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Bios: Megafauna» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Triassic Park (UPDATE: now a Complete Game Session Report) rss

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Steve Carey
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Introduction: A complete game of BIOS: MEGAFAUNA is composed of four separate decks; this session report will cover just the first deck, the Triassic Period. [EDIT: a full game is reported in following posts]

I hope to give hobbyists who are not familiar with BIOS a glimpse into how this fascinating design plays out, and to allow those still learning and/or experienced with the game a chance to enjoy a mini-report (and please let me know if I've made any errors [EDITS made below, thank you for the feedback]).

Setup: Two players, RED (2 Teeth, 3 Genes to begin, Homeland in the Tropics latitude) and WHT (5 Teeth, 4 Genes to begin, Homeland starts in the Arctic latitude), solitaire, Beginner's Game (no Genotype cards), 6 cards in the Triassic Deck, Living Rules, and optionally only using a Lower (and not an Upper) card display for the 2-player contest.

Four Immigrant tiles went to the tarpit were discarded [EDIT: Immigrants are simply discarded at setup per the latest Living Rules]. No Biomes were initially displaced. Two volcanoes appeared (placed in the mountains), but their Greenhouse effects were ignored per special setup rules.



Play: RED began the game by snagging an M Mutation Roadrunner DNA card (Needle Teeth), creating an Amphibian. It grew to size 3 and Expanded across land into a marine (M) Tropics Biome.

RED later then choose a PM DNA Mutation card (Blubber) and Expanded into two more sea Biomes, including 'Lobsters' (MM). This however rendered the Amphibian on the Homeland Biome extinct because RED's Archetype (starting) animal was now a sea creature who can't survive on land.

WHT first took a B Mutation card (Tripod Stance), and increased its size to 2 in order to Mutate with a another B DNA card (Trunk). Now with BB DNA, WHT quickly then Expanded to feed on 'Fern' and 'Conifer' Biomes in the Jet Stream latitude.

Velociraptor (Predator) Immigrants arrived in the Arctic and began to prey upon WHT's Homeland (Archetype) animal located there.

WHT Expanded a new species, which Inherited one of its parent's B DNA (it did not have the size to inherit the parent's BB DNA string). This new species Migrated to a 'High Forest' Biome in the mountains to feed.

RED followed by also Expanding a new species, an M Amphibian to re-occupy their Homeland. This new species also claimed the P DNA from the Inheritance Tile pool (this is a good effect as the -1 Migration range of Amphibians is cancelled out by the +1 Migration range granted by the P DNA).



Meanwhile, WHT expanded its Archtype species into another Arctic Biome and was the first to enter the Horse latitude, as well (a 'Cycadeiod' Biome).

WHT shrunk his new species to size 1 to grab some H DNA (Grawing Incisors Mutation card) which will soon allow it to Expand into the Rooter triangle of several adjacent Biomes.

Events: A Milankovich P event (slight shift in the Earth's orbit) occurred, knocking out two Biomes to the tarpit (and rendering extinct two of WHT's animals who were feeding upon the Biomes). Suddenly, as a Scoring Round (once the Triassic Deck is exhausted) approached, WHT's previous 6 to 4 animal advantage was now tied at 4-4.

Next came an Erosion event, which removed an orogeny (mountain) Biome (that was unoccupied) to the tarpit. Earth's Greenhouse dropped to Co2 400 ppm as the climate cooled [EDIT: I neglected to shift the Biomes down per 15.1; this affected the map, knocking out a handful of Biomes due to competition, plus several Immigrant tiles, and rendering WHT's new species extinct! It also affected Scoring this particular round -see below].

Scoring [EDIT: paragraph text changed due to Immigrant and Erosion changes noted above]: RED has 4 animals on the map while WHT had 3 animals (his new species went extinct via the Erosion event) on the map, so RED is the Leader. RED receives 6 (of the 11) tiles in tarpit for 1 VP each, while WHT receives 3 (of the remaining 5) tarpit tiles for 1 VP each. WHT thus trails 3VP's to RED's 6VP's upon conclusion of the Triassic Period. The two tiles left in the tarpit stay there.

Looking Ahead [EDIT: paragraph text changed due to Erosion event effects]: WHT has 2 Manual Dexterity instincts for his Archetype species, while RED holds the Social Skills instinct for his new species. WHT has just his original Archetype species, while RED has his an Archetype species plus the new (child) species. Both sides will be looking to gain some Culture abilities in the next (Jurassic Period) deck.

