Michael Leibig
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Greetings,

I love this game. It is so smooth and streamlined. Very fun.

Nonetheless, there are some slight house rules I was considering.

1) How about if a species goes extinct, it remains an open hole that can be filled in by a new species? So a new species can fill in the "niche" of the old species, but the existing species can't fill that space. Perhaps this is too powerful, since now you can tailor the new species to take advantage of any of their neighbors properties.

2) I think if a species goes to zero population in the middle of feeding, the species shouldn't go extinct. Just leave it in place, but don't do the extinction "action." Maybe you should turn over its adaptation cards so that it doesn't effect neighboring species anymore. Then the extinction happens at the end of feeding, when the species board goes away, the food goes in the VP bag and the player gets new adaptation cards.

I will definitely use the second rule in the next game, and will most likely try out the first rule in the next game.

Any thoughts or reflections would be appreciated.

Sincerely,

M. Leibig
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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I don't get the purpose of #2. Is it so people don't get cards in their hand immediately to be used with the Intelligent trait?
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Chris Wilczewski
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My guess is to keep things like Warning call active.
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Michael Leibig
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Greetings,

The main effect is to keep the cards from getting used for discard powers. I really like the intelligence adaptation, but it is very different from every other adaptation. It lets you sacrifice options on future turns for advantage now. On the last turn of the game, it is very powerful because there is no incentive to hold back the cards that you get from extinction because there is nothing you can do with them in future turns.

I was also thinking that perhaps when a species goes extinct between other species, maybe you shouldn't be able to fill in with another species. The idea is thematically, animals sort of adapt to each other to work together in some way (e.g. to co-operate) and once one of those species is dead, another animal can't just spring up to take that role. This might introduce a table space problem.

Sincerely,

M. Leibig
 
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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Oldman20 wrote:
The main effect is to keep the cards from getting used for discard powers.


This is a fully intended feature of the game. Everyone in the office liked how this is one of the emerging complexities that the system has to offer.

Oldman20 wrote:
I was also thinking that perhaps when a species goes extinct between other species, maybe you shouldn't be able to fill in with another species. The idea is thematically, animals sort of adapt to each other to work together in some way (e.g. to co-operate) and once one of those species is dead, another animal can't just spring up to take that role. This might introduce a table space problem.


We never tested this option. I'd love to hear what you think once you've played it several times. We stopped allowing people to create species in between other species because it was cumbersome and took time. Not only did it create AP in some people, but other people were very clumsy about moving the components, leading to confusion when remembering where the cubes were supposed to go.
 
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Ryan T.
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Game wise I'd be interested to hear how this works.

Thematically it seems to me that you are leaving the space to stopping an existing species from spring up to take that roles only for your to create a new species to spring up to take that role. Either way something is spring up to fill that slot.

Generally if a species goes extinct, existing species can take up some of the slack as "niches" don't really exist but are more a name we give to specialist carving out a piece of the ecosystem for themselves. With the specialist removed other species can usually expand into that piece of the ecosystem since the competition from the specialist is gone. But if the "niche" is one that benefits enough from specialisation the new species that expanding into it often will speciate to make a new specialist for that "niche".

Both parties in a "niche" that rely on cooperation that have specialised to become reliant on the other will go extinct if one party goes extinct. Cooperating species are generally only saved from this fate if they cooperate with more than one species to begin with (or don't rely on cooperation). Speciation is not fast enough to save them from this fate and can't really fill this kind of "niche" as the barrier to enter is usually too high.

Ultimately what I'm saying is speciation and extinction is a very complicated area of evolution and so it's not surprising that this game doesn't cover all the weird scenarios that can arise (one of my favourites is Ring Species). But a simple rule change won't solve it either. Both sets of rules hit some and miss a lot of the points laid out above (though a combination of the two does hit more points). But you'd need a set of very complicated rules to do speciation and extinction justice which would ruin the simplicity of this game.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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pengoyo wrote:
Game wise I'd be interested to hear how this works.

Thematically it seems to me that you are leaving the space to stopping an existing species from spring up to take that roles only for your to create a new species to spring up to take that role. Either way something is spring up to fill that slot.

Generally if a species goes extinct, existing species can take up some of the slack as "niches" don't really exist but are more a name we give to specialist carving out a piece of the ecosystem for themselves. With the specialist removed other species can usually expand into that piece of the ecosystem since the competition from the specialist is gone. But if the "niche" is one that benefits enough from specialisation the new species that expanding into it often will speciate to make a new specialist for that "niche".

Both parties in a "niche" that rely on cooperation that have specialised to become reliant on the other will go extinct if one party goes extinct. Cooperating species are generally only saved from this fate if they cooperate with more than one species to begin with (or don't rely on cooperation). Speciation is not fast enough to save them from this fate and can't really fill this kind of "niche" as the barrier to enter is usually too high.

Ultimately what I'm saying is speciation and extinction is a very complicated area of evolution and so it's not surprising that this game doesn't cover all the weird scenarios that can arise (one of my favourites is Ring Species). But a simple rule change won't solve it either. Both sets of rules hit some and miss a lot of the points laid out above (though a combination of the two does hit more points). But you'd need a set of very complicated rules to do speciation and extinction justice which would ruin the simplicity of this game.


Ring Species? Is that what happens to married couples after 25 years of fighting?

Just kidding.
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Ryan T.
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laugh If that couple has tons of generations of kids that many thousands of years later meet on the far side of an obstacle then yes.

But essentially it's a good example of why speciation is so complicated because species are hard to define. A ring species is one that all populations along a line can breed with their neighbours but when the two ends of the line meet on the far side of an obstacle they can't breed because the ends are too different from each other. Thus using the most common definition of a species (that they can interbreed) all can be considered part of the same species since they can all breed with their neighbours but, at the same time, the ends can be considered different species since they can't directly breed with each other. Or put another way, two separate species are linked into a single species.
 
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Michael Leibig
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Dominic,

I have a question.

domcrap wrote:
We never tested this option. I'd love to hear what you think once you've played it several times. We stopped allowing people to create species in between other species because it was cumbersome and took time. Not only did it create AP in some people, but other people were very clumsy about moving the components, leading to confusion when remembering where the cubes were supposed to go.


When we play the game, when a species becomes extinct, we slide the other species over to fill the gap. When you play do you leave the cards in place to avoid sliding the cards and accidentally moving the cubes?

Sincerely,

M. Leibig
 
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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No, we slide the species together. I'm not sure why this didn't pose as much of a problem, but it didn't. It's also not as much of a big deal now that we have real species boards with cut out slots for the wooden cubes. That was not the case with the prototypes.
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