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Subject: First Run After Reading rss

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Michael Shea
Germany
Nußloch
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I tried a test run of this game with my adult daughter. We played Yellow and Green. We ignored any kind of parasite AI, we did not even create any parasites ourselves. I have to say, that it all seemed rather random. I never managed to create any kind of life myself. I spent some time on the clay mound and then the Eutectic Brine. I would organize one or two cubes, then the manna would be disorganized by the same roll. Sure I would gain an enzyme or two, but these would only be replacements for those that I would lose in the next smite event. The entropy limits prevented me from trying to start life anywhere else. A series of smite events, especially at the end of the game began to wipe out the refugia by removing all the mana. At the end there were only two refugia left. One of them was the hydrothermal vent, given that you need a one to organize manna, makes it difficult to do much with a single biont.

My daughter was luckier. She managed to create a pah pigment space bacteria out of interplanetary dust. She even managed to gain a mutation and promote it. Afterwards events wiped out all her progress. Since she played Green, as soon as she got her life form, she was able to use another biont. That gave her some flexibility to try elsewhere in parallel.

I do not think I have fully understood the rules yet, but my first impression is that the game is pretty random. You do not have a lot of control. Dice rolls result in you organizing and disorganizing manna. You try and reduce disorganization by using enzymes, but the pressure of the event cards means you are contstantly losing enzymes and disorganized mana, too. I wonder if I am missing something.
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Will H.
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Two things to keep in mind without spoiling the experience of exploring the game.

1. In the real world, the creation of life is actually very rare.

The game designer posted a very interesting essay about how the game attempts to balance this while still being fun.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1583482/notes-mr-eklund-des...

2. Your approach to learning the game is the same way I learned it (in play testing).

Start with the basics and master those first. The game does have a lot of dice, but there are some strategies you can employ to minimize risks and increase the success of your life. You will have to explore the more advanced concepts to make the game feel less random and have some control over what happens. I can consistently create life and have it survive for 100s of millions of years, but marine life or something complex like an insect still eludes me!

Have fun with the game and enjoy the learning process. Phil Eklund games can teach you a lot!
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imars wrote:
I do not think I have fully understood the rules yet, but my first impression is that the game is pretty random.
I agree, and I think that's intentional. The game tries to simulate the circumstances that lead to the creation of life, and these are pretty chaotic und onforgiving.

Imho, managing to get to the stage of creating a macro-organism should be rare. As far as I can tell with my limited experience, it's key to know the event deck well, i.e. knowing which events may come up in the next few turns.
I also suspect you need to take some risks and 'gamble' a bit to successfully create macro-organisms.
 
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Lieven De Puysseleir
Belgium
Leuven
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Actually, after one play I didn't find the game to be too much on the random side because you just get to roll whole loads of dice to kind of even things out and if your micro-organisms are reasonably structured with chromosones etc then you can re-roll dice and protect yourself, also thanks to the mutation cards which are really powerful.

But you need to get going and calculate the odds a bit when you're investing your simbionts.

If you get nothing, you still can try to piggyback with the virus while you wait.

Very amusing game.
 
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