Think warm thoughts

Now where was I?

Oh yeah, I was starving and freezing to death on the island of Greenland.

 

I had just pulled the next event, so we have to deal with that:

turn02

First is a cooling event.  Which moves cards over to the left side of the hunt deck, making those cards only succeed on rolls of 1.  In solitaire, it ALSO causes Chaos.  I mean, Decimation.  Which AGAIN hits our Thule and Tunit tribes.  Uh oh, the Tunit are down to 1 hunter, and the Little Auk were moved to the cold side.

Auk Shucks indeed.

Next is the death of a mariner in each tribe.  No mariners to die, so there’s that.  Finally the elder death or food discarding per elder.  Only the Norse have elders (2), but they only have one orange disc, but in solitaire, you can use any disc as orange, so they burn a black disc as well to pay for their elders.

Greenland 2nd editionMap

So this is what it looks like right before two Tribes die, methinks.

So I send my one Thule out Husky hunting as it’s the only thing that’s really worth it right now.  The two Tunit go for the Caribou on the off chance that I roll 4 or less on 2d6.    The Norse actually have options, though.  Food/Fuel is going to become a problem at some point, feeding his cattle, so I burn one disc (white this time) to promote a Mariner and I send 4 cubes to Markland.  Just one success there gets me a baby and 4 Orange discs.  The other five I send out to the cute little bearded seal.

I don’t club them.  I cuddle them to death.  I swear.  We’re totally kind to the animals in this game.

Totally.

Anyway, let’s see if we can live one more turn:

*rollroll*

Neither the Thule nor Tunit were successful.  The Norse succeeded in both rolls, and only one Colonist on Markland died at the hands of natives.  Those Norse should become a thriving civilization, but it’s not looking good for my game here, I have 10 turns to go without dying!

So the Cattle get fed and help the Norse and we move on to the next turn.

adfasdfadf

Welp, guess I can’t reinforce the Markland peeps.  And I have to roll for Elder death.

Which kills the Norse’s Mariner because Greenland hates me.  And then there’s Chaos if you have 11 or more hunters in your tribe.  And you know how many hunters the Norse have?  11!  Because F&(&* YOU ADAM!  GREENLAND WANTS YOU DEAD! AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT!

Of course, I still have my chief, so I can look back at the game with a twinkle in my eye and say “Settle down, game.”

And then the game makes things colder.  Luckily if there’s already a chaos event, the solitaire cold+chaos doesn’t trigger again, otherwise that’d hurt.  But the cold isn’t good as the Polar Bear and Bearded Seal head over to the Cold Side.

So I have the Thule try for the Huskey’s again.  The Tunit go to raid the Norse’s Cattle for a change.  If they roll a 1, they’ll get 2 babies, but a roll of 3 will kill one of them.  It’s a bit of a risk, but for a better reward.  And their hammer lets them reroll 6s.  *shrug*  I’m grasping at straws here.

I promote a hunter to become a Tracker, so I can treat one card on the cold side as if it were warm, and then send 5 Hunters to get the Hooded Seal, and another 5 to try and get the Wooden Maps invention.  Best to tech up while I have the manpower to spread around.

*rollroll*

So the Norse succeeded in Markland and on the Hooded Seal, but failed to learn about maps.  The Thule and the Tunit failed on there rolls…and not only that, but the Tunit rolled a 3 on their raid, so now THEY are down to 1 hunter as well.  I knew it would be tough after starting behind the 8-ball due to the Neanderthal game but YIKES this is tough.

Little cattle action and lets see if the next card ends us;

adfasdfadf

Huh.  Decimation if you have more than 8 hunters.  Well, the Norse certainly do, but they still have a Cheif.  And two elder deaths, let’s see:  Woof.  Said chief just died.  Good thing the icons weren’t the other way around.  The last icon is “Southern Migration.”  It’s similar to the Global Cooling and Warming from Neanderthal.  We move the lowest climax numbered animal in the South and replace it with a new card.  So we lose an invention and it’s replaced by….AWWWWWWWW:

adfasdfadf

Commence cuddling!

And on the warm side!  Good news for our flailing tribes!  In the solitaire games, all tribes share Mariner and sled limits, so we can borrow the Norse boats to have our Northern Tribes to come south and c……uddle these things.

So this time, I send the Tunit against the Huskey, the Thule against the Harbor Seal (the Thule have the Daughter Krimia which allows you to reroll 4s against small prey), and for the Norse, I promote a Chief and two Mariners.  I then send 6 against the Bearded Seal and 4 against learning the Map again.

C’mon cuddling!

*rollroll*

*sigh* More failure for the Thule and Tunit.  The Norse failed on their Seals and managed to find out that the Seal is extinct, gaining the card as a trophy.  They did manage to get the Map into their hand, though.  Their Colonists succeeded on their roll, but then were slaughtered, leaving only one Colonist left.  Even with the reroll on 3s!

I don’t have a Shaman yet to play the Invention, but maybe I have a next turn to actually play one!

OH, one thing I forgot to mention was the “auction” at the end of the event phase for the axe!  I gave it to the Thule, and they may use it for another livestock raid against the Norse.  You get to change 3s to 1s with that card, meaning they won’t get killed in the raid!  So anyway, next turn.

adfasdfadf

And there you have it.  That Decimation icon would wipe out the last Hunter for both the Thule and Tunit, ending the game for me.

(Sad Trombone)

Greenland 2nd editionMap

Probably not the best representation of Greenland you’ll find as there wasn’t much interaction between the Tribes.  You’ll often find, even in  high conflict games, or even in solitaire games, Exomagy (or marriage between the tribes) is a BIG FREAKING DEAL and the shrinking hunting grounds as the game continues is a hell of a stresser, making interactions with your fellow players a goldmine of friendship enders.  And in Solitaire, it’s a nice little puzzle figuring out the best possible way to mitigate the dice and find the ideal situations to have all 3 tribes survive….only to find the game laugh in your face and kill you off anyway.

And it has cute seals.

Anyone else just get “Kissed by a Rose” stuck in their head?

Welp, I hope you enjoyed this, I think I’m going to play something a bit more brainless for the next game, as I played High Frontier and Bios: Genesis over the weekend and my grey matter hurts.

Thanks for reading!

 

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The Cold Shoulder (of beef)

Welcome back!  It seems like years since I last saw you!

Anyway, we’re on the (semi-)frozen lands of Greenland with our (mostly-)evolved humans.

Greenland 2nd editionMap

You’ll see the layout is very similar to Neanderthal.  Some differences you have to take note right away:  All hunting “successes” are 1’s and 2’s when there are on the right side of the draw deck-the warm side.  When they move to the left side (due to events), then only 1’s succeed.  There are no animals with only 1’s on them or anything like that in this version.

You’ll notice on the North cards, all the icons have yellow and green backdrops, while the Southland has Red (and presumably should be Red and Blue) backdrops.  That’s because in Greenland, you can’t just hunt anywhere.  You have to stick around your “Home.”  The Norse (and Sea Sami) have to Hunt in the South, while the Thule and Tunit hunt in the North.  They can break that rule using animals and daughters that have the sled icon, along with Mariner Elders.  Elder abilities are also extremely different.  Let’s zoom in:

Elders

First, you’ll see they’re different depending on which tribe you play.  The only difference was starting brain disc in Neanderthal, but there are more differences between each player in this one.  Let’s take a good look here.

Elder 1 – Chief – Prevents Chao….wait, it’s called DECIMATION in this one.  Yeah, because there are a bunch of different kinds of Decimation (including venereal disease…ew), and they all do the same thing as Chaos in the last game, but Decimation is a much more fun word, so I’ll try to remember to use it during this game.

Elder 2 – Shaman – The Tunit gains a reroll on any 3’s while fishing, and all may domesticate an animal, Burn a Witch (kill an elder, you’ll see why you may want to do that later) or Banish an elder from another tribe from proselytizing over here.

Elder 3 – Artisan, Blacksmith, Crafter, Sage – Hand size and make Inventions (and a reroll on Crafting for Norse).

