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Subject: The Praying Mantis - unofficial fan expansion rss

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Bendik Ferkingstad
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The praying mantis is an ambush predator, meaning that it lies in wait for its prey to come close enough before it strikes. After successfully capturing a prey item, it will then be busy eating (this is important to the mechanics introduced). In Hive, the praying mantis will function like a trap, and introduces an element of area control to the game. By strategically placing the mantis, you can hinder the opponent's approach and get access to strong defensive options.

On your turn, you may either move the mantis two spaces or use its unique ability. The mantis works like a “reverse beetle”: Instead of moving on top of an adjacent piece, it moves an adjacent piece (friend or enemy) to its own position and places itself on top, given that the movement doesn’t violate the “One Hive” or “Freedom of Movement” rules. This ability can only be used once, and the mantis will remain on top of its captured piece for the remainder of the game. It cannot move or use its ability again.

The mantis’ ability lies on the stronger end of the spectrum, so I included this rule to limit the dominance of the piece. It is still a very strong ability, but it is also a big investment (as you can only use it once) and requires careful planning to use efficiently.

Clarifications:

- The mantis can’t capture a stacked piece.

- If a mosquito copies the mantis' special ability, it is stuck as a mantis for the remainder of the game (on top of its captured piece). Turn the mosquito upside down to remember that it's a mantis and not a beetle.

- If the mantis captures a queen, the queen still needs to be surrounded completely in order for a player to win/lose, even if the theme suggests that she is being devoured by the mantis.

- A mantis capturing a piece is not considered moving, so temporarily lifting a mantis that connects two pieces of the hive to capture an adjacent piece does not violate the one hive rule.

Please feel free to tell me what you think

EDIT: Rules can be downloaded here.
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Russ Williams
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bdeink wrote:
- If a mosquito copies the mantis' special ability, it is stuck as a mantis for the remainder of the game (on top of its captured piece).

A minor note (perhaps of more theoretical than practical importance):

This adds an element of long-term memory to the game (one must remember that this mosquito is a mantis, not a beetle for the rest of the game; if one comes upon a game in progress, one might be unsure of the game state).

Admittedly the pillbug already adds an element of memory to the game state, but only one turn long rather than the rest of the game.
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Bendik Ferkingstad
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russ wrote:

This adds an element of long-term memory to the game (one must remember that this mosquito is a mantis, not a beetle for the rest of the game; if one comes upon a game in progress, one might be unsure of the game state).

I hadn't though about that. One possible solution would be to simply turn the mosquito upside down upon using the mantis' ability, thus removing its icon from the playing field for the rest of the game. Of course, as tiles normally aren't upside down, remembering which piece is wouldn't be a problem either.

Thanks for the input!
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Calvin Daniels
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I have thought of something similar but never pursued it as not sure if effects game greatly, one and done makes it less so.

If you are into one and done I'd allow it to reach out and drag a bug at least two away.
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Cody Kunka
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Talisinbear wrote:
I have thought of something similar but never pursued it as not sure if effects game greatly, one and done makes it less so.

If you are into one and done I'd allow it to reach out and drag a bug at least two away.

If you wanted to avoid single use, you could make the ability two steps like the Caterpillar/Moth (C/M). On your turn, you would either pick up a piece on your back -OR- move with a piece already on your back and then drop it. I think you may have to make an exception for QB though if multiple uses are allowed.

Also, I think it’s important to differentiate from the PB. Maybe single use does that...
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Calvin Daniels
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Would allowing the PM to release a piece by moving off it not work. It might well be useful to leave the early caught spider, to go after bigger orey later in a game.

So move like a bee on space, or he ability to capture by drawing a piece to under itself, pining it until the PM moves off it.

The question is how far can it reach. I would save has to be exactly 2 or 3 spaces away. Good reach, but requires proper positioning, and changes the hive more than just dragging an adjacent piece.

The dragonfly becomes more useful with the PM in play too to free pieces it captures.

