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Subject: Python Posse: Stalking Snakes in the Florida Everglades rss

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Pete Belli
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Pythons are a problem down here in Florida. People are purchasing these snakes as pets but they often release them when the serpents become too much to handle. Wilderness areas like the Florida Everglades have been adversely affected because these pythons are predators that attack native species and upset the environmental balance.

After some python incidents brought the issue to public attention state officials have authorized an effort to eradicate these slithering shadows from the Everglades. Wildlife experts are entering this swampy maze and attempting to capture as many of the elusive pythons as they can find. When a news report described these intrepid adventurers as the "python posse" I knew there was a board game in there someplace.



PYTHON POSSE

Python Posse is a solitaire game. The player represents a wildlife expert operating from a remote base camp deep inside the Florida Everglades. The object of the game is to capture as many pythons as possible within three turns. The player’s effectiveness as a member of the Python Posse will be rated by the number of snakes he or she can capture.

GAME COMPONENTS

A player can use a few parts from a copy of Settlers to create everything needed to play the game. If these parts are not available the required hex shapes and tokens can be crafted with just a little effort. The following items will be needed:

7 Everglades hex tiles (a mix of forest and pasture will work well)
1 Wildlife Expert token (the black pawn)
1 Base Camp (a red house)
12 Python playing pieces (white bars)
2 dice

A player will also need to copy this chart to avoid writing any numbers on the hex tiles. The numbers on the chart represent the die rolls that will correspond to the hex tiles on the board during the game.



SET UP

Place the hex tiles in this pattern with the Wildlife Expert and the Base camp in the center hex. Place one Python in each of the six outer hexes.



OUTLINE OF PLAY

Python Posse will last three turns. Each turn will follow this pattern:

1) Python Procreation

2) Wildlife Expert Movement

3) Snake Stalking

At the end of Turn 3 the player will count the total number of captured pythons and determine his or her effectiveness as a member of the Python Posse.

3 snakes = Python Pantywaist
4 snakes = Python Professional
5 snakes = Python Paragon
6 snakes = Python Potentate

PYTHON PROCREATION

Roll two dice and place a python in the hex that matches the number rolled. If doubles are rolled place two pythons in that hex. After the first turn it is possible that pythons will appear in a hex containing the Wildlife Expert.

Please see the example of play for an illustration.

WILDLIFE EXPERT MOVEMENT

The Wildlife Expert may move one or two hexes per turn. The special two hex move has some potential for negative consequences. The Wildlife Expert must move at least one hex during every turn. The Wildlife Expert should choose to move into a hex containing pythons in order to capture these snakes. Pythons never attack the Wildlife Expert.

Using a one space move the Wildlife Expert may move from one hex to any adjacent hex. On the first turn the Wildlife Expert will obviously move from the center Base Camp hex to one of the outer hexes. On subsequent turns the Wildlife Expert may choose to move from one space to an adjacent space along the outer ring of hexes.

Please see the example of play for an illustration.

The special two hex move is used when a player wishes to pass through the center Base Camp hex and move to space which is not adjacent to the hex currently occupied by the Wildlife Expert pawn. There are possible negative consequences for a player making this special two hex move.

As the player passes through the central Base Camp hex he or she must roll two dice. Each dice is rolled individually and the results are tallied separately. A result of 5 or 6 means the Wildlife Expert has encountered a TV news camera crew. Since the player rolls two dice it is possible for the Wildlife Expert to encounter two TV news camera crews during this movement.

An encounter with a TV news camera crew reduces the number of snakes that can be captured during that turn by one. If the Wildlife Expert encounters two TV news camera crews the number of snakes that can be captured that turn is reduced by two.

Please see the example of play for an illustration.

SNAKE STALKING

After the Wildlife Expert has moved he or she will capture snakes. One the first turn the Wildlife Expert may capture one python. On the second turn the Wildlife Expert may capture one or two pythons. On the third turn the Wildlife Expert may capture one, two, or three pythons. Capturing a python is automatic and does not require any die rolls.

All captured pythons are immediately placed in the central Base Camp hex. The captured snakes will remain in this hex for the remainder of the game.

Any pythons remaining in a hex after the Wildlife Expert has made a capture will immediately scatter to an adjacent hex. At this point the hex occupied by the Wildlife Expert pawn must not contain any snakes.

All remaining pythons will move to an adjacent hex containing no snakes, if one is available. If no vacant hex is available all remaining pythons will move in a counter-clockwise direction regardless of the number of snakes in the hex the pythons are entering. Pythons may never be moved into the central Base Camp hex.

Please see the example of play for an illustration.

EXAMPLE OF PLAY

Turn 1



Python Procreation has resulted in additional snakes being placed in hexes #4 and #5.



The Wildlife Expert decides to move into hex #4. Since pythons will scatter in a counter-clockwise direction the Wildlife Expert hopes to drive the remaining snake into hex #3 and crowd that area of the Everglades.



