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Subject: Viable strategy for Promiscuous? rss

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I have only had two plays (with 2 players) so far, and on both occasions I chose Promiscuous as my starting Sexuality, just because I was intrigued by how insanely handicapped it seemed with 6 less disks in the starting vocabulary, and I always like to try for the underdog role. I never flipped my Sexuality card over, so I remained Promiscuous for the whole duration.

Both plays ended with me losing by a huge margin, as I never managed to get too much done, while my Pair Bonding opponent progressed much faster. I tried to find in the rulebook all the advantages a Promiscuous player has over the other sexualities, but the ones I found (gathering, competitive courting etc.) don't seem to be powerful enough to counteract the minus 6 disks handicap.

So I was wondering – is it at all possible to win the game if you play as Promiscuous all the way through? Or is this sexuality specifically designed to be used only for some part of the play duration, to be flipped over to or from at the right moment? I'm sure I must be missing something really obvious here.

In any case, we are loving the hell out of the game! It is most definitely a keeper.
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Cole Wehrle
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I've won a couple times with the promiscuous sexuality. The key in both games was trophies + maximum tribe growth. War bands + trophies were also important in boxing others out of critical resources. The handicap on discs is considerable but never was a game breaker.

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Ed Hughes
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Not sure if this helps, but in evolutionary biology a promiscuous or 'r' selection strategy is dominant in a resource rich environment with either no predators, or predators that you cannot defeat. It is typified by low parental involvement and as many offspring as possible.

I don't know how well the game reflects the conditions that would make this approach preferable to the 'K' strategy of high parental investment and monogamy.
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I've been playing this solitaire a bit, using Vassal, while waiting for my lfgs to stock this game.

Anyway, I notice that revision B1.0 in the living rules mention that if you're promiscuous, you count unmarried daughters as hunters during chaos events, which is a huge deal. It's not mentioned anywhere in the rules themselves, though, so I'm not sure if that's how it's supposed to work in the final draft.

edit: I just realized that I'm conflating chaos with blizzard, so this change would actually make promiscuous even harder to play.
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Ed Hughes
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Here are my thoughts on how to win as a promiscuous species:

1. Bid aggressively on daughters. You have fewer discs to work with, so you need to make the other players bleed if they want to beat you. That way, you'll have the upper hand next round. It will also slow their development down to your level.

2. Spread like the plague. Send at least one hunter to each gathering biome. If you dont have discs to clear, focus on building population. You'll crash periodically, but who cares? You'll bounce right back in a turn.

3. Make a nuisance of yourself. Your hunters are even more expendable than the enemies, so don't shy away from conflict. Send big mobs to kill enemy groups, and undercut them on hunting biomes to steal the prizes. Use our odd way of courting to disrupt enemy tribes- court their daughters en masse to kill their husbands and leave them vulnerable to blizzards, and leave bastard children behind to throw their tribes into chaos.

4. Aggressively trophy hunt- send huge mobs of expendable hunters to collect trophies from biomes, especially ones that your opponents would like to hunt.

5. Go tribal, and ALWAYS have a chief.

If you want to terrorize your opponents, a promiscuous Cro-Magnon tribe with an early warrior alpha is a real menace. A promiscuous Neanderthal tribe with a knapper is going to be running the table on big game hunts, and a promiscuous Archaic tribe with a trapper is the ultimate scavenger/bottom feeder.
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In my opinion promiscuous is suicide at the start. You start with 7 free disks, maxing 3 in a color. Others start with 10 / 13. If the first daughter is single color, you can't even bid reasonably. Lets assume it goes for 4. Now 13 players still have a disk advantage (9 vs 7), harem holders (10->6) are momentarily crippled. However only momentarily, since players clear disks about 2-3 per round (6 hunters clear 6/3=2 disks & one through elder action). So next round the other player bids 4 or more ; and then first auction winner is back again with full disks. Notably disk advantage on 13 players is so high, that even if their plans fail, they can easily afford 4-5 bids at the start.

Since promiscuous also can't make husbands, its impossible to get early alpha / tribe (you simply don't get discs to brain).

Later, when you got enough daughters / husbands & tribe is near (chief takes care of chaos, tribe releases disks), it might be ok, especially, if there are no gathering daughters.

-----

In my opinion even harem holders have a steep disc deficit at the start. If you count players clearing 2-3 discs per turn, in 3er people should bid at least 6 to get 1 daughter / 3 turns. Since that is higher than anyone has in a single color, single color bids should usually max out at the start(if the color is somewhat available on the board).

