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Subject: Carnivore advice rss

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Matt Bayes
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So I've played a few games now and it is really hard to make a carnivore. Like if it's too late in the game everyone will have species that are too bbig or special traits that require your own special traits to counter. How have you guys made successful meat eaters?
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Jonathan Maisonneuve
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Pack Hunting and/or Intelligent really help Carnivor.
Make sure to quickly increase size and population.

Use another of your specy for food if you can't get your opponent. Make that specy big (but 1 size under what your Carnivor specy can attack) and population enough big to allow it to survive. Also, feed this specy before the carnivor so you do not lose food opportunity when its population will reduce.


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Dominic Crapuchettes
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backspace8908 wrote:
So I've played a few games now and it is really hard to make a carnivore. Like if it's too late in the game everyone will have species that are too bbig or special traits that require your own special traits to counter. How have you guys made successful meat eaters?


Save a Carnivore card so you can create a Carnivore when you are the last player for the round. I would do it anytime from 25% into the game until the last round of the game, but only if someone is playing overly riskily (too many species or species without protection).

Create a few extra species early in the game to get extra cards. You'll need them if you play intelligence.

Never create more than 1 Carnivore at a time.

Discard the Carnivore trait when feeding it becomes tough (like when you're the first player for the round).
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Jason
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backspace8908 wrote:
So I've played a few games now and it is really hard to make a carnivore. Like if it's too late in the game everyone will have species that are too bbig or special traits that require your own special traits to counter. How have you guys made successful meat eaters?


I find that if opponents have done this, they've probably hamstrung themselves. Your carnivore is probably going to be able to eat at least ONE food per turn (even if it has to be your own), so it's worth having one just to force everyone else to waste trait slots and body size cards just to avoid you as much as possible. And if you slap Intelligence on there, you're probably going to have plenty of targets.
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J Kaemmer
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If your opponents have wasted cards increasing body size or are being overly defensive, I'd recommend NOT going carnivore typically. Mostly because you have an opportunity to severely outpace them with fast-feeding strategies using traits like foraging and cooperation. You should also be making a ton of species with your extra cards. With a card advantage and your opponents using slow defensive species you should have no problem out-eating and starving them.

Carnivores are good for checking your opponents' who get greedy with the number of species or if they begin to use a fast-feeding strategy. Otherwise, If you wait until later in the game you can make sure you have a carnivore card when you need it, as well as relevant offensive traits. Pack-hunting and intelligence, or ambush. Most opponents get very comfortable after 2/3rds of the game having not worried about carnivores due to one warning call and then BAM. Ambush. Odd's are their warning call species had low body size and you can wipe them out, costing them the game. The final option is the risky ultra aggressive strategy; If you can get out a decent carnivore round 1 or 2 and then keep the watering hole very empty (negative food values, and making a few big eater species on your team) you can keep your opponents down. They won't get too many cards because they can't sustain a lot of species, and they won't score much because they are defending- you might find that the carnivore's momentum keeps him big and well equipped to eat any of the small species your opponents manage to start!

Pro-tips:

Watch your opponents. If you have a carnivore. Don't be afraid to switch him back to plant eating, get out before you lose the ability to eat.

Pull Dominic's double-switcheroo and swap out your carnivore card for another carnivore card to lull your opponents into a false sense of security!

Fat tissue lets you do some real damage to your opponent's scores and you can cash it out the next round for something more useful!

Climbing keeps your your carnivore safe from other meat-eaters AND opens up more attack options!
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Jason
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iswearihaveajob wrote:
If your opponents have wasted cards increasing body size or are being overly defensive, I'd recommend NOT going carnivore typically. Mostly because you have an opportunity to severely outpace them with fast-feeding strategies using traits like foraging and cooperation.


True. If your opponents play so defensively that it doesn't even take a single carnivore on the table to scare them into wasting slots and cards, this is the best idea. The only problem is that if a carnivore DOES come out on their species (which as described they've already buffed up high on body size), it might be YOU that suddenly finds that your pack of fast-feeding animals are suddenly the prime target for all carnivores at the table.
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Josh A
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I've only played two player. It's honestly difficult to win without playing carnivore. I recommend playing only 1 carnivore.

