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Subject: Flight Inherently OP? rss

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Soo Yang Ong
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I hope to know some opinions on the Flight trait as after numerous playthroughs with the expansion.

I find that the Flight trait is inherently powerful and creates balancinh issue for the game by rendering non avian species useless.

Not only does the avian species is a powerful protection card by itself it can feed from the cliff as well as the watering hole.

The "downside" of feeding the body size becomes an advantage over non avian species as it allows flight species to destroy the watering hole leaving it desolate for ages. Rendering cards that require watering hole to be have food such as fertile and good eyesight to be very useless.

The option that are given to players each game is either become an avian or lucky enough to draw traits that allow you to eat from the food bank. Leaving the game very one dimensional.

The ecosystem is only balanced when and only if a flying swarm (pack hunting avians) clear off the flying critters cooperatively requiring two or more players effort in a 6 player game. And that again is another distress to be discussed.
 
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Ariel
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If a game needs it, I feel forced to create and implement some variants.
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That's why creating and mantainig avian species comes with an aditional costs. You need to discard 2 cards in order to created them and "feed" their wings first in order to feed its population. Plus, the trait uses one of the specie's traits slots and they also have the 3 bodysize restriction! All this balance the game experience for sure, and remember that NSG puts a great effort and significant number of gametest sessions to reach the almost perfect balance. Of course, some traits/combinations can be a little more or less powerful/efective, but I'd never call some OP.
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Soo Yang Ong
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Imo creating avian species only discards one card since the flight trait card is by all aspects a trait card. And worst the flight trait card cam be any card that you draw. There isnt any extra punishment being deal out to players who loses avian species because they will still be able to draw from the lost flight trait making creating avian species a high reward play with very little risk.

Limit in body size doesnt really create a problem because no one down there that can swallow you flies. If you are same size as your peers which is the easily maxed body size 3 you would be able to prevent being gobbled up.

I believe dominic and his team have done a very valiant and very great effort in making the game. But i cant ignore the negative feedback and many playthroughs that I experience with my community. The core of the problem is the game punishes players who dont fly or cannot eat from the food bag. Is this intended by design...
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Lance Codarin
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tongmykei87 wrote:
Imo creating avian species only discards one card since the flight trait card is by all aspects a trait card.


and already the issue is crystal clear... if you don't play by the rules don't call something OP.
To create a flying species you need to discard 2 cards.
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Pierre Beri
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If birds are so OP, why doesn’t everyone make them? This way they will deplete the cliff and birds will die, just like (or worse than) other species.

Darklaw90 wrote:
and already the issue is crystal clear... if you don't play by the rules don't call something OP.
To create a flying species you need to discard 2 cards.
My understanding is that the OP is playing the correct rules.
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Ariel
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Darklaw90 wrote:
tongmykei87 wrote:
Imo creating avian species only discards one card since the flight trait card is by all aspects a trait card.

and already the issue is crystal clear... if you don't play by the rules don't call something OP.
To create a flying species you need to discard 2 cards.

Yeah, Soo Yang Ong is confused in some aspects. He even ignore (or misunderstand) my previous post
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Soo Yang Ong
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Dear Ariel,

I did not ignore nor misunderstand your previous post, I apologize if I caused any distress to you.

I would rephrase and elaborate on my words regarding creating the avian species. I don't consider creating avian species as discarding 2 cards because when you discard two cards to create an avian species the bird gets a flight trait card.

If somehow the avian species is extinct, the flight card is a trait card, so you would still get to draw another card for the flight trait card, therefore your effective hand size.

I would define the effective hand size as the number of cards on your current hand + the number of trait cards on your species.

I would gauge a player's power level during the game by their effective hand size because the number of cards in your hand indirectly represents the capability of you evolving your species.
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Soo Yang Ong
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[q="beri2"]If birds are so OP, why doesn’t everyone make them? This way they will deplete the cliff and birds will die, just like (or worse than) other species.

Yes there are those who doesn't create avian species. Then, they would become those who do not win the game (being the player with the highest points).

Then again, I would like to point out that everyone did win the game because everyone had fun.
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Jason Bush
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Play some more, you'll figure it out.
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Matt Parker
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I understand the point here. My initial impression is that flying species were a bit overpowered too. My whole gaming group thought so. And our winner always had flying species.

When I brought that observation here I was also told that I needed to play more to see better balance. On the other hand, Dominic said that since the expansion is called Flight, of course flying species were going to be strong because he didn't want an expansion where the stars of the game were rarely used. So, i think they were given an edge. And in a game where things evolve so quickly, even a slight edge can create a big imbalance.

I'm excited to play more and see if my first impression holds. We'll see. Maybe I will come to find better balance than I first experienced.

