You say you want a (r)evolution

Just a followup to my previous playtest of Bios: Origins 2.  Don’t use it to learn the game.

Ok, buh bye.



Still here?  Okay, fine.  An explanation.  The rules have changed since that playthrough.  Quite a bit, actually.  Not just the solitaire rules, but the fundamental rules themselves.  Maybe not huge ridiculous changes, but enough subtle changes that you’re going to get awfully confused trying to learn from my playthrough.  Take a for instance:  The board now looks like this:


Now there’s tracks for Mystics as well as Diversity.

Other things:  The number of knowledge actions is no longer based on how many cities you build.  You will always have 1 knowledge action, and Specialize is now linked to Information or Urbanization, you can place a number of elders to whichever is higher.

Diversity is handled WAY differently.  You now no longer have 3 different cards for your three Ruling Classes (and thus have Diversity 3 to start with), but one player board with 3 columns:


It has one spot to hold a Dissident, which dissidents and chaos are ALSO treated differently, which, in my opinion, is a HUGE part of the game.  When you gain a foundation, it will allow you to take a migrant from anywhere and either place it in your Diversity pool or on the card as a Dissident (depending on the icon).  You can only lose the Dissident by quelling it during Revolution, so you’ll be forced into Revolutions far more often, though I’m finding in the 3 player game I’m in right now, Revolutions aren’t painful and are sometimes necessary (and fun to inflict on others when they’re not ready for them)!

What all this does, though, is make it MUCH easier to tell who is winning in which sphere by a simple glance at the board.  You have a spot for mystics, white VP discs right over the two Environment techs, making it easy to add them up and get a total.  Then you’ll know where you want to move the Philosophy track to shut someone down, or where to move up your own track if you’re slacking.  A lot less counting on the board.

Are the rules final yet?  I have no idea.  Probably not.  And knowing Eklund games, they never will be.  But I have no idea if they’re ready for print yet, so I keep flitting back to check on them every now and again and see how they’re doing and check on those solitaire variants.

If I get time I’ll keep playtesting those, since I have the most interest in them, but for now I will simply wish you all the happiest of New Year.  May we continue to evolve.



Insert Title Here

Phew.  End of year work can be tough.  So let us go back to a simpler time.  The time when you could probably get eaten by a leopard in infancy.  Those were the days.

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

Getting back to our game where we’re at about 2000BC or so, White just finished their turns Inventing Daubed Granaries and getting a city back in Eastern Russia.  *Raspberry*

But I think I can survive the game by Challenging the gods every turn, or most of every turn, so I’ll flip the comet card to end Era II and start Era III.  We now end the Age of Polytheism and are entering the Age of Empires.

Okay, maybe we’re a bit past 2000BC, or are going to be going awfully fast each turn.  Who knows?

Sail & Rudder and Wheeled Vehicles stay in the market because our Elders were on them, but the rest is replaced with more modern cards, so our market looks like this:


Yay!  I can specialize in Manure!

So if I Invent the Sail & Rudder, I’ll be able to raise my Maritime and ultimately enslave the Neanderthal and sink their score while raising mine.  But I won’t be able to bid in a challenge next turn which could hurt in the long run.  But I think I’m good for now, right?  Yeah, let’s go with that.

So I get Sail & Rudder and my Industrial Splay looks pretty robust:


So I have a lot of Activism Actions.  First I spread back to Eastern Europe (I lost him to the chaos of the comet card).  Songs doesn’t do me any good anymore.  Then I use prospect Luxury to build a city on Hemp in India.  I can now do 2 knowledge actions per turn!  Hemp leading to more knowledge?  Huh.  Insert political statement here.

I then prospect metal using the Dragon Kiln to get the Iron out of Europe and get to Metallurgy 4: The Iron Age!  And I have a few options with the Sail & Rudder.  I could just get Maritime 3.  I can’t go enslave the Neanderthals, because my Foundations without chaos + Maritime has to be greater than theirs, and right now that would be 3 to their 5.  I have to get rid of some chaos, which I could do with option three: trade and get Energy 5 and lose a chaos, but Neanderthal would gain a tech on me.  But I think I still win out doing one trade action, so I think I’ll do that first.  I’ll have him gain Footprint 3 for his side of the trade.

I think that was a pretty good turn for me.  Let’s see what he can do.

Hmmmm…he can Invent Wheeled Vehicles, which would get him Energy 5, and then he could get Footprint 4 or enslave me.  That’s not so hot.  So I could have him Specialize some more Inventors, which makes bidding a problem for me, but I think I may have to give up the Diversity battle and just go for a Central Planning win.  So I’ll Specialize.  I put one on Royal Road and one on Manure Fertilization since there wasn’t anything else on row 1 he would want and the only other option on row 2 was Iron Bloomeries which would raise his Metallurgy to where my advantage would evaporate.  Mmmmmm…no thanks.  And as his last Activism action, he can domesticate or cultivate, so I’ll just have him slap a city in eastern Russia.  I hope to demolish it later.  And that’s his last use of the Granaries, so to the Lore deck it goes.

And here I go, challenging the gods.  I have nothing to bid with, so Neanderthal will win this no matter what. *sigh*


Insert political statement here.  And, of course, I’m a victim of Cowpox!  I lose half my cities.  Dernit.  I bid zero and Neanderthal bids one and wins.  I’ll take his elder off of the Wheels so he can’t invent this turn, so nyeah to you.  Sadly he gets Information 4 as the Eureka bonus.  Shot myself in the foot there on that one.

Now I get ONE knowledge action because of the damn disease. I have to specialize, so I’ll be dropping 3 elders onto the board.  I drop two onto the Bloomeries because on the Industry side, they can get me up to Energy 7(!), and that’s a lot of points right there, not to mention a whole lot of movement potential.

I want Wheeled Vehicles, but I can’t take the card as an Invention, because it has a tech requirement of War Animal city, and all my cities are metal or luxury based.  I guess I’ll put my last guy on Plumbing, because that will fall when I invent the Bloomery, and I don’t want to die from Cowpox.

For my Activism, I rebuild some cities and raise my Maritime to 3 (Ships!)

And for Neanderthal’s turn, they simply place their last free Elder back on Wheels.  Good on ya, Neanderthal, getting right back on that horse.  Right proud of you there.  I have to challenge again (or do I?).  If I want the card, I would have to use ALL of my elders, since he has 3 out and so do I.  I’m starting to second guess all this rushing.  But if I don’t, I’ll take a chaos, and when I take the comet, that chaos will cause a chaotic revolution.  The City State will go to white, and both my inventions will get discarded.  Yeah, I’d rather that not happen.  So challenge I do.


Funny that comes after democracy.

Insert political statement here.

Oooo, civil war.  I know for a fact that is being handled a bit differently now, but in the rules as I have them, civil war means if you have Chaos + Urbanization (# of cities) > Diversity, then you take 2 chaos.  Which, of course, is 6 to my 3 Foundations.  So I take 2 chaos.  And the 2nd guy has no where to go so….CHAOTIC REVOLUTION!

Guess I didn’t need to worry all that much, huh?

So I have to put down the war by quelling all my chaos.  I have to either get rid of an elder or a city for each chaos I have (3).  The only way to retain 2 Knowledge actions is to only burn Elders, so all 3 of them come back to Free Will.  Guess I won’t be winning this bid either.  *shakes fist at ceiling*  Putsch sends City State over to Culture, flipping it over.  No inventions have a white side, so both get discarded as Obsolete Ideas.  And Culture is now my Ruling Class.


I’m nothing if not balanced at this point.  The second event triggers, which is some kind of Volcano eruption.  I have to find the damn thing on the board now.


Jeez, right in the upper left of the board.  Well, that blows up, but no one is there, so who cares?  White bids 1 and gets the card.  I remove the Elder I removed last turn, because it forces Neanderthal to stagnate more, if you call gaining 1 Diversity point a turn stagnation.

And now I have 2 Knowledge actions!  Action 1 will be to Specialize 3 Elders as I did last turn, but now I’ll be able to Invent the…..

Oh. Crap.

The Red sides of those cards are worthless to me now.


OF COURSE there’s no white on this card!

Okay, now I have to rethink EVERYTHING.

After further review, I can get Parchment Scrolls to get my Information up to 4.  And I can get an Elder on Manure Fertilization so when Neanderthal takes it, I can get my Footprint up to 4, too.  And I guess I’ll throw one on Horse Collar just to make it harder for Neanderthal to get Energy 5.

So 3 Elders down, and then I invent Parchment Scrolls.  And for Activism…hey!  I can domesticate a War Animal!  Look, a Black Rhino city!  I can recreate scenes from Black Panther now!  My Species card allows me to Spread into Russia so if I should happen to be able to wage war, a land war in Asia is PERFECT.  Right?

Finally I get my Information 4, making my next turns much more awesome.

For the Neanderthal turn, I shall have him Invent Manure Fertilization so I (and he) can get Footprint 4.  It also makes my Horse Collar viable next turn.  With that he builds a Crab city in the Philippines.

Back to me and my challenge of the gods.


Aw, man.

Insert political statement here.  I’m just playing a game, man.

Anyway, the genocide action is if your chaos > Mysticism, you take 2 chaos.  I’m chaos-less at the moment, so I’m good there.  Dictator has gone through quite a few incarnations.  I’m not sure how this would work in the solo rules.  Let’s see what the current versions says (if anything):

Oh, huh.  Now it’s no longer bidded on, but the cards are either “Rightest dictator” or “Leftest Dictator” and they are rewarded to whomever has the most Mysticism or Chaos, respectively.  Looking at the newest edition of this card, it is a Rightest dictator, so it would go to whomever has the most Chaos.  In case of ties, it goes to the left of the challenger and first person to be that tied person gets it.  As we both have none, Neanderthal would get the card.

So there ya go.  It also has the “Purge” ability under Eureka, which means it gets rid of all the Foundation cards below it.  Can be devastating.

Anyway, that’s another point I don’t have, but I didn’t lose anything either, so let’s continue.  I can put 4 Inventors down now that my Information is up, so I’ll put one down on Wheeled Vehicles (hey, if he won’t take it, why shouldn’t I?) and I’ll put 3 on a newly revealed Surgery, which can ultimately get my Immunology up to level 6!

And then I’ll invent those Wheeled Vehicles, because I can now.  The Requirement is a War Animal city, and I’ve got those Rhinos.  Awwww, yeah.  Rhino pulled chariots!

I demand fantasy art!

And for Activism, I’ll cultivate Wheat in western Russia, and then Spread among eastern Russia.  Why?  So I can use my wheeled vehicles to Siege the Elasmiotherm city and take it over for myself!  Giggidy.

And in retaliation, he places two Elders in the market…..mmmmmkay.  And he can prospect or cultivate.  So I have him create a city nearby (making Opium of all things), so I can blow it up later.