WHT has no Roadrunner DNA, while RED has MM (for his Archetype sea species) and M (for his new Amphibian species).

WHT holds 2 Genes, while RED has none. There are however 4 Genes on the leftmost card in the display which is a MN card (Vermiform). But RED has a dilemma here becasue that card is sized 1-2 only, and both his species are at size 3. If RED drops his Archetype species to size 2, he will lose the Blubber PM DNA card, being outside its size range. If he drops his new species to size 2 for the card, it would become a sea creature, and its Amphibian animals on land would again perish. Either of these steps would be a step backwards in RED's species evolution (not good). [EDIT: per 5.0c, RED could simply select the card, taking the 4 Genes for himself, and discard without playing it. But still, it is a very good card...]

Conclusions: A quick and fun opening deck with enough meaningful decisions to keep me fully engaged, and a very strong sense of theme with just the right amount of chaos tossed in. In sum, a truly fine gaming experience!

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Eddie B
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Re: Triassic Park
Thanks for this. I am still in the learning process of this game. I just finished the first 20 turns as described in the rulebook, but I noticed a lot of things missing (sometimes it is not quite clear which new tiles are drawn or which new card comes into the game).

I wish somebody would write a complete session report (maybe something for you to do???) like similar to the one in the rulebook (turn 1, turn 2 etc) but with more explanation and referencing to the rules.

Eddie
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Daniel Gómez
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Re: Triassic Park
Setup immigrants are discarded and removed from the game.

Good session.
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Steve Carey
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Re: Triassic Park
Membrillo wrote:
Setup immigrants are discarded and removed from the game.


Thnx - that, and a few other [EDITS] have been added.
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Steve Carey
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Re: Triassic Park
Introduction: After correcting the map, I continued the game with the Jurassic deck (5 cards).

Play: WHT was able to expand its Archetype species, gaining both S and A Roadrunner DNA. WHT also earned the Projectile-Hunting Culture, which is not much help at the moment (since its species are Herbivores). WHT increased his species size to 3.

RED focused on choosing cards to cycle the deck as he held the lead. This included taking the leftmost card and its 4 Genes, and discarded it without effect. RED obtained the Division of Labor Culture for his Archetype species, while his (M) Amphibian species struggled and couldn't expand due to a lack of suitable Biomes that it could survive in.

Events: The 2nd to last card draw was a Level 5 Asteroid event!



No species had 5 (or more) DNA so none went extinct, but the impact created global havoc. With the Greenhouse lowering to 200 ppm, the planet continued to cool. Multiple Biomes went to the tarpit via the Greenhouse shift, and then the white-starred Biomes flipped (frozen), making them uninhabitable. Several Immigrants and animals perished, and WHT and RED were now tied with 3 animals each.

This Catastrophic impact also created the Atlantic Rift, which divides a portion of the map (difficult to cross since an ocean now exists).

RED held 5 Genes to WHT's 0, so RED was still looking good before the Period ended (and another scoring round occurred).

The last card was a Milankovich E event, which took out at a Biome in the Tropics and RED lost an animal - WHT now led 3 animals to 2 for RED, quite a turn of events!

Scoring: WHT pulled in 5 VP's from the tarpit (5 of 9), while RED garnished just 2 VP's (2 of 4). Two tiles remained in the tarpit.

Looking Ahead: The game is now tied (8 VP's each), but survival of life on Earth is in serious jeopardy as the planet is near freezing.

Conclusions: Great fun! The Cretaceous Period is up next...

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Steve Carey
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Re: Triassic Park (UPDATE: continued Period reports)
Introduction: The Cretaceous Period deck is the largest (8 cards), and the Earth's environment is harsh, so it should be very interesting to see how both sides' animals manage to survive.

Play: The big story here was RED mutating his original Archetype into a Whale (MMM) species that dominated the Atlantic ocean (3 sea Biomes). With the free Language instinct, the Whales then acquired Projectile-Hunting Culture (now that would be a very strange looking beast!).

WHT grew to size 4, Expanded, and next mutated a new Amphibian species (to A, M, and B DNA) to feed upon a size 5 Herbivore Immigrant. It was a risky option because only 1 such prey existed, so this new species was on thin ice. This new child subsequently acquired SSS DNA over several turns, just in case it needed to shrink (to size 1) for Wings (flight) as another child Expanded (now with BB DNA) to a 'Coal Swamp' Biome.

RED shrunk his (M) Amphibian species to size 1 over time so that it could mutate (Cheek Teeth, GI DNA) and Expand to an 'Alpine Liverwort Meadow' Biome in the mountains. They had PP DNA to extend their migration range by +2, which allowed the move.

