Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tiny Epic Kingdoms Solo Rules Variant

Tiny Epic Kingdoms
Designer: Scott Almes
Publisher: Gamelyn Games
Solo Variant: George Jaros
Over the last few weeks I've been playing a lot of games by designer Scott Almes.  I've had Tiny Epic Kingdoms for a while now and have played it a handful of times, enjoying it every time.  I also just recently received in the mail Harbour and Tiny Epic Defenders, two Kickstarters that I backed last July and received both over a month early!  I also just backed Tiny Epic Galaxies, the third entry in Scott's Tiny Epic series, published by Gamelyn Games.  All of those games have solo variant rules included in the game, except for Tiny Epic Kingdoms.  Since I've been playing solo games a little more frequently I've decided to give a shot at creating a solo variant of Tiny Epic Kingdoms.

There is no official solo variant of TEK, although there is one available on Board Game Geek called Dark Armies that sounds interesting, but it adds a few components to the game and focuses on warefare.  Since there is a lot more going on in TEK than just fighting, I decided to write my own variant.  

After playing and reading about the solo versions in other Scott Almes games I decided that I wanted my solo TEK variant to follow in the vein of Scott's own solo game variants.  That is to say, I wanted to the solo variant to match the multiplayer game as close as possible.  I didn't want any extra components to be required and I wanted the AI to be stupid, predictable, but still challenging.  And by stupid, I mean that the AI won't be making any critical strategic decisions.  Having an AI that has to make decisions means that the player has to make those decisions for the AI and it basically turns the game into a single player just playing two sides.  That's never fun (unless your name happens to be Richard Ham).  The AI also had to present a challenge without being overly difficult or overly simplistic.

So I worked on a few ideas for how the AI player could work based on ideas from Scott's AI player mechanics in Harbour.  After a few tweaks and adjustments I think I've found a balance that is challenging, engaging, and simple to play while still keeping the overall Tiny Epic feel of the full game.  

I'd love to get some feedback and hear if you think it works well, too.  This is a work in progress, so if you have any ideas for tweaks let me know and I'll take them into consideration!

You can download the Tiny Epic Kingdoms Solo Variant by GJJ Games PDF file here: http://georgejaros.com/Files/Tiny-Epic-Kingdoms-Solo-Variant-by-GJJ-Games.pdf

UPDATE: 6/18/2015 - Added a new file that is formatted to print on one page (double sided), adds a few clarifications, tweaks a few rules a bit for better balance, and adds rules for Ruins and Capital Cities.

Playing solo Tiny Epic Kingdoms.

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