I just realized as I’m starting a new turn there was 3 cards in Era III’s challenge deck.  There was supposed to be only 2.  I don’t know why that happened.  Crap.  That’s obnoxious.

Guess we’ll just have to lay that there and move on.  I’ll blame that if I lose, though.  So I challenge the comet card, take my chaos and set the market for Era IV.


I have now spread enough I get 3 Knowledge actions.  So I’ll Invent Surgery.  Then I’ll put down 4 more elders (3 on Calculating Engine and one on Natural Rights), and for my last action I’ll actually pull my elder off of Horse Collar and bring it back to Free Will.  I don’t need that card anymore, and while I can keep that elder out for bidding purposes, I still have enough out there to win, and I can put it in better spots next turn.

And Activism has me spread twice into Southeast Asia and Australia.  I wage war in Australia to get War Kangaroos!  And Surgery gets my Immunology up to 4 (Food Storage).  Ewwww, how were we surviving before?

Neanderthal Invents the Royal Road.  And I’ll let him use that card to trade with me.  He gets his Metallurgy up to 3 (still below mine), but I get rid of a chaos.

Challenge the gods again:  The Supreme Court!  And global warming floods Hawaii!  And I suffer 1 chaos and lose 1 elder due to Pollution (U > Energy).  Glad I traded away that chaos!

I’m going to bid 2 and win this one.  Why?  BECAUSE IT’S ONE LESS POINT FOR THE DAMN BOT.  And I want to win another card, dernit.  The powers I get are Constitution (I can reorient any of my Foundation cards to their other sides…it would only get Songs to my side and allow me to Encephalize.  No help at all) or Artisan, which lets me put out one Inventor outside of the Knowledge action.  Not a huge effect, but good enough to deny a point to the bot.  And it’s another chaos soaker.

Knowledge action 1 is putting 4 Elders down on Specialize.  Then I’ll Invent the Calculating Engine.  Then I’ll put down 4 more elders (I have 6 down now, good for bidding next turn!)

Activism gets me my 10th city by taking over another of Neanderthal’s.  Immunology up to 6 (Drugs & Anesthesia) and Energy to 6 (Coal & Steam).  When you get Energy to 6, you can a free raise in any of the other tech tracks.  I’ll choose Metallurgy.  I’m in the gunpowder age now.  Time flies in these last turns.  Then again, when the turns are several hundred years, that’ll happen.

For White’s turn, I could either have him Specialize with his one Elder, which normally would be great, but the only places that are legal, are the places I’m planning on inventing, which would boost his scores, so let’s just let him Invent his Iron Bloomeries.

He goes into the Iron Age, and then he uses the other half of the Royal Road to enslave one of my meeples!  The cad!  Revenge shall be sweet.

And now let me challenge the gods for the penultimate turn.  Labor Unions.  And another genocide event.  Phew, just one chaos, and I kept my one Mystic.  Almost brought him back at one point, too.  Good thing I didn’t.  It’s a Leftest Dictator, so goes to the leader with the most chaos.  As I’m the only one with chaos, I guess it goes to me.

So I get the thing, but it Purges all the other Foundations in that column, so Supreme Court and City-State go to the Discard Pile.  I do get a bump to my maritime, though.  Planes!

3 Knowledge actions again, so I shall Invent Bio-engineered Crops.  That boosts my Footprint, but I have to cull an Invention, so Parchment goes to the Lore pile.  And there are no cards that can help me, score wise, so I’ll just skip everything else.

For Activism, I’m able to hit one more city of the Neanderthals, but I’m also able to get Energy 7 from the Calculating Engine, which gives me a free advancement, which gives me Martime 8…..SPACE!  And the Bio-Engineered crops gives me Footprint 6, the Green Revolution.  Bam!  Good turn!

For White’s last turn, I have him Specialize since it won’t do him any good.  Then I give him Energy 5…because him not even using Windmills while I’m driving around in cars is just sad.  And then I challenge the last card and GAME OVER.

Here’s our scores:


Hmmmm, the screen isn’t wide enough to show that well.  So let’s map it out, left to right.  First is the Spiritual score: Environment + Mysticism.


Environment (Footprint + Energy) (6+7) 13

Mysticism 1

Total Spiritual Score 14


Environment 9

Mysticism 4

Total Spiritual Score 13

Central Planning: Welfare + Urbanization


Welfare: (Metallurgy + Immunology) (6 + 6) 12

Urbanization 10

Total Central Planning Score 22


Welfare: 5

Urbanization: 7

Total Central Planning Score 12

Laissez-Faire: Economy + Diversity


Economy: (Maritime + Information) (5+4) 9

Diversity: 3

Total Laissez-Faire Score: 12


Economy: 6

Diversity: 6

Total Laissez-Faire Score: 12

Final Score is highest of the three:

Me: 22

Him: 13

And there you have it, a pretty good thrashing of the Neanderthal bot.  Of course, the bot has been strengthened since these rules.  Jose has been playing it and getting his butt whipped, so the fine tuning between unstoppable and unplayable are currently underway.

I think there’s a lot of potential here.  The bot is easy to handle, and you still have a lot of hard decisions to make.  If Neanderthal just did a little bit more and wasn’t as easy to stall out by the player (though I loved that being part of the strategy), then a great variant will be in that box that many of you have kickstarted.  If not, I believe you can pre-order it over at The Sierra Madre website.

Welp, that was a lot of typing and I hope it was at least entertaining.  If you found it worthwhile, find me at my ko-fi page and return the favor by buying me a cup of coffee.  Or if you didn’t, that’s okay, too.  Thanks for reading!



Era – reminds me of Kennedy’s accent

Let’s get this 2nd Era hopping.  Neanderthal doesn’t like the way the Market looks too much.


All it sees are the Eureka actions and thinks: Got it, got it, got it, until it reaches Wheeled Vehicles and Daubed Granaries.

Daubed, not Dabbed.

Do kids even do that anymore?  Is my seven-year-old shaking her head at me right now?  Oh right, she’s always shaking her head at me.  Never mind.

So for their Knowledge action, they place one Inventor on Vehicles and one on Granaries.  Looks like I’ll be avoiding them for a bit.

They have no Inventions right now, so I can hop over to my own turn.  Where I have to think about challenging the gods again.  *sigh*  This is always a tough choice.  In the multiplayer game, at least, you can kind of read the table and get a few turns (sometimes) knowing that you don’t have to worry about it, though sometimes a hail-mary challenge can really shake the game up.  In the solo game, however, you get penalized if you don’t challenge by taking more chaos.  Ug, and seeing that my only open space to receive chaos is full, I would actually lose a city.  Yeah, I don’t want to do that.  I’m working so hard to develop a board presence, I’d hate to lose that.  So let’s challenge.  I might be speeding this game up faster than I want to, but I hope to get a Foundation that can support more chaos (or allow me to trade it away).


Forestation.  I actually move the African Jungle back to allow my Sudanese Sapiens (great band name there) a place to build a city.


It also prevents Neanderthal from coming over and killing me, which is also nice.  And we have the Catastrophe of the Storegga Tsunami.  This is an actual historical event that happened up by Norway and is marked on the map (a little starburst with a II on it to show which Era it could trigger in).  If there was anything living on that hex, it would explode.  Nothing is happening, so we just go to the auction.  And now you see the tombs have “em” next to the Era.  That means this auction is augmented by Mystics.  So, since I have one Mystic, all of my bids are considered 1 higher.  So my max bid can be 3 in this case.  However, Jerky McJerkface has 4 Mystics, so even bidding 0 gives him 4, out bidding me, so he wins no matter what.  So another Diversity point for our foes.  Luckily Prayer gets him nothing and I can get to my knowledge actions.

I could drop off two more Inventors, giving me greater bidding powers, but if I Invent Symbolic Script, I’ll be able to drop 3, possibly 4 per turn, so I want to get that right away, so I’ll invent that.  It says, “Cull I” on it, however, which means I have to get rid of a Era I card…which my Domesticated Dogs are the only ones.  Drat.  So to the Lore pile they go.

And now let’s get snotty.  I was going to build up my little empire, but I lost my ability to domesticate with losing my dogs card, so let’s choose War from Time Sense.  I’ll create a meeple from my Zebra people and have them interact with the Neanderthal people outside of their Black Rhino town.  They annihilate each other like protons and anti-protons.  My Politics card will allow me to spread and fill that same space.  And finally, Syllabic Script allows me to War again.  Since I have a Meeple in a hex with an opponents city, I can attack it and destroy it.  The Syllabic Script says War>Information 4 as well, so my Information goes up for doing that.  I’m only at Information 2, so it only raises to 3, but if I do that again, I can raise to 4.  The number only shows how high that action can take you.

Homo Sapiens are now officially using an Alphabet and Numbers.  Presumably to aid themselves in war.  It’s not a perfect system.  Whatcha gonna do?

The Neanderthal Knowledge action is an interesting one.  The new card that came out into the market (Longships) doesn’t help it any (Maritime-2), so it doesn’t want to Specialize onto it.  The two inventors it has out are on cards that need at least 2 elders in order to invent, so it can make no inventions….however, it DOES have 2 inventors, which means it can perform a Library action and pull those two back and increase its Information to 3.  Which stinks, because that was a big advantage I would have.   Good design of the bot, though, that it doesn’t always get perfectly stuck and it can keep up with the Jones’s, as it were.

So in order to defend from those pesky warlike Sapiens, Neanderthal have developed Alphabet and Numbers.  To count their dead, I guess.  Again, with no inventions, they have no Activism turn, so it’s back to me.

And again, the horror of the Challenge choice.  Now it’s a bit less about chaos and more about timing.  There are only 2 Era cards per Era now, so if I challenge every turn, this game will be over in 6 of my turns.  I don’t know if I can get my score up high enough in that amount of time.  Of course if I’m getting smacked around with chaos every turn, will that matter?  Let’s think about this.


Here’s what I got right now.  Time sense has a chaos on it already (the meeple to the upper left of it), so if I took another, I would face a Chaotic Revolution.  That would mean I would have to a) Quell the Chaos by removing 2 Elders or Cities.  I have one Elder out, so I’d lose at least one city, b)Putsch – Time Sense would flip over to red and move over to Industry (sans chaos).  Not too bad considering I would get access to Songs again. c)I’d lose Symbolic Script because there is no Red side to that card.

I only have 2 cities, and neither Time Sense nor Songs gives me the ability to make more.  However Industry allows me to Prospect Luxuries.  Gold only needs Metallurgy of 2 to build on, so I could easily get that city back.  Almost every card in the market bears a red size as well, so it’s not like I’m losing opportunity there, either.

The big loss, though, is the Information 4 that I haven’t gotten from Symbolic Script yet.  The only other way I can get that is from Accounting Tokens in the market, and I would get that from the trade action, which the Neanderthals would immediately trade for.  I’d like to have that as an advantage for a turn or two.

