Help me Playtest

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who ever cobbled something together? If I am, this can be a short lived post. If not, we’ve got this community, so we can pull this thread up when someone has something to run by people. Hopefully we can find a few people out there with the appropriate interest/materials/group to provide additional insight. You can’t test these things on their own!

I’m going to leave this parent post generic and post an item as the first reply.

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I’ve worked out a Mottainai solo variant. By my own estimation, it’s good (now). But you never trust your own estimation in these things.

Here’s the doc
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My general philosophy is that a good solo does three things:

  1. Duplicate the actual experience of playing the game against a human, not provide an alternate experience
  2. Eliminate all decision making on the part of the human (deterministic)
  3. Simplify bot turns to the most extreme degree possible

In that order. I will always sacrifice a lower-down element for a higher one, if needed.

Mottainai has several solo variants up on the geek but they all failed these tests - some were easily exploitable as you could just avoid certain tasks to starve the bot, or they had complex decision making trees for managing the bot’s hand and selecting works and wings, etc.

I copied heavily from the Race for the Galaxy blueprint (in the first expansion) to abstract most of the actions. Eventually, it worked. I think I nailed 1 and 2. 3 is mostly nailed as well, though the first time you have the bot “Smith” you may have to follow the rules closely. It’s smooth once you’ve rehearsed it.
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You just need Mottainai and the rules. They are 2 pages. Jiro’s (the bot’s) actions are all on page 1, and the scoring is on page 2, so you shouldn’t have to flip at all when playing.

As noted, everything should be straightforward except Smithing. And after you Smith once or twice, I’m hoping that feels straightforward as well.

There’s an appendix for the effects of works that don’t make sense against a bot. My advice is - just don’t complete any works that don’t work in this context (at first). Once managing the bot is seamless, you can dive into all those edge cases.
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What I’d love to know:

  1. Anything in the rules unclear or confusing (or wrong)?
  2. How is the bot’s difficulty level? I think I’m average so the default bot should be calibrated to average at this point.
  3. Did you uncover any exploit strategies that allow you to win by manipulating the bot’s actions?
  4. Did you enjoy yourself and feel like you were playing Mottainai?
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I’ll give this a look at some point. Playing solo will help me internalise the rules

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Ooh, I might have to take a look at this! Of course, I don’t actually own a copy of Mottainai, but this is a good excuse to pick up a copy. I actually looked into the available solo modes when I first saw this game, but was turned off for all the reasons you describe. Hopefully this will be the one!

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Good news!

It’s free to print-and-play!

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Shamelessly pinging the other known Mottainai players and Chudyk acolytes…
@EnterTheWyvern
@lalunaverde
@Whistle_Pig
@Benkyo
@InkyBloc
@VictorViper

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While I do like Mottainai, I’m not going to play it solo, sorry.

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I’ll give this a poke. I’m not particularly experienced with the game, but my partner and I have had a half dozen games or so, and the rules are pretty well internalized. We’ve started out with a good rivalry and I’m protective of that, so if it feels like a good trainer bot, I won’t be playing long for fear of widening the gap.

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I’ve got another one.

Fossil - An Auction Card Game.

This is a game for 4-8 players with a 52 card deck. While it does mechanically support 4-8 players, 5-6 seems to be the sweet spot. 7-8 really benefits from all players already knowing the game well (per usual). 4 is a little meager.

This started as more of a frivolous party game but as we tested it it showed more muscle than expected. That said, your first play may feel random and undirected, in the vein of 6 nimmt. Yes, you’re having fun, but you don’t really have much control over things.

Somewhere in the first game or two, though, you may start to realize that what you auction allows you to manage other players’ hands, and the table state, setting you up for future turns. And as each auction turns into a mixture of open and hidden information, there is a very fast deduction game going on that may favor (or ruin) the speedy. And once you grok that, you can bluff that deduction game by doing something off-strategy, possibly snatching away something that isn’t rightfully yours.

Rounds are quick and rules are short, so I’m hoping some other groups out there can get a few plays in and let me know what is still janky. And, I hope, enjoy themselves in the process!

Cheers.

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