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A way to play Blue Moon City in a solo format has been posted to the Geek.

The download is available using the following link:
BlueMoonCity SoloPlay Rules

This is #5 in the SoloPlay series.
More game files available here on the Geek can be accessed from the following Geeklist:
SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek

SoloPlay- BGG user GameRulesforOne
(Design Goals: Improve game value by providing a challenging solo variant that plays like the original. Primarily these are games that no longer get to the table as often, if at all, like they used to.)

Preface:
Blue Moon City was one of my most recent acquisitions and became the poster child for a flame-out. Playing with the original rules, the game group was done with it after 2 games. “There is not much here but it looks good” came the comments. The game was a bit limited but I enjoy the quick play.
I quickly began putting together additional layouts that would enhance the game play and this has worked well. Each possesses its own unique situations which need to be accounted for. These have been posted for awhile on the geek (40 additional BlueMoonCity layouts) and are important to giving the game variety in play.

For the family, it still gets a fair amount of play but I needed a higher level of challenge. As I have been putting together the other SoloPlay rules for the past 6 months, I quickly saw how this could be done with BMC.

Solo or with the group using the expansion layouts, it’s all good. IMO

Blue Moon City Solo Design Comments:

It was apparent that an additional presence would be needed to give the game its challenge. As I had completed the Power Grid solo rules some time ago, I brought in the idea of a “parasitic” opponent but it is used differently here. It had to be, because part of the challenge of the game is adjusting to where the players are contributing and if the opponent was always placing near the active player this would “help” the player and make the game too easy.

An “AI” needed to be built to provide this challenge so a simple logic path was put together and it has pretty much remained unchanged from the beginning. There is some randomness in its execution due to a card turn, but the active player decides how to execute the play mitigating the “luck of the draw” aspect.

I have always thought that the supply of action markers (cubes) was too great so I put together a difficulty level system that adds a new dynamic to this variant. You will start with a limited amount of markers depending on how challenging of a game you would like to play. You then can opt to not take a normal game turn and “buy” a marker for a crystal or 5 value in cards. This little dynamic created an economy in actions. You need to figure out how to accumulate the markers at points in the game where a “lost” turn will not impact your play.

Similarly, obelisk offerings needed a control mechanic and this will also add a bit of thought to the play so limits are placed on how the player can make those offerings.

Needless to say, without changing the game mechanics much, the game has a much higher “stress” factor as the draw deck timer ticks down (you will play through it only once). But what about drawing cards? Yes, you will need to think about this too.

Goal of the rule design:
1. Maintain the game mechanics of the original.
2. Create competition in the solo environment.
3. Challenge the experienced BMC player.
4. Give the game variety in play. Each game will play different if you are using the additional layouts. If not, there will be some minor variances. I have long stopped using the base layout.

I rate BMC a 5 in complexity to learn and play. The solo version will give the experienced player a good challenge and is a bit more complex (7+). Initially, the game may seem to be unfair but as time goes on you will begin to learn how to streamline your actions.

If you are new to BMC, you may be able to play this variant fairly quickly due to the added levels of play from easy to impossible.

Comments are always welcome.

Strategies:
1. Hand management is crucial. You have the option not to draw cards and at times you may want to do this to “win” the game.
2. Learn how to conserve actions. You will need to buy, at the higher game levels, markers to keep your game progressing. You will need to determine how best to execute this. Sometimes the decision of 1 crystal or 5 value in cards is a little tricky.
3. The player will need to determine how to make the offerings to the obelisk. Depending on how your opponent is contributing you will need to alter your plans.
4. Note how your opponent uses the card bonuses. This can be devastating if you are not accounting for the possibilities.
5. Not allowing your opponent to earn crystals can cause a sudden game loss. You need to allow flexibility in your planning and “control” your opponent’s options.
6. Scale bonuses are crucial to achieve the flexibility needed to get the offerings to the obelisk. The way your opponent earns crystals is important to note so that you can try to stay one step ahead. You have to keep the dragons moving at times.