So it looks like I’ll challenge the gods on this turn just to use my Symbolic Script one more time, then we’ll do a Revolution next turn to slow things down.

I think.

My brain hurts.


Of-freaking-course.  It doesn’t have a purple side, so if I win this, I’ll lose my war>Information 4 ability anyway. *shakes fist at sky*

First I remove some ice out of India and move it to the Philippines and see that I missed a Famine by having my # of cities = my footprint.  No onto the auction itself.  There’s no “m” there, so I can win it by expending my one elder, but then I’d have to do a Quiet Rebellion, which is like a Chaotic one, but I wouldn’t get to move a Foundation from one Ruling Class to another.  Hmmm…I’ll be able to handle 2 chaos if I choose red, though.  And footprint 3 would be nice, too.  And I could trade away chaos before I do that (so Neanderthal can’t steal my footprint tech).

Now imagine trying to make these decisions while staring at another player who may or may not bid higher than you.  Yeah.

As I’m behind in Diversity points, and gains in Information are in the same point tier, I guess I should win this.  It throws my plans out of whack, but that’s what you get when you challenge the gods, amirite?

I could choose the white side of the card and keep Syllabic Script, but it doesn’t really do that much good, so I’ll go red so I can get songs again and have 2 openings for Chaos.  But first I have to deal with a Quiet Revolution.  I lose my Elephant Bird city.  I knew that couldn’t last.  But now I have no chaos and the ability to absorb 2.

For my Knowledge action I have to Specialize to get 3 elders back onto the market.  I put one back onto Dragon Kiln because I want to be able to prospect some metals and get my metallurgy and win wars, and then I put 2 onto Sail & Rudder to get my Maritime up, too.

My Activations are to cultivate Beeswax out of Egypt (a biofuel, which should open up some exciting tech in the future).  And Songs will allow me to do some Abstraction and get yet another token in Free Will.  Can never have enough elders to throw around.  Oh!  With Energy 4 and Maritime 2, I can use my species card to Prospect a Luxury all the way up in Europe and get Opals, which just require 2 Metallurgy.  Noice.  We’re out of Africa!


Neanderthal’s turn is pretty uneventful.  It just puts its elders back onto Wheeled Vehicles and Daubed Granaries.  That’s it!

Rather than challenge and trigger the comet that starts Era III, I’ll just absorb a chaos and keep a bit of time so I can spread around some more.  Right now Neanderthal’s scores are floating in the 10-11 range while I’m in the 7-8 range.  I might be able to make it in 4 turns, but I don’t want to risk it.

I pull my chaos from the hex with the Black Rhino, effectively cutting off South Africa from the rest of the world (you can’t travel between two Forest hexes until you have a high enough Immunology tech).  That’s okay, I have some spread ability.

For my knowledge action, I’ll Invent the Dragon Kiln…because Dragon.  Now if I prospect a Metal, I’ll get Metallurgy 4.  Unfortunately you have to go in order from bottom up during your Activism, so I won’t be able to use that immediately for war, but I’ll still have a pretty good Activism phase.

I’ve spread back to Madagascar and to eastern Russia.  I’ve also mined Gold and have entered the Bronze Age.  One more city and I will get two knowledge actions per turn which will be awesome!

By doing this, unfortunately, I’ve brought Daubed Granaries down to where Neanderthal can Invent it, so that’s what they do on their turn.  That also means during their Activism, they can either Domesticate or Cultivate>Footprint 4.  I’d rather not have them gain a Footprint, so I guess I have to give them a city back, as long as there’s one within range of one of their meeples.  Yup, looks like they can domesticate the Elasmotherium.  Like ya do.

We’ve caught up to my play in real time as I post this.  I hope to get more play in today so I have a post for you tomorrow, but Monday work is always a bit much, so that may not happen.  I was hoping to have more for you today and a good chunk for tomorrow, but sometimes you have to think about turns longer than you plan on.  But I think I’m good for a faster pace as I’m pretty sure I can challenge the gods each turn from this point on and still score the win by a point or two.

And yes, from what I see this variant is undergoing many changes to make it more difficult due to this writing.  So if you have a physical copy of the game and you can’t win and you’re trying to read this for strategy advice: HA!  I’m the reason it’s so hard!

If you enjoy these posts and find them worthwhile, head on over to my ko-fi page and buy me a coffee as a way to say thanks.  If not, that’s okay too.  Thanks for reading!

History’s Eraser

Within 5 minutes of the release of yesterday’s post I found I was playing a rule wrong, so I’ve had to edit this post and do a whole lot of wiggling.

Apparently “Specialize” is not a Knowledge action, per se, so it doesn’t fall under the Neanderthal “You must do each action fully” rule.  Therefore way back in turn 3 and 4, they should have Specialized with one Elder.

And here I thought I was being clever.

So if I win, keep in mind I had two free turns that I shouldn’t have.  But let’s get back to the game and maybe I won’t screw anything more up.

So right now Neanderthal’s brain has been getting bigger at about the same rate that my own has, and they got Semantic Memory off of my challenge of the gods last turn.  However, I also have grandmothers passing down jewelry which is opening up more abstract ideas, so that should help.  But not much has happened so far, so let’s see what happens next.

So far, the only change to the market has been on the left column:


So Neanderthal will put an Elder on Totems in Row 1, and I’ll put the other on Bone Dwelling again because it worked pretty darn well last time (although now that I’m playing by the actual rules, we’ll see about that).

Neanderthal still doesn’t have an Invention to use (yet), so I’m safe from that, so we hop back to my turn.

Again, I have no elders, so going into chaos would only have me flip Ruling Class (and flip my Invention with it).  Since I have only one Invention and my choice of Ruling Class to flip to, I’ll take the chaos, flip to Culture, and bring my jewelry with it.

Having an Information of 1 is really hurting my game at this point.  I have 3 tokens in Free Will, but I can only place 1 at a time.  There is a Knowledge action called “Library.”  It lets you return as many elders as your current Information level to increase your information by 1.  Sadly, I still have to spend the turn to put the elder out there, but wait.  Looking at the Adze Dugout, I see Information 2 is one of the Activism actions in the white bar.  So if I’m still in Culture at the end of next turn, I’ll be able to get Martime 1 AND Information 2.  I think that’s a pretty good deal, so I’ll put my Inventor there.  Boats!

Spreading is a no go for my Activism, and I can’t do Art again as I have no more Mystics, so my Species card is useless, but the Culture side of Jewelry has “Metallurgy 2” and “Encephalize” as options.  I already have menopause, so I can slow brain growth a little, so I’ll bump my Metallurgy up.  I’m finally into the Copper Age people!  The other benefit to that is I can now wage war with the Neanderthal, and though I will lose my meeple-so will they.  I can finally start cutting a path north!

Back to Neanderthal’s turn.  I could have him put a third Inventor down in the market, but that might make things difficult if I challenge the gods next turn.  If I let them get Totems, then I’ll be able to win an auction if I wanted to (barring Mysticism).  I’m going to have to do it eventually, so I’ll let them have Totems.  They immediately get a token out of Vocabulary and into Mysticism.  Their third!


And now they can do either a Preach or a Prayer action.  What’s Preach you ask?  That’s taking a meeple and moving it around the map (as far as your energy score) and encountering a meeple of a different species.  If you have more Mystics than your opponent, you return their meeple to their freewill and replace it with your own.  It’s more like conversion.  Since I only have 1 meeple, Preaching isn’t possible for the bot, so it has to choose Prayer.  The card says this creates chaos, but the bot isn’t affected by chaos, so that doesn’t happen.  Now the Neanderthal brain is fully grown, three tokens in free will, and four in Mysticism.

When they do this action, the Totems card flips.  Next turn they’ll be able to try the actions on the Politics side of the card.  If an action is done off of that, the Totems card is discarded into the Lore pile.  If not, you just move up the chain of inventions until you run out or find an action it can do fully.

Pretty easy, really.

Back on my turn, I’m stuck with the challenge the gods conundrum again.  But I pretty much have to at this point, again, I won’t be able to keep an elder out if I don’t, so here we go again.


We’re making goo-goo noises to our babies now.  Awwwwwwwwww.  But first, deforestation (the opposite of Forestation), which I again mess with South America.  Malaria only affects you if the number of cities you have is greater than your Immunology tech.  Yeah.  Cities would be nice.

Here’s another Foundation that I could win with my one Elder, but I’m not sure if it’s necessary.  On the plus side, the Red side has { } which is the symbol for a square that can hold Chaos.  That prevents Revolutions from messing with all your stuff, so that’s nice to have around.  But adding a Spread or Encephalize?  Meh.  Abstraction’s pretty good, but if I switch to Red, I lose Jewelry. *sigh*

I think I’m going to give Neanderthal this one too.  Ugh.  This might be a terrible idea, but it doesn’t count because it’s a playtest, right?  Yeah, we’ll go with that.  It’s not because I’m a bad player.

Speaking of a bad player, I just realized if I Invent the Adze Dugout, I’ll have to get rid of Jewelry anyway since I only have Information 1.  Arg!  I’ve already gotten the Metallurgy out of it, so I guess that’s okay.  So I’ll Invent the dugout.

I immediately get Maritime 1, so I finally am able to travel over 1 water dot per movement action.  And I still can’t spread, so I’ll use the Boats to raise my Information to 2.  Ahhhhhhh.  That’s better.

Back to the Neanderthal, whom I believe stagnate for their Knowledge action (for realsie) because there are NO Eureka actions in the market that they would benefit by.  They also stagnate in their Activism, as they can’t do war against only one meeple, they’re done Encephalizing, and already have Information 2.  I can rest easy.  For now.

So I will be accepting chaos again since again, I have no Elders and all it will do is change my Ruling class.  I change it to Industry this time so I can keep the Adze Dugout.  And now I can place TWO elders onto the Market if I so wish.  I would love to start fighting my way out of Africa by getting my footprint up to 2, and I could get that with Dog Domestication, but I wouldn’t be able to get that as an Invention right now.  But who knows, that might change….

But the Knife will get me Encephalize (which I still have 2 tokens in Emotions) and I’ll be able to increase my Energy, and I’ll finally be able to move around the map a bit farther.  So I’ll put one Elder there.  I’m going to put the second onto Dog Domestication.  Either I’ll fill it up later, or use that Elder for auction winning or….who knows.  It’s a place holder for now.

With Industry as my species card right now, I could Spread (duh) or Prospect Luxury (oooooo).  Unfortunately the only luxury I have available are the diamonds right under my butt, and I need a footprint of 4 to do that, so I guess I’ll have to wait on that.  I will, however,  use the Adze Dugouts to increase my Maritime tech to 2.  I have to trade with the Neanderthal to trigger this, so I create a meeple where my other one is, and move it 3 spaces to the hex with the Neanderthal city to do that.

