principes romanes
Sergeant
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:32 pm
Location: Genève

Playing solo against yourself

Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:29 am

I believe there are a few players on this forum who play both sides in a game, i.e. playing against themself instead of against the AI.

Any tips for a player thinking of doing that? I'm worried I'll just subconsciously know what my 'opponent' is planning on doing, and that will lead me to unrealistically countering my own moves.
Currently writing:
The Coming Fury - an excessively detailed AAR on Union strategy

User avatar
Durk
Posts: 2209
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:36 am
Location: Wyoming

Re: Playing solo against yourself

Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:44 am

I really like playing solitary against myself. It might be helpful in your understanding of how this works without 'cheating' to know I did this for years with table top board games. As you can imagine, no enemy dispositions were hidden as in AGEOD game with fog of war. But one function of the AGEOD system, simultaneous movement means even your best predictions may not meet reality. Especially with Veteran Activation your plans may go seriously awry.

You are absolutely going to know your opponent's plans. I just think of this as the advantage Robert E Lee had over so many of his opponents. Or as Patton says famously in the movie in reference to Rommel, “I read your book.”

Why this works is for a number of reasons, but first – one reason to play against AI is you get a lot of clues about how to win the game from the designer's planned AI play.

Playing versus yourself is really nice for learning how to play a game as you get to explore options. If you mess up, you can back up and nobody cares. What would this turn have been like if I would have done this instead? For instance. I usually do not take back turns except as I am exploring things like combat variations of the impact of movement and weather on combat and such. Usually I play to win as all factions, but occasionally I intentionally make poor moves for one faction for reasons usually historical but occasionally just because . . ..

So say you are faced with the dilemma of countering your own move. What to do?
Option #1: as above, I read your book.
Option #2: what if I did not know? What would be my best move? (I am good at this 'dumb' move)
Option #3: Knowing my opponent might anticipate my move, what is my better move.

Because I tend more toward historical play than gaming the system, I do let history be my guide. This has made the WON game perfect for solo play of all factions. But even with PON, playing all eight factions allows you to explore competing and mutually oppositional strategies.

The deal is you strike a bargain with yourself: I am playing this game to learn how to make the 1914 invasion of France work. I am playing this game to maximize the Confederate chances in the West. I am playing this game to see which faction can produce a stronger army. And for me, I am playing this game to see if I can recreate the historical outcomes of the war.

One reason I love AGEOD games, when I play for the last objective (seeing if I can recreate history) I can typically recreate the historical outcome of the war, which I rarely do against my very excellent human opponents. And which I never do in solo play with other game companies. I only know one other game designer who consistently simulates history to this degree of precision.

When I am in historical play mode I ask a question like: What if Lee had not gone for Gettysburg but instead allowed Longstreet to take Kentucky? Or, what if Germany focused on the Eastern front in 1914? Because I am asking these sorts of questions I do not want the oppositional side to play weakly. I want them to maximize their advantage of some insight into my plans.

Lots of fun, but so what if you cheat?? Only you will know. More importantly, you will know the level of your use of foreknowledge of your own moves. Can you mentally block what you movement of the other faction has been? Maybe not. But what you can do is play what you see. I do like exploring games versus myself. I have never thought, “Oh I made this move, how do I counter it.” I always think instead, what is the best move I can make as this faction.

As an incidental side note, playing pbem is the 'cat's meow.' I love pbem, but playing versus yourself is the next best thing. And for learning a game and exploring its possibilities, playing against yourself is the best teacher.

DavoM
Private
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:14 am

Re: Playing solo against yourself

Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:52 am

I echo Durk's post. I am also a solo player, and have played all the AGEOD titles released at least once this way. I like to keep as close to the historical events as possible, but at the same time allow some flexibility to pursue actions that a nation/faction could have taken within the realms of reality. I am currently playing a massive solo 1850 campaign in PON taking control of some 20+ nations.

