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Subject: Strengths & weaknesses – trait breakdown rss

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Pierre Beri
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Here is a non-comprehensive guide of strengths, weaknesses of the traits from the base game, along with a few combo ideas. If you see anything to add or correct, feel free to post.

Each trait has a universal downside: it takes up a slot that can’t therefore be occupied by another trait (stronger defence = weaker feeding / vice versa).

Each defensive trait has a situational downside: it also works against my own predators (in case my predators are unable/unwilling to attack an opponent’s species).

Ambush
+ negates Warning Call, which is a powerful defensive trait
− when there are no Warning Calls
Combo: Warning Call on my own species (to guarantee a reserve of food, if needed)

Burrowing
+ can’t be eradicated by non-Intelligent predators / more efficient with a low population (or a species that can fill up quite fast)
− less efficient on high pop counts
Combo: Long Neck, Fat Tissue, Intelligence

Carnivore
+ gives access to another source of food, esp. when plants get scarce / attacks opponents’ populations
− very situational and requires the right environment. If there are no valid targets, extinction is certain
Combo: Fat Tissue, Cooperation, other Scavengers

Climbing
+ both a defensive and an offensive trait. The more Climbing cards I have, the fewer my opponents are likely to draw to get past mine
− both a defensive and an offensive trait (can therefore appeal to opponents)

Cooperation
+ low-food environments (quick-feed advantage), if combo with Carnivore
− little helpful in high-food environments
Combo: Foraging, Long Neck, Intelligence, Cooperation

Defensive Herding
+ impassable if enough population and non-Intelligent predators
− each attack suffered makes this less efficient; once the predator has more population, entirely inefficient. In low-food environments, high population is hard to maintain.
Combo: traits that help maintain high population (esp. Intelligence)

Fat Tissue
+ in high-food env. / used on high-pop, high-BS carnivores, can be a killer
− in low-food env.
Combo: Carnivore / replace it with another Fat Tissue (score the food on it and shoot again)

Fertile
+ payed off at the first trigger; in high-food env.
− in low-food env.
Combo: Defensive Herding, Pack Hunting, other Fertiles + put high food into the Hole

Foraging
+ in low-food env. (quick-feed advantage)
− if enough plants for all / useless with Carnivore
Combo: Long neck, Cooperation, Intelligence

Hard Shell
+ low-BS predators (esp. early game)
− inefficient once the predator has got fat enough (or Pack Hunting)

Horns
+ an always applicable defense
− will never prevent an attack
Combo: more dissuasive with low BS, Hard Shell

Intelligence
+ if I keep cards in hand, I am (carnivore: nearly) sure to feed
− card-consuming
Combo: Carnivore, Foraging, Cooperation, Burrowing

Long neck
+ in low-food env. / always guarantees 1 plant
− in high-food env. / useless with Carnivore
Combo: Burrowing, Foraging, Cooperation

Pack Hunting
+ if preys have too high BS (esp. higher than 5)
− does not help go round most defenses

Scavenger
+ if there are several attacks per round (esp. high player count)
− if there are too few attacks per round
Combo: other Carnivore species (to guarantee that attacks happen), Cooperation

Symbiosis
+ impassable if conditions are met and predators are not Intelligent
− can become useless if the species to the right (a prey of choice for your opponents) goes extinct
Combo: Cooperation (the protectee maintains its protector)

Warning Call
+ protects 2 species (no other trait does that good)
− negated by Ambush; does not protect the species with Warning Call and takes up a slot that could help it survive
Combo: any other environment-suitable defensive trait
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In the Fat Tissue combo, what does this mean?

Quote:
Combo: Carnivore / replace it with another Fat Tissue (score the food on it and shoot again)
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You can discard a full fat tissue to score its food during the play-and-discard-traits phase, because that's how fat tissue works. You can play another fat tissue from your hand onto the species that you just discarded a fat tissue from and then (hopefully) fill it up again.
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OMG that's evil. Not sure that was something intended.
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Fat Tissue is delightfully more powerful than it seems on the surface. Fat tissue on carnivores against scavengers is great.

Too many scavengers (with cooperation chains) leaving too much plant food behind? Use Fat Tissue on the carnivore. Since it's not hungry once the population is full have it eat only after scavengers finish raiding the watering hole.

Too many scavengers (with cooperation chains) surviving because your carnivore keeps eating? Use Fat Tissue, then after emptying the watering hole (see above), toss the biggest negative you can and just don't eat at all the next round. They'll all starve, it's fine.

Of course the discard and replace is great too.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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Rainbow Snake wrote:
OMG that's evil. Not sure that was something intended.




I'm not sure what you mean by that. We chose the rules that we thought created the best game. It's a balance of many things including:

1) Fun
2) Strong theme
4) Stretagy and tactical depth
5) Easy to teach

I guess you mean this rule isn't thematic, which is true. But we don't like to make exceptions for everything that breaks the theme because it hurts game play and it makes the learning process very painful.
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domcrap wrote:
Rainbow Snake wrote:
OMG that's evil. Not sure that was something intended.




I'm not sure what you mean by that. We chose the rules that we thought created the best game. It's a balance of many things including:

1) Fun
2) Strong theme
4) Stretagy and tactical depth
5) Easy to teach

I guess you mean this rule isn't thematic, which is true. But we don't like to make exceptions for everything that breaks the theme because it hurts game play and it makes the learning process very painful.


... So what's point 3?
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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That's our secret sauce! I can't tell you or everyone would copy us.

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domcrap wrote:
I guess you mean this rule isn't thematic, which is true. But we don't like to make exceptions for everything that breaks the theme because it hurts game play and it makes the learning process very painful.


Yup and I understand that
I'm very keen on theme so jettisoning fat tissue sounds freaky, but I'm okay with that being an occasional sneaky tactic.
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