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Subject: SoloPlay variant for Dominion is now available rss

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A way to play Dominion in a solo format has been posted to the Geek.

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

This is “lucky” #13 in the SoloPlay series. A visual aid and a “King” card has been included to help in playing this variant.

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.) Dominion does not currently fit this mold and is currently in heavy rotation.

Preface:
Dominion has numerous things going for it, primarily the quick play. The “depth” of play is up for debate and I put off buying this game for a long time until my son and I played this at a game night. He kept asking when I would get it and I finally caved. I was reluctant because of the repetitiveness of the play and the lacking variety. There are just 25 cards (+2 with the BGG exclusive which I also purchased) which compared to Agricola is nothing.

The game seems to have a “sameness” in play as well but because it plays quick I am now able to forgive/overlook this. After a number of plays it seemed pretty apparent that a solo variant could be constructed since the interaction is limited to a degree and all that was needed was to compensate for the attack cards. Not so fast …

Dominion Solo Design Comments:

The journey begins with the objective to keep the same quick play but add a little more meat on them bones to challenge the solo-player. I retained the core deck building mechanic almost as it is played normally.

To make a game of it I needed to add a time element and give the player some tougher decisions to make. Therein is the problem. Reading numerous articles over the past month or so it became apparent that certain approaches in the multi-player game may make the solo game little more than a time killer then a game. I had to address the perceived “big money” game.

The “King” card that has been added provides the “time” mechanic and turns the solo variant into a game by causing the player to make decisions about what to buy from a limited number of options at face value. The King moves based on the player’s actions and ends the game when it or the player causes 3 supply stacks or the province stack to empty. My reasoning for this is that if the active player can buy anything he/she wants at any time, where is the game? There needed to be restrictions.

The attack cards needed to be given a reason to purchase them and so the abilities of the cards were modified to entice the player to make the purchase. There are some key “new” abilities in there especially with the Spy, Witch and Thief that are important to exploit if they are available. I tried not to stray too far from the original use of the cards.

The last item on the agenda was the deck. With the solo variant the deck sizes tended to be larger than what is seen in normal play. With this I had to keep the “luck of the draw” in check as much as possible. It is not possible to eliminate it. Dominion is a card game after all. The function of the Witch was meant to help the player deal with this. However, I think that the player is still the boss to ensure that the deck is balanced even given the increased bulk. Another tactic added deals with accumulating kingdom card sets (Dominions) which gives the player an alternate way to succeed instead of the limited way of getting VP cards. So there you have it.

Play time remains about 30 minutes so the time to play has not really changed.

Goal of the rule design:
1. Maintain the feel and pace of the original game.
2. Give the player additional tactics to employ and explore.
3. Give the game variety. There was not much more that I could do for this although with the “King” and the initial setup an additional variety element is in play.

Comments are always welcome.

Strategies:
1. This is still Dominion so it is all about the deck.
2. Efficiency – you will only have a limited amount of turns so those extra buy cards are important as are a couple of the less popular cards (Workshop and Feast). Any card that conserves actions is important.
3. You have to consider all of the kingdom cards especially given the alternate functions of some of them. Certain cards still maintain a very high profile but “modified” cards can provide the extra needed to achieve the highest victory rating.

Final Thoughts
I have to admit that I am not the best Dominion player in the world and I find this solo variant very challenging and frustrating when I know if I had not picked up … I could have scored 90+ points (game victory). Figuring out how many of the kingdoms I need and in what quantity coupled with how many victory/treasure cards should be in play is a challenging little exercise. I am getting better and more consistent but I think have not yet achieved the “top” level of play.

Edit: Something clicked in my mind as I was completing play testing and putting on the final touches. I figured out how I can manage the “bulk” and keep my game moving forward. You will definitely have to be paying attention to get the highest level of victory. The score to achieve a game victory was increased 20 points in the final days of play-testing. It has to be challenging.

I would rate Dominion a 5 to learn how to play competently and probably a 6 to be decent at it. I would put this variant at about a 6+ challenge level.

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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Gordon Adams
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I would personally like to thank you for all the solo variants of the games as listed above: you have made one lonely player very happy
Kind regards,
Gordon
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SoloPlayGames
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Why let all of the game groups have all of the fun?!?

