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Evolution: Flight» Forums » Variants

Subject: Alternate Climbing Trait Card rss

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Matt Parker
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After playing Flight, my gaming group and I felt that flying species seemed to be slightly unbalanced. That opinion might change with more times playing the game, but it is something I've been thinking about.

My group also kept having the same complaint: "Why can't my climbing species get up to the cliff to eat!"

The comment was made offhand, but I've thought about it a bit more. Climbing as a trait has never been especially powerful. And with flying carnivores suddenly able to bypass climbing altogether it got weaker.

I think Climbing needs a little boost. What if, in future releases, Climbing read as:

Climbing: A Carnivore must have climbing to attack this species. A non-carnivore with this trait may discard a card to gain access to the cliff for one round.

That would seem to make sense thematically, and adds some interesting play to the game I think. It would better balance both Flight and Climbing.

I understand that to modify this card and then add it in as an extra card would be an expense, but it would be cool if it is possible. Maybe since NSG seems to be moving away from Event Cards anyway, future Flight releases could replace Dive Bomb and Seed Dispersal with the new Climbing trait and something else. Claws from Promo Pack III would be a good fit as it also can negate Climbing.

Just my thoughts.
 
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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1) Climbing took a big hit in power in Flight, so allowing access to the Cliff works in Flight. Feel free to use it as a house rule. In fact, I encourage it.

We decided not to add a rule in the game that was not reflected in the text of the card. I try to make things as easy as possible on new players. Learning rules is not fun, and having cards do something not written on the cards is obviously silly. Printing replacement cards is also not ideal. I didn't want to ask people to remove cards before adding cards. To make Flight work, all you do it shuffle the cards together and play.

CLIMATE is a stand-alone, not an expansion. But we decided to release a conversion kit to reduce the cost to our Evolution customers. Semitics maybe, but that's the thinking that went into our decision to break our own rule o thumb with the conversion kit.


2) Flying is not unbalanced! Haha! It is a self-balancing mechanism. An Avian species is very powerful if it is the only one in play, but Avian species are very weak if everyone has 2 of them in play (because of the extra cost and the marginal benefit). Since anyone can create an Avian species on any turn, players must figure out when to create an Avian species and when they shouldn't.
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Pierre Beri
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domcrap wrote:
1) Climbing took a big hit in power in Flight, so allowing access to the Cliff works in Flight. Feel free to use it as a house rule. In fact, I encourage it.
At the cost of a card as suggested in the OP?
 
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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beri2 wrote:
domcrap wrote:
1) Climbing took a big hit in power in Flight, so allowing access to the Cliff works in Flight. Feel free to use it as a house rule. In fact, I encourage it.
At the cost of a card as suggested in the OP?


I'm not sure if it needs the extra cost. Climbing is not good protection against Carnivores since Avian Carnivores have a built in counter to it. So having Climbing able to get to the Cliff for free would be on the powerful end of the spectrum, but not broken. In fact, getting Food from the Cliff for free would make it very comparable to the Flight trait. The difference would be an upkeep cost on Avian species in exchange for the ability to discard a card to get past Symbiosis and Warning Call as a Carnivore. It sounds roughly balanced. My bigger issue is that this change would make Flight less important in the environment, and clearly an expansion called Flight should be centered around the Flight trait.

So after all this... hmmm... I'd make a house rule that was somewhere between getting to the Cliff for free and having to pay a card for 1+ food ("+" if you have Foraging or Cooperation). It sounds wonky, which means I'd never do it for a published version of the card, but for inside baseball type people like yourselves that might not matter.

Here's an idea! A species with Climbing can take food from the Cliff if there is no food in the Watering Hole. That would be slightly worse than having the choice at all times and it also feels more thematic. Why try and climb the cliff if you have food at your feet.

Drops mic...
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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... embarrassingly walks on stage and picks up mic again...

Upon second thought, that what would happen anyhow. There's no reason to eat from the Cliff if there is food at the Watering Hole. Sure, maybe just make them discard a card to get to the Cliff. Let me know if it's powerful enough to get used very often.

Cheers!

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Byron S
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I can think of a couple reasons to prefer eating from the Cliff, such as Fertile and similar traits that trigger off food being in the Watering Hole. Generally, though, I'd expect people to eat from the WH first, and Avians usually do in the games we play.
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Soo Yang Ong
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Very nice solution to those pesky birds cant wait to test out your hse rule.
 
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Pierre Beri
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A halfway solution would be that at anytime during the Play cards phase, you can slip a face-down card under the Climbing card. If you do, then you are good enough a climber as to get to the cliff indefinitely.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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beri2 wrote:
A halfway solution would be that at anytime during the Play cards phase, you can slip a face-down card under the Climbing card. If you do, then you are good enough a climber as to get to the cliff indefinitely.