In undertaking this massive campaign, I wanted to achieve several things. The list of nations that I currently control is as follows:
United States of America, Ottoman Empire, Spain, Russia, Austria, Piedmont-Sardinia, Belgium, Prussia, Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, China, Egypt, Mexico, Taiping, Persia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Colombia

Obviously choosing the major nations to play is a given. I also chose to control those nations that have or will acquire colonies. Then I added much of South America to my playing list, and finally some of the other nations that featured more prominently during this historical period. This has allowed me to pursue a relatively historical path, plus ensure the world economy functions better by developing some of those nations that the raw materials the more developed ones need (i.e. South America). Additionally, I have been able to experiment and change my playing style as required. For instance, rather than trying to make a nation self-sufficient in all resources possible, I realised it is better to develop those that a nation is strong in and trade for those that it is deficient in, thus creating a more natural economy/trade system. It's also been fun developing the economies of the 'minor' nations; Brazil is a potential powerhouse once there is enough investment available.

PON is, IMHO, the best platform for solo play in that the research and development structure ensures almost every faction has differing levels of capability. Rather than facing enemies with similar or same weaponry and force structure, due to the research tree in PON I have nations at different levels facing off against each other. For instance, In my campaign Persia has developed muzzle-loaded rifles well before Prussia and Austria have. Conversely, China and Japan are a generation behind having just researched percussion cap muskets.

Controlling so many nations means I often forget what moves I have made with one when controlling an opposing side. Additionally, the sheer number of rival nations present in PON allows a great variety of potential conflicts. In choosing South American nations I also get to model some of the conflicts that occurred on that continent during the period (i.e. War of the Pacific, War of the Triple Alliance). For example, Argentina is an unstable, volatile nation in the 1850's and I decided that as a distraction from domestic woes, they would attack their equally unstable neighbour in Uruguay. So far the war is not going to plan for the Argentines, with the added complication of both Brazil and Paraguay waiting in the winds deciding if they should intervene on one side or the other. Taking control of some of the other factions also allows me to replicate some of the big conflicts of the time. My current Taiping Rebellion has so far lasted three years and resulted in the deaths of over a million soldiers on both sides. In controlling the conflict, I also get to experience the events written into the game. Rather than the rebellion being easily crushed or in constant stalemate due to AI control, I will actually get to see the arrival of the Ever Victorious Army, 'Chinese' Gordon, and the massive death and destruction the Taiping-Qing conflict caused. Interestingly, in my game there has not been a Crimean War - so complete historical simulation is not guaranteed!

It might be taking forever to play, but it is fun doing so!! ;)

User avatar
loki100
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1998
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:15 pm
Location: Glasgow
Contact: Website Twitter

Re: Playing solo against yourself

Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:20 pm

I think Durk is spot on about you have to use the activation setting that leaves you unsure as to the final status - that plus the wego system injects a degree of tactical surprise. Also then play historically, in a way its akin to slowly reading a very detailed book about the war in question.

Oddly I'd disagree with DavoM about PoN being ideal. My personal logic is that PoN has an effective AI - it helps the game uses the simple rules for stack building (ie use up CPs), if you play on the harder setting it even escapes the worst impact of poorly constructed stacks.

More importantly the constraints in PoN on expansion means that the AI can't be eliminated and with the major powers has surprising durability.

So does the PoN AI make mistakes - yes, but it can also surprise you in rather entertaining ways. And the game engine protects the AI from its worst errors.
AJE The Hero, The Traitor and The Barbarian
PoN Manufacturing Italy; A clear bright sun
RoP The Mightiest Empires Fall
WIA Burning down the Houses; Wars in America; The Tea Wars

principes romanes
Sergeant
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:32 pm
Location: Genève

Re: Playing solo against yourself

Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:21 pm

Thanks for the phenomenal replies! They are super helpful!