Elder 4 – Warchief – Similar to Warrior from Neanderthal.

Elder 5 – Tracker – Allowed to treat one hunting card on the Cold side as if it were on the Warm side (2s would succeed)

and finally

Elder 6 – Mariner – Each one can bring up to 4 hunters to the New World!


Ah, so there’s two things in those descriptions that also show a difference: You can have more than one Elder in all slots except 1 and 4 (Chiefs tend to get upset when you set up a “Co-Chief”).  And there’s a New World to move to as Colonists!

newworld

One is North and one is south.  There are big rewards for having colonists here, and they are the only cards where multiple players can succeed and reap those rewards.  However, if more than six cubes reside on those cards, they flip over:

newworld2

Now it’s much easier to die there.  Apparently the natives don’t like it when you try to take over their land.  Who knew?


I can’t think of any other big changes off the top of my head to the basic game, so let me tell you about the solitaire game.  The goal of the game is NOT DIE.

That should be easy to remember.

So here are the changes for solitaire play:

1) Global Cooling- If it happens on the first turn, ignore it.  Afterwords, it counts as cooling AND Decimation.  Because Phil hates me.

2) During Phase 3, I can swap discs and Inventions between tribes.  We’re friendly traders!

3)Everything burns!  We can use White and Black discs as if they were Orange (but not vice versa)

4)We’re using the tougher Survivalist rules (which are recommended for playing solo).  I really shouldn’t, but I’m doing it anyway.

a) Alphas give you an automatic roll of 2, not 1 (so they’re only good on the Warm side, or with Trackers)

b) You can’t use Iron to buy off killed hunters (You normally can spend a black disc before your roll to say “No matter what I roll, no one will die on this hunt”).

c)No matter how a card gets into my hand, it is never replaced.  This place freezes fast.


Let’s get moving, and dying.

turn1

Okay, first event:  On top you see the familiar turn order symbology:  Yellow first, Green second, Red third.

Then our first symbol means 1 Mariner dies in every tribe.  I don’t have any so, um, yay?  Next we have (dun dun DUNNNN) Decimation.  Each tribe without a Chief loses half their Hunters and an Elder.  Just by happenstance the Norse have a Chief (and in a normal game, everyone would start with a Chief), so they’re fine, but the other two tribes already get smacked around.  Good news is the Tunit have Salia:

salia

Which you see there shows all elder deaths are reduced by one.  Except that’s when it’s a Fuel/Elder loss…not Decimation.

Crap.

Okay, so 3 dead Tunit and 2 dead Thule.  They have no Elders to lose, so on to the next icon, THAT’S the Fuel or Elder loss.  That means “For each Elder you have, either spend(discard) an Orange disc or kill the Elder.”  The only one affected by this is the Norse who has 5 fuel right now, so happily spends it not to kill anyone yet.  Finally, since there’s a boat on the card, that means we have the ability to trade (auction) for the other half of the card:

hammer

A hammer.  Jeez, it seems almost like I HAVE to have the Norse with a hammer, right?  But let’s look at it:  it means you treat 3’s as 1’s on crafting cards (the New World and a few hunting cards, like the Cape York Meteorite) and you get to reroll 6s on all fights, which probably won’t come up.

In order to get this, you have to give up white discs, and since all the tribes are friends, I just have to have one tribe give up one white disc.  I’m going to go with the Tunit, because both the Thule and Norse can reroll 4s on Crafting if they employ a Sage Elder, so having more abilities with rerolls should help.

Oh, and if you’re curious, the other icon means “You can ditch this card and gain a black disc”.  You know, you can melt it down for iron.

So let’s get hunting.

hunt01

So, Thule only has 3(!) Hunters, and they can only hunt up North unless I make some Elders, which seems a bit presumptuous at the moment.  I think I’m just going to put all three on the Little Auk and get a baby.  Hopefully.  The Tunit is in the same boat, but with 4(!) Hunters.  I can go for the Husky there, which will also get a baby, and the possibility for a domesticated animal.

Now the Norse actually have Hunters (5+Alpha) and Elders (Chief + BlackSmith).  Unfortunately, unless I send people to Vinland (which would require making a Mariner), I can’t use my bonus for having the Blacksmith.  I’ll send them all to the Caribou and hope for a few more Hunters to appear, and then I can go for all those great inventions next turn.

*rollroll* <-I think this might become a signature thing of mine

The Tunit succeeded in getting some Husky meat and increase the size of their tribe by 1.  The Thule fail to take down an Auk.  They are heard saying “Auk Shucks.”  The Norse succeed in taking down a huge Caribou, and realizing taming them would result in annoying kids asking them if they could fly, so they decide to leave them wild.

In the next phase, the Norse feed their cattle, creating yet 2 more Hunters.

And nothing can happen in phase 6, because only one tribe has Elders, and the Norse have nothing to build.


And there you have it, the beginning of our game of Greenland.  Stay tuned for more blubber, and dealing with this event card:

turn02

 

Sometimes I bore myself

So this is what, day four of this game, and I still had a good 7 turns to go.  While there’s still a lot going on, I don’t believe this has the same ‘sweeping majesty’ that a good game of High Frontier has, so doing the blow-by-blow for it was….

 

Boring.

 

So, let’s skip ahead a bit and bring us to the penultimate turn!  Mainly because I love the word ‘penultimate!’

NeanderthalMap

You’ll notice a few things have changed.  The major things:  It’s COLD.  Our hunting grounds are down to but 8 cards, most of them Big Game or Predators as they are the only things that can survive this harsh weather.  Also both Archaic Man and Neanderthal suffered some Chaos which dropped their numbers.  Archaic Man came back but was whacked down again while Neanderthal is having a hard time coming back at all, and now that Flounder are pretty much the only thing they can live on, it’s not looking good.

Cro-Magnon, however, have evolved into a Tribal species.  Not only that, they managed to Domesticate the Alpine Ibex!  You’ll also see a whole row of Elders on the left side of the card there.  There’s many more options once you start a society.  Cro-Magnon now have: a Chief (prevents Chaos, allows negotiations between tribes and makes Elder actions free in Phase 6), a Shaman (allows the domestication of animals), a Knapper, Warrior, Trapper and Fire-Starter (familiar).

And what does our wacky goat do?  In Phase 5 (remember, there’s a five?) I get a baby and can remove a white disc every turn!  NEAT!  Also being a win condition for the solitaire game is kinda good, too.

So let’s finish this baby out and move on to Greenland, shall we?

We experience a bit of Warming, but it gets rid of the very huntable Irish Elk and replaces it with a very angry Cave Bear.  Guess it was hibernating during that Ice Age.

Hunt11

Actually, he’s kind of cute.

Now Chaos strikes Archaic Man again, and I finally just flip his Sexuality Card over to Pair Bonding, freeing 6 total discs.  Probably should have done that a long time ago.  A Blizzard also causes three of Cro-Magnon’s Elders to die off.  Woof.  It’s getting rough out there.

A random Elder Die-off takes down the Cro-Magnon’s Fire-Starter, and one Archaic Wanderluster shows up in the Neanderthal tribe.  The Daughter is a Scavenging Woman, which turns you into a gathering species.  I give that to Archaic Man, since changing sexuality meant it wouldn’t be a gathering species anymore.  Fixed that right up, didn’t I?

Neanderthal is going to fish, while Archaic Man is going to wait since it’s too dangerous to hunt right now.  I hope to be able to gather next turn and build up numbers that way. Cro-Magnon goes Wisent hunting, even though it’s a long shot.  I’m grasping at straws at the end here.  I also do something kinda silly.  I have Neanderthal contest the Generous Woman for marriage.  She’s already married in the Cro-Magnon tribe, but if Neanderthal can just get ONE MORE DISC in his head, he’ll go tribal soon, and she has the key to that….so they’ll fight for it!