Play time for this variant runs about 45-60 minutes and provides little opportunity for AP.

Final Thoughts
The solo variant will make you think and I enjoy that part of it. In the multi-player game I grasped what I needed to do and was for the most part on auto-pilot. Not so with this variant. There is much more to account for.

I hope you have fun with this and find it has a great deal of re-playability.

If you have questions about the rules, you can be post them here or to this user’s mailbox to be answered individually, if needed. I will add a FAQ to this post as I see the need.

Other games that will be/are available from SoloPlay/GameRulesforOne are posted within a Geeklist that I created: SoloPlay Variants Posted on the Geek

All new variants and information about upcoming projects will be listed there.

A game that sits in a closet is a waste. Get it out and play it any way you can. These are just my ideas.
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Chris
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This is all certainly good stuff.

I vaguely 'follow' your series sort of.

Just letting you know that someone does - cool idea.

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Jan
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rules question
Hello,

I don't understand the term "duplicate cost" in this rules passage:

"The active player may not make an offering to the obelisk for a duplicate cost until the active player has paid a 12 offering price for 1 offering."

This is how I understand this:

I have to make once an offering by paying 12 crystals although the actual price is 7 for example. After I had done this I am able to play yellow cards in order to make 2 offerings at once. Right?

Jan
 
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Quote:
I don't understand the term "duplicate cost" in this rules passage:

"The active player may not make an offering to the obelisk for a duplicate cost until the active player has paid a 12 offering price for 1 offering."

This is how I understand this:

I have to make once an offering by paying 12 crystals although the actual price is 7 for example. After I had done this I am able to play yellow cards in order to make 2 offerings at once. Right?

Preface:
This rule was put in to increase competition and planning making it similiar to the multi-player game. Since the AI player is not independently making its decisions, I had to restrict the active player's actions.

Answer:
For the player to make a second offering for the same price (let's use 7) to the obelisk the player must make the 12 cost offering 1st. This rule is not referring to the cards only the plays to the obelisk.

Therefore: you can use the +2 power on the yellow card and make a 12 offering, activating the duplicate cost allowance, and make 2, 7 offerings. By making the highest offering (12) you can now duplicate offering prices in the future. (it will cost you 12 + 9 + 9 (by using the cards power) which is more and not recommended but this is just an example) This provides a strategic element meant to mimic to a degree "normal" competition.

Depending on how the game is going I will try to get a 12 offering up so as to save crystals on future offerings.

2 examples:

Offering example #1: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 = 57 crystals (since I did not offer a 12 earlier, I am obligated to work bottom to top for the win) 57 is the mark you want to try to improve on.

but if you are able to make the "max" offering (12) early you might be able to save crystals like:

Offering example #2: 7, 12(granting cost duplication), 8, 8, 9, 10 = 54 crystals saving 3 crystals. But ...

At the same time you can get blocked and not get a good savings if any. It is very dependent on how the adversary is filling the obelisk.

Let's look at the example #2 again and say that I have been blocked on the 8, my offerings would then be: 7, 12, 9, 9, 10, 10 = 57 assuming that I can make 2 9 and 10 offerings which is highly problematic.

If your adversary makes a 9 or 10 offering you will actually pay more! Ouch! With crystals at a premium you need to be reasonably sure that you can execute the "plan".

12, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9 = 51 crystals, which is the cheapest crystal cost you can get in the solo variant. I don't recall being able to execute this.

Strategic note:
The adversary has no restrictions to the obelisk. If "he" starts making early offerings to the obelisk like both 7's you need step up your offerings and cut "him" off to try and get to the price duplication or you are going to be in a world of hurt.

Summary:
When you make an offering to the obelisk you place the marker on the offering cost that you are choosing.
If you want to be able to make multiple offerings for a lower cost to try to reduce the "game winning" crystal expense below 57, you need to pay 12 crystals and place your marker on the top position of the obelisk.
You can now make offerings to the obelisk for any price available.

