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Subject: Evolution vs Evolution: Climate rss

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Kevin Jonas

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I finally got to play Climate. Note, I have only played it once. We played it 4 players. The new guy decided to make a carnivore on the first turn. A different play through may have different results.

So, how does it compare? I do like the changes that were made. It makes body size useful for more than just defending against a carnivore and fat tissue. In our game we never triggered an event card, though our first cards were cold snap and warm spell so not too exciting anyways. The climate never got more than the first level in cold or warm. I was a little disappointed there, so were the other players.

They wanted to see more movement based on the differential between snowflakes and suns. In one round we have 5 suns and 1 snow flake. Everyone was thinking it should have moved more than one space. There were a couple of rounds where cards played to the center had no symbols on it. We think a good fix would be to have more symbols and then do something like take the difference in snowflakes and suns then divide by two, that's how many spaces the climate marker changes. That should mean the marker moves 1 or 2 spaces. Based on the number of players I would round or round down. Either that or to move in a direction you use up the differential. *I will explain this at the end* Most of our differences were only by 1 or 2.

Another thing was we always had plenty of food. Partly because we kept it warmer than colder. But also it was more difficult to pick up food in large quantities having to defend against a carnivore and the climate change possibilities. I don't think there was ever less than 7 food in the watering hole. There was a point where the only way we could stop the leader was to starve him, we tried. With cards that provide 10+ food on them it was really difficult.

Having a carnivore out early was interesting. Since we have to deal with the possibility of climate change also people preferred to play cards that protected from the climate over protection from the carnivore. I got hit hard by the carnivore. I tried to start a new species but he kept attacking my new species. I only had one species for several rounds. I didn't get any good defense cards for awhile.

The player that won got defensive herding and warning call on his center species early, and and then the body size and population maxed as the carnivore maxed. The guy with the carnivore (later a second came out but just couldn't survive) wasn't able to get intelligence or ambush early on. The last guy had mud wallowing and horns on his creatures. That is why the carnivore targeted my new species, they were the easiest to deal with. As I said before, I just wasn't getting defense cards.

Also, there were not many rounds. The new rules to deal 4+species count cards out, the ability to discard cards to draw more at the end of the turn, and the early carnivore going to town on everything meant we drew a lot of cards. I started the game and it ended on the person to my left's second time being first player (6 rounds total). In normal Evolution with 4 players it generally goes for more than two full rotations. That is one thing everyone commented on, there wasn't much opportunity to plan for the future because there wasn't much of a future. Everyone wondered why removed the 30 cards from the game. That would have allowed at least two more rounds. The game seemed to have ended before it should have. Maybe that is due to us being use to the original.

Another thing is our score ranged in the 40s and 50s (even with the watering hole always having plenty of food), where as with the original the scores end up in the 70s and 80s. This is probably due to the fewer rounds.

However, everyone did like having more cards available and 4 traits on the species. It did make setting up combos easier and it allowed the species to be more flexible. For example, my one species that could survive the carnivore had long neck, foraging, burrowing, and hibernation. I kept it at 4 body size so it was automatically protected before feeding. Later, once I picked up climbing, I replaced hibernation then to have double defense since I was never in a situation to use hibernation's feeding ability. The last two rounds the carnivore picked up intelligence and ambush. It could finally attack the defensive herding warning call species that was winning the game. That is the negative to having more traits, easier to defend. It was more difficult to deal with the leader.

So, comparing to the original we liked it but we thought it could use a couple more rounds so it would be the same length as the original. We liked that body size is more useful than the original. We would have liked to have seen the climate change more often or ability to do big swings once and awhile. It is just one play through though, so maybe more play throughs are needed to see if we hit anomalies.

I did explain the Plant mini expansion rules to everyone. They thought it will be an interesting expansion and more fun with the base game than with Climate.

**********
If you skipped to this, this is not how the game plays, it is a change I would make.

So, the differential thing I was thinking. First, we change the symbols on the climate board. One symbol representing population lost. It took two explanations that sun and snowflake on the board meant the same thing, the amount of population your creatures lose. There's a common symbol for body size range, there should have been one for population loss.

