Lenny Leo, Kurt Meyer, John Moore and I gave this 'Frank & Doris' title concerning the struggle for survival in the primordial soup our group's first playing. Lenny and I had one game to our credit, having played this past Saturday with Ted Cheatham and Eric Wood at my camp in Mississippi.
The excitement began even as I was covering the rules. Kurt, who majors in some sort of Biomedical Engineering, immediately saw the cleverness of the game and how it simulates a true environment. He was bubbling with excitement.
The first few turns followed the usual pattern, with the notable exception of Kurt electing not to cell divide on turn 1, opting instead to horde his biological points for future gene purchases. His tactic became clear as he was able to purchase Substitution and Frugality early on, drastically reducing the food shortages for his amoebas while ours were constantly searching for nourishment.
John opted for Speed and Spores, while Lenny and I mirrored each other with Movement 1 and Tentacle.
Turn 4 saw some nasty occurrences as Kurt, who had previously purchased Parasitism, was able to munch away at me. However, this nasty advantage was short lived as the Ozone Layer was a severely depleted '6', causing Kurt to relinquish the card. It was a disaster from which Kurt never recovered. John was forced to give up his newly acquired Escape due to the same deficient Ozone layer. Following Turn 4, John had the lead with 10 points, followed by Lenny (9), Greg (8) and Kurt (7).
Turn 5 saw the emergence of the dreaded 'Struggle for Survival' capability, as both John and Lenny opted for this aggressive development. Lenny took advantage of this ability, munching one of Kurt's amoebas and one of his own! John also used the ability, cornering one of my hapless amoebas and enjoying a nice meal. Starvation points continued to pile-up for everyone, so Lenny also purchased the Life Expectancy card. Following turn 5: John (19), Greg (17), Lenny (15) and Kurt (9).
Turn 6 saw the carnage continue as Lenny ate one of John's amoebas, while John managed to munch both one of Kurt's and Lenny's. I had purchased Escape and managed to slip away both times. Kurt's purchase of Defense did not help, though, and he became nothing more than a tasty meal. The Ozone Layer cost me 3 BP's, but I still managed to capture the lead: Greg (23), John (22), Lenny (19) Kurt (11).
The Ozone Layer continued to wreak havoc, as I was forced to give up my newly acquired 'Slipstream' and Lenny was devastated with the loss of both Life Expectancy and Tentacle. John, Kurt and Lenny all suffered pitiful amoeba deaths due to starvation. Greg (28), John (26), Lenny (20), Kurt (13). My Escape ability again proved useful over the next few turns, as I was able to slip away from the cannibalistic John and Lenny. The Ozone Layer again cost John and I three BP's, with John being aided by Ray Protection. Greg (32), John (31), Lenny (21), Kurt (16).
The game ended at the conclusion of the next turn as the final Ozone card was revealed. I had managed to avoid being eaten or suffer any starvation losses, while John had one of his amoebas die due to lack of food. This proved the margin of victory. Final tallies:
Greg (39), John (38), Lenny (27), Kurt (26).
Kurt's strategy of Substitution plus Frugality appeared awesome early on, but his decision not to divide early and the horrible Ozone Layer of 6 dealt him a severe blow from which he never recovered. He made strong strides at the end of the game as he was able to purchase Armor and was impervious to amoeba attacks. Thus, he was able to build-up to 7 amoebas on the board by game's end, but it was too late.
I managed to hold off John, who had a superior gene hand and was being somewhat insulated from the Ozone Layer by his Ray Protection. I consistently had more amoebas on the board and was able to drag my food with me (Tentacle) and move freely (Movement 2).
Lenny's position seemed to be his problem. His amoebas were mostly located on the West side of the board, and there was a severe shortage of red and green (Kurt & I) food cubes. He tried to purchase Life Expectancy to help in this situation, but lost it quickly due to the Ozone Layer.
Here were the final gene combinations at game's end:
Greg: Movement 2, Tentacle, Escape
John: Persistence, Spores, Ray Protection, Speed, Escape
Lenny: Tentacle, Struggle for Survival, Movement 1, Intelligence
Kurt: Substitution, Frugality, Ray Protection, Movement 1, Intelligence
The ratings were very high:
Kurt 10, Lenny 9, John 8, Greg 8