*rollroll*

Well, the jealous husband beats the Neanderthal to death and the fisherman come back empty handed (but they almost caught one THIS big!).  Cro-Magnon was also one success shy of victory, so all-in-all an uneventful hunting turn.  So Cro-Magnon gets a baby from its goat.  Goat-baby.  Ewwww.  And we move on to Phase 6.

Archaic Man promotes Scavenger Woman to mature status, Neanderthal wonders just how close to humanity it is, and Cro-Magnon wishes there were more cards (or any cards, really) it could get into his hand/tableau.

NeanderthalMap

A few things changed in this round, rarely for the better.  Let’s get this last card out and see how we fare.

It gets warmer!  The European Cave Lion goes extinct and a Flint Mine appears!  Tools to be invented!  Hooray!  Oh, and three Elder Death dice to roll.  Cro-Magnon loses his Shaman.  Blah.  Finally I give the Daughter (Walkabout Woman) to Neanderthal because it would allow him to put the final disc in his brain for Tribalness.

So Cro-Magnon promotes a Knapper Elder (so he can create the Invention if I snag it) and sends the rest to the Flint Mine.  Neanderthal goes fishing….again.  And Archaic Man spreads his folks around to gather as much as he can.  Let’s see if we can end on a high note.

*rollroll*

Well, one person froze to death on the tundra, but Neanderthal finally brought a fish back home!  That’s 2 fish-babies (ew) and a mature Walkabout Woman!  None of Archaic Man’s gatherers were killed while foraging, so they doubled their numbers!  Cro-Magnon was successful in the Flint Mine!  But they were not able to roll triples (boo) so no handmade darts for them. One more goat-baby and we’re on to the final Phase 6.

Where Neanderthal finally goes Tribal…which is the only thing I can do for the final Phase of the game.  The final board:

NeanderthalMap

Technically this is not a win for a solitaire game as you need two or more species to survive with one or more domesticated animals.  I couldn’t get Neanderthal to domesticate an animal, so no win for me, but that’s not important right now.  What’s important is that they all survived and I can continue to watch them evolve (or die) in Greenland, our next game.  So what changes for the setup of that game?

Rather than starting with 5 tribesman, 1 alpha and 6 elders, I’m starting with the cubes I had at the end of this game.  I can make them elders or tribesmen, but it looks like the tribes will be:

Tunit-Dorset= 7 Tribesman, no alpha or Elders (see below for why)

Thule-Inuit= 5 Tribesman (ceeeripes)

Norse-Viking= 5 Tribesman, 1 alpha and 2 elders (The Rank 1 and 3 Elders automatically transfer over).

The Norse is going to get one domesticated animal because I was able to domesticate the Ibex.  So that’s nice.

Daughters are exchanged at a 2:1 rate, Meaning Tunit will have 1, Thule 2 and Norse 1.

Oh, and because Archaic Man wasn’t an actual Tribe at the end of the game, it can’t start with Elders or promote on the first turn.  Stupid reality.

And because the world was as cold as it was, 3 cards will start on the cold side of the board.

I don’t expect to survive.  But let’s see how my newly evolved characters do in this new game.  It plays differently, so I’ll go slow at the beginning again so you can see the differences.

Greenland 2nd editionMap

Obviously there will be no Blue player, but that’s what the screen shot will look like anyway.  And there was no way to remove daughter cards from this, so I drew Xs with black discs.  It might not be pretty, but I think it makes the proper point, right?

And the Alpine Ibex evolved into Icelandic Cattle!  Who knew?

See you in Greenland!

Moving Right Along

muppetmovie-11

Let’s move a little faster now that most of the rules stuff is over and done with, shall we?

Oh, and the picture above is clearly Archaic Man and Neanderthal screaming in pain after last turn.

Our event adds another event to the event deck.

Event.

It also has us rolling three Elder Death dice because “Suffer Not an Old Guy To Live” is the motto of this particular game, I guess.

With all the rolling, however, only Cro-Magnon loses his Fire-Starter.  Archaic Man keeps his burninator, and Neanderthal keeps his as well, along with his Warrior.

The Daughter is Scheherazade, she who allows you to take two actions in Phase 6.  A very powerful daughter to have.  She also lets you place a white disc in your head (in either Bison or Shaman spaces).  Sadly, you can bid any color disc on her, which means in my rules, I’ll have to stick three discs into her.

I’m going to give her to Cro-Magnon because he’s got enough discs and will be able to go Tribal once everyone’s Mature on his end.  I’ve still got 7 turns to get everyone ready and married, so I think I’ll be okay.

Keep in mind, in multiplayer games, bids of 3 are much more common.  Those games are much more ruthless (I love them!).

I decide not to have Neanderthal hunt this turn.  They’re too busy singing in the Studebaker.  That and I have almost enough hunters to hit my Chaos limit, and I’m not looking to free any discs for them.  They’re good right now.

Archaic Man still needs to get that Orange Disc off of A Woman With a Name, so they go fishing and mussel gathering to increase their numbers and hopefully get a bit smarter to start their upward climb.

Cro-Magnon, while I need them to get rid of a LOT of discs now, only have 6 hunters, so it’s not very likely they’ll take down much big game.  So I’ll let them get the Fallow Deer which will free an Orange disc and (more importantly), swell the tribe by 3 for next turn where I can target, say, the Wisent.

*rollrollroll*

My luck continues.  Archaic Man fails to catch anything, and two Hunters freeze to death, resulting in a net -1 Hunter.  Cro-Magnon does catch a Fallow Deer, so those extra 3 Hunters are nice but that was apparently the last Deer, so the card is removed as a trophy.

One more disc is removed from the Swearing woman, and it’s a good time for her skills to come to use.

NeanderthalMap

Hey!  Some new Event symbols!

Turn6

The one on top means “It’s getting really, really cold!”  That means whichever card that has the lowest “climax number” – ahem – will go from the North Row of the hunting grounds to the South Row, discarding whatever is in the south.  In our case, the Irish Elk has the number 2, so it’s easily the smallest.  The space below him is empty, so no big deal there.  The former elk space is replaced with a North Row card that is not flipped over.  It represents ice that lets nothing live on it.

Cheery.

It wasn’t too bad for us, though, as it merely traded one empty space for another.  It’s when you get multiple cold spells in a row (I believe there are more cold events than warm) that things get complicated.  But now let’s check Chaos:

Archaic Man:  Free Hunters: 6 Free Vocabulary Discs: 6 (phew)

Neanderthal: Free Hunters: 7 Free Vocabulary Discs: 9

Cro-Magnon: Free Hunters: 9 Free Vocabulary Discs: 11

Just dodged Chaos.  No random dead people.  That also means the Wanderlust icons on the bottom of the list means nothing as well.  But let’s check the Blizzard effects.

Archaic Man: Elders/Daughters: 2 Free Hunters: 6 (4 needed)

Neanderthal: Elders/Daughters: 3 Free Hunters: 7 (6 needed)

Cro-Magnon: Elders/Daughters: 2 (one is married) Free Hunters: 9 (4 needed)

Again, I survive!  While I might be able to do okay in the current game with losing a Daughter or two (once I’ve used her Portal actions, I can usually get by), going on to the Greenland game means keeping Daughters is much more important.

And if you read what the Piper does, it’s obvious I should give it to the Archaic Man, so I do.

Hunt6

For Hunting, I had Neanderthal try to marry the Swearing Woman (so he can fill his Bison Portal) and get another hunter as a replacement by hunting the Ptarmigan.  Archaic Man is hunting the Chamois to wipe an Orange disc off of one of his Daughters (and gather some sweet, sweet mushrooms) and for a first, Cro-Magnon is hunting the Alpine Ibex to clear a White Disc.  I fear getting one of these possible-to-be-domesticated animals in my hand too early (and losing it due to elder death), but it’s a risk I have to take.

At least I think I have to.  Hell, what do I know?

