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Subject: Basic Game Observations rss

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Geoff Speare
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We got a chance to play this 3 player (Red, Yellow, and Blue). We played the Basic Game to keep things simple. A few rules were forgotten or omitted (Wantonness being the most significant), but nothing that really changed the nature of the game.

On the first turn there was one Refugium. Player Blue (me) got lucky and got a Bacteria with 4 Chromosomes (including one Foreign Gene): 2 blue, 1 red, 1 green. This organism would survive 4. Billion. Years…to the end of the game. Style points!

This was the only Bacteria for a few turns, as the other players had a harder time getting life going. This did give me the ability to assign 2 Bionts rather than one, but otherwise it’s not a given that getting early life is a good thing. In the basic game, chances are it’s going to die and give you 1 VP.

The early turns did not feature a lot of Refugia and had a decent amount of cold. We also got Tropical Waterworld early which stuck around for quite a while.

Eventually, both other players created life. In the mid game, this led to a lot of extinctions due to various events (oxygen and extremophile), as well as some truly abysmal Darwin rolls. My Bacteria acquired DNA, and with 2 blue Chromosomes had little trouble with Error Catastrophes. I did lose cubes gradually to events and Parasites, but I also had two Red Queen and Fission so was buying back a lot of Parasite cubes to stay alive.

Mid game, Player Red was collecting lots of Catalysts and hit upon the strategy of filling all the Enzyme spaces to more or less guarantee eventual life. Player Yellow followed suit (partially as he had fewer Catalysts) and soon everyone had life going. Unfortunately events knocked out most of this life. In a classic case of preservation bias, Player Yellow was dominating the fossil record.

I managed to get a second Bacteria going at a point when all Parasites were allocated. I was also able to HGT a second Blue Biont onto it which helped survive Darwin rolls. With that worry gone, I was able to add Mutations quickly and get up to an 11 die Darwin roll with 3 Red Chromosomes present. This provided some nice income which helped keep my original organism alive.

As the game drew to a close I was in the clear lead. Player Yellow was having no luck creating life, while Player Red got a couple Bacteria up and running. I had a Parasite on one and was going to HGT away, but events killed off my HGT Mutations. Doh!

Fortunately for me, the final UV events came out in ascending order so I was able to end with 5 mutations on one organism. Final scores were Blue 19, Red 11, Yellow 5.


My large bacteria at the end.

Observations:

Blue seemed really good as a player color. Lots of 5s and 6s were rolled and many organisms went extinct. Yellow seemed definitely lacking in power, and Red was somewhat in the middle. We didn’t use the Living Rules added power for Yellow (free Red Queen against parasites) but I don’t know how often it would have come up. It does seem like Yellow needs something a bit more; an idle thought was giving Yellow Bionts two rerolls rather than one.

It seems like you can’t have a long-term successful organism without Blue. Red is eventually necessary to defend against events. Green is nice to have (but you can use Vitamins/Antioxidants for oxygen defense). Yellow is nice to have. A red/yellow combination can produce rather large amounts of Catalysts (I received 15 from one roll).

Parasites are really annoying. Even with Red Queen dominance you can’t keep them from coming back.

There is randomness! A lot of the game is hoping to mitigate risk and then being blindsided by a different threat. Multiple clever HGT plans were ruined by events. Yellow spent most of the game with no Bacteria due to

The theme does convey itself (or at least it did to me).


Amyloids rule man!!!!!
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Ragh Gavar
Australia
Melbourne
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Good stuff.

Wait until you’re all in and begin playing the advanced game, with the macro variant rule, and you have to deal with overcrowded oceans and food chains. The kids love it. 😁
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Ezra Strong

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I've never actually played the basic game -- so I can't speak exactly to your experiences. Blue and yellow are pretty awesome; Green feels to me like the least generally 'needed' for a new bacteria. Red... Useful, to be able to generate some income, but getting 15 is pretty useless, as you're capped at four of that color in your case. DNA trait is awesome if you can get it, with a little yellow means you shouldn't need to stack blue. Mostly, blue feels most necessary to me the first round or two of life, before you have a chance to start buying up. Of course, that's mostly true of everything, it all depends on that next event card. Last game we only saw two bacteria all game -- one died to an afterschock 5 temperature attack with oxygen spike, and then another double spike next round. The other took a double of each the round after creation.
But we were all fine with that. Life is hard!
 
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Geoff Speare
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With 15 I got 3 of that color (I already had one, limit is 4 in a 3 player game) plus 6 of any color. Not too bad.

 
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