How many times have I planned to have a certain number of people over to play (name the game) and due to the reduced head count we have to settle for something else. Some games just don't play the same with fewer people. This project is meant to fill that gap/void.

Have a game night every night.

I am glad and hope that all of you are enjoying the solo challenge(s).
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SoloPlayGames
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This has been posted in the download section as well.

A suggestion for play: scoring (provinces+duchies+estates+dominions)

Generally I will get the game setup and then play the same setup at least 3 times back to back. Normally the 1st is the worst as I have not setup the right mix of VPs or I went after them to hard and then shut down my deck etc.

If I see that the VP approach is stronger then I will definitely max out the provinces and possibly the duchies. The estates are the tricky item because you need a +buy to take advantage of them. Normally I put 5 in play. I will work toward completing 1 "dominion" in the process and try to get a 100% buy on the provinces. 72+33+7+10 = 122 points (Master Victory(MV)). If I am close to a MV then I will set it up again and try to get the balance, if not, I will move toward a 2 "dominion" approach.

As you attempt to complete more "dominions" you have to balance the choking affect that occurs as your deck thickens with the ability to get the provinces and then complete the dominions. 2 dominions are worth 30 points so you will likely need to determine how many VP cards you need to cut back. It is just too difficult to keep it all out there and still get the 2 dominions. If you leave 3 or 4 provinces uncollected you are going to take a big hit to your score. I will back off the provinces by 2-3 (again depending on the +buys that are out there) and adjust the duchies and/or reduce the estates. I like to overshoot the 120 target by 6-10 to ensure that I have the flexibility to change the approach if needed. I will work from higher cost (province) down when making my buys. It will become harder and harder to buy those provinces later without the availability of "virtual money"(festival, chancellor, militia etc) You may look to achieve a 60+30+5+30 = 125 points

Normally I don't go further then the 2 dominion approach unless at least 2 of the following are out there: the feast, remodel and workshop to draw from the kingdom card discards. If 2 of those are in play you may want to severely restrict your VPs and go for the 3rd dominion approach. Now timing becomes even more important. If you have a Mine and/or Bureaucrat on board you will need to hit these guys up early to give your deck the needed coin to sustain the long haul. Those guys save actions and will allow you to execute the approach. The crucial element in this approach comes in analyzing the kingdom cards to determine the sustainability of the tactic and knocking down the VP cards in the game to reduce the exposure to lost points. You will probably try for a 36+24+6+60 breakdown = 126 points

As a rule, the more dominions in play the better your plan will need to be to accomplish the goal. Usually by the 3rd play I have figured out the best approach to the card set (and order from left to right).

The mythical 4th dominion deck will require the feast, remodel and workshop in play and a severely reduced VP card set (minimum=15 cards). As a practice I do not see this a viable method to success unless the Gardens are in play also. The Gardens will have a major affect on all methods of play.

I have found this a rewarding way to play with a strong sense of accomplishment. I hope you enjoy the fun of exploring the different methods to success.
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Jim Neuschwander
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Another thank you from a person whose prime gaming time is alone, late at night after the kids and wife have gone to sleep. Keep 'em coming.
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Dan Cavaliere
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Thank you for sharing your excellent set of rules & design for Dominion!

I must agree, this is very challenging, but I do appreciate that and enjoy the play I have done so far. I've played over 80 games with 2+ players but this is proving to really challenge me only after 3 games! -been in the negatives so far blush

A couple of clarifications would help me if you don't mind:

1. Just to be sure, once you buy only a kingdom card you move the King to the stack and conclude the turn there (no discard of a kingdom card, correct?)

2. At one point in the rules (Strategy Session #7), it states a Dominion as '10 Kingdom Cards'- it is only 5 correct?

I may be missing something in major in both cases, but want to try and get better at this if I can and need to be sure I'm playing correctly - Thanks!
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SoloPlayGames
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Answers:
#1: You are correct. Purchase a kingdom card requires a movement of the king to the purchased stack only.

#2 The "dominion" mentioned refers to collecting "sets" of each kingdom card in your complete "Dominion" deck. If at games end you have 1 set you score an additional 10 points. This increases as you complete additional sets but there is also a choking effect that happens when you add too many kingdom cards before provinces etc. The 5 cards you are referring to are the stacks of kingdom cards which start with 5 cards and decrease as the game progresses.