One python is captured and sent to the Base Camp. The remaining python scatters to hex #3.

Turn 2



Python Procreation has resulted in additional snakes being placed in hexes #1 and #5.



The Wildlife Expert chooses to move into hex #5.



Two pythons are captured and sent to the Base Camp. The remaining python scatters to hex #4.

Turn 3



Python Procreation has resulted in two additional snakes being placed in hex #3.



The Wildlife Expert decides to make the special two space move into hex #3. The Wildlife Expert is in hex #5 and each of the adjacent hexes only contains one python. The big concentration of snakes is on the other side of the Base Camp so the Wildlife Expert must risk an encounter with the media. One "six" is rolled so the time wasted with the TV crew reduces the number of pythons which can be captured by one.



Just two pythons (not the three snakes it is normally possible to capture on Turn 3) are captured and sent to the Base Camp. The remaining serpents scatter.

Final Score

The player has captured five pythons... this Wildlife Expert is a Python Paragon!
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T. Nomad
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Looks good, Pete. I'm just disappointed I wrapped up my travel-game lamination last week.
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Nick Hayes
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Great little game; I love it.

Will you be releasing a printable template?
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Pete Belli
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Thanks for the comments!

No plans to create any files... I'm low tech. shake
 
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Nick Hayes
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pete belli wrote:
No plans to create any files... I'm low tech. shake

That's alright. I think anyone could make his own version of your game very easily with limited resources. Heck, you could even just draw it on paper.
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GMOFreePortland.com
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Brilliant Pete! Great way to make use of existing resources.
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Pete Belli
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Thank you for the positive comments.

The decision to use components from Settlers was based on the large number of Geeks who already own the game.

I have a design theory about Do-It-Yourself games.

A relatively small percentage of Geeks will bother with DIY games. Only a handful of these Geeks might play a DIY game more than once or twice. The components should be functional but not too fancy.

A Geek who becomes enchanted with a particular DIY game may decide to create a high quality version with superb artwork... that is what makes a Do-It-Yourself game fun!



.
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Christopher
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It's always fun to discover a new DIY (PnP0 game, and this one looks like fun! I'll certainly give it a try!

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Pete Belli
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Quote:
...this one looks like fun! I'll certainly give it a try!


Thank you!

Here is an optional rule:

PERILOUS PYTHONS

The Wildlife Expert may not enter a hex containing five or more pythons.

(This optional rule might make play a bit more challenging if the Python Procreation dice put a pile of snakes in one place.)

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Christopher
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I just played a quick pen-and-paper game of "Python Posse...".

the hunting was good:
turn 1:
- pythons procreated in hex 1 (both!)
- move to hex 2
- hunt down one snake in hex 2 and send it to base camp
situation: base camp: 1 captured snake, hex 1: 3 snakes, hex 2: 0 snakes, other hexes: 1 snake

turn 2:
- pythons procreated in hexes 1 and 3
- move to hex 3
- hunt down and captured 2 snakes in hex 3 and send them to base camp
situation: base camp: 3 captured snakes, hex 1: 4 snakes, hexes 2 and 3: 0 snakes, hexes 4, 5 and 6: 1 snake

turn 3:
- pythons procreated in hexes 3 and 6
- moved through base camp to hex 1, and avoided all TV crews (rolled 1 & 2)
- captured 3 snakes in hex 1, left over snake evaded to hex 2 (empty hex)
situation: base camp: 6 captured snakes!, hex 1: 0 snakes, hexes 2 and 3: 1 snake, hexes 4 and 5: 1 snake, hex 6: 3 snakes

This is the game at the end:



My hunter is a Python Potentate!

FUN!


--edit to add the image
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Pete Belli
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Quote:
My hunter is a Python Potentate!


...and you are a Python Picasso!

Thanks for playing.

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Scott Pizio
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Pete Belli wrote:
Pythons are a problem down here in Florida. People are purchasing these snakes as pets but they often release them when the serpents become too much to handle. Wilderness areas like the Florida Everglades have been adversely affected because these pythons are predators that attack native species and upset the environmental balance.




Apparently not even alligators are safe from pythons. Link
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Robert Stetler
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spizio wrote:
Apparently not even alligators are safe from pythons.


Of course not. Crocodiles are common prey animals for them, goes without saying once the pythons went New World they'd grab gators too. Anacondas practically slither side by side with other crocodilians in being the primary natural predator of crocodiles in South America, pythons are the same basic creature gone less aquatic (along with that part about being separated by the Atlantic Ocean, and one being live bearing and the other egg laying).

The most common targets of pythons in Florida are still rodents and house pets, though. Those pretty much provide the fuel that allows them to reach adult size to where they can really wreck havoc on the ecosystem - by hitting larger wildlife and breeding more pythons.

I've got a lot of respect and interest in snakes, but this invasive species is a case where I don't think mere capture is in order. IMO every python found loose in Florida should be systematically killed on the spot and (where appropriate) its carcass left to feed nearby wildlife.
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