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Subject: First turn Carnivore and Pack Hunting rss

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Chris Vaillancourt
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Couple quick questions for you guys (hope they haven't been addressed before). Finally got Evolution to the table last night with the family. Knowing my son, we'd have to contend with carnivores eventually (as a 13 yo, he loves to play aggressively). However, it happened sooner than we expected. He played Carnivoire and Pack Hunting 1st turn and ate my girlfriend, sending her only species into extinction. So here are my questions:

1. When a player's only species goes into extinction, when do you get to grab another species to continue playing? I believe it is during the 1st phase when dealing cards but wanted to confirm.

2. How are you supposed to recover from that? My son kept boosting his species size and with Pack Hunting, it was near impossible to defend against. Luckily some of us got Climbing and Warning Call but he ultimately got Intellegence and continued to roll. It was actually not a lot of fun for anyone.

We all liked the game but not knowing strategy, it felt a little broken. Hoping some of you could help out. Thanks.
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Johan Fröcklin
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Answer to Q1:

You get a free new species at the end of phase 4: feeding if you don't have any species left. It's a tough start to have, and if it happens a lot at your house you could house rule it that you can never have less than one species (but loose all traits and body size and population if it is attacked by carnivores).

Answer Q2:


That's a tough start but not impossible. Defensive traits is certainly one way to work it, as you seemed to do. Another way is to make your species big, that makes his carnivores getting satisfied quicker when attacking it (each body size gives one food per attack) leaving you time to feed yourself.

And a few strategy pointers or nudges might also get your son to rethink an overly aggressive game play:
* Spending cards to use intelligence is kind of a costly way. That's a card not spent evolving a new creature. Obviously there are times you'll need to use that card playing on intelligence to make your carnivore survive or to hinder a runaway leader from getting too much food from the waterhole.

* Having a fat animal himself beside his carnivore is a brilliant strategy: that way he has a spare food source when no other easy accessible food is available.

* Show him that in the end you score points not only for the food you've eaten but also for the number of traits you've got in front of you in addition to the population of all your species.

* He can't most likely eat all the species around the table and if there is a lot of food in the water hole that is point he's leaving to other players to take unless he's got a herbivore himself.

Also: remember that a creature that goes extinct by a carnivore attack gets a consolation prize by getting a card for each trait the animal had when killed.

Hope this'll help you not loose interest in the game, since it's one of my most favourite ones and I find new traits to make combine almost every time I play it. Love playing it with my kids (8 and 6).

Edit: fixing language errors
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Chris Vaillancourt
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Johan, thanks so much for the quick reply. Your pointers actually revealed another flaw in our play, I forgot the way a Carnivoire fed, i.e. Taking the amount of food equal to the eaten species body size. We played it wrong and had them feed similar to taking food from the watering hole, just 1 food per eaten species. In this way, he went around the table feeding on everybody without filling up for a while.

Feel pretty silly for missing that and it would have made it much better has he gotten 'full' sooner. Thanks for the tips and reminder! Can't wait to play again.
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Pat Connolly
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johoohno wrote:
Answer to Q1:

You get a free new species at the end of phase 4: feeding if you don't have any species left. It's a tough start to have, and if it happens a lot at your house you could house rule it that you can never have less than one species (but loose all traits and body size and population if it is attacked by carnivores).

I don't see how this would help. You still start the next round with one species and 4 four new cards, plus however many cards were on the species which went extinct.
Remember, if your now-extinct species had 2 trait cards, you immediately get 2 new trait cards as soon as the species goes extinct.
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Entrecruzado
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You can become a scavenger, also some promo cards (last stand, invasive species) help to control early carnivores or at least take advantage of their feeding.
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Jason
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Rabool wrote:
Your pointers actually revealed another flaw in our play, I forgot the way a Carnivoire fed, i.e. Taking the amount of food equal to the eaten species body size. We played it wrong and had them feed similar to taking food from the watering hole, just 1 food per eaten species. In this way, he went around the table feeding on everybody without filling up for a while.