Let's say you mark each level of the climate board with how many suns or snowflakes it takes to to move the marker into that space. Let's say the distributions is like this:
Ice Age, 4 flakes, 0 sun
Freezing, 2 flakes, 2 sun
Cold, 2 flake, 1 sun
Cool, 1 flake, 1 sun
Temperate, 1 flake, 1 sun
Warm, 1 flake, 1 sun
Tropical, 1 flake, 2 sun
Hot, 2 flakes, 2 sun
Scorching, 0 flakes, 4 sun

This represents how many flakes and suns it takes to move to the next region. You take the difference in flakes and suns and apply. So let's say at the beginning of the game the difference is 3 suns left over. You would use one sun to move to warm, then two suns to move to tropical. Then let's say on the next round the difference is 4 flakes. Well, it would take 1 flake for each region until you got to cool. You would have 1 flake left, not enough to make it to cold. Then if you ever make it to the extremes it takes 2 symbols to get out of the extreme.
 
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Matt Parker
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One reason the game went so fast for you is that you shouldn't be discarding cards to get new cards at the end of the Play Cards phase. You put cards from your hand at the bottom of the draw deck and draw an equal number from the top of the deck into your hand.
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Kevin Jonas

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CenozoicMatt wrote:
One reason the game went so fast for you is that you shouldn't be discarding cards to get new cards at the end of the Play Cards phase. You put cards from your hand at the bottom of the draw deck and draw an equal number from the top of the deck into your hand.

Ok, that would help. Though we didn't do it that often. It might have allowed one more round.
 
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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Thanks for posting your initial impression of CLIMATE. I hope this isn't overload, but I've responded to some of your thoughts below. Cheers!

sirpoonga wrote:
In our game we never triggered an event card, though our first cards were cold snap and warm spell so not too exciting anyways. The climate never got more than the first level in cold or warm. I was a little disappointed there, so were the other players.

They wanted to see more movement based on the differential between snowflakes and suns. In one round we have 5 suns and 1 snow flake. Everyone was thinking it should have moved more than one space.

I've tested CLIMATE well over a hundred times where the climate could move more than 1 space a round. I think it becomes overly unpredictable. Here is a variation that I recommend.
We have data from nearly 300 games. You can expect 0 - 4 events to get triggered each game with the average being just under 2. One time 6 events were triggered! I did not want events to get triggered very frequently because the variety helps drive replayability.

From Nov 27th: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1680223/ckimate-track-rules...
"My favorite variant is to place a number of icons equal to the difference in the Watering Hole for the next round. So if there are 2 Snowflakes and 5 Suns, then the next round will have an additional 3 Suns added to the total. This way of playing accounts for momentum in the change of climate."

sirpoonga wrote:
Another thing was we always had plenty of food.

From Nov 28th: https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/217624/item/5050398#item5...
"The climate considerations were new, interesting, and painful - we nearly ended up in an Ice Age, with the result that the Watering Hole had 0 food for the last two rounds of the game. Ending scores seemed to correlate closely with how well each player had handled things, which was promising."

sirpoonga wrote:
As I said before, I just wasn't getting defense cards.

Every card is a defensive card: Body Size! Don't forget that you don't have to play any cards on your turn (and if you lose your last species you get a new one for free). If you wait one turn you will have a minimum of 8 cards (and could have seen 14+ cards). Even if none of the 14 cards were defensive (which is highly unlikely), it would be possible to give your free species 4 Population and 6 Body Size. There is no way that thing would die to a Carnivore! I have even won a game where I held off playing cards for 2 rounds in a row so don't be afraid to do it. Better to wait then to waste perfectly good cards.

sirpoonga wrote:
Also, there were not many rounds... Everyone wondered why removed the 30 cards from the game.

Please don't feel compelled to remove cards if your group wants a longer game. It does not break the game to play a few additional rounds.

sirpoonga wrote:
Another thing is our score ranged in the 40s and 50s (even with the watering hole always having plenty of food), where as with the original the scores end up in the 70s and 80s. This is probably due to the fewer rounds.

I haven't found CLIMATE to have lower scores in general. In fact, I think it generally has higher scoring games since there is a slight tendency for the game to go warm. The low scoring ones are often the ones where cataclysmic events were triggered, especially on the cold side.
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