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Subject: Paths to defeat in Pocket Proliferation! rss

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To win Proliferation!, it's necessary to simply proliferate: steadily reproduce counters faster than they die off. There are turns where a player loses ground, but as long as the overall population increase is upwards, the game can be won. The question is, how fast can you do it?

Certain outcomes can lead to defeat, or huge setbacks in the game:

1) Obstructions by age 5 and 6 counters: After an age 5 counter completes its movement, it is there for the rest of its life, which includes reproduction for two generations. A fruitful generation produces many 1 counters, but by the time they reach 5, they can be too numerous to move out of the way. (A counter moves a maximum of three spaces in its lifespan.) In real life, the baby boom of 1946 led to Social Security becoming top-heavy in 2009, when the largest demographic of Americans turned 65, and the ratio of employees per recipient grew so high that the U.S. Treasury Department declared it bankrupt in 2011, and the shortfall is now paid out of the discretionary budget. In the game simulation, age 5 and 6 counters occupy the resources of the younger generations by occupying spaces that can be used for reproduction.

2) Lack of available couples/lopsided generations: There's always the possibility of falling victim to the game's chance element. It happened to me several times already. There are the games that end in defeat because I rolled a high number of 5s and 6s (or, on a d8, 7s and 8s). The population will slowly die out, or become extinct in one region and be unable to repopulate. Still worse is when a generation (or two consecutive generations) produces only one gender. Now an entire population must remain celibate for lack of mates, and you see it slowly die out. This happened to me several times playing standard Proliferation! on VASSAL and my physical prototype. On VASSAL I made screenshots after each turn and I can view them in succession as a stop-motion animation depicting the death of my culture. There's no strategy I can think of to avoid this pitfall, except to hope you can regrow your society.
 
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