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Subject: Awaiting this with bated breath rss

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Fabian
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After Bios: Genesis and Bios: Megafauna 2, I can't wait to see what the conclusion of the trilogy will look like, possibly even with ties to High Frontier third edition! (let's hope!)

I hope the ShipNaked disaster didn't push this one back. We're already doing Genesis into Megafauna 2 into How We Became Human legacy games here and they're an absolute blast, though I can see Origins benefiting a lot from being modernized a little bit. It's an amazing game as it stands, but the forced energy roll that can hold players back over many many turns or even make it impossible for them to advance just feels out of place in an otherwise great design. Really hoping that will be fixed in the new one so my group will agree to playing it!

What do you guys hope to see in the new version?
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Adam Gastonguay
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I'm curious to see the melding of the colored cubes and the brain map. I'm assuming that's what they're doing, anyway, and I'm curious how that would work to keep everything together.

And yes, I hope it goes to Era IV (or 5,6,7 whatever) and you can jump to High Frontier. That's a weekend for me. From biology to Interstellar. Sleep optional.
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Steve
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Just played my first Genesis-Megafauna sequence and about to take it into Origins next. Our mollusc-men hope to make it into the High Frontier eventually - watch this space for Admiral Akbar.
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Rebus Carnival
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CthulhuKid wrote:
I'm curious to see the melding of the colored cubes and the brain map. I'm assuming that's what they're doing, anyway, and I'm curious how that would work to keep everything together.

And yes, I hope it goes to Era IV (or 5,6,7 whatever) and you can jump to High Frontier. That's a weekend for me. From biology to Interstellar. Sleep optional.


I hope they use these in the Innovation/Population tracks, perhaps diversifying these pools and perhaps giving overlap, ie blue, red, yellow in the population track, red and yellow on the tech track.

The card play/track manipulation really makes HWBH for me but I can see it being phased out; the card play is not in line with the BIOS series so far.

*just a brainstorm.
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Dom Rougier
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CthulhuKid wrote:
I'm curious to see the melding of the colored cubes and the brain map. I'm assuming that's what they're doing, anyway, and I'm curious how that would work to keep everything together.


I don't know anything about the treatment, but in current-Origins there are five parts to the brain, and five colours of emotions in Megafauna.

One of those five parts is language, however, so I don't know how that's going to translate.

I'm hoping there's a significant amount of rework of some of the core mechanics. The ideas in Origins are huge, but mechanically (double-dip chaos, random energy rolls, etc.) can be swingy, and not in an elegant or cohesive way.

Still, there are some things that Origins does extremely well. Ideas, and how they spread, and the modelling of the Diamond-esque Europe-America settling are all pretty amazing. Even having a "civ" game where your society is expected to both expand and contract is extremely unusual.

I'm partially hoping that you won't need to leave the Megafauna board set up from one to the other. I can see why that would be a good idea, and it would be cool, but being forced to leave things in place or play one after the other would make this continuation game difficult to get to the table as often as I'd like.

One issue from the previous version of BIOS:Origins was that we went into Origins with a sea-people, a land-people and a bird-people, and so we had very little interaction, which wasn't ideal. The smaller map (assuming using the B:M2 cratons is still the intent) will help with this, but I wonder.
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Fabian
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Domfluff wrote:

I'm partially hoping that you won't need to leave the Megafauna board set up from one to the other. I can see why that would be a good idea, and it would be cool, but being forced to leave things in place or play one after the other would make this continuation game difficult to get to the table as often as I'd like.


Easy fix: Just take a picture on your cell phone and set it up like that again next session.

I've "saved" games like this before. It's way less bothersome than you think.
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Glitchy Predator
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I'm also really looking forward to this and just hoping it doesn't get delayed due to the ship naked issues. And continuation with high frontier would be huge!
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Martin
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Should be really interesting to see how it pans out. And with a 4th edition of High Frontier looming in the distane, I kind of both hoping for and dreading a visual remake like what Karim and Johanna did for BM2.
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Adam Gastonguay
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Oooo, this just hit me. I wonder if Mutualism will translate into the slavery system that was in Origins. You could even start as a slave race with the other player as a symbiote sucking on your brain, and then revolt and start your own race.

Neato.
 
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Dom Rougier
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I do wonder about the modelling of slavery in general - in a game where your player role shifts dramatically over the course of the game, I'm not sure what enslaving a religion or ideology actually means.

Equally, although having slavery in the game is important, I do wonder what the best model for it is. Whether enslaving another player is actually a good fit for the game, or whether this should be more entwined in the economy.
 
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Andro Hsu
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I'd heard there was going to be a Kickstarter for this—is that right? I don't see anything on the SMG website or on Kickstarter.
 
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Steve
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neandrothal wrote:
I'd heard there was going to be a Kickstarter for this—is that right? I don't see anything on the SMG website or on Kickstarter.

I believe it's still in early design phase. The kickstarter will follow later.
 