First, I get my bonus for choosing the trade actions, which is Maritime to 2.  Up to Galleys.  Windpower, baby!  I’ve finally surpassed Neanderthal in some technology!  Then we get to do the trade, which is I get to choose a benefit, then he gets to choose.  It can be 1) raise a tech advancement that the other has and you don’t. 2) Clear an elder from somewhere to your Free Will or 3) Clear a Chaos.  2 and 3 aren’t really an issue for me at this point, but I’d love to increase my Footprint….but I also don’t want disease, so I’ll get one better Immunology.  I bury people now!  The bot always chooses to increase a tech if it’s possible, and it is, sadly.  They get wind-powered boats as well.  Welp, it was nice while it lasted.  And that’s it for my turn.

As nothing much has changed, Neanderthal still sits and thinks about why it’s not going anywhere and I start my turn anew.  Wherein I challenge the gods.  Wish me luck.


First a bit of warming, so I flip a white hex to a blue hex (you can figure out the symbolism, I’m sure).  Then there’d be more disease if I had increased my footprint before my immunology.  Good thing I wasn’t able to do that.  Okay, again, this one isn’t great.  I only need to Encephalize once more before I’m done with that.  I do, however, need to use Abstraction to get those tokens into my Free Will, so the Red side of the card is good for me.  AND I’ve already given the bot 2 cards, so I think bidding the one elder on Dog Domestication is worth it.

I get Prayer, so I move a token from Emotions to Mysticism (and hey, I just noticed the chaos holder on the red half of songs!).  And rather than Inventing Knife right away, I’m going to drop 2 Inventors down to be ready for next turn.  I’m putting them both on Dog Domestication because then it’d be possible to actually “Invent” that if I don’t use them in an auction next turn.

As for Activism, I use songs for Abstraction, moving a token from Vocabulary to Free Will (bigger brains!) , and I’ll use Encephalize on the Dugouts to get my last token out of Emotions.  Me an my big honken cranium is going to sit down and finish this turn.

Oh, Neanderthal?  You still can’t do a turn?  I’m so sorry.  That’s okay, I got this.

Challenge the gods again, the last time in Epoch I.


Cooling just reverses what I did last turn.  Don’t have to worry about Famine.  Okay, so will this do me good?  The purple side certainly will.  It gives a LOT of options.  Not to mention the chaos control, so I think I’ll grab it by throwing the one Elder on Knife at it.

Because of what I’m going to do on my Knowledge turn, I’m actually grabbing Time Sense on the PURPLE side as opposed to the red side, which is my current Ruling Class.  Because I’m doing that, it starts a Quiet Revolution.  Similar to other Revolutions, but not as bad.  I don’t have any chaos to quell or anything, so I just have to move ideas over to Purple if I can.  Sadly, the Adze Dugouts do not have a Purple side, so they are discarded to the Lore deck as an Obsolete Idea.  I’ve got Galleys now.  We’re good.

And now I shall domesticate puppies.  This didn’t have a red side, but now that my Ruling Class is Purple, I can take it as an Invention.  Yay!  And Footprint 2!


Since I am still hemmed in by those pesky Neanderthals (even though I could safely move to Madagascar now), I am going to use the Exogamy action from Time Sense.  This allows me to take a token from Free Will and make it into an Emissary Elder and place it on any Invention in an OPPONENT’S tableau.  Any time they use this Invention, you get a Negotiation benefit, so I’ll be able to get my tech up to par with them, or erase chaos or whatever.  And I know they’ll be using their Totems next turn.  I’m making sure of it.

With my Politics card, I’m going to Spread over two water dots and settle in Madagascar.  I’m finally expanding.  And finally, with my Dog Domestication, I am going to Domesticate further, and Domesticate the Zebra.  My first city!


With Footprint 2, my meeple in South Africa won’t die, since there can now be 2 tokens per hex for my species to survive.  That’s what footprint means for technology.  I’ll need 3 if I want to coincide with Neanderthal.  But why coincide?

Speaking of Neanderthal.  They still don’t have anything interesting in the Market, so they skip that, but boy oh boy do they want to do an Activism action.  They want to do war, which means they create a meeple on the hex where their city is, then go somewhere where one of my meeples or cities are, and they both annihilate (because we have the same metallurgy tech).  Luckily I get to choose what gets destroyed, and I choose the poor guy living on the very tip of the continent.  Clearly man has been living there for some 80K years.  They can move on.

Totems gets discarded because this was the second time it was used AND it had an Emissary elder, which means I get a benefit for it…and I choose to get Energy 4, meaning I’m caught up on everything tech-wise with Neanderthal now.  Booya.  The comeback begins.

Back to my turn, I challenge the gods, because I know no matter what I do, the results will be the same.  Why?  Because it is the comet card that separates Era I from Era II.  Everyone gains a chaos when this happens, so my poor guy in Madagascar goes bye bye, but that’s okay, I finally have the ability to move around.  Time Sense has the ability to hold one chaos, so I don’t have to have a Revolution or anything, so that’s nice.  And now we change out the Market to the next era.


If this were multiplayer, there would also be a small scoring round where you could get some bonus points for having more mystics than other players (I would clearly lose there) and I would get the card as a “Bellweather,” which could be used to shift the philosophy around, but that’s not in the solo game so I’ll just move on.

The Eurekas on this Market aren’t that great as we’ve already achieved most of them, but the Inventions themselves usually allow you to knock those numbers up a point or two.  I’m looking at Syllabic Script which can get up to Information 4 if you engage in warfare.  The Dragon Kiln can get you Metallurgy 4 with war as well, so those seem like great buys for someone like me, sitting in the purple ruling class.  So 1 on Syllabic Script and 1 on Dragon Kiln.

For Activism, I use Time Sense to spread back to Madagascar, and then the Species card to spread PAST those pesky Neanderthals and settle around the Sudan.  And for my Dog card, I domesticate the Elephant Bird on Madagascar because…..Elephant Bird!  In case I need to make any stealthy attacks!

And thus begins Era II.  Next will begin the wars where I will get points by killing and such, but many of the Foundation cards will be religion-based, so I’ll probably lose those auctions (since the bot has 4 Mystics), so that will hurt when the final score comes out.  But who knows what the next few thousand years bring?  Technology ramps up in speed each Era and we’ll be inventing the internet before you know it!  Strap yourself in!


If you’re enjoying these posts, stop on by to my ko-fi page and show your love by simply buying me a coffee.  If not, that’s okay too.  Thanks for reading!





Ah, to hell with it

So we’re half way through December as I’m writing this, and I had promised a post before end of year craziness put an end to writing until January.


So here I am, and what am I going to be playing for you today?  Well, I’m going to be typical and do yet another Eklund game.  I know, I know, but it’s for a good cause.  No, not for little Billy who is dying in his hospital bed.  He wanted me to hit a home run for some reason.  I don’t even know what that means.  I’m doing it because the game isn’t done yet and by my playing it, I might put a little spit and polish on it and ultimately make the game better by the time it’s produced.

So I present to you: Bios: Origins 2.

Electric Bugaloo.

Specifically I am going to be playing the Solitaire Variant “Last of the Neanderthal” by Jose Cunha.  In it, you play Homo Sapiens, who have just come down from the trees in South Africa.  Neanderthal have spread all over the planet and are living the high life.  Unfortunately for them, they have stagnated, so it’s now time for Sapiens to shine, and that’s your goal.  Okay, your goal is to get more Victory Points than them….but you get the idea.

Let’s check out Earth, shall we?

Bios Origins 2Map

Let me first say “These are all playtest graphics and things may change with the final product, blah blah blah.”  So let’s see what we have here from the top down:


Here’s the Urbanization track.  It shows how many cities you have on the board, and how many knowledge actions you get per turn because of them.  I am playing black and get 1 knowledge action per turn because I have 0 cities.  Neanderthal has 7 cities and would take 2 actions per turn, but thankfully the bot only takes 1 no matter how many cities it has.


Now we’ve got the map itself which has ALL sorts of stuff on it.  Let’s point out some specifics:  The meeples (Migrants in this case) move around on the outside of the hexes (a la Catan).  The gray dots are land, while the wavy blue dots are water.  You can only travel over water once you have some boat tech.  The cube represents the city built around whatever the cube happens to be on, in this case the domestication of the Black Rhino.  Each hex has all sorts of things to dig up or domesticate.  You see Millet to the north of the Neanderthal City, and Zebra in South Africa near me.  To the south of me I could mine gold or diamonds.  The symbols besides these metals are the tech I would need (2 Metallugry and 4 Footprint, respectively) to be able to build a city there.  The colored rings indicated that it is possible for desert(Brown) or forest(Green) to appear there.  The green hex is Forest and means no city can exist there.  It’s deep jungle and less happy Disney forest.


Finally we have the tech tracks.  There are three “Bundles:” Environment, Welfare and Economy.  These are added together for points at the end of the game.  You’re looking at Environment here.  All techs have in game benefits the higher their numbers are.  The Neanderthals start the game with all techs one step higher than Sapiens.  Yay for them.


This is the Philosphy track.  It’s not used in this solitaire variant, but it’s very important in the multiplayer game.  This tracks what can be scored, and what ticks off your civilization when you do it.

Final score in this game is calculated three times.  Spiritual score, Laissez-Faire score and Central-Planning score.  Whichever you score highest in is your final score.  However, if your opponents move the philosophy two steps towards an extreme on the philosophy triangle, one of those scores is worth 0, nothing, nada, zilch, bubkiss.

Oh, and if you’re curious why there’s all these resources in water hexes.  It’s not because you can build shipping industries based on them: you can play as water based beings, either because that’s how they evolved from a previous game of Bios: Megafauna 2, or you’re just weird and want to do that.  And hell, the back side of the board is blank(ish) and is set in such a way that you can devise your own continents and play god in your own way.

Science is fun.

So let’s look at my primitive brain.  In the game, I mean.


This is your brain.  This is your brain on Evolution.  Any questions?

So as the game progresses, you’ll be moving tokens out of Emotions (our primitive, animal-like actions) and adding them to Vocabulary or Mysticism and finally to Free Will, symbolizing brain growth and  abstract thinking.  The arrows tell you which actions do what (Encephalize, Prayer, Art, Abstraction, etc.).  They’re just tokens unless they are on the Mysticism side of your head, then they are “Mystics.”  This is points for your Spiritual score and also helps with some of the Foundations, which I’ll get to later.  Your tokens will also be moving out of your Free Will to become Inventors here:


These are the Ideas and Inventions that are available to be purchased during the first round of the game.  More will trickle in as the game progresses, which large leaps in technology as the Epochs pass.  There are four Epochs before the game ends with a player controlled(ish) number of turns.

Let’s just start this mess and I’ll explain along the way.