If your opponent doesn't play one and you do, he will be forced to waste cards on defense. You don't have to and can get lots of cards that help with VP e.g. scavenger, cooperation, foraging etc. Remember that the game is about scoring the most points via food and defensive cards don't help you with that.

Make sure to put low food into the watering hole. Have a species with more than 1 population to feed your carnivore on. If that carnivore has cooperation and other species have scavenger you can completely feed all your species without relying on the watering hole.

During the feeding phase, try and get as much food from the watering hole as possible e.g. by using foraging and cooperation to quickly remove food from the watering hole. Feed your carnivore last once the food in the watering hole has run out. Your non-carnivore opponent will have hungry species but you will not. Also remember that if a species is already full and you attack it with your carnivore, that extra food goes in your bag. (*Thanks for correction from Byron below -> actually I was wrong about this. The owner of the attacked species gets the food.)

That's what I have found in two player games but maybe it's different with more players.
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Byron S
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jauggy wrote:
Also remember that if a species is already full and you attack it with your carnivore, that extra food goes in your bag.

Sorry, not true. (See other posts for official answers.) The excess food goes into the bag of the player who owned the species, not the attacker.
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David J
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backspace8908 wrote:
So I've played a few games now and it is really hard to make a carnivore. Like if it's too late in the game everyone will have species that are too bbig or special traits that require your own special traits to counter. How have you guys made successful meat eaters?


Returning to the original question posed: Size can only be overcome by a larger size, or Pack Hunting. If you don't hold Pack Hunting, you must simply grow a large body size carnivore. There is no harm in doing that even if it doesn't become a carnivore itself until later, as its own size is a defensive trait against opponents' carnivores. If you do hold Pack Hunting, though, don't play that until you play Carnivore, or you'll tip your opponents off.

As for overcoming the other defensive traits, I recommend that you identify your target prey before making your creature a carnivore, and doing it when you act last. This is especially important if your opponent has created some symbiotically connected chains of defenses; there may be only one correct target to crack the chain. You will need to know which trait to give your carnivore first to overcome that link in the chain.
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James Sitz
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I like to wait until I get a big hand, either by holding on to cards for a turn, losing some species to extinction, or both. Pack Hunting and Intelligence are both very helpful. I rarely make a Carnivore without at least one of these. (Although an intelligent carnivore very early isn't worth it).
 
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Randy D

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Unfortunately, any of these strategies are completely dependent upon luck. In one game I wanted to use a carnivore strategy, but never drew a carnivore card. In another game, I could never stop being attacked by a carnivore because I never drew a defensive card and so I was always the one eaten and could never build back up big enough to avoid being eaten. This game can sometimes feel like the card game "War" where luck is the biggest factor affecting your results.
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J Kaemmer
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randyd42 wrote:
Unfortunately, any of these strategies are completely dependent upon luck. In one game I wanted to use a carnivore strategy, but never drew a carnivore card. In another game, I could never stop being attacked by a carnivore because I never drew a defensive card and so I was always the one eaten and could never build back up big enough to avoid being eaten. This game can sometimes feel like the card game "War" where luck is the biggest factor affecting your results.


Nah man. It can be very easy to draw more cards and get set up. Firstly, remember that if you go extinct you get to draw new trait cards. So if you really want to dig for carnivores kill some of your species off. Also Carnivore is by far the most plentiful card in the game, odds are you'll get one eventually.

Defensive traits are not the only way to go. Try this on for size. You draw 4 cards, no Defense in the hand. Try this: Pop 3, BS 3. they eat you twice, and get the max of 6 food, leaving a Pop 1. BS 3 species. Not to mention BS 3 will already deter some carnivores. . Late game this works less, but you can always SAVE cards to do the same things.

Luck is a factor BUT it is absolutely not the deciding one. Skill really matters in this game. Sure I might draw every cooperation card in the game but maybe you just play -1 food cards all day and my engine never takes off. There is ALWAYS a valid counter play. You just need to work to find some of them.

