This afternoon, I played Ascension for the first time - and I played it solo, by simply dealing two decks and playing both players' turns. I had fun, and ultimately Ascension seems like a game where playing for more than one player isn't too much a conflict of interest - you can only do so much to influence the other player.
It led me to a broader idea, and I'm bringing it here as a question.
When a game doesn't have a predefined solitaire rule set, what's a good approach for designing a solo variant?
The three biggest categories I can think of are:
- design an AI player who follows rules, and execute them on the AI's turn (see Race for the Galaxy)
- design challenges which the solo player must overcome (see Merchant of Venus)
- play as more than one player (as I did for Ascension today)
What's a good set of criteria for a custom solo variant to a board or card game?