, 12.

I play a 12, you play an 18, the robot turns up a 14 and a 20. The robot will choose the 20 and take the 12 check. You will get the 10 and me the 7 .

Ex2: Checks are 4, 8, 8.

I play a 14, you play a 6, and the robot plays a 25 and a 7. The robot will choose the 7 and take one of the 8 checks.

Note: In the second to last sell round the robot will have only 2 cards left. After players choose turn up those 2. In the last round it will have one left. Simply use that card as the robot's.

End Game

7. At the end of the game each player, including the robot, adds up the total value of all their checks. Players also add in any money that they have left in their stack. If the robot player is tied with someone the player wins if the robot has less money in its bid pile than it started with.

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There it is! We gave it a few tries and I think the result is good. It is still a very light game but having the robot bid on the table gave some opportunities for interesting bids and some more tactical choices. The selling phase gained a bit more interest as well without feeling too chaotic, since you have a general idea of what the robot could play. By having it play 2 cards to sell it did make it resemble a player more closely and it reduced the rate of wildly inappropriate bids quite a bit.

Of course any feedback is quite welcome!
 
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W M Shubert
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Giving the robot a starting bid of $3 in all cases screws the player to the robot's left. If a "good" bid is $2, then the player to the robot's left will always have to drop out early or overbid.
 
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Kenny VenOsdel
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wmshub wrote:
Giving the robot a starting bid of $3 in all cases screws the player to the robot's left. If a "good" bid is $2, then the player to the robot's left will always have to drop out early or overbid.


Ah, I forgot a rule.

1. If the robot is overbid, the player who won the bid opens the next one. If the robot wins the bid, whoever passed first opens the next.

Does that fix the problem? Or at least address it.

EDIT: Also, the robot only starts with a bid of 3 at the beginning of the game. The future robot bid is affected by what the players do. It may stay the same, but it could also be higher or lower.
 
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Steve Duff
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Sounds good. Reminds me of the Homesteaders 2 player bidding.
 
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Kenny VenOsdel
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
Sounds good. Reminds me of the Homesteaders 2 player bidding.


That was in fact part of the inspiration.
 
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Lee Frank
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How many people have played the 2 player version? The game sounds like a great quick auction game, but my game group is usually just me and the wife. Is the 2 player + robot version fun, or is there some other game that would be similar and better for 2 players?
 
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Kenny VenOsdel
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fleefrank22001 wrote:
How many people have played the 2 player version? The game sounds like a great quick auction game, but my game group is usually just me and the wife. Is the 2 player + robot version fun, or is there some other game that would be similar and better for 2 players?


Honestly, I think Biblios is a better game for 2 players but the draw back is it only supports 4. We've played this version a few times and it worked pretty well. Still better with either less or more players but it gave more interesting decisions than what you would have without it.

EDIT: At the same time Biblios requires a lot more memory and speculating which may or may not be to your tastes.
 
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