Jason Emme
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I would like to try this option the next time I play, but I am curious of people's experiences for those that have tried it.

The variant involves using randomly drawn elements and tiles to start the game, instead of the prebuilt "map".

Thanks for all input.
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Chadwik
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It's great fun, but I have one suggestion: because of the disparity in starting VPs, play the variant only with experienced players -- that is, those that understand that where a player is on the VP track prior to final scoring is more or less irrelevant in determining who is actually favored (or not) to win the game.

Enjoy! and let us know how it goes.
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Ken Thibodeau
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We tried it once, after we played about 7-8 "standard" games. We didn't feel the compensatory VPs were enough to mitigate a bad starting position. Yet again, we tried it only once, so maybe multiple games and additional experience would make it better.
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Chadwik
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By "bad starting position" do you mean "more species in pool for future considerations"?

Note also that the player with fewest starting species will have the most of his animal's matching elements in the draw bag -- meaning more likely to come out onto Adaptation, but more importantly, Abundance and Wanderlust.

Or perhaps you were referring to the player starting with the *most* species, since he'll be hit especially hard if Blight or Catastrophe or Evolution or Ice Sheet or Mass Exodus or Immigrants come up first turn.
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Ken Thibodeau
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Chad, if I recall correctly -- it's been well over a year --, one of the player had no cube from the startup and it took a couple of turns to turn the tide around. Meanwhile, other players were gathering VPs and strenghtening their position.

But like I said, we have to take it with a grain of salt as this was our only try. If we try it again soon, I'll update here.
 
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Chadwik
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Good to go, Ken.
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Jason Emme
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I've had a chance to play a few games using these optional rules and I have really enjoyed the change. I don't have time to go into details about our games, but I highly recommend the optional set-up rules to anyone that has played several games of DS.

I will probably be using them going forward unless I'm introducing a new player to the game.

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Mike Paivinen
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Just in case someone reads this thread in the future, we played at least one game with the random setup where a player started with no cubes on the board. They won!
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Andrea Bampi
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I found this thread searching for info about how players experience thw "random setup". I tried it in a 4-players game last week: I got the insects, no grass on the board (hence no cubes), no grass on Abundance, no grass on Adaptation. Just 1 grass on Wanderlust (it was my first AP).
It was a tough game (and I didn't win) - but I made some basic mistakes during the game (and got a Blight played deliberately against me), otherwise I was always more or less at the same level as the other players.
I'm looking forward to the next random setup (need some vengeance!!)

...I think the rule adss variability to the game, and definitely suggest it all experienced players. Adds fun
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Chadwik
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RickNash wrote:
I tried it in a 4-players game last week: I got the insects, no grass on the board (hence no cubes), no grass on Abundance, no grass on Adaptation. Just 1 grass on Wanderlust (it was my first AP).
It was a tough game

You don't need grass right away. Considering Insects place the first AP I'd go for Adaptation, likely taking whatever element there is most prevalent on earth. The Insects are then immediately set up to start Speciating, etc.
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Andrea Bampi
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Chad Jensen wrote:
RickNash wrote:
I tried it in a 4-players game last week: I got the insects, no grass on the board (hence no cubes), no grass on Abundance, no grass on Adaptation. Just 1 grass on Wanderlust (it was my first AP).
It was a tough game

You don't need grass right away. Considering Insects place the first AP I'd go for Adaptation, likely taking whatever element there is most prevalent on earth. The Insects are then immediately set up to start Speciating, etc.


Chad, first let me thank you for this great game. Became one of our favourites just after the first (misplayed) game. GREAT discovery - for us (only thing you may still work on, IMHO, is the graphical layout...)

..concerning your advice: yep I used another AP on Adaptation too, and I got a good one. And I "speciated" twice in the first turn. But my mistake was (for sure) not putting my first AP on Domination. I was afraid not to be able to dominate any tile in the first turn, so I didn't put ANY AP on Domination. In fact I was dominating two; but the other players used Intelligence and Omnivore and that hit me really hard.
I was a noob, I know but it was the first random setup..I feel partially excused
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Scott Daniel
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Chad Jensen wrote:
RickNash wrote:
I tried it in a 4-players game last week: I got the insects, no grass on the board (hence no cubes), no grass on Abundance, no grass on Adaptation. Just 1 grass on Wanderlust (it was my first AP).
It was a tough game

You don't need grass right away. Considering Insects place the first AP I'd go for Adaptation, likely taking whatever element there is most prevalent on earth. The Insects are then immediately set up to start Speciating, etc.


It's simply awesome to see the game designer pop in and comment within a thread within a day of a relevant post. Chad, thanks for your active support of your great game!
 
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Chadwik
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You're welcome, gentlemen. Enjoy the game!
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Gamer D

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I really like the random setup better than the normal set up. On top of making the set up much more interesting, it's also quicker to set the game up using random tiles and elements than it is to pull specific ones to match the diagram on the board.

Also the random setup seems to be just fine balance wise. Yesterday I started with Reptiles and no sun elements on the board and despite having no species managed to be in the lead for the majority of the game. I eventually lost in a very close finish.

I definitely like random setup.
 
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Robert Stewart
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dugman wrote:
I really like the random setup better than the normal set up. On top of making the set up much more interesting, it's also quicker to set the game up using random tiles and elements than it is to pull specific ones to match the diagram on the board.


I keep the starting tiles separate from the rest - with the markings on the third edition board, it takes less than thirty seconds to sort them at the start of the game, and not much added time at the end either...
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Gamer D

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rmsgrey wrote:
dugman wrote:
I really like the random setup better than the normal set up. On top of making the set up much more interesting, it's also quicker to set the game up using random tiles and elements than it is to pull specific ones to match the diagram on the board.


I keep the starting tiles separate from the rest - with the markings on the third edition board, it takes less than thirty seconds to sort them at the start of the game, and not much added time at the end either...


Yeah, not a HUGE difference. Still a little annoying though compared to just picking tiles randomly. And since the random tiles seem more fun to me, I see little reason for me to use the default set up. Just a matter of taste.
 
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