31 October 2010

More Updates for INWOSOLO

My playtest last night revealed a pretty major hole in my INWOSOLO rules.  Unless you're playing Servants of Cthulhu, there's no incentive to attack a Rival power structure.  The mechanic to reduce the Intrigue Score via simply spending Action tokens makes it pointless to attack.  It will almost always take more Action tokens to make a successful attack than it will to simply reduce the Intrigue Score.  And the reward of a successful attack (under my current rules) is simply to reduce the cost further; you still have to spend Action tokens in phase 7.  Unless you're playing SoC, these rules encourage a degeneration into isolationism.  Isolationist decks do happen in multi-player games, but not every game.  So because the goal of INWOSOLO is to replicate the multi-player INWO experience,  I'm scrapping that mechanic...

Now, the only way to reduce the Intrigue Score is via a successful attack on a Rival power structure.  If you make a successful attack, roll a single die, two dice if the target Group counted double for any Rival Goal.  If any dice rolled are less than or equal to the eliminated Group's Power, reduce the Intrigue Score by 1.  Before rolling, add 1 point to the Group's Power for every +5 Closeness Bonus it had (a Group's closeness to its Illuminati usually indicates how valuable it is).  Roll these dice in phase 7 of your turn.  I have decoupled the play of Rival Plots from the Intrigue Score (see below) so there is no longer any limit on how many points you may reduce the Intrigue Score in one turn.  If you successfully attack multiple Groups, you are entitled to roll for Intrigue Score reduction multiple times.

Playtest also showed me that rolling one die to determine the defense bonus for closeness doesn't work.  It works great until the Intrigue Score reaches 6, at which point every Rival Group on the table automatically gets no bonus.  That makes no sense, as in multi-player INWO opponents will keep their vitally important Groups close, even until the end of the game.  A simple fix is to roll two dice.  If the sum of these two dice is equal to or less than the Intrigue Score, the Group has no closeness bonus.  If the sum is greater than the Intrigue Score, the Group has at least a +5 bonus and you must roll again to determine if it has a +10 bonus. 

One last change: using the Intrigue Score to trigger the play of Rival Plots is unnecessary.  The new mechanic: simply roll two dice and if the sum is less than or equal to the number of groups you control, a Plot is triggered.  Groups which count double for Illuminati Special Goals count double for this as well, but Groups which count double for unexposed Goal cards do not.  As before, roll these dice at the start of each phase on your turn, before you do anything.  Of course, on your first turn you are still immune from anything except NWOs.

A lot of changes to the INWOSOLO rules in the last few days due to some furious playtesting.  I will integrate all the changes with a new baseline rules post soon. 

30 October 2010


After some playtesting I've made some more significant changes to INWOSOLO.

First, all Rival Plot cards are still considered to be powered by the appropriate action tokens, but any Rival Groups (including Illuminati) that show up on the table must have an Action token to do anything (attack, defend, special abilities, whatever) just as in normal INWO.  Thus Rival Groups are essentially powerless until the Action token phase of the Rival Illuminati Turn.

The biggest change is the playing of Rival Groups.  The new rule is as follows: at the beginning of phase 5 of the Player Turn (your turn), before taking any actions play a number of Rival Groups equal to the Intrigue Score.  These Rival Groups represent Groups in the various Rival power structures that have spent their Action token and are thus vulnerable.  During the Rival Illuminati Turn, these Groups are still in play (unless successfully attacked by you) and will gain Action tokens.  They may then use these tokens to aid (if eligible) any attack against your power structure.  Thus, as the game progresses you will have more targets as Rival power structures sprawl out, but you will have much more power arrayed against you on the Rival Turn.

If your die roll indicates you must play a Rival Plot (see previous update post) and an Illuminati Group is revealed; it is powerless during your turn as the Rival Groups in the previous discussion.  On the Rival Illuminati Turn however, it will gain an Action token as other Groups and Resources.  Hope at that point you roll high enough to avoid an attack on your structure.

The final update regards spending Action tokens to lower the Intrigue Score.  That is now considered a special action and gets its own phase.  Phase 7 of the Player Turn is the only time you may spend actions to reduce the Intrigue Score.

I played a solitaire game tonight using a Booster Draft (and computer randomization) to make an average deck.  I used Servants of Cthulhu and won the game with 4 Rival Groups destroyed and 7 of my own controlled.  The Intrigue Score got all the way up to a 6 and I got lucky and didn't roll an "auto-win" for the Rival Illuminati.  My power structure also weathered 3 successful attacks (good thing auto takeovers are part of INWOSOLO!).  On the victory turn I had an 18 to destroy a group due to bonuses but rolled an 11!  So I attacked a different target and picked it off, then committed Action tokens and attacked the Templars with a 3 needed for success.  I rolled a 6 and it looked like I failed, but I played The Second Bullet and added Stonehenge's Global Power of 3 (Tabloids initiated the attack so the Templars weren't Secret), raising my attack strength to 6 and a success!  The rules really preserved the feel of a multi-player game.   

