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Subject: Wanderlust Husbands - Solo Variant rss

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Matt Watkins
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I just got the game and have only played solo a couple of times, but haven't had too much trouble yet just by following a few rules:
1. Don't use promiscuity. I can see how getting 2 points per hunter is useful in multiplayer, but since the solo game doesn't score, the vocabulary deficit and, especially, inability to make husbands seem too disadvantageous. Gathering isn't enough when hunters generally aren't competing for biomes.
2. Focus hunts for the first few turns on babies, not discs. A large pool of unassigned hunters makes everything easier
3. Assign foreign husbands as much as possible to maximize daughter benefit among cooperating species and to avoid having to mature the husbands.
4. Assign wanderlust hunters to the species with the fewest unassigned hunters.

Number 2 is a general strategy that could apply to multiplayer, but 1, 3 and 4 are toe-the-line-or-die solo strategies. To mitigate their effectiveness, I propose a simple tweak (only for solo play):

Rule: Foreign husbands can only be assigned from the wanderlust hunters in another species's tableau.
Corollary: A promiscuous species can assign foreign husbands this way.


This makes sense thematically: contact between species forms a gradient from isolation to cooperating hunters to interbreeding to full cultural and technological interchange.

It also gives a few benefits to solo gameplay:
a. Requires more strategic thinking about where to assign wanderlust hunters.
b. Makes it more difficult to achieve foreign daughters, adding a layer of challenge to the solo game.
c. Makes promiscuity viable for solo play as a species with that sexuality can generate wanderlust hunters without waiting for chaos.

I haven't tried this yet; just feeling it out, but I will in my next playthroughand post my impressions. If you try, let me know what you think/find.
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Matt Watkins
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I ran a successful playthrough with this variant. I also included Pemik's daughter bidding variant (which is brilliant.) My wanderlust husband rule turned out to have a fairly minor effect on gameplay. (Pemik's variant a much bigger one.) I like the combination quite a bit; it feels like a more dynamic game with more decisions. I'm tempted to add Juan Crespo's shared hunting ground variant as well.

A couple of rule clarifications:
- Wanderlust suitors must make a successful courtship roll. If they fail, they remain in the foreign tableau from which they came. In other words, foreign suitors never return to the tableau of their native species.
- It is permissible to swap an alpha in for one of your wanderlust hunters in a foreign tableau. Thematic justification: The wanderlust, in my view, represents a long-term exchange of labor for cultural knowledge. (With courtship and husbanding standing in for this cultural exchange.) It makes sense that a species that had developed warrior technology would occasionally lose its strongest warriors to wanderlust, who would then be prize husbands for foreign daughters.

Optional victory condition with this variant: You must have at least two surviving species at the end of the game, both with (mature) domesticated animals, and each with a foreign husband of the other species in their tableau.
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