Strategy note:
To get to a positive score focus on reducing the VP stacks a bit and pay close attention to the movement of the king. Getting multiple buys with treasure and/or VP cards with a kingdom card early helps the player instead of just discarding a card to get a VP or treasure card.
As you are able to pick up all of the treasure/VP cards increase the VPs to achieve a winning "Dominion".
It took me awhile to figure out how to beat the solo game. It seemed like I was in the 50's all the time but then something clicked and understood how to balance my approach to victory.

Thanks for your questions.
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Dan Cavaliere
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Thank you!

So there are only 5 cards in each kingdom and if you get all 5 you've collected a Dominion and score 10 points, 2 kingdoms is worth 30pts etc.

For some reason that other line lead me to believe there should be 10 cards in each kingdom like a regular game. blush

I did do better on my last game even though I lost - I scored 79 - I think I'm getting the strategy.

Also, when scoring and subtracting Treasure cards in play but not purchased do you subtract their 'face value' ie. -3 for a gold, -2 for silver?

Once again, thanks for the effort to make such a challenging solo play of this game. Excellent work!
 
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SoloPlayGames
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Gamer DC wrote:
So there are only 5 cards in each kingdom and if you get all 5 you've collected a Dominion and score 10 points, 2 kingdoms is worth 30pts etc.

Clarifying the "dominions"
A dominion for the sake of scoring is getting into your deck 1 of every available kingdom card(if a card is trashed it will still count towards the dominion scoring). Adding 1 of each kingdom card (there are 10 of them) to your deck will score 10 additional points at games end. Getting 2 of each kingdom card (20 cards total) will give the player an additional 30 points. Example: 2 witches, 2 money lenders, 2 festivals etc.

Buying all 5 of one type of kingdom card does not grant the player any additional points but can be a successful strategy if the VPs are right to get them collected quickly. Say 5 laboratories or festivals or both but this will create 2 empty stacks and a 3rd ends your game. So tread cautiously when digging deep into the kingdoms. You may shorten your game.

Thank you for your favorable comments. I hope that you continue to find it a challenging way to play a fine game.
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Dan Cavaliere
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AH HA! Got it! Thanks again for the clarifications! It all makes sense now blush

Going to play it again now!!

p.s. - and about the Treasure cards at the end?
 
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Dan Cavaliere
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Sent you a message with more questions. Sorry to be a pain but I just can't seem to get a victory with over 10 plays now. I'm hoping the answers to the questions will help me get over the hump of only scoring around 80 blush Thanks!
 
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Dan Cavaliere
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Here are the rules I recently sent that you asked me to post back here for everyone's reference:

Sorry to keep bothering you but I'm really enjoying playing your game and have come across a few more questions:

1. At the end with scoring, treasure cards not bought but in play, they count against you. Subtract 3 for gold, 2 for silver, 1 for copper? OR just subtract 1 pt per card?

2. If you use the Workshop, do I understand correctly that you may gain a card from the King's discard stacks as well as those available in kingdom stacks?

3. When you buy the last card in a kingdom stack, where does the King move to?

4. If the movement card moves the King to a kingdom with one card left, you discard it, and now where does the King go? Does he stay on the blank spot?

5. If you buy only a Gardens, it is a VP card, do you move the King according to the movement stack and discard accordingly or move it to the Gardens stack and discard a Garden card?

I apologize again for all the questions but I'm still struggling to win (still scoring in the high 70's) and wondering if these few answers might help me out if I play them correctly. Thanks!
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Thomas Bugnon
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Intrigue?
Hello,

Will the rules be updated with the Intrigue cards?

I haven't played it yet, but I'm looking forward to it, and as I have both games, I'd love to be able to use both to increase the fun.

Thanks anyway for the great work.
 
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SoloPlayGames
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Tobulogic wrote:
Will the rules be updated with the Intrigue cards?


Answer: I have a plan to do so when I have a chance to review the cards in detail to determine how to get all of the cards into play. Right now I am trying to wrap up the Agricola project that has been taking me all summer to complete. I have a couple other Solos that I want to complete that have been hanging around for awhile and then work on some new ones.
With all of the new interactions in the Intrigue set I am hoping that it will work out as smoothly as the base game did.

Thanks for your interest ... more to come.

I'll drop you a line when I complete the addition.
 