At the beginning of the game you’re dealt a random crown that you put on the Species card that says “Start” on it.  I start with a Political stance, while Neanderthal would start with an Industrial bent, but the bot doesn’t care about that.  However, the number on the crown does show who goes first, and the enemy drew the 2 to my 4, so it goes first.

The bot is pretty easy to handle as it always does 1 Knowledge action and 1 Activism action if possible and to the fullest of its ability.  First it tries to do a Specialize action by getting its Free Will pawns as Inventors onto cards in the Market.  You are allowed to move as many Elders as your Information level.


Oh look, they are using Art & Symbols already AND their brains are bigger than mine, so they can put two Inventors down.  They will always put 1 down on bottom row Ideas that will get them benefits from the “Eureka” effect.  If there’s a choice, I get to choose, so let’s see what will give me the most benefit.


Actually I don’t have a choice!  It won’t choose adze Dugout or Skin Boat because it already has Maritime 1, so it places 1 on Venus Figurines.


So we look at Row 2.  It needs to Encephalize one more time, so any of these would help it.  I’ll place the Elder on Bone Dwelling because the Invention itself won’t do it any good as you’ll see later (I think).

Now the bot would do an Activism action, which is an action from one of its inventions…..but it hasn’t invented anything yet, so it’s turn is already done!  That was easy!  Now it’s my turn!  As a benefit of going last, I get a bonus knowledge action on my first turn.

First thing I have to decide is whether I “Challenge the Gods.”  This is a time keeping mechanic, as well as a kind of push-your-luck tense, fearful…neat part of the game.  There’s a deck of event cards that you have to go through before the game is over.  In a 2-player (and this solitaire game), you’ll be going through 4 Epoch I cards, and 2 of Epoch II through IV cards.  The Roman Numerals make it classy.  Between each Epoch is a “Comet Card” that causes a bit of future shock to the world.  The events change the world in some way and maybe a crisis or plague spread around the world.  That’s dangerous in itself, but then you get to auction off the “Foundation card” which give you more actions to perform during a turn.  Of course, you have to have the Elders out on Inventions (or as Emissaries, which you’ll see later) in order to bid.  If you win the auction, those Inventors come back to your Free Will, making you have to take another turn to put them back out.  Worth it?  Most of the time.  Maybe.  I dunno.  That’s the risky part.  You might Challenge the Gods and give a great card to your opponent and have half your civilization die by the plague.

Anyway, in the solitaire game, if I don’t challenge the gods, I “Suffer Chaos,” which means I have to remove a meeple off of the board (or out of Free Will if I only have one meeple left) and put it onto a Foundation card that has a chaos holding box.  I don’t have any of those, so I would have a Revolution!  Which, given I don’t HAVE anything, would only mean I would have to change my Ruling Class (Politics/Invention/Culture) and that’s it.  No problem at the beginning of the game.  So I do that, changing it to Culture because I like some of the white powers on the inventions out there.

Hmmm…the first row doesn’t do me much good either.  Martime 1 isn’t too bad, but right now I need to focus on getting my brain bigger.  In order to “Invent” the cards, you have to have as many Elders on it as the row the card is on (1/2or3).  Getting Bone Dwelling is kind of pointless since Neanderthal Inventing that won’t do him any good, why save them a turn?  I can’t actually gain the Invention card since I don’t have menopause yet (theory being that Grandmothers passed knowledge down through generations).  I’ll get menopause once I only have 2 tokens in Emotions, so I have to Encephalize or Prayer twice first.  So I’ll Specialize my one Elder to Venus Figurines in the first row there with the Neanderthal.  Now that there’s two Elders on there, I can use my free Knowledge action to “Invent” the card.  Those Elders come back to Free Will to be used for something else later.

Since we both have Elders on there, we both gain the “Eureka” effect: Prayer.  We both get to move one token from Emotions or Vocabulary to Mysticism.  I don’t have menopause yet, so I don’t get to keep the card, so it merely gets discarded into the Lore pile.  Lore is a separate discard pile that creates a history of everything that’s been used throughout the game.  Cards can come back into play later on due to Science or Pseudoscience which is a hilarious yet brilliant mechanic, if you ask me.

True, that “helped” Neanderthal a bit, but it also prevented them from gaining an Invention card that would have given them powers to convert my species to their way of living (Preach) or pile up more tokens in Free Will (Abstraction).

Now it’s my turn for Activism.  Lucky for me, I can do as much Activism as cards in my Ruling Class, which is now Culture:


Unlike the bot, I’m allowed to use my species card.  Because I’m awesome.  And it’s in the rules.  But mostly because I’m awesome.  You see in the upper left of the card the two options I have, “Spread or art” (Art is in blue because it is only used in the Advanced game).  Spread allows me to move more meeples onto the map.  Art allows me to move tokens from Mysticsm to Free Will.  That’d be handy as it’s more Elders for me to fling about, but since I only have Information of 1 (Storytelling), being able to only place 1 at a time means I don’t have to rush to do art, so I’d spread.  But check this out:


I have the Energy of 3, which means I can only move 3 “dots.”  I have Maritime of 0, so I can’t travel over water dots.  I have a Footprint of 1, which means at the end of the movement, my meeple needs to be the ONLY meeple on the hex.  So of the ONLY TWO valid spaces I could move, I’d either 1. Be in the same hex I started in and starve or 2. Be in the same hex with the Neanderthal and their city….and starve.

So. I. Can’t. Move. Anywhere. Yet.


Just to do something, I’ll use Art to move my Mystic to Free Will.  Might not be the best idea since having Mystics isn’t a bad thing…..but I feel bad just wasting my turn.  So there we have it.  Turn 1.

Turn 2 starts with the Neanderthals stagnating.  You see, their actions only go if they can do them FULLY.  Since they can’t place 2 Elders with the Specialize action, they don’t.  Since they can’t invent the Bone Dwelling without having 2 Elders on that card, they don’t.  And without inventions, they don’t get an Activism action.

Awwwww yeah.  Gaming the system.  but it’s necessary in order to make any gains against a superior species.

Again I have no Elders out or meeples to lose to Chaos, so I have another Revolution, but since my whole species is a tribe, it’s more like a family spat. This will be the last time that I can do that for no loss, though. I move my Ruling Class back to Culture.  For my Knowledge Action I put an Inventor on Jewlery, which will let me Encephalize.  My Activism choices are to spread (still in the same pickle) or war.  War is only good if you have the same or better Metallurgy than your opponent.  If I did it, only my own people would die.  Kinda silly, so I’ll just sit tight.

Hey look, they don’t do anything on turn 3, either.

So now I have to Challenge the gods.  If I don’t, I would have to bring my elder back, and I would get stuck in an endless cycle of putting an Inventor out, and bringing them back until I Challenged the freaking gods, so lets do this:


No artwork.  Yuck.  Anyway, first we have to deal with the events: Forestation.  One of the desert hexes is going to get flipped over to a forest and placed on a hex with a green ring.  A solitaire rule is that you can never place the climate hex onto a hex with Neanderthals in it, so you’re stuck flipping one and moving it to the nearest eligible hex.  Seems fair as that’s the only way that the climate could actually affect you.  At this point, though, I move the desert in Chile and make the Amazon Rainforest bigger.  Then the Roundworm Zoonotic Disease hits if your footprint tech is greater than your immunology tech.  Luckily both of those are at 1, so I’m fine.

And, of course, the bot isn’t affected by this no matter what.  Because solitaire rules like challenge.

Now we get to the auction.  The ‘e’ next to the I (which means Era I) means we will be bidding with our Elders.  If there was a ‘m’ next to that, our bids would be ‘augmented’ by our Mystics, meaning our bids would be elders bid PLUS mystics, though the mystics are never spent.  This one has nothing to do with religion, so mystics don’t count.  If you win the auction, you get the Eureka, and if you have the tech requirement (menopause) you can add this card underneath your species card (either red side up, or purple side up) and you’ll get to do those actions each turn.

Of course, I don’t have menopause yet, so is it worth me winning the card just to get the Abstraction and to keep the card out of Neanderthal’s hands?  Eh.  I don’t think so, though I think if I do, Neanderthal would stagnate for several more turns….but I don’t know if that would help me so much in the long run since I would also have to do more AND challenge the gods more, which just speeds the game up, and time is definitely against me.

So I pass and the bot always bids what it needs to do to win.  So it bids one and the Inventor on the Bone Dwelling is returned to Free Will.  Neanderthal gains an Abstraction, so a token from Vocabulary to Free Will, and the Foundation gets added to its stack.  It won’t use it, but it will count as a point of Diversity for its score at the end of the game.

Now I can get to my Knowledge action, which will be to Invent Jewelry.  Hooray!  Bling!  The Eureka gives me another Encephalize, which grants me menopause!  My species is finally living long enough to pass its knowledge on to its young.

’bout time.

That being the case, I can take the Invention card and add it to my splay.


Now during my Activism turn, I go from the bottom to the top, doing an action from each card I have.  You are limited to the number of Inventions by your Information level (so if I get another one, out goes Jewelry), and the limit to Foundations is a little thing called dictatorships.  Those might come up later.  But for now, I can’t spread, but I can do Abstraction and get another token out of my brain and into Free Will.  My brain is getting bigger!  About the size as Neanderthal at the beginning of the game.  Only took about 40,000 years!

So that’s all the main mechanics in a nutshell.  I shall continue the game tomorrow where you will probably see war, enslavement, dictators, preaching, trading and desperate point grabs.

And then you’ll turn off the news and read my blog.

Too soon?

If you’re enjoying this kind of content and would like to see more, or just to say “Thank You” in a very substantial way, visit my ko-fi page and buy me a coffee.  If not, that’s okay, too.  Thanks for reading!



The Illusion of Choice

It’s been a short while since my last post, and that’s for a few reasons:

1) Work.

2) I’m in a rut.

You see, what to play?  Pax Emancipation?  ANOTHER Sierra Madre game?  Is that me?  The Eklund guy?  And if so, where’s my royalty check?

(I kid, I kid)

Or maybe All Things Zombie: Evolution?  ANOTHER Two Hour Wargame?  Is that me?  The Ed guy?  And if so, where’s my royalty check?

(I kid, I kid)

But, to be honest, that’s what gets the hits.  When I played Our Last Best Hope, maybe 8 people followed along.  Everything vs. Everything?  4.  Enemy Coast Ahead and Fields of Fire had a few more, so I could go the GMT route, so I’ve been thinking of doing Churchill….but I keep forgetting to bring the dang bots with me to work!

So here I am with a blank screen.

I’m also thinking about redoing the Bios: Megafauna 2 game because it’s LOADED with errors.  It was still in playtest at the time AND I put the carbon on the wrong side of the frickin’ cratons.  So, yeah, not a good resource for anyone.  But is playing a game more than once really interesting to anyone, even if it’s played “better” the second time around?