Your last statement was close to correct except for the placement of the marker, if I understood it correctly.

I hope that this makes sense.

Thanks for your question, Jan.
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Joe Salamone
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When you mention "wild cards" in the solo rules, exactly which cards are you referring to? Just the cards that are specifically mentioned as "wild cards" in the original rules? Are you including the white cards (I don't think the original game rules call them wild cards, but they seem to have somewhat "wild" abilities). By the way, I love this series of solo play variants - - please keep them coming!
 
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Joe Salamone wrote:
When you mention "wild cards" in the solo rules, exactly which cards are you referring to? Just the cards that are specifically mentioned as "wild cards" in the original rules? Are you including the white cards (I don't think the original game rules call them wild cards, but they seem to have somewhat "wild" abilities)

The "wild" cards are the green "1" cards that do not represent any building color. I don't recall the name of the people at the moment.

Joe Salamone wrote:
By the way, I love this series of solo play variants - - please keep them coming!

I am glad that you are enjoying them. There are plans for at least another handful of games over the next month or so.

Thanks for your comments.
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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
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This is very cool, I have not seen your serious yet and think it Rocks, thanks so much.

I kinda felt the same way as your group after 2 games, but after playing more I am enjoying it more and more and see where there is a lot more strategy then I first thought. If your group played it twice, then only 1 or 2 of the 4 people won at it - which to me means 2 or 3 of them might say there is not much there , but I am thinking " Then why didn't they win if there is not much there " , But that is just my way of thinking, and I am not one to give up on a game unless I just really don't like it.

Again, thanks and I may be trying this sometime in the future- if so I will report back in!
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Brad Musil
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Hello,

Thank you very much for the time and effort you put into these solo variations! I tried this variant last night for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised by how you retained so much of the flavor and feel of the original, multi-player experience. Could you please clarify something for me...

So I was coming close to the end of the game, the tension was building, it was going to be close...It's the AI's turn and a wild comes up. At this point, the AI had a pile of crystals, so contributing to the obelisk wasn't going to be a problem. I went to grab a marker to place it on the obelisk when I realized--GASP!--the AI didn't have any! Now, I realize that you emphasize what to do when no markers are available for regular building contributions in your rules, and that you generally don't want the AI to run out (as, if none of the "invisible marker" scenarios play out, you lose). But what happens when it comes to contributing to the obelisk? The problem wasn't that the AI didn't have the requisite crystals (so it wasn't a matter of going down the list re: what to do when a wild is drawn). I assumed that I lost--is this correct?

Again, your time and effort is much appreciated!!!
 
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You were correct with your play. If the AI runs out of supply and needs a cube for the obelisk, you lose.

Sounds like you were pushing the limit there. You bring up the important point of watching the AIs crystal count to "defend" against this situation.
 
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Brad Musil
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Thanks for clarifying. I played another tense game the other night. I lost 6-5; I had to keep contributing to the obelisk for the AI after I went through the deck, which killed me. Otherwise, I almost had my first victory. I am very, very impressed with your design here (my wife, on the other hand, is not too thrilled about the prospect of me playing solo games in addition to my multi-player escapades). I will be playing this again and again. I also printed off your rules for the other 10 or so games that I own. I can appreciate the time and effort you put into this, as I too design games (not variants, though). It's like an addiction, right? Anyway, keep up the great work! FYI, other games I own that would be cool to play solo (not sure how feasible these are):

-Lord of the Rings: Confrontation
-Age of Empires 3
-Cyclades
-Ra
-Galaxy Trucker
OK, this list could go on and on...
 
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Brian Sturk
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Finally got around to playing this last night, really enjoyed it (even though I got creamed). I did have a few questions that came up during play.

The rules state you can either pay for an extra marker, contribute and draw, or just draw. I assume this also means you can discard per the original rules?

I also did not use the red 7s on the obelisk. From what I understand this is standard for 2 players?

