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Primordial Soup: Freshly Spiced» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Expansions for my favorite games rss

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Eric Clason
United States
Cedar Rapids
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I recently noticed that my top 8 games all have at least 1 expansion that I have played. I decided to do a series of reviews on these expansions.

Category 1 changes - Adding players:
-Adds a 5th and 6th players.
Minor rule tweaks:
o 11 BP a turn instead of 10.
o Max 6 amoebas instead for 7.
o Eat 4 different color poop for both 5 and 6 players.

One of the common complaints with Primordial Soup is that the game is too long. Adding players, lengthens the game. I have played 1 game each with 5 and 6 players. From this admittedly small sample, I found that the increase in game length for 5 players was not bad, but the 6 player game was terribly slow. I think some of the reasons for this difference are:
o The increase in the maximum number of amoebas is less going from 4 to 5 players and more going from 5 to 6 players.
4 player * 7 = 28,
5 player * 6 = 30,
6 player * 6 = 36.
o With both 5 and 6 player games, an amoeba eats 4 different colors of poop. So with 5 players (assuming no gene effects) there is no decision about what poop to eat. However with 6 players, an amoeba usually has to decide what color poop it is not going to eat. This decision can slow the movement and feeding phase and increases the opportunities for AP.
o In the 6 player game, one of the players did have serious AP during the movement and feeding phase.

Category 2 changes - Adding more of what is already there:
-Adds 25 new gene cards.
Suggestions on how to make only some of the new spiced genes available for a particular game: 2 spiced genes at start of game, 3 more added each turn after the player in 1st has taken his turn purchasing gene(s).

Among the new gene are 4 more Struggle for Survival counter measures and 1 gene + 1 advanced gene that improve Struggle for Survival. A gene that allows an amoeba to heal 1 DP for 3 BP, a gene that generates 1 BP for every amoeba that drifts, and a gene that causes dying amoebas to explode for 1 DP to other amoebas in the same space.

The new genes add variety to PS, and that’s a good thing.

Category 3 - Replacing what is already there:

Category 4 changes - Adding to/replacing rules:
None (other than some minor tweaks for the changes above)

Change dependencies:
Adding players and adding gene cards are independent of each other.

Newbie friendliness:
There are more than enough genes in the original game for new players to digest. I stick with the base game when playing with newbies. I have no problem with playing a 5 player game with newbies, although both newbies and added players slow the game down.

Overall thoughts:
If you like PS you will probably find that you like at least some of the new genes. Whether you like a 5th or 6th players depends upon how much concern you have about game length.

General info on expansion change categories: wrote:

The changes that an expansion provides can be divided into 4 categories:

Category 1 - Adding players.
In theory this category should usually be a good thing. However many games have a sweet spot, a range of players where the game plays best. Often adding more players can increase player down time and/or increase game length.

Category 2 - Adding more of what is already there. (Example Cards)
If I like the base game, this tends to be my favorite category of change. It usually adds variety to a game without significantly altering game play.

Category 3 - Replacing what is already there. (Example Maps)
This is similar to Cat 2. With Cat 3 you either use the item from the base game or from the expansion but not both. This means a Cat 3 expansion will probably be used less often then a Cat 2 expansion.

Category 2.5 – Variants to add to or replace what is already there
In some cases an expansion has some variant(s) where something is replaced and other variant(s) where it is added to it.

Category 4 - Adding to/replacing rules.
From my point of view, if I like the base game, this is the most risky type of change. It can make a game better, it can also make it worse. While adding rules can add variety to a game, it also often adds clutter. So unless the game is also improved, for me the added variety is often not worth the decrease in elegance.
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