The Countess is the last living relative of the oppressive Royal Family that used to rule the land. Using her vast fortune and army of soldiers she seeks to restore the nobility to their former glory days, with herself as Queen.
She will use everything in her arsenal to stop the local villagers from organizing on their own. What she lacks in goodwill from the people and economic skills she makes up for with bribery, dirty tricks and violence.
The Solo Mode is a way of playing Villagers with just one player. It uses two decks of events and some simple rules changes to simulate playing against an evil Countess.
Though you have the advantage of controlling what villagers will end up in each Village, you must react to disastrous Events every round, adapting your strategy around them.
Set up the game like a 2 player game, except:
Remove all cards from the Special suit.
There are 5 cards in each stack on the road instead of 4.
Place the Jester card next to your Village Square.
Shuffle the Winter Events and the Summer Events in separate stacks and place them face-down on the table. Deal the top Summer Event face-up next to the Road. This Event card will be in play the first round of the game.
Replace one player with The Countess:
- The Countess Card forms the start of her Village instead of a Founders card. Place it with the side showing 4 Gold facing up.
- The Countess has 1 gold in her Supply.
- The Countess does not have a hand of cards.
The Solo Mode follows the same rules as a 2 player game, but as there is only one player playing there are some additional rules for each phase:
Whenever you draft a card from the Road, also place a face-up villager of your choice from the Road into the Countess Village (The Countess builds in the Draft Phase!). This is done before dealing new face-up cards to the Road from the Stacks.
The villagers placed into the Countess Village ignore the rules for Production Chains, every villager is placed separately.
The Countess ignores the Padlock mechanic when villagers are placed into her Village. You still have to pay her villagers to unlock any villagers you play with Padlocks, as per the normal rules for Padlocks. She counts as another player in that regard.
Resolve the End of Draft Phase as you would in a 2-player game, except The Countess does not place Gold on any villager on the Road. If The Countess for any reason gets a villager you placed Gold on during the end of a Draft Phase, she gets the coin(s) placed on it to her Supply.
After finishing the Build Phase, resolve the Event Phase. If there is a Market Phase in the current round, it is resolved after the Event Phase. Carry out the following steps in order:
Resolve all the face-up Events. Carry out the effects stated on the cards. You can resolve them in any order you like. Discard the Events as you resolve them.
Some Events have rules that apply in a specific phase of the game instead of being resolved in the Event Phase. These cards are also discarded in this phase.
When all Events have been resolved, The Countess takes the top card of the Reserve and places it in her village. This is is done just like in the Draft Phase, ignoring the normal rules for Production Chains and Padlocks.
Depending on the Gold/Silver value of this villager, a number of new Event cards will be dealt:
- If the villager has a value of 10 Gold or more, deal 1 Event card.
- If the villager has a value between 1 and 9 Gold, deal 2 Event cards.
- If the villager is worth 0 gold, deal 3 Event cards.
If the villager has a Silver Symbol, calculate its current Gold value and deal Event cards according to the rules above.
Solo Draft Phase Example:
The player drafts a villager, then places a face-up villager from the Road into the Countess Village. After this, two new cards will be dealt from the leftmost stack on the Road. As the player has 1 Food, this process must be done 3 times this round.
End of Event Phase Example:
The Countess gets a Truffler at the end of the Event Phase. It's worth 8 Gold, so 2 new Event cards are dealt.
Switching from summer to winter events
Events are dealt face-up from the Summer Events deck until the First Market Phase has been resolved. In the rounds after it has been resolved, they're dealt from the Winter Events deck.
The Jester belongs to the player and can be played at any time. As described on his card, he allows you to immediately discard an Event.
He cannot be used to discard an Event that has already been resolved or is in the middle of being resolved (when The Countess gets a face-down card from the Conscription event for example, you cannot discard the Event after looking at the card!).
He is discarded after use, so can only be used once. The Jester is not in the player's hand, and so cannot be traded in for a Basic Villager.
The Countess scores exactly like a player in the Market Phases (including Silver Symbols in the Second Market Phase). The Gold on the Countess Card is included in the scoring.
The Final Round
In the final round, when the Second Market Phase (and the end of the game) has been triggered, the Countess does not place the top card of the Reserve into her Village.
End of the Game
You win if you have more Gold than The Countess in your Supply at the end of the game.
For a more forgiving game (recommended if playing for the first time!), make the following changes:
- Only deal 1 Event each round, regardless of what villager The Countess gets at the end of the Event Phase.
- Flip the Countess Card over to the side that has no Gold on it.
- Remove the "It was you" Event card from the Winter Events.
For a more challenging game, make the following changes:
- Deal 2 Event cards at the beginning of the game instead of 1.
- Remove the Jester from the game.
- Remove the "It was you" Event from the Winter Events.
- Give The Countess 10 starting Gold instead of 1.
Additional Solo Mode Rules
If you want to get a solo game going quickly, you can skip reading the rules on this page and just start playing, then look things up here while playing.
Running out of Events
If you manage to run out of Events in a deck (Summer or Winter), shuffle the discarded Events and create a new stack from them.
Events in other phases
Most events do nothing until they are resolved in the Event Phase. The text on these events all start with the word Event in bold letters. Other events affect specific phases of the game, specified in bold letters on the cards.
These events have an effect that will remain in play during the specified phase of the upcoming round. The Rats event for example will affect the upcoming Draft Phase. If you get an event like this at the beginning of the game, it will be in play during the first round.
Events affecting the road
Some Events let The Countess take villagers from the Road. If it's a face-up card, replace it with one from the leftmost Stack as you would in the Draft Phase. Cards being acquired from The Road in the Event Phase can trigger the Market Phases (and the end of the game!).
Several events refer to Top Villagers. A Top Villager is a villager with no other villagers placed on top of it. This includes any villagers with no cards beneath them, like Solitary villagers for example.
Villagers with Coins
Sometimes The Countess will steal villagers from your Village. If they have any coins placed on them, they will go to your Supply.
Your Founders cannot be removed from your Village by Events.
Running out of Gold
Many events make you pay gold to the Bank or The Countess. If you don't have enough Gold to pay, you simply pay as much as you can. If you run completely out of Gold you don't have to pay anything.
Kickstarter Expansion Pack
The expansions in the Kickstarter Expansion Pack are not recommended for use with this solo mode, as they're not balanced for it. Having said that, it can be fun to houserule and add parts of the expansions anyway.
Perhaps you want an easier game and give yourself a Scoundrel and a Saint. And maybe try to compete with The Countess for a Development or two?