*rollroll*

Archaic Man is successful, so the first piped music is heard coming from their camp.  Neanderthal is also successful in their hunting, which will console their poor rejected hunter who was probably called a bunch of horrible names by the Swearing Woman.  Cro-Magnon failed in their hunt and got the Ibex put into their hand as I feared.  They have an immature Fire-Starter, so it will stay there for now, but it may not last long.  The Ibex got replaced in the Hunt Row with a Honey Bee, which can also be domesticated, so that’s good news.

In Phase 6 I put an Orange disc into Archaic Man’s head.  He only has 5 Free Vocabulary discs now, but at least he can think Orange out of things freely if he wants, and he plans on going a-marrying soon to get all sorts of other abilities.  Cro-Magnon matures his Fire-Starter because it seems the only way to remove White Discs here is to hunt an animal that also removes Black, so let’s just do the one thing on its own right now.  Neanderthal seems to have stalled in its intellectual growth lately.  I need to fix that.

NeanderthalMap

Turn 7:

Turn7

Almost the polar opposite of the previous event, and a very useful daughter for Cro-Magnon (or anyone, really, since Blizzards are tricky).

But first, we have to move the lowest climax animal-ahem-UP, and that is still the Irish Elk, so the Ice Flow melts, and the Elk go back to where they came from.  The good news is a new card replaces the elk.  And we get a new fishie.

fish

ghoti

That’s a big ol’ fish.  Look at the size comparison to a human on the card.  You could sleep in that thing like a Tauntaun.

Chaos Check:

Archaic Man: Hunters: 9 Free Vocabulary Discs: 5 (CHAOS!)

Neanderthal: Hunters: 8 Free Vocabulary Discs: 9

Cro-Magnon: Hunters: 8 Free Vocabulary Discs: 11

So I have to kill half (rounded up) of all my Hunters and an Elder in the Archaic Man species.  Which leaves me with 4 hunters and no Elders.  Now is the time of rebuilding…

But first, the Blizzard:

Archaic Man: Elders/Daughters: 2 Hunters: 4

Neanderthal: Elders/Daughters: 3 Hunters: 8

Cro-Magnon: Elders/Daughters: 3 Hunters: 8

Now the two Wanderlust figures actually mean something.  I can put two Green cubes into any tribe I want.  Eh, I’ll just put one in each, I don’t see either of them hurting for help right now.

While the daughter probably does the most good for Cro-Magnon, he’s got a lot on his plate already, so I’ll give it to Neanderthal to jump start his growth.  Also a husband might not be a bad idea since he already needs 6 hunters to not lose something to a Blizzard.

Hunt7

And here’s how I did my hunt.  You see Cro-Magnon going for Big Game here, while Archaic Man is just trying to get some numbers back.  Neanderthal is trying again with Swearing Woman, but is contesting with Cro-Magnon.  In the end someone will marry this woman so Cro-Magnon, at least, will have her powers.

*rollroll*

Wow, Neanderthal was successful in wooing the Swearing Woman this time!  Archaic Man also rolled way too well (2,2,2,1) and got some yummy Chamois meat.  Cro-Magnon was rejected again by the Wisent, mising success by one.  Neanderthal grabbed every Sabertooth Salmon out of the water, getting the benefits, and a new Trophy card.  I didn’t really think that last one through enough, methinks.

In Phase 6, both Cro-Magnon and Archaic Man stick a disc in their brains so that they have one of each color up there, and Neanderthal uses his current knowledge to mature the Housewife.  I’m getting kind-of close to going tribal, so I may start sprinting that way, but some badly timed chaos could throw a wrench into that.  But we’ve made a lot of headway today.

NeanderthalMap

Headway?  Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Wakka wakka!

 

Sometimes I bore myself

 

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

So I’m an obscure gaming ‘blog talking about even more obscure games using obscure song titles as my own titles.

I never said I was hip.

Let’s get right to it, I don’t have much time today.  Maybe only 10,000 years.

Turn4

This is kind of weird.  We’ve gone 4 turns without a single change to our hunting grounds.  But we’ve got to go through a whole lot of Elder death anyway…again.  Cro-Magnon is the only one with a mature Fire-Starter, so let’s see if I can get lucky: Nope.  2,6,2.  Smoke got in his eyes, and so did a cougar.

Without a lot of Elders or Unwed Daughters, the Blizzard event isn’t hurting us at all, so we can just move on and bid on A Woman With a Name.  Getting a name is important in culture (remember how important it was in the cartoon from the 90s Gargoyles), but in a Solitaire game, it doesn’t really mean anything, as making all Daughters worth 2VPs each doesn’t matter.  Unlocking access to the Venus portal is nice, though.  Cro-Magnon already has that ability through the Generous Woman and Neanderthal already has a Black disc from game start, so Archaic Man is the logical choice.  Of course, sinking an Orange disc onto a daughter is a bit rough.

Right now, Archaic man has 11 Hunters, and only 8 free Vocabulary discs.  Of course, if I get this Daughter, and are able to quickly free up the Orange disc, I’ll be able to get a Knapper Elder in the future, and that’s REALLY useful if you have a big tribe.

And really, am I the only one who watched Gargoyles?  Goliath and Desdemona?  Flying around New York?  The guy with the stone hand?  It was amazing!

There’s a part of me that wants to play it safe and give the Woman With a Name to Neanderthal and let Archaic Man just kind of surf free until I can change his Sexuality card, but I’m going to diversify and see if I can get a few discs in his head and take down some big game.

Now for Hunter Placement.  Neanderthal has 9 free Hunters to place first.  He has 9 free Vocabulary discs, so we’re teetering close to Chaos, so making an Elder or two isn’t a bad idea.  So I’ll place one as an immature Fire-starter, and another as an immature Warrior.  That frees up 7 to do the actual stabbing.

Hunting

That’s the old picture, the Flint Mine is now a Woolly Rhinoceros.  Nothing will free an Orange & a Black disc at the same time, so I might as well go for one or the other.  And with 7 dice, I might be able to take down the Cave Hyena, but I might get a lot of casualties.  I don’t need 2 discs worth of cleaning, so I guess I’ll just play it safe and go for the Willow Ptarmigan.  I don’t need many more kids, and I have a hand size of 2 at the moment, so if I end up drawing it, big deal.

Speaking of which, when Cro-Magnon got smoke in his eyes?  Yeah, he had to discard his card, too.  No Elders meant no hand size.  Life is tough.

Archaic Man has no shortage of Hunters and only needs one Orange disc removed, so will easily go for the Fallow Deer.  He’ll also try for a Fire-Starter, too.  Actually, because of that….to heck with this.  3 Hunters are going for the Chamois.  Not great odds, but safe because of gathering Mushrooms.  The rest (7) are going to take down the Cave Hyena.  Awwwww, yeah.

Cro-Magnon will also try, again, for the Fire-Starter.  Hmmm, he needs 2 black discs as well, but the best way to do that is the Hyena.  With only 6 Hunters any of the other prey doesn’t seem all that likely.  Okay, I’ll send one off to see if he can Marry the Totem woman over at the Neanderthals, and the other 5 will try to grow the tribe at the Fallow Deer.  There we go.

Neanderthal: (7 dice, Ptarmigan): 3,1,6,4,3,2,2 – Success!  One hunter dies (we send the Green cube back that we “borrowed” from their “courting” attempt) from frostbite.  We remove the Orange disc under the Warrior.  We can now (dun dun DUNNNN!!!!) replace one of our hunters with an ALPHA HUNTER!

Alpha

This cylinder (or larger cube in this case), is a special hunter.  In this case, he is a Warrior.  You can see the powers that gives, the most important for the solitaire game is that any creature that has the little club symbol on its card (which would be all the predators), I don’t have to roll a die for the Warrior.  That’s right, I just have to put down a 1 and say: “That’s what he rolled.”

Boo-ya.

Knappers and Trappers are the same for the other two symbols.  Warriors also give you benefits when it comes to turn order (not a big deal in solitaire) and when fighting other tribes (again, no whoop).  But for my purposes, it’s Hyena whooping time!

Cro-Magnon: (1 die Courtship) 4, goes home rejected; (5 dice, Fallow Deer) 6,4,5,1,4 Failure.