-----

Talking about 3er. In 2er there is only one other player clearing bid disks, so the high bids should drop dramitically.
 
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I guess I still have a lot to learn on playing this game. Routinely clearing 2-3 disks a turn? Especially early? I find elder deaths to be repeatedly difficult. You have an immature Fire Starter and usually have to hunt a predator to get that (yes, flint mines can appear, but I've played whole games where they don't). Even matured, they easily die. Bidding 4-6 disks seems like a great way to be stuck with a single immature daughter for a long time while also making yourself vulnerable to chaos.
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My highest score yet was as promiscuous archaic man vs. Harem holding Neanderthal in a two player game. It can work.
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Elder action clears 1 disc. 6 hunters should clear 1 disc. Firestarter isn't completely necessary. So 2 discs shouldn't be too hard. And as said I was talking about 3er where your opponents clear 4 discs by that calculation per turn (leaving promiscuous without always, if s/he is unable to bid 4). It works a way better in 2er, since an opponent clears only 2 (and its harder for opponent to have a right brain section for elder action).
 
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I think Promiscuous are best advised to simply expand their population of unassigned hunters (they get 2 VPs per hunter), aim to grab trophies and also compete in courtships (especially against Pair Bonders) in order to spread into the other clans. They want all their hunter cubes in the game. Grab a daughter only cheaply and if she has an ability you can really use.

I have yet to see the compelling advantage in going tribal for any of the 3 clans. I admit I still need a lot of play time with this game, but getting to tribal is kindof tough. And until you get to that, you can't create the needed elders to make inventions and domestic animals an option. Also, as soon as you start promoting multiple elders, you have that many more potential targets for chaos. For Promiscuous, choas is especially hurtful since they have a limited vocabulary. There is a daughter (forgot which one) that protects you by limiting losses to 4 hunters during chaos. The promiscuous tribe(s) will want to win that daughter.
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arjisme wrote:
I think Promiscuous are best advised to simply expand their population of unassigned hunters (they get 2 VPs per hunter), aim to grab trophies and also compete in courtships (especially against Pair Bonders) in order to spread into the other clans. They want all their hunter cubes in the game. Grab a daughter only cheaply and if she has an ability you can really use.

I have yet to see the compelling advantage in going tribal for any of the 3 clans. I admit I still need a lot of play time with this game, but getting to tribal is kindof tough. And until you get to that, you can't create the needed elders to make inventions and domestic animals an option. Also, as soon as you start promoting multiple elders, you have that many more potential targets for chaos. For Promiscuous, choas is especially hurtful since they have a limited vocabulary. There is a daughter (forgot which one) that protects you by limiting losses to 4 hunters during chaos. The promiscuous tribe(s) will want to win that daughter.
Just a few comments. I don't think the Promiscuous player can "compete in courtships" because they are unable to place husbands. If you are Promiscuous, the only way to have a Daughter ability is to purchase that daughter and mature her.

Also, flipping to tribal is hugely important for the high VP Inventions and Domestic Animals. Depending on the way Daughters come out it can be fairly easy or nearly impossible to flip, but there is no denying that if a player can go tribal, get a Rank 1 Elder, and put down a few Domestic Animals/Inventions without paying discs they will be gaining some very nice VPs.Of course, like everything in the game, it is situational.

To comment on the original post...

The one major issue I have run into is a 2 player game with one player starting as Promiscuous and one player starting as Pair Bonding. The Promiscuous player needs to bid on daughters in order to get portal abilities and flip. However, they are unable to place any husbands on these cards so the Pair Bonding player can attempt to marry them all. This can add up to significant VPs for the Pair Bonder and they also gain the portal abilities without having to invest any discs in the auction. I think with this combo, the Promiscuous player almost needs to ignore trying to go tribal and instead focus solely on building a large tribe and gaining trophies. I played a game with this pairing and foolishly spent the entire game trying to get the right daughter combinations to flip to Tribal. By the time I got it figured out, my opponent had also flipped, gotten the husband bonus points, and could domesticate animals just as easily as me.
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bpierce72 wrote:
I don't think the Promiscuous player can "compete in courtships" because they are unable to place husbands.
It's true that Promiscuous can't place husbands, but they can still compete in courtships. If they prevail, removing a husband makes a Daughter a dependent (think Blizzard), hurts Pair Bonding (unmarried can't use the Daughter's abilities), replaces one of the victim's hunters with one of your own (wanderlust seed legacy), and takes husband VP's away from opponents.

