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Subject: Struggle for Survival and Substitution/Frugality - Failed attack? rss

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Matt Davis
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Blue has Struggle for Survival and Substitution. Yellow has Escape.

A blue amoeba enters a space with a yellow amoeba, and 2 green and 2 red cubes. Blue has Substitution, so it could eat those 4 cubes, but it would rather eat the yellow amoeba. If it tries an attack and yellow successfully escapes, can it change its mind and still eat those cubes? Or does it have to commit to either substituting or not before the attack resolves?
 
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Richard Smeltzer
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I don't think blue has the option to eat yellow:

Quote:
In Phase 1, if there is insufficient food for an amoeba, and it would otherwise starve, it may attempt to attack another amoeba in the same space.


In your example, blue has enough food.
 
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Bagpuss42 wrote:
I don't think blue has the option to eat yellow:
...
In your example, blue has enough food.

Totally correct.

There's always the tendency (even with my friends) to regard "Struggle For Survival" as a gene that "lets you attack" ... but that's misleading - it's more of an option of "last resort" ... if there is always sufficient food, your amoeba can never chose to act like a predator. They can only do it if there was no other option and they would have starved (or died!).

Kinda like castaways drifting on a raft ... while they have supplies, they'll eat them, but when they run out ... it's time to draw straws ...zombie

Of course folks can rig it so that their amoeba have no other options but to engage in cannibalism. Kinda like a creepy castaway "accidentally" knocking the supplies off the raft and announcing he's hungry devil

The real nasty gene is "Aggression" - only one amoeba gets to do it, but you do get a choice.

A tactic I've often seen is for amoebas with tentacles to gather food for the "SfS" amoebas so that they won't be eaten.
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Matt Davis
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Thanks for the responses, but there are several other threads with some authoritative figures claiming that blue can attack in this case:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/163882/struggle-for-surv...

So the attack seems legal, but the ramifications of that attack still seem unclear in this case.
 
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Richard Smeltzer
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coolpapa wrote:
So the attack seems legal, but the ramifications of that attack still seem unclear in this case.


There seems to be some disagreement in that thread. Anyway, if we accept that it is legal to not use substitution to make yourself "otherwise starve" so that you can use Struggle, then it still seems wrong to say, "I'm starving, I'll eat this other amoeba. Oh no, foiled! Turns out I won't starve anyway, I'll just eat these cubes instead."
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Hmmm following those links back to Usenet takes me to this line which is too vague for me:

Quote:
I mailed Frank Nestel on this who stated that you can always choose to use or withhold any of your genes. My question was specifically about S for S.
Steve Owen

My belief is that you cannot ever choose to starve. You can choose whether to use particular genes eg Speed, Aggression, Escape, which one of your eating genes to use, but if there is some way your amoeba *can* eat after it has moved, it must. You cannot move and say "I choose to starve".

(As you might be tempted if two of your amoeba are moving to the same square and the healthy first eats the food that would keep the second from dying)

Since I hold that belief, and SfS can only be used if you would otherwise starve, I hold that you cannot chose to attack when you could have chosen to eat nutrients.

It seems there have been people sharing my belief all going all the way back too. To me this way seems more thematically simple ... with the extra genes you get for eating, it broadens the range of food you can eat ... to introduce a concept of "the original food limitations" which affects when you can attack other amoeba seems to have no place in the otherwise quite evocative image of amoebas swimming around in the primordial soup.

To me, the amoeba chosing to improve their eating genes are going down a "herbivore" evolutionary path, whereas the most successful predators do not pick the "herbivore" genes.

It's also a little ambiguous, but to me this line in the SfS description seems to agree with me:
Quote:
You can only attack once per amoeba before you starve

To me, the "before" is used in the sense of "or else" ... if you're attacking, you only get one chance to make a successful attack, and if it fails you starve.
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Flannel Golem
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Though this is an old post, some of the OP's questions seem to have been answered incorrectly or at best unclearly. For the benefit of future readers, here are the generally-accepted answers to the OP's questions:

coolpapa wrote:
Blue has Struggle for Survival and Substitution. Yellow has Escape.

A blue amoeba enters a space with a yellow amoeba, and 2 green and 2 red cubes. Blue has Substitution, so it could eat those 4 cubes, but it would rather eat the yellow amoeba.

Blue's alternate eating-capabilities granted to it by any acquired genes are irrelevant since, as referenced above, author Frank Nestel has stated that one can choose to not use any/all acquired genes.

coolpapa wrote:
If it tries an attack and yellow successfully escapes, can it change its mind and still eat those cubes?

No
coolpapa wrote:
Or does it have to commit to either substituting or not before the attack resolves?

Once an amoeba has chosen to eat via SfS, it is wholly dependant on the success of its attack. It may not later choose to feed by any other means.
 
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