Ick.

Archaic Man: (3 dice, Chamois) 4,4,6 Failure, gains one hunter from gathering mushrooms (7 dice, Hyena) 2,6,5,6,2,2,6 Failure!  4 Dead Hunters due to mangling. However gained Hyena card as “Trophy.”  Gained one hunter from gathering Wild Barley.

 

That could have gone better.  Was hoping for a big leap forward, and half my Archaic Man are dead and I’m less one hunting ground.

Let’s just phase 6 this and call it a day:

Neanderthal will think the black disc out from under his Fire-Starter, giving him 2 mature Elders.  Cro-Magnon will do the same.

Archaic Man will name his toes.

Without any more glacier events, I have 7 turns to Domesticate an animal.  Not looking good.  Neanderthals are doing well, though, so I still have some hope for them.  Archaic Man is still above the Chaos threshold even after getting mangled by the Hyena, so they could still lose a lot more hunters.  I think I’ve been mishandling them all game.  I’ve got to come at them from a different angle, or just change their sexuality card and be done with it.

NeanderthalMap

Moving Right Along

10min, 100,000yrs….whatever

Several thousands of years have passed since my last post, so lets recap.

Three species of humans are trying to survive.  In one turn, very little has happened.  Cro-Magnon has a Generous Woman teaching him how to trade and give, as well as how to put discs in the Venus area of his brain.  Of course, no one is listening to her because she’s not married.

Typical.

No one has really been successful enough hunting to increase their numbers, so they all still have the six hunters they started with, though Archaic Man had to move one to the Fire-Starter elder to replace the previous one who died and took his wisdom with him.  Speaking of fire, Neanderthal was able to mature his own Fire-Starter, so they no longer need to worry about freezing to death as long as that elder knowledge stays alive.

Good?  Let’s start turn 2, then.

Event2

Four elder death dice.  Apparently living into old age is just not something you did thousands of years ago.  Who knew?  Except them, of course.  Each species has an elder in spot 6, and Neanderthal’s is mature, so let’s see if any come out unscathed. *rollroll*

Not a single one.  *sigh*  Eh, fire is overrated anyway.  I mean, it just leads to smoking and look where that’s gotten us.  Let’s get to the auction:

Daughter2

Attacking and hunting first really isn’t a great ability in a solitaire game.  In multiplayer it’s AWESOME, but there’s only one of me, so I can ignore that right now.  However, it only costs one black disc and let’s you put both discs into the Shaman portal, so I’ll let Neanderthal get it because he could just think the Black disc off of her if he’s unable to hunt for it.

Speaking of hunting, we’re looking at the same hunting grounds from last turn.  Often things change (sometimes drastically) from turn to turn, but we’re left with the same kind of terrible choices here.  Turn order is Red-Green-Yellow, so let’s see what I should do with Cro-Magnon.  He still has all 6 beginning hunters, but has no Firestarter.  He also has an unwed Generous woman, and that looks like it’s more important.  So I’ll place one of the hunters on the Generous woman to show he’s wooing her for marriage.  There’s down and up sides to marrying in your own tribe:  The downside is 1) The husband starts immature (insert joke here) and 2) You don’t get to share her powers with another tribe which is mighty useful in a solitaire game.  The upside is you automatically succeed in wooing her during the Courtship phase.  Otherwise the tribe could beat you to death or you could simply be turned away.

It’s kind of like high school.  Don’t date out of your caste.

So to speed things up, we’ll date in our caste.  The other five hunters will try and take down the fallow deer.  I need two dice to show a 1 or 2, but it gives a pretty good return.

No to Archaic Man.  He’s in the most disadvantage position with only 5 hunters and 8 discs to his name.  On the plus side, he doesn’t really care much about discs because getting a Fire-Starter at this point seems to be too draining on his resources.  Because of that, all five hunters are going for the Chamois.  There he can gather Mushrooms and have no risk of freezing to death.

Neanderthal is in a pretty sticky situation, too.  He’s got a daughter with a black disc on her, and the only thing that isn’t a Big Game that needs a lot of successes is the Flint Mine which doesn’t offer any progeny for succeeding there.  Do I keep the tribe small and just keep evolving my mind and hope to have enough hunters to survive future hardships, or should I just think the black disc off in Phase 6 and go for more kids?

All of the “easier” animals now have the risk of freezing to death, too.  Without a Fire-Starter, we could hit a pretty good setback with a bad roll.  Eh, let’s just get the disc off of our Totem Woman, and then put another color into our brain in Phase 6, opening our options for later.  Then we can start looking to increase our numbers.  I think that’s a bit less risky.

turn2hunt

So there we go. First thing that happens is Courtship with the Generous Woman.  Normally we would roll to see who she would marry, but because it’s someone from her own tribe, there’s no roll, and the red cube gets an Orange disc placed under it, showing an immature husband.  Now on to the actual hunting.

Let’s roll!  Five dice to get the Fallow Deer for Cro-Magnon:

2,3,2,3,4

There we go, a success!  And heck, we almost ended up with a trophy!  So those five return home and I gain 3 more from my dead pile.  I also can remove the orange disc from under the immature husband…the Generous Woman is married!

I usually never cry at weddings.

This one is no different.

Now Archaic Man gathers their Mushrooms, resulting in a baby (technically this happens before hunt rolls, but unless there’s a fight on the card, it doesn’t matter), and now 5 dice for 1 success.

2,3,3,4,3

Two more kids from the dead pile for Archaic Man, much needed for sure.  And finally the six Neanderthals in the Flint Mine

2,1,4,2,1,2

The good news is, I succeed and the Black Disc is removed from the Totem Woman, maturing her.  The bad news is I rolled triples, meaning I take the card into my(Neanderthal’s) hand.

mine

The downside is your hand size equals the number of elders you have….which for the Neanderthals (and everyone else) is zero, so the Flint Mine is discarded.  That was an easy way to free Black Discs going away.  Dang.  Luckily it gets replaced, so let’s see what we get:

carcass

And easy way to free White Discs.  Not bad.  Eh, we’ll see how this impacts us.  We skip on forward to Phase 6, then.

Cro-Magnon is going to smartify itself by using the abilities of its new Generous Woman and place a Black Disc into the Venus area of its brain.  Sure, that’s one less disc to be used (and making Chaos limits lower), but smartibility is attractive.

Again, Archaic Man has nothing it can do in Phase 6.  I hope we can rectify that next turn.

Neanderthal will put an Orange disc into his Shaman area, using the Totem Woman’s power.  Remember, she doesn’t need to be married because Neanderthal is using Harem Holding sexuality.  In fact, with that sexuality, Husbands can move between Daughters, defending them from all incoming suitors.  Think Gorillas beating their chests, and you get the idea.

Another turn done.  Let’s keep this wild ride through time going.

NeanderthalMap

Turn3

One of my favorite daughters! (If my actual daughter reads this…forshame!)  And we also see a new symbol here, the Blizzard!

We’ll get right to it, since we can ignore the Elder Death Dice since no tribe has any elders at the moment.  What a Blizzard means is you have to check if you have enough hunters to “take care” of your elders and unmarried Daughters.  Simply put, for each Elder and Unwed Daughter, you have to have two Hunters.  If not, you’ve got to kill an Elder or Daughter until you can take care of them all.

Archaic Man has no Elders or Daughters to speak of, so they’re fine.  Neanderthal has one Unwed Daughter, but they have 6 Hunters, so they’re able to take care of 2 more resources that would be in danger by this event.  Cro-Magnon has one Daughter, but she is married and it is assumed that the Husband is taking care of her, so their 8 Hunters are free to take care of anyone else…there’s just no one else to take care of.  Care Bear card!  No troubles!

Now to bid on our Swearing Woman, or as I like to call her: Mrs. CthulhuKid (really, you should see her watching a hockey game…yeesh!).  Ignoring precondition tools is probably best for Archaic Man, given his lack of discs, though he already has a disc in his Bison area.  Perhaps I should split the difference and have Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon buy the card and have Archaic Man try to marry her.  Risky, but would be the best of all worlds, and Archaic Man has a lot of Hunters to play with at the moment.