But I suspect flying species will always be a bit stronger than land species in the majority of situations. It's one of the reasons I made the suggestion of an update/house rule to Climbing as seen in another thread. Giving a Climbing species the ability to access the Cliff for a round at the cost of a discard lets land species compete. And it helps out Climbing which took a hit in Flight.
 
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Chris May
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I've found it self balancing. Once several people get a bird their strength goes down some. Everyone can make one so it is obvious to me you are meant to do so often. If everyone except you makes a bird I think you now have the advantage in cards.

They are easy to make by anyone so there is no disadvantage to anyone.
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Ariel
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tongmykei87 wrote:
Dear Ariel,

I did not ignore nor misunderstand your previous post, I apologize if I caused any distress to you.

I would rephrase and elaborate on my words regarding creating the avian species. I don't consider creating avian species as discarding 2 cards because when you discard two cards to create an avian species the bird gets a flight trait card.

If somehow the avian species is extinct, the flight card is a trait card, so you would still get to draw another card for the flight trait card, therefore your effective hand size.

I would define the effective hand size as the number of cards on your current hand + the number of trait cards on your species.

I would gauge a player's power level during the game by their effective hand size because the number of cards in your hand indirectly represents the capability of you evolving your species.

Mmm, do you move the food tokens correctly? The wings food cost goes to the bank, not to your food bag. This mechanic is very important to balance the avian species. Some times, take care of your avian species limit you to have less land ones, and that could be very bad depending of the scenario. What do you think about that?
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Soo Yang Ong
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Yes the body size maintenance goes back
to the food bank.

What you say is true the avian advantage
do diminish over time when everyone is an
avian. However, the moment a single
player creates an avian the other players
must create as well or lose unless you
can eat from the food bank. Thus creating
a scenario whereby the watering hole is
forever a wasteland every end of the
feeding turn rendering "before food
cards are revealed" cards useless and
also extremely harsh conditions
for players who did not create
avians early.

This creates a scenario whereby your
opening move must be create an avian
species or lose.

I would hope to hear how your
playthroughs with your players and
experiences when it comes to flight.
 
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David A
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tongmykei87 wrote:
Thus creating a scenario whereby the watering hole is forever a wasteland every end of the feeding turn rendering "before food cards are revealed" cards useless...

I'm not sure what you're saying here. Can you elaborate?
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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There are many specific things I could respond to, but instead, let me say that the last 100 play tests (where the card set was pretty stable) were won by players who played Avaian species and Land species in roughly equal quantities. At the highest level of play, the game is sometimes won by someone who never plays an Avian species. It is almost never won by someone who never plays a Land species. Avian species have diminishing returns. The first one is very powerful but each subsequent one diminishes the value of all Avian species in play. Once every player has 1 Avian species, the benefit of the Cliff has been cancelled by the upkeep costs. This happens quicker if players increase the Body Size of their species.
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Soo Yang Ong
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Thanks for your reply sir. Then I can assume that our current game experience by design.
 
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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tongmykei87 wrote:
Thanks for your reply sir. Then I can assume that our current game experience by design.

Yes. My advice is to keep playing. You will see that Avian species are not over-powered. Don't forget that every player has one in their opening hand, AND on every turn of the game. And that every Avian species introduced into the ecosystem reduces the value of ALL Avian species in play.
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Edu Avalon
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domcrap wrote:
tongmykei87 wrote:
Thanks for your reply sir. Then I can assume that our current game experience by design.

Yes. My advice is to keep playing. You will see that Avian species are not over-powered. Don't forget that every player has one in their opening hand, AND on every turn of the game. And that every Avian species introduced into the ecosystem reduces the value of ALL Avian species in play.


I am a little confused. What does mean "that every players has an avian specie in the opening hand AND on every turn of the game"? I didn't see in the rules that you start with an avian species. I understood that you only can "purchase" it during the game, paying two cards. Am I wrong?
 
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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What I'm saying is that you don't have to draw the card randomly. A powerful card that is drawn randomly can lead to balance issues.

Having the option to create an Avian species on every turn does not create balance issues because every player has the same option. And having a system where each Avian species introduced into the ecosystem diminishes the effectiveness of all Avian species in play is a self-balancing mechanism. In other words, we've thought this through and it works. Now go enjoy it!
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Edu Avalon
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Sorry, now it's clear.
Thanks!!!
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Matt Parker
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I've continued to play Flight with my group. We are seeing the balance better than we initially did.

But most of my group dislikes playing Flight for one big reason. While the winner of a specific game may never evolve flight, someone always does. Always. You will see Flight in every game. Usually you will see it multiple times. That helps balance it, but it also makes it predictable. And there will almost always be a flying species on the table at any given time.

