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Subject: Game Concept Feedback: Symbiotic Organisms rss

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Blake T
United States
Arizona
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I am toying with the concept for a competitive board game based around a theme of symbiotic organisms. The idea is that each person plays the role of an organism that has to gather resources (most likely a worker placement mechanic) to make energy. Energy is used to create more organisms (workers) and to purchase and play cards that modify and improve your traits. The catch is that the process to synthesize energy (the currency) will always have waste that is usable by the other players growing their organisms. So you have to balance what is helpful for you and least helpful for the other players. Kind of like choosing which role action in Puerto Rico.

For example, your organism requires Nitrogen to synthesize energy and the synthesis process releases Iron and Hydrogen back into the environment. Another player may have chosen to synthesize energy from Hydrogen and expel Nitrogen and Iron. Thus, creating a symbiotic (but competitive) relationship among players that fits the theme nicely.

Are there any games that already have this kind of symbiotic relationship mechanic (not necessarily the same theme)? I haven't played Takenoko but I think that might have something similar in that the things you do may help other players.
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Billy Pitiot
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I do not know of any such symbiotic game though there are probably some that exist.

There is a game around the same theme though: Xenon Profiteer where the goal of the game is to create Xenon from air. Oxygen and such being waste products of the process but they do not help others, you have to get rid of them otherwise they clog your hand.
 
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Gavin Kenny
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Ursuppe (Primordial Soup) uses a similar mechanic to this with amoeba excreting waste and the other players feed off the cubes of your (and other amoeba's) waste. They can buy genes that allow them to do things better as well. Definitely sounds similar to your idea.
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Blake T
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BilyVMe wrote:
I do not know of any such symbiotic game though there are probably some that exist.

There is a game around the same theme though: Xenon Profiteer where the goal of the game is to create Xenon from air. Oxygen and such being waste products of the process but they do not help others, you have to get rid of them otherwise they clog your hand.

This does have some similar elements I also had in mind (no pun intended). Thanks for the reply, Billy!

gavken wrote:
Ursuppe (Primordial Soup) uses a similar mechanic to this with amoeba excreting waste and the other players feed off the cubes of your (and other amoeba's) waste. They can buy genes that allow them to do things better as well. Definitely sounds similar to your idea.

Yes, that the same theme and style!. I originally had microorganisms in mind but decided that would be too limiting and have expanded it to be any organism (large or small). Thanks for the reply, Gavin!
 
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Ben Smith
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Cool idea!

To me it sounds more like area control than worker placement, though it depends how many workers you have and whether they all go back into your "hand" at the end of each round or stay on the board and move and multiply.

What first came to my mind was Dominant Species. There is no waste, per se, but each species tries to alter the overall environment in a way that is most favorable to them, BUT might end up being favorable to others as well. So a step in the right direction for you might be two steps in the right direction for someone else. You or they would then need to evolve different traits that allow you to thrive in different environments, and you can either specialize (super-thriving in swamps, for instance) or be very adaptable (decent thriving in any environment except snow).
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Blake T
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bugeeker wrote:
Cool idea!

To me it sounds more like area control than worker placement, though it depends how many workers you have and whether they all go back into your "hand" at the end of each round or stay on the board and move and multiply.

What first came to my mind was Dominant Species. There is no waste, per se, but each species tries to alter the overall environment in a way that is most favorable to them, BUT might end up being favorable to others as well. So a step in the right direction for you might be two steps in the right direction for someone else. You or they would then need to evolve different traits that allow you to thrive in different environments, and you can either specialize (super-thriving in swamps, for instance) or be very adaptable (decent thriving in any environment except snow).

Thanks, Ben. I've been eying Dominant Species for a while. It seems to have a pretty good reception. From your description I can see how it has the strategy of balancing benefit to you vs. benefit to other players.

I also just noticed Evolution which has the trait card thing that I also had in mind.
 
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Jason Roup
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I think you're on to a popular concept. I just saw a Kickstarter for Pathogenesis... not exactly what you're speaking of, but the world of microorganisms is becoming its own genre
 
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Blake T
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Jason Roup wrote:
I think you're on to a popular concept. I just saw a Kickstarter for Pathogenesis... not exactly what you're speaking of, but the world of microorganisms is becoming its own genre

Thanks for posting, I just saw that one too. Looks like great artwork and some unique mechanics in there but I think it's a little too heavy on the deck building side for my liking. The theme is similar in that the things you're interacting with are not you're typical fantasy creature. I also like the way it can be played with so many different modes (single, competitive, teams).
 
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Blake T
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Just noticed Chromosome and wanted to post it here as another game with with sine similar ideas.

EDIT:
Also saw these other similar games
Bios: Genesis
Symbioz
 
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