Wow... I completely missed this!
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Midnight Reaper
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jepmn wrote:
Rabool wrote:
Your pointers actually revealed another flaw in our play, I forgot the way a Carnivoire fed, i.e. Taking the amount of food equal to the eaten species body size. We played it wrong and had them feed similar to taking food from the watering hole, just 1 food per eaten species. In this way, he went around the table feeding on everybody without filling up for a while.


Wow... I completely missed this!

Yeah, early carnivores are very deadly if you feed them that slowly... devil

-M_R
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Doc Jones
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patcon wrote:
johoohno wrote:
Answer to Q1:

You get a free new species at the end of phase 4: feeding if you don't have any species left.

I don't see how this would help. You still start the next round with one species and 4 four new cards, plus however many cards were on the species which went extinct.
Remember, if your now-extinct species had 2 trait cards, you immediately get 2 new trait cards as soon as the species goes extinct.


The end of phase 4 is about the end of the round; this means that you go into the next round with a species, and when the "play cards" phase comes up, you can either apply those new trait cards to your fledgling species, and/or discard them to bump population or size. This way, by the time the carnivore goes to feed again, you hopefully have some defense against it.

For the record, "Horns" is a good defense against an overly aggressive carnivore, especially if he's already having to discard to use Intelligence to overcome defensive traits. Now every time he feeds he loses a population (which coincidentally means he fills up quicker), and he'll have to keep discarding to replenish his population or his carnivore will go extinct!
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Byron S
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Doc_Jones wrote:
patcon wrote:
johoohno wrote:
Answer to Q1:

You get a free new species at the end of phase 4: feeding if you don't have any species left. It's a tough start to have, and if it happens a lot at your house you could house rule it that you can never have less than one species (but loose all traits and body size and population if it is attacked by carnivores).

I don't see how this would help. You still start the next round with one species and 4 four new cards, plus however many cards were on the species which went extinct.
Remember, if your now-extinct species had 2 trait cards, you immediately get 2 new trait cards as soon as the species goes extinct.


The end of phase 4 is about the end of the round; this means that you go into the next round with a species, and when the "play cards" phase comes up, you can either apply those new trait cards to your fledgling species, and/or discard them to bump population or size. This way, by the time the carnivore goes to feed again, you hopefully have some defense against it.

You edited out the relevant part of the quote. The proposed house rule (which I highlighted) is essentially identical to the existing rules which you quoted.
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Joe S
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Some of it is luck of the draw, but if you're able to pull some defensive trait cards you can be fairly safe. A burrower with fed to population size can't be attacked. My favorite combination (which happened this weekend) is a burrower with hard shell and long neck. Keep the population low until you can boost the body size a bit and you'll be safe.

Then - if you're really lucky, and this took me until later in the game for this to shake out - your next species will have Symbiosis (or whatever it is called) - so it can't be attacked if the species to the right has a larger body size. That one becomes safe as long as the burrower isn't killed.

But a lot of it seems to be the luck of the early draw - and playing correctly with eating to body size as a carnivore (a lesson we learned mid game, which was a year or more after my friends bought the game so they never caught that rule).
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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I think there is very little luck of the draw in Evolution. It happens sometimes, but not very often - perhaps one out of every 25 games I feel like I had a string of bad luck (no Carnivores for 4 rounds when I've been building towards a Carnivore transition strategy).

One of the biggest problem with Evolution is that inexperienced players will lose against experienced players every. single. time. That can get annoying to the inexperienced player. Here are two review that just came out within the past few days which speak about how the depth of the game gets lost to new players because of the seemly simple rules:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/195244/item/4081410#i...

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/169963/item/4121856#item4...
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Jason
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domcrap wrote:
I think there is very little luck of the draw in Evolution. It happens sometimes, but not very often - perhaps one out of every 25 games I feel like I had a string of bad luck (no Carnivores for 4 rounds when I've been building towards a Carnivore transition strategy).