One thing I was also wondering was how to handle choosing buildings for the AI's markers or building completion in the event of ties. Is it just use your best judgement?

thanks so much for your work on this, glad to get it to the table again.

~telengard
 
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Yes, the draw is the same as the normal rules. You may discard 0-2 cards and draw. Be careful with this because this may shorten your game.

Q2: All things being equal you make the decision which building the game works on/completes.

Action conservation is the key to victory.

Answered on a mobile so I apologize for my short(er) answers.

Enjoy.
 
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Left out something:

You are correct about the red 7's. They are not used.
 
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John Kennedy
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Hi

I have enjoyed my few plays of San Juan based on your variant, thank you and I'm now trying this. Could you answer this rule question please:

My opponent draws a red '2' . The green dragon is not on the board yet so I don't move it. But do I still select a red building to make a contribution for my opponent?

I am also wondering if option c. special actions, (i) and (ii) involves both a cube contribution to the effected building (for my opponent) AND the other effects described in the rules, concerning dragon movements and scales?
 
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Royds wrote:
My opponent draws a red '2' . The green dragon is not on the board yet so I don't move it. But do I still select a red building to make a contribution for my opponent?
Answer#1: Yes, the game will always contribute to a building regardless of if a dragon can be moved.

Royds wrote:
I am also wondering if option c. special actions, (i) and (ii) involves both a cube contribution to the effected building (for my opponent) AND the other effects described in the rules, concerning dragon movements and scales?
Answer#2: On each turn your opponent either makes an offering or contributes to a building and moves a dragon, if able (like you mentioned it may not be on the board). This is even if the dragon does not reach the building that your opponent is helping to build. This would not happen normally in a multi-player game.

As far as scales go, your opponent does get them and can trigger the scale award. Many times you want him to assist you in getting this done.

All awards for building completion etc. are handled normally in the event that your opponent triggers the effect.

Let me know if you need further clarification. Enjoy.
 
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John Kennedy
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Hello again!

I have finished another close enjoyable game, but alas I think your very fiendish ghost player has once more beaten me.

I have a question this time about actions once the deck is exhausted.

The game ends when I can't perform any action. If I am playing the rules correctly, I lost this time because I could still spend crystals to buy player markers. I did this for a turn and then the AI made an offering at no cost to win the game.

The AI got a free offering because the only uncompleted building had 2 free spaces left. The rule states the AI can only take the option of making a contribution (once the deck is empty) if there is only a single space available, thus completing the building.

So, to win in this situation it seems I would have had to make sure all 10 of my markers were in play or in my supply. That there were none left that I could buy with crystals. Am I right?

Clearly planning is needed to make the end game conditions favourable. Just checking I understand this correctly.

Thanks for your very enjoyable design and helpful support with the rules.
 
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Royds wrote:
The game ends when I can't perform any action. If I am playing the rules correctly, I lost this time because I could still spend crystals to buy player markers. I did this for a turn and then the AI made an offering at no cost to win the game.

The AI got a free offering because the only uncompleted building had 2 free spaces left. The rule states the AI can only take the option of making a contribution (once the deck is empty) if there is only a single space available, thus completing the building.

So, to win in this situation it seems I would have had to make sure all 10 of my markers were in play or in my supply. That there were none left that I could buy with crystals. Am I right?
Comment: Sounds like you were right on the edge of that one and a very tough position to be in because you want him to use his actions on a building etc. However, once the deck is exhausted the options become much more limited.

If you could have won had you a marker in your supply, that was a tough break. You don't necessarily need all of your markers. I have won with less but it does help. The timing of getting the necessary markers in a dead period where the game has an action that it can take that you can deal with is best.

Having the game get a "free" offering is brutal but I seem to recall a game where I had that as a buffer and was able to wrap it up on my next turn.

You are right about the complete a building if only 1 more marker is needed that the AI would perform. You need to play around with this option at opportune times so that you can complete a building, buy a marker etc while the game "regenerates" its stock.