I’ll go with Cro-Magnon taking the Daughter because he’s got the most spare discs and benefits the most from having the husband, no matter from what tribe.  That costs a Black and White disc.  Might be difficult to get those off, but our Hunting Grounds haven’t changed(much, the Carcass is new), so I should know by now what I’m capable of.

I have the Cro-Magnon try to get another Fire-Starter and have the other Hunters go to pick the Carcass and go to clear a White disc and get another Hunter.

Neanderthal is playing it safe just to get more Hunters and goes for the Chamois.  6 Hunters just isn’t enough right now for big gains.

Archaic Man isn’t going to try and marry the Swearing Woman yet, since she won’t be mature by the time the wooing starts.  But just for fun, I decided to have one Hunter go to woo the Totem woman over at the Neanderthal camp.  Why not?  The rest will go and try to take down the Fallow Deer.

turn3hunt

One green cube got cropped off of the Deer because I’m sloppy.

So we start with the WOOing.  (Insert Ric Flair sound effect here)  The symbols on the left side of the Daughter card show what can happen when you vie for the affection of another tribe’s Daughter:

Daughterexample

On a 1 or 2, success!  Enjoy your new life!  3, 4, or 5, take the long walk home to your tribe, hat in hand.  Have we invented hats yet?  And 6?  You’re beaten to death for having the audacity for even asking.

Ah, racism.  Ain’t it keen?

Let’s see how our Archaic Man fares.

He rolls a 1!  But I just remembered something which totally messes with my plans.  Archaic man is Promiscuous.  They can NOT place husbands.  So that didn’t accomplish what I had hoped.  BUT he did accomplish, um, something.  He did succeed at, um, genetically leaving his mark in the Neanderthal tribe before leaving.

Ahem.

Anyway, I get to pull a Green cube from the dead pile and give it to the Neanderthals as a free Hunter.  In a multiplayer game, it would still score for Green, but Yellow would control it.  Sadly Archaic Man does NOT get the benefits of the daughter this way.

I could take this move back, but that’s a LOT of typing, so screw it, here I go.

So everyone was successful in their hunting rolls, and Cro-Magnon was so successful he also got the Carcass card into his hand (He has an elder, so is able to actually hold it for now).  The card is replaced with a Woolly Rhinoceros.  We’re going to need a bigger spear.

For phase 6, Cro-Magnon matures his elder and Neanderthal places a White Disc in his Shaman area.  He now has all three colors in his brain and they are all in the Social Domain, allowing him to create Warrior Elders/Alphas.  That will give him bonuses fighting off predators, which is always a good thing.

Here’s how we look after turn 3.

NeanderthalMap

Stay tuned as we leap forward another few thousand years and see how our tribes do.  We’re getting smarter, but Archaic Man’s Promiscuous ways are holding him back, should he change, or should I just change my play style?  Hmmmm….

Continuing stupidity ahead!

Time to get stabby

Lucky for us, we have some good examples of everything we can look at on hunt cards right next to each other, so let’s zoom in, shall we?

hunt example

A European Cave Lion, an Irish Elk and a Willow Ptarmigan.  Looking at the symbol near each of their names, we see they are all different types of animals: Predator, Large Game and Small Game, respectively.  These tell you which elders and technologies give you bonuses (Trappers and small arrows help with Small Game, while Knappers and big ol’ spears help against Large Game, etc), as well as who the predators are going to, um, predate.

Let’s go down the card.  First we see consequences.  The Cave Lion has a lot, while the other two only show a little frozen 6.  The Lion has a frozen 6, but also has a bloody 3,4 & 5.  These mean that any die that is showing one of these results KILLS a hunter.  The reason the 6 is different (and icy) is that if you have a mature firebuilder, you don’t have to worry about freezing to death anymore, so icy 6’s aren’t a problem anymore.  Sadly 270kg lions can still smack the heck out of you, so 3 through 5s will still destroy your hunters.

The Cave Lion also has one more icon on this line, it has a little basket and “Berries” beside it.  This shows that you can “Gather” on this card.  Simply put, if your species is allowed to Gather (Promiscuous sexuality allows you to Gather, as well as a few daughter cards), this card will give you one baby no matter what happens.  Easy food!

The next line is what you need to successfully hunt the prey.  The Elk and Ptarmigan both show a white disc next to their dice, meaning you need a free white disc in order to hunt these.  This stacks, so if you were to hunt both of these animals this turn, you would need two free white discs.  Usually not a problem, but can bite you in the arse at the worst time.

The next symbols show you what you need to roll for a successful hunt.  It shows either the amount of 1s you need to roll (the black dice showing the 1s) or the amount of 1s or 2s you need to roll (the white dice showing the *s).  Clearly the Ptarmigan is the easiest to hunt of the three here.  How do you roll dice?  Easy.  Each hunter you commit to hunting an animal is one die you’re going to roll.  Right now, I have 6 hunters for each species, so you can start figuring out the odds yourself: I’m probably not going to be looking at the Lion or Elk yet.

Finally you can see why you’re hunting, the rewards!  First you usually see a creepy red baby floating in a pink cube (often with a number in front of it).  This is how many babies you gain.  Each baby is a new hunter you can take from your “dead pile” and add to your unassigned hunters.  More hunters is a good thing in that you can take down bigger prey later, but you always have to be on the lookout for Chaos events…remember those from last post?

Next are discs.  Sometimes one, sometimes many.  These are discs you can free off of your daughters, elders or anything else in the game that is “immature.”  This is one of the main mechanics of the game.  You can’t use anything until it is mature, and the quickest way to do it is to successfully hunt.  Remember our Generous Woman?  She has a Black and an Orange disc on her right now, so her abilities are moot at the moment.  However, a successful hunt against the Ptarmigan will remove the Orange disc.  If I can also hunt something with a Black disc (no, I won’t hunt the cat!), I could mature her this turn!  Of course, spreading hunters out make it less likely to actually succeed in a hunt, so that’s where pushing your luck and calculating odds and all that fun come into play.

Finally, the last row show you what could happen to that card if you roll a lot of the same kind of die.  For the Lion and Elk, if you roll 4 of a kind (that picture is supposed to be four dice with equal signs between them) then you take the card as a trophy.  Not a terrible thing in a multiplayer game as that scores you some great points, but the card isn’t replaced, meaning its one less place to hunt for the rest of the game.  Hunting species to extinction is bad, m-kay?  The Ptarmigan, if you roll triples, goes into your hand.  Each player’s hand size is equal to the number of elders he or she has, so it’s constantly in flux.  Luckily, the spot in the hunting row will get replaced if the card goes into your hand, but if you don’t have any elders, the card just gets discarded.  If you turn your head a bit, you can see that if you played the Ptarmigan upside down, there would be something that happens during Phase 5.  This would be a domestication action, which we’ll discuss later.

Yes, you can domesticate some prehistoric chickens.  Awwww, yeah!

Now to actually choose where my hunters go.  Let’s look at the big picture again:

Hunting

OH!  I forgot, the reason the Cave Lion (and the Cave Hyena) are red predators…if you hunt big game in their rows, they TRY TO STEAL THE CORPSE AND ALL THE MEAT.  Yup.  You have to fight off the animal in order to take your winnings.  It’s an awesome mechanic that adds a lot of tension, but I don’t think I’ll be going to any big animals yet, so you’ll see it when I get there.

So, per the Event card, Green is to decide first.  He can gather, so getting more hunters is a bit easier for him.  He lost his firestarter during the Event phase, so I could place one of his hunters there (with a black disc, showing immaturity) and then have him gather and such to make up for the loss.  I think I’ll do that.  In order to remove that black disc, I’ll need an animal that would do that….and besides the Flint Mine, everything looks waaay too big at this point.  I’m saving the Flint Mine for Cro-Magnon, so I’ll just put the other five hunters on the Arctic Flounder.  He’ll get the hunter for gathering and maybe two more.  He might lose some cubes to freezing from rolling 6s, but I’ll take the risk.