Edit: Captain obvious remark- keep in mind you need to play the cards you're dealt, to the best of your ability, given the current and potential game states. Not just what you "want" to play.
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A J
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randyd42 wrote:
Unfortunately, any of these strategies are completely dependent upon luck. In one game I wanted to use a carnivore strategy, but never drew a carnivore card. In another game, I could never stop being attacked by a carnivore because I never drew a defensive card and so I was always the one eaten and could never build back up big enough to avoid being eaten. This game can sometimes feel like the card game "War" where luck is the biggest factor affecting your results.


It's not really War since you have the option on how to play your cards. It's more like Rummy or something. Cards you draw are based on luck, but it's heavily mitigated by how you choose to play your hand.
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Nick Bentley
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randyd42 wrote:
Unfortunately, any of these strategies are completely dependent upon luck. In one game I wanted to use a carnivore strategy, but never drew a carnivore card. In another game, I could never stop being attacked by a carnivore because I never drew a defensive card and so I was always the one eaten and could never build back up big enough to avoid being eaten. This game can sometimes feel like the card game "War" where luck is the biggest factor affecting your results.


You should come to the tournament at the World Boardgaming Championships this coming year and see how far luck gets you devil
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J Kaemmer
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milomilo122 wrote:
randyd42 wrote:
Unfortunately, any of these strategies are completely dependent upon luck. In one game I wanted to use a carnivore strategy, but never drew a carnivore card. In another game, I could never stop being attacked by a carnivore because I never drew a defensive card and so I was always the one eaten and could never build back up big enough to avoid being eaten. This game can sometimes feel like the card game "War" where luck is the biggest factor affecting your results.


You should come to the tournament at the World Boardgaming Championships this coming year and see how far luck gets you devil


I agree
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David A
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milomilo122 wrote:
You should come to the tournament at the World Boardgaming Championships this coming year and see how far luck gets you devil

I've always wanted to attend a convention, but they're never held anywhere near me and it costs a lot of money to travel, get a hotel and food (assuming there's one with rooms available that's not 20 miles away from the venue), get tickets and hope to make a purchase or two

Maybe someday. Maybe.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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randyd42 wrote:
Unfortunately, any of these strategies are completely dependent upon luck. In one game I wanted to use a carnivore strategy, but never drew a carnivore card.

The point of Evolution is to adapt to changing ecosystem. If you were deciding your strategy ahead of time then you were doing the exact opposite of what is needed to win this game.

randyd42 wrote:
In another game, I could never stop being attacked by a carnivore because I never drew a defensive card and so I was always the one eaten and could never build back up big enough to avoid being eaten. This game can sometimes feel like the card game "War" where luck is the biggest factor affecting your results.

We put Body Size in the game so that every card could be a defensive card. There is no hand limit so don't be afraid to hold your cards for a round or two. Going behind by a couple of points is not a big deal, but going behind by several cards can ruin your chances of winning. Here is the most important thing to keep in mind: Feeding another player's Carnivore is always a poor strategy!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Always!
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Randy D

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Yeah, I get what you guys are saying. Don't get me wrong, this is a great game and I make new customers in every group I introduce this game. I just see some of these forums that say things like "my winning strategy is to apply these specific trait combinations ... [fill in the blank]" and my response is "That's great, I would love to do that", but any of those strategies is entirely dependent upon drawing those cards. And I have had several games where I simply never drew a defensive trait or other games never drew a carnivore trait. In those situations I pretty much occupy a lower level of the food chain knowing I'll finish somewhere near the end while I watch others fight for first place. It kind of reminds me of games of Catan where my numbers were never rolled... everyone else was fighting for 10pts while I remained at 2.
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Randy D

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Dominic, I think you've hit the nail on the head when you said this game is not so much about developing a strategy ahead of time as it is adapting to what is out there and what you've drawn.
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Doc Jones
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randyd42 wrote:
Dominic, I think you've hit the nail on the head when you said this game is not so much about developing a strategy ahead of time as it is adapting to what is out there and what you've drawn.


THAT is the winning strategy
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