So that’s where I am.  Sorry folks.  I know I have to be “In the Mood” in order to go through the lengthy process of putting a post together, and the muse just hasn’t struck.

Stupid muse.

Although typing that, I did just think about Cataclysm: A World War II game.  That’s GMT and very new, so people might be interested in that.  It’d be a tough, tough game to get Very Wordy on…but that may have been the muse talking, or it may be another thing to add to the list of possible posts.

Eh, sorry for the lack of actual content, ya’ll.  I’m still here and thinking about posting.  I want to get one more thing in before jingle bells jam themselves into all my free time and I go dark until next year.  I’ll do my best to do that.

Who needs that other dimension?

Yesterday I focused on Tabletop Simulator which is fine if a) You have Steam b) You’ve spent money.

Pfft.  I don’t need to do that to play miniatures games on my PC!  I’ve also played it using the site:


There are many online “Virtual Table Top” chatrooms available.  This one has been around for a good long while and continues to be free (with paid  bonus features) and integrates with Google Hangouts, so I’ve been using it for a while.  As a matter of fact:


That’s a little humbling right there.

Of course, many of those hours were probably open games that were in a tab behind another page where I was working on something else.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself so I don’t cry.

Be strong. *sniff* Be strong.

Anyway, yes, you need to make an account and yet another password to remember, but hacking someone’s virtual tabletop is probably not high on anyone’s priority list.  So let’s make us a table.


On our home page there’s a shiny pink “Create New Game” button.  Why, I was in the mood for a New Game, button, how did you know?  Let me press you!


There’s a place for a name like “My minis game” or something equally creative, and a place for tags in case you want strangers to be able to find your game.  You can also populate it with pre-made character sheets.  These seem to all be roleplaying games, so there’s no help there for simple minis games.  As are the Modules on the right side of the screen.  But hey, if you want to get some friends online and roleplay using this system, I ran a Torchbearer game using this, and it worked GREAT.  Just an FYI.

So I name it and then hit “I’m ready.”  Well, I don’t hit it, I click on it, but you get the idea.

Now you’re in the kinda lobby for your game.  If you were running a game for several people, this is where you would post your information so they could look it up whenever they needed to. But that’s really not necessary at the moment.  All we need to do is “Launch Game”

15 seconds of commercial?  Yup.  You have to wait a bit since you have the free version.  At least it’s not a YouTube commercial.  I think you can handle it.  Deep breath.  It’s a capitalist society after all.


Ah, a big grid, a chat window.  This is much more familiar to gamers.  So now we need some terrain.

An easy way is to simply steal a map.  On the upper right the second icon is Art Library, a quick click gets you a search bar.  Change the drop down to “Map” and type in what you need.

How about a fight in a warehouse against rats.  You know:  Marrowind.

A list of things pop up.  No free bits from Roll20, but Premium maps come up.  Okay, paying might be awesome.  HOWEVER, the search bar ALSO searches the internet for us (awwww, thanks search bar) and it came up with a bunch of other things.  I hover the mouse over them to get a (slightly) better view of them and I think KalextheOmen’s Warehouse is perfect.

So now I need to let the table know this will be our map to play on.  I go to the left icons and hit the second one down, this will tell us which “Layer” we’re playing with.  I hit “Map,” because, um, map.  Then I drap the Warehouse I want down onto it.  Eesh, it’s small, so I resize it like it’s any other picture until I like it.Capture

Well ain’t that nice.  If maps aren’t your thing, or if you need further specifics, there’s also the third button down on the left: “Draw Shape.”  Here you can put down lines, squares or just freehand doodle all over the map to designate walls, doors, windows, bad terrain, whatever.


Here I’ve drawn which squares provide cover.  Probably not necessary for what I’m doing, but it’s just an example.  Once I’ve got the terrain squared away, I go back to the Layer icon (second from the top of the left icons) and go back to the objects and token layer.  This way I can’t move the map anymore or accidentally erase lines.

Now let’s get our minis.  It’s done in the same way we got our map.  To the Art Library!  Now we switch the drop down to Tokens and search for what we need.  Like Warrior.


And here they are.  Not great choices, but what do you want for free?


And our rats. They’re a little squished, but again, I’m not going to flip the table over imperfect minis.

So, how do we keep track of stats and stuff?  Well, there’s a few ways, actually.  First, you can just click on the individual mini itself:


The three circles over our mini can hold numbers.  I can put Rep, HP, Str, AC, whatever I need for the particular game I’m playing.  As long as it’s just 3 important stats, then I’m good.  Also, the “Lens” icon on the bottom there can let me put status icons on the mini.


As long as YOU know what these things mean, then you’re good.

The other way to keep track is through the “Character sheets” over on the right. Instead of the Art Library, click on the third icon, the Journal.  Not much there, but that’s why we hit “Add.”

We want to add  a character.  And here’s a nice big screen where we can fill in all sorts of information.  And luckily, we can select a mini and then hit Default Token and BOOM, we know which mini belongs to which character sheet.  Easy Peasy.  (And the generic name generator is sometimes hilarious)

But these aren’t stats!  This is stupid story stuff.  What about my Bend Bars/Lift Gates stat?  Yikes, relax.  Hit “Save” and you’ll see yet another window.  On that one there’s a tab called Attributes and Abilities.

Here you just hit +Add to either an Attribute (if it’s a number) or Ability (If it’s just something that needs to be explained) and type in all that you need.

Abilities are kind of weird in that they’re intended to always be rolled, but I just keep them there so I can hit “Edit” and read what they do if I forget someone’s powers.


So now we have statted minis.  How do we want them to move?  Our original map shows a square grid.  We could play that way, but we’re playing a minis game, dernit, the fun of that is we can move anywhere we want!

So here we find the little page icon hanging from the top of the screen and hit that.  Again, not hit, click.  Stop punching your screen.  Here you’ll see your “Screen” with the Players hanging out on it.  Considering you’re it, you’ll feel a little bit like you have multiple personalities, but don’t worry, it’s still just you and the NSA.


If we hover over our page, a little gear appears.  Hit that to open the page settings.  Here we can turn the grid off and mess with scale.  I’m just going to turn the grid off.  Boop!

Now the minis will still act like there’s a grid there, so we have to turn that off, too.  On the left we’ll hit the 5th icon down.  That affects the “snapping” going on.  I wonder if I can make them go all Jets and Sharks….

Nope, not that kind of snapping.  Anyway, now we click on “No snapping” and the minis are now free to roam the landscape.

With that ruler clicked, if you click and drag on the map, it’ll show you distance (in feet, interestingly).  If you want it to show something different, that’ll be in the settings on the page again.  Probably want to change that to inches and make one mini an inch by an inch.

Then, finally, to roll dice you can either click on the 20 sided die on the left icon row, or type “/roll 2d6” or whatever into the chat bar.  Bam, you’ve got yourself a game!

So there you go, two ways to play a miniatures game without having to buy a giant table and fill up half your basement.  I hope this was useful to someone out there.  If it was, or if you feel like it, you can buy me a coffee over at my ko-fi page.  If not, that’s cool too.

Thanks for reading.  Back to playthroughs next time!



You mean you use this thing for work?

Here’s a little post to help folks who like playing miniature games, but don’t like having a gigantic table taken up with little trees sitting in their house for days.

Or people with cats.  Cats and wargamers don’t mix well.


Anyway, we’re going to take our minis games into the virtual realm.  I’m sure there are better primers out there, especially in the Tabletop Simulator forums or FAQs or whatever, but I never looked at those, so I don’t expect you to either.  This is just what I figured out by fumbling through myself.  Maybe it’ll help.

So I’ve recently been playing Two Hour Wargame’s “Larger Than Life,” a pulp ruleset.  My hero, The Hooded Hammer, has traveled to Cambodia to grab the last clue needed to stop the Big Bad (a Politician who has had in in for HH’s neighborhood back in Metrodelphia) and his evil scheme….whatever it is.  That part’s not important.

Anyway, he entered the secret temple….only to be ambushed by the Big Bad himself, and a bunch of his henchmen.  Dun…dun…DUUUNNNNN!!!!  Clearly this needs to be played out on the table.  I know I don’t have Abandoned Cambodian Temple scenery back home, so I have to make it in the virtual world.  So to the Steam Community page I go.  Here you’ll find all the stuff that hundreds if not thousands of things other people have already made.

The downside: it’s not organized very well, there’s quite a few scummy people making things, a lot of the stuff may be in languages you don’t speak, it’s an awful ethical dilemma at least.

I’m not going to get into the “Wow, I can play (insert game name here) online for free?” argument on this post.  Folks have taken the time to digitize a lot of their favorite games, with or without the blessings of their creators.  We’re not here to play boardgames right now, though.  We’re here to put together a miniatures game.  So to the search bar we go.  Let’s see if we can find ourselves an Ancient Temple to play in.


Just typing in “Temple” gives me many options.  Some are full games (like “Lost Temple” and “Expedition to the Temple of Bir…”), but others are what we’re looking for.  Things like the Temple Chamber by Dr. Hyde, or Tyrene Temple by victory4193.  A little scrolling later I find the perfect two, “Jungle Temple Ruin” by Joystick and “Jungle Temple RPG Map” by The Yodax’s Workshop.

I subscribe to both of those, and then launch Tabletop Simulator.

Dooo..dooo da doo doo! Doo da doo doo!

I click “Create” and “Singleplayer” and there under “Workshop” should be my newly subscribed maps.


The thumbnails will load eventually.  I’m impatient.  I’ll try the Jungle Temple Ruin first, as that looked the most promising.


Dang.  This is always a possibility.  See those big grey blobs?  Those are custom bits that couldn’t load.  Wherever the program pointed to (usually a google drive or something similar), that file isn’t there anymore.  So it looks like I only have walls and pillars to deal with.  But hey, that’s still something to work with.


I like those columns and walls, so I’ll take them.  So here’s how we steal bits.  Go to the Objects Menu and click on Components.  From there click on Tools and grab the Bag and drag it onto your table.  This will be your new Loot bag.  If there’s a part of scenery you like, put your mouse over it and hit the ‘L’ key.  That will “Unlock” it from the background so you can manipulate it.  Merely pick it up (by clicking and dragging) and drop it into the bag.  Do this with everything you like.

I robbed the place blind, even grabbing the fire lighting effect (it’s hard to find, but you can unlock it and grab it.  Once you’ve gotten enough, right click on the bag and hit “Save Object.”  Your bag and everything in it will be saved and you’ll be able to bring it to other tables.

So I go to “Games” and load the Jungle RPG map to see if there’s more things to steal.



That’s a thing of beauty.  And half the things didn’t load here either.  Now my little theiving heart goes to Objects and “Saved Objects.”  There you’ll be able to find your bag with everything you’ve already pilfered in it (under whatever you called it before).  Now you can stuff it with even more stuff.  You could make different bags with different things (just walls, just trees, etc.) if you’re into organizing more, but you can always do that later.  I have all sorts of bags for WWII games with terrain bits, unit types and such.