With the '6' bite on the Daughter cards and the jealous husband rule (they hit on a '1' or '2' once mature, otherwise a '1'), competitive courting can be risky but the way that Promiscuous can quickly fill its ranks, the rewards may be worth it.
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Steve Carey wrote:
bpierce72 wrote:
I don't think the Promiscuous player can "compete in courtships" because they are unable to place husbands.
It's true that Promiscuous can't place husbands, but they can still compete in courtships. If they prevail, removing a husband makes a Daughter a dependent (think Blizzard), hurts Pair Bonding (unmarried can't use the Daughter's abilities), replaces one of the victim's hunters with one of your own (wanderlust seed legacy), and takes husband VP's away from opponents.

With the '6' bite on the Daughter cards and the jealous husband rule (they hit on a '5' or '6'), competitive courting can be risky but the way that Promiscuous can quickly fill its ranks, the rewards may be worth it.
Thanks for the post Steve. I must say that I completely missed this in the rules and the clarification is much appreciated. It is good to hear that the Promiscuous can at least fight off another player that is actively marrying all daughters in the game.
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Quote:
With the '6' bite on the Daughter cards and the jealous husband rule (they hit on a '5' or '6'), competitive courting can be risky but the way that Promiscuous can quickly fill its ranks, the rewards may be worth it.
One correction: jealous husbands hit on a 1 or 2, not a 5 of 6 (they are a War Party). Husbands must be mature to get this advantage, otherwise they hit on a 1, just like courting hunters do.
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themanfromsaturn wrote:
Here are my thoughts on how to win as a promiscuous species:

1. Bid aggressively on daughters. You have fewer discs to work with, so you need to make the other players bleed if they want to beat you. That way, you'll have the upper hand next round. It will also slow their development down to your level.

2. Spread like the plague. Send at least one hunter to each gathering biome. If you dont have discs to clear, focus on building population. You'll crash periodically, but who cares? You'll bounce right back in a turn.

3. Make a nuisance of yourself. Your hunters are even more expendable than the enemies, so don't shy away from conflict. Send big mobs to kill enemy groups, and undercut them on hunting biomes to steal the prizes. Use our odd way of courting to disrupt enemy tribes- court their daughters en masse to kill their husbands and leave them vulnerable to blizzards, and leave bastard children behind to throw their tribes into chaos.

4. Aggressively trophy hunt- send huge mobs of expendable hunters to collect trophies from biomes, especially ones that your opponents would like to hunt.

5. Go tribal, and ALWAYS have a chief.

If you want to terrorize your opponents, a promiscuous Cro-Magnon tribe with an early warrior alpha is a real menace. A promiscuous Neanderthal tribe with a knapper is going to be running the table on big game hunts, and a promiscuous Archaic tribe with a trapper is the ultimate scavenger/bottom feeder.
For some reason this post makes me giddy with excitement about the arrival of Neanderthal. Thinking about a horde of promiscuous stone age homo sapiens running around screwing and breaking stuff touches my happy spot and reminds me of this: "There is joy in three things; eating meat, riding meat and putting meat into meat."
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I just got the game and hadn't had a chance to play yet, but is there a viable strategy to start non-promiscuous and flip over once you get some portals/husbands in place? This could open up the mid-late game high hunter strategy while mitigating the early-game challenges.
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Last night I won my first game as Promiscuous Archaics. I aggressively bought daughters with little or no expectation of maturing them. I repeatedly entered chaos and let the daughters die during blizzards, freeing up more vocabulary for further auctions. The game lasted 13 turns with Cro Magnon limping into tribal on the final turn. The final two turns I brought my population up to maximum and won with two trophies in hand.

I think this forms a viable Promiscuous strategy - bid high on daughters, try to prevent anyone from making tribal and score points on trophies and hunters faster than anyone else can. Not good for human development, but a way to win.
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I just won a 2p game as Promiscuous Archaic (59pts) against a Harem holding Homo Sapiens.

Once I went tribal, I had enough disks to support my hunters against chaos. I bid rather pricey for daughters, but was able to mature them with the hunting grounds.