Neanderthal is next, and he doesn’t need a black disc from an animal to mature his firestarter (you’ll see why soon), so he’s going to go for the Fallow Deer to get some more hunters and still be below his Chaos limit.

Cro-Magnon, as I said, places all 6 Hunters on the Flint Mine, as I said, to free a black disc from the daughter (or from his Firestarter).  Our grounds now look like this:

hunt1

In a multi-player game, we could have easily had two players on the same card.  Then we have the two species fight before they hunt.  You roll dice, each 1 killing a cube off of the other, and then the smaller species gets to hunt first, and if they’re successful, the other goes home empty handed.  It’s brutal, but awesome.  You won’t see this happen in a solitaire game.

So now we start with Gathering.  Archaic Man earns a hunter for gathering Mussels at the Arctic Flounder card.  I now get to roll 5D6, hoping one of them shows a 1, and few (or none) show 6s.

3,2,6,4,4

The fish are clearly not biting today.  So the hunter I gained from gathering Mussels is evened out by the hunter I lost to frostbite.  Ah well.  Now let’s see if Neanderthal can fell a Fallow Deer:

4,3,5,4,5,3

Wow.  Not even one success.  C’mon Cro-Magnon, don’t fail me now:

6,4,3,3,5,2

Yeesh!  The 2 on the last die is what I needed for a success.  That means I get to remove a black disc from anywhere in my tableau.  I choose to remove it from the Generous Woman.  She now just needs to remove the Orange disc to become mature.  One step at a time.  And that was the hunting phase.

Now we skip step 5 (that’s only when we have Domestic Animals….that won’t be happening for a while), so we move on to Step 6, where we get cool words like Neolexia!

This phase is all about thinking.  In this phase you can: Put discs into your head (if you have daughters that allow it), or think discs off of other cards (if you have the same color in your head).

Archaic Man has a White disc in his head, and a Black disc under his Firestarter.  He is not able to place a disc in his head, and he can only think away White discs, so he is unable to do anything this phase, so he must pass.

Neanderthal has a Black disc in his head, and a Black disc under his own Firestarter.  Because of this, he can use his ONE action this phase to think the black disc away and mature his Firestarter.  No more freezing to death for his species!  Well…until that elder dies, of course.

Cro-Magnon has an Orange disc in his head, a Black disc under his Firestarter and an Orange disc on his Generous Woman.  It’s obvious for him to think away the Orange disc on the daughter card, maturing her.  Normally Generous Woman’s powers would now be available to Cro-Magnon, but since Cro-Magnon chose Pair Bonding sexuality, he must wait until that daughter is married before those powers activate.

Yeah, it’s a little weird for me, too, but there you go.

The fun part is I can have someone from another tribe try to marry her, and they can SHARE her powers!  Inter-species dating for the win!

And that’s one turn of Neanderthal.  Not much going on yet, but the choices will be harder once hunting grounds start going away and I have to choose between children and things.  Stay tuned for more “old (old old old old) school” gaming!

NeanderthalMap

The next piece of the puzzle

Thus spoke Zarathustra

hqdefault

 

And like the great blackness from 2001: A Space Oddessy, Phil Eklund’s two games raise back up out of the ground in a new kickstarter:

f9a35b2f67586e24300991781fa8484e_original

 

Many questions have been asked of me about these two games.  Mainly: should I get them?

Um, maybe?

So rather than try to hash out exactly why or why not you may want these games, why don’t I sit down and play out a few hundred thousand years of human existence and see whether you like it or not.  At the very least it should be entertaining to see me flail around in the ice and snow trying to keep my tribes together.

So we should start chronologically with Neanderthal.  This is a 1-3 player game which starts you as a group of non-vocal hominids who slowly evolve until you can possibly become tribal and vocal.  Throughout all this, you’ll hunt, you’ll intermarry with other species and possibly domesticate animals and build simple tools.  Let’s get started!

Setup

Firstly of note, all pictures will be from the first edition because the new edition obviously isn’t out yet, and I wasn’t involved with the playtesting or anything cool like that.  Sorry.  Moving on:

In the solitaire game, there are only a few changes to the basic rules.  The first major change is the tribes aren’t trying to mess each other over at each possible chance.  Oh, playing this 3-player is a joy, because you’re constantly fighting over scarce resources and watching your opponent get slaughtered by a bear is oh-so-fun!

Anyway, I will be controlling all three species and the goal of the game is to have at least two survive ’till the end of the game with one or more domesticated animals.  There is a (wonderful) variant that lets you only play one species, but this way I can show you as much of the game as possible, and I can let it blend into Greenland, so this will be better.  It’ll also force me to play at my best, because I want my tribes to be strong in Greenland, so I need all three at tip-top shape at the end of the game.

I’m also allowed to swap a disc or an invention amongst the tribes, but this rarely happens because you have to be allowed to negotiate between species….it’s hard to be able to form words yet, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

Finally we’re forced to take trophies if we roll that result.  That scores us points (which is irrelevant for the solitaire game) and makes the hunting grounds more difficult to play in.

I handle auctions a bit differently to up the difficulty, but I’ll show that when we get to it.

So first, let’s look at our three species:

heads

All three look fairly similar except for: 1) Color & 2) The Disc in their head.

Color is used simply to show turn order and to recognize your pieces (which in the 1st ed game are just cubes, but in the kickstarter version will have shapes and cool stuff like that).  But what are these discs in your brain?

zoom

In this interpretation of (pre)humanity, you’ve got three “Domains” in your head.  They have names (Technical, Social and Nature).  Each connection between these domains (which also have names: Venus, Shaman & Bison) can have colored discs placed on them.  That’s you learning words and getting smarter!

Smarter leads to Netflix.  Smarter is good.

Don’t worry about the names for the Domains and the connections, they are not really all that important.  The colors are.  Take a look at the picture again:  You see the Venus domain has a black and orange color under it.  Shaman has Orange and White and Bison has White and Black and already has a White disc there!  The two colors under these connections are what discs can be placed there.  Easy peasy.  Once one Domain has all three possible colors attached to the (The White Nature domain has Orange from Shaman, Black on Bison and White on either of the two), you are able to unlock a new ability.  You can see the ability unlocked in the picture there, it’s called “Trapper.”  Cool!

Moving discs around is a LARGE part of this game.  You want to get discs in your head because you get smarter and unlock abilities.  Also, once you get six discs (or 5 in a 2-player game) in your head, you can flip your species card to the Tribal side.  That’s when you can start building tools and domesticating animals, you smarty, you.


But I’m getting ahead of myself:  So the difference between the tribes are color and the first disc you have in your head.  Archaic Man starts with a White disc in Bison.  Neanderthal starts with a Black disc in Venus, and Cro-Magnon starts with an Orange disc in Shaman.  It may not sound all that asometric, but this will affect play at the very beginning of the game.

There is also one other thing that makes players different at the beginning of the game:

SEX!

Yeah, you heard me.

sex

Each player is given a random Sexuality card.  Each card has two sides, and you can select from one of the three possible sexualities based on what you’re dealt.  Each has its own special ability (listed in small print under the title), point values for end of game scoring (the chart on the left side of the card) and “Male Parental Involvement,” which is a number of discs that will be placed on the card and stuck there, removing them from play, making things a bit more difficult for you.

For those looking to play multi-player, the real fun is that each time you hit “Chaos,” you can flip your sexuality card over, changing the number of discs you have available, your special power, AND HOW YOU SCORE YOUR POINTS.  It’s a great way to change strategies at the end of the game to sneak in a win.  I’ve gotten a totally unearned win by changing to Promiscuous near the end and just breeding uncontrollably.  That 2 points per hunter can really add up, and is a great way to catch up if you aren’t getting Inventions or Trophies.