It works with Mosquito since PM cannot move atop hive, only down to floor level off a captured piece.
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Randall Ingersoll
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I have always liked this Mantis (as a bug removal piece):

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/782310/new-bug-praying-mant...
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Calvin Daniels
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Piece removal woukd be a major break from the fundamental break with the precepts of the core game I think
 
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Bendik Ferkingstad
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Quote:
One your turn, you may either move the mantis one space (like the queen bee) or use its unique ability.

Edit: Buffed movement from 1 to 2 spaces, as positioning of the mantis became a problem due to its poor movement abilities. Even with better movement options, the piece is far from game breaking.
 
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Bendik Ferkingstad
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Edit: I just noticed that your answer might have been directed at Randall Ingersoll and his interpretation of the praying mantis, but I'll let my answer stay here, as I spent a lot of precious time thinking about and writing it.

Quote:
Piece removal would be a major break from the fundamental break with the precepts of the core game

Piece removal isn't that different from strategies already in the game. When I play the game, ants are mostly used to block the usage of certain pieces by inhibiting their movement using the "One Hive" rule, and more often than not, beetles remain rather stationary once they have captured the desired target piece. In practice, piece removal is what the beetle is doing during most of our games anyway.

As a piece remover, the mantis is far less threatening than the beetle, mainly for two reasons:

1) Because you should consider more carefully which piece to block (as the mantis' ability is permanent), and

2) because of the situation that often arises when a beetle has captured a queen: When a beetle has captured a queen, most of the time it stays there until only one free spot remains around the enemy queen, and then all you need to do to win the game is climb down into the empty spot with the beetle (Voila!). The mantis cannot do this. In this scenario, you would normally need one or two more rounds to win (one to play a fitting insect and one to position it where it is needed).

It is also not possible for the mantis to capture a queen into an almost completely surrounded spot as this would violate the "Freedom of Movement" rule. As a final note, the mantis is much easier to counter than the beetle, as it needs to move around any obstacle instead of just casually walking on top. The mantis is also much more limited by both the "One Hive" and "Freedom of Movement" rules.

TL;DR: The beetle is easier to position and capture pieces with than the mantis, and you can use its abilities rather carelessly as you can "undo" any mistake or move to a better position later. Once per round piece removal by the mantis is just a (more risky, long ranged) variation of that.
 
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Bendik Ferkingstad
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Quote:
Would allowing the PM to release a piece by moving off it not work?

Quote:
If you are into one and done I'd allow it to reach out and drag a bug at least two away.

Thanks for the input!

When I designed this piece, I intentionally made it kind of underpowered because I didn't want to make a game breaking piece that could potentially ruin my fun with this game. In my original rules, the mantis could either move one step or catch and adjacent piece, which it turns out made it very weak. I compensated for this by buffing its movement to two steps, which makes positioning easier (although still possible to counter if you know the right strategy).

Your suggestion could of course also have been a solution, but I'm still hesitant to give it more reach. I imagined the mantis more like a bear trap, that snaps if you get too close.

 
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Bendik Ferkingstad
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The Praying Mantis as exemplified by my custom wooden pieces.
 
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Calvin Daniels
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After a couple of sleepless nights thoughts on a mantis, I still think its a tad under-powered, a bit too one and done in my mind.

I'd be more inclined to try this:

The Mantis can move one, or two spaces

Or capture two, or three, by dragging a bug to it, and climbing on top. The Captured bug can be of either colour. Basic free movement and one hive rules of course must be maintained.

The piece remains captured, until the mantis is moved.

One Mantis per player

This makes the bug a bit spidery, a bit reverse beetle, a big offensive/bit defensive, but less powerful than ant/grasshopper or the great home build dragonfly.

Just my two cents

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Calvin Daniels
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Or maybe move 1-2 or capture 1-2 keeps it simpler

Either way this is a bug I really like.

Especially if it was allowed to capture both colours
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Calvin Daniels
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Anyone do a carbon graphic?
 
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Calvin Daniels
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Another run at the mantis that I am experimenting with.

The mantis can a) move two spaces.

Or

A mantis can reach one or two spaces and drag a bug of any colour to itself, observing freedom of movement rules. The captured bug goes under the mantis.

When a bug is under a mantis that mantis has two choices.

It can climb down and move two spaces as normal.

Or it can chose to move the two spaces carrying the captured bug with it.
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