Also, last turn is great as there is no chaos that lurks around the corner, so I was able to get a lot of hunters
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If a promiscuous group is able to get Laughing Woman they immediately become very powerful, as chaos becomes a virtual non-issue. They can then max out their numbers and throw a lot of weight around.
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themanfromsaturn wrote:
If you want to terrorize your opponents, a promiscuous Cro-Magnon tribe with an early warrior alpha is a real menace. A promiscuous Neanderthal tribe with a knapper is going to be running the table on big game hunts, and a promiscuous Archaic tribe with a trapper is the ultimate scavenger/bottom feeder.
Why is a promiscuous Cro-Magnon tribe with a warrior a menace, or a Neanderthal tribe with a knapper?

Also, what do you define as "early" in this instance? In order to ket a knapper or warrior, the right kind of daughter(s) have to turn up, get matured, possibly courted, and the elder assigned and probably matured. It is far more likely than not that placing the requisite portals will take several turns.
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Cro-Magnon has a starting orange shaman portal, which gets them 1/3 of the way to a warrior alpha. A promiscuous group with a warrior can decide to place their hunters last, and then go after enemy hunters and reliably kill 3-4 of them, and send a few lone cubes to gathering biomes to constantly build numbers and outnumber their rivals. I've done it myself to great effect, and in one instance, won by driving both rivals to extinction. Cro-Magnon isn't the only one that can do it (Neanderthal is the second most likely)

Another reason a promiscuous group with a warrior is a menace, is he can use his warrior to kill a pair bonder's husbands and leaving the daughters unmarried, thus depriving the pair bonder of her abilities. It's pretty cutthroat, but it works.

Similarly, Neanderthal starts 1/3 the way to a knapper alpha, and having a knapper makes it a lot easier to reliably hunt big game and/or take them as trophies.

I consider both of these tactics to be 'rush' strategies, to be taken when the first daughter you acquire grants the necessary portals. Ideally, as Cro-Magnon, you will begin hunting Neanderthals and Heidelberg men by the fourth turn or so.
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I have totally failed to have much success with the ideas in this thread. I can certainly recover easily enough from chaos, but that is pretty much all I have done as chaos strikes so frequently. And when I do have a specific goal to clear certain discs, bad luck seems to strike hard.

However I wonder if this strategy is strongly dependent on the other players having a certain level of competence. That is the strategy described here (especially hard bidding in auctions) may simply not work if the pair bonder is bidding too much for daughters and not trying to marry out. If other players are weak, perhaps one is better off playing a more straightforward strategy well.
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What seems to be going wrong? Ultimately, it is a dice game, and even the best strategies can fail to yield results. If you just aren't hitting any rolls, there's not much you can do about it.

Are you winning culture auctions? If not, you should bid more aggressively. If your opponents still outbid you, interfere with their hunting attempts by sending slightly fewer hunters. Then bid unopposed next round.

Are there enough gathering biomes? If not, maybe don't pick promiscuous.

What's on the flip side of your sexuality card? If it's pair bonder, consider starting with that side to win culture auctions, then flip to avoid having to marry them off.

Are you getting enough trophies? Even if it costs you a lot of hunters, it's generally worth it, as it deprived the other players of a hunting biome.
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As far as I can work out the following was going wrong:

1. Chaos was coming round so often I could never get more than about 9 hunters.

2. When I had a specific goal like mature this daughter, I would not make the hunt roll even after 3 or 4 attempts. Without that daughter I had no orange in the brain etc.

3. Other people were either overbidding or I simply lacked the relevant disks. The worst offender certainly suffered. She lost everything in a blizzard.

4. In terms of marriage I partly did not have any hunters to spare. Also to some extent I did not want to push somewhat weak players too hard.

There were plenty of gathering biomes. The one daughter I did manage to mature early was Basket Weaver. Really I want to keep this idea in reserve until I player against my most serious boardgaming daughter.
 
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It sounds like the dice weren't on your side. But here are my thoughts, point by point.

1. Chaos is actually to your advantage. It hurts you, but it hurts your opponents much more. You can bounce back a lot faster.

2. Here's where the dice were letting you down. Maybe you aren't committing enough hunters. If it's something important, like maturing a daughter who will give you a necessary brain portal, use more than you think you need. On things that aren't strictly necessary, minimal hunters is best.

3. That's good! You want your opponents to overcommit to things and lose them.

4. There's your problem. Promiscuous groups need to be ruthless.
 
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