There is no other trait card that you are basically guaranteed to have used in every game. Some traits like Long Neck and Carnivore are powerful enough to see often, but there is no guarantee that they will be used. Nor are they constantly on the table somewhere. Flight is going to happen and it's likely to stay around for the whole game.

And that kind of bothers some of us on a thematic level. Flight is no guarantee in nature. Sometimes it is advantageous, other times it is not. But in Flight the game, the evolution of flight is always advantageous (either as access to a new food source or to compete with others going for that food source). Throw a built-in solid defense on there and Flight becomes a no-brainer. It's going to happen and it's going to stick around.

So, I guess my group sees the balance in the card, but most of us dislike that Flight is a sure thing in every game. And that the best way to combat Flight is with Flight.

We are looking forward to playing with the modified Climbing card I've mentioned earlier. We think that if we have a climbing species or two that is clearing out the Cliff, flying species will no longer be a sure thing. Or maybe they'll only pop up as carnivores to take down the climbers. Having the Cliff accessible to both flyers and climbers will make both cards more interesting and fun as well as make both cards less of a guarantee in a given game.
 
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David A
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I don't know, in every single game I've played with a couple different groups Long Neck, Forage and Hard Shell always make an appearance. Always.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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Do you really think it would have been wise to release an expansion called Flight and not make flight an integral part of the game?!! It would have been called broken by nearly everyone who played the game for the first time without any Avian species coming into play.

We play a wide variety of cards in the office. My guess is that 75% of our games see every trait (all 17) come out at least once. But Cooperation and Carnivore probably make an appearance in over 99% of our games.
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Matt Parker
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David and Dom> Those are fair points. I was perhaps exaggerating a bit too much when I said that no other card is a guarantee to show up in a given game.

And I totally get the point that the Flight Expansion would've been meaningless if Flight wasn't likely to be used much.

I guess it really comes back to the main reason my group doesn't like playing Flight as much (and we've discussed this at length): Flight is balanced by Flight, but its very powerful. If you add it into a game, it dominates the game play. And that bothers some players.

A common thing we've talked about is that for both mechanical and thematic reasons, there should always be at least two different ways to evolve to do something. For instance, if you have a Carnivore and your prey is protected by Warning Call, you can either take out the center species somehow and break the Warning Call, get Ambush and negate the Warning Call or get Intelligence and pay cards to negate Warning Call. Three different methods that all work theme-wise and game mechanics-wise. This sort of variety makes the games more interesting and less predictable.

But with Flight and the Cliff, the unpredictability is gone. The Cliff is a steady, predictable food source. And only one trait (Flight) allows you to access it. So, while flying species may be balanced by additional flying species, and flying species must pay a cost that land species do not, flying species are the one and only way to access a food source that land species can't access. And of course flying species will inevitably clean out the Watering Hole first before moving on to the Cliff. That makes them over-powered. And their singular status makes their appearance and durability predictable. And, among my game group at least, that predictability is both less interesting and less fun. Add in a very strong defense and playing this trait just becomes a no-brainer.

As I've mentioned, altering Climbing to allow Climbing species to access the Cliff by paying a card would possibly solve this problem for us. We plan to play test this soon and see. We think that no more would Flight have a monopoly on the Cliff. There would be two ways to get that exclusive food and that brings it more in line with what we love about the Base game (and Climate). In Evolution, just as in nature, there is often more than one solution to any problem. And the ways species have evolved to solve problems has lead to the diversity we see in nature and that we love to see in the game. I imagine that the Cliff resource would become much more interesting due to the interactions between flying non-carnivores, flying carnivores (that can negate Climbing) and Climbing non-carnivores. Instead of becoming a safety net for flying species, the Cliff would become an evolutionary battleground. And thats a lot more interesting and fun. Or so we think.

Just want to say that I don't think that my thoughts should be viewed as a critique of Flight. I think its a great expansion. I just think that for my playing style (and that of my group) it needs some adjustment. What we love most about Evolution and Climate is the variety in our species and the individual ways they evolve to solve problems (or don't and go extinct) and the interactions between them and their environment. Flight seems to diminish this a bit for us. And that's just us.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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In our tests, about 33% of the games were won by someone who never played an Avian species which is what we were going for. I'm not sure why the Flight experience is not interesting to your group. I haven't played Flight in over a year, but what I remember is a ravenous battle to control the Cliff. It was always fascinating to watch how it unfolded and who was able to stay clear of the carnage. Flight is Scott Rencher's favorite format and he's clearly the best Flight player in the office. He often controlled the skies with Flight, Carnivore, and Pack Hunting - something I was never able to figure out how to do correctly.

Hopefully you'll find a way to make the game more suited to your group. Cheers!
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