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Karuba: Solo

Karuba is, essentially, a solo game that two to four players play simultaneously. One player could theoretically play for a high score, but the randomness of the draw makes that a little problematic – and playing to beat a high score outside of the arcade isn’t terribly fun anyway. But as I was playing with the pieces and the tiles and thinking of a simple notation for my aforementioned hypothetical correspondence game1, I accidentally came up with what seems to be a decent solo variant for this game.

For the most part, my solo rules adhere to the base rules of Karuba. Tile placement rules are the same, and discarding for movement is the same 2. The goal is to hit all four temples (with their respective adventurers). I randomize setup by shaking the adventurers and temples up in my hand (perhaps a chit/dice cup would work better), and kind of letting them fall in a row. I roll a d12 to place each piece in turn, rerolling for 12s or spaces that are already occupied. Once everything is placed, I start pulling tiles as normal.

The tension I add for this solitaire version is a cost of entry for temples. Two or three crystals/one gold or one gold and one crystal to enter seems to be a good balance, but this can be adjusted for greater or lesser difficulty. This means that a bunch of straight shots from adventurer to temple might not be as straight as they seem – I still need to acquire treasure in order to enter the temple. Games have largely ended in barely-lost or barely-won scenarios, and having a goal rather than just trying to acquire points has turned it into a viable, fun solo game.


  1. The rules refer to the colors of the pieces as brown, blue, purple, and yellow. I would propose referring to these as ‘n’, ‘b’, ‘p’, and ‘y’. Initial setup would refer to the temples by their coördinates, and adventurers by theirs. The rest of the game would exclusively use the adventurers’ coördinates. The person choosing the tile would announce the tile, and then the move. Other players would respond with a move only. Moves would take the format of piece, y, x, where piece would either be a moving adventurer (implying a discard), or the numbered tile. So if tile 22 was the draw, I could either announce 22,30,90 to tell where I was setting that tile on my board; or p,10,100 to state that I was discarding to move my purple adventurer to the tile at 10,100. Replacing one coördinate with ’t’ would imply that the adventurer was moving to the temple at that coördinate. ↩︎
  2. I’ve gone back and forth between traditional movement rules and allowing movement to be split between adventurers. The restrictions of traditional movement seem perfectly reasonable, however. ↩︎