One of the biggest problem with Evolution is that inexperienced players will lose against experienced players every. single. time. That can get annoying to the inexperienced player. Here are two review that just came out within the past few days which speak about how the depth of the game gets lost to new players because of the seemly simple rules:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/195244/item/4081410#i...

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/169963/item/4121856#item4...


Apologies if it's already addressed in the other thread, but have you looked at a handicapping system, like e.g. in Nations?
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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No, I've never thought of it that but I like the idea. Were you thinking of new players getting food at the start of the game?
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Jason
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domcrap wrote:
No, I've never thought of it that but I like the idea. Were you thinking of new players getting food at the start of the game?


I was trying to think of a MORE clever way of doing it. But then that's all I've come up with, too.
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Andrew Watson
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jepmn wrote:
domcrap wrote:
No, I've never thought of it that but I like the idea. Were you thinking of new players getting food at the start of the game?


I was trying to think of a MORE clever way of doing it. But then that's all I've come up with, too.


More cleverer doesn't always mean better.

A starting supply of food sounds like a good buffer against early mistakes or misfortune. It should probably be flexible food, rather than plant food or meat food.

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Dominic Crapuchettes
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Maybe 1-5 extra cards at the start of the game? That might be even simpler (though I should probably give my Mom an extra 10 cards).
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Stephen Eckman
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domcrap wrote:
Maybe 1-5 extra cards at the start of the game? That might be even simpler (though I should probably give my Mom an extra 10 cards).

That sounds like a better idea than food at the start of the game.
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AndAgainMA wrote:
jepmn wrote:
domcrap wrote:
No, I've never thought of it that but I like the idea. Were you thinking of new players getting food at the start of the game?


I was trying to think of a MORE clever way of doing it. But then that's all I've come up with, too.


More cleverer doesn't always mean better.

A starting supply of food sounds like a good buffer against early mistakes or misfortune. It should probably be flexible food, rather than plant food or meat food.



I was thinking Dom meant food in the bag aka VPs.
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Doc Jones
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domcrap wrote:
Maybe 1-5 extra cards at the start of the game? That might be even simpler (though I should probably give my Mom an extra 10 cards).


I like this handicap idea; also perhaps have a house rule that carnivores can never eat the "last" of a new players' species, so it will never go extinct due to predation.

Mix and match handicaps/house rules as necessary to balance
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Andrew Watson
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domcrap wrote:
Maybe 1-5 extra cards at the start of the game? That might be even simpler (though I should probably give my Mom an extra 10 cards).


I'm inclined to prefer extra food to extra cards as a means of helping new players. The reason is that giving extra cards expands the decision space. That might slow the new players down as they looked at each trait, and considered the interactions between the traits.

The safety net provided by extra food might help the new players play more quickly and freely. Once the game gets under way, they will see what's going on, and pretty soon they won't be new players any more.

Andrew

ps Dominic, I haven't had the pleasure of meeting your mother, so I'm not sure how she would get on with a 14-card starting hand!
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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AndAgainMA wrote:
Dominic, I haven't had the pleasure of meeting your mother, so I'm not sure how she would get on with a 14-card starting hand!

She would HATE it!
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James Sitz
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domcrap wrote:
I think there is very little luck of the draw in Evolution. It happens sometimes, but not very often - perhaps one out of every 25 games I feel like I had a string of bad luck (no Carnivores for 4 rounds when I've been building towards a Carnivore transition strategy).

One of the biggest problem with Evolution is that inexperienced players will lose against experienced players every. single. time. That can get annoying to the inexperienced player. Here are two review that just came out within the past few days which speak about how the depth of the game gets lost to new players because of the seemly simple rules:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/195244/item/4081410#i...

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/169963/item/4121856#item4...


