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Insecta: Rainforest» Forums » Sessions

Subject: A bug and his friend rss

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Franco
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This is a write-up of a solitaire session of the hive game of Insecta: Rainforest. It was about two hours of playing time, but only because this was in fact the first time I had attempted to play (more recent games were similar in length but went for many more turns).

I designed two mutant insects as my ‘guys.’ One was a jumping caterpillar-like nasty thing with a rear chemical-spewing bombardier projector, sickle mandibles, and cheliform claws. Oh yeah, I’m big and I’m mean. I named that one after myself. For the other bug, I thought I would honour a kindred gamer that I’ve exchanged a few messages with recently (he seems to have a bit of a lean toward interesting solitaire games as well). Albert (aka, fractaloon), it turns out, was a grotesque fast flying maggot, with chelicerate fangs, preying mantis claws, and a hornet’s stinger. He was a bad dude, but he was on my side … occasionally, that is, when we weren’t mistakenly attacking each other.

Looking over the back of the hive cards that I had randomly placed in the various rooms of the hive, I decided to start in the foyer because it would have only one enemy bug and I wanted to ease myself into this. It was a Sundew plant that we spotted right dab in the middle of the foyer. I knew that it was pretty hardy and the return (in food chits) wasn’t all that great, so I decided we would just try and slip on by into the next room. Luckily we both avoided the ominous draw that these plants have for bugs, and we made it to the corridor leading to the root cellar (had we failed our instinct roles, we would have been nabbed by the plant and entangled there for many more pages of boring text).

But into the root cellar we went, where we encountered three enemy hive bugs: a Lyramorpha Shield Bug Nymph, a Giant Damselfly, and a Plant Bug. The damselfly was huge compared to us, undoubtedly able to cause lots of damage, and it was the fastest bug in the room. We all manoeuvred around to get in an optimal attack while denying the enemy that possibility. The plant bug, while aiming for me, mistakenly blew pheromone all over the nymph bug (inducing lethargy for the rest of the turn). You can’t help but look down on these stupid bugs, attacking their comrades. At the same time, I aimed my ‘derriere’ and blew boiling chemical over the plant bug’s head, killing it instantly. If only I could do this in real life.

But it was the giant damselfly that was the fastest bug out there, and the biggest, and it chomped down on Albert’s abdomen, incapacitating him on the spot. With no better target, the nymph then tore off a pair of Albert’s wings and a pair of claws. Poor Albert, laying there with his innards leaking all over the place. He was out of it at this point (and only on the first turn!).

On the second turn, we all manoeuvred around. I attempted to bomb the dangerous damselfly, but it got around in front of me again. We both missed. The nymph, being too slow, was easy to avoid; it tried to bring its pheromone projector to bear, but nothing doing. I was out of boiling chemical, so my next preferred attack was gone. Regardless, in the third turn the damselfly came around and bit into my head, dealing me so much damage that my little caterpillar (so young, so innocent) was killed instantly. Poor Albert, incapacitated but still watching me die a horrible painless death (supposedly we bugs don’t feel pain). I can only imagine that he was gobbled up soon afterwards.

Three turns. That’s got to be a record.

Footnote: In my review of the game I wrote that I would not ever bother learning the taxonomy of these insects. But I bet you I won’t forget that the Odonata order of insects includes the giant damselfly that whipped my butt all over the place.
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Phil Eklund
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In playing the hive game, the rainforest hive set is far nastier to the mutants than the desert hive set. Thus the giant damselfly (also called the helicopter damselfly) is meaner than its desert counterpart, the darner dragonfly (also order Odonata). Unfortunately, the desert hive set is out of print.
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Franco
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I was lucky enough to score a desert hive on eBay recently. And sure enough, my first games were far more successful.
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Evan McAnney
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Thanks for this review. On a scale of 1 (too easy) to 5 (insanely difficult to play) how would you rate Insecta to a novice?

Do you feel the basic game stands alone, or are the expansions essential?

Which edition(s) would you reccomend, and for what reasons? Remember, your advice is going to a relative gaming novice.
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Franco
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This is actually my session report of an old game. My review is here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/146028

The games that come out of Sierra Madre Games (almost by default) would never be rated a 1. But this is definitely one of the easier of Phil Eklund's offerings. With only five levels to choose from, I think I would go with a '2'. But to be a little more explicit:

- the rule book isn't a one-sheet that novices might expect from some popular games. It's more involved than that, and some reading away from the game would be expected.
- the movement and attack rules aren't really difficult, so a head-to-head game (the "arena" game) wouldn't be bad. But there are other parts that add a tad to the difficulty (but not by much), such as designing your bugs and some post-combat phases
- of course, you always have BGG forums on which to ask questions

If you find Insecta, Second Edition, then that's all you need. It includes the desert module for the "hive game", which also allows solitaire play.

If you find the Insecta, Mutant Kit, then you can play a head-to-head "arena game" with that alone, but to do more (the story-like "hive game" or solitaire play) you need to add a module, and I personally would prefer the desert hive or the rainforest hive. Either one is great. The trilobite module didn't really do it for me.

Hope that helps.
 
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Curt Ligot
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Despite the paper components this sounds pretty awesome. I really enjoyed your session report. I think the accidentally killing your ally and the part/limb specific damage is great. I will have to hunt this one down.

Keep me informed if you do another session report.

Props to the designer.

 
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Franco
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Thanks. This is always a fun game to play. It's still available from the designer's website, www.sierra-madre-games.com, along with a lot of his other offerings, all of which have strong story elements, if you ask me. For example, you can check out some of the session reports I, and others, have done for Luftschiff and American Megafauna and Kriegbot.
 
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Curt Ligot
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loquitur wrote:
Thanks. This is always a fun game to play. It's still available from the designer's website, www.sierra-madre-games.com, along with a lot of his other offerings, all of which have strong story elements, if you ask me. For example, you can check out some of the session reports I, and others, have done for Luftschiff and American Megafauna and Kriegbot.


I counldnt find insecta on the site. Is it still there? Kriegbot looks great but I only play solo games. Thanks for the links.
 
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Franco
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It's there. Second page of games in the Sierra Madre Games sub-section. The expansion to Kriegbot adds a solitaire scenario, though I've never played it.
 
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Phil Eklund
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Insecta is still available on my site, on the second page. However, there are less than 2 dozen copies left, and then it is out of print.
 
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Wulf Corbett
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phileklund wrote:
Insecta is still available on my site, on the second page. However, there are less than 2 dozen copies left, and then it is out of print.
What about the expansions?
 
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Phil Eklund
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There are three "hive" expansions to the basic Insecta Mutant game. Desert Hive is oop, Rainforest Hive has about 3 dozen left, Trilobite Hive has but two copies left.
 
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Wulf Corbett
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Thanks - I just checked, and I have them all anyway I forgot I traded for Trilobite some time ago (after buying the 1st edition version by mistake!)
 
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