Saturday, May 16, 2015

Solo Card Games: Theory and Practice (Part 1)

By: Chad La Mons

Recently I have been playing a fun game that incorporates both cards and miniatures maneuvering on a game board. Solo-play rules I came up with for this game worked so well that I’m certain some aspects may prove useful to others interested in crafting a solo-engine for card games. Part 1 deals with creation considerations and part 2 gives a description of an actual solo-card system.

Player= the human player
SO= the Solo-Opponent
Hit-points= some games use a life point system. When all HP are gone a player is doomed.
Graveyard= the card discard pile, that may sometimes return cards into play.

A Few Sample Considerations

1.     Looking at the SO’s hand is necessary, but gives the Player an unfair advantage since the SO cannot see the Player’s hand.

2.     Cards that allow players the ability to look at an opponent’s cards or at cards in the pick-up Deck favor only the Player.

3.     How does the Player handle situations fairly that require the discarding of cards from the SO’s Hand?

4.     What parameters dictate SO decision making?

Possible Solutions

1.     Normally, this cannot be avoided but may be made less of an issue by giving the SO a significant advantage. Perhaps, always allowing the SO to act first/last (whichever is most advantageous).

2.     If possible, remove these cards from the game.

3.     Carefully studying the game rules should give insight into which cards are more expendable than others. For example: Healing cards are very important, but not so much for a player that has no heal-able units in play.

4.     Decisions as to whether or not to attack, defend, flee or which cards to use immediately and which to save for later use, should be based primarily on which cards are in the SO’s Hand. Cards in a graveyard or level of hit-points can also create mitigating factors.

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