I had a Flight game where a first timer happened to decide to make an avian species on turn 1. Then on turn 2 he drew 2 Brood Parasites and made another bird. He then made them both foragers in the third round so he could deplete the watering hole more quickly. He ran away with it. So this goes against both of your rules.

When I play with a mixed group of new and experienced players, I attack the veterans when I have a choice.

I actually came here to discuss Pack Hunting. It seems consistently more valuable than the other Carnivore modifiers, which are pretty situational. (Almost) everyone wants higher population to eat more food, so each one of those cards also increasing your effective body size? Yes please. If I get Pack Hunting in an early hand I'll usually hold onto it until I draw a carnivore. Sure you're going to be vulnerable to other carnivores, but you can eat them right back, and get full faster.

But yeah, Carnivore, Pack Hunting, one bump in population on turn one? Even if you go first there's no tell there, so people might not get a defensive trait unless they expect it.

I'm not even saying that pack hunting carnivores always win, but when it comes to carnivores, it seems like the most consistently valuable trait.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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Jexik wrote:
domcrap wrote:
I think there is very little luck of the draw in Evolution. It happens sometimes, but not very often - perhaps one out of every 25 games I feel like I had a string of bad luck (no Carnivores for 4 rounds when I've been building towards a Carnivore transition strategy).

One of the biggest problem with Evolution is that inexperienced players will lose against experienced players every. single. time. That can get annoying to the inexperienced player. Here are two review that just came out within the past few days which speak about how the depth of the game gets lost to new players because of the seemly simple rules:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/195244/item/4081410#i...

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/169963/item/4121856#item4...


I had a Flight game where a first timer happened to decide to make an avian species on turn 1. Then on turn 2 he drew 2 Brood Parasites and made another bird. He then made them both foragers in the third round so he could deplete the watering hole more quickly. He ran away with it. So this goes against both of your rules.


It does not go against either of my "rules". There is very little chance that he would have won against experienced players. I'm sure there is something that could have been done. Why didn't someone play a flying Carnivore and eat his Foraging birds?

Jexik wrote:
I actually came here to discuss Pack Hunting. It seems consistently more valuable than the other Carnivore modifiers, which are pretty situational. (Almost) everyone wants higher population to eat more food, so each one of those cards also increasing your effective body size? Yes please. If I get Pack Hunting in an early hand I'll usually hold onto it until I draw a carnivore. Sure you're going to be vulnerable to other carnivores, but you can eat them right back, and get full faster.

But yeah, Carnivore, Pack Hunting, one bump in population on turn one? Even if you go first there's no tell there, so people might not get a defensive trait unless they expect it.

I'm not even saying that pack hunting carnivores always win, but when it comes to carnivores, it seems like the most consistently valuable trait.


Here is a poll you should check out. In this poll, people considered Intelligence to be more powerful than Pack Hunting.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1426658/poll-most-and-least...

For the record, I think Pack Hunting is more powerful than Intelligence in more situations than I think Intelligence is more powerful than Pack Hunting, but I am clearly in the minority with that opinion.
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Jason
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domcrap wrote:
Why didn't someone play a flying Carnivore and eat his Foraging birds?


This seems to be a common thread in a lot of posts. Evolution is not a game in which you can concentrate on your own board and let everyone do their own thing. You need to see exactly how other players engines work and if they are overpowered, you (and the other players) take them out.
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James Sitz
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jepmn wrote:
domcrap wrote:
Why didn't someone play a flying Carnivore and eat his Foraging birds?


This seems to be a common thread in a lot of posts. Evolution is not a game in which you can concentrate on your own board and let everyone do their own thing. You need to see exactly how other players engines work and if they are overpowered, you (and the other players) take them out.


I made a flying carnivore as soon as I drew the carnivore card. He went later in the round and got his body size up to 3 so I couldn't eat him, so I had to go for other targets. Brood Parasite helped him get his population up faster than I could attack it once I finally drew pack hunting 2 rounds later. This would have taken a concerted effort from everyone at the table to crack.
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