Hey, that's an awesome idea! It's a very elegant solution to the problem of 1 card is too expensive and 0 cards is too cheap. I hope you don't mind if we use that idea if we come across this problem again in the future.
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Pierre Beri
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I don’t mind at all. Glad I could help.
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Matt Parker
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Or you could do away with a card cost altogether and just have:

Climbing: A carnivore must have Climbing to attack this species. This species may feed from the Cliff. Whenever this species feeds from the Cliff, all Flying Carnivores get an immediate attack on this species with no discard to negate Climbing.

Or something like that. Basically, Climbing species can get up to the Cliff, but it makes them even more vulnerable to flying carnivores.

If this card was ever made, would the background be the first trip-colored card? (Red for attack, silver for defense and green for food.)
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Matt Parker
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Or, to build off of Dom's earlier thought:

Climbing: A Carnivore must have Climbing to attack this species. If there is no food in the Watering Hole, this species may eat from the Cliff. Each time a Climbing species eats from the Cliff, all flying carnivores get an immediate free attack on this species (no discard needed).

So, like Dom said, this species is only going to go through the trouble of climbing the Cliff if the Watering Hole is empty. And accessing the food on the Cliff makes the climbing species particularly vulnerable to flying carnivores.

Thoughts? I may start playtesting this one soon.
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Matt Parker
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GeneralGerbil and I have agreed on the text and art for a prototype of this card that we will begin playtesting soon. We were also concerned that Flight and Climbing both being defensive cards and having access to the Cliff could be a bit unbalanced, so we also made a new trait version of Pounce. In the meantime, check out GeneralGerbil's amazing skills in graphic design and feel free to comment/critique this card. I'll let you know how it plays!

NOTE: I do not own the art or card format in these images. I am not affiliated with North Star Games in any way. Just a fan having some fun. These are custom cards made for my amusement only. Neither GeneralGerbil nor myself will sell or trade these cards to you or build other custom cards for you, so do not ask. Thanks!

 
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Matt Parker
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Just wanted to pop in here again to say that we did playlets these cards. We felt they worked great. Accessing the Cliff using Climbing was not often used, but it was a good backup plan when times were unexpectedly lean. I felt that the upgraded Climbing helped to better balance Flight (which had cornered the market with Cliff food). And Pounce kept either of those cards from getting too out of control.

I know GeneralGerbil still thinks Flight is too strong and feels a Carnivore with Climbing should be able to attack a flying species, but I think these cards alone balance out well.

One thing that happened that we hadn't considered until play testing was that a species with Claws could also access the Cliff! They just have to pay two cards to do it (one to gain Climbing, then one to go to the Cliff). Pretty steep cost, but it could save your species in a pinch!
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Edu Avalon
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domcrap wrote:
beri2 wrote:
A halfway solution would be that at anytime during the Play cards phase, you can slip a face-down card under the Climbing card. If you do, then you are good enough a climber as to get to the cliff indefinitely.


Hey, that's an awesome idea! It's a very elegant solution to the problem of 1 card is too expensive and 0 cards is too cheap. I hope you don't mind if we use that idea if we come across this problem again in the future.


We played yesterday with this variant, and honestly, I think it didn't work very well. The big advantage of flying species is that they have exclusive access to the cliff. Climbing became then too overpowered: You have access to the cliff with a little extra-cost (To discard one single card for the rest of the game). As a result, in our game, the cliff was empty with only one avian specie in game.
I think we will try for the next game the original idea of discarding one card to access the cliff for one round. You will not use it frequently, but in specific situations this could be useful. In any case, I think is better to make "climbing" card less powerful than making "flight" useless
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Pierre Beri
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Climbers are vulnerable to fliers, so if they thrive, you can make carnivorous birds.
 
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Edu Avalon
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beri2 wrote:
Climbers are vulnerable to fliers, so if they thrive, you can make carnivorous birds.


Except if climbers size is higher than 3...
For sure you can find solutions, but the point is that with this home made rule, fliers have too much constraints (limited size, need of extra food, two cards to create a fliying specie, etc..) with limited advantages if the cliff is easily accessible for non flying species.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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Playtesting takes dedication. We test all of our games hundreds of times before releasing them. It's not to say that they cannot be improved upon, but it's likely to take a fair amount of dedication to improve upon anything released by North Star Games.
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Matt Parker
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I would add that, as with many things in life, what counts as an improvement is fairly subjective.

For my group, giving Climbing species the ability to access the Cliff (albeit with a somewhat heavy cost) is an improvement. But we all understand that there are many who wouldn't want to go that route. And thats fine.

It's a great game either way, so it often comes down to personal preference.

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Dominic Crapuchettes
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CenozoicMatt wrote:
I would add that, as with many things in life, what counts as an improvement is fairly subjective.


Yep! That's what makes it hard. It takes a lot of testing to find the intersection of the most circles in a Venn diagram.
(where each circle is one persons subjective opinion)
 
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