Now that we have all our terrain, let’s get a table.  Here we can just go to “Classic” and create a Dice or RPG table.  It’ll load a bunch of stuff we don’t need, but we can just highlight all that and hit delete or backspace.  Poof, it’s gone.


The base square table is 30″ by 30″.  Not really good for any big wargames, but okay for intimate fights.  The RPG table is 38″ by 56″ which is pretty good, though I’m sure most would want bigger.  If you want bigger, you can go back to the Steam Workshop and just search tables.  There’s MANY larger tables out there that you can just subscribe to and play on that.  For now, the basic RPG table will work for the small play space I’ll be working with.  In Larger than Life, we’re supposed to start something like 16″ away from each other (I may be wrong, but I don’t feel like looking it up for this post).


A blank canvas.  So we load our bag of Jungle stuff, which should hold everything we need.


Hmmmm….tree apparently was full size and not to scale.  That’s okay, though.  We merely hover over the tree and press the ‘-‘ key.  Holding it down the tree slowly shrinks until it is a size we desire.  BTW, it’s the hyphen key, not the minus key over on your 10-key pad.  Took me a hot second to figure that out.


From this, I’ll make a nice little temple to do battle in.  It won’t be too pretty, but it’ll be functional.  To make things easy on myself, first I go to Options and Grid.  I turn Grid Snapping on so I can make things nice and even.  I’ll make the walls line up a whole lot better so I don’t have a wavy messy set up.

Of course, it’s an old temple, so old and messed up should be par for the course, really.  Okay, now with ample use of Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V, I make enough copies of these things to make a nice little play space for myself.  Some objects (namely the door), I have to remove the gridsnapping to make it fit into the space between two walls.  You can turn it off for individual pieces by right clicking on them and going to “Toggles.”  There you can turn on and off a ton of different things.


It’s not perfect, but it’s something.  And I kinda wish I had stolen some floor tiles so it didn’t look like carpeting.  And now I need minis.  I could just use the pawns that come with Tabletop simulator, or I could do the same thing and go searching around the Workshop for something I could use.


Took these dapper gentlemen from someone’s “Mansions of Madness” game.  That’s the Hooded Hammer there in the middle, squared off against all of the Politician’s bodyguards.  The three other folks behind HH are his Sidekicks.

Now all I do is make dice (under Objects>Components), and anytime I need to measure anything, I use the “Line” tool which is one of the icons on the left side of the screen.  It’s the second one down.  Simply click and drag and it’ll show you how far something is.  If you want to measure and mark where you need to move something, simply double click and an arrow will appear pointing to that spot.  It won’t last long, so click back to the hand and grab the mini you need and get it to the spot quickly.  You can’t be too picky with distance playing this way, but it’ll do.

There are people who have created “rulers” for use in game that are probably better than this, but if you’re more of a relaxed gamer, than it should work if you’re just thwarting evil occasionally.


And if Tabletop Simulator is too much for you, there’s also Roll20, but that’s for another post.

If you enjoyed this post or found it anyway helpful, you can buy me a coffee over at my ko-fi page.  If not, that’s okay too.  Thanks for reading.  See you next time.

Anyone else remember the show Earth 2?


It only lasted one season, but I remember loving it.  I tried watching it again way back when on Netflix and it didn’t hold up.  But look, it has Mr. Krabs!  Or the bad guy from Highlander, however you want to remember him.

Anyway, that just kinda hit me as we’re getting close to our new home here.  But I’m sure we don’t need any mid-90s nostalgia (Nice hair, Krabs).


I only have one woke human card, and it’s the crazy scientists who murdered the other scientists.  They said it was a mistake…but who is alive to prove that?

So I think I need to decant both of the “children.”  Low age keeps them free from Alzheimer risk, though neither have shields, so if we have another Grey Goo problem….

Maybe I should decant the Convicts to keep an eye on things.  Another Engineer is good, though I’ll be decanting the Frankenstein Navigators who will be Engineering, too.  Wait, no, they’re piloting.  Okay, Convicts as Engineers, Navigators as, well, navigators and Malcolm as Business until I can get him to flip and be awesome.

Okay, so let’s wake them up and put on their profession discs, and because of the Scholastic improvement, they can do their duties right away.

The Navigators slow us by a step, so we’re now down to 1/2 speed.


So we got pretty fast, 6.5% the speed of light, but now we’re going maybe 2%.  We’re out of range that Mag-Sail braking will work, so we have to rely on Scoop and Drogue braking, or Beam-Core braking, which is basically throwing bits of the ship into the engine to make it fire backwards.

Kind of a last resort, but fun.

Oh, if you’re in an anarchy and want to commit a felony, you can throw people into the engine.  How awesome is that?

My convicts will move our Baby-making nanobots back to Age 1 through some intensive repairing and 3d printing.  And those nanobots will use our penultimate bit of biomass to create Islamic Refugees which I have to immediately put into the Vats because I already have 3 humans awake.

My mad scientists are going to promote Malcolm, and hopefully not kill everyone while doing it.  The die roll was successful, so Malcolm becomes a Renaissance Man.


You see, he can take 5 different careers (the big three, plus Biotech or pilot in the box under there).  And out of kindness, the Renaissance Man will build the Scientists a toy to lower their stress down to 1 for the up and coming Event Phase.

Now during the Move Phase, we’re going to move our ship one step forward toward Bernard’s star, however we’re going to then put it on its side.  Next turn, rather than moving it, we’re just going to turn it back right side up.  THEN we can move it to the proper space.

By then I hope to have 2 pilots with Drogue or Scoop brakes so I can do it twice (and not blow up in the process), then I will be at a dead stop over Earth 2.  THEN I’ll need a Spacewalker to actually get us down there.  Yeah, you actually have to think ahead about that, otherwise you’re pretty much putting your humans into a metal cylinder and launching them down to the surface.  Survivable, but not bloody likely.

And the roll for events is……’1′.

Engineer Alzheimer’s check.  4 or less….’6′ Phew.

Business Mutiny check.  Renaissance Man is content.  A lot of centrists on board.

Pilot cancer risk.  Pilot is a robot.  Moving on.

Domestic Accident risk.  Only happens on a ‘1’:


Welp, my luck ran out there.  Back to my hand it goes.  And if I reprint them, they will not have the Domestic disc.  I’ll have to reinvent that.  But I think we’re too late in the game for that.  Might try biotech if I need more humans on Earth 2.

But that’s it for Events.  We age, we move on, the wheel keeps on spinning.

To everything, turn, turn, turn; there is a reason, turn, turn, turn…


Welp, our ship is now 108 years old.  That means systems are starting to deteriorate.  If I 3d print any more robots, they automatically start with 2 stress on them.  Things are just going to start breaking down.  But we only have to hold on for another dozen years.  Or so.


Now, some may say a good plan would be just to dunk everyone in the vats and wait ’till you’re at the star.  You’ve got some possible space walkers and a few pilots out there already.  Sure, there’s a possible Alzheimer’s risk in the vats, but that will only take your oldest colonists, you can still land with your youngest.

However, there’s one thing that I haven’t mentioned, and it’s called “Midwife risk.”  If you don’t have any living colonist on board when you decant someone, you have to roll a die.  If the die is greater than the rad-hardness of the colonist being decanted: BLARG.  They’re dead.  I once had 3 separate colonist cards go the way of the dodo from that move.  Not making that mistake again.

So let’s see here.  I don’t need the pilots this turn, so I can put them in the vats.  Science isn’t necessary, though flipping more cards is good just to protect people.  Engineers aren’t necessary at this point as I never got the Protium Fusion breakthrough.  So there go the Convicts.  Actually, as I’m looking at this, just leaving the Renaissance man awake is probably best.  There’s 3 risks on the event table, mutiny risk isn’t a problem since he’s content, so there’s only 2 risks, and both only affect him on a roll of 1 or 2.  And one of them only flips his card.

I think we’re good, then.  Everyone else into the vats, our Renaissnace Man will keep an eye on things.


We are so close!

If you consider 90 million miles close.

And with an event roll of ‘2’ nothing happens. Ab-so-freaking-loooooootly nothing.

Now that our Bernal is 120 years old, our alert humans will be aging two steps per turn due to the extra exposure to radiation that the ship can no longer protect them from.  Sadly this puts our Renaissance man up to the equivelant of a 60 year old right away.  This could be bad if a cancer risk comes up, so I better decant a younger human as well.

So I’ll keep the Renaissance Man up to keep systems up and running, and wake the Islamic Refugees and train them as Spacewalkers, to get some training on how to get everyone down to the planet’s surface.

Gotta move and then we’ll be on the same space, and we have to survive another event phase.

I roll a 5, which doesn’t interact with any of our humans….and if I had any robots they would have wigged out.  Interesting.  So we age again (twice *sigh*) and here we go.

And since you can end the game at any time, even in the middle of a turn, if I can stop the ship before the events phase, this should be it.  So might as well wake everybody up and try to create the newest generation.

Now to stop the ship.  Drogue braking…how does that work?  Well, we use the gas giant to slow ourselves down.  Big gravity and big radiation.  It’s dangerous.  So it’s a Hazard.

Remember Hazards from High Frontier?  Only there is no Failure is Not an Option check.

That’s right, I have to roll a die.  If I roll a 1, the ship blows up.

If I roll a 1, the ship blows up.

Everything could end here if I roll a 1.

What? (you’re probably saying)  What a horrible game!  All that and you have to rely on this all or nothing die roll?  Well, no, really.  I could do a Nano-Reconfiguration of the Hull with the Protium Fusion breakthru which would slow me down.  I could also do Beam Core Braking, but there’s something called Anti-Matter risk with that style of braking.  I should have done the breakthrough, that’s the least riskiest outcome, but I didn’t.  So I have to do this.

Besides, I used the Sun and Jupiter to start this journey, might as well end the same way.

Siren Cybernetics Inc do the first action.


Yay!  We didn’t crash into the sun!  But now we have to look at the radiation risk.  We roll for everything in the ship stack, and if we roll over the Rad-Hardness, the card is destroyed.


Great, the guys who would get us off this boat.  Okay, we can still do this.  Breathe, Adam, breathe.  I have to do it again.  I don’t have enough spare mass to do Beam-Core braking (I need 10 mass for that and I only have 5 before I start throwing in humans or the living area of our ship.  I have other options for a space walker, though, so we’re not done yet.

But before I do that, I’m going to brake again.  We could still blow up.  One more time.

Just one roll.

Here we go.


5 out of the 6 is just fine.

1 of them will end this game in flames.


But now can we make it through the radiation belts?

Jeez.  That’s a lot of dead people.  Um.  This isn’t good.


