Arboretum was a game I found on Facebook Marketplace locally, for a great deal last year. Only recently did I sit down to try the simple solitaire variant by Jamie Rufe again.
I find this game fascinating in the sense that the artwork is beautiful. The cards are so nice to look at, and the colours are bold, which I love. And yet, it's a game where the deeper in you go, the less relaxed and calm you feel. 🤣 There are tough decisions and it can get ruthless.
The simple solitaire variant I tried when I first brought the game home. According to my notes, I lost 13-11 to the 'Tree-Bot' (my creation on the name... Genius I know 😉). But after a handful of plays this week, I'm thinking I scored wrong. 🤣
I've played Arboretum a handful of times only leading into this week's solo games but I now have a much better understanding of the rules. Sitting down with the solo variant to experiment this week, things were much clearer in how to play. Jamie Rufe's solo variant is very simplistic to run which is a plus.
Part way through the first game, the solo variant rules became very smooth and the games went pretty quickly, meaning I easily had time for at least a few games. The issue (and questions) arose while scoring...
In the simple solo variant, you score similarly to a regular game where you have to "earn the right to score" (that's part of the ruthlessness I mentioned). I scored my paths and the "Tree-Bot" paths. But then for this variant, you take out your highest scoring and lowest scoring paths. Whatever you're left with is "your score".
The game's run very smoothly, and you feel great about your arboretum you're building... then it's all chopped down in a heartbeat! 😏
So with that, my scores have come out as...
The scores make sense to me in that in this game, you're not scoring tons and tons of points. I'm wondering if it's simply because I still need to play more to make better decisions? I just feel that there isn't enough time to build multiple paths so that I can score more. With this variant, you really need to have at least 3 paths so that after eliminating your highest and lowest, you have something else to score. As you can see by my scores, I typically built 2 paths only.
I've posted a question to Jamie on the forum, but I'm not sure how often it's checked. 🙄 However, as I said the variant itself works I feel so I'm not giving up on it. It's most likely just my play that needs work. 🤣
I did notice this variant this morning however, that I've bookmarked and will check out as well. As much as I love official solo variants, sitting down to experiment with fan-created variants can be fun for me too. 😃
There’s a solo variant by Ricky Royal that I think is great for an occasional play; it doesn’t require you to run an opponent - the cards discarded from your hand form a separate discard. At the end, you have to beat the summed values of cards in that discard for the right to score your paths.
I, for one, appreciate you sifting through the fan-created variants, so I don't have to. Ambitious folks such as you, Derek, are much appreciated by lazy bastards such as me! 😄
That table you play on looks 'sizeable'. But, you do have some bad-boys that need the space.