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Niko
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neandrothal wrote:
I'd heard there was going to be a Kickstarter for this—is that right? I don't see anything on the SMG website or on Kickstarter.
Last I read here on BGG there were some troubles with the shipping company of the Bios:Genesis/Megafaune2 kickstarter charging more than expected which impacted the timeline of Bios:Origins and High Frontier reprint/4th edition.

There were some recent hints that those troubles might be getting resolved more amicably than expected (with less of a monetary impact on Phil) so maybe Bios:Origins will go to KS this year after all.

EDIT: Link to the post I based my first paragraph on: https://boardgamegeek.com/article/28120486#28120486
 
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Jonah Siegel
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Looks like they are already pretty far into the art design.
 
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Karthi Vignes Elangovan
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I'm new to Sierra Madre games, the recent Kickstarter for Neanderthal will be my first game. Care to explain how Origins is different from Neanderthal? Both seem to have the same premise of humanoid species interactions. Except the game board and the extended timeline, what other gameplay differences are notable? I'm just getting on the hype wagon for the Bios series.
 
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Dom Rougier
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Neanderthal and Greenland both clearly take ideas from Origins, but they only take a tiny portion of the concepts.

Origins: How We Became Human plays over four eras, divided by player role. You represent species, language groups, religions and ideologies, depending on the era.

Each era has a golden age and a dark age - transitioning from one era to another is usually catastrophic, and often results in your board-state contracting heavily. This represents a number of things, but the Bronze Age Collapse of Jaynes' theory is the transition from Era II to Era III, for example.

Each player has a player mat, on which they are balancing their population, and how much of their population are elders. A small and old society will have more available actions, since a small number of experienced people are more efficient at getting things done. Having a small population also makes you more vulnerable to chaotic events, so there's a balancing act here. Large, young societies are the most inefficient.

The transitioning between eras has gatekeepers - typically access to levels of Energy or Metallurgy, tracked on a separate board. This means that successful domestication is important early on, so that you can support your civilisation's development. Later, these bottlenecks become tougher, since Mining and similar resource exploitation becomes important.

A large part of the game is based on the idea decks for each era. These are in two parts (a "male" and "female" side), and you draw and play them for different bonuses and effects. These may give you the chance to increase on the infrastructure tracks (e.g., increase energy), and will often affect your population sizes (fecundity increases and decreases).

These cards go in a player-board discard pile, and other players can draw from these piles with the right conditions, meaning that good and useful ideas can spread around the world.

Since there's a board, there's a lot more area-control to the game. Resources are printed onto the board, so you can claim and fight over them. It's also possible to permanently lose these resources, so the early-game may well involve domesticating grains in the cradle of civilisation, before being forced to expand further afield.

There's tons more, obviously.

Origins: How We Became Human is a really ambitious, expansive title. It has Opinions and Ideas, and it's not shy about expressing them. I do think it shows it's age somewhat - especially in comparison to BIOS Megafauna: 2 or High Frontier, it's nowhere near as tightly designed, and the game can be something of a hot mess. It's a bold and exciting mess, but it doesn't have the same focus.

There's very little information available about BIOS: Origins right now. If it was a straight reprint, that would be fine (it's still a bold and unique game), but I'm hoping for something that's as much of an evolution as American Megafauna - BIOS Megafauna - BIOS: Megafauna 2 has been.
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Dom Rougier
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To give you a better idea:, two cards from Era II (Era I and II cards are a lot less cluttered than later eras).



Irrigation Channels reads:

- Expend an Elder and make an attempt at domesticating a plant (that you have physical access to)

- Reset an Elder

OR

- Lose an Elder

- Perform a Fecundity decrease

Short Fallow Milpas reads:

- Increase the Footprint infrastructure track by one, to a maximum of four, if you have a Footprint of at least three already.

OR

- Lose an Elder

- Perform a Fecundity decrease

Since this card has the "Eye" icon, this means that you can access cards from outside your current era, when drawing from other player's discards or bidding.

I didn't actually mention bidding above at all - some cards are basically victory condition cards, that all players can bid on. These can provide events and other effects, but mostly you're bidding with elders for long term points.

One issue, similar to Greenland, is that your victory conditions (which of these points you're collecting) can be forcibly changed from underneath you in the late game, since you can force changes of ideology/whatever. This can make the late game exceedingly chaotic.
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Karthi Vignes Elangovan
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Thanks a ton for getting into the details. It looks like Neanderthal could be gateway for me into Origins.
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Dom Rougier
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Yeah, I think that's a pretty solid way to look at it.

Before B:M2, I'd have said that Neanderthal is the best introduction to SMG games in general

It's full of the idiosyncrasies and weirdness, research, attention to detail, high-concept, randomness and strategy, but it has a lighter rules overhead and a shorter playing time.
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Adam Gastonguay
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That's the best explanation of Origins I've ever heard.

It is indeed a hot mess and one of the hardest of the solitaire games. But the bidding and slaving and resource fighting and all that stuff in multiplayer is a weird fun hot mess.

And if they can tighten in up, I'm going to be very, very, very happy.
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