That’s all I have left.  My youngest colonists is 72 years old.  This is going to be a tough colony.

If we can land.

So we do have the Panthropists that can do some biotech.  They are going to create some humans.  They are allowed to do that when making a colony to represent the 1st generation on the new planet.  Shame that it has to be this way instead of “naturally,” but after the crazy way they had to stop, what you gonna do?

Now to Bail out.  I really didn’t want to do this, but I have no option.  I have to roll for each card.  This is simulating the colonists being dropped from orbit in liquid-immersion crash suits.  Some are better at this than others.  In order to survive, I have to roll 1d6 and be above their age – shields.

For some paying attention, there are colonists that will not survive no matter what.  I can’t help that.  I should have paid more attention to the radiation risk and made sure the Hablonauts were built before we got to the star.  In fact, now that I’m facing this, I’m thinking of a large number of things I should have done.  But now our pilot has his hand over the “Launch button” so away they go.


I needed a 5 or 6 for the Convicts, so I got lucky there.  So after all of that we started with this:


13 Mass worth of humans and 1 Mass of robots.  And we finished with 6 Mass worth of humans, only 2 of them originating from Earth.

We started as a military expedition, but switched halfway to a centrist science-forward expedition, though looking at the buttons on our colonists, they might be going back to an authoritarian governmental structure on their new planet.

The new colony has Engineering, biotechnology and communication skills to help with their expansion.  It will be very regimented at first, but I hope some domestic and business discs will be placed soon.

As far as final scores go, I get 2VPs for having 2 claim discs on 2 habitable planets, and then 1VP per mass point of human.  So 8 points total.  According to the rulebook, that means we end with zero colony growth, the birth rate equaling the death rate.

Looks like this little tribe will be sitting alone on this planet for a long time.  Don’t know if it’s worth sending out another ship to join them.

My brain hurts.

Yet I want to play again and see if I can do better.  3d print the right robots to be properly prepared for landing.

But I’d hate to bore ya’ll with another playthrough.

But I hope this gets some of you to play and I’d love to hear your stories!

If you enjoyed this and got anything out of it and would like to thank me, you can visit my ko-fi page and buy me a coffee.  If not, that’s okay too.  Thanks for reading.

I’ve been pumping these posts out quickly recently, so I’ll be taking a short break before I go into my next one.  It won’t be long, though.  All the positive feedback I’ve been getting has been fueling my desire to keep posting, so I will!

Thanks again!


My ship knows just which way to go-ho-ho

So where were we?

Ah yes, the inky blackness of space.

People are freaking out because HAL has achieved sentience, but that might be okay be it (is it they, now?) says he knows how to slow down the ship.  I wonder how the humans in the vats will take it when they wake up to see their former crew mates being inhabited by their former security systems.

Mondays are rough in the future too.


A refresher of how we stopped last turn. I have some more tough choices to make here.  3 stress is pretty rough, but I can only have 3 woke humans, and doing a full crew change just leaves my robonauts and my 2 stress robots around to do any work.  I also need to add a Pilot disc to the Security Systems if I want them to do any slowing down of the ship.

Okay, so here’s what I’m going to do….

First, I’m going to try to make new humans rather than decant old ones.  Newer and younger might help out better.  So I’ll have the Vatacan Observers do a Domestic action of Parenthood.  I have to roll > Age (4+) to get this to work, so fingers crossed.  And I roll a 2.  Nuts.

Since I’m risking everyone stressing out anyway, I’ll have my Engineers 3d print the Hablonauts again because that +1 to rad-hardness is valuable.

The networks spend its time in school learning how to pilot the ship.  The Nanobots fix the EM shield (which shouldn’t be needed for the rest of the game, but I may have forgotten a rule somewhere, so I’m doing it just in case).  And I’m decanting the “Wet Nano Seed Sail”  which I’m sure are just LOVELY people(?) to have on board.  They will be my new scientists.

I could have my Vatican Observers also do a Business action….you know what, they will.  They will do the service action on itself, to half their stress, rounding down that lowers it to 2.  I think I can handle that.

Now we move again:


Look how close we’re getting!

Nothing else to do on the Move step, so we motor right on to the event step and I roll a 2.

Engineers have a cancer risk: Convicts are Age 3, so on a 1 or 2 they die.  I roll 5, they are okay.

Scientists are at risk of Alzheimer’s.  Wet Seed Nano folks are Age 5 so get demoted on 1-4.  I roll 2, so they get flipped back to Calypso Seed Sail.  Still lovely people.

Pilots are at risk of mutiny.  But they are content, so nothing happens.

Space walkers/Networks are at risk of accidents.  Nanobots decommissioned on a 3 or less.  A 4 keeps them alive.  Security System “bots” decommissioned on a 2 or less (since they are treated as human, their stress is the measure, not their age).  I roll 3.  We’re good.

And that’s it.  One flipped card.  I think we can handle that.  Another dozen years have passed, and I think we did okay.  I age cards and we move on.


I think our Businessmen are going to create a baby machine now that our humans have aged themselves out of child bearing years (sure, it can be done at 48…but they probably don’t want to).

So my Halbonauts are going to move the Nanobots to Age 1 by 3d printing all new parts for it.  Then if I can roll 3 or less, the Vatican Observers will Invent a new job for them (after discarding a robot from my hand).  I roll a 3 and there’s now a domestic token on the Nanobots instead of their spacewalker token.  And I’ll do a Parent action with them since they haven’t gone yet this turn.  As long as I don’t roll a 1….nope…then I can draw a random human and put them at Age 1 with a new job token after removing a card from the Graveyard (to conserve Biomass).

I draw Siren Cybernautics Inc.  which can be an Engineer or Biotechnician.  However, I already have 3 awake humans, so I have to immediately put them into the Vats.

I’m going to put the Convicts into the Vats since they’re pretty stressed out and I’ve got new Engineers on deck.

Had I been smart, I would have done that BEFORE the domestic action.  Ah well.

My scientists can’t do an Endowment on Scholastics anymore as its not in the same politics, but I can still do “Eureka.”  So I put 2 data discs on it, and I roll 3d6 and try to get less than Age (6) + Discs (3).  And I roll 10.  *sigh*

And finally the Frankenstein Naviagtors do a Mag-Sail brake which can slow us down by as many steps as our current speed.  We’re going ‘2,’ so I lower our speed by 2 steps, from 6.5% the speed of light to 4%c.

And we’re already at the event roll.  The pain comes quickly.  The die roll comes up as a ‘1’.

Our Engineers have Alzheimer’s risk.  Halbonauts decommission on a 1.  I roll 3, so I’m okay.

Business owners may Mutiny.  The only ones are content, so no problem there.

Pilots are a cancer risk, but robots can’t get cancer, so we move on.

Domestics have an accident risk, our Nanobots are decommissioned on a 1.  A ‘5’ means we’re good.  And that’s it!



I’m getting to the point where I’m almost embarrassed to post my plays.  You see, I’m very close to the star.  I’m very close to actually getting humans on an extra-solar planet.  That’s a big stinkin’ deal.

I’m also very close to making a big mistake that someone reading this will notice and scream at their monitor: “What are you doing, dummy?”  I kind of don’t want to be called a dummy, so I really, really don’t want to make a mistake.  But so much hangs in the balance, that if one person dies of cancer, one Eureka roll doesn’t make it, I forget to pilot at the right time, this whole thing can go pear-shaped and I lose the game.

So the pressure is on (as much as a solitaire game can have pressure), and I’m starting to feel it.  THE EYES OF THE WORLD ARE ON ME!

Well, the 20 or so people that are actually following this one, it seems.

Okay, I don’t need to pilot this turn, as I’ll hit 1/2 speed when I slow down next, so I can put my Frankenstein Navigators into the vats to clear their 3 stress.  That will spare them from one of the possible problems we could run into.  I’ll decant them next turn to start slowing things down.  I can also use the Convicts Drogue breaking to surf on the gas giant that is also around Bernard’s star to get us to a complete stop.  Risky, but necessary.

And to speed up work after the Decanting process, we’ll try to Eureka the Scholastic program….again.  Now we’re 7 + 5 or less on 3d6.  And I roll a 9!  Factory Cube is now turned into insta-learning.

Wow, we’ve messed with people’s brains a lot on this trip.

The Vatican Observers will self-promote (needs a 4 or less): I roll a 6…no love there.  But I do some service to halve its Stress back down to 2.

My Halbonauts will discard a Robonaut from my hand to make another Factory Cube.  Worse comes to worse I’ll use that as mass I shed from the ship to slow it down if necessary.

My Nanobots will do their best to create more babies out of bio-goo.  A roll of 3 is a success and I get Malcolm.


Ain’t he cute?  He’s not much, but his promoted side is fantastic, so I’m going to put him in the vats for now.

I will, however, decant the Microgravity Panthropists to keep scientists working on this boat.   I’m going to use them to try and promote the Calypso scientists who, by nature of their age, are at risk of dying from Alzheimers, but if I can flip them first, that will keep them alive for another turn or two.  A die roll of 3 makes it so, so we have our Wet Seed icky beings again.

And that’s it.  We move closer to our goal and we’re now 2 light years from our goal.

Now let’s hope we don’t all die.

We roll a 3.

Our Hablonauts may break on a 3 or less.  And they do.  Hrmph.  It’s just decommissioned to my hand, though.  I can get them back.

Uh oh, both scientists face a grey goo risk.  Going youngest to oldest, we’ve got our newly decanted Microgravity Panthropists.  Their rad-hardness is 5, so they’ll only mess up on a 6.  I roll a 5, so I just miss a nasty fate.  I only have 3 awake badges, though, so it’s possible something got into the vats.  D6 + the number of Factory cubes = 7.  Oops.  The factory cube gets removed and everything in the vats ages one step.

Now the Wet-Nano scientists will also unleash a plague on a 6.



So they’re dead, and I add 1 stress to all awake humans.  And if I roll 3 or more, they also affect the sleeping humans and age them.  Ah!  I roll a 2.  Phew.

Our Vatican Observers are at risk for Alzheimers.  And a roll of 3 kills them.  Dangit.  That’s why I was trying to promote them!

That’s the end of the Events phase, but it hurt enough.  I age what needs to be aged, and we’re looking at the next year’s field with a bit less optimism.


Our ship is 96 years old.  Any older and we’ll start to feel the effects.  People will “age faster” (more radiation will seep through).  Then robots will start with stress on them.  Things will get harder.  You can stop your ship at a fuel planet (any rock that has the same fuel class as your engine) and send some engineers and space walkers out to bring your Bernal back to 1, but as you see, stopping ANYWHERE is a struggle.

Let’s just get to our new home.

If you’re enjoying this playthrough and it’s earned me a cup of coffee, you can visit my ko-fi page, but if not, that’s okay too.

Stay tuned for our exciting conclusion!