WHT lost an animal to an Arctic Immigrant Herbivore via a Dentition Contest (their 6 Teeth to WHT's 5 Teeth) as neither animal had the Niche's requirement, nor was being preyed upon.

Multiple Biome competitions sent tiles (and some animals) to the tarpit.

Events: Milankovich T takes out a 'Conifer Forest' in the Jet Stream latitude - this was the only non-flipped (any white star in the low Greenhouse) Biome, so it went extinct with another one of WHT's animals.

Another Milankovich P event sends the last Arctic Biome (and its aforementioned Herbivore Immigrant) to the tarpit - so the Arctic latitude is now frozen and completely barren. An unoccupied Horse latitude Biome also goes to the tarpit.

Scoring: RED has 6 animals and actually managed to thrive in the Tropics, which somewhat amazed me. WHT has only 3 animals, so RED cleans up with 7 VP's (7 of 13) while WHT earns a meager 3 VP's (3 of 6). RED now leads 15 VP's to WHT's 11 VP's. Three tiles remain in the tarpit.

Looking Ahead: WHT is in big trouble, despite having all 7 Genes to RED's 0. Each side has 2 species, but they all are major "comet bait" due to piled up DNA (necessary to survive in the remaining non-flipped Biomes). The Earth is still just one Greenhouse downward shift away from becoming an ice-capped planet (a game-ending condition).

Conclusions: This session just keeps getting better and better - it was a very entertaining and fun deck to play.



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Re: Triassic Park (UPDATE: continued Period reports)
Introduction: The Tertiary (last) deck has 7 cards, but I expect the game to end before that as only 5 Mesozoic tiles remain (Note: there is an optional rule to continue into the next era once tiles run out, but I need to clean up the game for a morning ftf match-up tomorrow).

Play: WHT is desperate and hopes to have the time to expand his Cultures (each Culture animal is worth 1 VP at game's end). WHT also begins to Expand his Predator child species to feed upon its parent Herbivore species (this is not prohibited cannibalism because they are different species).

RED simply drafts cards to hopefully end the game soon because he has a comfortable VP (and animals in play) lead - the most common card event is to draw and reveal 2 tiles, and as noted above only 5 tiles are left.

Events: A Milankovich E event eliminates an empty Tropics Biome.

Then a second Catastrophe occurs - a Level 7 Solar Flare Global Cooling event! Both of RED's dinosaur species go extinct, as does WHT's child species. Only WHT's original Archetype mammal survives, and its just one animal (but that's enough). Will WHT earn enough VP's to tie or even win the game?

The answer is "No" because the Catastrophe also affects the Greenhouse, shifting WHT's last occupied Biome into a white star flipped Biome (+100 Climax number), so in the competition WHT's mammal species dies off too.

Scoring: There are 11 tiles in the tarpit, but neither WHT nor RED can score any VP's because all their species are extinct. Thus, RED wins 15-11. What a finish...



Looking Ahead: The game ends as a Greenhouse Snowball Earth occurs, and the map is wiped clean.

Final Thoughts: This was simply a great experience, and I learned a lot. It took much longer to document and post this full Session Report than it did to play it out. The game flowed smoothly, and it kept me on my toes as I played in spurts throughout the day.

The learning curve for BIOS is indeed steep, but once over the hump this game is a blast. I am completely captivated by this fantastic design - with the Living Rules, I do feel it balances chaos and strategy just perfectly. Theme is very, very strong.

Overall, a big time...
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Samantha RD
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Fantastic, descriptive report - I hope the obvious effort you put in generates you lots of
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Steve Carey
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Sica wrote:

Fantastic, descriptive report - I hope the obvious effort you put in generates you lots of


Thank you Samantha, glad you enjoyed it.

Instead of GG, I'd rather help others understand BIOS better so that they can enjoy the game more!
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Roger Taylor
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Steve, I take it you decided not to use genotype cards in your game. They can make for complicated gameplay decisions if drafting a genotype would cause the only map animal of a species to be replaced; but if the genotype is for a species that is already out, it's an easy way to bank victory points directly to your fossil record. I nearly stole a victory from a player who had a big lead in tiles via genotypes in the fossil record.
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Steve Carey
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rtaylor wrote:
Steve, I take it you decided not to use genotype cards in your game.


Correct Roger - I view the Genotype cards as more of an Advanced Rule, and the game offers so much already (and I've made too many mistakes while learning), so just sticking with the so-called Beginner's Game for now.
 
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