I will review the rules to see if there is anything else for me to add this evening. It sounds like you played it right.

Could you have squeezed out the extra marker earlier?
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Maricel Edwards
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Sorry for reviving such an old thread, but I'm hoping the reprint excuses it. So I'm trying your variant and maybe I'm just thick, but I can't even start a game because of this: "choose a difficulty level: (remove the noted number of markers in 2 colors)." So if I interpret correctly and I want easy mode, I remove 8 of my markers, leaving me with 2 to start and I remove 10 of the AI's markers. But then he doesn't have any so how can he contribute to buildings? Does he not contribute at all and that's what makes it the easy mode? Again, so sorry to bother. I just really want to play this game!
 
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mtsedwards wrote:
Sorry for reviving such an old thread, but I'm hoping the reprint excuses it. So I'm trying your variant and maybe I'm just thick, but I can't even start a game because of this: "choose a difficulty level: (remove the noted number of markers in 2 colors)." So if I interpret correctly and I want easy mode, I remove 8 of my markers, leaving me with 2 to start and I remove 10 of the AI's markers. But then he doesn't have any so how can he contribute to buildings? Does he not contribute at all and that's what makes it the easy mode? Again, so sorry to bother. I just really want to play this game!
So long ago and no one said I had this backwards. You remove down to those values. For easy you start with 8 and the AI with 10.

I need to post an update to get that corrected. Hopefully this is enough to get you started.

Thanks for the question so I can post an update.
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Maricel Edwards
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GameRulesforOne wrote:
mtsedwards wrote:
Sorry for reviving such an old thread, but I'm hoping the reprint excuses it. So I'm trying your variant and maybe I'm just thick, but I can't even start a game because of this: "choose a difficulty level: (remove the noted number of markers in 2 colors)." So if I interpret correctly and I want easy mode, I remove 8 of my markers, leaving me with 2 to start and I remove 10 of the AI's markers. But then he doesn't have any so how can he contribute to buildings? Does he not contribute at all and that's what makes it the easy mode? Again, so sorry to bother. I just really want to play this game!
So long ago and no one said I had this backwards. You remove down to those values. For easy you start with 8 and the AI with 10.

I need to post an update to get that corrected. Hopefully this is enough to get you started.

Thanks for the question so I can post an update.

Oh, no! Thank YOU for such a speedy response. It's too late for me to start a game now, but I have it set up and now I can look forward to playing after work tomorrow! You rock!
 
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Maricel Edwards
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Addendum to start-up question: when it says "remove 9 scales for play", I'll assume it means I use the 9 scales when I play, yes?
 
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mtsedwards wrote:
Addendum to start-up question: when it says "remove 9 scales for play", I'll assume it means I use the 9 scales when I play, yes?
Yes, I wonder now if when I was using the word remove, I meant retrieve as it appears that this was the intention.
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Michael Panzer
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Thanks for the solo variant; played it for the first time yesterday and won on easy, however, I misplayed the duplicate offering restriction (which brought me to this thread).

A few questions came up:

1. When the AI gets reward cards, are they resolved as normal, i.e., contribution and dragon movement for colored, offering for wilds, or should the AI only do contributions (no dragon movements, no offering)?

2. For regular card draws for the AI, in case of colored cards with no dragon movement powers, I am right that the AI will only contribute to buildings and do nothing else (if it has markers available, etc.)?
 
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masque wrote:
1. When the AI gets reward cards, are they resolved as normal, i.e., contribution and dragon movement for colored, offering for wilds, or should the AI only do contributions (no dragon movements, no offering)?
A1: See Completing a Building at the top of the last page of the rules. Bonus cards turn into bonus placements.

masque wrote:
2. For regular card draws for the AI, in case of colored cards with no dragon movement powers, I am right that the AI will only contribute to buildings and do nothing else (if it has markers available, etc.)?
A2: Yes, that is correct.
 
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