I think my take away is that it's worth figuring out why I'm playing against myself first before just starting the game - is it to try to recreate history? Is it to try a particular historical variant? Is it to try to build a strong underlying economic base for the conflict? And ideally I think about it as "what would happen if ... ?" instead of "who would win if ... ?"
Currently writing:
The Coming Fury - an excessively detailed AAR on Union strategy

User avatar
Durk
Posts: 2209
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:36 am
Location: Wyoming

Re: Playing solo against yourself

Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:16 am

Of course a good purpose is to just have fun moving imaginary armies around a map.

User avatar
Husaria
Sergeant
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:11 pm
Location: Carpathia

Re: Playing solo against yourself

Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:27 am

I'd also like to try playing PON against myself.

How do I go about doing this?

How do I set the game up for hosting?

How do I close out a country's order phase so that I can move to the order phase of the next country? I don't think it's a hotseat arrangement is it?

Thanks in advance.

User avatar
loki100
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1998
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:15 pm
Location: Glasgow
Contact: Website Twitter

Re: Playing solo against yourself

Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:29 pm

Husaria wrote:I'd also like to try playing PON against myself.

How do I go about doing this?

How do I set the game up for hosting?

How do I close out a country's order phase so that I can move to the order phase of the next country? I don't think it's a hotseat arrangement is it?

Thanks in advance.


well its a brave undertaking....

simplest open T1 on the grand campaign say as Britain, do a set of orders. Close and re-open say as USA. As many times as you want controlled majors.

Then combine all the order files under one game - you'll have 3-8 notional games. At that stage press turn end. for T2 up to the end, then the turn routine will expect order files for each power. All you need to do then is open PoN, select one of your chosen states, do the orders, change to another power and so on.

Now for what its worth, I think the PoN AI is one of the better ones in the series. It helps that due to diplomacy/peace/conquest rules you can't do a world conquest, so as a player the game puts in a lot of constraints. I also find that as of now the AI does an ok job at economic management, isn't too bad at army management, can do naval invasions. The only regular flaw I find is it over-uses its navy for commerce raiding rather than protecting its transports or engaging in fleet battles.

On the other hand I find that CW2 done solo is a much better experience than AI, and if you want to play historically and immerse yourself in the slow unfolding of the war perhaps better than PBEM - would say much the same about RuS and RoP
AJE The Hero, The Traitor and The Barbarian
PoN Manufacturing Italy; A clear bright sun
RoP The Mightiest Empires Fall
WIA Burning down the Houses; Wars in America; The Tea Wars

User avatar
Husaria
Sergeant
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:11 pm
Location: Carpathia

Re: Playing solo against yourself

Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:56 pm

Loki100:

Thanks for your reply. I will give it a try this weekend.

I have to agree that CW2 would be a better solo game.

Regarding a solo PON what I am interested in trying was more the trade interface between two nations. I'd like to go on both sides of a transaction in order to see how it progresses.

User avatar
Durk
Posts: 2209
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:36 am
Location: Wyoming

Re: Playing solo against yourself

Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:20 am

I was drawn to this thread from a repost, but I wonder Husaria, if you are monitoring the forum of if other players have done the solo PON game. I started an eight player PON game back in the day when PON was brand new and have continued until today. I try to play one turn a week but it is sometimes one a month. I am enjoying.
The diplomacy and trade interface are interesting when you have inside trader information. Fortunately, PON was back in the day and I am in no danger of a long prison sentence.

czert2
Brigadier General
Posts: 422
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 1:33 am

Re: Playing solo against yourself

Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:38 pm

principes romanes wrote:I believe there are a few players on this forum who play both sides in a game, i.e. playing against themself instead of against the AI.

Any tips for a player thinking of doing that? I'm worried I'll just subconsciously know what my 'opponent' is planning on doing, and that will lead me to unrealistically countering my own moves.


well, if you have schizophrenia, i think you will do just fine.

User avatar
Durk
Posts: 2209
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:36 am
Location: Wyoming

Re: Playing solo against yourself

Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:55 am

Funny comment, but playing all sides is a nice way to explore a game.

Return to “General discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests