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Bios: Megafauna (Second Edition)» Forums » Rules

Subject: Language Usually by Card 1 of Era 2? rss

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I've played about 5 games so far and in every one, some player's archetype develops language and ends the game in either late era 1 or early era 2. As such, we're only beginning to see herbivore contests and haven't really seen many carnivores develop, which is a shame because those mechanics look really fascinating.

Can any of you guys think of a rule that we might be messing up that would lead to the excessively fast development of language? Or, are we just a bunch of munchkins who should stop focusing so much on building out emotions?
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Paul Grossman
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Are you playing with more than one personality per species? A personality consists of a row of emotions that all link up together.

You can only have one personality (row of emotions) per species. You can always add emotions to the personality, but you can never remove them once they are a part of the personality.

With that restriction, it should generally be tough to get the right shapes and colours of emotions to match together. Are you matching the same colour emotion head the the same colour emotion tail?
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Rebus Carnival
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You may be using the organs wrong. Mutations are lost if the organ associated is lost (personality cards are safe in this regard BUT they have to start out as basic traits) and promoted mutations' cubes are placed on the archetype card. So these critters should be teetering on the brink of multiple organ failure just before they loose their first primal scream.

It is therefore incumbent upon your enemies to stop you from speaking by manipulating the reservoir track. The super-villain should be able to swing the organ limit and action limit pretty significantly, forcing atrophy, and, we hope, extinction of what ever presumptuous species is about to express its feelings in verse.

Maybe.
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Thanks, we are only allowing 1 personality per species. Maybe we're not attacking each other enough, although it's not always easy to raft over to another player's craton (and getting into a big fight with 1 player while another is building up power isn't always attractive).

The dominant strategy that I've been seeing is to buy a bunch of unpromoted mutations and then promote them en-masse once the potential for language is in the species's (so far, it's been the archetype's) tableu. By delaying the promotion of the mutations, it preserves some flexibility and protects the species from losing basal organs. By biasing towards buying blue mutations, you can also set yourself up for a big dispersal just before ending the game.

I'm suspecting that we've been messing up our Oxygen tracking (we've only been playing with White, Black, and Orange so far, as we're still learning the game and didn't want the plant complexity). In most of our games, we've ended up with a very oxygenated atmosphere (in one, we completely emptied the green disks), which gives us all a lot of actions and lets us have many organs safely.

Now that I think about it, in our last game, we messed up and forgot to degass black disks when some cratons collided... which caused global temperatures to spike... which in turn made our Climax events lead to a lot of plant growth (rather than die-offs), and thus a highly oxygenated atmosphere. Perhaps that's been a contributing factor to our life forms developing language prematurely.

Wow, I love Phil's games. Where else would you find a game where messing up the atmosphere's carbon content might lead to global warming and explosive plant growth and therefore the accelerated development of civilization? *boggles*
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Rebus Carnival
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I think the plant is pretty crucial, acting as a foil for the aspirators with a separate O2 track and the mutation restrictions (monsters only).

Let us know how the game with plants goes.

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A P
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liquidavatar wrote:
By delaying the promotion of the mutations, it preserves some flexibility and protects the species from losing basal organs.


You may prevent your species from losing basal organs but by doing this, you are at threat from the blue/green yellow/red events. Are you guys losing the cards if you take the cubes off the card? The emotions only stick around if you have already combined them, not before.

Not playing with the plants is also tilting your game. If you play with the plants, they tend to keep your dark heart low (if they can), which would mean that you could not keep stacking up the cards.
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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We've had early language game ending, also. The player who's done it the most used the neoteny action to reduce his basal cubes - the only one who's ever used that action in all our games!
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Stan Hilinski
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Quote:
By delaying the promotion of the mutations, it preserves some flexibility and protects the species from losing basal organs.

How does delaying promotion protect basal organs? There are 3 events that attack organs: 2 radiation and mutagen. The radiation events attack only +organs. The mutagen event defines your maximum number of organs, basal and +organs. If your heart limit is 6 and you have 7 basals, you're doomed no matter how many +organs you have.

This issue came up in another thread where I poked fun at the writer over being too passive, but I agree with him. It's too easy to get language if a player is fixated on it. It's odd because it's as if these players think getting language is an auto-win.

Our solution has been to ignore the game-ending effect of language. We continue playing because it's more fun to do so.
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David Fenton
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shilinski wrote:
It's too easy to get language if a player is fixated on it. It's odd because it's as if these players think getting language is an auto-win.

I think that's it. A species that focuses on spreading multiple species at the start of the game will generally win against a species that hasn't spread at all but had language. If you see all the other players racing for language, don't join them...just focus on blue and spread across the world. Two or three blue basal cubes on your Archetype before Speciating give you a huge advantage unless others are paying attention to defense.
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Franz Derphausen
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In a 4-player rookie game player orange developed language in era 1 turn 3. He had 1 archetype creeple that never dispersed on a far away craton. He ignored my warnings that a mutagen event could wipe out his animal, and acquired mutation after mutation. I tried to stop him in the last round, but was short one action - his continent was very difficult to access. He tied for 1st place with 7 VP (1 for the creeple, 3 for the emotions, and 3 for language), because I lost 2 creeples to climate change, and that brought me down to 7 VP as well. Everybody seemed relieved that the game was over, although everybody also agreed to play again "with fresher brains".
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David Fenton
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Derphausen wrote:
He ignored my warnings that a mutagen event could wipe out his animal, and acquired mutation after mutation.

Was he properly applying the mutation cost rules (total cost of all mutations in a turn cannot exceed number of unborn creeples...ie 6 in this case), or did he luck out and have low cost mutations available that happened to form language? You also don't refresh the mutation board until the end of a players turn (i.e. you don't buy one then shift mutations, then buy another).
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Franz Derphausen
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dsdhornet wrote:
Was he properly applying the mutation cost rules (total cost of all mutations in a turn cannot exceed number of unborn creeples...ie 6 in this case), or did he luck out and have low cost mutations available that happened to form language? You also don't refresh the mutation board until the end of a players turn (i.e. you don't buy one then shift mutations, then buy another).


Yeah, everything was according to the rules. His "purchasing" power was 6. He could buy from any of the first four columns, and he used his actions to either buy or promote mutations. He had four promoted mutations, and with his last action he promoted a mutation to create the third emotion (red-yellow-yellow). All he did was sit in his starting biome, and mutate over and over.

However, it might be that the game ended in the forth turn. I am not sure any longer if I also counted the eventless first turn or not.
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Nathaniel Early
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Did you remember to discard all mutations in the purchase rows during a mutagen event? I've found that severely disrupts plans to develop language.

The rules don't articulate a particular order, so you could choose to refill the mutation rows only after everyone has atrophied their organs. That might make it harder to plan for language.
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Matt Watkins
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I wonder if starting with a Pangaea, like in the Tooth and Claw game, would help with this. If you've got other players within easy reach, your archetype is immediately vulnerable to competition and you can't just focus on mutation. You'll go extinct if you don't adapt and spread out.
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Pawel Garycki
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liquidavatar wrote:
I've played about 5 games so far and in every one, some player's archetype develops language and ends the game in either late era 1 or early era 2. As such, we're only beginning to see herbivore contests and haven't really seen many carnivores develop, which is a shame because those mechanics look really fascinating.

Can any of you guys think of a rule that we might be messing up that would lead to the excessively fast development of language? Or, are we just a bunch of munchkins who should stop focusing so much on building out emotions?


There is one important clarification in the most actual Living Rules. The action of a player is PER ALL SPECIES. E.g. you populate for all shapes with one action. This solves several problems:
- low population on the map - now fixed with lots of competing carnivores
- too heavy investment in language - now pupolation and speciacion investments become more important in the early game

Also, competetive players will neither let language-seeker to get proper cards nor let Medea card owner end the game pre-maturily. Bios Megafauna is a very aggressive game. Don't treat it as a nice multiplayer solitaire of emotions building or your competent opponent will outrun you in VP by sheer numbers of creatures on the map.
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Pawel Garycki
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I played with a player who heavily invested in mutations. Some premature wins due to a language (and my incopetent defense against it) but many loses due to mutagen.
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David Fenton
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Derphausen wrote:
Yeah, everything was according to the rules. His "purchasing" power was 6. He could buy from any of the first four columns, and he used his actions to either buy or promote mutations.

I guess what I wanted to confirm was that the total limit was being applied. I.e. if he bought something from the 4th column, he could not then buy something from column 2 or 3 on the same turn.

There's also the consideration that others could buy the mutations that he might want.
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David Fenton
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improove wrote:
There is one important clarification in the most actual Living Rules. The action of a player is PER ALL SPECIES. E.g. you populate for all shapes with one action. This solves several problems:
- low population on the map - now fixed with lots of competing carnivores
- too heavy investment in language - now pupolation and speciacion investments become more important in the early game


Hate to say it, but that is WRONG. I'm not sure where you've seen that. The living rules have added the clarification that Populate means:
Quote:
Use this action to take 1 Unborn Creeple of a chosen Species plus up to one Creeple per reproductive organ (blue cubes currently on that Species) and place on your Newborn Card.
underlined text was added in living rules.

Only Neoteny and Resize apply to all species.
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Franz Derphausen
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dsdhornet wrote:
...I.e. if he bought something from the 4th column, he could not then buy something from column 2 or 3 on the same turn.


Exactly. The total cost of purchases never exceeded 6. The thing is, the other players were preoccupied with processing a very heavy game new to them, and I was preoccupied with explaining, recommending possible actions, and making sure nobody made any rules mistakes. It never dawned on me that the game was about to end

Did Phil give a scientific/thematic explanation somewhere why the game ends when a species acquired language?
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Petr Míka
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I guess it's because BIOS: Origins starts then.
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David Fenton
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Pemik wrote:
I guess it's because BIOS: Origins starts then.

I'm pretty sure that's the case.

However, in the living rules he has made the change that in the Megafauna->Origins game, language no longer ends the game.

(The issue being that the Origins game starts with a major starting bonus to those with more emotions, so prioritizing emotions over expansion was hugely beneficial, especially when you ended the game early).


Maybe a reasonable house rule / rule change would be to only end the game with language in Era II (or III in a long game), so you get at least 1 era. If someone gets language in Era I, the game continues through the end of the era. If someone gets language in Era II, the game ends at the end of that turn.

Alternatively, maybe there should be 1 turn after someone gets language. This would give others one last attempt at developing language of their own or expanding (knowing that the game is ending). Suddenly those extra blue or green cubes let you do a hostile takeover when you spend multiple actions to populate all your species a few times.
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Pawel Garycki
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dsdhornet wrote:
improove wrote:
There is one important clarification in the most actual Living Rules. The action of a player is PER ALL SPECIES. E.g. you populate for all shapes with one action. This solves several problems:
- low population on the map - now fixed with lots of competing carnivores
- too heavy investment in language - now pupolation and speciacion investments become more important in the early game


Hate to say it, but that is WRONG. I'm not sure where you've seen that. The living rules have added the clarification that Populate means:
Quote:
Use this action to take 1 Unborn Creeple of a chosen Species plus up to one Creeple per reproductive organ (blue cubes currently on that Species) and place on your Newborn Card.
underlined text was added in living rules.

Only Neoteny and Resize apply to all species.

Citation:
"E. Actions
During the action phase (A2), each player performs a number of actions (E1 - E8) as determined by A2a. You can perform the same action multiple times, on the same or different species.
"
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David Fenton
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improove wrote:
Citation:
"E. Actions
During the action phase (A2), each player performs a number of actions (E1 - E8) as determined by A2a. You can perform the same action multiple times, on the same or different species.
"

You have a pretty major misunderstanding of how Megafauna works, so your games must be very interesting. Per your interpretation, you could populate and disperse every creeple of every species on the board with one action, or buy every mutation at once with one action, or promote all mutations you have with one action.


That is incorrect.

The sentence means that you are not limited to performing each action once per turn. However, performing an action "multiple times" consumes "multiple" actions. Thus you may use one action to buy one mutation, then use a second action to buy another one (for the same or a different species). You may use neoteny to remove a cube from all species, then use another neoteny action to remove a second cube. And so on. But you cannot take one populate action to populate all species.

Proof of this is the examples:

E1:
"Example: You have 4 actions this turn. You have 2 Species, one with 2 Unborn, and one with 6 Unborn. For your first Species, you select a Mutation that costs 2. For your second Species, you make 3 selections, for Mutations costing 0, 0, and 6. In both cases, you have spent the maximum allowed for each Species. Note that you have not permanently spent any Unborn, and on your next turn you once again can spend 2 for your first Species and 6 for your second species. "

E4:
"Example: For your three actions, you choose speciate (placing 1 armored Living Creeple), Populate (creating 2 Archetype Newborns), and Populate (creating 2 more armored Newborns). Alternately, you could speciate and then populate twice with the new species. "

Note that populating 2 different species, OR 1 species twice, consumes two actions.

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Stan Hilinski
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Being able to populate all species is wrong as David pointed out, but I think it would be an interesting and beneficial rule addition, especially with 2 players. With 2 players on 4 separated cratons, I find it can take an entire era for them just to contact each other. (And that's if the players are aggressive.) Populating all species with one action would certainly speed this up! I may try it the next time I play with 2 players.
 
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David Fenton
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shilinski wrote:
Being able to populate all species is wrong as David pointed out, but I think it would be an interesting and beneficial rule addition, especially with 2 players. With 2 players on 4 separated cratons, I find it can take an entire era for them just to contact each other. (And that's if the players are aggressive.) Populating all species with one action would certainly speed this up! I may try it the next time I play with 2 players.

It might be worth a try, but it might overpower any player that gains blue basal cubes before speciating. Speciating an archetype 2 or 3 times after it has 2-3 blue basal cubes would give you 9-16 creeples per populate action. The main disadvantage to having multiple species is that you can't do as much with each (since you have to split your actions), but you have more flexibility. If I can spread faster by having more species, it would be a race to speciate as fast as possible. The other player might have stronger creeples that could beat mine in 1-to-1 contests, but the VP scoring doesn't care how strong Creeples are, just how many there are.

 
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