Finally we set up our Hunting row:

Hunting

This includes prey to hunt, predators to run from, inventions to discover, animals to domesticate, herbs to gather and all sorts of other things to interact with.  This will all be explained as we interact with it throughout the game.  Let’s start the game by interacting with the last bit: The Daughter/Event deck.

Events

Here I show our first Event card flipped both ways.  First we look at it as the Event side.  We see four events along the right side of the card: A Glaciar, A Shooting Star, A skull with a die on its forhead and two wings with eyes on them.

How can you not know what to do?

Okay, the first icon means: Add another Event to the bottom of the deck.  The Event deck starts at 10 cards.  You’re never quite sure how many turns the game will go for.  This is how the game length will be randomized.  So I stick another card there.

The next symbol is the SYMBOL OF CHAOS! MWUAHAHAHAHAHAH!

This is a mechanic to keep you from making your species too big.  If you have too many members, infighting will cause them to kill each other.  Then you have to discard half (round up) of your hunters and one of your elders.  That’s a lot of death.  How do you know if you have too many hunters?  You compare them to how many spare discs you have (spare discs are also called “Vocabulary”).  Each player starts with 15 discs, minus what you had to put on your sexuality card, minus the 2 discs you put on your species card to start with.

That means Cro-Magnon right now can have 13 hunters without dropping into Chaos (15 – 0 – 2 = 13).  Neanderthal can have 10 (15 – 3 – 2) and Archaic Man a measly 7 (15 – 6 – 2).  Every player starts with 6 hunters, so no chaos on that first turn.

The next symbol is called “Elder die-off.”  Yup.  Being old sucks.  And elders are hard to keep a hold of.  Each tribe will roll a 1d6, and if it corresponds to the number of a certain elder, that elder will die.  All players start with an immature Firestarter, which is in position 6, so it’s possible that before the game starts, we’ll already have someone dying.

After three rolls, Archaic Man lost their firestarter.  While that stinks for him, it does free up the black disc that was sitting under the elder (designating it Immature, more on that later).  Since Archaic Man has the least amount of discs available, that may not have entirely been a bad thing.

The last icon(s) are Wanderlust icons.  If you lost the most people in the chaos event, then you’d be able to take cubes from your dead pile and put them in other people’s tribes.  You can’t control them, but they count as points for you if they survive ’till end game.  Since no one lost any cubes to chaos, no wandering will be done.

Finally the last symbols to look at are the little bits in the row in the center.  You see an Orange and Black disc – this tells you what you can bid in the upcoming Daughter Auction (it’s not as offensive as it sounds), and then the Green with the exclamation point shows that Green will go first, followed by Yellow (the other color shown there), followed by Red.

(This is unlike Bios: Genesis which stuck with seating order after first player, but I believe all games are switching to this kind of player order from now on because no one remembered to stick with player order in Bios: Genesis.)


Now we can auction off a human being!

Let me try to continue without feeling awful about myself.  So we’re looking at the Generous Woman here.  There’s icons there for when folks are trying to marry her, but for auction purposes, the bits on the right of the card are important.  She says:

Phase 1 – May bid while Tribal as if Vocal.

Phase 6 – Place Venus Portal

These are the two powers that will be available to the species that either has her or marries her (or both, if you’re a Pair Bonding species).  Her first power is not very useful right now:  “Going Tribal” is later in the game once you have 6 discs in your head.  Once you do that you can no longer bid on any more daughters, effectively stalling your evolution.  She, however, gives you this ability.  The other effect is what ALLOWS you to place things into your head.  Otherwise you can’t.

So, looking at this, I know that Archaic Man already has one disc in his Venus Portal (why does that sound so dirty?), so I won’t have him bid, so it’s between the other two.  I’ll go with Cro-Magnon because a) He has the most available discs and b) he has to marry his daughters before he can use their abilities, so I want him to have all his daughters early in the game.

Now usually in solo games, you can just bid 1 for all the daughters and move on, but to change things up, I put 1 of each possible disc on the daughter, so it can cost from 1 to 3.  It makes the game a little more difficult.  In this case, a Black disc and an Orange disc are taken from my unused “Vocabulary” pile for Cro-Magnon and placed onto the Generous Woman and she is placed into Cro-Magnon’s tableau.

Now we move on to Phase 2: Hunter assignment.

 

Which I’ll have to tackle tomorrow…..

Tomorrow’s Tacklage

Natural light! AH! Get it off! Get it off of me!

Tags

Hello and happy New Year!

Typical year end business has kept me from doing any real thinking about games or planning and writing play sessions for the blog, so that’s why there’s so much dust around here, but I’ve got something different coming up that I wanted to mention, so here we go.

Dragon Thrones!

My eleventh anniversary is this upcoming Saturday (yes, the anniversary of STEEL! *insert big manly rawr here*).  As a gift, we were given tickets to this event happening IN A CASTLE in Philadelphia.

Yup.  Fantasy gaming in a castle.  That’s how lifelong nerds roll on their anniversary.  What can I say, I’m a lucky, lucky man.

So what does talking about a big ol’ Larp have to do on what is primarily a solo-boardgaming blog?  I’ll tell you what, and stop projecting questions into my head.  It’s weird.

One of the things that will be happening at the Larp is what they call their “MegaGame,” a grand Boardgame that will be simulating what is happening outside of the castle, while the side quests, diplomacy and other shenanigans happens in the Larp-space.   But the grand scale will be held on the tabletop, moving armies, collecting resources, spending those resources to field spies, collect information and subvert enemies.  You know, the fun stuff.  Depending on what you do in that boardgame will give bonuses and other advantages to the players as they go out on their adventures throughout the castle and how they interact with other players.

“Sure, you can withhold all of your information from me, but I know 80,000 men sit at your castle gates, perhaps you should be a little more forthcoming.”

“While we waste time on words, our crops are dying and the people are revolting!”

“We just don’t have the money to repair the Armor of Smiting +3!”

Okay, I don’t know EXACTLY how any of this works, so I doubt these quotes will actually occur, but you get my drift.

It did get me thinking about other MegaGames that could be done, however.  What about combining a game like Churchill (a grand strategy game about the meetings between the Big 3 during WWII), and have the results of each turn impact games of D-Day of Omaha Beach or some of the other million WWII games out there?

How about playing a game of Terraforming Mars in the middle of a game of High Frontier to see if your space colonies are successful?  Or The First Martians, or Martians: a Story of Civilization or some of the other Mars games coming out?

And now that I think about it, play Leaving Earth, your score on that will affect your starting stats in High Frontier.  Take the space program from 1950 to 2250.

I’m sure there’s many more ways to do this, and it would be grand to rope other people into this.  Have a group play one mega-strategy game, while others play the “lesser battles.”  Hell, play chess and have two other players play a skirmish wargame during every capture to spruce things up.

Any other ideas of MegaGames?  I kinda want to try this, but I’m not sure where to start.

A Rear End

Woops, I meant a Year’s End.

Nothing too exciting to post here.  The typical craziness that happens around this time of year in America is turning up to 11, and I’m caught in the middle of it.  So I guess I’ll be putting the blog on hold again like I did at the end of last year.  It probably won’t be as long of a break as I did last time since I’m enjoying doing this more and more, so no worries if you’re an avid fan.

Hey, there could be an avid fan out there.

You know, like a fan of Avid, the editing software.

How’s that for niche humor?

Anyway, I plan on trying some things in the “MegaGame” category, which is a post in itself, but to sum up: Playing games that link to each other, so what you do in one game affects what you do in another.

I should be receiving Fog of Love in a few weeks, which looks to be a hoot of a game to play with the Mrs, so I’ll probably write something on that as well.

And I also have other ideas floating around, as well as the typical conventions in February and July to look forward to, and even more “classic” games to pull out and thrust upon you all.

But for now, I bid you all a Happy New Year, and hope you get to relax a bit.  I know it’s a crazy time right now, but remember as these nights get longer, that just means you have more time to snuggle on the couch with those you love, or at least with a beer and a solo game.

’till we meet again.

Adam