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Quote:
1. At the end with scoring, treasure cards not bought but in play, they count against you. Subtract 3 for gold, 2 for silver, 1 for copper? OR just subtract 1 pt per card?

Answer#1: 3 for gold, 2 for silver and 1 for copper. You certainly want to control the point loss in this category.
Quote:
2. If you use the Workshop, do I understand correctly that you may gain a card from the King's discard stacks as well as those available in kingdom stacks?

Answer#2:Yes, you can take from either but I would strongly suggest that you take from the discards so as not to shorten the game time. You need every play you can get.
Quote:
3. When you buy the last card in a kingdom stack, where does the King move to?

Answer#3:Into the empty position for this turn only. In future turns the space will be skipped over.
Quote:
4. If the movement card moves the King to a kingdom with one card left, you discard it, and now where does the King go? Does he stay on the blank spot?

Answer#4:Same answer as #3, to the empty position.
Quote:
5. If you buy only a Gardens, it is a VP card, do you move the King according to the movement stack and discard accordingly or move it to the Gardens stack and discard a Garden card?

Answer#5:Kingdom cards regardless of VPs offered count as kingdom cards so the King moves to the position of the card purchase.

Big thanks to Dan for posting the questions to this forum. I originally answered these awhile back in email.

When I was putting this solo version together I scored poorly for the longest time until I discovered how to create a balance in the cards to succeed (gain some level of victory) on a fairly regular basis. Learning how to use copper and curses to improve your scores is something you may want to consider in your end game. Just like the normal rules you have got to maintain a balance. If you take on copper early because you got into some trouble you had better have a way to get rid of it.

There is not one way to success so be flexible in your plan.
 
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Dan Cavaliere
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Looking forward to the Intrigue edition. I'm getting better at this variant but it is tough (that's a good thing).

It has helped my play for Dominion quite a bit
 
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Luis Escobar
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DUDE! All I want to say is, thanks for posting up this solo variant, it plays fantastic. Great job!

I'm glad you posted up all those Q&As up above. All those questions where exactly the same ones I was asking myself after I played. You might want to put them as a appendix for the download of the original rules.

Thanks again. Awesome game.
 
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SoloPlayGames
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Thanks for your comments.

I like your idea. When I finish Intrigue, I will compile an FAQ file and place it in both upload file sections.

I am glad you are enjoying the variant.
 
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Teddy C
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I really enjoy this solo variant so much that I customized a King card.



Thanks!
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SoloPlayGames
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Wow, great job. That looks much more professional than my homemade "king" and it fits into the theme to boot.

Thanks
 
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Juan Crespo
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Thank you for posting these rules.
I have a couple of quick questions, though:

Do the "modifications" of some action cards (Spy, Thief, etc) entirely replace the original actions, or are these "modifications" added to the original action? Specifically, does the Spy retain its "+! action" in addition to draw +1 card?

Are you working on the Intrigue and Seaside solo variants?
 
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SoloPlayGames
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juanma99 wrote:
Do the "modifications" of some action cards (Spy, Thief, etc) entirely replace the original actions, or are these "modifications" added to the original action? Specifically, does the Spy retain its "+! action" in addition to draw +1 card?

Are you working on the Intrigue and Seaside solo variants?

Answers:
1. All +draw/action functions are retained in the original game for the attack cards (although the Witch is a little conditional). The attack actions needed to be altered since there are no other players in the game.

2. Yes, I hope to get these done along side my other projects that I am working on. No exact timeline at this point.
 
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Juan Crespo
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Thank you so much for your answer. I guess I was handicapping myself a bit by not using the whole action in the card. Can't wait to play again!
 
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Charlie Richards
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These rules are wonderful and thank you so much! Will you be adding solo modifications for "Dominion Prosperity" or "Dominion Alchemy" any time soon? Would love to see these!
 
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dittersdorf wrote:
These rules are wonderful and thank you so much! Will you be adding solo modifications for "Dominion Prosperity" or "Dominion Alchemy" any time soon? Would love to see these!

Answer: I own Prosperity but not Alchemy so it is more likely for Prosperity than the latter. I would need to determine how the "additional" actions of the treasure cards and the purchasing of the cards might affect the flow of the current solo setup.

Once I get to the point of looking into it, I will post updates on my geeklist. I have not tried to soloplay with Prosperity yet.

Thanks for your interest in the variant.
 
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