Somehow I missed Underwater Cities when it first was released, but heard many good things about it and managed to pick up a copy in trade. I finally got around to setting it up to learn the rules and realized that for the solo player there was some room for improvement. While the spaces around the board are great when you have multiple players around the table who all can see something from their side. However, for the solo player, this spreading out of information can make things a little difficult.
So as I’ve done with other games, I decided to make a more solo-friendly game board. Using the 1-2 player board image from the Tabletop Simulator Steam Workshop module, I was able to extract the various action locations, Federation track, and Era Track and arrange them to fit in a standard 8.5×11 layout.
It took a little reworking of the era track, resizing of the action locations, and a completely new scoring track, but in the end playing the game solo will take up much less table space. You’ll need to stack the Era cards and Special cards on your table wherever you can (there is no dedicated space on the new board), but that’s a minor consideration at best.
You will use your scoring marker as well as your unused player order marker to track score in two columns for tens and ones. This will go up to 99 (technically the same the regular board), so you’ll need something to indicate that you scored 100 if you make a full lap and keep scoring (technically, the same as the regular board). You Federation marker will still go on the Federation track as normal.
The actions are laid out in columns, with the top-most being the same as the “right-most” in the rules, so the AI will start at the top and block down the list. To block a fourth action, just count the spaces from the upper green to lower green, upper red to lower red, and upper yellow to lower yellow, top to bottom until you get to the blocked space. The action spaces are too small for the action tokens provided, so you’ll have to improvise. I keep a bunch of discs and cubes near the game table anyway, so I’m blocking spaces with red discs and using coordinating blue cubes to select my actions as well. You could use discs of another player color from the game as well.
The board is actually laid out for 8×10.5″ (to accommodate most printer’s 1/4″ unprintable margin area). I printed mine on my Casio iX6800 inkjet onto really amazing Milcoast Glossy full sheet labels I got at Amazon. They are more pricey than standard full sheet mailing labels, but are designed not to smear and are waterproof. After printing I trimmed off some of the white area and then stuck the label (slowly peeling the backing) to a sheet of letter sized coated chipboard. I trimmed the board after this to remove the excess white space and then coated with a layer of Right Step brand satin finish. I tried the board without the protection and saw no issues with smearing as promised, but I love the smooth surface and “brush lines” the Right Step provides. The markers slide very easy and the color is kept safe. Finally I colored the edges with blue dry erase marker.
Now I can see all the available actions without having to move around the table or read upside down. And the board is slightly smaller than the player board and will fit neatly into the box.
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