27 October 2010


After three play-test games of INWOSOLO, my solitaire version of INWO, I realize I don't like the mechanic for playing of Rival Plot cards.  I constantly forgot to reveal the Rival Plot at the appropriate time, probably because the whole "play a Rival Plot whenever you make any action" thing is just too vague.

Here's my proposed fix, which I will play-test and report on.  Rival Plot is now tied to the Intrigue Score.  The new rule regarding Rival Plots: at the beginning of each phase of the Player's Turn (only) before doing anything else, roll one die.  If the die score is less than or equal to the Intrigue Score, play the top card off the Rival Plot deck.  The card represents a Plot in the hand of one of your Rivals, a Plot that the Rival is planning to power and use against your power structure this turn.  The Plot is NOT exposed by this play; it must be exposed by normal means.  If the Plot can be resolved immediately, resolve it.  If not, keep it on the table just like in the previous INWOSOLO rules post.  Again, these cards (up to seven! a turn) represent not only the Plots in the hands of various Rivals, but their intentions to use them this turn against you.  Since the play of these cards is liked to the Intrigue Score, as the game progresses and all your Rivals have more Groups (and action tokens) to protect themselves, they also have more actions to power plots against their opponents, including you.  The rule mechanic essentially gives you a bit of prescience, and adds quite a lot of die rolls to the game, but I feel it's the best simulation of a multi-player match without having to resort to some overly complex artificial intelligence decision matrix or engine.    

24 October 2010

Custom Action Tokens

If you really want to sex-up your INWO game (or even Illuminati I bet) here's some vague DIY instructions on how to make some eye-in-the-pyramid Action tokens.

First, make a template for a proper pyramid.  I use a great modeling book that shows how to make almost any shape with just compass and straightedge.  The picture below shows the template:
Tape this template to a sheet of polystyrene.  I just use food packaging instead of buying expensive sheets at hobby stores.  If you don't know how to identify the various types of plastics, email me and let me know, I'll tell you how.  Anyways, cut around your template and then cut the individual faces of the pyramid out.  Take some two-part epoxy (Greenstuff, Pro-create, Loctite, whatever) and putty the edges together.  fold into a pyramid shape and jam inverted into a ball of putty (see pic):

As you can see, you create a small pyramid-shaped plastic container which you fill with an air-drying putty.  I recommend Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty because it has too many outstanding model making properties to list here.  Pour in the putty and wait 10 minutes or more.  Then insert a small loop made from a cut paper-clip:
The pyramid is shown curing next to a 15mm miniature work in progress for scale.  Let the pyramid cure for 1 hour.  This important.  Not too much cure or you can't carve it, but too little cure time and it will crumble.  After 1 hour you should be able to pull the pyramid out of the plastic mold and start carving a brick pattern.  
 Finally, drill a small hole in one side and carefully sculpt an eye (and eyelid) out of epoxy putty.  Usually GreenStuff sticks to everything, but I had to use CA glue to get the eye to stay put.  That's it!  The master sculpt is done.  

The next step will be to make a silicone mold out of simple window Silicone from Walmart.  Then mass-produce with Durhams.  I will post a picture of the silicone mold and some finished Action tokens when I make them.

Homebrew Illuminati

I've seen a lot of very creative homebrew INWO cards over the years, but one thing I've noticed is no one seems to create their own Illuminati Group.  Below is a summary of my homebrew Illuminati Group, The Pythagoreans.  I'm looking for some good card templates so I can make up a jpeg of the card.

The Pythagoreans

Power: 8/8

Special Ability: Roll two dice.  As a free move, make one of your groups Magic, or Science.  Add the other attribute if the dice sum is greater than that group's Power!

Special Goal: Write the name of any group and place under this card before the game.  The group counts double toward the number of groups you control, triple if Magic or Science, quadruple if both!

22 October 2010


Intrigue Score

I like the term Intrigue Score much better than Time Score.  Replace all references to Time Score in the INWOSOLO rules post with Intrigue Score.

More INWOSOLO Peculiarities

For Rival Groups that have bonuses or abilities based on the number of a certain type of other Groups available (such as "Add 2 to this Group's Power and Global Power for every media Personality in your power structure), use the following procedure to determine how many of these other Groups exist.  Roll one die.  Subtract this die score from the Intrigue Score.  Results less than zero are treated as zero.  For example, on a Rival Illuminati Turn (Intrigue Score 4), you suffer an attack on your power structure lead by Hollywood.  You roll a single die to determine how many media Personalities exist in the Rival power structure and get a 2.  Subtracting this from the Intrigue Score of 4, you get a total of 2 media Personalities, boosting Hollywood's Power to 6!  If you had rolled a 6, Hollywood would have no media Personalities to boost its Power. 

17 October 2010

Keep INWO Alive!

Welcome to Solipsist Gaming!  I started this Blog as a place to post my ideas for Illuminati: New World Order.  Although we all know Steve Jackson Games' awesome CCG has been out of print for over a dozen years now, I still enjoy it.  I hope some of my ideas can help others enjoy it too.